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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Yesterday Amaya attended her 3rd culmination day at school. She is just 2 and half year old and still in Playgroup. Ideally as the name suggest Playgroup is for playing and having fun.

Her school has culmination for every phase of the learning, Its not a big function but where children walk to the stage and talk about an assigned topic/object in front of the assembled parents. Talking means a few words and not even sentences.

The last two culmination had ended in silence for Amaya. She went on stage, saw the big audience and froze. Unable to utter a word she came back. Not that she was disappointed as she does not understand why the whole fuss is about. Although we were little worried. Many children do speak. Some confidently, some scared, some amused. After coming home, she is babbling about the same topic.

I am ok with it. Her father and mother (Us) did not speak much in school till they started college. It was wrong to put expectations on her. She is there to enjoy and not run a race.

Yesterday was different. She went to the stage and said all her lines properly. She sang the song that was required and ultimately said bye to everybody. I, sitting in the audience was surprised, happy and proud.

I have to admit, It’s a good feeling to see our child succeed.

Last April when we took admission to the Playgroup, the intention was to help her interact with others. Living in a house of three, we were her only world. She has always been cold to strangers. She takes time to talk to people and even children her own age. At that time she was speaking only 1-2 words.

We were worried if we were pushing her too early.

By June she was speaking more words but we were not sure how the teachers would communicate with her. We were not sure if she would enjoy school  and be with complete strangers even if it is for 2 hours. She started her school, she enjoyed it and she looks forward to going to school. After six months now, she is chattering continuously sometimes refusing to stop and mostly refusing to listen.

I guess she needs time to learn to control her enthusiasm. She needs her time to learn and discover. She will take her time and my job would be to give her that time. Let her learn and discover without the pressure of any result. I don’t know if I do a good job. Maybe not 100% perfect but then parenting is always learning.

She and me…..Together!

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The new year starts with uncertainty if not depressing. The company I work for has announced involuntary attrition which means that non-performing employees would be asked to leave immediately.

However it seems that the company is targeting high salaried employee rather than performance. Again this is as per the various news and rumors floating around. The company has not defined any criteria of the lay-offs publicly . This is generating more anxiety and a feeling of uncertain future in the mind of the employees.

I will not comment on the company policy, I guess any company has to take a decision based on what the market and shareholders expectations. After all business defines success on the return of Investment. It cannot be justified or debated upon or rather I wouldn’t want to.

But then the new years starts with a negative feeling and that may harm the company in the long run. Again I am no expert in corporate affairs and its my personal thoughts but an exercise like that where the company targets senior executives who have given 5-20 years to the company might be a tougher on the executive who has to look for a job at that age.

In any job once you start moving up the ladder, the stress and responsibilities increases. There is no fix office timing and personal and family time is what you get in between your work.

The ongoing layoff exercise is shrouded in secrecy and with no concrete information coming from the company, it leads to lots of rumors and a negative image of the company leadership. I guess the company was ready for that too.

Those who leave or made to leave will definitely have a tough time but those who remain will be worse. A sword of unexpected doom will always hang on the employees head. What it will do to their performance and their morale will certainly not be a positive one.

Every employee will be looking at jumping ships at any available opportunity. Employees have lots of expectations and ideas about how a project or company should run. The position or reality at the top is not as per employee thinking.

As for now today, I am not in the list but it does not mean I will not be. The last 3-4 years, I have done well in terms of work but then with no clear criteria, the future always hangs by a thread.

If not this year then next year. The company performance is all about profit and optimizing cost. So either I cry over it or take it in the stride. I need to upgrade myself. Get the borrowed time I have to make myself more relevant in the industry.

There is a feeling of insecurity and only option is to face it. With a family to care off, its their future also that makes me more worried

The feeling of unemployment is scary even if I look brave. I don’t know the people who actually lost thier jobs must be feeling.

Its a scary world out there.

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Aamir Khan made his debut on television today. As expected, the debut was different. The show titled “Satyamev Jayate” plans to take up hard hitting realities of the Indian society.

He hopes to involve the average Indians in the issue to change the way we think and act against the social issues in India

Hope he succeeds!

But this is not about Satyamev jayate

The next few days people will debate how the show worked or did not. Its expected and a debate might or might not change anything.

The thing that got me writing was a post on FB where the person wanted to have a sense of positivity in the show as we already have many issues in the country.

I wanted to reply but did not. How does making the show positive would change our thoughts toward the issue. Its like “Things are bad but somebody would be working on it! But not me!!”

Unfortunately I am too part of the same crowd who shout and do nothing!

Couple of days back, I hired a vehicle to take some guest around Mumbai. While dropping the guest at their hotel and returning back, I got talking with the driver.

The driver originally from Madhya Pradesh was asking me about Engineering and MBAs. The driver told me about his cousin who got married in his teens to have children reach colleges when he himself was studying his masters in medicine.

He explained how education was becoming a business. Educated individuals were more lucrative in the marriage markets. An IAS or an MBA or a PH.D was worth more in the marriage market.

Father would want to get their girls married to highly qualified individual and would go to any price to secure the marriage. In short, grooms could be bought for a price. The more educated the more pricey he was.

Especially people working in government jobs. He told me that an honest district collector can earn Rs. 10 lakhs and above. Knowing that government jobs do not offer that much salary, I was curious to know how.

He told me that by “Honest” he means that where the person does not make use of his position to earn money but where he automatically gets a share of all contracts in the district.

I may be old school but I guess that was not what honesty meant. The definitions do change with changing times.

I know a person who’s sister who is a professional herself got married and her family spent a fortune just getting her married. The amount of money spent would get me a house in a small town.

The point is the truth is out there. Its ugly! Its real! The world changing faster and the values changing even faster.

Not something we can brush under the carpet. Its not going to change even if we sugar-coat it. Maybe we will change it and maybe we won’t

But the first step in changing it…Accept it!

The rest will follow!

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What is the cost of a BMW X1 in India?

What is the cost of a flower bouquet on a traffic signal in Mumbai?

I don’t know the cost of both but they did relate on a Sunday evening.

Amu and I were travelling to the movies when our car stopped at the traffic signal. A BMW X1 had been travelling the same road with us. Two small girls not more that 5 years of age were with their head out through the sun roof watching the traffic and the world around them.

We watched the car as we hoped there must be someone down there in the car helping the girls stand and put their heads out in the roof.

At the third signal from our home, our rickshaw stood parallel to the X1. The girls glanced at our rickshaw. Amu looked out and smiled at the girl. But it wasn’t enough for the girls. They wanted to know who was sitting to the woman who smiled at them. They tilted their heads, they bent down, they twisted and they turned to catch the face of the person sitting next to the woman who waved at them.

Amu smiled, looked at me and said “They are very curious. They have seen me but want to see who is sitting next to me.”

As our rickshaw waited at the traffic signal, a boy came up to sell a bouquet of yellow flowers. The only time I gave flowers to Amu was this year on Valentine and now was not the time.

The boy looked at us hoping that I would buy flowers for the lady sitting next to me who was intently watching the girls on the BMW. He looked at the girls and then back at us before concluding that I was not buying his bouquet.

He quickly moved to the next vehicle in the line. I meanwhile peeped to see the girls and give them a wave. The girls smiled.

As the signal turned green, the X1 darted in front, its superior engine easily eclipsing out rickshaw.

That’s when I realized

Its the case of two childhood. Both curious. One comfortable enough to be curious about the world around. Curious enough to see each and every person in other cars and the other childhood, not privilege enough, curious to know when the next opportunity will come. Curious to know when someone will buy the bouquet so that he can earn his daily meal.

A huge gap of haves and have-nots. As for me, I still don’t know the price of a BMW X1

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Keeping it Short

I started blogging back in 2003 as an outlet to speak my own. There was a time when I blogged and blogged. Although blogging may not still be considered writing, I was once under the impression that I was almost a writer. Not a good one but atleast a writer.

Ideas flowed and there was too much in my head. Blogging did give me a different perspective, a platform to think differently or maybe just a vent to pen my thoughts. Most of my “writing” have been about me and my past and then the things I loved, hated and not so liked. In short it was everything in my head

But then somewhere the memories in my head were in the blog. It was difficult to write about something and it became more of a travel blog with pictures and description of the numerous trips I made.

And then I started making more trips and the description of one trip overlooked the happening of other trip. I am not a travel writer and describing the travels like a essay was neither giving me pleasure nor making my readers happy.

I had to stop.

The post dropped to a trickle. The year was 2008. Orkut and facebook were taking over. Something called twitter was growing strong. Nothing was happening in my life either except those endless rejection for marriage proposal.

At times I had written around 14-17 post. It was difficult managing 1 in a month. But then one good thing happened. I understood that writing for the sake of keeping the blog alive was not my motive. The motive of this blog was to write. It may be crap or good but writing that I wanted to write.

To be fair, Facebook, Orkut and Twitter jointly killed blogging. When I did a check on my blogroll few months back, I was surprised to find that many of my favourite blogs had not been updated for months and even years.

The need to update twitter/Facebook had killed serious writing.

But then twitter/Facebook has the ease. Why think of a big post when you can just write a sentence and two and have people joining the discussion through comments.

Blogging has a charm of its own. Just like books it takes you into the life of the writer. Unlike the social sites, it does not always have photos and videos leaving you to imagine the life of people. While the social sites only accepts the people you know, blogging lets you converse with complete strangers without the fear of being judged by the one you know.

While there are people who still blog, was blogging a fad on the internet? If thats the truth, Facebook/Twitter would suffer the same fate? I guess not. Because people are inquisitive about other people’s life rather than their own and there lies the success of the social apps. Its the ability to peek into others people life rather than share their own that will drive the social sites.

Ofcourse thats my opinion!

As for me, the blog deserves more attention from me. Some of these days, I just might give it some!

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I guess the most popular profession in Konkan would be lawyer. There are so many litigations going on around Konkan that it seems that Lawyers may never would be out of work.

Way back in the 80s, as far as I remember, when I visited my native place, my uncle (dad’s elder brother) gave me a mid-afternoon pep talk about the advantages of being a lawyer and how it could actually benefit the family.

I was not much into making a career back then. I did not even know what i wanted to become back then. So when my uncle asked me what would I become when I grow up expecting his pep talk to work, I replied

“A painter”

Not the painters who’s work are sold for a very high price but the one who paints houses. My dad was a painter all his life who painted tractor for a leading manufacturer in India

My uncle got angry. I don’t remember much about the meeting afterward but that was when I knew what not to become when I grow up.

It was around the same time that I at the age of 14-15 years, I told my uncle that I did not approve of his decisions. The relations turned sour and it took me 21 years to visit the village again and that too 1 year after my Uncle passed away.

Few weeks back I travelled again to the village with my mom. Its a custom to keep the Wedding invitation before the family deity before you start  distributing it.

As always, I had the camera with me. The beautiful Konkan offers quite a vast opportunities for photography. After visiting all the temples, it was time to explore the village.

My Aunty (kaki) offered me to show around. Behind our village house is a small hills and many from the villagers own parts of the hills. Terraces are cut into the hills to help farming. The land ownership is not a single piece of land but distributed over the hills.

This is where the controversy or disputes comes into place. Fruit from one’s tree falling into another’s land, the borders of the fields moving during rains and farming and what not.

My aunty gave me all the details of the various disputes of the land. There were many and after some time I lost track of what she said. I was busy in clicking some great photos out there.

Some of these disputes are going on for years now and now they are being passed on to the new generation. Some of these disputes do not even have to do with any material wealth. But the disputes have passed from a generation to another generation. Its been so long that some of these disputes may have lost its relevance.

The truth depends on who tells you and whoever tells you will only tell his/her side of the story. So how do we know who’s wrong and who’s right?

As I walked with my aunt that day, I felt she was passing a generation’s to me. A Generation of issues and disputes to be carried on to the next generation. I don’t feel the same way she feels about them and I doubt If i can even think of them.

And hopefully it all ends with my generation

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Quiz time

Who is the most happiest between engagement and the marriage?

Its neither the boy or the girl but the telephone company which is the happiest

On a different note what was I doing on evenings before 22 January 2011? So the evenings are spent talking to the Wife-to-be on phone. Its time I give her a name. The Wife-To-be is somewhat….how to say it… not romantic.

Living on the two opposite end of the city mean meeting cannot be an everyday affair, even though I would like to be more of an everyday thing.

So we have different office timing and the best time to talk would be when she is travelling to office in the morning and then back in the evening. She travels in a train for a short distance while talking to me. I have now learnt to identify where she is is based on the background noise.

I can imagine and state correctly the whole route by listening to the background sounds and believe me, I am good. It was the same knowledge which I used to give her a surprise during Valentine day.

Yes! I had my first Valentine day!

There are a number of background noises I hear during the whole chit chat to and from the office. Most of them identifiable. But there was one noise I could not identify.

When she is on the railway platform, a continuous beep sound could be heard in the background. I asked about it and she did not know. I have been travelling on the Mumbai locals for a long time and even I have not heard the sound or maybe did not pay attention to the sound. I heard the sound everyday as she waited for the train but I still could not figure out what was the sound.

Few days back while travelling with my mom, I was waiting for the train at Mumbai Central Station and I heard the sound again, the same continuous beep sound.

The Mumbai local trains have introduced a small compartment reserved for handicapped and cancer patients. The compartment is mostly the 6th compartment in a 12 compartment train. Earlier it was very small. Now its much bigger in size. It allows the handicapped people to travel in little comfort.

The train has a board which shows the location of the compartment. On the platform, an illuminated board shows the location of the compartment so a handicapped person can identify it and find it easily.

But how would a blind person identify the compartment if he/she cannot see it?

The answer is quite simple. By verbal aid. The board gives a continuous beep in regular interval. The blind person can identify the compartment with the beeping sound and get into the handicapped compartment easily.

With all my senses intact, it becomes difficult to really understand how a handicapped person will go along in his/her life. I take things for granted but they don’t. Someone thinks about the way to make things easier for them. Sometimes what you need is a simple logic.

Quite a simple idea when you think about it!

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