Category Archives: Happiness

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part 5

pregnancy

 

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

A new day dawns bright and it’s the first day of my second trimester. First thought – One down, two to go!!!

Over the course of the next 4 weeks, it’s amazing to watch your little peanut grow from the size of your clenched fist to the size of an orange to the length of your palm. Wow really?!? Great delights do come in small packages!

As the little one prepares for a great debut appearance (in a couple of months, that is) and life outside your womb, it’s always interesting to hear and read what the baby is doing inside you (a li’l too early to feel the baby jig as it wiggles its newly formed toes and fingers). Towards the end of this month, Mother Nature teaches the baby to suck its little fingers. Hold on baby orange – it’s mittens for your hands when you’re out!

And finally the BUMP appears. You can no longer pass it off as a stomach after a heavy lunch!

To add to this, the woes of my mother who can’t get her forty winks, thanks to the nocturnal nasal symphony (performed by me, of course! In simple English, it’s snoring). She says it reminds her of an induction motor running. Boy, that can be really disturbing.

Not that I’m a weight watcher; but to see the numbers creep up every time you stand on the scales can be depressing. Sigh, one has to pile up the pounds to support the baby inside you. In my case, according to my BMI, it’s close to 25 pounds. Goodness gracious me! But Vidya Balan – I love you! Thanks to you and definitely Dirty Picture, curvy is in! I’m definitely embracing my new-found curves!!! A high protein diet with the necessary carbs, and not to forget, the goodness from buckets of ice creams – yummy! What’s going on?!? Blame it on pregnancy cravings!

As your wardrobe makes way for new clothes (read: maternity clothes), it’s scary, at first to imagine your cupboard to be filled with ghastly tent-like muumuus to hide your expectant shape. The dread is replaced by excitement when you visit a maternity shop. Today, maternity clothes are very fashionable and practical to wear. I love it!

Though the little one is far from ready to make a personal appearance, it’s really nice to know for sure there’s actually someone in there.

Until next time, goodbye folks!

 

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.

 

 

 

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नशा ही नशा है

change society blog

शीला चित्रवंशि कि कलम से

कहीं यह शीर्षक “नशा ही नशा है “देख कर आप सब चौंक तो नहीं गए? क्योंकि मैं ये सब नशे में नहीं लिख रही हूँ। वरन सही मायने मैं आप सभी का ध्यान इस बदलते हुए समाज के अन्दर जो निरंतर नयी नयी कुरीतियाँ फैलती जा रही हैं, उनकी ओर आकर्षित करना चाह रही हूँ। आज समाज में दिन-ब-दिन जो बदलाव आते जा रहे हैं उससे आप सभी अनभिज्ञ नहीं। यानि की सामाजिक ढांचा ही बदल चुका है। जिसका सीधा-सादा प्रभाव एवं परिवारों पर कहीं कम तो कहीं ज्यादा नज़र आता है, जिसे अनदेखा नहीं किया जा सकता है।

सवाल यह नहीं है कि लोग अनभिज्ञ है या फिर भिज्ञ; सवाल तो यह है की हमारी भारतीय संस्कृति पाश्चात्य सभ्यता से कहाँ तक प्रभावित है और क्यों? समय-समय पर बदलाव तो हमारे समाज में सदियों से चले आ रहे हैं – यह कोई नयी बात भी नहीं है। फिर समाज हो या परिवार, सब उससे प्रभावित भी हुए हैं। पर इतना भी नहीं कि अपनी ही संस्कृति या उसकी सभ्यता तथा अपने ही नैतिक मूल्यों को समाप्ति की कगार पर लाकर खड़ा कर दिया हो। ध्यान दें तो परिवर्तन न केवल सृष्टि का नियम है वरन समय की माँग भी है। समझने वाली बात यह है की हमारे भारतीय समाज में फैली हुई वे कुरीतियाँ जिनका सीधा-सादा प्रभाव हमारी भारतीय सभ्यता एवं  संस्कृति पर पड़ा , क्या वह पश्चिमी सभ्यता का अन्धानुकरण नहीं?

यहाँ पर हमारा उद्देश्य किसी भी देश की संस्कृति या फिर उसकी सभ्यता पे टीका-टिपण्णी अथवा कटाक्ष या व्यंग्य करना नहीं । हर देश की अपनी अलग अलग संस्कृति एवं सभ्यता होती है जो वहां के वातावरण, पर्यावरण, उनके अपने आचार-विचार एवं वहां की सामाजिक स्थिति पर निर्भर करती है। अब उसके लिए ये आवश्यक नहीं कि हम विदेशी संस्कृति की अपनाकर ही आधुनिक या फिर उच्च व्यक्तित्व वाले कहलायेंगे। हम अपनी संस्कृति में रह कर भी एक प्रभावशाली व्यक्तित्व बन सकते हैं । देखा जाये तो हमारे अपने ही देश में विभिन्न प्रकार की संस्कृतियाँ देखने को मिलती हैं। उदहारण स्वरुप मराठी, गुजराती, राजस्थानी, पंजाबी आदि आदि। पर हर एक संस्कृति की अलग-अलग सभ्यता देखने को मिलती है। उनके खान-पान, रहन-सहन, पहनना-ओढना , नृत्य कला, संगीत एवं भाषाएँ तक अलग अलग हैं । गर्व की बात यह भी है कि विभिन्नता में भी अभिन्नता देखने को मिलती है। सबकी अपनी अलग अलग पहचान है। जहां तक मेरा अनुभव है किसी देश की संस्कृति अच्छी या बुरी नहीं होती। यह पूरी तरह हम पर और हमारे समाज पर निर्भर करता है कि हम क्या अपनायें और क्या ना अपनायें ।

वर्त्तमान सामाजिक बदलाव को देखकर तो ऐसा ही लगने लगा है जैसे न ही अपनी संस्कृति रह गयी है और न ही कोई सभ्यता शेष है। जहाँ तक सवाल उठता है पाश्चात्य सभ्यता का तो हम लोगो ने उनकी संस्कृति की अच्छाइयों को नज़रंदाज़ करके उनकी उस सभ्यता को अपनाया है हमारी भारतीय संस्कृति के प्रतिकूल है। जिस भारतीय समाज में हम रहते हैं , वहां का वातावरण, सभ्यता एवं मर्यादाएं तथा उनके नैतिक मूल्य कुछ और हैं। ऐसे में जब हम उनके पहनावे में अपने आपको ढालते हैं तो उनकी खुली सोच और उनके खुलेपन का अन्धानुकरण कर बैठते हैं, जो हमारे वातावरण में नग्नता सी दिखती है। आजकल हमारे समाज में मानो आधुनिकता की परिभाषा ही बदल गयी है, जो जितना कम से कम पहन कर अधिक से अधिक शारीरिक प्रदर्शन करे, उसे ही आधुनिक समझते हैं। उसे ही हमारे समाज में “modernity ” का नाम दिया जाता है।

इतना ही नहीं, समाज में फैले हुए विभिन्न प्रकार के नशे का प्रभाव भी कम नहीं है। आज खुलेआम  drugs का सेवन करते हुए अधिकतर स्कूल के लड़के लड़कियां इधर-उधर घूमते नज़र आते हैं । साथ ही युवा वर्ग भी पीछे नहीं हैं। जगह जगह पर pubs देर रात तक dance floor में केवल लड़के लड़कियां ही नहीं अपितु युवक-युवतियां  भी पश्चिमी धुनों पर डांस करते, थिरकते , smoke करते  नजर आते हैं । इधर बड़े शहरों में आजकल एक प्रचलन और चला है “Hukka Bar” का, पर उन हुक्कों में तम्बाकू के स्थान पर drugs हुआ करता है । ऐसे वातावरण में अश्लील व्यंग्यों की भी कोई कमी नहीं होती जिसका परिणाम भी स्पष्ट रूप से झलक रहा है । आये दिन छोटी बच्चियों से बलात्कार, छोटे छोटे स्कूल में पढ़ते नाबालिग बच्चों का ज़रा-ज़रा सी बात पर झगड़ा, गाली- गलौज, धमकाना, डराना, एक दूसरे की जान तक ले लेना – ऐसी बातों से समाचार-पत्र भरे पड़े मिलते हैं ।

आजकल समाज में जो कुछ भी चल रहा है क्या इसकी ज़िम्मेदारी हमारी युवा पीढ़ी के साथ साथ हमारे media पर नहीं जाती? आज सभी वर्गों में अधिकतर लोगों के पास दूरदर्शन एवं कंप्यूटर की सुविधा होती है। इस कारण बच्चे बाहर कम अन्दर दूरदर्शन एवं कंप्यूटर पर अधिकतर बैठे दिखाई देते हैं । ऐसे में जाने-अनजाने, सही-गलत का अनुभव न होने के कारण बच्चे जब दूरदर्शन एवं कंप्यूटर देखते हैं, तो उनके मानस-पटल पर जो छवि बैठ जाती  है वे वही करने की कोशिश करते हैं, और प्रायः कर बैठते हैं, जिसका प्रभाव स्पष्ट नज़र आता है।

ऐसी स्थिति में हमारी युवा पीढ़ी आज की आने वाली पीढ़ी से थोड़ा-बहुत भी संतुलन बना कर चले तो सामंजस्य मुश्किल नहीं । आज का वातावरण देख कर तो ऐसा लगने लगा है जैसे हमारी भारतीय संस्कृति विदेशी संस्कृति से इतना प्रभावित हो चुका है कि अपने ही नैतिक मूल्यों को खोकर पाश्चात्य सभ्यता की ओढ़नी से अपनी  ही सभ्यता और संस्कारों को ढकते चले जा रहे हैं । सोचना यह है कि युवा-पीढ़ी इस बदलाव के इन झोंकों के साथ बहकर इतनी दूर न चले जाए कि अपनी ही धरोहर को – जो भारतीयता के नाम से जानी जाती है – खो बैठे, और उनके अपने ही पास अपने बच्चों को देने के लिए कुछ शेष न रह जाये।

अभी कुछ वर्ष पूर्व तक हमारे समाज में एक शब्द “मर्यादा” का भी हुआ करता था, पर आजकल के वातावरण में इस शब्द की कोई मर्यादा नहीं रह गयी है । कभी-कभार कहीं कहीं आते जाते कानों में पड़ जाता है की मर्यादा में रहना सीखो । आज वर्तमान पीढ़ी को आप कुछ भी कहें तो आवाज़ एक ही आती है, वो भी चारो तरफ से “पता नहीं आप लोग किस ज़माने की बातें कर रहे हैं। दुनिया इतनी बदल चुकी है की लोग चाँद पर पहुँच गए पर आप लोग रहेंगे वाही लकीर के फ़कीर।” आजकल स्थिति एकदम फर्क हो चुकी है। इस पीढ़ी को यह समझना चाहिए कि चाँद पर पहुँचाना एक अलग बात है । हम आज अपने संस्कारों को खोये बिना ही वह सब कुछ कर सकते हैं जो हम चाहते हैं । ऐसा लगता है जैसे परिवार और समाज के पारस्परिक संबधों का ह्रास  होता जा रहा है, जिसके कारण सामजिक तनाव बढ़ता जा रहा है । समाज में फैली कुव्यवस्था का एक मुख्य कारण यह भी है ।

मेरा लिखने का आशय ये कदापि नहीं कि मैं आप लोगों को कोई उपदेश या नसीहत दे रही हूँ, वरन समाज में फैली हुई इन कुरीतियों पर ध्यान दिलाना चाहती हूँ जिन पर आपका दृष्टिकोण जाता ही नहीं, क्यूँकि आप स्वयं ही उससे प्रेरित हो चुके हैं । पीढ़ियों का अंतर तो स्वाभाविक है पर अगर हम और आप चाहें तो पीढ़ियों के बीच एक मद्य संतुलन बना कर भावी पीढ़ी के भविष्य को सुरक्षित रख सकते हैं ।

 

 

Indian Middle Class Life And Stories

india, indian middle class family driving on scooter in bangalore

By Pinaki Pratihar

Every day when I wake-up and get prepared for my office, I pack my lunch made by my maid and miss my mom. How she helped me get dressed for school or how she used to pack my favorite dishes during my college-life when I use-to go home every weekend!

Or at early night when I used to chat with my dad, queries regarding health, job, life, parties, future plans and more. Sometimes the whole conversation turned into a simple question by my mom, “When will you come here to meet us?”

And I remained silent like ever. Mom has a power; she can feel some unspoken words. She naturally did-not repeats the same question. She left the topic the moment she felt I am uncomfortable with that.

He is a father, who has invested all of his savings for education of his children and to earn their minimum daily needs and wants. A perfect representative of Indian Middle Class society, who preferred to invest on Education, rather increasing his bank balance, whose expenditure, is same as his income, at the age of pre-retirement. He had invested his time to his children as much as possible and now he deserves to get the same attention from his children as he knows he is also experiencing the old-age problems and he need some-one apart from his caring wife, who is also struggling from fevers and pains due to age and nerve conduction and is failing to keep in check with his physical condition. He deserves a hand who can help him reach the nearest reliable hospital and can bring the medicine on time.

She is a mom; she had a general ‘mango-people’ homemaker mindset of having the best of possible things. Her only happiness in life comes from seeing her children attain a position in life. She still wishes her son could be a schoolteacher in a nearest high school and can stay at home at-least.

And me! Once I dreamt to be near my parents and failed, when I felt that life can be easy but career is not secured in Kolkata. Negligible economic growth and industry-related statistics and HR-satisfaction survey and un-predictable responses never encouraged me to be in Kolkata. The dream has busted. I never realized when.

I am a person who enjoys the cheap ride in Kolkata, cheap food and the lazy moments with family and friends. I do not feel the same in Delhi though I have a core set of friends and experienced colleagues. I am well convinced that this is not a place to grow well for a non-IT profile.

Everyday I wake up early morning and reach home at night; in between I mix with so many identities. I am a daily passenger who pays the same for a ticket to reach office, a colleague, who can do his job, a friend, with whom some information can be shared, a researcher who try to study things in-depth, an executive who interact with clients regularly and try to put some value in the business process, a junior, who try to follow senior’s instructions, a judge, before putting the instructions and a dreamer who try to put something new in front of the management.

And a Govt.

In my childhood, I participated in debates against brain-drain, but later-on realized watching so many unsuccessful businessmen in West Bengal that every state is not open like Gujarat.

I am not happy, but satisfied just by calling and considering my days as ‘The Struggling Period’, where I am struggling to learn some more, to earn some more money, respect and more happiness around me. I am convinced that this time, forget about your emotions and family. Here I wish you find your life different from me.

Make Others HAPPY :-)

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

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Anne Frank wanted to be a writer.

She became one, but only after her death in a Nazi concentration camp at the young age of 15.

While in hiding from the Nazis for 2 long years, she could say with confidence that she “wanted to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those” she had “never met”.

She believed that whoever is happy will make others happy as well.

Happiness and wanting to make others happy even when in hiding and in pain…

How do we compare?

Do we want to make others happy?

Are we attentive, polite and courteous?

Do we display kindness and concern?

The time to be MINDFUL is now. And the place to be MINDFUL is here.

Kindness Recycled

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

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“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.” Dalai Lama

There are everyday stories of kindness, compassion, warmth and love that fill our hearts with inspiration and hope. We are an amazing community of Happiest Minds where we can be kind to one another, grow together and spread ripples of kindness throughout the world. Genuine kindness is no ordinary act, but a gift of rare beauty.

I learnt lessons on kindness from my father…in his carrying goodies in the car to give to people at traffic lights, in giving blankets to the homeless who live on the streets, in providing the means for education to many, many financially challenged children, in giving an unused pair of spectacles to an old lady at a traffic signal after she bumped into the car because she could not see and also taking her to the optician…there are many such instances….the list continues to grow.

I learnt to be kind and gracious by just looking at his life…I am still learning…

No act of kindness, no matter how small…is ever wasted (Aesop)…they always return to you…

One Woman…

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

To All the Wonderful Women!!

1

Thank you for enriching lives, for making them better, fuller, more meaningful, bringing joy and love, care and concern, expanding thinking, bringing freshness, cooking fabulous meals, gossiping, laughing, caring, tending, listening, goading, rapping on knuckles from time to time and loving unconditionally.

We bow our heads in deep respect and gratitude, lift our hearts in love and raise our hands in salute!

“One Woman” is a musical celebration of women worldwide, featuring 25 artists from 20 countries across the globe. The song calls for change and celebrates acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who daily make extraordinary contributions to their countries and communities. The lyrics are inspired by stories of women whom UN Women, the UN organization charged with advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality worldwide, has supported. “One Woman” is the first theme song for a UN organization. www.song.unwomen.org

One Woman – Lyrics by Beth Blatt

In Kigali, she wakes up,
She makes a choice,
In Hanoi, Natal, Ramallah.
In Tangier, she takes a breath,
Lifts up her voice,
In Lahore, La Paz, Kampala.
Though she’s half a world away
Something in me wants to say …

We are One Woman,
You cry and I hear you.
We are One Woman,
You hurt, and I hurt, too.
We are One Woman,
Your hopes are mine.
We shall shine.

In Juarez she speaks the truth,
She reaches out,
Then teaches others how to.
In Jaipur, she gives her name,
She lives without shame
In Manila, Salta, Embu.
Though we’re different as can be,
We’re connected, she with me

We are One Woman,
Your courage keeps me strong.
We are One Woman,
You sing, I sing along.
We are One Woman,
Your dreams are mine.
And we shall shine.
We shall shine.

And one man, he hears her voice.
And one man, he fights her fight.
Day by day, he lets go the old ways,
One Woman at a time.
Though she’s half a world away,
Something in me wants to say.

We are One Woman,
Your victories lift us all.
We are One Woman,
You rise and I stand tall.
We are One Woman,
Your world is mine
And we shall shine.
Shine, shine, shine.
We shall shine
Shine, shine, shine.
We shall shine.
Shine, shine, shine.

You can download the song at: http://bit.ly/UN_Theme_Song_OneWoman

Mindful – A Short Story

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

old-woman-young-girl-holdin

“We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.”

Please read this real life experience of Kent Nerburn, a cab driver, in which a life transforming experience blurred the line between the receiver and the giver.

When we are mindful of another, we bring happiness and joy…to them and to ourselves.

A CAB RIDE I’LL NEVER FORGET….

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.  One night I took a fare at 2:30 am. When I arrived to collect, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

So I walked to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened.

A small woman in her 80′s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good man,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.” I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

“What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.  “Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered. “Oh, there are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.  Our hug ended with her remark, “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy.”  After a slight pause, she added, “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?  What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?  On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.