Friday, 31 October 2014

Are you Freezing?

With the time bound life rushing to do everything, there are so many days when I miss reading the newspaper on time. So I guess I missed out when some companies have announced the new "Fringe Benefit" option to their female employees for freezing their eggs so they can focus on their careers without any gap.

Are you joking!!
Are these the same companies that are boasting on the gender equality and sensitivity? Really need to understand what is their current gender diversity number, how many women have left these organizations in the last 5 years, what is the cause for their exit from these organizations, and most important what is the organization doing to retain this talent.

If you are talking about gender diversity and how your organization is striving to retain it then you are like those politicians, who want to throw few schemes at backward classes just around the elections. I am yet to find an organization which doesn't boast about its gender diversity.
In subtle tones these organizations are hinting their women employees to choose between career and kids. Most of the organizations generally offer two options, one open a day care / tie up with a day care, and the second is the glorified Work from Home option. I do not have much experience or details on how it works in other countries but in India, these are never sufficient.

If you try to board into a bus, generally you have the front seats reserved for handicapped. That is where the policy for supporting differently abled ends. In the peak hour traffic you see people jostling to get into the bus, and they may not be bothered much if the person they are shoving away is a handicap. Front door in south is typically for female entry / exit while backdoor is for male entry / exit. If god forbid the handicapped person is a male trying to get into the bus in peak time how is he going to push himself into the bus squeezing between the women, and how many may hurl abuses first hand before realizing he is a handicap.
I have seen the organizations give the provisions, but is it working and how smoothly at the ground level? who is monitoring and clearing these problem areas. There are many types typically the work environment and culture with the demanding seniors or smirking team members who push the exit button for these female employees.  

I remember one of the incident personally experienced by me. Similar to any IT company our company has an entry point, and also a baggage check area. The entry point has 3 high narrow steps without any railing to get in and then you need to put your laptop bag onto the scanner pick it from the other end and then step out to enter the premises. Trust me I have been using this facility for years without even giving a thought to these steps. You just sleep walk through this routine procedure. When I was pregnant, with my lower back pain I have started using a laptop stroller bag. Imagine a pregnant lady trying to maneuver these narrow steps and to carry / pick the heavy laptop, put it under a scanner and move onto enter into the premises. Has anyone experienced similar discomfort? How many have raised their voice, and how was it accommodated.
In my case as I was in a Middle mgmt role, have raised this point to the logistics head formally. Thankfully they understood the problem area and standing instructions were given to the staff to ensure that pregnant women get to enter the gate directly without stepping into the security gate and the security staff will either do a manual check or themselves facilitate the bag scanning.

But when I sat back and thought about it, there have been many pregnant women who must have passed through those gates, I do not think I am the first one. So why have they have not raised their concern or, demanded for a relaxation of the rules. I don't know if they never did or their voice was never heard. But I was glad when the standing instructions were given by the logistics head to resolve the problem area for the differentlyabled.
In the modern times the problem of infertility is on high. But the problem area doesn't exist in women alone. What about the male sperm count? It is also being published in many studies that it is either falling low in count, or in mortality due to the increased use of technology. Many a times it is the men who are looking for delaying the marriage and kids as they want to settle in their life first. Why are these companies not offering the same facility to the men?

One of my earlier organizations, was small 25-30 people company. Only one of the female employees was married and had a small kid. While weekdays is handled any extra time during weekends was a challenge for her as she had to bring the kid to the work. This being small organization we got the approvals for her immediately, and her kid would come into the office with his bag of books and toys. No one questioned when she was taking a 30 mins extra at lunch, or frequent short breaks as she had to take care of him in between. End of the day, all the deliverables are met. Was it more easy to address the problem area here because the organization size was small to immediately recognize and resolve the road blockers. She was never asked / pushed to the question of kid / career.
On a personal note I do not think freezing as the benefit, as it comes with lot of taxation. The company should make their HR policies and management more attentive and understanding towards the problems of differentlyabled (temporary / permanent) without pushing the people to make that choice.

You can see the Miracle happening!!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Ek maa ka aakrosh

एक माँ का आक्रोश 

एक  आक्रोश, एक चीख़, एक हादसा
 क्या यही इन्साफ हैं ?
ऐसे कितने जान, ऐसे कितने इज्जत
और लुटे जाएंगे और सब जागरूक होंगे?

एक किस्सा खत्म तो दूसरी कहानी शुरू
अकबार के पहले पन्ने से दुसरे पन्ने में
चला जाता हैं "न्यूज"
ज़िन्दगी आगे बड़जाती हैं।

कभी राजा ने जानना लूटा तो
अब कोई भी किसी की भी इज्जत लूटता हैं।
वक़्त बदल गए, कानून बदल गए पर
दांव पर हमेशा किसी की इज्जत ही लूटी हैं।

ऐसा क्या सीख दूँ मैं अपने बेटे  को
ऐसा क्या पाठ पढ़ाऊं में अपने कलेजे के टुकड़े को
जो औरत की इज्जत करना सीखे 
और इज्जत लूटने को मर्दानगी ना समझे ??

- Heart felt tears after reading the news of another 4 yr old girl being raped in Bangalore School.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Glass Roof!!

I was just watching an ad of Tata Tea in the television just now. The hero has a cup of tea and says going forward in his movies the name of the herione will come first in the titles.

I cannot stop a smirk appearing on my face. No offence meant to any one, but would this bring any mroe gender equality to women in Indian cinema? 

There was a interesting quote few days back on the occasion of Women's day in one of the leading dailies. They have asked various women working in MNCs to comment on the same and one of them have said some thing in the lines that when Gender Diversity becomes a number to claim for the organization the essence of it is already lost.

How true!!

Women's day has become a marketing strategy and Gender diversity another number to boast than actual ground level implementation. If you respect a women and treat her as equal it would show in every act at every step. Do you see it visible now?

The role of a women has expanded and diversied into multiple areas, and they are trying to multi task at every step, again and again trying to prove that they are indeed super women who can juggle with aplomb. But the question here would be why do you have to prove yourself again if you are already being treated as equal? Are you saying subtly without meaning that the Glass Roof does exist in personal and professional fronts that it is becoming necessary to prove ones capability again and again?

When an organization is boasting about Gender Diversity numbers, stating they take special care to ensure that women are being given all required opportunities to grow up, are we saying that with out this a women is not capable of growing up by herself in an organization.

Might be it is time to rethink on what we are trying to do by marketing Gender diversity and celebrating women's day as another commercial event and lost the true essence,

I will end with an anecdote on this that my sis told me. With all the March 8th hype, one of the house cleaning employee in her organization asked her- "Maam what is this about march 8th? Is this the birthday of women?"

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Manavule Kadaa!

మానవులే కదా !

యుద్ధం ఎందుకో ఎంత ఆలోచించినా అర్ధం కాదు!
ఎందుకమ్మా ఈ యుద్ధం నా వాడి పై నేనే కట్టి గట్టడం!

వేరే దేశానికి  వెళ్ళినా  వాడు నా వాడేనమ్మా
కులం, మతం, జాతి మనం సృష్టించినవే కదా!

మనం దాట (పూడ్చ ) లేని ఈ అగాధాలు
ఎందుకు మనం సృష్టించడం ?
ఏ దేశమైతే నేమి ? ఏ జాతికి చెందిన నేమి?
"వారు మానవులే కదా"!
మనిషి పై మనిషి కి శత్రుత్వ మెందుకు?

ప్రతి మానవుడి హృదయ దర్పణంలో
ఏదో ఒక మూల శాంతి తొంగి చూస్తోంది .
వెలికి తేవాలి దాన్ని, విశ్వ శాంతి కావాలి

అనుక్షణం ప్రాణ భయంతో బ్రతకడం కష్టం!
యుద్ధాల వలన మానవ జాతికే నష్టం !

జాతి పేరుతొ వేర్పాటు చెయ్యకండి
మానవులనంతా  కలిసి జీవించనివ్వండి

విశ్వ శాంతి కావాలి మాకు
మనుష్యు ల మధ్య అడ్డుగోడలే వద్దు మాకు

ఈ అడ్డుగోడలని పడగొట్టాలి
మనిషి - మనిషి కలిసి జీవించాలి

అప్పుడే ఉంటుంది మానవత్వం
జరుగుతుంది మానవ జాతి సంరక్షణం .

This I wrote for a competition in the college back in 1987. SVC used to have a seperate telugu department and used to conduct poetry, elocution and essay competitions. The topic was post some conflicts at POK a letter written by a soldier to his mother.

Today morning when I was just browsing through the old college magazine edition and relooked at this I started wondering. Lot of time has passed between then to till date. But nothing has changed when you look at the recent bomb explosions in Hyderabad.

Who are these people who are looking at killing others and for what cause? No one knows. The other day there was an update in the news paper about some wing claiming that they can build a bomb from scratch in flat 15 minutes!! I mean is that some thing you are proud of? Can you claim with the same confidence that you need 15 minutes to save the life of all those people who have been killed at the blast?

But even we are getting used to these inhuman acts now. I remember the terror and panic when the blasts happened first time in Hyderabad. People could not think of anything else for days other than how everything changed over a second.

This time it was taken more in stride. Phone lines were busy checking if the people known to them are safe, news updates were watched over, and the detailed reports were read in the news paper next day. The news headlines change, and the incident is out of mind for the hundreds of people who had no impact. The only impact is left for those small group of people who faced the wrath. Hyderabad is back to normal, except for increased police checkposts.

Coming together only whe something major jolts once in a while, expecting some one else to lead us doesn't help us. What we need is a treatment to our short term memory losses, our lack of social responsibility, our attitude to the people around us, and the changing headlines.. might be only then we can look for a  collective solution for these massacres rather than expecting Government or Police to do something.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Unending Quest..

After a long time I went to our Corporate office today and met one of my earlier team member. Chitchatting over a cup of tea and a fag, he was mentioning that he is tired of the job though he got the long due promotion and is just waiting for the company to give him Pink slip so that he can start the food business that he has been interested over quite a few years but never had the courage to pick.

That led to my enquiring him on the status of another old team mate who left around 2 months back. I got to know that he is also on the look out to start something on his own..but not sure on what he wants to do.. With my own thoughts not really being clear as I am not happy with my current role and project and tossing ideas on what to do next.. I just started wondering what is it that we all want. It is not that one person, this is the same question and same unrest among each soul. No I do not want to attribute this to the mid-life crisis. There are so many people you are surrounded with.. you just have to look and incase it is the IT sector then it is like "In your face scenario" who get drained out and are all the time looking for something. No clue on what is that some thing!! What is it that we all are running to achieve that will provide us that immense satisfaction, happiness and pride that yes we have accomplished something!

With these thoughts I just came back home and started watching the balance of the movie CGR (the recent Pawan kalyan starrer). No I am not a great fan of him.. but some of the dialogues in the film have kicked a thought process altogether. All the big MNCs provide us a window for the Social responsibility which is again pushed on us by rewards and recognition, but where is our responsibility as an individual. Is the lack of an individual responsibility that is causing us to look out always for something to give us that adrenalin rush?

emukalu kruLLina, vayasu maLLina, somarulaara chaavanDi!
NetturumanDe, Saktulu ninDe, Sainukulaara! raranDi!
(Maha Kavi Sri Sri - Maha Prasthanam)

When we read that in the child hood, there was a kick.. a fire in the belly, something that we want to do. No idea, no direction.. but that fire in belly gave a thrusting energy to do anything. We read all the books from Jayanti (publications, Vijayawada) Tatayyagaru's shop. Be it Maha prasthanam, Chittagong Veerulu, Bhagat singh, Chandrasekhar azad.. each book only adding fuel. Every March 23rd we all kids would get together along with few of our friends and observe a few minutes of silence and take pride in that acomplishment.

During the college days, being a part of the NSS doing voluntary service was a big achievemnt. And when Mandal Commision happened and we all walked from South campus to AIIMS it was a big sense of achivement. "Nenu saitam.. prapanchagni ki.." anukuntu nadicham.

Yedo cheyyali anna avesam, tappaka edo chestam anna kala.. lonchi only me .. my family.. my car.. my home.. the entire paradigm has changed. Bavilo kappala.. baitaki ravalani undi.. kaani vaste kotta prapanchamlo em chestam anna prasna.. beduru.. ive manalni nadipistunnaya ippudu?

Weekend lo oka cinema, family to oka dinner or lunch, evaro okallo iddaro close friends to hai / hello husku.. pakkavadu ela pote manakem.. is this what we are working towards.

This was the same question that Kiran bedi was asking a few days back on the delhi rape case victim.. where is your responsibility as an individual? How come we are emerging as a society so insensitive that anything bothers us as long as it is a news headline and then headline changes and so is our focus.

This is the same thing that is leading us to the unending quest in personal front as well.. do not appreciate what you have, and when you achieve what you want, your focus changes, and the cycle continues.

In our unending quest we are losing focus to appreciate and enjoy what is around us.. the little things of life.. take a break, think what you want... forget about the designations, and the company titles, forget about the EMIs and the pay packets.. close your eyes and understand what your heart beats and for and make your passion your work...will everything else will fall in place? What do you think?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Sankranti Sambaralu

"Yeteta sankranti panduga meeku..mee sneha madhurya sankranti maaku.."

Sankranti always brings sweet memories.. and the top most one in the list is bapu bommalu... and vijayawada.

Vijayawada is where one of my earliest memory of Sankranthi and thought we have not celebrated it more than a couple of times there.. that is the most memorable experience. Sankranthi is not the same in any city now a days.. and we may have to go to villages to enjoy this festival.. but pretty soon we might lose them as well with the modernisation of villages.

Sankranthi preparations eppudu mundu gane start ayyevi ammayilaki. The Christmas holidays is when the action starts to pull out all the old "Muggula pustakalu" spruce them up start looking in news papers and in every street for new designs. You see a very beautiful muggu and the girls will stop in their tracks mentally calculating how many "chukkalu" (dots) and how many varasalu (lines), madhya chukka, chukka vidicchi chukka.. the tricks are endless that will be recorded by eyes into the mind and rush back to the home from the school to make sure this gets recorded into your own muggula pustakam. And in case it is a complicated one and the place where you have seen it is not far.. a quick run back with the notebook in your hand to copy the same... but if you are unlucky and cannot go back.. then your imagination gets unleashed..

When we were kids all the grannies and mothers religiously used to tell the girls in home "muggu karra enta tinnaga vunte nee jeevitham kuda anthe chakkaga sagutundi".. I always wondered what is the link. How can a line decide how a girls fate will be? But now that I am grown up I can understand.. It is a art that needs lot of energy and can go wrong but have the patience to correct it neatly so that no trace is visible, or sometimes completely redo it till you are perfect,  and that is what they have been actually trying to teach. To have patience, focus and seamless energy to go through your life....

Coming back to track.. chukkala muggulu(dots rangoli), geethala muggulu(lines rangoli), melikala muggulu (complex rangoli)..too many degrees to master and all these girls would do so with aplomb.. then there is also sharing between one another on these.

Once done you are all set for your performances and they would happen everyday.. in every street. For those who are not in south of India or not acquainted  I cannot explain how beautiful this is.. but I will definitely try to ask Tulasi to prepare a nice one one of these days and post the photos. This is street art in simple words. Colours are optional and the drawing is done by using the white chalk powder held using your thumb and index finger to drop the powder diligently into the required shapes.

Sometimes they are drawn in the night time itself post dinner, but some would do it in the early morning (smart move also because you can see what other have done and pick a different one). Sandu sandu mottam muggula to nimpesevaru..with out any gaps. It is like celebration time.. festival time.. panduga taravata.. panduga kala matram munde vachedi..

Chali chali poga manchulo.. poddu poddunne sandu ninda ammayilu.. raka rakala muggulu.. rangu rangula muggulu vestu..bapu boomalu kanna andanga.. vayyaranga....akasam lonchi jaarutunna chukkalanni pattukuni.. mungitlo sardesi.. geetalo to kalipesi..vati meeds gobbemmalani alankarinchi.. ye sandu chusina pelli kale annattu..

Ee hadavidi madhyalo sankranthi ki greetings cards ivvali ani utsaham..edanna special ga undalani..

Every time we used to religiously go to Navodaya shop for New year and Sankranthi greetings.. I don't remember buying them anytime.. back then there is no concept of pocket money. so maaku nachina cards select chesukuni pedananna ko annayya ko cheppi techukunevallam..

Ye sankranthi card chusina.. chakkaga bapu bommala to alankarinchi.. kammani telugu lo subhakansha lu cheputu!! the above quote I have written in the beginnning is just one of them. It was so easy to remember and so sweet somehow it stuck in my mind summarising sankranti.. I think that is one of the quotes that got me to try my hand at poetry as well during school days and college days.

Those days will never come again!! hmm..

Monday, 7 January 2013

Vasudhaika Kutumbam...

I was chit chatting up with my neighbour yesterday.. and suddenly in the middle of the conversation the topic diverts to our other neighbours in the apartment. And suddenly my neighbour mentions " meeku telusa syamala garini peru to pilavali avidani kani valla husband ni kaani auntie, uncle ante chala kopam. Avida peruto ne pilavamani cheptaru."

I can hear my jaw drop. When we have moved newly into this apartment there were only 2 other occupants and this family is one of them with whom we introduced ourselves first calling them uncle and auntie.. and now our kid even calls uncle Tatagaru. I have not heard any complaint any time.. But then looks like we are the only privileged ones on which this honour is bestowed while all other occupants ensure the cursory name with garu added to them.

The whole conversation has triggered only a thought process in my mind. How much we are trying to change our ways to Western world where you address the other people only by name. I know it is a matter of pure choice of the individuals... but as I am thinking and I look back I have had a whole gamut of relationships through out my life by addressing the people the Indian way, with an appropriate relationship.. uncle, auntie, attayya, pedananna, tatagaru,  bhayya, bhabhi and what not.

The closeness these relations brought would be missing if I look back and try to address each one of those individuals by name instead of relation!!

I guess this is what we are losing out in our rush to be more modern and westernised. I still remember our childhood days in Vijayawada where my dad would be coming back from office for a lunch or late night and the minute his rickshaw enters the lane, the aunties in that lane would tell their kids that Joshi mamayya garu vacharu.. and I can see them going back from being naughty to be so good and do whatever it was that their mothers were trying get them done with aplomb.. quickie..And trust me none of them were our relatives to call my dad uncle..

And that is how I remember my first introduction to the whole relations where you address another person elder to you with respect. My dad's friend was my uncle (pedananna), my grandfather's friend was Tatagaru. and when we moved to Delhi the same trend continued.

All the elder kids in the apartment were either Bhaiyyas or didis and their parents Uncle and Aunties.. same is the way my mum and dad were addressed. And between themselves they were calling one another bhaiyya or didi depending upon the age gap.

The people will come seeking advice, they take you under their wings and guide you and none of us would question.. why is it your business.

So many times me and my bro have travelled between Delhi and Hyderabad alone with only the co-passengers taking in us and ensure we safely land in our destination.. and all these uncles aunties or brothers or bhabhis would ensure we are well fed along the journey, they would fetch us anything from the platform if we need a refill of water or something to eat.

That charm is lost now-a days when you look back. What we have been taught all along was to respect our elders and the relationship naming was a part and parcel of this.

With the change of the game and people have a challenge in giving respect to their own parents or seniors in the family.. not sure where this large universal family is lost!!