Sunday, May 24, 2015

India is no land for unmarried/divorcee/widow

We Indians are good at judging people. We judge people based on anything and everything. One’s marital status is one such thing. If you have attained a certain age and are unmarried or if you are a divorcee or a widow, then be prepared to be judged.

In India it’s tough to be a woman. If you have attained a certain age and are still unmarried, this means that there is definitely some fault in you, there is something wrong because of which you are not getting married. This is still better, in-fact much better than being a divorcee or a widow. I don’t like the way we treat a divorcee or a widow. I grew up learning about Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s efforts to abolish the practice of Sati from India. The practice may have been abolished but the aftermath is equally dreadful. I remember watching Deepa Mehta’s Water which was about the life of widows. However, I do agree that their lives may have been improved a bit (in urban India) compared to the previous couple of decades but it still has a long way to go before widows can live freely. There are so many restrictions imposed on widows; they are supposed to live their entire life in a certain way even if they would not want to.
I once read a post by one of my batch mates. She had lost her husband after just one year into the marriage. One day she pays a visit to a Church and was introduced to someone as “The girl who lost her husband” She said that this one incident changed her identity and all she was now was the girl who had lost her husband, a widow.

This is still better; what angers me the most is the way we treat a divorcee. We at times even use it as slang; use it to hurl abuses at someone. I remember watching a reality show where two contestants were fighting and were hurling abuses at each other and it was only when one said to another: “Saali Divorcee” that the fight ended because it was too much to take for that contestant who was just out of a bad marriage. As if the trauma of going through a bad marriage/divorce is not enough, we have to remind them that they are a divorcee and most of the times make it look like it’s their fault. It is ok to remain married to a wrong person but it is not ok to set yourself free.

What scares me the most is that it’s us, the so-called-educated class of urban India, who don’t shy from treating women in such a manner.  There is this friend who used to like a girl. All used to address that girl as “His Girl”. One day he told us that she is a divorcee. Since that day, that girl became from “His Girl” to “That Divorcee”. As we got to know that she is a divorcee, she ceased to exist as a friend, a daughter, a sister; all she was now was a divorcee. One of my friends was persuading me to get married. She said that if I will not marry now, at a later age, I will only get a divorcee. I replied that so what if I get a divorcee. If I am able to connect with the girl then what’s wrong in marrying a divorcee or a widow. The look at my friends face said it all; it said everything about how we feel for a divorcee or a widow. If you are young and it’s your first marriage, it’s not ok to marry a divorcee or a widow.
It’s tough to be a woman. I don’t even wish to mention the countless honor killings, female feticide, rape, domestic violence etc. Men may have more physical strength than women but women are stronger than men both: mentally and emotionally. Still, all that I see around make me feel lucky that I don’t belong to the so-called-weaker sex.

I have not travelled much and have not seen the rural India. But from what all I have seen in urban India, I don’t even want to imagine the scene in rural India. I often wonder that why can’t we treat women in a normal way. Why can’t we mind our own business and leave them alone, why do we tend to outcast them as if they have committed some crime and hold them responsible for all the bad that had happened to them? They have gone through some pretty bad phases in their lives. The least we could do is to not make their lives more miserable by treating them differently. Why is it so difficult to understand that they are not different; they are just like anyone else. Last week I read an article which said that in Paleolithic era, people used to believe in gender quality; women had equal rights and it was they who invented and began using farming and agriculture. What happened to us in the modern era? Guess we evolved!!

Can reality shows be inspiring?

It is the season of reality shows. These days, every other channel is airing some or the other reality show. The concept used to interest me when it was started a few years ago. Over the years it grew popular but so did the stories surrounding them. There have been countless stories about how the reality shows are rigged, how everything that we see is scripted and nothing is real in the reality shows, how it is spoiling the children who are so crazy for the show that they are ready to put their studies at a backseat to participate and so on. I used to feel that it is something pretty stupid and useless.

Reality shows can be grouped into 2 categories. One in which the so-called-celebrities are the contestants and the one which has common people as the contestants. The other day I happen to see this particular reality show where the contestants were the common people like you and me. One such contestant caught my attention. He was disabled and was doing things which were not possible even for a perfectly able person and that was pretty inspiring. In that moment I realized that reality shows too can be inspiring. It may be rigged and what not but the stories that it shares about common people from various backgrounds, who, most of the time are underprivileged and are capable of doing unimaginable things due to their strong will and determination, are pretty inspiring. These people put in a lot of effort to develop some or the other kind of skill/talent but their effort is restricted to a limited set of audience but the reality shows provide them a platform to showcase their talent to the world which is pretty cool. They get their 5 minutes of fame and I am sure it boots up their confidence level and the will to go on and do something good in their lives. Yes, I do believe that reality shows too can be inspiring.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

How would it be to change your profession every 2 years!!

Switching companies every now and then is pretty common these days. In fact as a fresher, unless the person is in some very good company or profile, it is considered a bad career move if he sticks to his job for more than 2 years. There is a common notion that in the initial years, a software engineer can grow only by switching jobs. But, how about switching the profession?

I am a Software Engineer and have always worked in some or the other IT company. I have never worked in any other field; have no experience what-so-ever of the outside world.  Eight weekends of teaching in a school and recording 2 shows for a friend doesn’t count. I often wonder how it would be to change my profession, my line of work, every 2 years.

I recently got a slight glimpse of the insides of the theater world, got to see some behind the scene action. One of my friends is a theater artist and performs for various production houses. Last month, he was performing in one of the countless plays that take place every week in Bangalore and asked me to record his play. It was then when I got a chance to look at the proceedings that take place behind the scene. I got a chance to see how a bunch of amateurs get together for their rehearsals, how they manage their props, how they get nervous before every show as if they were appearing for some exam, how all the teams do their stage rehearsals before the show begins, how they manage the sound and the lights during the show, how the producer gives special instructions to all the actors, stage attendants, prop managers, sound and lights manager before the show begins, how the director bullies his actors, how it feels to film a show. This one experience has made me crave for various experiences from different fields and now I want to experience it all.

I want to be an HR and experience how difficult it is to keep the employees happy, want to be a doctor and save a life, want to be a teacher and educate children, want to be a CA and audit a firm, want to be a Judge and give a sentence, want to be a writer and write a romantic-cum-thriller-cum-sci-fi novel, want to be a traveler and write a travel blog, want to be an economist and make policies that can make or break a country, want to be an investment banker and be a part of a merger, want to be an actor and kiss the leading lady, want to be a businessman and negotiate with the vendors and customers, want to be a priest in a church and listen to people’s confessions, want to be a politician and help someone, want to be an astronaut and travel space, want to be a super-hero and save the world, want to be a police officer and solve a criminal case, want to be a scientist and discover something cool, want to be a chocolatier and craft delicious pieces of chocolates, want to be an environmentalist and protect the environment, want to be a musician and create some soul cleansing music, want to be a sportsperson and play for the country, want to be a stand-up comedian and make people laugh, want to be a time traveler and experience history in making, want to get wings and fly,

Obviously, this is not a real-time scenario and it is not possible in the real world. But for someone like me who lives a delusional life, who is a day-dreamer and dreams with open eyes, this entire idea, is quite intriguing. Just imagine the new challenges that a new profession will bring with it. It will have its own share of risks involved, but how cool would it be to be a Software Engineer one day and a teacher the next? I have been thinking about it from quite some time now. I have friends who were brave enough to attempt such a transition at an early phase of their lives, some of which are now very successful in their new profession. Such people can also be seen at Tedx and Converge; so I believe that this is something which is doable. At some point of time, I would definitely like to resign and try something new; the transition may happen slowly and steadily but I know it will happen one day.

Monday, May 4, 2015

We are all alone.. Are we ??

The other day I was talking to a very good friend of mine when in context of the topic of discussion, the friend said “We are all alone, nothing is permanent, not friends, not anyone. We all eventually drift apart and die. The only person that is with you for life is you.” I didn't agree but at that moment all I could say was that this is not true and if one feels this way, this merely means that one has not yet found someone to fall back on and the day that person is found, one will change his/her opinion.

I don’t like philosophy; I don’t even like discussing it with anyone. But what my friend said prompted me to think about it; more so, even write about it. I don’t think about every jibber-jabber that goes through my ears; there is a lot that goes in throughout the day but I process only what I feel is worth processing. Now this friend of mine is very wise and way smarter than I am; whatever she says rings a bell in ears and keeps lingering for days, months and years to come; so naturally when there was a conflict, it was definitely worth giving a thought.

I thought about a concept or we may say - a feeling which has almost vanished, some may have not even heard of it and may shrug it off as something alien. Hint: it has name and is prefixed with the word “Unconditional”. Doesn’t ring a bell yet? Good news for you; you belong to the majority of people. I am talking about “Unconditional Love”, “Unconditional Support” and “Unconditional Friendship”. Yes, I do believe that there can be unconditional friendship, unconditional love, and unconditional support. I do believe that someone can selflessly and unconditionally be there with us/for us without expecting anything in return.

The answer to what my friend said revolves around it. If we have someone in our lives who is ready to lend us unconditional support, unconditional love and unconditional friendship then we will never be alone, it will be permanent and you will not be the only person with you for life. Yes, it is extremely difficult to find someone like this so it is on the verge of extension. But, there is one thing that has kept us sailing till now and that is hope; hope that one day we will find the one who will love us unconditionally, hope that one day we will find a friend who will be by our side and will lend us unconditional friendship and support.

So what can we do till the time we do not find such a person? Had I known the answer to that, I would have got a Nobel by now. We believe that we are strong enough to take on the world all alone but at times when we begin to dwindle, we do hope that we may have someone to fall back on. Even if we cannot reach out to that someone in person, just by knowing that he/she exists and got our backs, gives us strength to face the world. We may find companion/soul mate/friend in various forms. It may not necessarily be your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/parents/siblings. I remember how one of my friends mother was telling about her soul mate who was her girl-friend since their childhood which led me to believe that one may find a soul mate in friends as well; how one other friend of mine calls his hard-disks his companion, how another friend calls his dog his companion/soul mate.

Long story short- We are alone - until we find someone who is ready to give us unconditional love/support and friendship. Nothing is permanent – agreed; it all ends when you die but we have seen stories in the past where it did last a lifetime and I would call it permanent if it lasts a lifetime. We all eventually drift apart – there may be conflicts of interests but they can easily be resolved as well; law of magnetism doesn’t apply here; like minds do attract and can resolve the conflicts as well. We all die – this is the ultimate truth which cannot be used as an excuse to say that we are all alone and nothing is permanent. The only person that is with you for life is you – Strongly disagree; this is only till we don’t find the one who can be with us unconditionally.

Well I think this should be enough for the day; this is way more than I can take in a month. My head is already heavy by such heavy stuff and before it bursts open, I shall rather get myself a bar of snickers. Oh!! did I find something on which I can fall back on when in distress? I always knew chocolate is there for me "unconditionally" :)