July 3, 2015

A Quote, A HashTag Controversy & More

‘Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle.’

I was in the 8th standard when I first read this quote, in my Moral Science book, I think. Yes, yes, I had Moral Science as a subject, surprised as you might be at that. Anyways, even after all these years this is actually the first thing that comes to my mind when I see or read the word quote. Somehow it has stuck with me. I don’t quite know why though. But, is it really a surprise that I chose this one to start my quote challenge with? No, right?

I often find myself trying to understand perceptions of people, and even of myself, keeping this very quote in mind. In fact, I frequently reflect on my work, my contributions to my family and areas I’m involved in keeping this as one of the basic tenets. You might think I’m crazy and maybe you are right! But that's not the point, is it?

You would be surprised at the wisdom this quote encompasses in itself. With everyone telling you to do more, to try harder this quote tells you that your efforts, even if negligible or futile, weren't useless. It tells you that every effort, however inconsequential, is worthy of being appreciated. Well, that’s just one of the connotations of this saying that I particularly identify with.

Remember the past week when the #SelfieWithDaughter was the talk of the town? Well, the reactions of people made me go back to this quote instantly. People need to understand that anything constructive is never really futile. Yes, even without the faintest of possibility of positive results. But I guess the enlightened choose to digress. Yes, I too forget this sometimes and join the bandwagon of cynics. I’m human and fallible after all.

I'm not saying that this particular trending twitter handle or any other twitter handle for that matter has solved the problem that women in India face, the female infanticide, dowry related deaths and so much more. Not at all. But why look at it with malice? Why not take part in it without thinking about any ulterior motives? What harm could it do? Tell me. Why not propagate a positive sentiment, even in an echelon you might think is immune to prejudice against women?

Well, I had posted a picture with my father and my sister but did that make me a showoff or a buffoon? Did I become shallow tweeting with this hashtag? I don’t think so. There will always be some bad apples, but you need to see beyond that. Unless you see the worth in positivity, you are most likely lost or you most probably haven’t heard of the quote I just shared. And if I’m still wrong then I have a question or two for you?

Why do you or I write or tweet on social issues? Why do you go and sign online petitions? Do you think we are affecting any change? I think apart from page views or re-tweets we are doing zilch, so does that mean we should stop? No. Digress by all means but why the bitterness? Some people actually believe that they can bring about change, even if by a fraction, why club them with those rotten apples?

You should not let yourself be stopped from taking the positive step because you think those rotten apples are in the majority. No, my dear. Don’t limit the potential of anything, however trifling, to a politician or a bunch of Neanderthals. I know I too am guilty of doing that at numerous occasions. We all have bad peripheral vision at most times, can't help. Humans and fallible again, you see.

I wish just you and I recover from this bout of negativity. I’m not saying do it for someone else, do it for the changes you want to see. Do it because trifles, my dear, are not to be taken lightly. I'm not saying it is the only thing to be done or that one can wash responsibility with only such gestures but what does being venomous achieve? And do it because you cannot let those people who ruin every good act or gesture, no matter where it originates from, win. 

Well, that was me blabbering on a Friday but I do hope it does something more than getting me page views. What? Well, I really don't know. I have done my part, however trifling it might be.


Thank you Chicky Kadambari for tagging me in this 3 day Quote Challenge and letting me combine a quote with something I really wanted to say! I do hope I’m able to post for three continuous days. Well, 1 down, 2 more to go! That’s always better than 3 more to go, what do you say? And yes, I'm not tagging anybody because everyone I know has already been tagged. But you can take it up if you want to. All you need to do is:

  1. Post one of your favorite quotes (different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own.
  2. Nominate 3 bloggers to challenge them.
  3. Thank the blogger, who nominated you.

July 2, 2015

Musings : Maternity, Career & Employer Apathy

Nobody said being a woman was easy and it sure isn’t as well. At times, I feel extremely terrified by the matters that life, or rather living a life entails. Maybe that’s because our lives are more or less like obstacle courses, and challenging ones at that. So, whether a woman or a man, there are battles each of us need to fight, that each of us need to win. Therefore, I think I stand corrected on my first statement because life really isn't known to cherry pick troubles based on gender. Having said that, I do know the struggles women face. And let me tell you, it is very far from being a cakewalk.

Well, however turbulent or difficult this voyage seems, a talk with a friend always helps. Doesn’t it? In fact, sometimes solutions to some of the world’s most twisted problems come up during lighthearted discussions with friends. In fact, sometimes it also takes us on a path of introspection, both self and of the world outside. The latter happened yesterday.

While talking to a very close friend of mine, the topic of maternity leaves came up. She had actually taken a break after the birth of her son. Now after over 2 years going back to work is turning up to be quite a challenge. Why you ask? Well, prospective employers are really not known to be too kind on women who take a career break willingly, even for a reason such as childcare.

For many of you it might not seem like an issue worth pondering upon. But for women, more specifically women planning to have children it is actually a very, very pertinent issue. It think it’s unfair to sidestep a woman and not offer her opportunities when she decides to come back after a break due to motherhood. In fact, to anyone else as well for that matter.

What should matter is whether the person appears to be competent based in interviews. Don’t you think so? But the employers, at least in India, are not too kind when it comes to that. In fact, why only that? This aspect of going back to work comes later actually. Our companies are not even willing to have policies which help mothers-to-be. The base itself is wrong here.

Whether it is the lack of proper labor laws or just implementation or even something else, I don’t know. But what I do know is that the workforce needs to be sensitized on these topics, and pronto. 

Just a few weeks back when a colleague of mine requested for extended ML because she couldn’t leave her 3 month old alone at home, do you know what she was told? Well, her manager asked her to keep the baby with her parents or in-laws or even the maid. I don’t think it was his place or right to suggest such things. 

There have been instances when women have been called back to work before the stipulated 84 days of maternity leaves were even over. Yes, at times with veiled threats too. Some were told the company would process their separation papers if they didn't join back immediately. It’s not fair and it’s not right. But I don’t understand why this issue is not taken up more seriously.

Well, I haven’t found any answers and frankly it just makes me nauseous, this apathy. All I want to do is shove something up the, you know what, of these employers, HRs and managers. I know I seem to immediately jump to offence but can't help it. My blood boils at seeing how women are treated. How even a night month pregnant woman is asked to move from one department to the next for her leaves. It's disgusting really, doesn't speak highly at all of us as human beings.

Well, maybe you have some insights or some answers? If you do, I’d love to hear those.

And to every woman out there, you do know how strong you are, don't you? As strong as isolated rock formations surrounded only by the sea for miles on end. So, hang in there and keep fighting. You are not alone sister!

Until next time.
© nabanitadhar.in

June 29, 2015

Unforgettable Alps

Sometimes all that this heart yearns for is a few days off, a few days away from this repetitive rigmarole that you know as life. A few days away from home into the oblivion, if possible. Well, oblivion seems like an exaggeration perhaps but you get my point, don’t you? A few days away from all that you know, away from everything stressful in life, a holiday!

Even for a reluctant traveler like me, a vacation is something that is eagerly awaited. I might be unwilling to catch that early morning flight that starts of my trip but once I’m at the destination, I soak in everything that is humanly possible. From the air to the culture, the streets to the food, everything there is to it.

Here, I should point out something I have experienced during my travels. Wherever you go, there’s always one particular aspect of that place that captures your fancy; a facet that you eventually end up relating that place with for years to come. That’s exactly what happened when I reached Switzerland last year.

You hear about how beautiful Switzerland is. You often read about how mesmerizing it is as well. But let me tell you, nothing prepares you for that first sight. Yes, trust me, nothing, and I mean nothing, prepares you for the overwhelming feeling on first laying eyes on it. It’s something very close to first love, only better.

Switzerland is like a painting on a canvas beyond compare. Not Picasso, not even Da Vinci could have done justice to what lies in front of you. Never have I seen colors so vivid and beauty so fragile that you can’t help but be bewitched. Even today Switzerland is like a virgin blushing beauty, untouched and unscathed.

Of-course, everything in Switzerland deserves pages after pages of accolades but it was Mt. Titlis that took my heart away. The journey to it and the experience of it all is something I hold very dear.

I had always wanted to see the Alps actually, a must on my ‘To Visit’ list. Mt. Titlis gave me the opportunity to experience Alps from close quarters. And boy! I loved every second of it.

We had taken a tourist bus from Zurich to our destination in the Uri Alps. Seated on the top deck, at the front I must add, we witnessed Switzerland’s true beauty. Those lush green hills, beautiful cottages, streams and springs, the bridges and more. And beyond all of those the gargantuan Alps.

The cable cars took us from the base camp to the top. Now, I don’t remember what the height of Mt. Titlis is but I do remember switching cable cars thrice. Needless to say, the view from each of those was something beyond any words in my vocabulary. Everything looked as if being carved out of a work of art, a masterpiece in every frame really. You have to see it, experience it to believe it. I felt as though I was missing out on the view on the east if I looked west and vice versa. Every frame was picture perfect.

The cliff walk, the glacier caves and authentic Swiss food so many thousand meters above the sea level is an experience that can only be described as being out of the world. Maybe the pictures I clicked of the journey can give you a glimpse into the enormity of its splendor?

I had read 'Upon Westminster Bridge' by William Wordsworth while in school. It was about London’s beauty in the wee hours of the morning. He wrote,

  ‘EARTH has not anything to show more fair:
   Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
   A sight so touching in its majesty’

Well, I felt the same way about Switzerland on that visit. You couldn’t possibly come back from a trip there and not be head over heels in love with its beauty. You would have to be devoid of an eye for nature, an eye for all things pristine to actually be unmoved by it. Thankfully, I felt and lived every moment of my time there. And I know I’ll be back there again, maybe very soon!

All pictures in the post are © http://www.nabanitadhar.in/

June 23, 2015

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That

So, I'm back yet again with my attempt to crawl back to posting regularly. Let's see how this one goes. Shall we? Alright then!

Well, there's not much news at my end. I'm as boring and useless as I was last week, only older perhaps. The only thing worth mentioning is that I'm writing today sitting at my new dining table, listening to old Kishore Kumar songs as the wind-chimes on my balcony dance to the tunes of the soothing Bangalore breeze. It's actually quite relaxing I must say. In fact, I can also see my cook singing along. Well, looks like tonight's dinner is going to be quite musical. What do you think?

Moving on. It's only Tuesday and I feel exhausted already. What about you? I really wish Wednesdays were holidays as well, don't you? Two working days each with a holiday sandwiched in between. Wouldn't that be just great? This five day working week concept needs to change and soon. Weekends need to be longer and one should not have to wait for five whole days for it to come around. Well, I hope those in charge are listening.

While the focus is on weekends, I should mention that I ended up watching two back to back movies on Sunday. Spy and Jurassic World. My sister and husband somehow love watching more than one movie in the theater in a day. And obviously they drag me along as well. Now, while on the topic of cinema and theaters, let me share with you something that I noticed that day. 

There was a family sitting in the row behind us during one of the movies, kids and parents et al. And all through the movie, the kids continued kicking at our seats. Yes, no respite at all. Now, I had wanted to give the parents a piece of my mind but S somehow stopped me from doing that. He's a very peaceful kind of a guy. I know, it's surprising. But anyways, this annoying behavior by the kids and the parents, who didn't even bother to stop their kids, made me wonder. Don't parents teach their kids basic manners these days? Or, are parents okay with their kids behaving like a bunch of Neanderthals? Honestly, I feel pity for the kids and the parents as well.

Tell me have you ever come face to face with such out-of-control kids? And what did you do? Oh and yes how was your weekend? I know it's a little too late to ask this but who says I can't?

Until Next Time.

June 17, 2015

Oh inspiration, where art thou?

Oh inspiration, where art thou?

These days I find it so hard to concentrate on writing something, anything! The ideas hover around but somehow are always beyond my reach. If you are a blogger or writer, you know what I'm talking about. Some call it writer’s block but I prefer to call it laziness. Yes, why else would I procrastinate writing, when it’s something that makes each day worthwhile?

There were times when even vegetables inspired me to write posts but looks like I've become creativity resistant these days. But I won't give up so easily. Not at all! Hence, today I have pledged to hit the publish button, come what may. But what that would be is the question really. Any suggestions?

Should I write about how I'm horrible at yoga? Yes, that might do the trick. 

So, just recently I was dragged by my friends to yoga sessions that take place at office. Now, you should know this about me, I'm not an exercise or physical activity loving person. I'm more of a couch potato who prefers reading and writing instead of exertion in any form. Even in school I always tried my best to skip sports and physical training classes. To add to that, I have absolutely no sense of direction. So you can very well imagine what happened when I attended the yoga session. I ended up doing the exact opposite of what the class was doing. If they went right, I went left. If they used their hands, I my legs. Well, in a nutshell, I made a complete fool of myself. So, as you can see yoga and I are not compatible at all. In fact, that was probably the last yoga session for me, at least for a very long time to come!

What else should I bore you with? Office, friends, my cook or my maid? Let's see!

Her Royal Highness, my Maid, has been on leave since last Monday. She was supposed to be back in four days but looks like she had decided to extend her holiday without intimation. It makes me want to not take her back but then this relationship is one I can't get out of! Ahh, what the need for comfort does to you! And His Majesty, My Cook, what do I say about him? He makes me wish I actually loved cooking as much as I love eating. If only that were true, I would have bid him farewell too.

Well, I think that should do for today. Why don't you tell me how much you enjoyed (hated) reading this?

Until next time, until inspiration strikes!


June 8, 2015

Move Beyond Regional Chauvinism

You are what you believe in. You are what you protect. Well, at-least I believe it to be so.

Yesterday, just before retiring for the day, I noticed a post shared by a certain friend, or let’s say acquaintance of mine on Facebook. It had something to do with memes on people from different state in her own. Honestly, regional chauvinism in any form disturbs me, disturbs me a lot actually. And the same thing happened yesterday. So, for quite some time last night, I actually kept pondering on this very issue. It’s perturbing that even educated folks believe and propagate bias in the name of language, region and the likes. Sadly, it seems to be rampant in our beautiful country and may be everywhere else as well.

Now, I can only speak for myself and this is what I feel. Bengali is my mother tongue. But that doesn’t mean I would expect someone else, who is a non-Bengali, to speak fluent Bengali, that too with correct pronunciation. Also, it would be extremely ridiculous if I looked at his or her attempt at speaking Bengali, even if broken, as an insult to my mother tongue. So, you see my objection to a meme which perhaps shows a bomb being handed over to a person who mispronounces a certain word of another language? If I did that myself it would only show how small I’m as a person. But people do that, don’t they?

Source: freedigitalphotos.net by Rawich

Secondly, if a non-Bengali living in Bengal is unable to speak the language, it doesn’t give me the right to abuse or deride that person on that basis. If I even did that, it would only show how irrelevant my education has been to my character. I cannot be foolish and bigoted to the point of expecting someone whose mother tongue is not the same as mine to learn it just because he or she has been living in an area with Bengali majority. 

Learning and speaking a new language is an individual prerogative and nobody has the right to mistreat on the basis of that. Having said that I would also not go around scoffing some other language just because it is something I don’t know. But do note that verbally insulting a language and mispronouncing it for the lack of knowledge on it are entirely different things. So, when people do the same it not only annoys me but makes me extremely angry too. But the sad part is, valid arguments fall flat on people with such prejudiced thoughts. They wouldn’t even blink an eye-lid deriding a person based on language, food habits, or anything different from their own.

For some reason the love for one’s state is greater than the love for the nation. While it’s extremely good to love and respect your state, getting fanatical to the point of showing intolerance to someone else, well, only reflects your ignorance. I, frankly, have very low opinion of people who cannot think beyond their language, region and religion. Do you know what the worst part of it is? Education seems ineffective when it comes to these folks. Educated illiterates, I call them.

Humans, in general, find it easier to shun anything that is different or anything that they have no knowledge of. It's like a reflex action. The fear of the unknown, you could say. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the regional jingoism is widespread in this country.

I don’t know what you believe in, but I would certainly like to get your perspective on this. Don’t you think its high time you and I just be Indians for a change and look at each other as humans? And maybe even rise above this idiocy of name calling? There are so many issues which are far more important that need attention. Therefore, why can’t you and I stop bickering over which part of India we belong to? Or, why you love roti and I rice?

Think about it! Let’s make India better, tolerant. You and I need to do it for the future generations. I’m in, are you?

Too serious a post? Well, I promise the next one will be something light-hearted.

Until Next time then!

June 5, 2015

Living Beyond The Loss

How do you cope with losing someone? I wouldn’t say I have pondered on this question at length because, well, honestly to do that I need to imagine losing someone. And that is something I’m absolutely petrified of doing. But the mind does wander there sometimes, doesn’t it? And then no matter how much you try to muzzle that evil inner voice, it keeps on asking, and nonstop, what would you do if you lose someone you love? Well, it’s a terrifying and heart breaking proposition to even imagine what it would be like.

To end is life’s only certainty, ironically. This life which urges us to live actually comes with an expiry date for all. Whether you and I think about it or not, a date and time has been ordained to be our last. But what is scary is that the same is certain for whom we love as well. The only consolation being the hope that such a day doesn’t arrive for them before it does for us. Well, what's life without a little hope? But it hardly works out the way you want it to, does it?

In this mad dash for bread and butter, relationships often take a backseat. Or, maybe that’s not the right way to put it? After all, whatever you do, or don’t, is for your family’s well-being in the long run. But somewhere the time spent with your near and ones does get compromised or postponed to a day in the future or perhaps the next. And all this is alright as well, until of-course that future is snatched away by an unseen, cruel brush of fate.

What do you do then? Do you stop living? No. But that seems to be the only option sometimes, doesn’t it? However, as hard as it might be and as rude as it might sound, your aim should be to live overcoming that tragedy. And I’ll tell you why, at the risk of sounding preachy and emotionally disconnected of-course.

Often, when you experience loss, the response is to pick up the pieces and live but actually not live at all. Confused? When tragedy strikes, people often say, and even believe, that they have nothing left to live for, expect maybe their children. But I say here, it shouldn’t be so. You cannot live for anyone else unless you are ready to live for your own self.

I don’t claim that it is going to be easy. Not at all. How could it be when the one you love and adore is not there by your side anymore? Nothing, or rather no one can fill that void. I cannot imagine such a situation and if, God-forbid, that happens I’ll be a wreck. But one can’t live like that forever. Neither I nor you should ever have to live like that and certainly not forever. You need to cry, be angry but heal, carry the hurt but still heal. 

I hope you never face such a situation but if you do, try and remember that you need to not only move on but live while doing so. Remember to live beyond the loss. And perhaps even remind me the same when I'm in need of it. You and I, every soul in this world is afraid of losing someone. It's quite natural. For now though stop worrying, close that laptop of yours, keep aside that phone and go tell that special someone how much you love them and how much they mean to you. Tell your parents and siblings how they have made your life beautiful. Go spend this life with them, weave memories and deal with every other concern later.

Stay well, stay blessed!

© nabanitadhar.in/