Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Out of sight but not out of mind

I came across a copy of a well circulated news magazine the other day. The question answer column pertaining to sexual health was a shocker. Kids as young as 15 years old, mostly guys were asking questions about their intimate problems. It was shocking to see this side of our teenagers and the kind of turmoil they are facing without anyone to answer their questions. There was a guy who was convinced by his peers to be gay, but he plaintively asks the Doctor if there was anything wrong with him as he liked girls!! There was a girl asking if she would get pregnant as she had kissed her boyfriend!! And she was just 14 years old! And more of what I thought was 'ridiculous' questions but was obviously an area of anxiety for these kids.

Several women's magazine also have regular columns like this and reading it will give our 'anti sex educationists' a reality check. But I guess it is better these people don't come across such columns or they would push for its ban because it 'corrupts' our youngsters and is against our 'culture'. What a joke. How do these people think they were born? Through immaculate conception? Why don't they prosecute their own parents for indulging in "immoral activities" that led to their birth?!

What I don't understand is how did the land of the 'Kamasutra' degenerate thus? By degenerate I mean, consider a natural function of the body 'dirty'? A country with an exploding population that considers the act of procreation 'dirty' is a disturbing thought indeed! What are we, a nation of perverts?

I think people who think that the act of procreation is dirty are the real 'perverts' because they deny men and women the natural right to associate with each other without guilt.

Right to sex education should be a given by law especially in a country like ours. Why do we deny this natural function of the body while we acknowledge the rest? We rush around consulting specialists and take advice on healthy eating habits if we have a heart problem and or diabetes etc. Why don't we do allow the same courtesy to sexual health? We allow Dental camps in schools, why don't we allow sex education? I am surprised that the moral brigade allows Sexologists to practise in our country!!!

What is the moral brigade scared of? Do these people think that kids don't know anything about the 'act'? In which case it is high time we burst the myth that our kids are asexual beings. Perhaps we need to educate the people ranting against sex education about the realities of life which might perhaps make them sit up and take note of the looming threat to the very fabric of our society due to ignorance. How do you expect people to exercise self restraint when you don't allow them to know what is right and what is wrong?

The greatest irony of our times is that AIDs has had more effect on our people than the preachings of priests, pundits and mullahs.

Today's newspapers show a group of saffron clad Arya Samaji's protesting against sex education. Last month it was an Imam who threatened the government if they went ahead with sex education classes. Do they know the type of damage they are doing to the youth by denying them the basic right to information that will have far reaching effect on their mental health?

On the flip side I hope places where they allow sex education are equipped with teachers who can give an unbiased reply to kids questions, or else sex education classes will degenerate into ideological or communally colored moralistic preachings and our kids will be back to square one.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Gone are the good ol days...

So I got promoted to a Manager. Normally I would have felt proud of this achievement. But I felt nothing when I got the mail from Big Boss informing me of my promotion. I managed a smile as he shook hands and offered me his congratulations.

I am now the Manager of the team I led for little under a year now. I was an Assistant Manager then to this team comprising of three girls and a guy, all elder to me by a couple of years. But then, my Boss was the Big Boss of the team. As his Assistant Manager I was informally the Manager of the team.

I grew up with this team. I recruited all of them when I first joined here. They are the best team on earth who have adjusted to my fast pace of working and the whole team sort of gelled into one unit with me being just a subtle leader in the sense of escalations and taking certain decisions.

We had fun. We worked hard, we partied hard, we laughed hard, we bitched about the big bosses hard and cried hard when we had a disaster.

Today all that seems to be gone. The moment I got my promoton letter it was like I had been wrenched away from a circle of friends.

When I see their names under mine on the Intranet, I feel sad. Just a few days ago my name was with theirs under the Big Boss's name.

When I got access to their appraisal page on the Intranet I felt like a back biter. When I got access to their Salary page I feel like an snooper.

I dont want to do this. I want the old carefree days back when Big Boss did the dirty job while I was the good girl, the fun team lead.

I hate the fact that I might now be the butt of "bad manager" jokes that I so specialised in till just a few days ago. I hate the fact that when I walk into a group, there might be an awkward silence as people suddenly stop talking. I hate the fact that I will get the full impact of disappointments when a salary hike in not upto expected standards. I hate the fact that I might be shut out of the world I was part of just a few days ago!

I hate being on the other side!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Conquering the demon within

Teresa is a contract worker with us, who was bought by her employer to do some data entry work in our office. She is been with us for two months now and her work will get over by next month. She is totally intimidated with our office environment, people and practices. She can type good English but cannot converse in the same language.

It took me some time to get friendly with her and persuade her to sit with us for lunch. Last week she was very despondent. I thought she was sick. A little bit of prodding and she revealed that it was her son’s birthday. I was shocked to hear that she had a son. She looked like a baby herself!! Teresa has an 8-year-old son and a husband back in Trivandrum.

Her story told in bits and pieces over the week has left me angry and very very frustrated. Teresa was the only daughter of her folks who worked in the Gulf. She was not very bright in studies, besides she was a simple girl. She managed to do her computers course and a graduation and was married off to a guy working as a contract worker with the Kerala government.

Soon after marriage, Teresa’s husband laid down rules and regulations for her. Breakfast should be at least three courses, lunch at least 5 courses and dinner the same. Anything less and he flew into a rage and threw the food out. Teresa had to come back home by 6 pm or he would make a scene drawing neighbors and sundry passers by with his rants. And this being Kerala, neighbors too would join in chiding her for coming late. Many a day when she worked late she came home, to a door bolted from the inside and had to go to her parents home to sleep. Next day when she returned home, she would get a tongue lashing for her ‘misdemeanors’.

Teresa had to put red coloring in her hair parting so that people knew that she was married and a mangal sutra too. Failing which he flies into a rage accusing her of deliberately hiding her marital status.

Her parent’s advice to stand upto him was of no avail as Teresa was too used to the abuse. Besides she didn’t want to lose her son, whom her husband refused to part with.

Fed up of the constant strife, Teresa applied for a job in Bangalore with a Branch of the Data Entry Agency where she worked and was selected. She told her husband that she was transferred. He had no choice but to let her go as she pays the loan of the house they built. The house is in his name.

Every week Teresa’a husband calls up and inquires if she has put the red kum kum in her hair. Every six month he lands up at her one room home and makes life hell for her by asking neighbors about her timings. This being Bangalore, luckily neighbors do not entertain such requests.

After paying off her housing loan, Teresa has barely any money to buy clothes or food. The free lunch in my office is a boon to her. When I asked her why she took such abuse, she smiled and said that coming away to Bangalore was her small way of raising her voice. She hopes that Bangalore and the distance from her husband will change her.

I felt so proud of her when I heard that! Teresa realizes her shortcomings and is fighting back, in her own way. How many Malayalee women do that?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Whats the good word for this?

What happens when you, a committed person meets another person who is just right for you? A really scary and sad thought if you ask me. An ex colleague and really dear friend of mine was going to get engaged to B next week. B had fallen in love with A at first sight and finally convinced A to accept his proposal for marriage after a year of courtship. A agreed as B was devoted to her.

A few months back A called me and confessed that she had fallen in love with another colleague C. Someone she related with a lot more than B. Some one she could talk to for hours and someone who was like her soul mate. A has known C for a year and this is no puppy love or infatuation. We can see the compatibility in the two.

We advised her to break of the engagement as it was not fair on B to be hitched with a woman who loved another man. A agreed and called off the engagement. We, her friends felt that B deserved better.

Now B is not talking to us . He thinks we are the villains of the piece. The home breakers, the relationship wreckers and other really bad words in the dictionary :( And that feels bad because we were trying to protect him, the ‘underdog’ in this mess. But B feels we should have supported him by advising A to stick to him as he loved her so much.

What does one do in such a situation? I don’t know. But our conscience is clear. We did the right thing or what we thought was the right thing. We took the right decision for both of them. Or so we like to think. ( Damn this is so confusing!!!)

Sometimes I wish I would stop being Samson the fair judge and blindly support my friends and forget all thoughts of fair play.

If there is a God above I pray that I am not faced with the dilemma A faced. I can’t think of anything more tragic!!! On the other hand I think A is really lucky to have met C when she did. Sounds even more confusing I know.

Damn now I am thoroughly confused and feeling quite sorry for myself .

(Presently listening to this melodious song)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The intelligence gap

He: I think you should get to know me better!
She: I don't think so!
He: Why?
She: Because I think I should not get to know you better!
He: Why?! What's wrong with me?
She: *sigh* Never mind!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Moving up in life :)

Today we went to the Empire Hotel on Church Street for lunch. After lunch I found my bike missing! The security guard informed me that someone had pushed my bike to the side so that he could remove his mobike and left it in a no-parking area. The result was that it was towed away.

Finally I located the bike and paid the Rs 300/- fine ( Rs 200/- towing charges and Rs 100/- fine. Ha!! ) The Inspector noted down my DL details and I was booked for "Parking in a No Parking Area!!!

I am now a criminal!!! :)


Sunday, October 07, 2007

White pawns

I got back last Friday after a blissful one week in sandy, green and cloudy Goa. The occasion was a close friends wedding. On getting back I was told that my cousin brother George had got married in the US. George is a Surgeon and is practicing in one of the leading US hospitals.

Today George dropped in with his foreign wife. The look of horror on my parents face would have been side splittingly funny if it had not been the shock I myself experienced when I beheld George's bride. She was close to 300 pounds heavy and one could hardly make out her features beneath the double chin and layers of fat all over.

This post is not about foreign wives but about Indian men and their double standards. George is one such example of Indian men I have seen and met who were so fussy when it came to marrying an Indian woman. They were particular about dowry, color, family status, weight, religious division etc etc etc. Yet when they married a foreign woman, mostly due to Green Card considerations, such specs’ vanished into thin air!!

Now I have nothing against anyone marrying anyone…but when I see these foreign brides I wonder if they know the realities of their Indian hubbies and how these men would have cringed at the thought of marrying an obese Indian woman!! And I feel bad for these girls. I feel bad because they are being used and because they are married to double faced men…men who have a different reality for them and another for the Indian women.