These days, all I think of is the persistent, omnipresent heat. I know that we in India love our sunshine being tropical beings. And that I have spent my childhood in the hot, baked plains of North India where the hot loo blows in the summers. Yet as kids, heat never deterred us. We would be out playing hide and seek and cricket in the scorching heat in our nana’s huge home. We would run in to gulp down water and be back out and about. And mind you in those days there was no a/c. We did have air coolers. I can still close my eyes and breathe in the earthy, heady aroma of khas from khas ki chatais that the cooler emanated. I remember that in Lucknow our entire family would sleep in the largest room that had the air cooler. This was our routine for the summer.
Then we came to Mumbai where the heat never became unbearable though the humidity did sometimes. Gola, nimbu paani, and cold water were our saviors. The heat never deterred me from going out or doing things. Then I moved for a couple of years to Ahmedabad. The place is a desert. Lots of sand and intense heat that could really burn your skin in hours of sun exposure. Just using the restroom in the morning could drench you completely in sweat. Try cooking in that heat. The kitchen feels like an oven. I remember taking my bath just before going to work and really looking forward to the air conditioned comfort of my office. The only saving grace, you had no power cuts in Ahmedabad even 15 years back!
But, moving to Bangalore many years later was a godsend. The weather in Bangalore is really moderate. And when we reach 34 degrees in the summer, we start complaining of the heat. When parts of India are baking under 40+ temperatures, we are enjoying our intermittent rain showers and cool breezes. Oh yes, these days the temps do go up to even 37 degrees.
And so suffice it to say that I miss Bangalore the most when I travel anywhere else in summer . Currently in Hyderabad, the 40+ temperatures are constantly driving me crazy. I don’t know if I have lost the habit of tolerating these high levels of heat or have become used to the cool comfort of Bangalore. But the heat simply seems unbearable. The heat seems to be on my mind all the time and does make me listless and moody. Yep, really looking forward to heading home soon.
How are you suffering this summer?
Pic courtesy: Freedigitalphotos.net
I have been noticing of late that every time there is a specific Day like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, there is the mandatory change of status updates on social media. Pictures are automatically modified. Bloggers come up with blogposts, some mundane, some unusual, and many interesting. All in all, the virtual world is agog with activity. You can’t escape the same in newspapers and TV. Akshaya Tritiya just went by yesterday. No one could have ignored those large adverts with goddess-like women dripping in gold jewelry. I wonder if that made some women depressed and most men very nervous .
Now the same display of emotions may seem irksome to some. Sure, we all have opinions, why not? But, what I fail to understand is why it triggers depression in some others? Is it because one person’s show of fervor is distasteful or unabashed to another? Well, that is what social media is all about anyway. My personal impression is that if I celebrate an occasion, it is just my mark of respect for that special person/s – in remembering or appreciating them. Now you may say that love for someone is not meant to be shown for a day only. Totally agree, but putting a day aside for someone important and being grateful for their presence in your life is good. After all gratitude is heartening and fills one with positive vibes.
If possible, I would want to tell each important person in my life every single day, how much they mean to me. But, that doesn’t happen. So I appreciate these occasions when I remember, cherish and enjoy the presence of these thoughtful souls in my life. Now for me, the occasion has nothing to do with gifts. I have never expected to get one except of the intangible kind. But, I loved it when my son gave me a handwritten letter on this Mother’s Day, I won’t deny it. I loved remembering both my mother and mother-in-law with love and pride and enjoyed sharing the camaraderie with all others who were celebrating mothers. I sent personalized emails to friends last Friendship Day. So yes, it is fun and positive to celebrate the good that you are blessed with in your life. Do it and you will see a difference in your own life.
In no way is this gesture or celebration meant to offend or poke fingers at others or belittle another. I personally hate the hue and cry around Valentine’s Day especially the commercialization. But doing something special for the significant other on that day is completely within the territory. Just today, I was penning an article on letting go and practicing gratitude.
I really feel that it is within the power of each individual to treat each such celebration, each event in our lives as an occasion of their own. Who says one needs to be a mother or father to celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day? Is there no mentor, teacher, guide, colleague, boss, sister, brother, or friend who fits that bill if your own parents do not or if you yourself are not a parent? Are you not a nurturer of many other souls without actually being a parent? Do you really need to have a girlfriend/boyfriend in your life to celebrate love? It is all a matter of nazariya or approach. And, do you think that doing away with an occasion will actually ease or erase the void that you feel inside if you feel one? It really won’t. Because the problem is not with the occasion but with what you associate with it. And, I am not saying that you don’t have a right to express your disgust or negative feelings for the occasion. You do and you must and it is cathartic too, but don’t let these days make you depressed. Poke fun, be sarcastic, kick a riot with anti-day people or whatever suits you and have your own anti-day camaraderie.
Don’t be mistaken that I am in favor of commercialization of emotions or feelings. I am not! But I am not cynical about life, and sometimes feeling happy for someone else is enriching too. Yes, gratitude is nice and uplifting. And for that sole reason, I appreciate these occasions.
Cynicism is easy; hatred is even easier! God knows we need more reasons to celebrate in our heart and mind what we already have.
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. – Epictetus
What do you think of these special Days? Do you celebrate them and if so in what way?
Pic courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net
The first part of my journey covers my sojourn as a newbie blogger from a basic blogspot blog to a custom domain blog on blogger. You can read part I by clicking the link above. By now, I began to understand a little bit about blogs, widgets, looks etc. Another important milestone for me was setting up my startup, Tranquil Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd. that happened 3 years ago. As I worked on content for my website and also created a blog for it, I began working on WordPress. And that helped me gain first-hand experience on WordPress. I must say that I found many appealing features on WordPress. Mind you, I worked on free WordPress that does have a restraint on the themes and the customization that you can do with the themes. Another important thing to note was that free WordPress does not allow advertisements of any sort from the blogger though they carry their own free ads on your website. Another hitch is every minor change you need on WP has to be paid for. But, the dashboard had some robust features including scheduling of posts, editing of comments, a better look and feel, a reply feature to each comment (blogger subsequently incorporated that), great stats (blogger introduced that as well), and a fabulous spam control in-built plugin among others.
But, I was almost 3 years on blogger and had built a reasonable readership. Migrating to WP would mean all those links that were high on organic search losing out. That was a dilemma. I wasn’t really sure what problems moving incorporated and how much time it would take. So, I was in two minds. As I was inching towards moving to WP, I also toyed with the option of self-hosted blog. I did some subsequent research then.
Self-hosted blog offers you complete control over your blog. You don’t rely on any other blogger platform like WP or blogger for hosting and hence you don’t have to worry about their terms and conditions. The reason why I used WP on self-hosted is because I really feel that it is the best out there for blogs. I could, of course, get a site designed from scratch, but being a non-techie I wasn’t sure that I wanted to hand over so much control to a third party for maintaining the website. For hosting, I could use the same server that hosts the company website. The biggest plus point is that my husband is a techie and could come to my rescue if the server went down or if I faced technical issues. He helped me a lot when the actual migration happened.
Let us look at some pros and cons of doing this:
Finally, I would like to say that if you are a recreational blogger and only blog for fun, then free blogger or WordPress works perfectly fine for you. If you want an exclusive identity go for custom domain. And, if you really want more out of your blog – a professional look, a distinct identity, and better monetization – go for self-hosted WordPress blog. Five years into blogging, and this is where my blog has landed!
You can read Phase I of my blogging journey here.
It is indeed shocking that a simple action like refusing to get married as per parents’ wishes, or rebellion against an abusive husband can land a woman in prison in Afghanistan. Do read the entire post here:
She looked at me wistfully and shook her head, “Why did you blow up like that? He is just a kid.” I nod miserably. “It’s okay; go ahead and give him a hug. He will understand. And remember next time — patience and empathy, and you will glide through the difficult situation.” I muttered to myself, patience and empathy, patience and empathy, patience and empathy… as I went ahead to give my sulking child a hug with a sorry.
His face lit up. “It’s okay, ma! I promise not to trouble you when you are working.”
Thank you my alter ego!
As a part of the challenge on Corinne’s blog — http://everydaygyaan.com/2013/05/100-words-on-saturday-week-9
Pic courtesy: Freedigitalphotos.net
A UN report shows that as the number of civilian casualties decline, the number of women and children killed has actually gone up. Read the entire post here:
Today, I am going to detail a case for you that is quite unique and speaks for the grit of the woman who took on the high and mighty and won despite all odds. But she took almost 12 years to get justice and had to put her career and personal life on hold, suffer traumas and seek counseling and gynecological consults to keep her sanity and physical health intact.
Meet Rina Mukherjee, a Senior journalist who had an experience of a decade in her field till she took a sabbatical after having a daughter. Resuming her career after 5 years, she got a job as a Senior journalist in “The Statesman” in Kolkata. Here she was subjected to sexual harassment by her senior. When she complained about this to a higher authority in the media house, she was advised to talk it out with her boss and no attention was paid to her complaint. When she tried to minimize contact with her boss, she was terminated from her job citing incompetence in October 2002. She filed a case in the labor court for wrongful termination subsequently. And finally in February 2013, she was awarded a judgment in her favor after a long, grueling battle of 9 years. Do read her entire struggle in her own words in these articles:
As a woman and a professional, I can only imagine her humiliation and insult at being dismissed for incompetency. It makes me sick to the guts that a strong media house uses muscle power to not only stonewall investigation but also to silence employees and pressure the police. She suffered on account of our justice system which fails the innocent and the powerless repeatedly. Those who have grappled with it will realize that empty courtrooms due to judges’ transfers and long waits for judge reappointment can eat up a lot of time and demoralize the victim. The tardy system easily allows powerful people to manipulate the judicial system to punish those who do not have the required “contacts.” To trouble her further, The Statesman also lodged two libel suits against her, one in Kolkata and the other in Delhi, that ensured that she had to constantly shuttle between Kolkata and Delhi for all these years! These cases have still not been decided as yet. She could not take on any steady employment and had to work as a freelancer due to these cases. Her schedules went haywire not to mention her emotional and physical health. She spent a lot of money in her pursuit of justice. Time and again people discouraged her and asked her to forget about it. Most of us would have done that. But, she was made of sterner stuff. She not only fought on but fought on till she got justice no matter how long and difficult the path.
Do read her moving story in the links shared above. When I saw her story on Crime Patrol, I was motivated to research and find out more about her. Rina, I salute your spirit and determination to stand up and fight injustice. I hope that your case will provide motivation for many women out there who face the same in their workplaces but prefer to either tolerate sexual harassment or quit, often emboldening the perpetrator. White collar criminals are often difficult to prosecute due to their money, status and contacts. And did you know that even the police is harassed when they go to investigate due to their clout. And, it is very sad that Corporates stand by these criminals instead of honest employees. But, you proved that no matter how hard and difficult, justice comes to those who persevere. I wish you luck for your future endeavors. You are an inspiration, lady!
Meanwhile, Workplace sexual harassment law has been passed in Parliament in February 2013. But according to many, the law lacks teeth. See this Wall Street journal article on the same.
Picture courtesy: http://kractivist.wordpress.com
Update: Since some commenters have raised valid concerns about the lengthy judicial process and also misuse of this by women, here is an update. The new Workplace sexual harassment Law says that each organization must have a sexual harassment cell. Any person (gender neutral) can complain to this cell. The organization has to carry out an investigation which is time bound (upto 90 days). This gives a chance to every employee to complain. And also the process does not act as a deterrent to complaining. This also makes it easier to challenge the case in a labor court in case an organization fires you after your complaint.