Saturday, August 19, 2017

Fate

Fate is a very interesting topic. For those going through good times in life, it's seems like fate is just a smiling beauty! For those who don't enjoy the best time nor the worst - fate is like an aquintaince. She inspires hope but is not leading the way. For others - fate is the ex girl friend! She had shown good times but the worst is still going on!!

Life does put us all through such situations! It's like having a beautiful car of your choice that you don't own! You can only use it for a limited period of time! You form a bond with the car... her scratches trouble you... her speed inspires you ... her seats comfort you! But she is not yours to keep!

When you don't own any vehicle - but have a car for your use ... that's a funny situation! It's assumed you are wealthy and settled in life. You only know how much you pay for the upkeeping of this car that's not even yours.... and you probably have a rusted cycle along with it! None of it works but all of should!!!

Your cycle does not run anymore... no matter how much you oil it and take care of it! Your car is not yours to keep. But you have a long journey to travel!

Those who understand this irony, high five ✋ yourselves!
Those who don't - enjoy life & come back and read the blog some time later! 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

PERFECT SCREW UP!

Have you ever been in a place of life where you feel it's just the best? Like if you died that second your life would have ended perfectly? & then you end up doing just the one thing to ruin it all?

Imagine making a management report ... you have finished it all so very well. There you are - appreciating yourself, feeling amazing about your efforts & you are about to be done & while you close the file - you forget to save it?!

Or imagine when you are having a perfect relationship with someone... things are going better than expected... every thing you both want in life is achieved & then there's one crazy thought that enters your head & you end up saying it aloud....

& then?!

I remember reading these lines -

Friendship is like a China ware
So very rich and rare
Once broken, it can be mended
But the crack is always there ....


The next report made may be good, but it will never be as good as the first one!
The repair can be done, but there's always a doubt on the genuineness of the relationship....

THUS A PERECT SCREW UP!

Would not have death been better....???!!!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How to say you are there !

I am very bad at enquiring condolences. But I see a friend mourn for a loss... I want to assure that there's at least a shoulder to rest head on and cry the heart out... I want to reach out, hold hands & say things will be fine.... But my inability stops me ... how do I get past those inhibitions  .. how do I take away that fear that's got built up  ... how do I say call me anytime you want - I am just à call away... how do I say I care for you... how do I say you are my dear most friend .... how do I show how to forget.... how do I show that the world is big but the loss is not small... but there is still a way to get up and walk tall.... how do I hug and take away the pain... how do I pat your back and bring some lovely dream... how do I say let not anything hold you back... how do I say give me your aches and take away my joy... how do I say that you are not just my lucky charm but my dearest chum

I only hope that despite all the sorrow of losing a close one .... please understand.... I am there to help heal all wounds ... I am there to hear out ... I am there to wipe a tear & I am there to show you some hope....

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Learning to fly again

Fair warning : This post may not be understood or appreciated by many men.

Many Indian women start settling into family after marriage. They may or may not continue their career. But it's so drilled into us that even if we shine in our career, we cannot let go of our 'duties' at home. In the process of managing both, many of us forget ourselves! The amazon ad of a food ball player Toofani who settles into the role of a mom and wife is a classic example.

What do these additional responsibilities do to us? Why do we forget to dance like a peacock or sing like a cuckoo ? Why do women sacrifice their hobbies?

Recently a sweet little child just about 4 years taught me to laugh again. He has shown me fun and games and to gaze stars again! He has taught me to take some time off for myself. He has taught me not to feel burderned with responsibilities But to enjoy them. Thank you my dear little friend! Your smile makes my day brighter and your innocence makes life sweeter.

Thank you for taking me as your friend!

PS : Remember our deal - Don't even think of calling me aunty! 😜

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Friendship in middle age

Life has always been nice to me. I have been bestowed with lovely friends all through my life. My college life, though terrible it was, gave me some friends I can count on for a life time. We may not talk everyday, but I know we are all just à phone call away!

Early career, Apartment complex all of it provided ample opportunities to make good close friends too!!

But I thought I had reached my saturation! I felt I would never be able to make new close friends. I assumed my husband would be the only good friend in whom I could confide all! No body else would have be able to understand my emotions anymore. Even if someone might understand, I felt that I didn't have it in me to be able to confide in anybody anymore!

I was positively surprised recently. A message in a wrong window - that was all it took to find a nice buddy again! I felt for once I could take a chance and open up again to someone who just an acquaintance! The solace, the comfort, the rejuvenation I felt just can't be expressed in words! Someone had time for me when I felt distressed. I could become my own self and talk to someone again! It was one of the greatest feelings in the world. The way a bird, whose wings are clipped regularly to fit into the cage would feel when she can spread her wings just for once without being judged. The feeling the smell of fresh wet sand would bring in, the sounds of chirping birds, the sight of a dew drop on a blade of grass when the sun is just raising - all of it is short lived but most cherished!!!

Thank you dear friend for letting me feel it all once!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Work or career

I had never thought I'd ever write about work culture! I always enjoyed my career. Like everything else in life, even my career has had its ups and downs. But I enjoyed going to office, meeting up with colleagues, work pressure, time bound deadlines, cost savings, gossiping tea breaks ;)

But some recent events in my life have made me ponder on a few things in life!!



I have laughed at people who have mentioned gender bias in work life! I used to assume that they were spineless women who could not fight for themselves! I always assumed that if I were put in such a situation I would make the respective male colleague fall at his feet and accept defeat! Now I realise it is not always possible!!


I have a friend who worked with me in one of my previous organizations. It is an MNC as well. When I spoke to her recently, I felt so angry... & so sorry for her. She is a pretty tough fighter. I have known her to be one of the best in her area of work! I understood that she had being going through hell in the last couple of years. Unlike the most surfacing case of sexual harassment, Gender Bias is not given much thought!! When you don't promote a woman or don't give her the right opportunities for her to learn, contribute and grow, when you assume that she can't put in as much effort as her male colleague, you are creating gender bias!! So what do you do then? When I have an issue, I should be able to approach someone in my management and my HR! It's such confidence that an organization gives to employees that makes them take their work as their career and not just a job.


Building trust amongst employees is not an easy job... But it is very important...  The HR is like the spine of an organization. There are many policies that have grey areas. Organizations need good HR team to be able to probe into issues and take the right call!! Having employees who deliver well is surely important, but ain't it more important to have ethically and morally conscious employees??


I have seen people fret over hiring women employees...  'They may not continue their job after marriage or after child birth or may chose personal commitments over their career'... But unless women are given equal opportunities, a comfortable work environment, a feeling of equality, equal pay, equal work responsibilities... you can't expect that!! When one treats women inferior to men at work place, when one feels recognition would suffice for women - rewards are not necessary - how does one expect women to treat their career like men do?


As a country, we need to move to a safer, just and equal environment for women too!!


& Women - We are in a war zone now.. We are fighting to have our place too... So it's ok to fight... Please don't compare yourselves to men! We are not made alike.. Don't assume we are in anyway inferior to men!! We can accomplish as much as (if not more than) the other gender!! Please stay put. Keep recording things officially.. Don't hesitate... At some point, some door will open up.. Just don't give up!

Monday, November 21, 2016

I love you Appa!!

I took a break from my career and have been a home maker the past one year. I was with a wavering mind whether or not to quit. But today, I thank my stars. For this one year has given me time to understand my own family better... I have had time to observe people more closely .. It's given me time to appreciate my family members better and to respect them more!

I recently lost my grandfather... He was 99 years old.. Had he lived for 15 more days, he'd have entered his 100!! Many people came for his funeral and expressed their condolences. It was during this time, I noticed my mother. She had lost her father-IN-LAW. I saw her mourn more for him than anybody else present there. Yes, by nature my mother is an affectionate person. I know she is fond of almost everyone she interacts with. & She has lived with my grandparents for close to 4 decades now. Despite it all, I was a little surprised. For those of you who have met my grandfather, it wouldn't be a surprise to hear how strict he was. He was not known to dip neem leaves in honey before presenting it to anyone!! I have never seen him express his appreciation for my mom!!  But of course, he must have loved her in his own way! I felt their connection on the day that he died! A relationship between a father-in-law and a daughter-in-law is not discussed much in any household... Even I speak of my mother-in-law's love and concern for me only rather than my father-in-law's.

I noticed how my mom missed him and how they had shared a bond.... It made my wonder about my relationship with my dad-in-law...It was then I realized my love for him.... I have always respected him. He is such a fast learner, an amazing HR, he connects well with people, a meticulous planner and an amazing dad! I have seen him ready to help even a stranger and make a friend of him! What is a person's socio-economic background does not make any difference to my dad-in-law.

But very recently I realized how big is his role in my life... A minor health ailment of my dad-in-law's made me go running to him ... How I wanted to check for myself whether he was ok or not... When did this change happen in my life? When did my dad-in-law become as important to me as my own dad - I wonder?!

Has my dad-in-law ever told me that he loves me? No... Have I ever told him that I love him?? No!! I think it is time to make remedies!!

Appa. You are another dad to me. & I respect and love you whole-heartedly. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My experience of Relief Activities #Chennairains

Ooph!! Nov & Dec-15 have changed our lives in a way that I can't even describe.

"Leading a normal boring life, we wake up one day to see our neighborhood flooded! There's just no mobile connectivity - all networks are down. Try going outside, there's water everywhere. No visible roads to even reach the  GST! & If you manage to reach the GST road, be prepared for a traffic jam of 6-7 hours to travel just about 10~15 kms!! The usually trustworthy train services are not available. If you want to escape the city, you only have the semi-functional road ways - Air travel is also not available!!

No electricity - absolutely no way of knowing whats happening around you!! There are rumors you don't know whether to believe or not!! You hear of a million lakes like Chembarambakkam lake, Maduranthakam Lake over-flooding, Crocodiles entering home and what not!!"

Had I been told this story in Oct-15, I'd have had a hearty laugh!! Such a situation would have been un-imaginable - especially considering that today's world thrives on communication!!

When faced with reality, initially I felt like a prisoner - like the one's of old Tamil movies. Iron shackles holding up hands and legs!! I am not exaggerating!! Try staying at home with almost no connectivity with your family!! I was amongst the most fortunate - we had very little water in our residential complex and we had DG up & running. We could watch news and know the reality... Despite it, with landline down, no internet and no mobile, I felt like Sivaji Ganesan in Manohara with my inner mind screaming - "Porathadhu porum, Pongi ezhu!!"

Emotions - the emotional need to connect to friends and family to ascertain their safety, the sorrow of seeing so many people affected, the inability to do anything against the force of nature, the fierce need to help the affected, the lack of funds.... All these together overwhelmed me in a way I had never felt before!! Amongst it all, we people decided to use ourselves to help others out!! Trust me, I am not sharing all these to receive any appreciation! 9 women and 7 men joined hands to prove to ourselves that our education, our experience in corporate world, our management skills are not ways only to make money but to also help others.

On one side, I felt fortunate to be safe and to be able to do something, but on the other side, I felt so depressed every day seeing so many suffer!! Every night I'd thank God that something could be done to uplift the spirit of a few! Though the tears, the physical effort, lack of sleep took its toll, the 3:30 a.m. alarm would wake me up!! I am used to early mornings, But cooking 5~7 kgs of rice everyday and mixing it to make a variety rice is not a joke!! I made it a point of preparing at least a 100 packets of food every day! 100 is actually not a big number, but for one who has cooked for a max of 8~10, it is a big deal! If cooking Some variety rice, Idlies, Side dish was one part, packing it was another!! Phew!!!

Well, I went ahead of my story.... So getting back to track......

The rains started from early Nov'15 & continued its destruction till mid Dec'15.  Palar river started flowing in areas where it had been completely dry for the last 15-20 years. The belt of villages in Vayalur-Veeranam Road were greatly affected as they could not commute out of the villages. Water flooded around the villages & people had to evacuate their homes & move into the school ( which had a first floor). 

I heard about the villages - Vayalur, Edayathur, Pandur, Perumbedu, Naduvarkarai, Nerumbur through a friend of mine. I went to Edayathur only on 6th Dec for the first time - nearly a month after the rains started.


There was no boat to reach the village. Despite the DVAO (Deputy Village Administrative Officer) trying to get help, there was almost no help from the Govt. Or any NGO!! ( Kindly note that I am not into politics & I do understand the plight of Govt. during such calamities! I have stated only what I heard from the DVAO & the Villagers). They had no connectivity - all mobile signals were down. 
People were staying in the local school. Lucky ones got to stay on the first floor school store room of the school. The ones on ground floor had to hold onto ropes tied to school ceiling fans as there was flowing water till their mid-riff for 3 continuous days!! Please imagine - Water mixed with their own urine, drain water, smelly water & wet for 3 days with no food or drinking water! Reminds me of the verse - "water water everywhere, not a drop to drink"!! (Again I did not witness this, but was told about it all by the villagers)




We then spoke to a couple of NGO's on 6th - but all were busy with Chennai & Cuddalore! We managed to contact some fishermen at Mahabalipuram & arranged for one boat.


From 7-Dec-15 till 02-Jan-16 we provided cooked food supplies on a daily basis. A make-shift restroom was arranged & clean water was provided.  We provided with some slates & chalk pieces for all school students & all required text books, notebooks, pens, ink bottles, pencil, eraser, geometry boxes, photocopied notes from SBOA school for the students in 10th & 12th classes. To motivate them, we also started teaching them their school syllabus (Trust me, that was the toughest part - the syllabus has changed from what we learnt & funnily I didn't remember how I was taught my 12th maths!! Plus the biggest difficulty was teaching them all in Tamil! Teaching 10th class students was easier! I continue to teach them now at my residence... )

What surprised me the most is that when we distributed food and supplies, everyone co-operated. There was no havoc! We requested that children and elders be ahead in the line & queue system was perfectly followed! I learnt again in life that literacy & education are 2 different things!! 

Each one was given one packet - It could be Variety rice or Curd Rice or Idli Or Upma! If no packet of food was left, it could be bread or biscuit packet!! Not one person demanded for something else .. Not one person complained!! When I saw in news how people in Kotturpuram and other Posh areas of Chennai had reacted, I felt that these villagers were better cultured!! The elders taught the kids to come and thank us for what we were doing. Every child would eat and come and thank us for the food. There was an old Patti who would collect her packet and wait till we finished distributing to all. If food was short, she'd offer to share her packet. If we did not have food, she'd give hers to us and walk away!! 

There were 2 people who died! Cremation was arranged for them at Thirukazhukundram! 
The boats were cleaned up after this travel by the villagers themselves to ensure hygiene! 





Water started draining slowly.
Relief had been provided & it was time for rehabilitation.

Extensive planning and project management skills were required. 
From the 20th of Dec, we started concentrating on Permanent settlement of these people! This required slightly altering the channel of Palar River. We needed Govt. support. DVAO was very helpful. He arranged for all necessary approvals between 10th & 26th Dec. 

We arranged for Excavators, cleaning brooms, picking sticks, plumbing rods, extra large packets for disposing waste etc. - all thanks to your contributions!! A sum of 6.3 lacs were collected. We needed 7.3 lacks in total. A total of 2500 students, 10000 families, 4500 girls (unique requirements for women) got benefitted. 




I couldn't resist posting this pic ;) 
Cost split is as follows (All in INR)

Cost of books, stationary for students - 25,000
Cost of groceries, Sanitary pads & kerosene - 4,75,000
Cost of cleaning up 2 villages( Excavators, cleaning equipments, approval charges for re-routing the river etc.) - 2,25,000
Total Expenses - 7,25,000

Kindly note, there were other contributions as stuff - groceries, sanitary pads, clothes, blankets, books, mobile chargers, recharge packs for mobiles etc. Also the cooked food was completely contributed by friends & family on a daily basis. For example - I personally cooked 5 Kgs of rice into mixed rice varieties everyday & mine was amongst the smallest of packs everyday!! Again the transport cost have been absorbed by individuals. Despite all these, we face a deficit of 95,000

If anyone is interested in supporting for the deficit amount, please write back to me!

I would like to thank ICICI Bank manager who has helped get the tax waived (for receiving the amount in my SB account). I would like to thank my friends and family who contributed just on my request - after all, I do not belong to any NGO or Govt. agency. & I think it was the timing too - Had I been employed, I may not have got involved hands-on! This experience has enriched my soul!! 

Thanks to everyone who has helped financially and physically to make this a grand success!! I stay indebted to one and all!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Personal Space for Women : Neeya Naana

Being a working woman, I don't find time to watch all my fav shows. Thanks to technology, I record the shows and watch them when I find time. Today, I watched a show of Neeya Naana that spoke of personal space for women. Before I type my opinion, I must say that this will be a shaded version of a woman who is madly-badly-deeply in love with her husband in a very emotional way & who has successfully made him love her alike ;)

I think it is interference in my personal space when people ask me about my salary, why I have not had kids, whether I chose to plan my family so (implies whether my husband I use contraception when we make love!!), what my salary is and whether I financially support my parents, why my husband I live as a nuclear family etc!! It is nobody's business!! & irrespective of who it is, I will not answer such questions and wanting to be polite, I chose to smile or divert the question! There are some persistent people - to a few a give a blunt answer that its none of their business and to a few, I chose to either lie or vaguely answer! Please do not assume that anyone can ask any question!

There was a team that said that when people ask a question we judge them over it and that makes it irritable and not the question itself!! I say that's also my space!! I may let my mom tell me that I have not done some job well, but not my neighbour! It is a question along with the space that I give them that decides the boundaries!! If a person decides to step into my line and question, I will start putting up some distance!!

The show went on to argue about the need of personal space. One lady very beautifully explained to the ignorant group that - in the earlier generation, women used to go to her parents' for a month or 2 every year. In her vacation period, her kids would be taken care of my the grand parents! So she had all the time she needed to unwind!!

In today's world, where time is money, we don't get to have such long vacations!! And even if we do, the space that we need everyday for ourselves is still a requirement. It is my duty to ensure that "my work" does not eat into my space! and at the same time, it is my freedom to do what I want in my free time. Personally I would suggest every woman to create a hobby and pursue it! I love reading and there's not a day that I can fall asleep without reading at least 10 pages of some book! But during my PMS, I need more time to myself! & I chose not to cook at that time unless my in-laws visit! & it is a nice understanding between my husband and me! I would surely read one Mills and Boon every day to relax me!! This understanding and agreement needs to come into every family!

Having spoken so much, what is the limit to space?? It depends on every couple/family! To me, my space will surely include my friends, my books, my food and thought! But I believe in sanctity of a couple! I cannot share my personal relationship with others and I forbid my husband to do it too!! Yes - I enter into his space there - but thats what couples do! We share some space and retain some for ourselves! What is the extent of sharing needs to be agreed between the 2!!

Do I want to be open and speak about it or do I want to show my weakness to win over my man is my choice! Personally I believe that showing dependence when you are actually an independent woman would be like acting and may not last a life time! At some point, your self esteem would demand that you speak out openly and be done with!! I enjoy my arguments with my husband. Thats our couple space!! I love it when he understands my individuality and respect me for exactly the person I am! & thats some thing I love as a woman!

What do I want as a woman - My space and love that comes by respecting me as I am!! I would hate it if my relationship survives due to an assumed dependence instead of co-existence! I choose to give any person the space in my life and no one can assume it themselves! & I would love the have the respect that comes out of understanding for their space in my life rather than the relationship itself!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Trip to Sri lanka : Valentine day's surprise

February was a regular month with office and house hold work. Suddenly on 13th, Arun comes home and asks me to pack my bag for 2 days... A Surprise vacation to Srilanka!!

Off we started on 14th morning by Sri Lankan airlines -  Tasted yummy Ceylone tea... And landed in Columbo...



There came my second surprise - a suite at Taj Samudra with Ocean View!! I was welcomed like a princess with a wonderful welcome drink.... An amazing ambiance with 2 restaurants serving a variety of dishes! Lunch at Navaratna with amazing North Indian food and men in lungi ;) We headed straight to Hikkaduwa. We were late for Scuba Diving. So we just went in for Snorkelling! Well, that was not just - but that was We-went-for-Snorkelling screaming on top of my voice!! What an experience!! Trust me - you get that Zindagi-Na-Milegi-Dobara-feeling!! I felt so much at peace that I couldn't stop talking about it!!



We were too tired to try anything more - So we just hit the casinos!! We headed straight to Bellagio! It was not a Vegas experience - but a good one. The problem with the Bellagio in Colombo is that it is too small. Plus we went on a Saturday - so it was very very crowded and I hated the smoke smell which was there in every nook and corner of the casino! Our hotel gave us coupons for 4000 Srilankan Rupees and we happily lost it all ;) & we flushed down that sorrow in quite a few drinks ;)


The second day started very early and we went all the way to Sigriya to visit the Lion Rock!. It is said that King Kasyapa built his palace on top of a rock. Nearly halfway up is his gateway in the shape of an enormous lion. After the king's death, the palace was used as a Buddhist Monastery. This is now a UNESCO world heritage. Climbing up this rock fort (built on a single rock) is a good exercise in itself :) We then went to Dumbala to Buddhist Golden temple. 









From Dumbala we went straight to Kandy - to the Sacred Tooth Temple of Buddha. After Buddha's demise his funeral was held on Sandalwood Pyre and the only thing left was his tooth. It was retrieved and given to King Brahmadatte for safe-keeping. A Romour arose that who ever got that tooth would have the right to rule that land. After many wars, it came into the possession of King Guhaseeva of Kalinga. He decided to destroy this tooth and when he tried to burn it and hit with a hammer, the tooth rose high in the air and was shining. A Prince from Udheni pleaded the king to preserve the tooth. The king was impressed with him and gave his daughter in marriage to the prince. The Prince from Udheni and the Princess of Kalinga - Hemalatha secretly carried the tooth to Sri Lanka to preserve it. It was taken to King Kritsirmevan  and he was overjoyed to take up the responsibility to preserve it. The Capital of his kingdom was changed in different cities due to threats from foreign invasion. But at every city, a sacred temple was built in the palace to preserve the relic. Finally the King moved his capital to Kandy where the temple was built to preserve the tooth. We cannot see the tooth directly as it is preserve in a six-layered Golden preserve. We cannot directly see the tooth but the experience is worth visiting. 











Around this temple are four other smaller temples - Devales. They are


1. Nathan Devale dedicated to the future Budda.
2. Pattini Devale dedicated to chaste woman deity (she resembled Kannagi with Silambu)
3, Vishnu Devale dedicated to Lord Vishnu
4. Kataragama Devale dedicated to Lord Skanda or Muruga (This one alone is located in the city slightly away from the Budha temple)

We ended the day again in another casino - the biggest one in Colombo - Marina. We made a loot there - a Huge win! and returned with a handful of Sri Lankan money :)





The third day was spent shopping in Odel (Must-Visit Shop) and House of Fashion (I was disappointed there)

We returned the same day back to Chennai!

My overall experience in Sri Lanka was awesome and it was total fun! I would surely recommend the place for visit. However I would suggest that the visit should be for at least 4 days and 1 day reserved for just AnuradhaPuram. We missed visiting that, Nuwer Eliya (Where Sita took bath), Adam's Peak (where the Sunrise is supposed to light up the country in a triangle) and a few other places but this visit in itself was very good and memorable !