Friday, September 21, 2007

Innate Talent to the Rescue

Innate talent is phenomenal. It can ooze, erupt and explode in any form or shape at any time and place. I experienced it at the strike of midnight on last Sunday, the 16th of September, 2007.

We had a hectic day on Saturday, with the Ganesh Puja and followed by a hectic Sunday with some social activities. We went out with friends on Sunday evening and came back home by about 10.30 pm. And at 11.00 pm, my daughter remembers that she has some EVS project work to complete, which was their weekend homework. I always believe that the project work is home work for parents. We had to find pictures on the theme NEIGHBOURHOOD and paste them in the classwork note book. I pulled out my stack of magazines and rummaged through the pages and clipped some relevant pictures and completed my home work. I was pretty pleased with my late night endeavour and forced a THANK YOU out of my daughter and put her to bed and did the same to myself. It was around 11.45 pm.

I was settling in, to catch up my precious sleep, I felt my daughter tapping my arm. I get annoyed and clench my teeth and ask her,what now? She remembers that she has been selected to participate in a HINDI POETRY RECITATION COMPETITION the next day. I tell her to recite a poem from her text book and she says it is already selected by another classmate. I say, so what, you too can recite the same one. And as I am speaking to her, I am also trying to recall if I know something small and easy for her to learn, but I can't think of anything. I can see tears coming out of her eyes, signs of emotional blackmail. I succumb to it and tell her to just shut up and wait for me to think. And behold! the clock struck twelve and I mumble some rhyming Hindi words as they tumble from my mouth. My daughter is delighted and I am elated, amused and shocked at the same time. She asks me how did I do it and I say "Thank Lord Ganesha", he did it.

I realize, I have composed a short and sweet poem for my child, which she perfects in less than five minutes. She tells me the poem is very cute and that she has recited it with confidence at the competition. The results are still awaited!


चुक् चुक् , चुक् चुक् ,
चुक् चुक्, चुक् चुक् ,
आती है रेल गाडी

चुक् चुक् , चुक् चुक् ,
चुक् चुक्, चुक् चुक् ,
आती है रेलगाड़ी

ले जाती है गाऊँ गाऊँ
ले जाती है शेहर शेहर
हम बच्चों का मन
बहलाती है रेल गाडी

चुक् चुक् , चुक् चुक् ,
चुक् चुक् , चुक् चुक् ,
आती है रेल गाडी

चुक् चुक् , चुक् चुक् ,
चुक् चुक्, चुक् चुक् ,
जाती है रेल गाडी

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Teachers' Day

As a gesture of respect to the great statesman, teacher, philosopher and a human being, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrisnan's birthday is celebrated as "Teachers' Day" in India. September 5th of every year is a treat day for the teachers in most of the schools here. It is also a day when every teacher needs to reckon their importance, impact and influence they have on their students. A teacher comes next to parents in every student's life. Especially for children, their teacher means the world to them. When a teacher tells something, it is the last, the best and the defining word "Brahma Vakya".

Guru Brahma
Gurur brahmaa gurur vishnuh
gurur devo maheshvarah
gurur saakshaat parabrahma
tasmai shree gurave namah.

Know the Guru to be Brahma himself. He is Vishnu. He is also Shiva. Know Him to be the Supreme Brahman, and offer thy adorations unto that peerless Guru.

A good teacher respects, understands, empathizes and encourages his/her student. And a student in turn trusts, emulates and hero worships the teacher. I remember one of my teachers' with great affection; Mrs. Helena Brown. She was my teacher in Kindergarten at St. Ann's High School, The Hutti Gold Mines, Karnataka. ( I am sure my childhood friends Balakrishna Sarvanan and Bharath remember her too) It was some kind of a good fortune for us students, that she graduated with us till the 3rd grade. I remember telling my parents every year that Brown teacher had also passed the class with us. I owe my foundation in the English language and good hand writing skills to her. I can vividly remember her beautiful handwriting on the black board. She always maintained great dignity and poise. She was strict but also very affectionate. This teachers' day, I warmly remember her and dedicate my sincere gratitude to Mrs. Brown. Wherever she is " God Bless Her" and a big Thank You Teacher.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hyderabad Blasts

Hyderabad is in the news for wrong reasons; the tragedy that followed the twin bomb blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat on Saturday evening, August 25, 2007.

Lumbini Park is located on the banks of Hussain Sagar on the Tank Bund Road which connects Hyderabad to Secunderabad. My office is located very close to the park and I pass the Tank Bund everyday to reach home. I left office by auto on Saturday at around 6.00 pm after the rain stopped. The traffic on Tank Bund Road was chaotic, but due to the heavy rains, there were very few weekend revellers on the Bund which is a popular spot as it overlooks the Hussain Sagar lake. I was eager to reach home soon, as my daughter wanted me to pick a cake for her grandfather who celebrated his 75th Birthday on Saturday. She wanted it to be a surprise. Finally after a tedious ride home, followed by the impromptu party, my husband received a call at 8.00 pm from an acquaintance in Nagpur, inquiring about the bomb blasts. We switched on the television and were shocked to see the gory scenes being aired. The bombs had exploded at 7.30pm and 7.45 pm at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat, respectively. I went numb for a while, wondering,it could have been any one of us. We received umpteen calls from relatives and friends living in other cities to inquire about our safety.

Lumbini Park is a tourist place and only last month we took our outstation guests who were visiting us, to NTR Park, another popular place which is located closely to Lumbini Park. Lumbini Park has a laser show which draws a lot of people especially the tourists. Fortunately, due to heavy rains on Friday and Saturday, the place was not crowded.

Gokul Chat, another very popular eating joint hounded by youngsters was the next target. The maximum number of casualties took place here, and more or less all were youngsters. Gokul chat located on the busy Koti road has close proximity to many educational institutions, to name the well known ones, Osmania Medical College and Women's College. It is also a shopping hub which is crowded all times of the day and evenings are jam packed with not an inch to breathe. My brother Nagaraj always joked about shopping at Koti, saying that we need not put any effort to walk as we automatically get pushed around by the crowd. There is no Hyderabadi, especially the youngsters, who would not have tasted the mirchi bajjis and chat at this eatery. I remember during my college days, my brothers told me about Gokul Chat. But I frequented it less, because my tummy couldn't take the Gokul Chat delicacies lightly.

Hindus, Muslims and Christians have lost their lives. My heart and prayers goes out to the parents and families who lost their loved ones due to the heinous acts of some cowards. But I am proud of the fact that Hyderabad is facing this tragedy with a lot of dignity. There have been no untoward incidents, except for a few foolish people pelting stones at buses and the BJP Bandh on 27th August 2007, Monday. I am unable to comprehend the purpose of observing this bandh by forcibly pulling down the shutters of schools, shops and other establishments. I wish ,the so called "Saviours" could divert their energies and time to genuinely help the victims and their families.

Who are these terrorists? Are they human beings? Do they have a religion? Do they have parents, siblings and children? Who are they?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Strangers Speak

I travel frequently with my family and almost always by train. Last week we made a very short trip to Pune to see my mother who will soon move to Kolkata with my brother and his wife. We generally travel by the AC Class, but with last minute booking of tickets, we decided to travel by the Sleeper Class for availability of seats.

On our return journey, we had three senior citizens for company. A Bengali couple who kept to themselves and a Maharashtrian gentleman who exchanged pleasantries. As the train left Pune with the hustle and bustle due to a lot of local travellers who get in at Pune to get off at nearby stations; my attention went to the seats at the side where a elderly muslim gentleman was sitting. He must be about 70 years . A middle aged lady approached him regarding the seat occupancy and she sat across and the conversation (in Hindi) began as follows :

Lady: Are you travelling alone?

Man: Yes amma. Gives a charming toothless smile

Lady: Is this your seat?

Man: Yes, How about you?

Lady: I am also travelling alone. I have a confirmed seat. My husband ensured that I have a confirmed seat.

Man: To Hyderabad ?

Lady: Yes, How about you?

Man: To Hyderabad. Where are you from?

Lady: From Hyderabad, My daughter stays here, she is married.

Man: How many children do you have?

Lady: I have three, eldest is a son, followed by two daughters. The youngest is yet to get married.

Man: What does your son do?

Lady: My son is in the army. We are not in touch with him. He left us to marry a girl of his choice. That girl very neatly trapped him. Last I heard they had a baby.

Man: Ooh!

Lady: What to do ? Not once has he tried to meet us. It is o.k. This is our destiny. How about your family?

Man: I have two sons and a daughter. Both the sons are married. I have good daughters-in-law. They take good care of me and my wife.

Lady: Oh that is nice. Were you visiting relatives in Pune?

Man: Smiles and blushes. No I have a wife in Pune.

Lady: What? Looks shocked and amused at the same time.

Man: Yes, I have two wifes. One in Hyderabad and one in Pune. Grins

Lady: Children?

Man: I have two sons and a daughter by my Pune wife too. Both sides BARABAR ( equal). These two sons are also married and here too my daughters-in-law are good.

Lady: But then how do you manage two families? Where do you stay?

Man: I stay most of the time in Hyderabad. I visit Pune every two or three months.

Lady: How about your wifes?

Man: Oh both cannot stand each other. But my children are very understanding. They take good care of their respective mothers. I had to visit Pune now because my wife here is unwell. She has been diagnosed with bone cancer and is bedridden. So I went to see her and took her to hospital.

Lady: But then you are returning back so quickly.

Man: No problem, my sons will take good care of their mother. I have faith in them. I will visit her again in a month or two...

Meanwhile Dhaund station arrived. This station is famous for the tasty Wada Pav ( Potato patties with bun), a desi veg burger. It is tea time. So everybody is hankering to get the Wada Pavs and Chai before the train leaves. We too did the same. And I got engrossed in relishing my Wada Pav and Chai. When I told my husband who was sitting next to me, the tales of the gentleman and his two wives and the lady's forsaken son, he looked surprised, he had not heard a word and he thought I was reading my FEMINA. I know he did not hear a word because on the opposite upper berth were two love birds (short distance travellers) cuddling and saying sweet nothings. My husband was annoyed and worried that our daughter who was sleeping on the adjacent upper berth would get up and see the romance and then ask us umpteen questions. Thankfully, they got off the train in the next station.

But what sounded interesting and amazed me was how two perfect strangers share the events of their personal lives and their inmost feelings and emotions without any inhibitions. They need not ask each other their names or addresses of their destinations, but will develop a temporary special bond, close enough to reveal each other their personal lives and events.

Well, the reason could be that there are no obligations, no judgments, no ridicule, no commitments in this relationship and you find a good listener and an empathiser who will prove not to be a threat is whatsoever way. We tend to feel safe because we may not bump into the same person again. Therefore we unburden our emotional baggages temporarily and it does give us momentary relief .

Friday, July 20, 2007

Eat Out

A new restaurant " MOKSH" opened for public on 07/07/07 in Hyderabad. It is located on the Ministers road, overlooking the Tank Bund and the Necklace road. Hyderabadis, especially the vegetarians will know the restaurant " NEST" which doesn't exist anymore. And Moksh is located on the same premises. It is the "UTSAV" ( A leading pure Veg restaurant located adjacent to LAMBA Theater, Secunderabad) owners new initiative.

Moksh is a three storeyed buliding with the first floor for 'Fine Dining" - serving Indian, Chinese and Italian
Veg and Non-veg delicacies ; cocktails and mocktails. The second floor has a 400 seater banquet hall and the third floor has a roof garden which is still under construction. The interiors are done by the well known interior designer Mr. Yeshwant Ramamurthy. The reddish brown interiors gives a earthy feel, with partitions and walls decorated with grinding stones , glass pieces and wood. The menu looks elaborate and exotic. The rates are slightly expensive than UTSAV's.

We had the privilege to experience good food before the inaugural as we were invited by one of the owners who is a family friend. I relished the sweet corn soup, paneer seekh kebab, aloo paratha , Saunf Dum Aloo, Kesari Kofta curry , Veg Dum Biriyani and topped it with Kubani Ka Meetha , a typical hyderabadi dessert made of apricots. I also had a Mocktail to drink, which was sweet and a combination of strawberry syrup, fanta and something else; I don't remember the name either as it sounded new to me.

So all of you there, we now have MOKSH for a good gastronomic experience!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Child - A Master or Mistress of all Trades

This write-up was exclusively written for the BLOG " Rambling with Bellur". The article appeared in two parts and is titled " Kids are a Powerful Force" .

At the moment, I share my views about children, based on my experience and observations as a mother, aunt , sister ( to many little cousins) , friend ( a few of my daughter's friends are mine too), and lastly as a psychologist and a counsellor. My life has not been the same since September 7, 2000, the day my daughter came into this world. She will soon be seven and believe me, it has been a journey of non-stop activity and entertainment.

I was always fascinated to see new born babies making different facial expressions and crying in different tones and sounds, to convey some need and also something they probably enjoy hearing. The magical moment is when the baby sucks the mother's breast which is a natural reflex on the part of the baby.

So this behaviour or actions demonstrated by a normal and healthy baby is innate or inborn and not taught.

Then begins the growing up process where the child reaches each cherished milestones and starts school. It is also the beginning of a learning process, and developing new behaviour patterns, by watching, sensing and feeling from the proximity of the environment and people present in it.

The focus is now on learned behaviour which is absorbed or learned by training and it marks the beginning of the on-going live project for parents, especially once the child starts school. Every day there is a new twist to the tale, new problems and newer challenges, and parents have to pull up their socks and be a few steps ahead, equipped with mind blowing strategies and solutions. I am sure many parents who are working will agree that this exercise will facilitate them in their boardroom meetings and also when dealing with a difficult boss.

Picture this. My daughter's first day in school after summer vacation, she loses her new pencil box and the losing one thing or the other becomes a common phenomenon. The term exams begin and she has generously given her classwork book to a classmate. Today her class teacher is the sweetest human being, tomorrow the same teacher is the most dreaded and hated creature in the world. But she does not like to hear any undesirable comment about her teacher from us. Wow! these kids bring in a volley of emotions in us. I find my Blood Pressure raising at one moment and in the same breath I can roll over with laughter. The psychologist in me goes for a toss and I remain a parent only. So now you know, these kids are the powerful force who keep your life packed with surprises.

A child can twist you around his or her little finger(Magician), can amaze you with spontaneous gestures and response (Talented Actor), can come up with mind blowing argument to drive a point home (Lawyer), can instigate fights with your spouse and in-laws unknowingly and also bring peace (Diplomat) and much more. But all this is underlined with innocence which is the essence of childhood. William Wordsworth's quote " A child is the father of the man" sounds apt here. On a lighter vein you do not have to worry about their career options in the future, as they are already displaying relevant traits.

Now how do some specific traits or behaviour patterns come into place? Our behaviour is influenced by the social, cultural and economic dynamics and so will be our kids. The first and foremost is by observing us, their parents, older siblings and if you live in a joint family, then the other family members. The most basic behaviour pattern they pick up is related to demonstrating anger, usage of spoken language, tone, mannerisms and conduct. Therefore the onus lies on the "primary role models", us the parents and other family members to demonstrate favourable behaviour defined as social norms by the society we live in.

Then comes adapting behaviour patterns from interacting with other children or adults outside home and also within home. It can be positive and constructive behaviour patterns like learning to share, help, love, show affection, concern etc. This leads to good self confidence, self esteem, communication, interpersonal and social skills.

The so called negative and destructive behaviour patterns adapted by children can be lying, stealing, manipulative behaviour, physical violence, etc. The reasons for this range from lack of love, security, fear of someone and many other factors. It can lead to some behavioural disorders like stammering, bed wetting, playing truant, thumb sucking, nail biting, excessive shyness and temper tantrums. It causes anxiety and concern in parents. But they could be common problems with no symptomatic behavioural disorders; nonetheless it is important for parents to take guard of the situation. In persistent cases, it is advisable too seek professional help.

It is vital for parents to keep track of the company the children keep, the kind of stuff they watch on TV, the games they play on computers, attend parent-teacher meetings at school and interact with their teachers. Most important, keep communication open with them. Our children need constant positive strokes, attention and love which fosters a feeling of security and trust in them. They should be encouraged to share their day to day experiences without inhibitions and fear of being judged or criticized. Whenever required they also need to be disciplined, to make them realise the difference between favourable and unfavourable actions and behaviour.

So acknowledge your children's strengths and weaknesses and help them develop a positive attitude towards learning and living in this world. I would like to share these excerpts from the book " Children Learn What They Live" by Dorothy Law Nolte.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.

If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.

If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte

Courtesy: Baby snaps of my new born nephew "Raghav" taken a few hours after he was born on June 8th, 2007
Other snaps: My daughter, her friend, my nieces. (Budding models, dancers and singers... for the time being)

Monday, June 11, 2007

What a Treat !

Guess, whom did I see at 10.00 am on 6th June, 2007, while waiting for the elevator at my office buliding "Paigah Plaza" at Basheerbagh, Hyderabad ? Well it was the handsome "John Abraham". I was totally dazed seeing him in his short hair cut, clean shaven look. He looked dashing. When I entered the building premises, I noticed some huge equipment vans and film crew members moving around. So I did know a film shooting was going on somewhere here.

Paigah Plaza, one of the oldest office space buildings in Hyderabad, seems to be developing into a favourite location for shootings. Earlier a particular scene for Mahesh Babu's "Sainikudu" was shot here. But then I couldn't see Mahesh Babu. I understand that the rental charges for this premise is very less, therefore the preference for this very original location.

As a few of us were waiting in the "Q" to get into one of the two elevators available for this 12 floored building, I noticed some activity and security personnel walking in. And there I see a dashing young guy, who looks familiar and in a split second I recognise him. As both the elevators had gone up, John had to wait for over 5 minutes. And when one of the elevators came down, he was hesitant to get in , as we were already waiting for it. But someone from the "Q' asked him to proceed on to the 12 th Floor, a penthouse, where ''a living room sequence was being shot". Before John got into the elevator and moved up, he asked the other crew members to wait on and not rush till all of us who were waiting had got into the elevator. Proved to be a decent and polite guy!

Then I saw Elahe Heptulla getting off the elevator and I curiously asked a crew member which movie was being shot here. It was for Percept Picture Company's latest Hindi movie 'Ashaayein" directed by Nagesh Kukunoor.

But I regret not having asked John Abraham for his autograph. Better luck next time!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Destination Dubai - Shoppers' Paradise

It's great to be back after a two month hiatus.

This summer vacation turned out to be a much needed break from the daily rut- a visit to Dubai with my husband(Phani) and daughter(Adithi).

Some unexpected turn of events instigated us to plan a month's stay in Dubai, with my brother (Nagaraj aka Raju) and his daughter(Gauri). The homework began on a war footing, starting with the procurement of my daughter's and husband's passport. Thanks to my friend Sreedevi, a bureaucrat, who used her contacts and helped with the quick issuance of the same. And then followed the other processes like booking flight tickets, getting visiting visa, medical insurance etc.

Dubai is one of the seven states that constitute the United Arab Emirates.

I and Adithi left for Dubai via Pune on April 6th, 2007 and Phani joined us a week later on April 13th, 2007. It was Adithi's maiden flight and visit abroad. She had a great time playing with other kids in the Airport lounge when the Air India Express flight was delayed by three hours. On the flight, she was annoyed by the full blowing AC which left her cold and wanting to use the toilet frequently. Once we landed in Dubai, she was thrilled to see her cousin, mama and mami. She was impressed with mama's white Sunny Nissan car, but again the AC in the car was a nuisance for her. The weather was pleasant and as we neared Karama, where my brother and his family live in an apartment, I felt I was in Navi Mumbai; a cleaner version rather!

Karama is chock-a-block with South Indians and Filipinos . Karama Shopping Centre is one of the oldest shopping centres housing some well known jewellery shops like D'amas and Joy Alukkas and a few Indian garments stores. At walking distance is LuLu Centre, Karama Market, Day to Day, Spinneys and the upscale shopping center "BurJuman".

BurJuman was hosting a Chocolate and Coffee festival called "Haute Chocolatte", where we got to taste some fine blends of coffee and the famous Galaxy Chocolates for free. A well known chocolate sculptor " Prudence Emma Staite" was commissioned to create some amazing works of art with chocolate. A four feet tall, hand sculpted chocolate model of the famous seven star hotel
" Burj-Al-Arab" ( the yacht shaped hotel built in the sea) was the star attraction.
Bur Dubai is another area predominantly packed with North Indians, Pakistanis and Afghanis. It houses the Dubai Museum, a Krishna and Shiva temple adjacent to a mosque and the famous supermarket "Carrefour". It is a pleasant experience to walk by the creek side. It also presents a great view of the towering buildings.

A visit to Dubai Museum is not to be missed. It is a small museum with excellent display on the history of Dubai. Kids will thoroughly enjoy the museum. It also houses a Souvenir shop, an ideal place to buy gifts for family and friends.

Another amazing place is the upscale shopping centre " Mall of the Emirates" which comprises "Ski Dubai" a 22, 500 square meters (equivalent to 3 football fields), 85 meters high (approximately 25 stories) and 80 meters wide, 5 different runs of varying difficulty and length, longest run of 400 meters of indoor skiing facility which is covered with real snow all through the year.

Lamcy Plaza on the Oud Metha Road, is a cozy shopping centre with the interiors depicting the London Tower Bridge.
, Japan's leading living ware store which has quality products at reasonable prices is located here. I loved this place.

Mercato Mall, named after the Italian word for 'market' is designed in a distinctive Renaissance architectural style. The interiors resemble an Italian Courtyard. It is located in the posh Jumeirah Beach Road residential area.Deira City Centre is another popular shopping mall with a whopping 1.2 million square feet or more of retail selling space. It houses the hypermarket "Carrefour".

Other famous shopping malls are the Ibn Battuta and the traditional souq located within the Madinat Jumeirah - The Arabian Resort, which we were unable to visit.

A ride on the public transport city bus - a Mercedes with AC to the Gold Souq located in Deira was a royal experience. The yellow metal in all its glory at the countless jewellery shops leaves you mesmerized.

IKEA- a Swedish privately owned company which is the largest home furniture and furnishings store in the world, is located in the Dubai festival city. Shopping at IKEA is a splendid experience. Utilitarian products at competitive prices leaves you wanting for more.

Desert Safari is great fun and an adventure in itself. We had a roller coaster ride in the desert, seated in a Land Cruiser which took us Dune Bashing.

It was a hair raising experience, followed by dinner at a desert camp, with a wonderful belly dance performance by a gorgeous looking dancer.
A Swim in the crystal clear, greenish blue waters of the Arabian Sea and the clean and beautiful Jumeirah beach with its fine white sand was a delight. Adithi loved picking up shells on the beach.
The greenery in Dubai is evident with the well maintained parks; a cool weekend get away, with excellent play area for children. Zabeel park and Creek park are spread over acres of land and have an entrance fee, whereas Karama park and Rasheed park are smaller in size with free entrance.

We also visited my niece Gauri's School " Our Own English High School", and adjacent to it is the well known "Indian High School" where Suma (my sister-in-law) teaches.

We drove past the world's tallest building under construction, the "Burj Dubai".

Visit to other UAE States:

Driving at 120 km/hour on the Vacuum cleaned Sheikh Zayed Road to the neighbouring state of Abu Dhabi which is the largest in UAE was fantastic. We visited Phani's brother-in-law Dr. P.Kallu Rao who stays in Abu Dhabi.

The greenery in Abu Dhabi and the city of Al Ain which is an agricultural and dairy hub leaves you in awe of their contribution to the environment by triumphing the hostile climate. We took a taxi ride on the 'Corniche Road' to Marina Mall at Abu Dhabi. The view was breathtaking.

And a picnic at the hot springs located at the foot of the Jabeel Hafet mountains, Al Ain, with Giri ( an old friend) and his family was enjoyable for the kids.

We were invited for lunch by our friend Tanuja, and her family who stay at Ajman , which is one of the seven states of UAE. My brother drove us en route Sharjah , the neighbouring state of Dubai. The home made delicacies spread out for us was mouth watering. It was an assortment of Chinese, Italian and Mexican Cuisine. Tanuja is a great cook and a multifaceted person. Adithi loved their home and we were very touched by their gesture. Exactly ten years ago, I had visited them at their home in Chennai and they had extended the same warmth and hospitality.

A month flew by in a jiffy and it was time for us to return on 4th May 2007. The weather was getting hotter too in Dubai.

All-in-all it was a great holiday and shopping experience. Thanks to my brother who drove us to all the places despite his busy schedule. The wide roads; good traffic sense; clean rest rooms at shopping malls, parks and petrol bunks; the best of automobiles, charmed me. The only thing that disappointed me was the Internet browsing. There is no freedom of browsing through all the sites, as quiet a number of them are blocked by Etisalat , the telecommunications service provider and Internet services provider.

So folks, if you are an avid shopper like me, visit Dubai. Make sure you carry your credit and debit cards and gear up to walk-n-walk through the huge shopping malls. Shop till you drop and board the flight, the Duty Free Shopping at the Dubai International Airport is a bonanza!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

I...Me...My Accomplishments

An attempt to feel good about MYSELF!

I always found it very difficult to talk about my accomplishments and talents. I am sure many of you also feel the same. I attribute it to our Indian culture "SAMSKARA" which teaches us not to boast about ourselves. In typical local lingo "SELF DABBA" is not appreciated.

I assume, that most of us want others to talk about our accomplishments. It is music to our ears. but when a person talks about himself/herself , it is noise, isn't it? And we do not appreciate "that behaviour".

Of course, some people overdo it; that makes it very irritable and painful for the listener. We usually refer to them as MAHA SUTTI (Big Hammer). Anyway I leave this topic for some other day.

Since childhood most of us were taught by our parents not to comment or voice opinions when elders were talking or words like "I did this or that" connoted self centered character. But as I grew up and faced the real life challenges in this big, bad and competitive world, I experienced some conflicting emotions with regard to "Speaking about MYSELF", and words like" Is it O.K to do so?", lingered in my mind.

Encountering day to day experiences, some challenging and some drab, I gradually realized the importance of "speaking about one's self", its powerful impact, especially in the world of work.

Being a psychologist and also having been an educational adviser on foreign education, I have the opportunity to interact with people from different countries, namely the Americans, Australians, Canadians and last but not the least, our own Indians here and NRI s settled abroad. The important lessons I learned during my interactions were, that "if you won't talk about yourself, then nobody will". You have to learn to market yourself, to be heard and for your existence to be acknowledged in your field of work. But to do so, you also need to be well acquainted with your subject or area of expertise. And above all, good networking with professionals, right contacts and being in the right place at the right time, matters a lot in one's so called " Success". It also depends on "What Success means to you?". "Is it Money, Fame, Recognition, Job Satisfaction or anything else?

Each one of us have some hidden talent or the other in us which needs to be tapped, and brought to the fore front.

At different stages in my life, I developed fascination for varied and at times weird things (Hobbies). It ranged from collecting coins, stamps, match boxes, marbles, shells, pebbles, mineral deposits; posters of film stars, cricketers, Tennis players; writing to film stars for their autographed snaps; participating in slogan contests (won 50 packets of CHICKLETS, a set of MONTEX pens, a LIRIL T-Shirt ) making greeting cards; collecting and reading books (had a collection of over 200 MILLS & BOONS ) writing some not-so-successful poems and short stories; painting and drawing cartoons. Phew! a long list indeed.
It was a delightful phase wherein I had good fun. And later, a herculean task disposing all the collected stuff and a heartbreak losing my coins collection and silver souvenirs of different countries, during a major theft in my house (March 2005). This episode, to some extent has made me detached to materialistic things.

I am sharing my experience to convey that our innate talents can be used productively with a little added effort and patience. When I started my career as an educational Counsellor in the year 1993, the concept was very new. It was really tough to keep going and not to change my line of profession. I thank my family for their encouragement. And when I decided to be on my own, I received support from my husband and Mr. A.K. Dasgupta (well known and highly respected librarian in India) and Mr. K.J.Rao ( Statistician and computer specialist); both retired professionals, eager to do their bit for our society's youngsters. We started the advising centre called Educational and Career Information Resource Centre (EdCIRC) in the year 2001. We published a book "Where to go from here?"- A comprehensive guide on educational and career opportunities in India; the first edition was sold out in no time. I am keen to publish the second edition, but lack of funds is a big hurdle, as of now. I received requests from the well known newspaper publications (Deccan Chronicle and The Times of India, Hyderabad Edition) to contribute articles on Careers, Educational counselling, and US education. Therefore my unsuccessful attempts as a kid, to publish short stories in "TINKLE" did not go waste.

I continue to dabble in colours to make bright and lively posters of cartoon characters for my daughter , nieces and my little friends. It is a great stress reliever. My creative talents have been put to very good use for my daughter's school projects , fancy dress competitions, decorations for birthdays and festivals.

Hey, do share your talents with me. Be a sport and talk about "Yourselves"!