Happy Mother’s Day (To all working Moms)

Image Credit: MS Clipart

To all the working Moms out there.

It’s your special Day and let me take this opportunity to appreciate your contribution in shaping our lives and our society. You Moms make a big difference, at home and at work.  Kids may not say it in words but they all appreciate your role in their lives. Even playing a dual role (Mom & Professional), you balance your priorities very well.

Image Credit: Google Images

Thanks for being so kind & supportive not only to your kids but also to other kids, whose Mom send them to work with you.

A special thanks from Moms of working (grown-up)kids to all those working Moms out there for looking after their kids at work.  With you Moms around at work, stay home Moms are breathing a sigh of relief; their kids are in safe hands. 🙂

 Happy Mothers Day! 

and Happy Mother’s Day to all stay home Moms as well

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Living Wisdom

Wisdom.
Webster defines it as – knowledge, insight
a.    accumulated philosophic or scientific learning : knowledge
b.    ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight
Free on-line dictionary defines it as – the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.

Image Credit: Google Images

Image Credit: Google Images

There’s a wealth of wisdom accumulated over the years; some captured in books, some passed on from generation to generation. At times we find certain wisdom makes sense only in books and that presumption makes it hard for us to carry it out in life. E.g. we all know that nothing is perfect in this world (except your wife, exceptions are always there). In spite of this fact how many of us actually look at our glass half full? We more often tend to look it as half empty and put ourselves in a chase after futile things. However there are few people who live a life which is wisdom in itself. A life we all would like to live, something not so hard to follow and still we make it a challenge. Here’s a story of a common man and a simple concept that’s quite inspiring!

After graduating from high school & before commencing the college, I had some elaborate plans to spend my well-earned vacation. Whenever I have been over-joyed about my immediate future, Mr. Murphy have hijacked the script & modified it with his very own popular version. In this case it was my father who made plans to better use my vacation. He accounted for almost everything in that plan except my willingness. We (kids in sub-continent) are raised to agree on everything elderly family members have to say. Anyone five years & more than your age is your elder. Not sure where that limit five came from, but I know that my sister five years younger to me had severe challenges agreeing to my talks. So I guess over five is the accepted norm to be privileged as an elder. I am sure my father presumed that he can grandfather my will under that ancient tradition.

We were living in a mid-sized city in western India & he bought a property in the suburb of the city. He realized that serenity of suburbs precedes the comforts of city. I was not in disagreement with that. In fact I had a vested interest in moving to the suburb. The vested interest wasn’t anything great looking back at it now; it was merely driven by teen hormones and not neurons. The house needed some fixing before we can call it our new home. It was about a four years old house but no-one had lived there permanently, the first owner had used it as a vacation home. It needed some basic elements for permanent dwelling. Instead of contracting it out he decided to give a face-lift using day laborers & hourly skilled workers; and of course putting me in-charge to oversee that all. This was his audacious plan to better use my vacation. He assumed that this new challenge filled responsibility would make a good graduation gift!  Anyone can tell that this was nothing more than an unpaid internship. He justified his plan by saying that this would be a great hands-on learning opportunity for me to gain some management skills. I had a long list of things to do during the vacation & learning was not on that list. How much can you eat between two heavy meals? My exact point, how much can you learn between two major learning experiences – High-school & College? My father lacked that critical analytical skills to comprehend my simple logic and somehow I was assigned a learning assignment! I am a kid from sub-continent born in last century who generally lacked persistent disobedience at home. Not claiming I was the best kid who deserved a gold star on compliance but I picked my battle of resistance.

Image Credit: Google Images

Image Credit: Google Images

My grandfather was a great visionary; he foresaw my fray with Mr. Murphy & advised me at the age of five that, “if you can’t avoid it enjoy it”. He motivated me to drink that third force feeding of daily milk dose by saying, “pretend its molten ice-cream”. A positive attitude helps you come out of the stickiest situation and may even help enjoy going through one. It’s all about attitude, and I was banking on that single ray of hope to brighten so far gloomy looking vacation. I motivated my mind to yield something positive out of this experience and didn’t took me long to find my molten ice-cream in restoration project; access to the restoration budget & opportunity to customize house as per my needs.

 ……… to be continued.

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Interrupted (Random) Thoughts

Image credit: Google Images

What initially appeared as a couple of week’s blogging hiatus, eventually turned out to be season long blogging hibernation. It all started with Giants winning the Super Bowl XLVI. The win was great but what’s more awesome was the fact it was against NE Pats. The celebrations lasted for few days. Under euphoria I may have used up all my yearly allocated quota of joy in three days and as a result of that frowned fate may have outsourced the script of my next three months to a frustrated intern or a diehard NE fan. Whoever that person was, he just scooped everything out of that stress jar & smeared it on my weeks to follow.

A mere coincidence or an instigation by fate, around the same time a Global beverage giant head-quartered in NY was undertaking “productivity improvement measures” – a management lingo in street language simply means planned lay-offs. (This was all over the news so this is nothing new that I am disclosing here.) We weren’t fortunate enough to be amongst the chosen ones for the pink slip and so became the natural choice to pick up the slack left behind by the ones who attained work Nirvana (at least for time being). A major application upgrade scheduled for first half of the year was now my so far relaxed shoulders to deliver with resource depleted team.

A simple work formula is — work = hands * hours. Work has to be done no matter what; if value of hands decreases, the only way you can balance the equation is by increasing the value of hours. That’s exactly we ended up doing. In tech world, few emergencies or fire drills during the year are usual norm, so this alone wasn’t a shirt losing situation.  But as they say trouble comes in threes.  While I was copping up with imbalanced work equation, my wife was struggling with fresh challenges at her new work place. She couldn’t have picked better time to switch job. Still not a dire situation, until our bundle of joy decided to put the final straw.

Fortunately we didn't have to resort to this.
(Image credit: Google Images)

Not sure about elsewhere, but in US, babies are called bundle of joy, (delivered by a stork). But the joy is not eternal and you can’t even buy extended warranty on that. The tootsie turns terrible at two and begins to unleash tantrums at her parents, giving them a glimpse of the other side of the parenthood. Not a norm but a general observation shows that girls don’t go all out with their tantrums at the age of two, they save it for later years (esp. post married life). Boys spend it all to deliver a knockout punch at two and hence the term “terrible two” became popular. We have two boys & considered ourselves blessed for the most part. Our elder one almost forgot to turn two. His ambition is to become a President so makes perfect sense he’s saving it for later. Younger one delivered first three quarters of his terrible two like Apple Inc.’s earnings report; better than expectation. But that was just the silence before the storm; he was saving it all for the last quarter. Not yet three and he’s learned to outsmart both of us put together, and we haven’t let him taste soda yet! A simplest task like converting 8oz of milk into a soiled diaper has become a major negotiation on a daily basis. He obliges us by consuming a meal & we have to return him a favor back by entertaining him. If his terrible two lasts two more years we both will be good performing artists. I have started complaining about hair loss & she’s complaining of memory loss.

Friends & relatives tell us that we should be thankful for having only two kids, imagine the life with a third one! Well we don’t have to think or worry about that until the younger one is in charge. Lately by the time our supercharged toddler goes to bed he has already drained out all the energy out of us. We are so exhausted that we don’t even have zest to say “good night”; making it one is a farfetched thing. Yeah there’s a lot to catch up on. I mean catching up with all your posts.  My project is going live tomorrow (fingers crossed), younger one is turning three next week & wife is settling down at her new work. So maybe I might be able to return back to my glory days, of being a good husband and let the world know via the blog how much I love my wife. No plans for the third one though and can’t wait for Super Bowl XLVII!!

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Brightest before the end – 100 Word Flash Fiction

Once again it’s TGIF and it’s time for weekly fiction. I usually blog on topics that reflect hope, happiness and optimism. For Friday Fiction I attempt to explore the other side of the coin, because it’s fiction and I hope it remains one. Here’s an ugly truth that I hope we never have to face.

~~~~~

Peaceful protest gets bit louder as the moment of reality approaches. A banner reads No Nukes. Cops busy keeping the crowd at bay while officials ensuring journalists from across covers best of the event, especially when half the country is under poverty. Locals gathered curious to comprehend how this will change their lives.  With sun setting in the background they see a ray of hope in a huge glow of fire that lit up the mountains. A thunderous echo follows which silences the protestors. They see the dark night waiting behind the glow. Yes candle is brightest before the end.

~~~~~

Want more Friday Flash Fiction? Madison Wood’s blog

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Technology Driving Us …Where?

Image credit: Google Images

We find ourselves gifted living in technology era. Couple of centuries ago Industrial revolution changed course of people’s lives. We are in the midst of a digital revolution. A revolution history will remember as a change agent that transformed us as a society – the way we communicate, socialize & express ourselves.

Over the weekend I was attending a diner at a family gathering. I met my teenage cousin after a long time and started conversing with him, just a casual chat about high-school life and his interests. No matter what the questions were his responses were simple and abbreviated; no facial expressions at all. I felt almost as if the words were coming out of a programmed robot. I know he’s not a rude or arrogant kid; his stoned face during conversation in that festive environment was bit unusual for my expectation. With all the time at hand and idle brain desperately seeking a job I cooked up a small experiment on human emotions and drafted him as a subject. I befriended him on the face book & went to the other room & started chatting with him. To my amazement, I saw that kid more expressive & better responsive to my emotion-soaked questions and statements. Of course here he was freely using the digital emotions called emoticons to express him. He seemed to be a complete different person on online chat than in person conversations. This kid is a lone child of his career oriented parents, raised by “electronics”.  With parents pursuing professional career, this kid spent most of his childhood amidst electronics. At home & to some extent even at day care. Laptop taught him letters, numbers & rhymes, tablet read him the stories & iPod lullabied him to sleep. For most part electronics replaced humans in raising him, and obviously his grooming lacked the emotional touch that humans would have incorporated. I think this what the kid was missing. Human emotions, something he was not exposed to, to a larger extent.

So is this a new epidemic EDS (Emotions deficiency Syndrome) in making that could plague our society and eradicate something that has been an integral part of our existence; our Emotional expressions. Even the simplest forms of animals express their emotions in one way or the other. We humans as a species have evolved more successfully in last millennium than any other living species. During the course of evolution we changed our lives drastically & stopped doing things that were part of our living rendering some of our body functions be just a vestigial. We discovered fire & learned to cook our food and now we no longer can digest raw food. Early humans were natural runners. We have developed means to transport ourselves, defend & protect ourselves to an extent that running is almost extinct from our day to day life. We no longer are a natural runner by behavior; we train ourselves to be a runner. So could we be at a verge of an evolving species again? The way we communicate & express over social media using emoticons, will emotions be extinct from our natural lives and we’ll have to train ourselves to be emotional.

Image Credit: Microsoft Clipart

I remember when video games started to become popular, parents across the globe raised a concern that technology is making our kids couch potato. Technology came up with an answer to the problem it created. Nintendo came with a toy Wii that dragged kids out of their couch and made them stretch & jump. It doesn’t replace the active life, but still a reasonable alternative over being a couch warmer. Soon other game makers followed the lead. So once again will technology have an answer for EDS? We are getting closer & closer in artificially imitating the life. We created Mr. Watson that can beat hands down the most knowledgeable quickest thinkers & responders of our time. We are creating artificial organs, human parts are implanted successfully, and genes are being engineered to alter the species as a whole. May be one day we might develop an emotion-rich gadget that will fill in the emotional void within us created by the technology. Until that happens, I may have an intermediate solution inspired by natural turned trained runner.  Every year along with annual physical examination, we must also under go emotional examination. If we are diagnosed with an Emotion deficiency syndrome, we are then referred to specialized centers.  Trained professionals will train us how to be expressive with emotions. There they’ll teach how to laugh out loud on a hilarious joke rather than “roflmao”

Kids are the future of the society, civilization. They say it takes a village to raise a kid. The era we are living in is shaped by people who were raised by a village. Today’s kids are raised by the social media which has a global reach. There better be a fantastic future ahead of us. I am highly optimistic. Are you?

Posted in Lighter Side, Technology | Tagged , , , | 40 Comments

Trip to Grandpa’s – 100 Word Flash Fiction

A picture is worth 1000 words & to sum it up in 100 words of fiction is a Friday fun I have embarked on. Madison Woods inspires with a new photo every week; Susie Thank you for drafting me in.

~~~~~

Image Credit: Madison Woods (Friday Fiction)

Impatiently waiting at the security line I was fidgeting both mind & body. This is the very precise reason I choose a train over plane for a two hour journey. It’s just a routine protocol was the rant by officials somehow didn’t sound convincing. Running late for my much needed hot cup of tea, I rested my grudge for some other day, clutched my grungy backpack and shrugged off towards the platform. Conductor making a last minute check on the passenger list, I hear a kid murmur why is it so complicated to go to Grandpa’s house? Frazzled I ponder…

 ~~~~~

You can find the inspirer and the instigator here …

http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/first-contact/

http://susielindau.com/2012/01/27/just-another-day-100-word-flash-fiction/

~~~~~

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Discriminating Oscars Categories

Image credit : oscars.org vis wikipedia

Oscars nominations were announced earlier today. One category that still stands out amongst the others is the Acting category. That’s the only category we still have gender segregation at Oscars. Even in the age of equality, men are still considered inferior to women when it comes to acting. Agreed women are natural actors (no pun intended), but men has come long way in learning and developing the art. We have earned equality in all other fields. There is no separate category like best writress or best Directress, but for sure best actress in lead and supporting role. The later one bothers me the most. Even being supportive we are not at par with women.

One would argue that, in a given movie there is only one writer, (all right for minds seeking political correctness, one script written by one or more writers.) There’s one director directing the film but there are different actors playing the roles and hence a separate category. Well if that’s the case why not have a category of Child & Senior Citizen too! That’s a different skill and maturity level. But no everything has to be looked as Black & White; Man and Woman. Do you see my point here? Do you see the foul play here creating a separate category – only for women! I understand acting is complicated art. It’s not just about how you act or play, it also involves, your screen presence, your persona, your glamor it’s the whole package.

Men have come a long way to compete with women in appearance. From a medieval savagery to a metrosexual man, guys has almost adapted his gender counterpart’s life style including grooming, shopping, closet space, grinning (typical Man laughs out loud), shaving body parts that even the creator never thought would ever happen. Apart from few hygiene products you’ll see a metrosexual man using almost every thing from women’s drawer. Even after this men are still not an acting material at par with women.

Men's attempt to earn Acting equality

Even these efforts didn't earn Men enough acting recognition to be at par with women! Image credit imdb.com

I think a category that truly deserves to be segregated based on gender is makeup artist category. We need two separate categories, best makeup on male and best makeup on female. Come on face it, beautifying a woman is like putting together flowers & create a bouquet out of it. The thing itself is beautiful; all you are doing is just enhancing the glory of it. That’s what makeup does to women. No special skills of makeup artist are involved there.  Well beautifying Man is like carving out something from a raw stone, a hard labor with chisel & hammer and not only that you also need artistic sense. Not all chisel strokes on stone creates an aesthetically appealing image.

Fifty years ago one guy addressed the humanity and said I have a dream; many heard that in person & never thought the dream will come true during their lifespan; results of last general election saw that dream come true. Today from this blog post I declare, I have a dream to be treated equally in the female dominated world. And I hope I live long enough to see that one day. Even a day when I don’t have to worry about consequences of toilet seat left up would be worth living. Until then let’s watch the Superbowl where men violently battle out on field while women glamorously cheer them from the sidelines; something like a medieval dog fight!

(Women may find some stuff flattering on this post here. My wife reads my blog too. I hope to be greeted with some exotic dinner this evening. Hunger supersedes Honesty, taste-buds triumphs over truth; enough said. She ignores italics assuming it a fine print. So one of the days if you see entire post in italics don’t be surprised, you already know the reason.)

Posted in Lighter Side, My Two Cents | Tagged , , | 17 Comments