Women-let them fly!

Recently, at an event, Priyanka Chopra gave an inspiring speech about women breaking the glass ceiling. The video has been doing the rounds on social media, but how many women are able to do it – is a million dollar question. How practical is it for women to implement such ideas in our country?

Suicide of IIT scholar Manjula Devak in May 2017 shows us the emptiness of such thinking. Manjula Devak was a 28 year old independent woman who committed suicide (perhaps because of marital issues regarding freedom to do as she pleased) in Delhi.  Dowry harassment and lack of support from her family led her to take such an extreme step. So where is the equality, if qualified women like her in the end succumb to an issue like dowry? She is just one recent example, but we all know the numbers are shockingly high.

However harsh it may seem the fact is that ideology of equality is restricted to an extremely small number of families in our country; while the rest are seated comfortably engulfed by a strong set of old-fashioned beliefs.

Taking the example of Devak; self-sufficient, independent and educated – yet succumbed to the pressure of dowry harassment and family issues. If even someone like her is not encouraged to stand up for herself and break barriers, how do we expect women in rural areas to do so? How do we ever expect such a huge population to become stronger?

Things are changing, people are moving towards newer ideas, innovations and boundaries; but are they willing to let go of the antiquated practices? Sadly, the answer here is clear – only a handful of them!

Women are often caught between two ends – old restraints and new ambitions. To avoid such tragedies, we are left with two options – either we don’t give women the wings to fly or we let them fly without building glass ceilings for them!

Times have changed and so have the values. Marriage, especially arrange marriage, is not as simple as it used to be. Women are far more independent and display lesser tolerance to injustice. When parents do get daughters married, they must be willing to support their daughter irrespective of the fact that they are married. The old thinking of ‘once a girl gets married she has to live and die at husband’s place’ must change. The parents must continue to care for their daughter and what best way to do that than giving her permission to free herself from an abusive marriage? The right kind of support from parents at the right time can not only help save a life, but also help them start a new life….. a more content and meaningful life.

While we talk about breaking the glass ceiling, we could also take a minute and think about why the glass ceilings are even being created in the first place. Can’t the sky be the limit for men and women alike? Maybe it can, and it soon will. Carrying that hope in our hearts, let’s pledge to change in every little way to make the world a safer place for women – safe from their own fears!

The blog is based on the article –


When a HUG becomes a BUG!

Recently, a student from Kerala was expelled from his school for having hugged a girl for way too long in the school campus. Yes, you read that right; expelled for hugging!

What the student’s claim to be an innocent congratulatory hug, the school has identified as an explicit ‘sexual’ act in the school premises, thereby expelling, defaming and demeaning the two involved. As Shashi Tharoor rightly tweeted – By sexualizing innocent affection between friends and fellow students, we are creating self-conscious hypocrites trained to suppress their feelings. This really gets us thinking – where are we headed? Perhaps backwards?

It seems like stressing out the kids with overwhelming chunks of matter to be learnt year after year didn’t suffice; hence the education system is now keen on aiming at demoralizing them from all perspectives. Discipline sure is essential, in any school and in all forms. However, to what extent can a school go to maintain discipline at the cost of compromising on a child’s entire life ahead? With board exams up against them next year, the children feel lost and helpless, and are unable to believe a casual hug between them caused this uproar.

What messages are being passed on to children across the country? Co-ed schools are a good way for girls and boys to understand each other, learn to co-exist and of course, make friends too! Perhaps as a school, their duty is to keep “such” activities away from the campus, but in case of such an event, is this the way to handle it? Where is the sensitivity? Dealing with students of that age is so delicate. It can make or break them And with the news being blown out of proportion, we already know where this is headed. With technology and education moving ahead, the moral compassing is only pushing us backwards!

Building strong character, high self-esteem and confidence in children is way more important than teaching them to learn book after book. And by dealing with a “hug” this way, the former is far from being achieved. They are going to walk out as weak, demoralized, humiliated children. So one can only imagine what kind of adults they would be.

These kids are the next generation. And instead of holding their hands and guiding them in the right direction, they are being held and dragged out of their own schools, again, just for a hug! It’s time we change more than just our education system. It’s time we change our perspective and our outlook towards children, especially adolescents. And rest assured, with the right guidance, adolescents and teenagers would step into adulthood with more clarity and stronger character.

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LOVE – ‘Made in China’

The clothes we wear, products we use and now, the love we find, could all be ‘Made in China’. China has introduced schools for dating, offering courses in ‘How to fall in love’. Well, clearly there’s nothing China can’t do. The courses offer tips on grooming, flirting and finally dating. It ensures that students pass out not with flying colours but with girlfriends!

What caused this? Why did someone wake up one morning and decide to impart knowledge regarding dating? Well, one contributing factor could have been the previous policy of having only one child with the added male child preference in the country ; hence causing a lot of men to be left alone, feeling heart-broken. With the fear that unhappy, single men could bring up the rate of human trafficking and sex crimes, organizations are setting up centers to make men confident to go out and find true love for themselves.

While it sounds bizarre, it makes one wonder, whether this could be a valid option for India too. India too, like China, has been caught in the web of arrange marriages, with little exposure given to the youth about dating. Times sure are changing, but how sensibly are people looking for love? Would a course help them understand the path to be taken?

Knowing how to date or fall in love is a debatable topic as some may believe these are actions that must happen naturally. However, what one could definitely be trained in is identifying one’s own needs before stepping out to find a partner. Most failed relationships portray unmet expectations, not incorrect partners. And there are very few young souls out there who know what they actually want with a clear picture of who’ll be able to meet those needs. They wish to find “love” with the hope that ALL their needs would be met. And that unrealistic start to a relationship ensures a rocky road ahead.

With single stream schools a favorite among conservative Indian parents, till the age of 16, boys and girls are unsure of how to even make conversation with people of the other gender. And when such people set out to find girlfriends/boyfriends, mistakes tend to happen, hearts tend to get broken. With no prior experience in grooming or healthy flirting, they either hesitate to make a move or sometimes err on the other side by saying too much. And perhaps, now it doesn’t seem incongruous to have such courses for the youth.

Maybe soon enough, we’ll have even schools and courses here with ‘made in China’ label; with the hope that they love they find after such a course would actually last long, unlike other Chinese products.

This blog is based on the article –

Times of India-Bangalore edition-Page 14-19th November 2017-‘Now,China has courses in dating’.-www.timesofindiaepaper.com

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13 reasons Why!

TV shows have always been considered bad for kids and the old school of thought promotes banning them for children. But some new age shows are emerging with meaning that help bring awareness to topics that were otherwise taboo. And we sure can say that India needs some change in this regard.

The popular show among teens “13 reasons why” has caused a stir among parents, internationally and in India too, wondering if it’s appropriate for their children to watch it. It may seem a little overwhelming, especially for sensitive children, however, its bringing t everyone’s attention a very serious, yet neglected issue among teens – depression, ending with suicide. It’s a teen’s narration of events in her life that led to her committing suicide. In the wake of the new show, parents are rightfully obligated to speak to their teens about it and this could be a great start to discussing such a delicate yet important topic.

Robert Myers., child and adolescent psychologist, believes it’s important to tackle these issues smartly and delicately. If the teens are already watching the show and the parents bring up the topic, a teen’s first reaction to it is one of defense. A parent has to ensure that they don’t broach the subject with negativity, instead treat like any other discussion.
Moreover, during any discussion relating to depression, a parent must refrain from using any fearful tone that would send the child on a guilt trip and eventually lead him to going into a shell. The teen must know that the parents trust him/her and will stand by his/her side come what may. That foundation of faith is essential for any child to open up about his feelings and confide in his/her parents. On the other hand, including your own life-examples could help establish an empathetic relationship and make the teen feel comfortable.

Furthermore, parents are unsure about how often they should talk about it. Robert Myers is certain that just talking about it once won’t suffice but at the same time, bombarding them with facts and statements about depression every now and then is ineffectual.

It may seem difficult to find the right mix of all ingredients to perfect parenting and it’s quite impossible to draw up a recipe, however what salt is to food, communication is to parenting. You can skip some things but always be there to talk to your child and listen too. Shows like these could be treated as blessings in disguise that are helping people discuss depression more openly with the hope of helping their kids stay away from it or in some cases overcome it. But that also makes us wonder, did we really need a show or a book like “13 reasons why” to share such things with our teens? Why were we waiting for someone to give us a push for something as important as depression? Some food for thought, maybe?

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Calm Parenting!

Children are amazing at aping and all parents certainly are aware of that! And hence all parents are so cautious of their actions and words because they never know when their children will pick the same and reproduce it most unexpectedly! Well, it’s not just your actions they are watching. Your anxiety too is at the risk of being aped by your kids.

Anxiety breeds anxiety!

No solution has ever been found by taking the path of anxiety. In fact, it could only add to your problems. Parenting sure is a challenging job; perhaps the most tedious one, to have ever existed. And unconsciously, anxiety sets in. But what’s more dangerous is that the same anxiety could be passed on to your child.

Now when a parent is faced with a situation at home, the first reaction to it is the most important; which is bound to stay in your child’s mind forever. If a parent takes a minute to first calm himself/herself before addressing the child regarding an issue, the panic level of the situation is minimized to a great extent; thereby making way for one to actually resolve an issue with an effective solution . And we all know that wouldn’t have happened if things had heated up.

How a parent deals with a problem eventually transforms into how a child deals with one. Kids are kids. They are supposed to make mistakes, they are supposed to goof up and annoy us. But parents are adults. And taking a minute before reacting is what any adult must do, thereby ensuring children turning into calm adults as well.

Anger is usually caused by a feeling of disappointment when a child doesn’t do as he is instructed to. A parent feels accountable for every mistake a child makes, which is unfair. An adult is solely responsible for how they react to a mistake, not for the mistake. The minute a parent understands this distinction, things get calmer. One cannot ensure that a child does everything right all the time, its plain impossible! But what’s possible is one’s behaviour towards the child that could in fact influence his/her action the next time around. A child who is not blamed and reprimanded for every little mistake is actually motivated to try again and perhaps succeed too!

Well, this goes to say that the trending “keep calm” slogan is something we all must really put to use, especially while parenting!

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