Sunday, July 31, 2016

Advice you would give to your teenage daughter....

·  By  Seema Goswami


It was about two years ago that I did a column about all the things I would tell my teenage self if I could travel back in time. I thought about it again this week because a Twitter thread started by @genderlogindia on the same subject threw up some interesting and some rather surprising responses.
But as I read through all the stuff that women would have told their younger selves, I began to wonder whether we would not, in fact, be better off if we gave those bits of advice to those that need it most: our teenage daughters, or simply teenagers who could be our daughters. The things we wish we had known when we were young are exactly the things that young women out there could benefit learning from.
So, this Sunday, here is a random scattering of the wisdom (such as it is) that I have gained through my many decades on the planet, for the benefit of all the younger ladies out there.

-  First off, repeat after me: Nothing matters very much; and very little matters at all. Memorise the phrase. Internalise it. And say it back to yourself every time you feel overwhelmed by life. It doesn’t matter what the current crisis is. It could be anything from your first love dumping you to not getting into the college of your choice or gaining a few kilos. Just repeat the mantra to yourself, and in time you will realise how true it is.
In a few years, you will struggle to put a face on the first frog you kissed; none of your work colleagues will give a damn about which college you attended; and when you look at your younger photos, you will marvel at how amazing you looked (if only you’d had the sense to realise it at that time!).

-  It is better to be clever than to be cool. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against cool girls. They have the best clothes, the funkiest haircuts, the most rocking accessories and the most amazing swagger ever as they float through life, surrounded by admirers of both sexes. So, if you are a cool girl, then good luck to you. But if you are a clever girl, you will make your own luck. You are the one who will get the coolest jobs, you are the one who will end up with the most interesting career, you are the one who will have the best ideas. Your cleverness will last even as their coolness fades (and sadly, it always does). So, please, be clever enough to see that.

Focus on female friendships. Yes, I know, those raging hormones are making boys look very attractive indeed at the moment. But don’t ever turn your back on your girlfriends. Take time out to have all-girl lunches or dinners if you can’t quite manage all-girl holiday trips. Bond over Gossip Girl (or whatever your generation’s equivalent ofFriends and Sex And The City is) or Gone Girl, or The Girl On The Train, or even the Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.

Female bonding: Don’t ever turn your back on your girlfriends. It is these female friendships that will survive and sustain you over the years. 

And never ditch your female friends just because a boyfriend asks you out at the last moment. It is these female friendships that will survive and sustain you long after that boyfriend is history.

This is the time to embrace all the possibilities of life, to try your hand at different things, to experiment and explore. So, don’t be in a hurry to settle down, both in your personal and professional life. If you can afford it (or, more accurately, if your parents can) take a year off and do exactly what pleases you.

Go trekking in the Himalayas. Teach in a village school. Intern with a newspaper or advertising agency. Go backpacking through Europe. This is probably the only time in your life you can do this sort of thing. After that, it will be time to get a steady job with a decent paycheque that allows you to pay your own bills. And then will come marriage and babies to curb your freedom (and whatever you may think now, they will do exactly that). So enjoy your time as a free agent; it will be over in the blink of an eye.

And finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t set yourself impossible standards and then punish yourself for failing to meet them. Push yourself to do better and be better, by all means. But also, be realistic about what your body and brain can accomplish. Not everyone is a natural size 0 (and nor should they be; what an incredibly boring world that would be to live in!) so focus on being healthy rather than on being skinny. (Supermodels like Gisele B√ľndchen or accredited beauties like Deepika Padukone are genetic freaks. Judging yourself against their standards is plain stupid.) And not everyone has it in them to win a Nobel Prize for literature or physics.
The best way to get the most out of life is to make the most of what you have instead of mourning all that you don’t. So, stay positive, stay sane, and stay blessed. And treat each day as the first day of the rest of your life.

From HT Brunch, November 29

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Learning selfless real love from children.

This is a story of a noble act by a child, that moves me deeply.

Worth Reading....                             
My wife called, 'How long will you be with that newspaper? Will you  come here and make your darling daughter eat her food?
I tossed the paper away and rushed to the scene. My only daughter, Sindu, looked frightened; tears were welling up in her eyes.
In front of her was a bowl filled to its brim with curd rice. Sindu is a nice child, quite and  intelligent for her age.
I picked up the bowl. 'Sindu, darling, why don't you take a few mouthful of this curd rice? Just for Dad's sake, dear'.
Sindu softened a bit and wiped her tears with the back of her hands. 'Ok, Dad. I will eat - not just a few mouthfuls, but the whole lot of this. But, you should...' Sindu hesitated...... 'Dad, if I eat this entire curd Rice, will you give me whatever I ask for?'
'Promise'. I covered the pink soft hand extended by my daughter with mine, and clinched the deal.
Now I became a bit anxious. 'Sindu, dear, you shouldn't insist on getting a computer or any such expensive items. Dad does not have that kind of money right now. Ok?'
'No, Dad. I do not want anything expensive.'
Slowly and painfully, she finished eating the whole quantity. I was silently angry with my wife and my mother for forcing my child to eat something that she detested.
After the ordeal was through, Sindu came to me with her eyes wide with expectation. All our attention was on her.
'Dad, I want to have my head shaved off, this Sunday!' was her demand.
'Atrocious!' shouted my wife, 'A girl child having her head shaved off? Impossible!'
'Never in our family!' My mother rasped. 'She has been watching too much of television. Our culture is getting totally spoiled with these TV programs!'
'Sindu, darling, why don't you ask for something else? We will be sad seeing you with a clean-shaven head.'
'Please, Sindu, why don't you try to understand our feelings?' I tried to plead with her.
'Dad, you saw how difficult it was for me to eat that Curd Rice'. Sindu was in tears. 'And you promised to grant me whatever I ask for. Now, you are going back on your words. 
"Was it not you who told me the story of King Harishchandra, and its moral that we should honor our promises no matter what?'
It was time for me to call the shots. 'Our promise must be kept.'
'Are you out of your mind?' chorused my mother and wife.
'No. If we go back on our promises, she will never learn to honour her own. Sindu, your wish will be fulfilled.'
With her head clean-shaven, Sindu had a round-face, and her eyes looked big and beautiful.
On Monday morning, I dropped her at her school. It was a sight to watch my hairless Sindu walking towards her classroom. She turned around and waved. I waved back with a smile.
Just then, a boy alighted from a car, and shouted, 'Sinduja, please wait for me!' What struck me was the hairless head of that boy. 'May be, that is the in-stuff', I thought.
A lady got out of car and came to me. She said 'Sir, your daughter Sinduja is great indeed! That boy who is walking along with your daughter is my son, Harish. He is suffering from... leukemia'. She paused to muffle her sobs.
'Harish could not attend the school for the whole of the last month. He lost all his hair due to the side effects of the chemotherapy. He refused to come back to school fearing the unintentional but cruel teasing of the schoolmates.
...... Sinduja visited him last week, and promised him that she will take care of the teasing issue.....
"But, I never imagined she would sacrifice her lovely hair for the sake of my son! Sir, you and your wife are blessed to have such a noble soul as your daughter.'
I stood transfixed with tears 'My little Angel, you are teaching me how selfless real love is!'
The happiest people on this planet are not those who live on their own terms but are those who change their terms for others!

Dilemma!

Subject: Dilemma!
A perfect example for the dilemma we often face in any decision making.

A group of children were playing near two railway tracks, one still in use while the other not.

Only one child played on the unused track, the rest on the operational track.

A train is coming, and you are just beside the track interchange. You can make the train change its course to the unused track and save most of the kids.

However, that would also mean the lone child playing by the unused track would be sacrificed.

Or would you rather let the train go its way?

Let's take a pause to think what kind of decision we could make................

have u thought enough !!!!

Most people might choose to divert the course of the train, and sacrifice only one child. Save most of the children at the expense of only one child was rational decision most people would make, morally and emotionally.

But, have you ever thought that the child chose to play on the unused track had in fact made the right decision to play at a safe place?

Nevertheless, he had to be sacrificed because of his ignorant friends who chose to play where the danger was.

This kind of dilemma happens around us everyday. In the office, community, in politics and especially in a democratic society, the RIGHT is often sacrificed for the interest of the majority, no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority are, and how far-sighted and knowledgeable the wise are.

The great critic Leo Velski Julian who told the story said he would not try to change the course of the train because he believed that the kids playing on the operational track were aware that the track was still in use, and that they would run away when they hear the train's sirens.

Now, If the train was diverted, that lone child would definitely die because he never expects that a train could come over on the unused track!

Further, that track was not in use probably because it was not safe. If the train was diverted to such a track, we may put the lives of all passengers on board at stake! And in our attempt to save few kids thinking that the train may run over them, we might end up sacrificing hundreds of people.

While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to be made, we may not realize that hasty decision may not always be the right one.

"What's Right isn't always popular..

and what's popular isn't always Right."