Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Troubleland..really?? or it is our creation!!

It was a pleasant day yesterday and I and my husband ventured out for a cup of coffee. He hates coffee but loves me and in a blink of eye takes me out when I am craving for coffee. After enjoying my cup we marched out of the café. Being genteel, my husband pulled out the door for this educated smart sikh couple simultaneously entering the café. This guy did not even have the courtesy to say thanks. He barged in, not bothering to hold the door for his wife, left her out with a shut door.

What is it about females that make us so vulnerable?

Since ancient times, females have been manifested as the home bearer and men as the bread earner. Times have changed and centuries have passed still we can easily find markings of this old philosophy in our society. Be it educated, rich or poor it is still rooted in many people. Guess blaming men is not correct. It was Eve, a woman, who accepted the responsibility as a home bearer. But blaming her all together does not do any good because we can say for sure whether Adam respected her equally as she did or not. It is something about the female sect that we love carrying this torch and yet grieve about it. See the issue is not who will cook tonight and who will wash the dishes, rather being tight spotted is what my sect declines. It is about the whole perception of few men that this blog is all about.

From the time of our birth, every girl dreams of having her own home, pampering her interior decorator, relishing being a devoted wife and cherishing being a mother. In any relationship, divided duties and equal respect bring out the best in both partners. Our semantically complex world has many untapped areas and seems like we have mentally accepted victory on being a home bearer and wish to claim victory on other designations. Yet we have males and females like my yesterday’s collision. It saddens me watching men behave so disrespectful to their spouses, mother of his kids and even deepens the grief when females accept such decorum thus inculcate same etiquettes in their kids. Maybe these couples are so engrossed in their duties that they have forgotten being cultured towards each other.

We are being taught in schools to respect each other yet few boys end up being man disrespecting their mothers and wives. How can we claim that our education is intact and we are growing as an economy when basic humane conduct is not being injected in our generations? When kids are toddlers, imparting them this vital schooling is way too important than expecting masters and degrees when they finish their education. Rather it needs to be a crucial duty of parents to transmit etiquettes to their little angels so that we don’t have men dishonoring women.

“It is a man’s job to respect women but it’s a women’s job to give him something to respect…”

Monday, February 2, 2015

Let it go Happily!!!!

How tough is it to let go of the past and welcome the future?

I know it’s always hard to say things but it gets harsh when we have to let go of them because actual perspective builds up once you are in that situation. But haven’t we all been there? Letting go of your favorite bed time teddy, your best flavor of ice cream, your 1st grade dress, your first bicycle and so on. I love them all… we all did… !!!

Today companies are changing their products at such a fast pace, it’s like me eating uncle chips. Hahha.. Yes I know it’s a weird comparison but for me uncle chips were the most important part of buying groceries while back in India. And then the unknown disaster happened. PepsiCo acquired the company manufacturing Uncle chips and decided to tap this brand’s customer base by introducing even more flavors of Lays. No no this blog is not on decline of uncle chips or all acquisitions of PepsiCo rather on an underlying subject of “Change”.

I am sure we all are familiar with this trend of products phasing out and even more in quantity being introduced. Today we have so many choices available everywhere and in everything. We can happily survive only if we accept this change with high spirits. However can we? Yes why not. I was a loyal customer of Uncle Chips since I remember eating. We have parted our ways with happiness. Again it’s easy to say to change however it is tough based on your relationship with the product, garment, flavor or even a person. At my husband’s workplace, one of his colleagues has Metathesiophobia, fear of change, and he procrastinate any new thing the team suggests to implement. We have so many people around who suffers from this but will not accept it because for them acceptance is part of change. I guess with such people around, team can never change, grow and prosper.

If we look around, everything changes every second… even nature. The earth that we have known is not the same anymore. Take our kids for instance. Today even a toddler knows how to operate a cell phone or an i-pad whereas when we were that age, we were so naïve.

This scares me a little also, if we all keep on changing, then nothing will be constant. What about relationships? Accordingly to a report published by UN’s Demographic and Social Statistics Division, Belgium has been ranked as top country in the world with highest divorce cases and a percentage of 71%. Sad isn’t it? A nation being ranked topper in broken relationships and hence a love-starved childhood for the kids. I guess this cannot be categorized under change as this is palpitation of a depressed mind for an uncertain future.

So accept change and do change but value the importance of things, relations and people around you. And yes it is not tough to let go of past and venture into future if you have the loving support of your family and friends and most importantly yours.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rebirth of Feminism

We often tumble across this question, “Are you a feminist?” and I feel proud in saying that Yes I am. I believe in equality among men and women. God made men and women different which should be respected and appreciated but not to be marked as weakness of any one of both the sexes. People generally are very skeptical in getting related to this word and opt not to express on this subject yet it remains an important part of our daily lives. Lets brisk ourselves with the real Feminism and let’s not be afraid of this.

Many of you might not be aware that the word “Feminism” was born on the lands of France and achieved worldwide magnitude around 1900s. Around then, women were casted as a weak race meant for child birth and household chores. This theory brought a radical change in the thought process of both men and women, raising their voices on the forever on-going inequality on women and thus the revolution caught up speed. This was the first wave of this ocean that hit us all and I feel this was the best thing that humans witnessed. However the revolution brought with it another set of group with agenda “We hate Men”, with female members who were badly oppressed voicing out their hatred against men. An epic event in New York took the world with a shock when a small group of women bought tickets to a pageant show with banners reading “WOMEN’S LIBERATION,” and shouting “Freedom for Women” and “No More Miss America,” hereby exposing the public to an early second-wave feminist agenda.

The best take out from the second wave of Feminism was that this era focused on the notion and interests of all the oppressed groups: women, blacks and homosexuals yet hatred for men grew along. Well to be true I am not a fan of this radical movement as I strongly believe it is based on irrational vitriol on all men. By basic definition, Feminism means political, economic and social quality of the sexes and not one sex even if the same sex has been oppressed for ages known to mankind. It just does not make any sense how you can be unequal when equality is the actual agenda on hand. I feel this was the era when Feminism lost its essence.

In an interview, Sharon Stone was quoted: “The more famous and powerful I get the more power I have to hurt men.” Another quotation from famous author Marilyn French “All men are rapists, and that’s all they are.”

Is this what Feminism mean? Per me these sad presentations from such pivotal women portrays disturbing sentiments. I guess the real problem with the theory is it exploits the legitimate claims of equality as a blanket for neurotic interests. We have a right to anger if we are oppressed but we cannot turn anger into rage because that is meaningless. I would never ever think of a life without my loving husband, my darling father and my loved brother rather I would teach my kids about equality of all irrespective of sex, color and religion. We are just as strong as men yet we need them to escort us when we are alone as men are potential rapist. Blaming does not help solve the concern. The best medication is imparting right education to our kids so that no female has to go through a rapist.

I have experienced inequality during my childhood at the hands of my grandparents, when my brother was allowed to play cricket and I was asked not to because it’s a boy game. However small this act was but it builds in when added with many more examples. I feel I was blessed to have parents who stood up for me and allowed me to go out and explore life. Having so many friends who had a list of do’s and don’ts from their parents, my life turned out a blessing. I wonder how come people have become so comfortable living in this menace and choosing not to talk. I feel talking generates change and it should be a healthy part family conversations.

Today we have entered the era of modern Feminism and I am a firm believer and a supporter of this. This the age where both men and women flaunt their femininity to seek global perspectives. I feel proud in creating alliances with blacks, lesbian, gay, bi and importantly all religions. We have amazing women leaders like Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate who does not blink without quoting “Extremists have shown what frightens them most: A girl with a book”.

Very rightly said by this young revolutionary, education grows you as a person. For me, Feminism means being human to one and all. An amazing movement launched by British actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson to give a new face to equality called HeForShe. This project brings forward a new concept where men need to take up the mantle of speaking against inequality. Her speech gave me a sense of pride that if this 24 year old can arouse new meaning of Feminism in modern age then what is hampering us in walking away from this peril. 

Feminism is beyond the borders of race and color. Appreciating it not as a threat and as an opportunity only can take us forward in creating a safe and comfortable home for all.

For all those interested, here is the link of Emma Watson’s speech on HeForShe campaign. It is worth watch and definitely to be absorbed in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-iFl4qhBsE

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Imminent Robot uprising!!

So recently a Canadian chatty and social media savvy robot, HitchBot, completed its 6000 Km journey across Canada and tweeted “I need to recharge, hitchhiking is tough”. Made using pool noodles, an old beer cooler bucket, Wellington boots, rubber gloves, solar panels and a computerized brain, this project aims at understanding human-robot interactions. This fascinating beer cooler turned hitchhiking robot met hundreds of people on its journey, attended a wedding, partied in Golden B.C., visited a powwow and met world famous albino groundhog, something which only humans intend to add to their wish list.

During our schooldays, we were not allowed use of calculator, even for higher mathematics and today kids even in grade 8th are using calculators to perform simple calculations. This is a very small example of how human dependency has elevated on machines. Focus on where to achieve not how to achieve is the mantra today. Programming Christmas lights during holidays so as to avoid the hassle of switching on the lights every day has become a chore in every neighborhood. Washing your car at automatic washing centers, an auto-pilot in an airplane, sophisticate burglary alarm, driver less trains and GPS are necessary robots alive in our daily lives.

At University of Toronto, Prof Goldie Nejat has come up with a unique idea of adding helping hand for long term care facilities. Two robots named Tangy and Casper will help health care providers with simple and repetitive tasks to make lives of senior citizens more comfortable. Gradually this technology can be used in homes as well. This reminds me of movie Bicentennial Man where an android wanted to be human, showing all possible humanly emotions. So imagine if machine can be tender and emotional it definitely can be destructive. We all have seen movies like Terminator, Matrix and Transformers: A mother sends a pre-programmed aging soldier from past to save his son's life in future, an ugly man-machine war with mechanic worms attacking humans and a sloppy camaro transformed into a gutsy robot send from another planet to save earth from another newly transformed villian robot. Scary isn’t it..

Artificial intelligence has taken over manual harsh workings and has improved efficiency at many companies. Amazon flaunts that their business has witnessed a swooping increase after deploying more than 15000 wheeled robots during Holiday season. Such technology can outsmart humans in no time. Although due to this technology, we got applications like Aidcolor which facilitate visually impaired people to identify color. Helping our country’s intelligence in scanning and netting out messages for possible threats and coding alerts is one of the many important benefits disposed by this technology. 

This dual faced robot revolution was born in Japan and is believed to be rooted in their Shinto faith wherein equal importance is imparted on both animate and inanimate objects. A very noble thought yes but putting my future in the hands of robotic era is a very dangerous notion. It is a virgin untapped arena where the possibility of a machine turning humane and nuclear stands still. Scary yes but that’s the future. 

Guess I just need to make peace with this concept in spite of my apprehensions as machines are here and they are good to stay!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Is Art racist?

"The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend." - Henri Bergson, French Philosopher and Educator

So true!! You can only grasp what your mind is prepared to. So does this mean that artistic creations will suffer as they do not compliment ideologies of certain sect of people. What conspired in the murder of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly magazine, can be perceived as either “end of democracy” or “a start of an era of revolutionary art”. It all depends upon the pre-conceived notions of people who read this.

This French magazine’s new cover of Prophet Mohammed has drawn mixed reactions worldwide. To avoid racial criticism the magazine explained what the drawing is portraying however you cannot change the pre set perspectives of people. Hence many Muslims worldwide are feeling insulted. So who decides the division line in art? Does the religion give their dos and don’ts? So in a particular religion who will get this powerful role? Should government be given the power to censor art? Is that democracy?

The world of art is not new to criticism hence addressing racism both real and perceived is a sticky task. Historically artists, writers, painters and film makers worldwide were killed, slaughtered, disappeared and even send to exile because their art was considered racial. Recent image circulation of Russian socialite and Garage editor-in-chief Dasha Zhukova sitting on a bondage chair held up by a mannequin in the likeness of a black woman published on Dr. Martin Luther King Day drew attention worldwide. The message understood from this art was white dominance and black women as objects. However the real message portrayed by the artist was symbolizing chair as bondage and women their prey. This art was to bring out the message that even today women are being suffered in various aspects of society. One of the main roles of art is to talk about disturbing things and make people confront them in themselves. And both the artist and Russian socialite had to come out with apology.

I am not advocating acceptance of art as it is but where do we draw the line. How do we fence the creativity that is required to come up with art. Freedom of speech and expression is a right for all and protests should be expressed if artworks are deemed offensive. With intellectual understanding of a certain subject, real implications need be drawn of a certain art and artist.

I believe in meaningful art and society. Revolutionary art is what our world need today badly.   

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Killers of Humanity!!!!!

Peshawar school massacre slaughtering 132 kids, Gun point hostage at Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place for 16 hours resulting in death of 2, Bomb Blast in Bangalore India killing 1 women and the recent shooting at French newspaper’s Paris office killing 12 marks the end of humanity on mother earth. The list does not stop here. Till date we have witnessed worst terrorist attacks killing innocents at sight. It’s like these radical groups lead by extremists leaders driven by religious ideologies just want to hurt innocents for no logical reason. And I would humbly request one and all, please do not blame Muslim community for these blood baths carried on by few radicals organizations.

As per the Terrorism report published by IEP (Institute of Economics and Peace), since 2000 there has been a fivefold increase in terrorist attacks and around 80% terrorist killings were in just five countries- Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. However terrorism attacks cannot be regionalized as everybody suffers- physically and physiologically. The tactical attacks being carried out speak out loud about the strategic training delivered to terrorists. These rebels are armed with latest technological weapons and brilliant strategic planning. As per this report, Militant organization ISIL pays each member $ 400 per month along with a bonus every year with added premiums for a dependant. Many people joining these organizations are well educated and come from middle class families. In 2010 the estimated size of the Taliban was said to be 36,000 to 60,000. I seriously wonder what possibly can turn a human into a bomber killing innocents without a blink of eye.

I feel terrorism is a result of weak political arena and lack of legit governance. It affects working of a nation, group and individual rooting in fear to perform on global platform hence resulting in slowed economic growth and poverty.

This menace has been long standing now and need to be dealt with urgency and detailed tactical delivery. Leaders worldwide need to bring significant improvement in national security and counter terror intelligence groups so that this massacre can come to an end. 

Importantly we all need to stand up and be more vigilant in our own neighborhoods, whistling out an odd behavior yet respecting each and everyone’s religion and lastly nor least spread peace.
Let’s re-create a beautiful safe world so that our future generations can survive to see the beauty of our planet.

Say Yay Peace…. Yay peace…. Yay peace….

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Making Workplace Homeplace

We all want to have a workplace stress free, welcoming and comfortable. It is really tough to bridge a balance between work and personal life. In fact juggling between so many activities and having a healthy life becomes a huge task in itself.

With world economy at the brink of rigorous ups and downs, there is always a risk of losing skilled employees. Hence it becomes top priority for the companies to have stress free and happy employees so that their efficiencies do not get affected and deliverables are achieved timely. This in turn enhances the performance of the companies. Several case studies had proved that companies offering such practices have high retention, satisfied employees and positive work attitude.

Companies use variety of approaches to inject friendly environment at workplace. However there is no right way of doing so as it varies from company to company and really depends upon individuals and leaders. The right culture mix for your company will likely emerge after experimentation and input from employees.

Colgate-Palmolive tops Forbes’s list of the 25 best big companies in the world for work-life balance. Founded in 1806, the New York-based consumer products giant currently employs over 35,000 workers. As per the employees, the company sets realistic goals and offers some great benefits, such as flexible work hours, telecommute options, and nearby back-up childcare centers, which is a nice perk for work-at-home parents. As a result, has a high rate of employee retention.

Walt Disney is recognized for their focus on training and team building, as well as the happiness of their employees. And Google is known for “promoting flexible schedules and personal and professional balance, where employees learn how to manage their time, multitask and collaborate.”

A number of companies offer work/life balance perks including flex time, daily workouts, on-site showers, and even stipends for fitness memberships and activities. Incorporating fun element is a vital thing. Having “town-hall” meetings and sharing success stories, company growth and giving an opportunity of Q&A to all employees builds in more focus in achieving the set goal.

Today salary is not the only thing attracting potential skill however company culture increases the worth of the company. Overall if the work environment is friendly, there is a perfect balance o quality and quantitative work directing company towards set goals.

Few take aways that ensure satisfied employee retention:

  • ·         Having policies like “work life balance”
  • ·         Adequate vacation time so that employees are not working while on holidays. Does not do much good
  • ·         Flexibility of timings till all deliverables are getting met
  • ·         Provide on site child care facilities so that newly turned moms and dads can work stress free
  • ·         Paternity leaves are really important
  • ·         Having mentor program so as to ensure employees are focused on improving areas
  • ·         Investing in employees by offering various trainings and seminars
  • ·         Getting regular employee surveys is a great way of finding out how they feel about workplace and what all improvements are required