Monday, February 22, 2010

Being Yourself

Sometimes being the “odd one out” factor is scary to all of us. So we Copy. Someone once asked, "When we are all born originals, why do so many of us die copies?"

Child is original:

When a child is born he’s natural himself and unknown to the complications of world. It is in the DNA of us humans that implant certain features into him through which a child quickly develops to adjust and react to his environment. He “imitates” , he imitates his elders, he imitates his siblings, he imitates animals and slowly and steadily growing up he understands imitating certain actions are a way of doing things or so called “discipline” to be HUMAN.

With every step a child takes in his life he’s given “dos and don’ts” from his family, friends and society. It might be out of sheer protection but eventually an amiable person develops the “fear of being different from others” and this is what makes him stop being what he is.

*Amit engineer aged 68 confesses “ I always wanted to be a singer but those days nobody had the freedom to do what they wanted to, neither were there so many options nor did the society accept it as a well to do profession. Today my children and grand children inspire me to learn music and do what I always wanted to do unlike my elders. ” He might be just one of those who have suppressed their wishes and willingness to the fear of being different. Afraid to come out in open face society, afraid of rebukes from elders or afraid to face the unknown destiny which lies at the end of their choice could be one of many reasons that might have scared them. For how long people tolerate it and that too unknowingly is still unknown. We might not even know “that we do copy”.

Herd mentality and Ancient India:

An interesting and natural factor that breeds within all human beings is that we feel comfortable in herd. It is sort of a herd mentality doing exactly what the others are doing. Herd mentality is “how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase items” from social customs to personal dressing, from latest technology to daily habits nobody seems to questions “why” or “what” we are doing. In India learning was never restricted to merely replicating the taught unlike understood by many. The oldest of the Upanishads dated from around 500 BC. These texts encouraged an exploratory learning process where teachers and students were co-travelers in a search for truth. The teaching methods used reasoning and questioning. Nothing was labeled as the final answer, ideas and answers collided and no one was singled out because of a different thought or perspective rather it was always welcome. However over many generations questioning got restricted making us and our attitude of experimentation only more fearful. We were always a breed of knowledgeable people “then why have we stopped accepting new things today??”

Honesty to self:

Being true and true to oneself is the biggest confidence provoking method. *Avanti a sociology student says “I know its not possible to be honest and truthful with everyone but one should always be true to his own self that adds lots of guts to single out and walk when no one’s with you like goes a song in Bengali “jodi tor daak shune kyo na aashe tobe ekla cholo re” (when no one comes on your call have the dare to walk alone) . Your honesty might frustrate others take for instance you might like to attend a lecture while your friends want to bunk it what do you chose to do? You bunk right…that’s simple you know what you like yet you ignore for simply being scared of doing it alone.”

You are special:

Every person is different in views, thoughts, talents, behavior and so on. You are unique the way you talk, the way you smile, the way you walk, cry, laugh its all different you need never be scared of being either a size zero or achieving something exactly what the other one does. Knowing yourself gives you the best of chances to enjoy some great moments with your own self. Rather than justifying your aloofness smile and know someday you would be remembered for your “individualism”. If you are still not convinced try this for a week, literally think before you speak. Say what you truly feel and not what is expected of you, what you say out of sheer habit. This does not mean that you put yourself under the pressure of coming up with brilliant and innovative statements. But rather speak you mind muster some courage to take a stand for the person you love the most “YOURSELF”. Begin to Love yourself slowly without any extra efforts you would be Original.

Taking the responsibility:

Once you know you are Original, you are bound to take the responsibility of your actions for instance if you don’t need X-tra loaded phone unlike your friends and you have chosen a simple one for yourself “Don’t shy away” from using it, once twice or thrice your friends will say you simply smile the next time they would never talk about it. Similarly if you have chosen a certain career based on your instincts and liking be stubborn and ready to face its consequences, every different career route has its destiny and has its share of struggle be prepared to face it.

As goes the saying of Swami Vivekananda -

"Stand up, be bold, be strong. Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny.”

"Whatever you think you'll be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you'll be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you'll be."

Being yourself is being original , you will soon find herd of people following you, you will find people being friends with you and you will also find people jealous of you all because of your confidence and mindset that has made you different. Life will always remain a bunch of good and bad things striving through it with your own methods will give you satisfaction tones of times more than following any group or being.

Be yourself, be original and stand correct, you will never feel the need of being proven to anybody.

(*Names changed to protect identity)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Home Makers or Pay Makers ??

*Sheila Jain is a housewife or to be given a more meaningful name a home maker. She does not feel elated by this name as for her its still quiet the same. She gets up 5:30 in the morning gets fresh and pushes herself to the kitchen where she finishes filling water chores and tea and tiffin making chores by 6.30 then she wakes up her little boy and drives him to school by 7.30. Next she has to next start making tea coffee breakfast and then lunch for her husband and her in laws then run around with her maid. Next shoots her day in her home after 12 its time for her to re-cook lunch and clean her kitchen. She pleads sometime for herself by 2 but she then has to welcome her kid next. She smilingly does that and feeds her boy. By 6 she makes her way for the evening snacks and tea and later by 7.30 she heads preparing for the dinner since she hardly wishes to compromise with her daily soaps. By 11.30 her day ends and while going to bed she feels it’s only the night that’s only for me next day everything begins the same way.

For most housewives’s the schedule is quiet the same, how each one deals with the daily work depends on the willingness of the home maker. As the name suggests she is the living light of a home, a maker of the foundation of the first brick of society “Family”. But from past 2 decades India has been on a rapid change, a change that’s inevitable to not effect even on the part of housewives. Indian homes are no longer a part of the old traditional joint families and no longer the life in cities is left comparable to that of the past. Life is fast family members need to earn more money to survive in cities and so the trend of being a housewife is simply on decrease, partly because women have themselves chosen to be a part of work-force and partly they are forced to work.

When a home maker or a mother cares for her family she keeps a lot of things in her mind from the kind of preferences family members have, to the kind of restrictions they have. She has to keep in mind and maintain a thin balance between freedom and discipline in family. She cares for what who’s choice is from food, to clothes, to holidays etc at the same time she has to discipline her kid to study, her husband to eat correct, her in laws to eat medicines so on and so forth. Each of these looks so miniscule but it’s a job that needs endless attention and thoughtfulness that no matter what - a maid or an outsider can never give. The story of institutionalizing marriage is the need of adding wholesomeness to the smallest unit of society, which fulfills both the physical and emotional requirements of a human being, the mother or the home maker being the deity in that. Have these deities’s been rightly praised and valued???

The average housewife is said to work almost nine hours a day, seven days a week. If the same hours were worked in another job it would warrant a salary of about **15000INR. So when the thought of “Paying our home makers” arose from west there where many people who can forward to support the stance. But will a given amount of salary to a housewife do justice to a mother who spends her labour selflessly on her child??? Who should be giving the salary?? Would it not demean the mother’s role in her house?? Would she next time get the same respect from her child as she gets for her selfless sacrifice in their upbringing?? Yet demanding a pay for their sacrifice seems to be the new way of gaining that recognition that women have been deprived of for ages.

*Mrs Singh aged 65 a housewife states “Yes, they should. If you can pay an outsider for those jobs, the same rule should be applicable to a family member too. And nobody can match the commitment levels of a housewife. This will make her feel important and eventually lead to some savings as most housewives will spend the money on the family only.” On the contrary her daughter *Shweta aged 20 college student says “I don’t think so. This will act as a big hindrance to the education of a girl child. Today, girls are encouraged to study, earn and become independent. If they are paid for household work, many parents will stop sending them to school. This may also result in early marriage of girls. “

Now a mother daughter fight bought into our notice another important question – “Who should pay??” while shweta said it’s the government who should be paying the housewives arguing “What’s the use if husbands pay?? The total money within the house will be the same pass from one hand to another.” On the other side Mrs Singh wanted her husband to pay “I want him to know how hard my work is and while paying so much to me he would know my value at home.”

On asking “If paying home makers for their tasks at home correct way to value them??” - *Manoj an engineering student and a MBA aspirant explains “Society should always try to reward its citizens for vital work in some degree at least. Under a capitalist system the value of goods and services is recognized in financial terms, so a wage would recognize the important contribution of homemakers. As well as being important, housework is physically taxing, time consuming and in balancing the needs of a household, a relatively specialized task. These features are all valued highly by the marketplace, and it is a pure accident of history that home makers have not been included in this. “

On the other hand their where many who wanted women to be recognized and valued for their work but completely disagreed on the thought that husbands should pay their wife’s at all. *Meenal a soon to be married girl said “No...a woman is not her husbands servant or housemaid. Monetary compensation would be an insult. If a woman now days is lucky enough to stay home, raise her children, and provide the best environment she can for her family, while her husband is working outside the home to provide the means, that is how it should be. It's a partnership, not a business deal.” And keeping accords with her *Anju opined “No way! How demeaning would that be?! It also opens up a whole gamut of other problems including "boss/employee" expectations, and lets face it, do we really want to give husbands any more power over us?”

Our society needs not just housewives who struggle at home for their work but women who work dedicatedly for their families. And it is for the well being of a happy and healthy family to value and appreciate a mother, a wife whenever required after all rules of Motivation follows for every human being. Brick by brick good work has to be heightened; the benefits of having mothers at home would become apparent soon. I expect we’d find a nation where, on average, our children were better educated, truancy were diminished, broken homes were decreased, crime were severely curtailed, society be more gender balanced and even though our ways of doing things change with time we wouldn’t change in heart. Beauty of a home maker is in her values and sufferings she endures for her loved ones the only thing she genuinely wishes to see is her importance in the eyes of those whom she loves. Is it so difficult for us to recognize this?????

( *Names changed to protect identity ** Pay based on a hospitality services survey)

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