Monday, March 25, 2013

"Good news...."

Working in a MNC makes you come across diverse human behavior and which makes yuou both proud and guilty of your customs and traditions.

We Indians are always portrayed as quite emotional and dramatic people especially when it comes to our family and relations. And we somehow take pride in our those strong bonds. But I still somehow feel we have a lot to learn as far as events surrounding birth of child are concerned.
It still seem quite a taboo to share the news that you are expecting a child with your friends and others.
In last few months , couple of my french colleagues have become parents and I found it quite amusing, but at the same time satisfying, the way my manager over there and other colleagues were sharing the news affront in the weeklies, even before the couple have delivered. They were equally excited in the way they used to say " He is on leave and we don't know when but soon we should expect the good news". Of course they had a shyness in their voice but the excitement made you feel and sense the strong bond they all socially shared.
In India on the other hand its all hush hush affair till the child is born. People are not at all comfortable in involving people before hand the actual event has occurred. 

A close friend of mine is expecting and after coming to know from another common friend I congratulated him and his first reply was "Please don't share with anyone else, its quite a personal affair". I won't say I was not taken aback but somehow I could understand his reservations in making it public or letting others participate in it.
Me and one of my colleague wondered about this socially different behavior we encountered.

Why our elders and society teaches us to be so secretive and uncomfortable about such things? With due respect to the privacy of each individual , what could be the reason for the same ?
Foremost that we could think of was the fact that we are scared that something bad might happen if the news is made public. (Seems insane right ?). In India people are more jealous of others success than they are happy of their own achievements. So they feel any ill - thought may prove harmful for the baby thus its advisable to keep the thing under wraps for as long as possible. India in its earlier times had a huge number of infant deaths or miscarriages (its still not fully eradicated) and instead of accepting it wholly as a result of poor medical facilities, we get comfort in our superstitious beliefs. 
Second , people feel embarrassed to touch anything that is even remotely related to sex. In a country where the sole purpose of sex is still to procreate , the reverse is also true. Ask any recently married guy jokingly "When are you giving the good news ? " and don't be surprised to get the most embarrassed look that person may have ever given.
Ok I am not implying that we people need to be totally forthcoming about our pro creating activities with everyone , I duly respect the notion of keeping your personal life reserved but what I personally feel is that people in India should stop portraying these things as one of the most heinous crime that you may have committed and be so uncomfortable about such things with your friends and well wishers.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Small can be Big...

As per the book Tipping Point , ( and since I have not read any other book on criminal psychology, I will take it as my holy grail ), if you want to curb a serious and major crime, you need to stop the petty crimes.
So I feel the provision to make Voyeurism , stalking and eve-teasing as punishable crime as per the new Crime Against Women bill can be quite instrumental to bring down the cases of rape in general.
In that book, when murders and thefts were quite rampant in subways and metros of New York city in 90's, the police decided to tackle the problem at petty level.  Most of the people , seeing  the law and order situation at such places , used to dodge taking tickets and used to jump over those turnstile. So the first thing police did was increase the vigilance at the turnstile ensuring that people do punch tickets and whosoever tries to avoid that was caught at that very moment , handcuffed and taken to police station. This not only made people follow the basic rules of subway travel but also reinstalled the respect and faith in the law and order system.
Soon people found that the murders and thefts that were becoming so common in New York subways, became extinct overnight, whereas nothing as such was drastically done  for that specific problem.
So the point is that if we prevent people from even doing small basic crimes, which at times we tend to overlook, then it very much discourages them from doing even heftier crimes.
The problem with India is that no body (read public) does anything when you encounter someone teasing or passing lewd comments at public places. And if somehow somebody takes the courage to protest then the teasers don't even blink before harming them gravely.
And because of this, they slowly slowly gather enough courage to commit even more heinous crimes.
I think most of the rapists don't straight a way jump into raping someone, they have a prolonged history of eve-teasing and stalking, so if they are stopped at those points itself then it may prevent them from becoming sex-offenders.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Life is not about not making Mistakes... Its more about making them and learning from it and ensuring its not repeated !!!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Want to be a Foreigner in my own country

I envy William Darlymple.

Ever since I started reading books regularly , William Darlymple has been one of my favorite writer rather person. He is a person who is living the life I dream.

It has always been my dream to travel significant places , interact with people of different diversities, study their culture, traditions and capture them not only with my camera but also in words, to share with people around the world. And this guy William Darlymple does exactly the same san the photography part (to an extent or at least he does not make it the primary objective.)

But that is not why I envy him. I envy him because he does the same thing in my own country. This guy has more access and knowledge about my own country than what I can ever garner and I personally feel its because of the fact that he is a Foreigner. I am not comparing our intellect or charm, he is way ahead on that , I just feel its the ease with which people open to strangers from abroad and that's what makes me envious.

Ever since I have started clicking people in public places , I have always experienced that Indians will readily pose if a foreigner is clicking them but will take all the objections if their fellow countrymen tries to capture them.

Its just not about photos , lets see the books that have been published about Indian culture, history and traditions in last few decades , I am yet to come across an Indian writer who has written an impartial and globally well received book about our country. Yes Arvind Adiga won a Man Booker's prize for his book the White Tiger but that book is more about a life of a particular person then India as a whole.

The movie made on the Father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi was made by a foreigner , was enacted by a foreigner and was based on the book "Freedom at Midnight" which was again written by two foreigners. The fact that they could easily retrace and reconstruct the sequence of events leading to his assassination by the Hindu extremists somehow substantiate the fact how comfortable it was for them.

Yes I agree , we Indians tend to trust fellow Indians less and always feel the other person is always going to exploit us or take total benefit out of us without crediting us. And these things make them more comfortable and trustworthy of a foreigner.

Yes we all want our 15 seconds of fame and interacting with a foreigner is the easiest way to get that.

I may be underestimating the problems that these Foreigner face as I myself don't have the first person account of their interactions or behind the scene account of their work and at the same time I still need to horn my skills of public / street photography where I sometimes need to politely first ask people about clicking their photos, so kindly forgive my ignorance about the same.

I do have due respect to these peoples people skills but being an Indian myself I know how we people react differently to our own countrymen.

My apprehensions might be getting the better of me at this moment but some day when I do embark on fulfilling my dream of being a William Darlymple I just hope I am more determined to put more effort to make people comfortable to share themselves with me :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

How will it change ?

With the spurt of rapes still continuing in the National Capital of India and our government being as always inactive in curbing these atrocities against Women, I wonder how are we going to change the mindset of men when we are so surrounded by traditions , culture and even government policies which don't consider Women at par with Men.
A friend's mom need to visit him in Singapore for couple of months and I was asked to check for the Visa formalities for her and I was surprised to find that since she is a housewife and will be travelling alone without her husband , Singapore Embassy requires her husband to present a  No Objection Certificate stating that he has no objection to her visit.
I simply don't understand what is the logic behind her requiring the permission of her husband. What if he does not allow her , won't she be allowed to visit her own son ? Has it been the other way around that her husband was travelling alone,had he too need to submit a NOC from his wife ?
I honestly did not expect a rule like that from a developed country like Singapore.
Another funny thing happened today while I was at an Aadhar centre getting my Aadhar enrollment done. There was a lady there, who too had came for the same and she had her face covered with her dupatta , as you normally find village women in India. When her trun came , she had to get her photo clicked and she was quite reluctant to remove her dupatta as she was accompanied by a male who was elder and as per Indian customs a lady should not show her face to her elders. It was quite amusing with people trying to convince her and they finally had to ask the elder to turn around.
Although it was amusing but at the same time quite saddening to see. And this has been the state of our country for ages.