Friday, March 09, 2007

The Women in Me

Yesterday was International women’s day.. and I got wishes to rival my birthday. It was just a few words or a long poem , but the message was clear. Every website I visited had pictures of successful women all around. My sister called up to excitedly tell me that she was quoted in a newspaper on the role of women. All this made me proud but it also made me wonder, have the fairer sex reached equality if there are only a handful whom are splashed across websites in this day and age.

I have nothing against women’s’ day , in fact I think it’s a great concept.. but I feel that the men out there too deserve a chance at their own day !!Though I doubt there will be sentimental messages sent between men on their day .. For e.g Dear John.. you mean a lot to me for the kindness and understanding that you shown to me from the day we met From Dick… In such a case John probably might think Doe is Gay or is in serious need of a valium :)), but to receive this from a gal pal made me smile and send back a equally tear jerking mail back to her.

For me women’s day should be celebrated not only on the success or the heights women have reached.. but their day to day survival…I can feel a few raised eyebrows.. think of all those women employed in small firms/government companies, their day begins early with packing lunches, catching the predawn buses to remote areas , working at a measly salary, and coming back just in time to cook dinner. To get through this routine on a daily basis, with the hint of success shown to them by their children’s achievement. They aren’t the best in their field, but the sense of pride these women share is worth talking about. There are still ceilings in the professional field that women are striving to break, but its harder to break the social and cultural fence they have built around themselves. Maybe its in our nature or its society’s call, but a women truly feels successful if there is happiness in her family.There may be a few exceptions but that’s the general case.

The material gains and the independence obtained by women have considerably changed and increased. I know physically we can go the distance, but mentally sometimes it all gets too much. There is always a conflict for women between good for the family vs good for themselves. Any act committed for the latter is like a guilty pleasure. I know my mom would think a thousand times before she selected an item for herself, because her mind would constantly weigh the fact if there was anything for the house, which could be bought instead. To the modern women the choice between raising the family vs spending time in office to get that promotion is a additionally hard choice. So it came no surprise to me that “Women experience depression at roughly twice the rate of men”, and the facts about depression are scary!!!.The trend for stress relief is seen with the numerous Yoga/Meditation and Art of living courses across the globe.True men experience the stress as well, but my opinion is that the level the women relate to the world around them is more on an emotional level and thus the stress and guilt factor is all extra. My Aunt always says that its harder nowdays for women, because the achievements that are stacked in their ladder of success gets higher year round.And to me around every rung is guilt on the time spent in climbing that ladder.

But funnily enough I think women have the strength and courage to cope with anything in their path.. the main reason I think is our greatest weakness… we love to talk. I am sure even the quietest church mouse has a gal pal who she can sob her heart to. The process of talking is healing and to do it as soon as possible is the best method. I know the opposite sex frowns on this method, but its not an act of critiquing anybody. Its simply a way of acknowledging that life sometimes is not easy and we need support to get through it. It lovely to “Crib” and to receive assent on the fact. Its great to denounce everything from your job to your marriage but better to voice the sweetness and joy when these make you smile.

So to all the women who are in my life thank you… and to all the men.. well..I hope you have nothing to complain about :).

And for the smiles

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine. "House" for instance, is feminine: "la casa." "Pencil," however, is masculine: "el lapiz." A student asked, "What gender is 'computer'?" Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether "computer" should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that "computer" should definitely be of the feminine gender ("la computadora"), because:
1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.


The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine ("el computador"), because:
1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won.

Keep Smiling Ppl



Thursday, March 01, 2007

Pretty "Please"

I been irritated the last two months to write about anything specific. That’s it… … I did move homes, come back from a trip to India, Survive really bad colds… but the reason I didn’t put the keyboard to the word document was one – attitudinal irritation :) (which in my dictionary means wanting to firmly throw people into the Bay of Bengal, because they are a nuisance to general population)

It’s not against one person, or a whole community. But scattered people, who have one thing in common. They are RUDE and inconsiderate. A person can cloak it by saying they are frank or they care or even sometimes just plain “Office Communication”. I just think my tolerance has dropped several scales in the last month. This post is not directed at people who interact only with me, but with my friends and family.

When has being polite become a thing of the 18th century. I know minding the “P’s&Q’s” is something we read in old Enid Blyton novels, but to totally remove the line of distinction between informality and decent behavior and we really don’t have much left. I work with a team in office, who defines ‘work’ as something that is to be done by another. I know we come across people like that but to have a whole team adhering to that mantra is painful. I can almost expect every mail to start with “We cannot or will not” and every problem to start with “You were responsible”, “discussion and solution” doesn’t seem to be a part of their vocabulary .Where does rudeness come into this – its mail style which conveys the tone and talking to a peer as if they are your personal secretary doesn’t cut it. The worst part is this team is from India and to add insult to injury, my US colleague asked me if they treated everybody this way back home.. I did explain to him that Indian traditions install respect at a very young age, especially to elders and this was an exception. When I mentioned this, the other colleague quipped, that maybe we may have to refer the problem to their Manager, who was the only “Elder” they respected :D. I do think that office emails do convey a line of informality , but to step over into being discourteous is easy.

Family implies that these are the people you are close to and they are ones who are to be frank with you. I am generally a good sport. But this is extends to people I know and have known for ages. But to have people you’ve known only for a while, defined as extended family, take liberties on commenting on your life, your health and definitely your income drove me nuts back home. It’s an unfortunate conclusion that some people come to, that, anybody working in the States has droves of dollars stashed in some Swiss account. When I was visiting some folks back home, all they could talk about was my weight and income bracket. A smile is something that is beautiful but to have it permanently placed on your lips while all your hands want to do is throttle another, is hard.!! I remember watching an Oprah show where the physician said that the worst way to undermine a woman was to comment on her weight. One of girls in my family, who kept getting these comments from her “near and dear” ones lost almost 60 pounds. Now she is looks malnourished and definitely sick. She lost weight my simplyby not eating and this method is seconded by her mom. If only these “good will" people can look at how anorexia can destroy lives, they wont be a part of starving a young girl.

Next is the group who call themselves the “Advice Team”. They have an opinion on almost everything and even your personal life and are sure they absolutely right. I don’t mind listening to my elders on their views or I sometimes even ask my pals on some stuff. But to give free give advice is easier than listening to it!! I realize that suddenly a lot of people have advice to give on my marriage and my career. The best part is most of them didn’t have either or both :D...

I listen to ages to my parents telling me what to do, but to listen to a pal whose just starting out on how to define my life made me feel a part of a Calvin Hobbes joke, with this guy morphing into those space alien whose language I had didn’t have a clue on.I feel angry with people who assume they know all the loops which go into the complex tangle which is your life. And any explanation seems to them like a bucketful of excuses and the guilt that arises from them is enough to drown in. A friend of mine was so embittered with explaining to the whole world with why she didn’t quit her job on having her baby, which they felt was the best for her and her son, that she quit her job just to stay at home, and is currently is unhappy as h**.Yes it was her decision to do so, but constantly listening to a barrage of advice was her undoing.

And finally to end my tirade where has all the respect towards the senior folk gone? Right from my plane trip to a lanes of Chennai , I saw constant abuse and disrespect towards people over 60.I know life begins at 50 but to treat a senior person as if they are 10 is repugnant. Right from the autorickhaws of Chennai to the flight attendants of Lufthansa, there seemed to be a distaste to deal with the elderly. It’s always been my pet peeve that people bring their parents from India to work in the US. There is a restaurant in the Bay area where these old gentlemen are waiters and actually straining under the workload. I make it a point never to set foot in the restaurant (K agrees with me especially as the food sucks !!).But to find a blatant disregard to address an older person with some kind of respect really got to me. My mother’s neighbor who picks the flowers and vegetables, out of the garden, which is singularly grown by my mom , and actually cuts up the plants which ‘dare ‘ to creep to her side, doesn’t seem to have a word of thanks about her. Also the other day I was next to an Indian Kid, who was yelling at his grand mom (I’m assuming it’s her) to shut up, while the parents coolly looked on.

Respect, Politeness, Integrity, Honesty are qualities which are endorsed by the religion, tradition and culture of every part of the world. To have the first two submerged under the veneer of modern communication is sad. Is it too hard to include a please and a thank in a conversation. Just doing this to some people feels like an old government communication clip. But these words are not just alphabet’s put together but an indication of how much the person or his/her time means to you. Funnily enough being nice to someone may just constitute a smile or sometime just keeping your thoughts to yourself. That’s not too hard to ask people is it ??!!

And for the laughs as usual

Have you ever spoken and wished that you could immediately take the words back or that you could crawl into a hole?

I was at the golf store comparing different kinds of golf balls. I was unhappy with the women's type I had been using. After browsing for several minutes, I was approached
By one of the good- looking gentlemen who works at the store. He asked if he could help me. Without thinking, I looked at him and said, "I think I like playing with men's balls."

My sister and I were at the mall and passed by a store that sold a variety of candy
And nuts. As we were looking at the display case, the boy behind
the counter asked if we needed any help. I replied, "No, I'm just looking at your nuts."
My sister started to laugh hysterically, the boy grinned, and I turned beet-red and walked away. To this day, my sister has never let me forget.

Have you ever asked your child a question too many times? My three-year-old son had a lot of problems with potty training and I was on him constantly. One day we stopped at Taco Bell for a quick lunch in between errands. It was very busy, with a full dining
room. While enjoying my taco, I smelled something funny, so of course I checked my
seven-month-old daughter, and she was clean. Then I realized that Danny had not
asked to go potty in a while, so I asked him if he needed to go, and he said, "No."
I kept thinking, "Oh Lord, that child has had an accident, and I don't have any clothes with me." Then I said,” Danny, are you SURE you didn't have an accident?"
"No," he replied. I just KNEW that he must have had an accident, because the smell was getting worse. Soooooo, I asked one more time, "Danny, did you have an accident?"
This time he jumped up, yanked down his pants, bent over and spread his cheeks and yelled.” SEE MOM, IT'S JUST FARTS!!"While 30 people nearly choked to
death on their tacos laughing, he calmly pulled up his pants and sat down.
An old couple made me feel better by thanking me for the best laugh
They’d ever had!

This had most of the state of Michigan laughing for 2 days and a very embarrassed female news anchor who will, in the future, likely think before she speaks. What happens when you predict snow but don't get any? A true story. We had a female news anchor who, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the
weatherman and asked: "So Bob, where's that 8 inches you promised me last night?"
Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew did too!

While on a flight from New York, the Stewardess was busy passing out peanuts and cokes to everyone. There were about sixteen flights lined up waiting to get clearance
to take off. Then the other Stewardess got a message from the Pilot that the
tower said the wind had changed 180 degrees and they were first in line to take off, and to have everyone buckle up. Without thinking she just announced” Please buckle up, grab your drinks and hold your nuts, we're taking off!" No one saw her for the rest of the
flight to Houston, and all the other Stewardesses were laughing all the way and so were half of the passengers.

Keep Smiling