Tag Archives: Iyer

For There Is No Friend Like A Sister…

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Gurulakshmi Iyer-Hait talks of her childhood and says why she feels this saying by Ami Li is absolutely true: Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of.  You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there. This one’s for her sister she says :). 

“For there is no friend like a sister

In calm or stormy weather;

To cheer one on the tedious way,

To fetch one if one goes astray,

To lift one if one totters down,

To strengthen whilst one stands.”

-Christina Rossetti

The sight of siblings playing really caught my attention. To be precise, the sight of two sisters playing.

Like us. Elder protective and younger following the elder.

As always such sights make me go through my memory lane. This time, that of my younger sister I have often heard from my mom that I hated her when she was born(though I do not recollect any of that sort). But over the years I grew up with her, I have surely realized one thing, not everyone are lucky enough to have sisters. And all those who have, aren’t really close like us.

Our childhood experiences really bring smiles on my face. Opposites that we were,it was really difficult for others to identify both of us as siblings. I the prankster and she the obedient. We were a team throughout our childhood and I certainly did everything that bugged and irritated her.

She would iron the clothes for her,I would wear her ironed clothes. I would mess up the house and she would clean, offcourse making faces. As a kid,I never thought of spending time with her. Quite obvious that we shared almost everything and stayed under one roof. But as we grew up and started following our aspirations, our relationship grew too. It was then we felt that the warmth of togetherness is priceless!

She has always worshipped me. My words and actions have always been final verdict to her, right from early age. And should I not mention the same holds true even today despite staying thousands of miles away from each other.

I have many times imagined being a single child to my parents. It would have been nice to bask in my parents’ undivided attention but the imagination has always ended palely .While there is sharing, there are pillow fights, laughters, gossips and chatters too.

There never was any friend like a sister. While siblinghood is by chance, the love and warmth that this relationship brings in is definitely by choice. And I am blessed to have one such creature in my life!

sister

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God Gave A Blessing Called MOTHER

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Continuing our Mother’s special week, here’s Gurulakshmi Iyer-Hait telling her mom why she feels all that her mom did to her while she grew up has helped Guru be a good mother. Read the emotional tribute. 

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world

-William Ross Wallace

Over the 2 years of motherhood that I have enjoyed, I have really felt one can’t be a good mom unless and until she yells and shouts and sometimes raises her hand at the kid. I hated this when my mom did that to me and envied my sister since as elder one I had to take her quota of scolding and beating too. But when my little one began crawling and walking, I had to start off with all that I really hated as a kid. It was then that I knew what it meant.

No doubt this happens to all of us and we are forced to do that to our kids. Sometimes I am even forced to think about what I did and ate those 9 months of pregnancy to have given birth to such a brat. But then, it is really impossible to be away or ignore the so called monster that we give birth to. That is the beauty of Motherhood. No other relationship possesses this quality whatsoever.

As a kid, I never wished my mother for Mother’s Day. Infact we never knew that such a day existed. However we believed that the divine presence was apparent in the love and care of a mother. Today when my kid wishes me and gifts me those memories come back without much effort.

I remember as a child when I used to fall sick, how much worried she used to be. I experience the same worry now when my kid is sick. I used to think she is just over reacting then. But now I know how much I was wrong. No words of gratitude can suffice the pains she went through for us. And today I really get to know the meaning of those three words she uttered in joy during one of my fancy dress performances,”That’s my child”. This feeling is a bundle of emotions that really defy any reason.

Her overjoyed face when I ate up my food made by her is something that cannot be put in words. Come on, I was hungry and I ate up, what is there to be so happy about. Naah, only a mom would understand that, don’t even try. Those moments when I borrowed money from her for partying is so worth remembering. After having become a mom, I still feel the string of my kite is in her hands and she is still the decisive influence.

I have just begun to understand my mother’s love for me as my kid grows up. I cannot thank her enough, for her unconditional love.

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others but
whose place no one else can take.”
— Cardinal Mermillod

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Love, Life, Career…and Mommyhood

Another must-read from Gurulakshmi Iyer- Hait. This time she writes about the new and most adored addition to her family, who is not a part of her life but LIFE itself! How confusing and emotionally-racking the transition was from a full-time professional to a full-time mother, but how rewarding it feels at the end of the day! 

Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.
– Elizabeth Stone

Mom1

It’s 3 in the morning! I wake up hearing the meek cry of my baby. He feels famished at this hour of the night. I know this and get up immediately. I have been religiously following this sleep pattern for the last two and half years now.

Around 3 years back, we were ecstatic to have achieved our so-called ‘biggest priority’. We bought our dream flat. At that point of time, our priorities were mostly material possessions…an iPhone, a sedan, a SLR camera, etc. Little did we know that the sudden news of an addition to our two-member family will change the whole perspective of our lives. As a couple, we have thoroughly enjoyed our courtship and marriage. Weekends were usually spent either sleeping till late afternoons or partying hard till early mornings. It took us a while to digest the fact that we will have a small little thing amidst our inconsistent schedule. And once that realization occured, everything seemed to change.

I would feel like eating a pastry at 1 in the night .Hubby dear, who is usually very fussy about his sleep, actually wakes up and drives around to find some shops which remain open at that hour. I must say, as a pregnant woman, I have offered prayers to all the Gods and Goddesses in the world. Not that I wasn’t spiritually oriented before my pregnancy. However, the news enhanced the piousness and spirituality in me. Or perhaps, I was scared to have a tiny little being inside me.

Oh, did I mention the pampering I got everywhere I went? Now that’s something worth mentioning.

With that bulging belly, people treated me like a VIP. I got into a crowded bus and there were at least three people offering their seats to me. Whenever I went to the grocers, two or more people would come running to push my trolley. My beautician, who never had appointments for me during weekends, used to arrange a separate chair for me to enjoy a massage without any discomfort.

mom2

And then after nine months of suspense, pampering and fear came the D-day.  You’ve just delivered the baby (Caesarean or normal, the physical and emotional pain for both are every bit excruciating) and have just sworn off men for life. You catch yourself staring at the dyke that caused you to go through all the shit. Yes I’m talking of Messers Tiny Feet itself. You stare at those tiny eyes and wrinkled skin and try thinking charitable thoughts. A little finger wriggles. A mouth opens into a yawn. You’re all ready to ooze over it. Then it oozes over you.

Office meetings and Training programmes are now bartered with nappy changing sessions and feeding sessions. I tell you, one becomes an expert in nappy changing within 3 months of motherhood . In fact, you learn to fathom when t change the nappy by your little ones’ facial expressions. As a working professional, I must admit I could never make out my boss’ mood by simply looking at him 😛 but suddenly reading faces comes naturally and becomes a hobby.

Feeding bottles, baby lotions, teether, bathing tub, potty seat, walker, pram, tricyle, high chair and loads and loads of toys are major portion of our recent possession which we proudly display, in the name of furniture. I might forget to wear the right top for the jeans or a matching salwar for the kameez for a family dinner but I don’t dare to forget the bibs and high chair for my kid.

mom4

Experiencing the milestones of growth were so tempting that I did not give a second thought to letting my career take a backseat just to be able to become a full-time mommy for his initial growth years. Obsession with material possession has been replaced by the latest kid’s gadget toys and newest child related insurances and investment.

All the pains, sleepless nights, uncombed hair for months and a laid-back career life does not really matter when my child finally comes running to me hugs me with all the love in the world. The pleasure and the satisfaction of raising the child are more than euphoric! They are priceless!

After love, life, marriage and career……..for me, it’s that phase of life called Mommyhood!!!

….And I Completed My MBA….

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Gurulakshmi Iyer-Hait narrates an account of how difficult it was to manage a husband alongside a regular MBA course. Husband looked more manageable than MBA. Read on…..

I am sitting in the examination hall sweating. It’s the QT exam. Well, I had memorized all the formulae. To all those who are unknown to Mr. Quantitative Techniques, it cannot be mastered by memorizing. But I had done it. The examiner distributes question papers and answer sheets and I go blank. I just feel like going to deep slumber. Just then my sub conscious weak mind is woken up. And Ah!! it was a dream!! What a nightmare, I realize. People dream of missing a train, being left in front of a monster and here I was, dreaming of going blank in the examination hall. Having woken up I could not resist thinking of my B-School days.

Well it was difficult to manage home and college. Yes, I was married when I enrolled for my MBA. After trying all the career options in professional financial courses, I decided to end my jinx by getting married. For parents, this was the safest bet. Finally they were getting rid of me and alongside my whims and fancies of another expenditure involved in a professional course. This definitely was a two-way victory for the Iyers. However the aspiring and restless mind that I have, I just couldn’t remain composed without getting into something fruitful. This time I decided to convince my better half to get me enrolled into this prestigious course called MBA!!!

College after marriage wasn’t easy to say the least. Day long lectures, challenging presentations and assignments. No wonder it was a monstrous task to get placed after all that toil that went in for 2 years. A great balance and adjustment was needed at the home front and husband dear readily agreed to such adjustments. Did he have an option after the kind of money he had spent and also his belief in me was at stake.

The thought of again attending college brought back memories of graduation .The good memories though as usual did not last long. The initial excitement was replaced gradually by over whelm, anxiety and cut throat competition. Late night lectures, Sunday presentations became part and parcel of life. Getting half a day off on Sunday was a bonus for both of us. We actually learnt to live within constraints then. But when I entered corporate world, I remember frowning on six days working culture. What a pun it was?

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Guessing the lunch menu while sitting in the lectures seems so funny now. The IP messengers were such a boon to pass on secret messages within the class or to exchange jokes on professors.

And finally the thought of the tension during the placement season. Even today I feel butterflies when I think of those days. Companies came in and picked up students, both friends and competitors while you waited for your turn anxiously. Someone will surely be fooled by you is a strong belief which starts to fizzle as the placement season nears its end. As you wait, someone selects you and all that you enjoyed in those 2 years seems to slip away faster than water from your hands.

After two years of excessive pressure, fun and sweat, I finally became an MBA, something that was very important for me to break the jinx and get started with a new life altogether!! Today when I get up from my nightmare and think about those days, it really seems like a great achievement to me, an achievement or rather an opportunity not all married women get!!

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That Bong Connection…

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Gurulakshmi Iyer-Hait in this special one talks about the plight of those in her and her Husband’s family while the two of them were happy getting united in an inter-caste, inter-language marriage. She fondly calls it the Bong Connection. Read on and enjoy.

As I listen to the tunes of Biren Krishna  Bhadra, I realise the Bong connection in me despite being a southie by birth. And when I ponder and introspect, I have a hearty laugh on how much difficulties both the families faced to connect me to that connection!

When I found my Mr.Right, I was in cloud nine unaware of the situations that might arise when we break the news of getting married to our families. While the role played by both our families in our marriage is really appreciable, few incidents are worth recollecting. Oh and did I mention it was a pure inter-culture, inter-language marriage(all sorts of inter applicable here). Yes a Southie Iyer bride and a Bong groom.

They say marriages aren’t union between two individuals but between two families. People preferring love marriages know how expensive such belief can be for them. Every inter community marriage has its share of dissimilarities in terms of eating habits, culture and communication. In my case the realization of the differences dawned on the families on the very first visit. While Bongs prefer different varieties of fish, my parent’s preferences were simple and vegetarian.

I remember this instance, when my parents, during their first visit to my in-laws place, were offered Mishti Doi in the end. They thought that curd was being given to finish the meal with curd rice only to find that the curd rice tasted sweet. Embarrassed to ask about the sweetened curd, they just assumed that Bongs prefer sweetened curd rice. It made sense to them that Mishti Doi(sweetened curd) is a  dessert for the Bongs only after our explanation.

The common medium of communication for both the families is Hindi, one could guess the dialect and accent. If a Hindi scholar comes around while its being spoken by the families, he will commit suicide I assure you.

Differences were many. To start from, debates began with the Benarasi and Kanjivaram. There was definitely stubbornness from both the families. Finally a decision was taken and I ended up wearing Kanjivaram and husband dear was in traditional Bengali kurta. And the discomfort about what the bride would wear, a  Mangal sutra- the Thaali-or a Shaakha Paula after her marriage, both of these symbolizing marital status. Finally I ended up wearing both.

Very few couple opting for love marriage have the privilege and pleasure of getting married with a mix of two different cultures and rituals acceptable to both the sides. As a tradition, my parents would not give up on getting the invite cards printed in Tamil. So it was really funny to see our names flashing in both the languages on the cards.

My parents almost fainted when they were told  by some distant relative about the bringing of live fish as a ritual. However luck favoured us as both the families compromised on some customs that weren’t favourable to each other.

Bong marriage without sumptuous non vegetarian food is a crime. Ask any Bong, and within a wink, pops out the answer. Marriage and food are synonymous, go hand in hand, no compromise on food in marriage. Finally the menu consisted of Southie main course with Bong deserts and offcourse 100% vegetarian food. I just imagine the plight of all the Bengalis who attended my marriage and had no qualms whatsoever.

Trivial issues can create so many problems in marriages. Not to forget such issues are usually raised by some distant relatives. One thing that worked to our advantage was language barriers. There were so many trivial tribulations which could not be redressed due to linguistic barriers from both families. The grievances still remained unaddressed.

After all the overwhelm and anxiety, a connection was knit. And I name it a Bong connection…a hybrid Bong connection for my generations to come!!

Inter caste marriage

Love, Life, Career…and Mommyhood

Another must-read from Gurulakshmi Iyer- Hait. This time she writes about the new and most adored addition to her family, who is not a part of her life but LIFE itself! How confusing and emotionally-racking the transition was from a full-time professional to a full-time mother, but how rewarding it feels at the end of the day! 

Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.
– Elizabeth Stone

Mom1

It’s 3 in the morning! I wake up hearing the meek cry of my baby. He feels famished at this hour of the night. I know this and get up immediately. I have been religiously following this sleep pattern for the last two and half years now.

Around 3 years back, we were ecstatic to have achieved our so-called ‘biggest priority’. We bought our dream flat. At that point of time, our priorities were mostly material possessions…an iPhone, a sedan, a SLR camera, etc. Little did we know that the sudden news of an addition to our two-member family will change the whole perspective of our lives. As a couple, we have thoroughly enjoyed our courtship and marriage. Weekends were usually spent either sleeping till late afternoons or partying hard till early mornings. It took us a while to digest the fact that we will have a small little thing amidst our inconsistent schedule. And once that realization occured, everything seemed to change.

I would feel like eating a pastry at 1 in the night .Hubby dear, who is usually very fussy about his sleep, actually wakes up and drives around to find some shops which remain open at that hour. I must say, as a pregnant woman, I have offered prayers to all the Gods and Goddesses in the world. Not that I wasn’t spiritually oriented before my pregnancy. However, the news enhanced the piousness and spirituality in me. Or perhaps, I was scared to have a tiny little being inside me.

Oh, did I mention the pampering I got everywhere I went? Now that’s something worth mentioning.

With that bulging belly, people treated me like a VIP. I got into a crowded bus and there were at least three people offering their seats to me. Whenever I went to the grocers, two or more people would come running to push my trolley. My beautician, who never had appointments for me during weekends, used to arrange a separate chair for me to enjoy a massage without any discomfort.

mom2

And then after nine months of suspense, pampering and fear came the D-day.  You’ve just delivered the baby (Caesarean or normal, the physical and emotional pain for both are every bit excruciating) and have just sworn off men for life. You catch yourself staring at the dyke that caused you to go through all the shit. Yes I’m talking of Messers Tiny Feet itself. You stare at those tiny eyes and wrinkled skin and try thinking charitable thoughts. A little finger wriggles. A mouth opens into a yawn. You’re all ready to ooze over it. Then it oozes over you.

Office meetings and Training programmes are now bartered with nappy changing sessions and feeding sessions. I tell you, one becomes an expert in nappy changing within 3 months of motherhood . In fact, you learn to fathom when t change the nappy by your little ones’ facial expressions. As a working professional, I must admit I could never make out my boss’ mood by simply looking at him 😛 but suddenly reading faces comes naturally and becomes a hobby.

Feeding bottles, baby lotions, teether, bathing tub, potty seat, walker, pram, tricyle, high chair and loads and loads of toys are major portion of our recent possession which we proudly display, in the name of furniture. I might forget to wear the right top for the jeans or a matching salwar for the kameez for a family dinner but I don’t dare to forget the bibs and high chair for my kid.

mom4

Experiencing the milestones of growth were so tempting that I did not give a second thought to letting my career take a backseat just to be able to become a full-time mommy for his initial growth years. Obsession with material possession has been replaced by the latest kid’s gadget toys and newest child related insurances and investment.

All the pains, sleepless nights, uncombed hair for months and a laid-back career life does not really matter when my child finally comes running to me hugs me with all the love in the world. The pleasure and the satisfaction of raising the child are more than euphoric! They are priceless!

After love, life, marriage and career……..for me, it’s that phase of life called Mommyhood!!!

Organizational Values – New Age Ingredient for Sustainability

Organizational Values

Gurulakshmi Iyer- Hait talks of why Business of business need not always be business and why importance to culture and value building can actually yield positive bottom line results

That business purpose and business mission are so rarely given adequate thought is perhaps the most important cause of business frustration and failure – Peter Drucker

“Don’t lie”,” Do not steal”,” Respect the elders” are some of the gyaan our parents and teachers give us time and again. We would either decide to follow those or not to without even realizing their relevance in our life. Value is definitely not an unknown word for us. And its relevance is such that all our actions, behavior and goals are determined by, knowingly or unknowingly, following such set of values.

We often hear people cribbing about their bosses, work and work environment. It was only when I attended a training programme on Values and Culture that I really came to know how those words from our parents and teachers can actually drive our conduct in the professional world too. While it not only got into my brains but I was thoroughly convinced they are more than theory and training materials.

Professional education in India has come a long way. However little attention has been given to subjects like Business Ethics and Social Responsibility. So much so that the management graduates now believe that they cannot survive in the corporate world if they hold on to their ideals and that these values and ethics are irrelevant in the world of work. There has always been a tussle between our personal ideals and the ones emerging in the society.

The fact that values impact decisions and when these are upheld by managerial decisions determine the organizational culture cannot be ignored. However most organizations perceive culture building as an image building exercise. Such organizations do have a statement of Organizational Values that are never brought into practice. It is because of inadequate competence in practicing rather than lack of intention.

Also as children we are always conditioned to be in the crowd and follow others. This conditioning to a large extent leads to imbalance in the corporate world wherein we follow what others follow in the organization not knowing whether they abide to our personal values or not. In fact we ourselves do not know what our personal values are. It requires huge amount of capability and courage to apply those. Dissatisfaction in work place is nothing but the incongruence of such beliefs.

Winning organizations are deeply concerned about their values and they invest time and money in nurturing and aligning their employees’ personal values to the organizational ones. And such are the organizations that consider values as one of the competence while hiring. In the past too, there has been many instances of big organizations failing because of its culture.

While metrics is all that matters to reap business results, it has been proved by many value driven organizations that giving importance to culture building can actually yield positive bottom line results. But any intervention towards this way is based on the belief that an organization can build culture around its chosen values only if its employees see their part in creating and practicing those values. And such culture has to percolate from the top level of the organization. Value driven organizations characterized by effective working relationships and great leaders to guide definitely yields business sustainability.

The crux of the matter is.. Business of business need not always be business!!!

crossed fingers at handshake