Category Archives: Happiness

Before Marriage Till Marriage!

indian marriage

By Malathy Madathilezham

Man is a social being. This is something, which we have all studied at some point of time. Thus one of the most cruel and effective forms of punishment/ torture meted out to criminals, terrorists, etc. is solitary confinement. The need to communicate and interact is something of the utmost importance to human beings in order to retain their human nature. Self-expression, exchange of ideas and organization are something’s, which we are experts at utilizing for our benefits. Thus we have groups beginning from the family to nations. We have created complex social structures, which compete and cooperate with each other. On the basis of social interactions among human beings spread over time and continents, we have established a wide variety values, norms and rituals that are the foundations of the human society.

The society keeps changing, earlier this change was at a much slower pace. Something’s, which were unacceptable, unpardonable and frowned upon, are now part and parcel of our society and nobody gives a second thought to him or her. Similarly, some accepted aspects of society are now considered a blight on society. Thus change is also an important aspect of human civilization.

This change has also affected the dynamics of men and women. May be some people have enjoyed or suffered these changes more than the other! There are of course extreme situations of women still living in the same age old conditions and bound in tradition or poverty, but in this particular discussion I would not elaborate on that. Feminism, Liberalism, Capitalism and many other ‘isms’ have contributed in parts to this change. So a woman doesn’t look at a good marriage/alliance or domestic life as the only criterion, which makes her life a success. It is definitely still one of the most important things to majority of women but education, career, self dependence, financial independence, an interesting social life are also being counted somewhere on the list.

A fairly well educated woman in her twenties wants almost everything from a good job, a handsome and loving husband, friends, a fun social life, decent salary etc. etc. She doesn’t want to have the life of her mother; she wants it to be better and bigger! Any mention that her gender makes her vulnerable is almost blasphemous. Her semi-liberalism and semi-feminism along with her ego would be a force to reckon with. She is assertive, confident and has her own opinion on everything ranging from fashion to politics. At work she may be ruthless. Efficient, competitive and aggressive she want that corner office to be hers. She looks for true love and romance but at the same time is practical when it comes to decision making…She is becoming more and more demanding it seems… ah and confused too. What is the most important? What is the priority?

Until few years ago, the man was the sole breadwinner of the family. He took on the burden of providing a good life and a better future for his children, at least in financial aspect. A well settled (government) job, a ‘good’ wife along with a sizable dowry would probably make him seem more successful back then. Now look at a twenty or thirty something man, he is equally confused. The father was feared and revered. His appreciation and love, one could only see the glimpses of. He sees his mother, always loving, most probably a housewife. She was the stable rock of his family when his father was busy working or on tours. She is the quintessence of womanhood and selflessness for him. The women his age confuse him. They are his classmates, friends, and colleagues/superiors. Equally aggressive and competitive as men, and given undue advantage at times due to they’re gender. And yet they crib about inequality! Life is becoming tough for him. A simple joke and they get offended!

He is in a reasonably good job and enjoys the weekend parties and stuff. Parents want him to marry, but is he ready for marriage? And demands from the parents of the prospective brides are also high. In addition, the question of whether or not to accept dowry. His ex gf thought he was an MCP with double standards. Yes, it is imperative for him to earn more than his wife, what will his friends and family say otherwise! He wants a workingwoman, but not a career woman. He wants to definitely have a better life than his father, who he thinks had it all easy. The option of changing jobs is open, but with the recession and all, the growth in salary is not worth it. At the same time staying in a company for more than three years may mean stagnation. May be he should go for further studies? Or is it better to get married and ‘settled’ now?

And it is in between all this confusion that suddenly a their families find a good match in each other’s families, backgrounds, etc. Its in a daze that meet each other, ask each other some questions, forgetting the important ones, which  they always wanted to.

‘Do you like her/him?’

‘Yeah she/he is okay. I would like to spend more time though.’

‘Oh sure! You will have all the time after the engagement. We need to fix a date for that though.’

After that its’ a whirlwind… Time passes so quickly .. then engagement, the thousands of calls and SMS’s, each of them trying to impress the other, share as much as possible about themselves, the apprehensions and doubts,etc etc. Then the wedding shopping, planning…

And Voila! The D-day is here. The usual confusion and mayhem prevails during the wedding also… and soon its all over or should I say its all beginning of everything!

Let me not say more now… Just

Wishing them a happy and blissful married life!

🙂

What Do I Need to Be Happy?

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore 

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What do we really need right now, to be happy?

A new car, a new house, a new friend…

What do we lack right now?

Does anything need to change in order for us to be happy?

What do we really need? Do we really need anything in order to be happy?

Powerful Questions. Food for thought.

Sharon Salzberg, the author of the book “The Kindness Handbook” (http://www.flipkart.com/kindness-handbook-practical-companion/p/itmdyjz4nhmhhgcq?pid=9781591796558&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=The+kindness+handbook&ref=fed7a838-4f9a-4347-ad86-ce392709fb79) shares her experience while staying at a monastery in South East Asia. At the monastery, there was generally no charge for staying and the food was donated by “groups or families who come to the center to make the offerings”. Therefore, the food that was provided was varied depending on the circumstances of those donating. Sometimes, bountiful. Sometimes, meager.

Sharon recounts: “Time after time, I went into the dining room for a meal and looked at the faces of the people who had made the offering, since they commonly come to watch you receive it. They would look radiant, so happy that they’d had an opportunity to feed us, to offer something that would help sustain us. They seemed so happy that we were going to be meditating, exploring the truth, and purifying our minds and hearts on the strength of their offering. In that moment, when they were so genuinely grateful for the chance to give, I would ask myself, ‘What do I really need right now in order to be happy?” I realized that I was getting fed a lot more by their joy and delight than I was by the actual food”.

As we journey through our manifold experiences in life, we yearn for happiness and spend time and energy looking for it. I have come to believe that performing acts of kindnesses is what brings me true, genuine and abiding happiness.

I asked some of our colleagues about what truly makes them happy. This is what they had to say:

… spending time with my family especially with my daughter makes me feel happy; when I work hard and do things differently, a bit of appreciation makes me feel happy.

… being truthful and down to earth even in a critical situation & living a simple life makes me happy.

… I feel happy when I can help my fellow people… and see them happy.

… talking to Dad makes me happy – his composed and relaxed voice reflecting patience & satisfaction with his accomplishments  gives me energy and motivation to keep trying until I succeed.

What makes you happy? What do you need to be happy?

Whats Life: A Play

for malathy's life poem

By Malathy Madathilezham

Life is but a play!

The world’s an arena on display
Everyone’s for the limelight, the glitter
We scheme, we cheat, we act!
Masks Masks everywhere
Lies lies everywhere,
Different types of lies!!!
What is real, what is true… unknown
What is favourable, we deem it the truth
Everyone’s truth is different and flexible
We scheme, we cheat, we act!
Masks Masks everywhere
Lies lies everywhere
Different types of lies!!!
Painted faces, dazzling dresses,and oh what fashion!
Cover up, cover up the ugliness within,
And make us the envy of others!!
We scheme, we cheat, we act!
Masks masks everywhere
Lies lies everywhere
Different types of lies!!!
One wrong act! One true step!
And off you go, the stage is no longer for you!
Only the careful and cunning succeed
We scheme, we cheat, we act!
Masks masks everywhere
Lies lies everywhere
Different types of lies!!!
To survive, join the game quick,
Learn the tricks and the bricks of the trade
Learn to dodge and to play!!
We scheme, we cheat, we act!
Masks masks everywhere
Lies lies everywhere
Different types of lies!!!
  • Mask! (angelfacefoundation.wordpress.com)

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part 6

pregnancy

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

Phew! I’ve finally touched the halfway mark. And another 20 weeks to go. Time does fly!! The serious rounding of my tummy finally makes the pregnancy feel more like a reality.

Week 16 to week 20 has been interesting, yet again. The little orange (no more a peanut folks!) is growing nicely (touchwood) and is busy practicing its twists, rolls, kicks and punches. Definitely no WWE Dear Husband, if it’s a boy! I’ve had and still going to have enough action inside to last a lifetime. As the baby doll keeps itself busy performing acrobatics inside, there is no better proof that a brand new and remarkably spirited life is evolving within me.

It’s around this time the little one gets to taste whatever I eat. So out goes the green chili sauces (yea, I developed a taste for it over the course of my pregnancy) and in comes everything that’s sweet. Sugar, I’d definitely watch out for you!!!

And hurray, my little one has its own unique fingerprints. Biometrics, we’ll meet you soon!

There’s something about an obvious bulging mid-section that attracts gratuitous advice-givers and you can’t even turn a deaf ear to. I call ‘em old wives’ tales! As much as these tales do have a strong base in facts and some have been scientifically proved, how accurate they are in every child born is still unclear.

One such is providing the baby a head-start by conducting classes in the womb! You heard me right – providing an utero concert and reading great epics and/or classics is going to turn my child into Mozart and a soon-to-be Booker prize winner!!! My my aren’t we being pushy parents even before the baby comes out?!?

Nevertheless, I see no harm providing a uterine environment rich in music and literature; it helps me bond with the little one, much before its first momma cuddle! And it helps having an astounding singer in the family – my Dear Husband! His YouTube music videos do make up for his absence every day and my kid’s jus loving it (and me too, as the baby kicks to the tunes of its father!). And out comes the dusty classics (now dust-free) which I read away to my belly every day.

Boy! This is definitely turning out to be a lot of fun!

Will meet you all soon with updates on the 6th month chronicles.

Au revoir for the moment!!!

Disclaimer: As much as the above experiences are my own, I have definitely referred to my pregnancy bible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and other pregnancy blogs easily available on Google for certain details and reasoning.

Greed Becomes Indistinguishable From Human Life

greed

Sarvesh Mehrotra in this classic writes how greed is the new God. Read on

I was reading an article today about how technology is the new religion. It explored how people gather at Apple conferences with a sense of anticipation and euphoria at a new product launch, and how a shared world of technology that was common between everyone created a sort of tribe that celebrated the “god” and worshipped together. I believe that is because in today’s world, two fundamental beliefs form the basis of our world-view and lifestyle: first is that there is no continuity to our existence beyond birth and death.  We are born, we die, and that’s it. The second one, which actually in some ways follows from the first, is that only what is experienced through the senses is important and real. Everything else is either overrated, or unimportant, or at least dispensable.

These two fundamental beliefs give rise to the next set of beliefs, some of which are: a human being starts his/her life as a blank slate, and must achieve or become something to make their life a success; a successful life is one in which there are signs of material prosperity and a relatively large ability to possess material things; the aim of life is to make it successful in this manner; problems in life must be resolved through application of the mind; any course of action of decision taken in life can be evaluated through its impact on one’s ability to possess material things; every right/good thing, person, or decision can, must, and should be measured in material terms; failure is a decrease in the ability to possess material things; all available time must be utilized; and so on.

This structure of beliefs then gives rise to a value system, in which we categorize things, situations, decisions, and people as right/wrong, good/bad, etc. which then becomes the basis of our decision-making in everyday life. Examples of thoughts that form this value system are: the creation and consumption of material things is a great way to fill the time available in life; increase in the ability to acquire material things is good and decrease is bad, unless it can later help take a decision that leads to an increase; the best way to solve problems in life is to use the mind’s logical and analytical abilities; anything not perceived by the senses is most likely a hoax or hallucination and therefore not to be trusted; success is good and failure is bad; time spent not working to increase one’s ability to acquire material things is time wasted; and so on.

Living in a world where the belief and value system described above is commonly shared, it is natural that things become our saviours from the uncertainties of life, and anyone who creates great things becomes a hero or god, which is where Apple and Steve Jobs (and a host of others) currently are in popular mindset. And while it is true that things have resolved problems humans have faced for survival on the physical plane, I believe we’ve taken the fascination with things too far at this point because anything that’s not a thing isn’t important anymore. In today’s world for an artist to matter, their art must sell; for a sportsperson to matter, they must win; for a worker to matter, they must bring the greatest profits to their employer; for a parent to matter, they must leave the greatest inheritance for their child; for a partner to matter, they must bring the ability to earn money to the relationship; for a forest to matter, it must be attractive to tourists; for a tree to matter, it must provide wood or fruit or leaves or pulp or sap which can be sold; for an animal to matter, it must be eatable, or have the ability to be a pet, or an attraction in a circus, zoo, or a wildlife sanctuary; for the rain to matter, it must increase the yield  of our farms; for the air to matter, it must provide ventilation in our homes and offices and electricity in our windmills; and for the planet to matter, it must fulfil the unending and ever-increasing greed of its human inhabitants.

Because greed is so common today and percolates and suffuses the entire mental, emotional, and social experience of human existence, it has become indistinguishable from human life. In today’s world, to be human is to be greedy. To be a good human is to be greedy with a little bit of conscience. In today’s philosophy, greed is good and is our saviour. Greed is the definition of modern and the new model of idealness.

However, the negative impact of greed is all around us. Increase in crime, breakdown of relationships, pollution of the planet, ecological disasters like floods and famines, increase in stress and obesity-linked health problems, and poverty are all related to the increase in greed. Ralph Waldo Emerson had once said “Things are in the saddle, and riding mankind”. His prediction has direly come true and is evident in front of us. The solution to the world’s problems lie not in complex technological solutions, but a simple change of human emotional orientation – away from greed and towards compassion as the model of life.

Sharing = Caring = Making a Difference

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

smd

The Mumbai Dabbawala’s deliver 120 tons of food each day, out of which 16 tons is uneaten.

At the same time, on Mumbai’s streets, there are two hundred thousand children who go hungry every day.

The ‘Share My Dabba’ initiative, a joint effort between the Happy Life Welfare Society and The Dabbawala Foundation, gets the leftover food in dabbas to the hungry street children using a tiny sticker and the extensive and efficient dabbawala network.

The dabbawalas separate the dabbas marked with the sticker & volunteers share the food with the hungry children.

Here’s a video on how it works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZC1czZofyY

A simple sticker that demonstrates that SHARING = CARING.

A small gesture that makes a difference to 200,000 and more children every single day.

Food for thought.

Real Beauty: Perceptions Differ

beauty and perceptions

By Malathy Madathilezham

One of the definitions of the word Beauty (as given by Merriam- Webster) is the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit. Thus it is related to our senses, our mind and our spirit. This means that real beauty would be different for different people. This is quite obvious when we observe physical concepts of beauty differ in different cultures, races, countries etc. These concepts change with time. Another aspect of this definition of beauty is that these are qualities, which are not necessarily the visual qualities. So anything can be beautiful; music, fragrance, the inherent or developed qualities of a human being.

Let me restrict myself to human beings. In the present scenario, everyone wants to ‘look’ beautiful! A lot of importance is being given to superficial and external beauty. Scientists are coming out with the measurements/ratios of ‘perfect’ or ‘real’ beauty. Plastic surgeons are using these measurements to make people look beautiful. In addition we have the various creams, serums that are supposed to make us look beautiful and then the gyms and fitness clubs. The cosmetics and fashion industry is thriving on the aspirations of millions to match the concepts of beauty that is being ‘sold’ to them through various media. Thus a lot of economic activity is being driven by the ‘want’ to look beautiful. Mine and your want..

But what about ‘feeling’ beautiful? That feeling which does not necessarily come out of how we look. This sense of feeling beautiful depends on our emotional well being, our happiness and human qualities of kindness, empathy and the like. The kind of lifestyle we lead nowadays with all its tensions, pressures is not exactly helping us feel good about ourselves. We lament about the lack of everything but do nothing about improving our situation. We want to look good and beautiful to others, hide our real self beneath this veneer of ‘Beauty’. But how long would this last… thus we have rising problems of depression, burnouts etc. The pressure on us to match up to the ideals of beauty, success, happiness is too much to handle and makes us forget true happiness, our true beauty and ourselves. The external image that we present to others is but a distortion of what we truly are… In the glam and glitter of the world around us, we lose sense of real beauty… and join the rat race of looking beautiful rather than being beautiful.

For me real beauty is within each of us. To discover that beauty within us and within others is truly a gift. Of course, a good dress, or haircut, or a bright nail polish does make me happy but it can only do so much to add to my self-confidence and self-image. What I am, how beautiful I truly am depends on my actions, my thoughts that are again relative and need not be the same for you. Basically there is nothing real… it’s all an illusion… and my illusion differs from yours!! I believe everybody is beautiful in his or her own unique way. So why don’t you sit down and think about what does being beautiful mean to you?