Thursday, February 25, 2010


This morning while thinking aloud, just like that a stray thought entered my mind. It has to do with each one of us; we all want to be altruistic, we all in some way or the other wish to do some sort of charity or social service and all of us always lack time for that. Charity is often the most neglected task of our lives. Today, I was thinking about what exactly do we mean by charity?

The dictionary defines it as
“generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless: to devote one's life to charity.” But let’s go a little deeper; is it only about giving a currency note to some NGO or is it taking pains to provide relief to a needy? Since the world is not same, each individual holds a different viewpoint on what exactly charity means. Some even consider the entire concept of charity a crap.

Ask a busy executive, for him charity is donating a yearly cheque to some well known NGO; for a businessman charity may be a good means to get tax rebates, while youngsters, mostly students, are confused about where should they start off as they wish to do a lot but their plans are hazy and ambiguous most of the times. I know some people who visit orphanages and NGOs to volunteer their money or services but they also make sure that it’s well known to people that X goes there every Sunday to do this service or that. Is charity a mode to be perceived as a local celebrity?

Some people although perform social services but behave exactly the opposite with people they hold power over like old family members, servants, pets etc. The old customs of doing charity like it used to be depicted in films has worn out. Now for most people, specially busy urbanites, it means simply donating money since it’s easy and saves their precious time.

But I view it differently. I feel the real charity is done when you take pains to provide relief to someone else in some way. Big or small doesn’t matter, but without expecting any returns including recognition from acquaintances, otherwise it would be akin to a business investment or a bond you expect to encash at an opportune moment in future! If you stand in a long queue to get a ticket reserved or pay the bill for an old citizen, that’s real charity.

I feel charity has nothing to do with money, whether you can donate it or not. What really matters is whether you are willing to make an extra effort to help someone you do not know. It may not be done only in an NGO; the basic attitude of charity can be and should be inculcated in daily life too, for example giving a piece of left over food to a stray canine is a kind of charity too :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

NO KIDDING -2- Is failure a sin??

I am motivated to write this post because of my friend UA’s response to my last post ‘No Kidding’. He came out with a very relevant point: we perceive failure as a sin, something criminal.

His comment refers to an adv of a leading toothpaste where a mother hides her child’s face and avoids camera when a reporter asks her whether her child has failed. She then passes the blame onto her toothpaste and looks confident and happy. UA says he is appalled by this commercial and I back him because if we look deeply, this adv is giving wrong messages to the audience.

Firstly, why is the lady hiding faces from the camera if her child has failed? That means failure is a sin and it’s the worst thing that can happen to a child. And if a child has failed, does that means his parents are in no position to show their faces to the world?? Imagine how much pressure it would put on the child himself, who would see and subconsciously register the fact that because of him his parents are facing the humiliation.

Secondly, the mother says with a somber expression “pata nai kaise fail ho gaya” (don’t know how he has failed). Are we teaching our kids to win at all costs, to become bookworms, theoretical robots or to gain applicable and real knowledge? Are we preparing them for a rat-race of academics or we want them to apply that somewhere usefully? Do we want them to become ‘educated’ or simply exam-passing literates?

And the third thing, which I hated the most too- Suddenly, the mother places the blame on the toothpaste she is using and then the duo regains confidence and feel easy. Are we teaching our kids to pass the blame? Instead, we must teach them to deal with the problem and own the failure as much as we would own success rather than passing the buck around . We must teach them to look for solutions to every problem, not to pass the problem itself to someone else and come out clean. Thus, in the real life a kid who flunked the exams would say "not me my tutor has failed or my books have failed but not me"

I would love to share a small incident that taught me valuable lessons in life at an early age. When I was in seventh standard I flunked the mathematics exam in the first term. I was called to the staffroom and very calmly my mathematics teacher asked me the reason for my low performance, since I had been a good student. I told her that my mother was admitted to the hospital and my father lacked time and I always saw him tensed and busy. Other members were busy too, so I had managed whatever I could, all by myself. She told me to again go through the lessons and consult her for any doubts. I managed time and made a timetable especially for maths, I asked my friends and teacher and meanwhile my personal life came back to normal. In the final exams I came second in my class and got good marks in that very subject- mathematics. Also, this entire thing deepened the bond between me and my friends and I understood how to handle similar situations in future.

We can only value light if we know how scary the dark is, similarly only failure prepares us to understand the joy of success. Failure is not a sin rather an experience that always teaches us something.

Monday, February 15, 2010


There are certain things that are powerful enough to thwart me in a second. In a moment I feel like leaving that place at once. One such thing is encounter with precocious children. Well, I have always loved kids and I love them when they share their little sweet secrets like how they managed to open the packet of chips noiselessly, how they managed to sharpen a pencil without a break in its point, how they managed to remove the blade of the sharpener or how they shared their tiffin with that stray puppy etc but I do hate it like everyone else does when kids show an irritating maturity and start teaching the elders or start speaking on topics they are otherwise not supposed to think about, let alone discuss. I do get irritated when they crack adult jokes but that’s just a momentarily reaction of mine, somewhere deep in my heart I get worried and tensed about where our kids are going? Needless to repeat, kids are the mirrors of society, so in short what is our society teaching the kids?

Parents take pride when their children are seen exhibiting such a behavior. Mothers delight when their little girls win local dance competitions by dancing ‘ditto’ as Bipasha of Omkara or Kareena of ‘bebo main bebo’. Parents encourage their kids to take part in all the reality shows originally designed for adults. Recently I saw a humor show on a leading TV channel where kids were seen cracking frivolous jokes with adult overtones. These kids might not know the exact tenor of the act but parents certainly do. I agree that our education system is faulty and cumbersome, it’s a very Herculean task for any child to carve out a successful career but that does not mean turning to reality shows for an easy way out to world of money and fame, even if a short-lived one.

Do notice that most of the time little girls are dressed up in the miniature version of clothes that we see in films. Glittery and short dresses, often with fashionable cuts and high heeled stilettos are the most common. Ask any child to sing a song; high chances he/she will start off with some funky bollywood number that can befuddle or stun you. Often you’ll regret for that request of yours.

I happened to read an interview of a leading child actor. He was anything but a kid. This little boy has a girlfriend, goes to clubs and loves his personal ‘space’. I was simply dazed. Even after accounting for the advancement in technological awareness in the modern society, this seems a bit too much to accept. When I and most of us were of this age, we did not even know half of the things going around. Studies, games, DD and food made up our world. It was much later we came to know about relationships and all that. Take any ad review, like those coming in Brand Equity or Mint. Most of the ad people tag certain ads as video garbage because the kids can be seen what the adults are supposed to say or do.

Sometime back I remember meeting some family friends. We were all chatting and the kids were playing, when the little girl (she was of 4-5 yrs then) spotted her kid brother playing with a dupatta and started laughing out loud, screaming from one corner of the room “oye, tu apna sex change operation karale aur ‘poora’ ladki banja” (u get a sex change operation done and u’ll be a full woman, emphasis on poora or ‘full blown’) and after that for the whole day all the kids were seen repeating this joke in all the possible forms. Surprisingly this did not embarrass their parents, who were giggling all day at the audacity of their children.

Unlimited unchecked access to TV and internet, and lack of the necessary amount of parental time is definitely making kids grow up fast.

Yes, innocence is lost.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


For past one month I was eagerly waiting for something, as I counted days I myself wondered “shucks! I am actually waiting, man!” I was in a strange dilemma, I could not openly declare that I was rather dying to see him nor I could hide my feelings. Finally that moment came. No! I was not waiting for my pardesi boyfriend on the Airport with a bunch of roses and about-to-slip kisses, but (it sounds so silly!) I was dying to watch ‘Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jayega’ on NDTV Imagine….eheheh and before you all start to taunt on my ‘taste’ of TV shows, let me be very clear about my purpose to watch this much ‘awaited show’. I wanted to see how far can girls go for him.

This is a very modern show, we have full (tann aur mann se!) participation of all the girls as young as a 19 years old who wish to marry Rahul Mahajan, in fact a one time cocaine addict but it doesn’t matter naa, not even his failed first marriage with his pilot wife Shweta, because Rahul is a celebrity somehow. Ya I am using the word ‘somehow’ because he was in the news mostly for wrong reasons and more the media coverage, more fame you gather ‘somehow’ thus all these somehow-Celebes include Rahul as well. They all gathered with gifts in their hands and crammed shayari (Rahul hymns) on their lips. One brave lady claimed she was in love with him since past 10 years and now her tapasya has paid off! The outfits of some were quite interesting and are sure to keep the males glued to the TV sets.

The first episode (scene 2): All the suitors... (hehehe!) gather inside a party hall and are vying with each other so as to attract the attention of the ultimate lady killer! (My jokes are not that bad yaar!) Some are pulling him this side, some that, some are singing in loud voices, and some are simply fuming because he isn’t paying them attention and while some simply walked up to him and begged for his attention! See, I told you naa India is full of modern and confident ladies! They are storming and demanding.

They ooze out a chutzpah that can even embarrass the person watching the show. Now I can understand Rahul when he said in its Ad “aap meri haalat to samajh hi sakte hain naa!” haan Rahul bilkul! And we can even understand and imagine poor you after marriage with one of these firebrands.

The first episode (scene 3): (Aha! Pyar ka nazraana! All the girls stand in a row and Rahul inspects them) 2 bangles were given by the lady killer to two girls who beamed with joy as others fumed and tried hard to control tears. And more catfights and dirty politics to come that’s gonna decide who will have the lady killer finally!

Well, coming to the point I, as an audience found it shameful to watch the ladies fight for a stupid pest. Its drooping below the last threshold of dignity. This is their insolent attitude at work. I frankly feel sorry for all the suitors fighting out there for Rahul … it’s a shame on the educated and dignified girls.

“When money speaks, no one checks the grammar” …. Hence proved!!