Sunday, March 31, 2013

Nuptial Transactions

"On one hand people regard women as devi (goddess), on the other hand they burn them alive. This is against the norms of civilised society. It's barbaric..." (Former Justice Markandey Katju)

Photo: ALAMY
Hi Everyone,

In every person's life comes a very special day when he/ she gets tied in a nuptial knot with a hope to live a happy life with the chosen life partner. If it was that simple then I think the notion of 'happily ever after' would be far more prevalent in reality than in stories. There are so many other factors associated with a marriage than just getting married. These factors affect how good or bad the married life for the couple will be. One of the biggest factors in marriage is - dowry.

Dowry is not just an Indian concept as many people think. In fact dowry is prevalent dating back to 3000 B.C. and present in many countries like China, Japan, India, Turkey, most of South Asia etc. Also there have been many different forms of dowry which are much different from the form we have come to know and understand.

When the concept of dowry originated it was something that the groom's family paid the bride's family for the reproductive capabilities of the bride. Over time the concept of dowry changed and it reversed directions with the family of the bride giving money and material possessions to the groom's family. Even then it was not as crime related as it has become today. Originally when the concept changed directions the bride was given gifts from her family to start a new life with her husband in a place relatively strange and new to her. The purpose of these gifts was to make sure that the bride can easily acclimatise into the new environment and she does not has any shortage of necessary amenities. But do we still view it so? ? ?

Today dowry has become a means for the groom's family to squeeze as much money from the bride's family as possible - during the time of marriage and then consistently after that. Sadly the bride's parents are worried about the welfare of their daughter in a place away from their home and hence they acquiesce to the demands of the groom's family. Inability to pay the demanded price results in crimes. Also in many cases where the people feel that the girl is deficient as per society standards, a huge dowry becomes a means to get the girl married. But what people forget that every person is unique. Why demand and pay a price for as scared a union as marriage. It is an insult to this pure union of two people. The crimes related to dowry have become increasingly violent and more widespread. Here are some of the shocking stats for dowry related crimes** in India:
  1. One dowry death every 4 hours
  2. 8391 dowry deaths in India in 2010
  3. One of every 4 women arrested in India is responsible for harassing the bride for dowry (shocking to me at least)
  4. A bride is burned very 90 minutes for dowry
  5. In 2010 there were 8391 dowry death cases registered and its on the rise (there are many more that go unregistered)
** All stats as per census of 2010

Dowry was banned in India in 1961 but was never properly enforced just like many other laws. Over time the laws were changed to make it more bride friendly but then it led to another problem - misuse of of the 304B section which has caused a lot of problem for many innocent men, who were harassed by wives for various reasons. So in the end its a full circle and all problems are associated with dowry or the laws created to combat against it. So the best solution is to completely boycott the dowry. I will simply say one thing that by demanding dowry you are selling off your son and yourself - it no longer remains a nuptial knot, it becomes a nuptial transaction.

Don't depend on the bride's family to satisfy your needs. Be a man enough and have a spine to fulfil your needs on your own and learn to live with what you can afford and work towards what you can't. Dowry is the easy way out and not the right way out. And remember one thing - easy way out always becomes very difficult later on. When a girl gets married she expects a warm welcome in a new home and not incessant demands for more dowry, torture, humiliation, jailed in the home and disrespect. 

Sadly enough the elder generation in many cases is so deep rooted in their orthodox thinking that for them dowry is the right way but we as the current generation can do a lot to change things. We can start by saying no to the dowry completely in any form whether it be cash, consumer durables, jobs or what not. This silliness of dowry torture and deaths have gone on long enough and the change has to start somewhere. Why not us start the change.

To all the guys and men, don't become a commodity put up for sale to the highest payer. Be the change and become the SOLUTION to this vile and inhumane PROBLEM

Genie Signing off

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Borderless World

"The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything" (Albert Einstein)

I wish,
People could like and love without fear
Without fear of being killed with hate spear
I wish the societal norms were not so absurd
I wish I could live in a borderless world
I see,
People wasting food, leaving hundreds as tip
When many dont even have pure water to sip
I wish everyone needs could be equally heard
I wish I could live in a borderless world
In news,
Nations dropping bombs, fighting wars for oil
With political agendas, causing development to foil
I wish no country would remain a third world
I wish I could live in a borderless world
Women not feelig safe in the middle of the day
Always worried how to keep assaulters at bay
I wish crimes could be stopped and, out, hurled
I wish I could live in a borderless world
I hear,
People stealing from public, hoarding money
When so many hungry for not having a penny
I wish there was no economic disparity in the world
I wish I could live in a borderless world
All over world,
People causing riots, killing in the name of religions
Killing others instead of killing their own demons
I wish people knew that all religions spread the same word
I wish I lived in a borderless world
When born,
I was a small nameless face with no identity
To no nation, religion, or caste I had to swear fidelity
Even today I wish I could be free like a bird
I wish I was born in a borderless world

Genie Signing off
Official Video:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Point of No Return

"Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now, he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wildlife's becoming extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows uglier and poorer" (Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya)

Hi Everyone,

I love the village I belong to, certainly not for the super orthodox societal norms, but definitely for the clean fresh air I get there sitting under the lush green trees in fields. But since past few years I have felt the air is not so clean and fresh anymore. And its only a matter of time when it will mimic the pollution levels of cities.

The world environment has crossed point of no return in several geographies. The point of no return means that no matter what, the damage done to the environment and climate in those regions cannot be undone. For rest of the geographical areas on Earth the point of no return will arrive within next 10-30 years if we wouldn't change our habits. We cannot deny that we have started feeling the effect of the environmental degradation already. The summers are becoming hotter, winters colder, rainy seasons bring floods and the increasing number of droughts are just the beginning.

The biosphere we live in has a capacity to regenerate. During 1970s the humans all over world were using about 85% of that regenerative capacity and today they are using over 150% of that regenerative capacity. Numbers clearly indicate that the biosphere is not able to regenerate itself and hence the point of no return. We have used the natural resources mercilessly without thinking about the sustainability. We may not see the worst but our children definitely will and the generation after that will bear the burnt of the fallout of natural resources. Want to know how much we have left? Here are the facts:
  1. Based on current technological capability we will reach the peak of oil drilling capacity by 2015 and by 2050 we will have used 90% of the oil. Rest 10% is unreachable.
  2. 500 cubic meters water per person per year is minimum requirement for a functioning society. Usable water is depleting very quickly. By 2025 political battles would have already started over water which would soon escalate to real battles. Within India fights are already going over several rivers, between different states
  3. By 2030 easily mined gold and silver will vanish giving rise to economic and financial turmoils
  4. There has been a 90% drop in population of some major species of fish which could cause a severe dent in the food supply
  5. Planet is getting warmer. By 2050, $7 billion would have to be spent to counteract the effects of warmer climate on nutrition
  6. In next 60 years the ice covered landmass of Himalayas would decrease by 40% causing a great panic for many Asian countries as Himalayas are source of water for many rivers
  7. And in next 70 years we would have used almost 90% of coal supply
Having just read all these shocking facts, many of which will happen in our own lifetimes, what is it that we can do as individuals to dull the degradation of the climate? I have some simple suggestions some of which I have implemented myself:
  1. For people going to corporate offices use vehicle pooling as much as possible
  2. Let's not take out our bikes or cars for every little errand. We have got two legs, we should use them for something else, other than pressing brakes and accelerators
  3. If we have a garden area, we should plant lush trees. Forget about ornamental plants, here we are talking about saving the planet
  4. Stop smoking as it produces almost 10 times more pollution than burning diesel fuel. I know people feel all macho, fashionable, trendy or great while smoking but think about coming generations who wont be able to have simplest pleasures of nature if we continue smoking
  5. Let's stop wasting water, we really don't want to drink salted water. We should use it economically in daily routine work, it's not that difficult.
When I was in MBA college a year back my Environmental Management professor told me that climate has already crossed point of no return but I thought he was joking. After some serious research and reading through almost dozens of research papers I found the above facts and much more. People we are sitting on a time bomb and the clock is ticking. We cannot stop the clock, we can only slow it down. How much we slow it down it's up to us.

Holi, the festival of colours, is coming and a lot of water is wasted in the festival - first in soaking people with wet colours and then equal amount in washing those colours off. Please pledge to play a dry Holi (as it was played originally) and take a big step towards becoming part of the SOLUTION by saving water. If not then you are creating PROBLEM for the coming generation.

Genie Signing off

P.S. Wish you all a very happy and colourful Holi

Friday, March 22, 2013

Raped the Anti-Rape Bill

"I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics" (Barack Obama)


Hello Everyone,

The people of this nation have not paid enough attention. Sometimes I think am I living in a alternate reality because what’s happening around me in this country does not seem real to me somehow. It’s a really shameful day when I recall recent news of a father sexually assaulting a 7 year old girl and leaders of the country watering down the bill that is supposed to protect them.

I saw the entire debate that happened in the parliament, the face of the nation, and I was ashamed to think that we chose for these leaders to be there. The statements made were so outrageous that if I felt so angry over the statements made then I can certainly understand how the women of this country would have felt on hearing the debate. A bill that is supposed to protect the women of the country against sexual crimes suddenly became a movement to protect men from the bill. Everyone was shouting about how the bill can be misused if it is not watered down. What our illustrious leaders don't understand is that in their demand to prevent one misuse of the bill they are promoting several millions of crimes.

When the leaders of the country make statements like - "Who among us has not followed girls", "Women are meant to be subservient as their main purpose is to procreate and serve the role of wife and mothers”, “blaming girls for following western culture” etc. – the only thing that I can think of is, have the leaders of this nation gone bonkers, crazy, moronic, stupid… You know words are not enough to describe the rage and anger then I felt during the debate. We are at fault also because we thought that these leaders were good enough, intelligent enough and responsible enough to lead the nation. Look where we have bought the nation. And yes I said “we” and not “they” because they are just the representatives we have chosen for this nation.

I can curse the leaders of this country on and on but that will not help me or for that matter anybody else in any way. The problem here is us. General elections are nearing and most of us think that it’s a good opportunity to rest at home. A large part of the educated portion of this nation does not take part in the elections that actively (no offense to people who really take part in the process) and then we rant about how bad the government is. The way the leaders of this country turned a bill of protection to a mockery of a debate was ingenious and pathetic at the same time. Pathetic because it shows the retarded thinking of the politicians and ingenious because they made everybody agree to the watered down bill.

I think the women of this nation should work towards protecting themselves because the leaders of the nation do not give a damn about protecting them. They are only concerned that how the bill could be abused to frame “innocent men”. Laughingly enough they made some of the previously unbailable offenses one time bailable citing the fact that they are not serious enough crimes. The leaders effectively raped the anti-rape bill.

I would conclude this article by giving every citizen in this country some food for thought, and hope that leaders of this nation also come across this and think on what they have done:

being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them”  (by - Jessica Valenti)

The ball is our court now and our chance to be the part of the SOLUTION. For almost 5 years we have been part of the PROBLEM. Lets pledge - No More.

Genie Signing off,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Talk

"Insights into erotic life belong to art, not education. But sometimes these have to be spelled out for the illiterates. And it is mainly a matter of convincing the illiterates, for they are the ones who write the penal code"
(Karl Kraus, Half-truths and One-and-a-Half Truths, University of Chicago, 1990)

Hi Everyone,

Do you know that at any given point of time there are around 2 - 20 million people engaged in some kind of intimate physical relationship and still the word "sex" is a taboo in the society. If a person talks about it, he/ she is considered immodest, if a person tries to discuss something on it other people shy away, if a person tries to educate someone in it other people trample upon that initiative and if a person tries to pass some good law on it that law never sees the light of the day.

We are living in a society where every teenager dreams about the dream girl and a boy but no one is ready to enter into a debate on human sexuality. Even with all the modernisation and advancement of the country and society, all over the world, people are still woefully ignorant in the various aspects of sex and sexual behaviours. Do you know that in India children in the family are taught, or more likely told, about sexual matters just few days before marriage; something that should be done on a continuous basis in steps from the moment the child hits the stage of puberty. I know I never got one in my family and to many of the friends I asked about it, they also didn't.

One of the biggest misconception about sex education is that people feel its only tells about matters of how to do sex and reproduce something which is blatantly wrong. This is one of the main reasons why people feel sex education is something dirty and immoral. Sex education is such a wide subject and it contains an array of topics related to human sexuality - anatomy, process of reproduction, relationships, preventive sex, usage of contraceptives, marriage, child care, hormonal changes, communication with opposite sex, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy etc.

Lack of a curriculum in sex education leads very few avenues for the teenagers to satisfy their curiosity about sexual matters - friends, media and books. Of the three only books are a credible source of information given that the book is authentic and not just some porn junk. The information received from other two sources are mostly inaccurate or misrepresented unless its an educational TV show or a counsellor. I know this because I found a huge difference between what I learned from here-say and the book. My point is, even if we forget about sex education in schools, when parents don't teach the kids till the last possible moment, the kids do the same to their kids, who will do the same to the next generation and thus this vicious cycle of delay and misinformation continues.

Sex education gives a person (especially for girls) mental strength to say no to any advances that he or she feels is not good for them, it helps them understanding their own body and what is good or bad for it and most importantly it helps them being ready for anything they decide to enter into. People having a sex education develop a high tolerance level against falling for evil deeds. It will actually help a great deal to tackle the problems of sexual assault and adolescent pregnancy.

Verma Committee said in its report that time has come to stop beating around the bush and sex education should be made mandatory for all the students. Let the current Delhi case be a lesson to the leaders of the country that time has come to make sex education compulsory and stop playing with stupid laws and do something productive and proactive for once rather than being always reactive

In western countries when the parents tell their kids about sexual matters, the discussion is called "The Talk". For all the parents who are reading this article lets hope you give "The Talk" to your kids, if you have not, and become the part of the SOLUTION. Lets not delay this any longer and remain the part of the PROBLEM.

I will end this topic on a simple thought that, "may be in time government wakes up and does the right thing but in the mean time we as parents need to do our duty at the right time rather than delaying it till the last moment".

Genie Signing off.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Caste - A Bane on Human Race (Part 1)

" When I born, I black. When I grow up, I black.
  When I go in sun, I black. When I scared, I black.
  When I sick, I black. When I die, I still black.

  And you white people
  When you born, you pink. When you grow up, you white.
  When you go in sun, you red. When you cold, you blue.
  When you scared, you yellow. When you sick you green.
  And when you die, you grey.

  And you calling me colored??? " (Best Poem 2006, United Nations)

Hi Everyone,

The above poem was nominated as the best poem of 2006 by United Nations. It was written by an African child. Based on the poem and title you must have got the drift of the article by now.

We live in a divided world. The earth is divided into continents, continents divided into countries, countries divided into states, states divided into cities, people divided into religions, religions divided into castes, and castes divided into sub-castes. 

Right from the childhood kids are told with whom to associate and with whom not. When this classification is based on the danger the kid will face its ok but when this classification is made on the basis of caste, religion and creed, its pathetic. I have seen discrimination based on caste right from childhood and I always wondered why the difference and discrimination? Whats the problem that some people are treated inferior to others. When I grew up and I started understanding the working of the society, then it enlightened upon me why we treat people (whom we consider as lower caste) in an inferior way. You want to know the reason -  This society is a coward and a sheep, which is afraid of change and just want to maintain the status quo (No offence to people who really want to challenge the stupid norms of the society).

Let me bring certain facts to light before I go any further:

Fact : Politicians demand votes based on religion and caste creating further divide in the society and country
Fact : People are leaving India and settling in foreign nations because they feel that the society is too orthodox and constricting
Fact : People run away from their homes to get married to who they want, because their parents did not allow intercaste or inter religion marriage
Fact : People committing murder in the name of honour killing because they feel getting married in a different community or religion or caste is a crime
Fact : People fleeing from villages to metro cities so that they can live their life free of restraints of caste and religion (which is actually a delusion only)
Fact : Religious riots and caste based riots happen because of the divide caused by the religion and caste and the people to benefit from it are the politicians for their vote banks and people who have nefarious intentions towards the nation.
Fact : Country's progress is hindered because government is forced to create reservation laws so that the everyone can have some sense of equal chance (even though there other hidden agendas too)
Fact : The tolerance level between different religions and castes is decreasing rapidly

I can carry on the list of facts, and with numbers too, but it will be a waste of space and time. Getting back to the point, the castes and religions are doing nothing but creating divide and that too in the society in the name of what? God, superiority? They are making lives of the coming generation hell. People can't do a lot of things because society won't approve. Many might say the situation is worse in villages than in metro cities but actually its almost the same, the only difference being that in cities the problem is sugar coated.

I always ask myself what so great about being a bramhin, or kshatriya or for that matter any caste? What makes one caste superior than other? What makes one religion better than other? And let me tell you no one will be able to give a perfectly reasonable answer to that. There is no harm in following a religion. It actually gives you a sense of identity. But my friends all religions are equal - they all convey the same message, all castes are equal. Who are you to make discrimination based on caste when everyone is part of one one single species and race - human race.

Everyone is born as a human being, as a member of human race. We are putting a black spot on the grace and name of the human race by discriminating on the basis of caste and religion. We are the ones who are ensuring death of thousands of people in riots and other religious attacks. If we as a individuals stood up and said that stupid norms of society, caste and religions are just that - stupid, embrace only the good aspects of religion and finally boycott the castes, I think we can really create a better world for future generations.

I am not done with the topic and will be covering in detail the various problems illustrated in facts in subsequent parts. Till then stay tuned and try to become a part of the SOLUTION.

Genie Signing off

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Point Being ? ? ?

"The essence of government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, is ever liable to abuse" (James Madison)


Hi Everyone,

Someone has very rightly said that it is much better to remain silent and let people think you are stupid, rather than opening your mouth and proving you are. That's what the government of this country is doing every now and then, especially when it comes to dealing with crimes (specifically crime against women).

In Noida the UP government has recently started a "women only" bus service but it has a catch - its only till 5:30 in the evening. Smart isn't it. Making a statement without even saying anything. And what's that statement is? It is - "All girls who have good character should not be out after 5:30 in the evening. They should not do late evening jobs. They are responsible for any sexual assault cases if it happens after 5:30 and so on". Of course they cannot say it verbally as it will create storm of accusations but they said it nonetheless with their initiative. I will say the move is good but the catch is bad and the unsaid statement they made is plain ridiculous. So whats the point of such a initiative?

When the Delhi rape case happened, entire North India was in uproar against the accused, demanding severe punishments like death sentence and castration. Of course the Verma Committee then finally came in with the new and more stringent laws regarding the rape cases. One such law was reporting a FIR verbatim on the spot. And just weeks later we hear in news that cases have come where women have started abusing this law to falsely frame people. So whats the point of Government creating a law when the people for whom that law has been created are abusing it.

Last example I am taking is of a law (made few years back) to protect a members of what many people consider lower caste in UP. The law entailed an immediate case registration against whom the complaint was made. So as soon as the law was made many cases of false accusations came into light where many good men were being dragged into courts for no reason whatsoever. So what's the point of abusing a law which is made to protect you.

I picked these three example from top of my mind. There are several others. I must say that there is something in the genetics and culture of this country which makes us to be selfish, dishonest and power abuser. I am not saying that there is no good but it's less. Everyone must be familiar with the cry wolf story. Lets make sure that we are not sitting ducks when actual wolf comes and there is no one to help around. So the only question I ask myself - The Point Being???

Having highlighted the problem, the big question is what can we do to improve the situation. There are some fairly simple ways:
  1. Don't abuse the laws for petty gains. Laws are made to help you. Don't be a helpless sheep when the real wolf comes (Like cases of false rape accusations)
  2. If you see someone abusing it please come ahead and be the whistle blower (There are ways where you can anonymously help without getting entangled into the legal proceedings)
  3. Boycott any stupid policy by not endorsing it (Anyway one policy I mentioned above is practically useless considering the growing number of female workforce)
So here both the Government and the public is to blame because in one way or another there is abuse of power. Use power for just causes and question any stupid policies rigorously rather than becoming the ostrich and not doing anything to combat the situation.

Be a part of the SOLUTION and not the PROBLEM.

Genie Signing off.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dam of Scam

Hi Everyone,

"With great power comes great responsibility"

But this concept is something which the leaders of this country cannot comprehend and when I say leaders I am including leaders at all levels. In most of the cases the leaders are misusing their powers. These leaders think that the leadership positions are a source of free money and power, using it as they wish. A bit pathetic in my opinion as they have been entrusted with power to use it for the benefit of the country, not to destroy it. On the flip side I have deep respect for people who have truly justified the leadership position entrusted to them.

Seeing people do scams, and then get away with it gives a huge blow to the motivation of those people who believe that money should earned by right means. There are many people who honestly want this country to progress, who do not believe in corruption and are against it, people who have given their lives so that this country can prosper and yet this country is moving ahead at a pace that can be rivalled by snail.

The plague named "scam" has become such a dangerous disease that it needs to be systematically removed or else everyone can kiss goodbye to any progress. The potency of these scams can be easily understood by the fact that the total alleged scam amount for the year 2012 was INR 14.07 trillion and the fiscal deficit for the current financial year is estimated to be INR 5.1 - 5.4 trillion. I think after seeing the figures calculation is pretty easy and it can be easily seen that the scam amount easily covers the deficit almost three times. I am astounded by the numbers. I knew there were a lot of scams but not at this level or of this quantity. These figures give all together a new perspective to the word "corruption".

When I saw the list of scams since independence I was a bit shocked, that forget about scams in construction, 2G, coal etc. they didn't even leave the education sector. Education is what develops the future generation for development of the country and they have cut that branch down. Recent scam of allocating thousands of teachers illegally is a great example of that. On the same subject of education sector, the conditions of many government schools is pathetic where teachers don't even bother to come and are enjoying salary sitting at home and taking money for tutoring the same students privately. Thats also a kind of scam only, even if on a smaller level.

These scams are standing like a tall dam behind which is stored all the development which is not able to come through the dam or is coming very slowly. The problem is so widespread and at so many levels that only one person can't be blamed. We have got so used to giving "speed money" and bribes that we ourselves do not think twice before resorting to those means. The very same people, who at lower levels take small bribes, indulge into bigger scams when they reach the higher levels.

Many people have argued with me that the flow of corruption starts from the top level and trickles down to the bottom level. But I, somewhat, disagree to that because as I said above the very same people who indulge in small bribes do bigger scams as they rise on the ladder of career. So its basically us who are acting like a concrete and foundation for the dam of scam. If we decide we can make cracks in this dam by simply refusing to any sort of bribes or speed money. I mean for how long the status quo will maintain and people in authority will not do their jobs. After sometime they themselves will surrender.

If corruption flows from top to bottom we will have to bring change from bottom to top. And believe me the number of people in position of leaders form only a small percentage of this huge population. All it takes is determination and guts to change the system and it can be done. Ireland is a good example for this.

Let's break this dam and be a part of the SOLUTION because the development and prosperity is just one wall away. Lets not indulge in anymore corruption and still remain the part of the PROBLEM

Genie Signing off.

Superman Was Born Superman

"I find the whole mythology surrounding superheros very fascinating... A staple of the superhero mythology is there is a superhero and there is the alter ego.. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spiderman is Peter Parker.. When that character actually wakes up in the morning he is Peter Parker.. He has to put on a costume to become spider man and it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone… Superman didn't become superman, Superman was born Superman. When he wakes up in the morning he is Superman" (Kill Bill movie, Volume 2)

Hi Everyone,

The dialogue mentioned above is one my favourite movie dialogues. It reminds me that when I should wake up in the morning I should feel what I actually am, I should do what I like and should be looking forward to the day rather than pretending to like something I don't. The readers must be wondering where this article is going. Well to break the suspense today's article is on "Job Satisfaction" and some connected issues.

When we are in school we keep thinking when we will go to college, when we are in college we miss the school days and keep thinking when can we get a job to get out of studies. But when we get a job we miss the college days and schooldays. Isn't it ironical that we are never happy with what we have. Focusing on the working part of our lives the actual job satisfaction level of employees all over the world is very low. According to a global survey done by Accenture in late 2011, almost 60% of the workforce (including men and women) is not satisfied with their jobs. Of the remaining 40% also a very low percentage is completely satisfied with their jobs. Fortunately those are the only ones who got lucky in finding what they love to do.

Everyone knows whether they love what they are doing or not. But then the big question is if they don't why continue doing it? There are several reason - most popular being money, followed by situations not under control, followed by not getting anything else to do etc... Once when I was travelling I met a guy who used to work in IBM. He worked there for almost 7 years before he quit because he found no joy in working and he was doing it only for money. He was always interested in social service and when he quit he joined Novartis to organise medical camps in villages. In his own words, "At least when I go home at night I know that I have done something that makes me happy".

Now I cannot ask people to quit their jobs and start doing what makes them happy because after all money is also important. Having said that there are alternative means to reduce stress of job dissatisfaction if not completely eliminate it. Some of them are:
  1. Take out time to follow your hobby (like music, art and craft, sports etc. I, for instance, like writing and music and I do give time to both)
  2. If you like teaching join your own organisation's initiatives, or join some NGO part time to teach unprivileged kids or mentor a kid on your own (It's an awesome experience and gives great satisfaction)
  3. If money is not an issue for you, go after what you like full time rather than being in your comfort zone (be what you actually are when you wake up in the morning)
I am not preaching anyone. I am just pointing that there is always a solution out there for every problem. Going after what you like takes guts and daring, more than anything else. Even if you can't go after it for some reasons, work towards it so that in future you can pursue your interests full time. Life is very short, don't waste it on something you don't like doing. Don't become something you are not.

Here you yourself are the problem and the solution. Now its up to you what you want to be - the SOLUTION or the PROBLEM.

Genie Signing off

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Mystical Pumpkin

Hi Everyone,

"Hello Pumpkin Pumpkin, hello honey bunny" (don't worry I am not going to criticise the ring tone). But this was the first thing that came into my mind when I read an article on how the people were trying to spread the news that Lord Shiva has appeared in the form of a pumpkin (weighing 87 kg). When I read the article I started doing, as very popular in SMS language, "lol"; it would have been "rofl" had I not been in office. I just couldn't control my laughter and went outside of the ODC and then when I calmed down I realised that even though it seems funny but beneath all this fun was a very serious issue that is eating this country inside out like a termite.

Since ages people have used God to keep others in control. I am not against God and I am also not against devotion to God. Its an individual's choice but when this devotion becomes irrational and when people with cunning use this devotion to usurp wealth and emotions of other people it becomes a crime and then I have a strong objection to it.

I remember reading few years back an article in newspaper which said that in some Indian village a kid was born with three eyes. The religious priests and gurus got news of this and started spreading news that Lord Shiva was born again. The doctors clearly said that an operation needed to be done otherwise the child will die soon but in the frenzy of Shiva's reincarnation all the medical attention needed by the innocent new born child was forgotten and the child did die after some time. Even if for a moment I did agree that the new born baby was a reincarnation of Lord Shiva, which it was not, what benefit did anyone get from it. It resulted only in a loss. A family lost a new born in the entire fiasco. And this is not the only case and this not only happens in India. A similar incident happened in Japan.

Cunning people use fear to control other. We all fear what we don't understand and cant see, and no one has seen God and prove that he/ she has seen. So God becomes a good tool for some people to use for their benefit against the unknowing population. I wonder if there is really a God he would be very disappointed the way people use His name to mar and loot the ignorant population.

Also all these corrupt people who claim to know God are not corrupt from the beginning but then as the devotees increase, your fame increases and with it the corruption. Sometimes I really wonder how all these religious gurus have worth of millions of rupees when they live the life of simplicity (at least they claim that) and more importantly if they are really the messengers, avatars and what not of God why don't they use their resources for the benefit of others. There is  a very famous quotation - "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" - and in this case it's very apt.

I cannot do justice by depicting only one side of the issue so talking about the positive side I would also admit there are people who are gifted. But in my short life till now all the gifted people I have seen or known, and I have met some of them, are very humble and never use their gifts for gathering a mass of devotees and preaching people. They simply share their gift with other to help the needy. Now these are the people I have highest respect for and not the people who doesn't even understand the meaning of chant they do. I saw in a TV show an ayurvedic doctor who was gifted with healing knowledge (he had no formal education) but somehow he always knew what to prescribe. He was a very humble person.

If someone wants to work for God and then there are an unlimited number of ways which are there besides creating a mass of God fearing devotees. There are so many ways in which one can please God, if someone is really desperate to do so. Go and feed a hungry person, his best wishes will always be with you. Don't waste your money on donations in temples etc., simply use it, for example to mentor an unprivileged child. This is the attitude which is needed currently. If God is there He will bestow you with good things for your good deeds.

Since this is blog for an open dialogue I will present my opinion and I am not forcing my views on anyone. Take God as source of peace of mind rather than a vending machine always demanding one thing or other. When you are at peace your mind works better and you will be able to do things which, for quite some time, you have not been able to. I am telling this from personal experience. Don't spend money, emotions and time on impostors.

Please don't support all these fake religious gurus and avatars (as they are the ones who are the root cause of most of the religion related issues) and if you can rationalise to a person who does follow them please do so. Every single step helps.

Please be a part of the SOLUTION and don't feed these termites and end nonsense like this pumpkin one. Please spread awareness and don't be a part of the PROBLEM because these termites are themselves big enough problem.

Genie Signing off.

P.S. : My deepest apologies if I have hurt anybody's sentiments.. that was not the intention at all

P.P.S : I am expecting a lot of criticism on this article, it is welcome and I am ready to answer any question and critique

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sexless Ratio

Hi Everyone,

"You teach a boy you teach an individual, but you teach a girl and you teach an entire family". I quite agree with this statement and with this beautiful quote I would like to wish a very happy Women's Day to all the women across the world.

I briefly touched upon the topic of crime against women in one of my previous post. There is a very interconnected topic - the Gender Ratio, or also popularly known as the Sex Ratio. It is the ratio of number of females to the number of males in a given region. For most of the developed countries this ratio is greater than one, which is considered favourable for the growth of the population. It should be near to 1 but not too much greater than 1. In 2001 the sex ratio for India was 0.933 and in 2011 it was 0.94. Thats a very slow growth and shows the actual effectiveness of the various programs run by the government for women safety and empowerment.

In India there are only two states which have a sex ratio greater than 1- Kerala and Pondicherry. My kudos to the state government, they have done what other states have not been able to done.

I did some research on why Women's Day is celebrated. I am quoting from the UN website, "On 8 March 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labour. They adopted the slogan "Bread and Roses", with bread symbolizing economic security and roses a better quality of life". Since then Women's Day always has a slogan associated with it and this years slogan is "A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women".

But here the question is how much benefit is actually achieved by celebrating these days? How much difference do they make? Every year I hear government allotting funds, making policies for the betterment of women of this nation but are these policies actually and effectively executed? The root cause is low sex ratio which is something that should be addressed everytime. Let me elaborate on the domino effect of the low sex ratio:

  1. Female infanticide is the main reasons for low sex ratio. Because of this mothers get so scared that they themselves don't want female child. (this also leads to neglect in the upbringing of a female child)
  2. When a female suffers the discrimination, ironically enough it is carried forward to the next generation causing other women related issues ("The sins of our fathers will be passed down from generation to generations", a very apt quote for this case)
  3. Low sex ratio means lesser number of females in a given population which are also a reason for incidences of rape, sexual assault etc. 

One can easily pin down almost all of the current women related issues to the issue of low sex ratio. Its high time that this government and people wake up to the reality and start doing something about it. Some ways in which it can be easily done are: 

  1. Please, an appeal to all the families, stop discrimination between a boy and a girl child whenever you see one (I don't have to go far when it happens in my own extended family, but I am fighting against it)
  2. Mentor a female child if you can (I have done for two years and the feeling is awesome and the rewards for the child are great)
  3. Stop any violence against women if you see (If you stand up to these bullies they will never come back, its in their nature)

There is nothing wrong in celebrating a Women's Day, but considering the main reason why it is celebrated every year I would be more that happy if the need for celebration is eliminated all together and is celebrated only for achievements. We really don't want the sex ratio to become a sexless ratio. 

Lets be a part of the SOLUTION and help Women flourish in the way they should other wise this problem is going to get bigger only and we will be part of the PROBLEM

Genie Signing off.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Head Held Down


Hi Everyone,

I thank my friend Venkatesh for proofreading the article.

Whether I go in lift, I travel in train, I go to malls, I walk on streets, I go in library, I am in office, I am at home, I am in a restaurant..... everywhere I see people with their head bowed down... not because they feel guilty or ashamed over something but because something interesting has captured their attention - smartphones, laptops and other digital gadgets. Everybody has their head held down entranced and their attention captured by their digital gadgets.

Human body is a miracle and most complex machine ever to be evolved and its our responsibility to take proper care of it. It gets affected by the way we walk, the way we sit, the way we sleep, amount we sleep etc. But with the emergence of digital era our world has shrunk to the devices we hold in our hand. Our time pass is our smartphones, our communication is our smartphones, our friend circle is our social network and the list goes on... We have become human robots in this digital era.

While I was doing some research about the problems caused by these digital devices I came across a very interesting term called as "Text Neck". This term refers to our posture, (hunched back and shoulders, bowed down neck) when we are texting, reading on our phones, playing games on computers, looking at our laptops etc. Normally a head weighs 10 pounds on an average and that's the pressure that the spine feels when our ears are level with our shoulder. For every inch we lean our head forward we exponentially increase the pressure on our spine. So typically when we are engrossed in our smartphones our spines are bearing a pressure of almost 30-40 pounds which is a big medical issue.

Leaving medical issue aside there are many social problems.
  1. Face to face interaction between people have considerably lessened (calls does the job)
  2. In many countries there are people who do not have even one real friend (only digital friends on networking sites)
  3. Stress, insomnia, back and neck pain disrupting the social lives of people
These gadgets have a very good side to them and they bring a lot of advantages but have we really understood the dark side of them, do we really understand the harm they are doing because of our over indulgence in these gadgets.

Till few weeks back I was a victim also but now I have started taking steps like reading books (not online), going out more (sometimes without any purpose), keeping my laptop off until I really have something to do.

Few weeks back I came across an article in Times of India where in a lady has gifted her son an iPhone but it came with a contract which had 18 points in it on how to use that gadget. It was a very thoughtful contract and it made sure that her son understood that these gadgets might be your good friend but they are not your life and there is a life outside these gadgets. It received a worldwide appreciation.

As an individual we need to take initiatives on our own and as a parent we need to make sure that these gadgets do not completely ensnare the younger generation.

Lets make a pledge to not keep our heads always held down.

Genie Signing off.

P.S. : This article is not meant to hurt anyone's sentiments and is based upon general observation and research.

P.P.S : Any counter arguments and suggestions are welcome.. Constructive criticism is always welcome.

Monday, March 4, 2013

"Fairer Sex" - Unfair Treatment


Hi Everyone,

A century or back so the female population was referred to as the "fairer sex" not because they were fairer in their skin color as compared to their male counterpart but because being women was an acronym for purity, gentleness etc. Now when I read a news online about sexual assault on a 7 year old girl, I am forced to think are we, males, treating our counterpart fairly? A billion dollar question in my opinion given the recent happenings in Delhi and then subsequent protests and the treatment by the police and what not because the list is endless.

So as you might have guessed by now today's topic touches the crimes happening against women, where the fault lies and what can be done to improve, if not completely eradicate, the situation. Few years back I was watching an interview of an Indian female model (don't remember the name), where she was asked if she is bothered by the people who look at the body and not the dress? Her reply was so simple and yet magical in itself - "Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. So I cannot be blamed for people watching with lust". I have quoted this specific incident because whenever some incident of sexual assault makes the headlines, all the politicians, religious gurus, people who want few seconds of limelight quote several reasons for the incident, most of which are ridiculous. For example:

  1. Because of influence of western culture. (If men cannot control their lust, its the fault of the cultural change.. bravo what a stupid notion)
  2. Because of women exposing more (mostly wrong. A survey was done in Lucknow University where it was found that girls in saree, salwar kurta were more a victim of sexual harassment as compared to girls wearing modern clothing)
  3. Girls going to bars at night... (who are you to decide where they can or cannot go.. control your own savage urges)
And the list goes on and on... Even if we leave the reasoning behind, the solutions proposed by the same people are so hilarious that words are insufficient to describe them:
  1. Girls should do parda (problem is in your viewpoint and they should hide their faces.. really stupid idea)
  2. They should not be out after sunset (this is a free country... control your savage urges and if you cannot then don't go out after sunset rather than asking them to remain inside)
  3. They should follow Indian dressing culture (I found this one most funny because guys can follow all the fashion they want and if the girls do they are the cause of the incident)
The truth is "Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder". Its inside our head and we need to change out thinking if we want to control these incidents. Its the responsibility of this generation to control the wildfire of this problem. Some very simple yet effective solutions are:
  1. Don't discriminate between girls and boys in a family. Teach both of them to respect the other gender. These kind of values should be inculcated in family and schools.
  2. Sex education is a very important step towards remedying a large portion of the problem (something which most of the politicians are against)
  3. Change your mentality against women. They are not objects or plaything. They are human beings just like you
  4. Media can also be useful by running informative drives on remedying the situation rather than just reporting it.
Basically we need to bring the changes right from the childhood. So this generation has a huge responsibility to inculcate these values in this kids right from the childhood so that once again it can said that yes "fairer sex" is being treated fairly.

So a request to all the citizens of this country.. please become the part of the SOLUTION and don't ignore this burning issue because then you once again become the part of the PROBLEM.

Genie Signing off.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Knowingly - Unknowingly Disrespecting


Hi Everyone,

I would like to thank my friend Venkateswarlu Layam for his useful insights in to the topic and suggesting the title for the same.

I am back and with a topic which is very sensitive and close to my heart and soul. No matter where we are all the citizens of India have something in common. We have that identity that we are all Indian. Just like our passports and voters ID define our identity and we treat both with utmost care, I sometimes wonder why we don't show same respect and care to another big symbol of Indianism - Our own National Anthem.

You might be shocked to hear but most of the population does not know the proper rules for singing the National Anthem. Why? Because why bother to read over something so trivial. You just need to stand while the National Anthem is being played even if million thoughts are going through your head. Strangely in this digital era people are so engrossed in their gadgets that they don't even follow the simple protocol of standing in attention for the duration for which the song is played, which is mere 52 seconds. Its unbelievable that so many citizens of this country cannot even leave everything aside for mere duration of 52 seconds and show proper respect to the symbol of being Indian.

Now it would be grossly incorrect to say that people of this country are solely responsible for this huge disrespect because government at some level is also responsible.Before I came to Maharashtra (Mumbai) I never knew that National Anthem is played before the start of every movie in cinema halls. I was appalled by the act, not because there is anything wrong in playing it but majorly because there is no logic in playing it before a movie. In theaters people come for entertainment and National Anthem does not serve the purpose of entertainment in any aspect. I did some research and came across the list of rules for singing the national anthem. Now I cannot list down all the rules here but below is the link for the same for people who would like know about it:

Rules for Singing National Anthem

I feel this practice should be abolished and I have several strong reasons for it:
  1. Most of the people don't know that when National Anthem is played under a roof you are not supposed to sing it but it has been ingrained in us since childhood that as soon as we hear that tune we start singing with it (a complete ignorance unknowingly)
  2. People remain busy with their mobile phones, looking for their seats, influx of incoming people, chatting with each other etc. (a complete disrespect knowingly)
  3. In many theaters many foreign people also come to movie halls and they don't know the proper rules and decorum to follow when the National Anthem is played and are forced into disrespecting a sacred symbol of India unknowingly
Now even if people can be forgiven for the first point they certainly can't be forgiven for the second point mentioned above. So I ask the Maharashtra Government why did they feel the need to introduce National Anthem prior to playing a movie and most importantly what benefit did the Central Government see before providing approval for the same.

This is a problem and we as citizens of this country can become part of the solution by removing our ignorance and showing proper respect to National Anthem when it is being played.

I close this post with a hope that whosoever comes across this post will become part of the SOLUTION and not remain part of the PROBLEM.

Genie Signing off