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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Planting the seed of equality

Since we were children we learnt that the father wears a moustache and goes to office, while the mother wears a saree and stays at home. From where did we learn this? From what we saw in home, what we heard in stories and what we saw in TV and movies. So obviously the child grows to think that household work is the exclusive domain of the woman. Having grown up we realize that indeed household is not just a woman’s task and the man should share the load too. But there are many who have not yet come to terms with the fact that even man can do the laundry and other domestic chores. So let us not repeat the mistake with our children. Let us bring them up with an open mind, where work, including household, is not divided on the basis of gender and where even men share the load. How we can do it?

All the family members should do household work together. All young and old, male and female members of the family should do the laundry of the house together. Even if you are having a servant, do it at least once in a week. It will be lot of fun washing the clothes together. Children enjoy playing in water. They will learn that laundry is not just a woman’s task by seeing their father and other male members doing the laundry. This will go a long way in making them better adults who are sensitive towards the other gender.

We all learnt so many things through games. We learnt to add and subtract while playing snakes and ladders. We learnt about money transactions while playing business. Games are the best way of teaching. So how about having a washing game? A game in which both men and women share the household task. How about having a male doll to help the barbie in household chores? This will mould our children into responsible young men and women who share the load.

Children learn a great deal in school. So even schools have an important role when it comes to breaking stereotypes. The lessons in schools, particularly in language subjects, should be chosen or written with an objective to break the stereotype that it is the woman alone who does the household work. Children trust their teachers a lot. So teachers should tell them that they should help their mothers in household work.

Even if you have servants at your home to do household tasks, teach your children to treat them with respect. They will learn to respect menial work.

Inculcating the mentality that no work can be divided on the basis of gender, is a very important task which we will have to shoulder while we raise our children. They should be taught to share the load. I hope the above tips will be of help and we raise our children in such a way that the stereotype that it is only the woman who does the household chores, whithers away soon.

I am taking part in the #ShareTheLoad Challenge with Ariel and Akshara at BlogAdda.

Early to begin

We want our children to be the best, don’t we? When we speak of the best we think only of the best in studies, the best in extra-curricular activities and of course the best in making lot of money, through legitimate means of course. There are some who think that they want to make their child a good citizen. 

Now a person can not be a good citizen unless he shares the household responsibilities. There are many men and some women who think that it is the birth right of the men in the house to watch TV lying on the sofa, while women slog in the kitchen. Have you ever wondered how this mentality was created? The answer lies in their childhood. What they saw in their homes, they perceived it to be correct.

You want to make your child the best. He wont be ideal until he realizes that laundry is not just a woman’s task. How will he realize it? (When I say he, it applies to female gender as well.)

First of all both the parents must realize that household is not just a woman’s job. They should change their mentality. No matter what they had seen in their childhood, now that they are grown the parents must change themselves and share the load equally. This is for their betterment and of course the betterment of their children. Now the parents will be mentally prepared to bring up an ideal citizen.

The fathers should help in the household duties. Children learn from what they see. If they see right from their childhood that their fathers have been helping their mothers in the household chores, they too will help their mothers/ wives in their household work. The parents should lead by example that laundry is not just a woman’s job.
The media plays a very important role in upbringing of children. This generation imbibes many things from TV and internet. Unfortunately like the society even the media has not been responsible when it comes to breaking the cliché. Even in movies and the TV serials, when it comes to washing it is always the woman. Why don’t movies show men washing their clothes? Why is it that there is always the Kamwali Bai and not Kamwala Baba? I feel that if the media too acts a little sensibly and responsibly we will raise a generation which doesn’t divide work according to the gender. How about all our male superstars taking the responsibility and washing their own clothes instead of praising the washing skills of their wives in TV commercials?
I am taking part in the #ShareTheLoad Challenge with Ariel and Akshara at BlogAdda.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Past life exploration - book review

Dr Linda Backman is a psychologist with decades of experience. In her book Past Life Exploration she tries to explore how our past lives affect your present life.

In her book she tells us how even before we are born, we enter into a soul agreement with our parents. This agreement is for our spiritual development and that of our parents. The book is full of case studies which show how we carry many past life traumas with us.

The book offers a unique concept of soul scale and soul colour. Though I have read a lot of literature on past life regressions, this soul colour concept was new to me.

The book again emphasizes that we have our loving spirit guides, who love us and who guide us during our lifetime and even thereafter. Each chapter ends with questions and prompts. Answering them the readers would gain profound insights. I liked the book though I liked Brian Weiss’s books more.

Monday, 23 May 2016

God's message to the world - book review

God is the most misunderstood entity in the world. That’s why Neale Donald Walsch’s God’s Message to the World comes with a tag line you’ve got me all wrong.

This rebellious book explodes all the myths associated with God. It dares to question all the dogmas associated with religion, mostly those associated with Christianity and Islam. This powerful book explores the following seventeen statements about God. God is to be feared. God may not even exist. God exists and is a superhuman male being. God demands obedience. God sees us as imperfect, and we may not return to God in an imperfect state. God requires us to believe in God, and to worship God in a specific way. God is vengeful and God’s love can turn to wrath. God was at war with the Devil, and that’s how this all began. God determines what is right and wrong. God’s forgiveness is required for us to get into heaven. God has a plan for us. God is on our side. God honours self-sacrifice, long suffering (preferably in silence), and martyrdom. God sometimes answers our prayers and sometimes does not. God will reward us or punish us on judgment day. God wants us to return to heaven. God is different from us.

Each of us has held at least one of the aforesaid beliefs about God. Hence it is easy to relate to this book. This explosive book says that all the aforesaid beliefs about God are not true. The book claims to convey the original message of God. Indeed religion, especially the religious leaders cling to their own interpretations of the sacred texts. They are unwilling to change their opinions of about the God. But this book tries to reveal the true nature of God. You will not regret this meeting with God for sure.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

It was always you - Divita Aggarwal

It was always you is a novella written by seventeen years old Divita Aggarwal. I congratulate her for her maiden attempt. Being a writer I know how difficult it is to write a novel.

It was always you is the story of a young girl who shifts from Delhi to Bangalore. She meets her prince charming Kabir. The story revolves around her school life and infatuation. Perhaps young audience may even like the book for they will be able to relate to the story. The novella can be finished in a single sitting.

But otherwise the story is flat and bland. As stated earlier the target audience may like it. So if you are teenager, you may like this book.

Friday, 20 May 2016

As boys become men - Book Review

As boys become men by Mukul Kumar is the story of three friends who are aspiring to become IAS officers. They hail from Bihar and stay in Delhi. Apart from studying they dally with girls and drink booze. As a pastime and to remain in Delhi they are pursuing their post graduations too. Will they crack the UPSC examination? How long their romantic alliances last?

The plot with three friends, sleeping around and the benevolent teacher who encourages and helps the protagonist Mihir crack the examination appears to be a straight lift from Chetan’s Bhagat’s novels. But even if the skeleton is borrowed the writer fleshes it up with the early nineties scenario which is fresh and endearing. Had the novel been set up in contemporary times, it would have appeared a cheap Chetan Bhagat clone. But with nineties in the background, we have the old romance which is about just staring at each other for months together, without speaking a word, yet knowing that something is brewing. So there are student protests against the Mandal Commission. The friends are die hard fans of Amitabh Bachan, though they watch Akshay Kumar’s Khiladi as well. This also makes the novel and people in it realistic. The novel depicts the plight of Civil Services aspirants very well. It tries to portray the real picture by showing how a number of students appear for the coveted examination again and again and end up failing without any back up plan in their hands.

The writing is clean and immaculate. I liked the following line in the book ‘If I am not destined to make it in the CS and serve my country, and if my youth has to be consumed by a struggle for living, let it be for the realization of my passion, not just any job for survival.’ I even liked the love making scenes in the novel which are written in the old style. I liked As boys become men for its realistic treatment, the nineties back ground and the honesty which is palpable in the writing.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

When I shared the load

Is laundry only a woman's job?
My wife is a housewife. That day when I was at home, I tried to help her with the laundry.
Go away. Please don’t do it.’ She yelled at me.
Why?’ I asked.
Please don’t do it. I don’t like it when you wash the clothes.’ She said.
But why? I am trying to help you.’
I know that. But you go to office. It is out of your earnings that this house runs. I don’t want to burden you with the household chores. Come on this job is best left to me.’

Old work distinctions based on sex unfortunately stand true even today

I took her out into the drawing room and explained her. ‘I know I am the sole earning member of the family. But that doesn’t undermine your contribution to this house. I may be working for 10 am to 6 pm. But you work all twenty-four hours for this house. There is nothing wrong if I help you with the laundry. After all laundry is not just a woman’s job.’

My wife did not say anything. But I could make out from her face that she was still uncomfortable with the thought that her husband was going to do the laundry. I asked her to relax.

I went inside. I loaded the washing machine with the clothes. ‘Only one spoon of Ariel Matic is enough.’ My wife instructed me from outside. I started the machine. My wife was unsure of my laundry skills. Though she did not spell out her apprehensions. I could make it out from the constant instructions which she was giving. 

 Brush the collar properly.’ She shouted from the drawing room. I went outside with the white shirt in my hand. ‘See the collar is clean.’ I told her holding the shirt with the collar in my hands.
I never believed that a man can wash the clothes so brilliantly.’
Yes. He can with a little help from Ariel matic.’ I said.

But please don’t do it daily. What others will say?’ My wife asked.
Does it matter as to what others say?’ I asked.
It may not matter to you. But for me it does matter.’
In that case let them know that your husband helps you with the household work including the laundry. Let them emulate my example.’ I said in a firm voice.
Then too. Please not daily.’ She pleaded
Okay then. I will wash the clothes on alternate days. Is it fine?’
Okay.’ She said.

From that day onwards I have been washing the clothes on every alternate day. It feels nice to shoulder the household responsibility. Mind you, it is much harder than just shelving out the money. My respect for my wife increased by many folds. The understanding between us increased too. She was happy that now she was getting a little leisure time, which she used to pursue her hobby of painting. That made her happy and cheerful. That happiness expanded to rest of the day and even our marital life. 

Sharing the load brings you closer

I am taking part in the #LaundryGoesOddEven Challenge by Ariel India at BlogAdda.'

Saturday, 14 May 2016

The leadership sutra

Devdutt Pattanaik’s The leadership Sutra is about Durga. The power to dominate is one of the most dominant power in the human species. We all derive power from different somethings. For some knowledge may be their power, their Durga. For others it may be money. Even situations offer us Durga, our power.

In the very words of the author, ‘Power is a critical tool that affects the implementation of any idea. Any attempt to restrain it with rules results in domestication and resentment, and fails to to energize the organization. Leaders often equate themselves with lions, and indulge their desire to dominate when in fact, the point of leadership is to be secure enough to outgrow the lion within us, and enable and empower those around us.’

This book is derived from the author’s another book Business Sutra. It offers wonderful mythological tales, which the author is adept at telling. It contains some unheard stories as well, like that of Kaursha who tries to imitate Krishna. I liked the concept of voluntary and involuntary domestication in the book. The book underlines the fact that there is nothing fair or unfair in the nature. Nature just the nature – the prakriti.

Every mythological tale in the book is accompanied by a modern day case study, which explores the human quest for significance, the power of rules to rob people of self-esteem and the need for stability even at the cost of freedom. The writer with his interpretations of the ancient texts and the illustrations doesn’t disappoint. He tries to connect the past and the present and tells that human beings behave in the same manner at all times.

Parenting in the age of Facebook

This the age of digital era. The internet has touched every aspect of our life. Our includes our children as well. We have gained a lot through the internet. But at what cost? This is the question which Marzia Hassan’s Parenting in the age of Facebook tries to explore.

Our children are unsafe in the virtual world. Excessive use of technology affects the children adversely. Even if your children are learning through the educational videos, their dexterity is taking a hit. Also for a child which is exposed to the digital world, real life and school become slow, colourless and boring. Thus the child is unable to focus on the studies. When everyone is glued to their screens, the family conversations have become a thing of the past. The children are exposed to sexual content and even bullied online. All of us post the pictures of our children online, don’t we? But do you know that these pictures are used by some child porn websites. Digital footprints are hard to erase and such acts may affect the future life of the child adversely.

The above are some of the evil effects of technology. The writing is supported by many case studies and researches. All of them are duly acknowledged. One of the studies in UK has reported that more than two-thirds of primary school children had neck and back pain. This was due to lack of physical activity and sitting continuously glued to the gadgets.

Quotes like ‘People who have so much of their personality invested in the Internet can’t really survive as whole individuals without it,’make the book interesting. The book also offers some solutions like restricted time and access to the internet, making dining table no mobile zone to save our children.

At places too much of references to research and studies mars the flow of the writing. Yet given the tremendous threat that the digital medium offers to the wellbeing of our children, this book is a must read.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

What you seek is seeking you - book review

What you seek is seeking you is set amidst a parable written by Shailaja Sharma. At the end of every chapter Brian Tracy and Azim Jamal offer valuable lessons for leading a good personal and professional life. The topics covered include attracting positive coincidences, creating heightened awareness, being content in the present moment, striving for harmony, finding meaning in tragedy, how to convert corporate politics into creative synergy and even honing the art of selling.

I really liked the story of Richard and Zoya. Richard is a successful self-made CEO. Zoya is a free spirited painter. They meet by chance and their meeting, their interactions changes their lives forever. They learn to face their problems, their insecurities instead of running away from them. It is because of this interesting story with easy to relate character that the book becomes interesting. Lines like ‘ The woods would be quiet if no bird sang but the one that sang best’ and ‘Well, gifts are never given because you need to. You give because you feel like sharing,’ convey a very deep meaning in a simple manner.

I even liked the following para in the book. ‘What you seek is seeking you. Whatever is deep within you is being attracted to you. It may not come in e way you want it or when you want it. But when you trust this concept, you trust in yourself and you trust in life. Of course, you also have to do your part I have clear goals, focus and work hard.’

However I feel that the line on page no.95 ‘Since then, I decided that I will not stop feeling miserable. I have already lost so much of time,’ contains some typographical or editorial error. In the given context ‘Since then, I decided that I will stop feeling miserable,’ is more apt.

Yet, I loved What you seek is seeking you. It is refreshing and earnest. So the book is highly recommended.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Those were the days

My mother hugged my wife tightly and said, ‘Congratulations! You are going to be a mother and I...I am going to become a grandmother. I cannot describe my happiness into words. You have made me happy... very happy. Thank you beta. Thanks a lot.’ My wife always had a very cordial relationship with my mother. But that day they came very close. The baby in my wife's womb had brought so much of happiness into our lives. My mother was so happy with the thought of being a grandmother. At times my wife wondered if her happiness could match that of my mother. She even voiced her feelings. My mother said, ‘You will not understand it now. Wait until your child tells you that you are going to be a grandmother. I am sure you will understand how I am feeling now.’

My mother and my wife would chat in the lazy afternoons. My mother would share with my wife her experience of pregnancy. ‘Can you believe that I did not throw up even once during those nine months of pregnancy? Your husband was a very well behaved child even when he was in the womb.’ She told her. My wife threw up every morning. The morning sickness was getting on her nerves. Finally she asked my mother, ‘Ma you did not throw up even once. This child in my womb has your genes. Yet I throw up every morning. I feel like....’ My wife swallowed the words I don’t want this pregnancy. She was physically and mentally stressed.

That was when my mother went near her. She rubbed her back and said. ‘It is absolutely normal to feel like that. Nothing wrong. I can understand how you are feeling. Even I felt the same way when I was in the advanced stage of pregnancy. We didn’t have a dining table then. We had lunch sitting on the floor. Getting up after the lunch was a punishment. Even I felt like ….’

Remember my child every pregnancy is different. I didn’t throw up that doesn’t mean you too will not throw up. I was having difficulty in getting up after sitting on the floor, doesn’t mean that you too will face the same difficulty. We all are different. Our bodies, our systems are different.’

After hearing this  my wife rested her head on her lap and my mother patted her. Till date my wife says, 'Such was my mother-in-law. No she was my mother. It was because of her understanding nature that I was able to proceed through my pregnancy.'

My wife misses my mother the most. She says all the time 'Now I am pregnant with my second child. But my Ma is not there around. I miss her the most. I watch the stars in the night. I know she is the brightest of them all. She is watching me, loving me, caring me'

“I’m writing about my wonderful journey of pregnancy for the #YummyMummy blogging activity at BlogAdda in association with Marico Bio Oil.”

Her motherhood

It all begun when my wife missed her date. She wondered if she was pregnant. Her reaction was of mixed feelings. She was happy that a life was beginning inside her. But anxiety was coursing through her. There was a strange nervousness. We visited the doctor the same day and by the evening it was confirmed that she was pregnant.

Advice was pouring from all corners. Do not sleep in the afternoons or else the baby will be lazy. Do not eat mangoes and jackfruits. Do not lift heavy weights. Walk slowly. Eat more. Remember you have to eat for two now. Do this and don’t do that.

My wife knew all these wonderful people around her cared for her and  the baby. That was the reason why they were offering these unsolicited advices. But to be honest they were making her anxious, nervous and unhappy. But how could she tell them that?

She shared all her concerns with her doctor. The doctor was an elderly lady with a cherubic smile. She said. ‘Be happy with the fact that there are so many people around you who care for you. Who love you. Everybody is not as lucky as you.’

She took a pause only to continue. ‘Pregnancy is a normal thing. Yes, it is important to eat properly and even exercise. But don’t get trapped into the mentality of being anxious all the time. Don’t think all the time will it harm my child? Take common sense precautions. Of course do not participate in marathons. But don’t give up normal life as well.’

My wife came home relaxed. She had found her way. She resumed her daily life. She went to work. She drove to her office. She laughed a lot. She went on outings, of course, after consulting the doctor.

Slowly the baby bump became visible. Talking to it became her hobby. Pregnancy was changing her body. She had put on weight and she was able to see stretch marks near her waist. Am I becoming ugly? A thought crept into her mind.

But then she took a few deep breathes and relaxed. She knew carrying a baby was no child’s play. It was all about patience and surrender. She decided to enjoy her pregnancy to the fullest. She knew that she was a confident happy lady. She knew she would transform to her old hour glass figure once she was through my child birth. So why should she give up the joy of the present moment. This thought gave her immense strength and she thoroughly enjoyed her pregnancy. 
“I’m writing about my wonderful journey of pregnancy for the #YummyMummy blogging activity at BlogAdda in association with Marico Bio Oil.”

Friday, 6 May 2016

The law of attraction - book review

Mitesh Khatri and Indu Khatri’s the Law of attraction is about the power inherent in you - the power to attract what you want. I believe in the power of our subconscious mind. Dr. Murphy’s the power of subconscious mind is my favourite book. Mitesh Khatri and Indu Khatri’s the Law of attraction duly acknowledges my favourite book and the most popular book on this topic – the secret. At places it even borrows quotes from the latter.

The law of attraction reiterates that we are the creators of our own destiny. Whatever the human mind can perceive, it can achieve. The book tells us that the like attracts the like. The book teaches us how to visualize. The book lays emphasis on FTBA – feelings, thoughts, beliefs and action.

The book guides us how to attract a perfect partner, health and of course money. The book teaches us how to heal our relationships. It narrates how we should behave with our children. The book also demonstrates as to why law of attraction does not work at times. I found the chapter on Vastu Shashtra out of place.

The book draws heavily on the books mentioned above as well as the experiences of the writers and those of their clients. I liked the technique of four statements which are to be used while thinking of the person with whom you are having difficult times. These four statements are I love you, Thank you, Please forgive me, I am sorry.

The book offers hardly anything new. But yet, you feel better after reading it. Moreover it may be of great help to those who hardly know anything about law of attraction. Hence this book is highly recommended.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Don't Diet! - Book Review

Obesity is on rise among all classes and ages. As a result its side effects - heart diseases, diabetes are on rise too. Everybody knows its cause – sedentary lifestyle and eating junk. Yet majority of the population is caught in the vicious circle of their lifestyle and its resultant diseases. Then you start getting suggestions to go on a diet. But wait don’t diet. Yes, don’t diet – 50 habits of thin people by Kavita Devgan will help you.

The book is divided into four parts. Part one has fifty chapters – each chapter for a habit which help you stay thin and fit. All chapters are independent and standalone. So you can pick any chapter and read. I liked the habit of having soups. Soups are considered appetizers. But according to the author if you have them before your meals, you will eat less. She suggests having them after returning from your work as well, instead of those sinful namkeens which you have. She also suggests not to feel guilty if you eat calorie rich food at a party. But don’t go to the party with an empty stomach. Eat at home and then go to the party or the restaurant. That will ensure you eat less.

Part two of the book has a three month long health calendar with easy to follow steps, veggie preparations. Part three of the book has tools, like medical tests, body measurements which help to gain a lean and strong body. The last part is a food and exercise diary where you can keep the note of incoming and outgoing calories. The basic principle is you put weight when you do not work out equal to your food intake.

I liked the book for its simplicity. It doesn’t offer some magic tricks. Nor does it promise miraculous weight loss. It offers you simple tips which are easy to follow. If followed they will make you not only thin but also fit and healthy. Buy this book. Even if you inculcate a habit or two mentioned in the book, it is worth it.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

A thousand unspoken words - book review

Paulami Duttagupta’s A thousand unspoken words has a terrific start. The long prologue (33 pages other chapters in the book are of an average 4 page length) builds a perfect storyline. An idealist writer, whose identity is not known to the world. A young woman who is madly in love with the writer and his writings. The writer is facing difficulties with the establishment. He runs into the young woman’s house. Of course she does not know that he is the author she admires so much. He leaves in the morning, dropping hint that he is the one whom she loves.

I was damn excited after reading this prologue. I knew I was going to read something different, something riveting. The prologue was simply brilliant. It had set the stage for the story.

But in the first chapter all the ideals of the writer were gone. He had become a popular film writer. The mystery surrounding his identity too was gone. The book then followed the mills and boons track. Though towards the end, particularly after the writer’s mother’s death, his dilemma, his disappointments consume most of the chapters. But even in those, when the writer is contemplating ending his life there are love making scenes.

Paulami’s writing is good. All the books of readomania are brilliantly edited. This book is no exception. But somehow the prologue left me wanting for more, which unfortunately the book was unable to deliver.