Take a Minute to Smile and Say ThankYou


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Stop before you rush off

Picture these episodes: The traditional tamboolam or the return gift is handed over to the guest when they leave a wedding. The material aspect of the conclusion is carried out, but how many hosts and guests actually tarry to have a moment’s conversation to express their feelings? The scenario is no different at parties and work lunches.

Considering the fact that so much of thought and effort has gone into the planning of these events, will it not be a graceful gesture to make eye contact and give a warm hug or a pat on the back before departing?

Always in a hurry

Passengers on a long air, road or rail journey end up getting fairly well-acquainted by the time they reach their destination. They break bread together and share space along with their opinions on random subjects. Sometimes they even confide their dreams and fears to the stranger who was hitherto unknown, but very few stop to exchange contact details or even say their goodbyes. Their haste to get off the vehicle and scoot off surpasses the courtesy that had been displayed thus long.

Children, who begin their day at the school in an organised assembly and form lines even when walking down the corridors during school hours, scamper out of school gates waving their hands in the air, not bidding adieu to anyone in particular.

How many of us wait for the credits to roll down completely before walking out of theatres? Don’t practitioners of yoga start rolling their mats even as the final instructions are being given by the coach?

One can count the number of students and patients who go back to thank their mentors and doctors who helped them out in the hour of need after their need is fulfilled.

Focus on endings as well

All these instances point out to one factor. It shows our sheer lack of knack in tying up loose ends. We Indians attach a lot of importance to beginnings. We identify auspicious days, hours and even moments to begin our novel enterprises. It is not just the weddings, functions, worship and festivities.

Most of us are very conscious about making a good beginning even for our regular day-to-day activities like travelling, filling forms, applying for jobs or examinations, going for a medical check-up, buying jewellery or furniture among other things.

A lot of effort goes into planning and executing our projects, be it a simple menu of home-cooked food, or organising a birthday party, presenting a paper at a seminar or attending a wedding.

How many times have we not stood patiently in queues to get what we want, sat in the corridors of hospitals, educational institutions and government offices to meet the person concerned to sort out our issues?

Then there are times when we wait for hours on the end to board a flight, wait for a rock concert to begin or peer through a telescope to see a rare alignment of planets. These instances highlight the fact that we are ready to give our best shot backed by patience, determination and rare endurance.

We genuinely believe that well begun is half done, therefore all the fuss about commencing activities with a prayer on our lips or a positive frame of mind is deemed warranted.
Nevertheless what fazes a third party onlooker is that we in the sub-continent fail in the art of giving a decent conclusion to our activities.

Be courteous

Of course, each one of us may have a valid excuse for doing what we do, the way we do it. Though there can be umpteen number of reasons to wind up unceremoniously, it is definitely not the done thing.

Is it really asking for too much when a person is required to spend a moment expressing his or her heartfelt thanks when he or she is the receiver? Does it hurt to hang on for a moment and smile or nod to show that we have arrived at the finish line of the meeting?
Will we not appreciate an attitude of gratitude or at least acknowledgement when we have worked hard on a venture?

A kind word goes a long way

The human psyche is very sensitive. Even the social media is aware of this dimension of human psychology. Perhaps that is the reason they have come up with variations of ‘like’ buttons which help us respond favourably and easily.

Even the bitterest soul will warm up towards a person who recognises his or hercontribution. Such being the case, a little appreciation or constructive criticism can go a long way in inspiring better endeavours. One can land fresh projects and customers can weave new relationships, navigate learning curves or very simply experience the satisfaction of a job well done when matters are given a fine and a conscious finish.

Those of us who have embraced the habit of drawing a shoddy closure to the various things must understand that a warm and courteous conclusion is actually a precursor to a new beginning.

Sky is the Limit For Unshackled Women


http://www.deccanherald.com/content/600038/sky-limit-unshackled-women.html

The world of women has always been oscillating, especially in our sub-continent. Recorded history and sociology vouch for the fact that women were enlightened and emancipated in the best possible manner in the early Vedic ages. Conditions regressed in the later periods, only to deteriorate steadily. Women were weaned from the right to education, equality, economics and even dignity.

Foreign invasions and inland political insecurities which prompted the use of the purdah system caught on to the point of shrouding our sisters in some parts of the country till date.

Dowry system which was paved with the intention of passing on the rightful fraction of the family heirlooms and property took demonic proportions which started smouldering and singeing young women in their marriages. The rigid caste system, polygamy and the system of honour killing almost decimated the status of women to non-entities.

Our society slowly fell into a decadent pattern that proved to be a dreadful nightmare for women in particular. So much so that even five centuries ago, there were formulae for bringing up children. A separate set of rules for sons and daughters. By the time they were responsible young adults, they were prepared to slip into their slots and play their part within and outside their households. This methodology worked quite well through several centuries.

Several centuries later, the fairer sex stepped out of their hearths and homes pursuing education and professions. They did face teething problems till they emerged successfully. Then the trend became an accepted norm.

Young women blossomed at every given opportunity while their less accomplished sisters experienced the much needed exposure. This encouraged them to dream for a bigger platform for their daughters. If this phenomenon of getting better with each passing generation were to become a reality, then the world we live in will transform into Utopia.

Alas such is not the case. Parenting has become a challenge. Despite all the talks and convictions about creating a level playing ground for children of either gender, the harsh truth remains contrary. To be fair to parents of our sub-continent, many of them do walk their talk. There are lakhs of couples who have parented only one girl child and have helped her achieve wisely and well. Yet, sadly the fact remains that many of these young women are considered to be round pegs in square holes because the world at large openly or secretly consider them to be second class citizens.

Freedom for girl child

More than ever, there is a serious threat to the security and freedom of the girl child, especially in urban set ups. We are living in times where stories of molestation, rape and the fairer sex being subjected to indignities have started making headlines almost on a daily basis. While rationalists would like to smother this news content as the hype created by media, we must also remember that there can be no smoke without fire.

Let us face facts, looks like we have reached a stage where debauchery has begun to become a byword in our country. At one glance it is obvious that there is something essentially wrong in the way we bring up our children. It is not just about gender inequality which begins at the foetal stage.

The health and education sectors which make a staple contribution during the formative years wallow in corruption. The families and immediate society which moulds the child’s thinking and shapes its character unthinkingly imposes its biased convictions and baseless theories which undermine its personality in the long run.

Intrinsic human values like truth and compassion have given way to superficiality and wanton display of materialism. Certificates and documents have substituted learning and imbibing knowledge. The global village which leaves us spoilt for choices have made us blind to the positive qualities of our vicinity. There seems to be no censor over the entertainment sector which is dishing out brain candy and promoting medieval beliefs and superstitions. The scenario is bleak.

Despite this drawback, it is heartening to note that quite a decent number of the fairer sex in our cities have not only managed to survive but also thrive. If women can stand up against all odds and prove their mettle, just imagine, how much more they can achieve if they are unshackled of obstacles? The sky will be the limit!

The Changing Face Of Namma Bengaluru


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The residential areas in Namma Bengaluru are facing an unexpected makeover just when one thought that it was settling down into a pattern. The Namma Metro, road widening, underpasses and over bridges are all set to change the face of the city. DH photo

The residential areas in “Namma Bengaluru” are facing an unexpected makeover just when one thought that it was settling down into a pattern. The Namma Metro, road widening, underpasses and over bridges are all set to change the face of the city.

The constant digging of roads in the name of progress is pressing the panic button of the general public who happen to own land along the “roads to progress”. Though none of the landowners want to part with their precious piece of land, some prefer to chicken out of the issue by quietly submitting to the authority, while the more passionate decide to fight tooth and nail to retain their prized possession. Scenes of disharmony on the subject are not rare. The subject is the hot potato of the Metro and just about everybody – landowner or not – is not particularly happy with the situation. Then, the apparent moot question in the situation is, why should the authorities tenaciously persist something, which is totally unpalatable to the people?

In order to comprehend this phenomenon, it is important for us to realise that besides being economic assets, all buildings, urban designs and settlement patterns have a symbolic content, which gives them an identity of their own. They have grown into the psyche of the citizen and have been nurtured by the people who inhabit or observe them. Old Bengalurians will vouch for this home truth without hesitation. They have been mute victims to various modern architectural metamorphoses from time to time. It has  ignored customs and contexts, which eventually resulted in sterile urban environments.

Individual bungalows, which made the city a “Pensioner’s Paradise” gave way to smaller houses with one or two storeys with the coming of several public sector units in the city. Increased business opportunities and arrival of the IT sector gave rise to high rise buildings and flat culture in the Silicon City. All these changes have taken place right under the nose of the conscientious citizens who have invariably turned their noses up in the air at each juncture.

But has it made an iota of difference to the “indifferent authorities” who choose to override the opinion of the common citizen? These frustrating rhetoric questions are the very
ones, which are eroding the peace of mind of the common man! It is immaterial as to whether he is a direct victim of the said circumstances or not!

In the process of development, we ended up losing our balance with nature. With technological progress, we are facing inadequacies in every which way. The impact of globalisation, implication of the virtual world into the real, rapid extinction of basic amenities like potable water and electricity are some of the harsh truths which boggle the metropolitan these days.

Evolving new direction
It is time we truly reflected over the monstrous manifestation and look for a new direction to evolve sensibly and sensitively. Architects and thinkers on the subject look upon the subject as an embodiment of experiential, emotional and sensory qualities of a city. The much celebrated “salubrious climate” of the city, the regional landscape despite the disappearing green canopy and the symbolic identity of a city which welcomed all and sundry with open arms is a victim of its own “accommodative nature” today.

All the buildings, properties and settlements which were an intrinsic part of the fabric of Namma Bengaluru are apparently fighting a losing battle for they are trying to race against time and the “so-called progress”. They portray a static image of a dynamic entity, which has undergone several transformations over the years, right in front of them. The truth is inevitable, no matter what is said or done; the process of metamorphoses has begun. We have to wait and watch to see how the final picture will turn out to be. One should not be too very surprised if there are more mutations and changes in “city planning” as and when required or desired by the authorities.

A settlement becomes timeless in the minds of its inhabitants because it possesses evolutionary significance. Hence, people who are fighting for their piece of “good earth” are, in fact, commenting on contemporary lifestyles which are but alterations and condensed continuities of the original way of life.

The pragmatic people look upon the changes to come from a socio- economic angle. It is obviously a part of the foreseeable future. The time to face the reality of the realty scene is looming above our heads like the proverbial Damocles’ sword. The ball is in the court of the common man. If we decide not to not succumb to pressure, it is imperative that we stand united by the cause. Just in case we choose to stand divided on the subject, we must be mentally prepared to go with the flow!