Monday, 13 October 2014

Anger Management

June 14, 2014

Anger management – easier said than done. Getting annoyed or irritated when one does not get the attention, which the person feels he/she deserves and the situation suddenly becomes uncomfortable. As long as one is watching life from a distance, one can speak of tools of anger management and emotion management. The real test happens when the same person goes through the moment where patience wears thin and the ego starts taking over and anger raises its head. The ability to diffuse any such situation with humour can be of paramount importance.

Statistics point out a huge percentage of children homicides occur in the hands of their own parents across the world. The parent concerned is unable to explain- “what came over him/her” and that they could not control themselves and murdered their own. In the animal world it is not uncommon for the mother to eat its own child but that is primarily for food. However, for homosapiens, satisfying ones own hunger is never a reason to kill its own. But sadly, it can be for satisfying ones egoL. The reasons can differ from case to case, however the point to be understood is that anger management and emotion management is a much required tool for the humans at all stages of their lives but it is not taught in any school or university. So how and where does one learn to take charge of annoying, difficult and upsetting situations/ people? It happens in some ways when we start digging into spiritual literature and learn to accept rather than control. But sadly, it can be too late before one realises that he/she needs help to take charge or control of emotions. The other point is that in schools also this can be taught by the teachers along with Maths, Science, English etc. which are much needed for academic excellence. Soft skills have been given their due importance in the corporate world for success but at the school level also some induction should be mandatory for children and their parents.

Children are possibly the easiest target of domestic violence and then in the Indian context it happens to a large number of wives. The statistics may differ for urban and rural India but there is no denying the fact that domestic violence in India is a social problem and it does not differentiate between the educated and the uneducated class. We function in a society with rules, however whenever there are rules they get broken as well. Might makes everything right.  With power should come responsibility but instead it begets ego. Power makes humans vindictive.

Acceptance and detachment can help in nurturing healthy and balanced relationships, however expectations and inability to meet those expectations create issues where there are sometimes none. We keep seeing life through the mirror that we hold in our hands and therefore expect from people what we give to them. It starts right from our own children and family and keeps extending into all our walks of life. The give and take creates such a web, that we are never able to give without thinking of the return. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Another day in woman's life - Journey continues with

The start is always difficult. Whether it is writing a letter, or a story, or taking the first step in solving a relationship issue, or in dealing with your first child. But once you take the first step, I feel the journey becomes much easier. Yesterday I attended a seminar initiated by the Times of India partnered with Cerebrand on a pan India basis for helping /supporting/ encouraging mid career professional women to regain entry into the work force. It’s a start for which I as a professional woman, who has been on and off the ramp more than once and who has personally gone through the heartache and the headache involved in trying to juggle career, family and self development, heartily congratulate the whole team for bringing together such eminent personalities and corporates under one roof for airing out the various issues involved.

This is the first step taken by Corporate India in a big way for tackling/ understanding the issue of talented professional women dropping out of the work force at every level (Junior, mid and senior) due to various issues like health, child bearing and rearing, taking care of elderly parents, or relocating on account of spouse’s career etc. so that ultimately a very small percentage of women actually make it to the Boardrooms and are able to prove themselves to be as good or even better than the men around them. The statistics are staggering. This step is in the right direction to sensitize the ecosystem as a whole so that there can be more support for meritorious and efficient women in urban India to make a come back to the workplace so that the economy does not lose out on the contributions they can make. 

My first question is – can we make the environment supportive enough so that the women do not drop out in the first place. I am not talking only support from the employer who has a big role to play no doubt, but also support from the family/ spouse/society- so that easier child care / nanny services etc are available. The Indian man is still grappling with this new Indian woman who has worked hard to get a degree, who wants to work but at the same time who wants to enjoy the joys of motherhood and caring for her family. But once the child arrives, sometimes he does not understand the changes that happen in the woman. I don’t blame him, because most of the times the woman herself does not know what she has gotten into when she becomes a mother. From a rational working woman, she suddenly changes into an emotional nutcase. A valid point which was made by Prasenjit Bhattacharya (CEO- Great Places to work) is child bearing is biological and necessarily the woman has to do it, but child rearing need not have to be only the mother’s responsibility. Both the partners have to come together to work out ways of being there for bringing up a well balanced happy and socially adjusted child. Here again, the first year of childbirth, I feel is very crucial by way of an adequate support. The emotional tussle and the physically exhausting challenge of feeding the child, taking care of your own health and your child’s and at the same time wanting to enjoy going out and working is not easy for any young mother. There is a lot of coping, which she tries to do in the best way possible, because she does not know whom to talk to. Here, I feel, counseling sessions are very important to let her know it pays in the long run to just stay put. Prioritize and juggling on an everyday basis is very important for this young working mother. The heart is torn in both the directions- work and child and most of the times the child wins, motherhood becomes more important than earning that additional income. So here happens the first drop from corporate India. 

But what is corporate India’s loss can be the society’s gain if the break or the sabbatical helps in bringing up responsible children for tomorrow and in containing health issues which women invariable suffer from trying to multi task roles at home and at work, not knowing whom to ask for support from. The health issues can be as small as ulcers and acidity problems in the beginning to cholesterol, blood pressure etc in later parts of their lives. The stress of trying to manage too much also results in a stressful environment at home for the newborn, which can later lead to emotional issues in the young adult. I am not saying it happens always, but somehow I feel the woman is more sensitive to such psychological issues of her child and can be swamped with guilty thoughts when she is at work. Here, I feel Ms. Chanda Kochar made a very valid point when she mentioned, about the “French fries enjoyed by the child with her grandparents while the mother is at work”. We as dutiful mothers may fuss all the time that we want to give them the healthiest food, but may be at times we have to allow for the fun that the child enjoys by eating junk food and having a good time. So there is no point in letting the work get affected because you are not there to decide what he has eaten and then go back home, pick up a fight with the caregiver and stress out the child.

I think the key is to learn to prioritize and make the extra effort to work smarter and not just harder, know who your lifelines are whether at work /home/friends and ask for help and just hang in there in the crucial years. But nobody tell you that and then you make your choice of opting out of work. So counseling at this stage by corporate India is of utmost importance. Know your talent pool; treat them with a bit more caring hands so that it is a win win for both of you in later years.

On the panel we had powerhouse women achievers like Ms. Chanda Kochar- MD and CEO of ICICI Bank Limited and Dr. Swati Piramal- VC , Piramal Enterprises Ltd. who need no introduction and who have also juggled work and those initial years of motherhood, done the fine balancing act to reach where they are today.  They are an inspiration to all the others who feel they can pitch in a bit more than what they are doing today to achieve more meaning out of their lives.  Economics no doubt plays a big role in determining whether a woman would continue to work or not.  Once the second income does not look as important to the family kitty, that’s the time when couples take the decision that its ok for one person to drop out of the rat race and for the other to continue as the earning member in the house.  And in most cases, it is the woman who has the luxury of dropping out and decides to take care of home issues rather than continue to run for the professional dreams she had once set out for herself.  One of the reasons for her taking the lead at the home front could be because she is naturally better at it than the man, second her career had taken a backseat for women centric issues like child bearing etc.

This time can be valuably utilized by such women to introspect on what exactly she herself is looking for. A career to reach the top or a job where in she can juggle both home and work and do justice to both the way she wants. Ms. Lalita Iyer rightly pointed out this issue – “more clarity is required as to what we want to chase in life- money or good work.“ The choice is ours to make and then we have to go about finding suitable opportunities for having access to a sensitized employer.

In this area, I feel can play a big role in building up a platform wherein efficient women who want to do the juggling act can have access to the employers who are more than willing to bring them back on ramp, not because they want gender diversity at the work place, but because they know that the woman coming back will make the rightful contribution to the company and will be an asset to them. The fitment has to be right for it to be a win-win situation. The woman has to be clear what she wants and the employer should see her as capable enough of delivering.

Once again I thank the whole team from Times of India for making this beginning  and for giving access to us to talk to such eminent woman achievers, “ The journey has just begun and my hope is that it would be a meaningful walk for women who can successfully come back on ramp due to this initiative and even if they are not able to make this transition the journey itself would be rewarding enough to raise questions in their minds to which they have to find their own answers.

Thursday, 28 November 2013


Reality Check, in India, the easiest possible drug available which gives a false high to the population here is tobacco. Tobacco addiction is so widespread, that you find a fifteen year old domestic servant chewing it, your driver chewing it, a 30 year old autorickshaw driver chewing it, a lady running a boutique chewing, fifty something mothers n grand mothers chewing it. There seems to be no end to this ubiquitously omnipresent drug. The person running a business chewing it and even professionals supposedly educated mass chewing it. When a person injects a drug to get a high, it’s a crime, however when a person chews tobacco all the time to continue in his false world of happiness there is no crime. The family is supposed to understand and accept that nicotine addiction is something the person cannot help himself with.  There are many addictions which people take up to get away from the real life, excessive TV watching, drinking, too much partying, loud music, face-booking, sun-worshipping, but nothing like tobacco, which you can do in the company of your children, your subordinates, your peers, your juniors, your parents, in short the whole world. Advertisements and statutory warnings are paid little heed. Or may be the addict just fails to see them. Every addict thinks that the possibility of getting the fatal disease Cancer due to tobacco addiction is something which cannot happen to him/her. Is it not enough to be able to call up your family or friends to de stress? Why potentially fatal addictions become stress busters and loving families are ignored in their favour? The human mind becomes a servant to the chemical reaction which gets triggered due to the nictotine content. The same mind which is supposed to be the biggest computer in the world and helps us see right from wrong. But to the addict, there is nothing wrong in his behavior. He/ She fails to see the impact the addiction is having not just in physical terms, which itself should be an adequate reason to quit it but in terms of emotional stakes involved. A drug addict needs immediate help and rehabilitation since, the effects can be seen on an immediate basis, however, a nicotine addict can continue with his irresponsible behavior for years till the time its too late for anybody to be able to help him/her. This substance is supposedly banned in Maharashtra, which again is a complete mockery of the legal system. It is as easily available as candy in shops. We have already lost a big percentage of population to this addiction and everyday the number keeps swelling but there is no urgency in the society to deal with the menace. Taking charge of your own and your family’s health and happiness should itself be a motivating factor in taking help in quitting any kind of harmful addictions.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Dubai 2012

January 6, 2012

Another year has started. People have predicted this year to be the end of the world…For me it’s a new beginning again…Tomorrow being the start of my 36th yearJ)…..learning to be a wife, home maker, mother….everyday is like a new day in a classroom called LIFE.

Dubai Vacation- Mariott Hotel- Dubai Marina

Amazing view from the balcony of my hotel, - speedboats zooming on the oceans, human beings para gliding, helicopters and airplanes taking off and landing, cars and motor bikes zipping off at an amazing speed, and despite all modes of transportation all around me, hardly any hint of any kind of pollution around…Oh I forgot, there is even construction of a huge sky scraper happening right next to my Hotel building, but still the ocean looks blue and pure, untouched by all that is happening around it and so is the Sky overhead. Everything in this country looks brand new, nothing looks worn out or old, the veggies look fresh in the super market and there is an abundance of stuff, like its God’s own market, veggies, fruits, dry fruits, clothes, brands, gadgets, playthings, perfumes, stationery…Dubai simply has the best it seems!

In the past 3 days in this country I have not seen a single thing which looks even slightly ugly or which needs any kind of replacement. The huge malls are full of people and goodies, the women and the children are most fashionable dressed, shades, bags , jewellery, make up everything just perfect. And the Arab women are the most beautiful women in the world it seems, their sharp features and beautiful complexion can take your breath away, you can see only the face…the rest is all covered in their traditional dress called full drape, but there is a great deal of fashion statement made by the kind of abaya one is wearing.

But still something rankles me, despite so much material bounty around, could I feel   happiness around me? I don’t know the answer to that question….saw most of the parents hassled in the mall with their bundles of joy, observed beautiful and fashionably dressed women wiping away their tears softly, could make out people exchanging bitterness over phone. But wait, I also saw very very happy families…one such smiley happy family was at the Ski Resort..just cannot forget the smiles on the face of the Dad, mom and their two kids…enjoying the fun afternoon together!!

Imagine Snowskiing in the desert, must admit these Sheikhs are an enterprising lot!! What amazing wonders humans can create just out of initiative. Its like they have the power of GOD  to create snow even in the desert. I was shivering after just one hour within the ski resort and me and Kshitij had to beat a hasty retreat after our one hour of good fun!! Poor  Ritz, he was left baby sitting Siyona, coz they were both nursing a bad cold L

Saw another very happy father and his toddler son playing in the fountain water at the Dubai Marina at about 10 in the night, splashing water on each other and jumping over and inside the puddles of water. It was jus sooo beautiful seeing them have funJ)

How I managed to get time to pen down my thoughts in this hectic vacation of ours is itself a blessing. Kshitij and Ritesh have gone mall hopping to buy the much desired XBOX and IPAD etc; and Siyona is sleeping peacefully in her bedroom, and so I get to enjoy my own moments of solitude and peaceful writing, while soaking in this amazing view from the balcony of the hotel suiteJ)

The high point for me in this trip was the one  hour me and Ritz were able to catch up with each other while sipping a cup of Turkish coffee and sharing a cherry flavoured Sheesha. The evening was just awesome!! Too beautiful to describeJ) We put both the kids to sleep in the suite and went down at about 10 in the night and enjoyed a nice evening together. Dubai Marina has been one of the most beautiful places I have visited till date. So next time you go on a holiday, sit back and laze around the Marina, pick up some souvenirs from the Market, or simply soak in the atmosphere till your next holiday :)

Monday, 7 October 2013

Growing up in Kolkata

I thought it would be easy to write about my growing up years in Kolkata, but seems not. For a long time, now I don’t remember how long, after I got married and moved to Mumbai I kept defending Kolkata in any discussion vis a vis Mumbai. Mumbaites, have no patience for a city like Kolkata. They think it’s a dirty city, Kolkata people are lazy, nobody is bothered about any progress there, the traffic is crazy and the only thing the calcuttans are good at is endless talking/gossiping (adda in Bengali) and drinking tea. Now it has been more than twelve years since I moved out of Kolkata, so my love for my home city is not as clouded as it was back then. It is easier for me to accept the facts that yes, there are problems, but still nothing takes away the charm of Kolkata, despite all its flaws. The language itself is a charmer. Robindro Songeet playing at traffic signal makes you sing even when you are having a bad day. When a shopkeeper who is much older than you addresses you – “ Ma aar kichu chayi” ( meaning- mother do u want anything more) , it makes you feel so very loved. When we were growing up in Kolkata thirty years back, the city had a different charm. How in one word a Bengali can address you as a Mother and a daughter at the same time is still a mystery to me. During Durga Puja, the city reverberates with the sound of dhak (loud drums) and Anjali (ritual of worshipping Goddess Durga with Sanskrit chantings)  in the morning. Everybody dresses up in their new clothes and only one question is asked by every child and teenager- Pujoye koto jama holo- meaning how many dresses did you get for this festival. The mashis, pishis, ma, baba, dida, jethu, kaku, even khurtoto mashis, shower their young nieces and nephews with dresses. A Bengali looks forward to Durga Puja the whole year and rightfully so. The six days in the city from (Panchami to doshomi), are only for fun and festivities. The whole city comes to a standstill till doshomi, which is usually the visarjan (immersion of the huge Durga idols) day.
I grew up in a very typical Bengali middle class para (locality), in south Calcutta, where ours was the only Marwari family. My younger sister learnt to talk in Bengali first; she picked up Hindi, our own mother tongue, only after she started school. We lived in a two storied building in which the ground floor was occupied by a Bengali family and the first and second floors were occupied by us.
We used to call the lady of the house “ Boro Ma” means the eldest mother and her husband as “Jethu”, means the elder brother of my father. I don’t know how these relationships started and formed but I fondly remember boro ma. She had the white European skin, very smooth, absolutely blemish free, and the softest and the gentlest possible touch and voice. Their household comprised of herself, Jethu, their two sons (Bor da and Chor da), her two-widowed sister in laws and two young girls. We used to address her sis in laws as Mej di means the middle one and Shej di means the one before the youngest. The two young girls – Dalia and Shoheli – were the daughters of Jethu’s elder brother who lived in the ancestral village, and the girls had come to Kolkata to study and make something out of their life. These girls were older to my sis, and me but still we became friends. We spent many afternoons in boroma’s house playing carom, Chinese checkers, reading or just generally sitting with them and then playing badminton outdoors with the girls. My mom somehow was always busy in the kitchen and Dad was never around during playtimes. But boro ma and jethu, mej di, shej di were always there to play with us and talk to us. The upcoming metro train in Kolkata resulting in his untimely retirement had gobbled Jethu’s shop up. I guess that’s the reason he was always around in the house. The family was meeting its expenses with the money they got as compensation from the government for the shop, waiting for the sons to finish their education and start earning. Despite all the hardships, which the family, must have went through, I don’t remember a single moment in their house, when I felt something was lacking. If we were around their house, during evening tea time, we were offered whatever everybody was having- mostly it was either muri (puffed rice grains) or roasted pea nuts …yummy I can still smell them.freshly roasted by boroma, or alur chop (fried potato stuffed hot snack- very typical Kolkata street food) from a nearby shop. This meant apart from their own family of four members, extended family of four more members, there were two of us my sister, that boro ma used to share her food with.
I understand all this today, never could guage anything back then. Just enjoyed the bounties they had to offer. Whenever I used to get some books from the school as prize for doing well, it was Jethu who appreciated those books and read them and re read them, making his own notes.