Sunday, July 19, 2015

Through The Wonder Years

It’s fun to see our children grow up but another truth of life is that childhood is a very short session. It also requires positive involvement of the parents to make the childhood sweet and successful.

Sometimes we get upset with the child’s behavior and immediately compare this with our own childhood. “Had we done something similar, there is fair chance that we wouldn’t be standing here right now” is a thought that crosses many a minds of our generation. The parent and child of some families even then acted like friends and were probably are the exceptions that prove the law. One of the leading topic of debate, I remember during my school days was “spare the rod and spoil the child”. This is key indicator of that our society was debating for a change. 

It’s not that we are survivor of a tyrant society but looking back it appears that we did miss some fun, some joyous moment with our parents and some exciting “high five” moments.

We try to be best of friends with our child and give them what we had missed as well as attempt to relive the childhood. It’s a different story that our children still considers their buddy parents to be tormentors for restricting their usage of the ipad or the TV. But children will be children and parents will be parents and the generation gap will always remain never letting the twain to meet. But we do a lot of things together that built a special relationship broadly practicing within the premises of the age old policy of “good cop and bad cop”.

Father daughter bonding is special and interactive activities can be taken to a new high with some creativity. Doing the weekly grocery together is great fun activity with its hands-on experience on shopping for the daily three meals. It starts with realization of the importance of being organized by having a detailed shopping list followed by a few tips on selecting the right fruits or vegetables. Normally we buy only when the stock of a particular item is running low but sometimes that principle gets defeated by the little one’s logic. Last time we went for shopping she picked up a box of cornflakes too early as kellogs had co-branded her favorite breakfast cereal with her favorite movie, “frozen”. She argued that it’s worth buying up in advance as this might not wait for me till next week and I had to admit that it is true.

Like many other matters our knowledge is not permanent and stays only while we practice. One instance of memory erosion is my knowledge of our planetary system. Recently the second grader gathered enough information about planets and stars to meet the challenge posed by the boy who she shared her bench with. Being a boy, he probably had been spending his internet time watching such science stuff while the girls focused on songs, dolls and makeup. Not willing to be outdone, she collected enough information to give me a lecture and revive my knowledge of stars at the same time believing that storms in the earth are direct outcome of the Neptune.

However the most creative and fun activity that brings us together is her video recordings. She loves to unpack boxes of toys and other gifts on our video camera while talking about the product all the way through. I got amazed to watch the six year old do that without any script and therefore get actively involved by setting the camera and shouting the conventional “Lights, camera, Action.”

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Boardroom Gets A Freshness Makeover

A freshness wave moves through the corporate headquarters of a multinational organization and we watch how the scenario changes.

Scenario 1

There is a tensed moment in the board room as all the line managers and directors sit around the large table and wait for the big boss. The CEO has been out of the country on an extended medical emergency and in his absence the performance of his company has not been quite as expected. He has called for an urgent meeting to review the present situation. The laptop is connected to the projector with the power point presentations of each of the managers queued up while they nervously browse through hard copies of their report ... just one last glance before presenting.

The office orderly, veteran of many a crisis enters the room and announces... “he is in, the car is in its driveway”, without even opening his jaws.

A man in his mid fifties perfectly dressed in his imported shoes and designer's suit walks into the room.  “Good morning sir. Welcome back!” echoes inside the room. A chorus that usually happens when the class teacher enters the class room in a primary school.

The CEO curtly greets every one. (A visible sign of dissatisfaction)  
He starts with, "good to see you ladies and gentlemen. Today you have been called to this extra ordinary meeting to finalize a rescue plan for our company." (The thought that came to every mind in the room is how many scalps he is going to have today.)
"Extraordinary situations like this needs extra ordinary measures," he continued. The meeting went on for another 90 minutes and they dispersed with the commitment to meet again the very next day with some concrete recovery plans.

Scenario 1- Taazgi-ed 

The senior members of the organization have gathered in the recreation room of the office as they regularly do during the lunch break. Everyone has to get out of their desk and electronic gadget for these 45 minutes every day, which is a rule. The management philosophy is this was a shear necessity for the health of the organization. But the managers are visibly worried that the performance of the company has not been up to the mark since the CEO left on medical leave.

They have been informed that his recovery has been satisfactory and is back in town. One of the mangers was hard saying "I am sure he is going to pay us a surprise visit soon. He must be restless at home and waiting to jump into the action as soon as he can."

The CEO is a man in his mid fifties and has strong similarity with the Indian actor Bomi Irani. The similarity doesn't stop with his physical features but goes all that way till the sense of humour depicted in MBMBBS.

Just then the office attendant runs in and shouts, "The chief has arrived."
The CEO enters the hall in his semi formal attire. Everyone speaks out in chorus, "how are you chief. It’s great to have you back at the helm of affairs."
"I am fine and full of Taazgi just as it feels after having a great Colgate moment” he winks. But my baby (not babe) doesn't have that freshness these days. The performance has nose-dived. You guys haven’t taken good care of it."
The marketing manager protested in a mild tone, "we have done three very successful campaigns and ...."

His explanation is cut short by the chief as he continues "yes I understand, you guys have been doing a lot of hard work. But unfortunately it’s similar to sitting in a rocking chair. You had plenty of movement but didn't really go any place. You have been dancing in the same place." Then he makes a few repetitions of the steps below and the entire room bursts into laughter. They almost feel like joining in.

The discussion turns a bit more serious and they walk into the boardroom to draw up some recovery plans. But my favourite step of the situation brings freshness to the whole affairs and relaxes the mind to let the creative idea flow.

“I am blogging for #MaxFreshMove activity atBlogAdda in association with Colgate MaxFresh

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Choosing The Right Product Is Synonymous To Caring

Photo Courtesy Dabur

 “I am participating in the #FirstLove activity at BlogAdda in association with Dabur

Does your baby laugh while you massage the right legs and gets irritated if you do not start on the left soon enough. If not then definitely you are not using the right oil that makes the baby happy. After all laughing and crying are the only two expressions an infant has mastered and therefore with the slightest feeling of discomfort a cry emancipates.

But that is the baby, whose happiness and anxiety doesn't last for long. But when parents get worried about some ailment of their baby, the anxiety seems to last for days and nights at end.
Once upon a time when a baby was born in the family and the doctor said one of the legs was slightly not normal and could have trouble while walking. That statement of the doctor devastated the parents as well as the extended family. But the doctor added that some therapeutic treatments if started early will cure this before the time comes for walking. This was a bright ray of hope but ever body was over anxious to see that time arrive.

The only therapy that could be applied to a new born is oil massage. This is the time when the goodness in natural oils comes to our rescue and creates wonders in the development of the baby’s bone and muscle. Mother Nature’s garden is abundant with fruits, vegetables, roots and seeds that when harnessed and extracted to create oil could provide remedy to almost every ailment. All we need is to select the right kind of oil for our cure or the combination of a few. This is the time when products like Dabur Baby Massage Oil come to the rescue and the baby turns into an active child running around the house to the great relieve of the family.

Almond oil for example provides a natural remedy for dark spots by clearing away the dead skin cells, while avocado oil gives the much needed omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Argan oil on the other hand is packed essential fatty acids along with vitamin E, making it a great moisturiser. Our common coconut oil is packed with protein and has antibacterial properties along with other advantages. Bacteria do not stand a chance with the sesame oil. And the list goes on with the other great ingredients like Olive oil, Castor oil, Aloe vera, Arnica, Carrot Seeds, so on and so forth. Each one of these oils has their own good effect but care should be taken not to use nut extracted oils for one with nut allergy.

We tend to think that life was much better during the time of home remedies by our grandmother and great grandmothers. This knowledge and the know-how were available within the family and passed down from generations after generation. But with the pressure of urbanization and industrialization of our society this age-old technique of home remedy is facing extinction. We are instead left to the mercy of either local quacks or the unscrupulous manufacturer who deceive the vulnerable for their own profits.

But thank to people like Doctor Burman, we still get products that we can trust. After all we do not want to put our little angels in the harm’s way.

Ana and Ron

Ana has grown up in the outskirts of mega city within a satellite family with no other siblings. Like most of the family living in the fringe of solvency, her father went out to work every morning while mother looked after the household. She, since early childhood got comfortable spending time alone talking and playing with her soft toys. The mice friends were the closest of all. Mickey and Mini even went to the bed with her when she was desperate for a hug. Destiny had dealt double blows on her and left her to grow up with a step mother and two of her step sisters.

Her husband left this world when her youth was still blooming and the step mother had spent most of her days alone struggling to get back the comfort if her childhood dreams. She whined as she took care of her two daughters, while desperately looking for a soul mate to share her responsibility. Ana’s father brought new joy in her life but her fate played another cruel joke. She was now left with three daughters to look after. Three stunningly pretty girls.

Ana despised doing the lion share of household chores but she felt her stepmother’s pain, which gave her the strength to carry on. Other than being a very pretty young woman, Ana was soft spoken, kind hearted and quite attached to her step mother. Her mother to her was not a cruel at the core but one who got weathered on the outside withstanding unrealized dreams.

Few weeks after they met, handsome, educated and successful professional, Ron came home to ask for Ana’s hand and invite her to his house. The stepmother, though slightly sad for her own daughters not being able to find suitors, was still visibly happy for her step daughter.

She said with all sincerity, “Ronbir, you and Anita will make a wonderful pair. I wish you a very happy life of togetherness.”  They went out and had some wonderful moments together. It was a scene that seemed to be plucked from the last page of any Disney princess story.

 As they had love’s first kiss, she did not feel electric current run through her body. She did not feel the urge to continue or do that again. She said, “Ron, though I love you for who you are, I do not think that I will be able to spend rest of my life as your wife.”

Living all these years cuddled up together without the scent of a man has had its toll on her senses. Her body probably developed a liking that is not normal till yesterday. But today the world has changed and the courts have ruled in.....that is not abnormal any-more.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Say it with Honey!

Photo courtesy daburhoney

Temptation, thy name is food. This leaves us with the challenge to challenge our tongues with tough challenges. Nobody can undermine the power of the tongue as uttering the wrong word or eating the wrong food would invariably end up in social or physical hara-kiri. But the irony of the life of us lesser mortals is that whatever food that tastes good turns out to be not healthy. We are faced with a situation similar to that of the proverbial monkeys alibi a little difference....  see no food, hear no food and eat no food.
We are afraid to bet our paunch less bodies and dig into the delicious buffet spreads as we have many an example of those who did otherwise. Our outlook however changes with the advent of the first sign of tyre in the mid zone of our bodies, so to say our Madhya Pradesh. Initially we are high on the confidence level that we will get rid of the extras with some magic crash diets of protein or zero carbohydrate or by skipping of one meal every day.

But without the intended results nowhere in the horizon, we soon bite our tongue and the realization dons that it is rather easier though than done. It does more harm than good depriving our bodies of the vital nutrients in the process. Doctors believe that crash diets are based on false interpretation of theories and rapid weight loss can actually slow down the metabolism leading to weight gain in the near future. On one hand it has the potential to weaken our immune system exposing us to risks of variety of diseases and on the other hand makes us emotionally weak prone to depression, moodiness and irritability.

But why take it to that extent? The nature has given us a bounty to choose from and some of those have near magical power. We need to do is to develop our taste within and around those elements and maintain a healthy balanced diet. One such product that is easily available in all parts of the world is the honey.We have its references in our early scriptures while physical evidences of its use have been discovered in the ancient Egyptian tombs.

A table spoon of this golden liquid when built into our daily diet brings in culinary delights along with many a medicinal benefit. According to the National Honey Board of USA, a table spoon full of honey contains 64 calories and it is cholesterol-free, fat-free and sodium-free with no amino acids. This could be used in a variety of ways to bring taste, interest and diversity to our menus.

Bernard Shaw once said “there is no sincerer love than the love for food”.  It is almost certain that we would be tempted to indulge into other niceties. Our motto should be to “do it in moderation” and followed by adequate exercise over the next days.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Fact of the Matter

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

There is one thing in common among young hostel boarders and particularly for those from engineering college. They have spent hours debating, arguing and fighting on topics ranging from anything to everything on their tryst to establish a point of views. The walls of our hostel rooms have witnessed countless ideas, arguments and logic wash down the drain by gallons of coloured liquids be it tea, coffee or hardcore alcoholic drinks. There were some who built their arguments on solid foundation of references and statistics. But my way of life is more like Winnie and always find more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?” A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh).

One of the live issues had been India’s post independence growth and development alibi our successive government’s inability to alleviate the conditions of poor. My point of view has always been that it is not so much the politicians that failed us as our bureaucrats and technocrats. The fascination for being an engineering or medical professional has deprived our country of the much needed social thinkers and planners. This resulted in partial if not complete failure in achieving what we ought to have achieved through our five year plans. I acknowledge that we needed to achieve a lot and had to reach out to all corners of the country. Retrospectively we should have asked ourselves “how do you eat an elephant?” No offence meant to the elephant and planned accordingly.

We have miserably failed to connect our villages to the cities creating opportunity for those opportunist middlemen to take advantage of farmers and producers. When we did built the highways, we let our government run public works departments to do it leading to another round of corruption for lack of appropriate checks and balances. The right way would have been to let the private entities built and maintain our highways while PWD monitor those, thus having two party accountable for this rather than none. Unfortunately 68 years down the line, we are still struggling to connect our people.

Another interesting but universal fact is that this world is very cruel. Everything that we love and enjoy turns up being injurious to our health and existence. People often get pestered by their spouses to stop this, stop that or do this, don’t do that and more often than none transforming the better halves into bitter halves. The resultant effect is that people break their resolution in the same speed as they make those and creating more problems than solutions. My point of view is doing things in moderation. Live a life with a balanced approach to work, exercise, eating healthy or junk food, or consuming alcoholic drinks. This will take relationship to the next level.

It’s not all that will agree with my opinion, they never did and some might ask me to shut up but I will end this reminding what a young girl had once said. “People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but that doesn't stop you from having your own opinion.” 
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Slavery - It's a Present Continuous Tense

This week I read the news story of a Burmese man called Myint Naing who got reunited with his family after 22 long years. He had been tricked by a broker offering a job in Thailand in 1993, when he was only 19 years old and desperate for money. But instead he ended up being sold to become one of the approximately 200,000 slaves working in the Asian fishing industry.

His escape brought back memories of a book named Papillon, which narrated an enduring escape story from Devil’s Island in French Guiana by a convict called Henri Charriere. The escape of Myint from his captivators must have been no less daring. But he was neither a convict nor will he be able to make millions selling the rights of his story. Despite that Myint is luckier than those left behind.

Slavery is not new to this world and African slave trade is one such example, where people were caught, herded as cattle to be bought and sold as slaves to the western households and farms.  The Church of England issued an apology for their role in slavery ahead of commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which abolished slave trade in England.

"The profits from the slave trade were part of the bedrock of our country's industrial development," Thomas Butler, the bishop of Southwark, said in a speech before the vote. "Many people and institutions in every part of the country were complicit in the transatlantic slave trade; and I have to say that this includes the Church of England."
Even as this system was being abolished, it ensured that interests of slave owners were not undermined.  As the slaves were liberated in 1833, compensation was paid to owners and not to slaves. In one case, the bishop of Exeter and three business colleagues received handsome payments of nearly £13,000 for 665 slaves they had to free.

While the Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, English and French slave traders were often brutal, they were not always working alone — many Africans were also complicit in this victimization.

Why did I bring up this subject?  Well the answer lies in Myint’s story.   Many of the companies where people like Myint have to work rely on slaves to supply fish to the USA, Europe and Japan. To keep the prices affordable in the developed nations these men work for up to 24 hours a day and have to survive on boiled sea water and bit of rice.

Many flung themselves overboard rather than keep living as slaves.

Slavery was Then and it still exists Now. It will continue to do so till people remain poor and vulnerable while their governments remain selfish caring for the benefits of the leaders.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My 6 Word nano-tale

Careful; Framed  picture could also slip!

Ernest Hemingway had once wrote a story in just six words (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”). That is a nano-tale and he is said to have called it his best work. The one above is my humble effort to be creative with words and picture for a 6 words nano-tale.