Thursday, 28 December 2017

Indians are creative and humorous, and so is our English!

Dear Sir Macaulay’s aim was to form a class of English speaking Indians who would play the role of interpreters between the British government and the native speaking Indians. His aim was to make Indians look down upon their distinctive heritage and look highly upon the European culture. But little did he know that creativity runs in our veins, no matter the situation, we turn the table around each time.

With the demise of the imperial rule in India and burgeoning of the Indian way of life, Macaulay’s English (British English) was transformed into what today is known as the Indian English or Hinglish. Only in India, you will see the use of “only” as an emphasis at the end of a sentence. Indians will never change only and Indian English is a tongue which the rest of the world will never understand only.  Macaulay wanted English to be extensively used in the Indian higher education system but did he have any clue about how the education system in India works? Here, we don’t take a test, we give a test and in geometry when we need to draw a circle, we use a rounder instead of a compass and if by chance it doesn’t turn out well enough, we rub it with a rubber because eraser is so not Indian. And if the overly enthu students have a lot to write, they readily ask for a supplee! Short, simple and cute, just the way we like it.

The British wanted us to follow them, but we are born inventors. We invented “Zero”, the Decimal System and the mathematical postfix notation “Za” (it is actually two ones are two, two twos are four, but it has no rhythm and we just cannot compromise on rhythm, right?). Don’t know about dress sense but Indians sure do have an exquisite dressing sense and we absolutely love spicy food and spiced up news, so much so that we added spice to a game’s name. Ice-Spice? Ring any bells?  (The game is actually called I Spy).

Actually, we believe in updating our vocabulary constantly to meet the current requirements. Our country is so populated so saying that I moved from one place to another, obviously doesn’t sound right, so instead we say I shifted. We don’t go out of town for a vacation (that’s so common), we go out of station and when the front desk executive of the hotel asks us our goodname; we give a big ear to ear smile. In India, time pass is an activity, adjective, verb and what not. “What did you do on the weekend?” “Just time pass.” “How was the movie?” “You know, just time pass.”

Most of us use the word prepone, but did you know that the word prepone didn’t exist in the Oxford Dictionary before 2010? It has been given by Indians just like the other 2% of the 2 billion English words that form the Oxford English Corpus. In fact, India has more people who speak or understand English than United Kingdom, Australia, United States, New Zealand and South Africa combined! 

Even the staunchest Grammar Nazis in India use the above terms surreptitiously. Most of us are aware of it but we don’t mind, after all, everyone has a guilty pleasure – for us, it is saying “What to do? We are like this only!” to people who like to mock us.   

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

"I have a stay-at-home dad and I am proud"

 “I feel I’m the luckiest girl in this world because I have two mothers”When I say that I have two mothers, I do not imply that I have a step mother or that I have two motherly women in my life. My father is so warm-hearted, caring and generous that I proudly say to the world that he is my motherly father.

The sweet fragrance from the kitchen filled in my room and injected in me a feeling of elation. "What a delightful start to my day", I thought. It was a weekday and naturally, all the working people were already out there, about to begin the day’s hustle. My mom, a high school teacher, was already at school till the time I woke up. My mom has been a teacher all my life and she is pretty good at it. She loves teaching. She takes classes at school and later takes more classes at home. 

For several moments I sat there on my bed trying to guess the menu. Biryani? Fish curry? Dum Aloo? I gave up pretty soon because I knew that whatever it was, it was going to be mouth-watering and utterly delicious. Since many years now my dad has been giving us this magnificent service.  I once asked him his secret, his secret of preparing fantastic meals every time with perfection. He said, “I chop the vegetables with affection, marinate the chicken with love, add all the spices with compassion and thus prepare all the meals with all my heart and love”.  He is not only a great cook but also an expert with words, I must say.

That day after doing all the morning chores, I and my dad went downstairs to the parking to wash our car. The torpid ladies of our society had well begun their daily scuttlebutt. One of them commented, “Gaddi dhone mein time chala gaya toh rasoi kaun karega?”  And all the rest accompanied in a muffled laughter. I saw red when I heard that comment and I was just about to speak something in defense when my dad held my hand and said a silent “NO”. That’s the beauty of my father, he is immune to the bitter comments of this society. We say that our society is Patriarchal and female bashing but when a man is trying to change the scenario, the society is also not thoughtful towards the man. One day when such radical thoughts were too hard for me to control, I expressed them to my dad.  He said, “I have taken a choice to take care of this family and take up your mother’s role while she is out there pursuing a father’s role. I do everything because I want to and so the ugly comments of the society do not hamper me.” With a wink, he added, “The ladies are simply jealous because they don’t have a liberal husband like me”

My dad is also a teacher but my mom has always been the busier one. Even when my dad was professionally active, he couldn’t suppress his motherly side. I vividly remember how he patiently helped me in my studies and how he oiled my hair every Friday. Even while growing up as a teenager, when most of the girls found a friend in their mothers, I found a friend in my father. I studied in an all-girls school and so I have closely witnessed this mother- daughter relationship.  While my friends went on fun outings with their mothers, I played table tennis and went for walks and learned how to cook from my father. It is very important to mention that throughout my school life, my dad has never missed a single PTA!

Today I’m in my third year of college and my father is officially a stay at home dad. He is doing everything that a mother does and he does it with the same zest, love and compassion. He cooks scrumptious meals, keeps the house tidy, tolerates all my tantrums with grace, continues to oil my hair, helps me in all the crazy beauty tricks I undertake, takes care of my grandmother who is bedridden and most importantly he supports and offers succor to mom’s passion for teaching. I am proud to announce that he is indeed a motherly father and I am lucky to have two mothers in my life.


Friday, 7 April 2017

What happens when fear of silly things consume us?

Everyone is afraid of something or the other. Someone might be afraid of heights, someone of water and some other person might be afraid of germs. But I do not want to talk about these big fears or phobias. I want to talk about those fears which work in total stealth mode. Those fears which hide under the sheets and make an entrance in the most ludicrous situations which even makes you say to yourself, “how silly of me to be afraid of such an itsy-bitsy and futile thing.” These Lilliputian things are many and they also work on a daily basis but no one really does anything about it because they are seldom given the tag of fear.

Unclear of what I am talking about? Let’s see some examples. How many of us are afraid to raise our hands in the classroom even when we know the correct answer? How many of us are apprehensive to register ourselves in the drama club even though we secretly fantasize about it? How many of us cannot disagree with that special someone even if we it contradicts our beliefs? How many of us are shy to approach that person on whom we have been crushing over since decades? 

Examples are many and all of them have the same black-hat, fear! Yeah, of course, there’s low self-esteem, low confidence, shyness etc also to be blamed but isn’t fear the sole reason which triggers these dark feelings?  Why are we unable to join the drama club? Because we have low self-confidence? Yeah! But more than that we are afraid that we’ll be laughed at or we’ll be unable to match others and end up being a total misfit. Why can’t we disagree with that special someone? Because we are afraid that we might lose them. Why can’t we speak up in the classroom? Because we are afraid that we might be wrong.

Now think of all the times when you really wanted to do something but couldn’t because you were afraid (excluding the phobias). Now relive those times in your head but this time be fearless. Imagine how wonderful things would have been if you were not afraid. It’s not the first time you are doing this. I’m pretty sure that every time after you miss something out of fear, you relive the same situation over and over again in your head, editing and curating it, telling yourself that I should have done it this way or I should have said this, done that or that I will definitely do it next time. 

Having said that now think how often something like this happens to you? Do you make indelible moments in your head more than in real life? How often are you afraid of futile things? If such instances are many, it’s regardless to say that you let fear of silly things consume you. A legitimate fear is a benefactor but illogical and dumb fear is a marauder! 

What happens when fear of silly things consume us?

Baseless fears prevent us from living life to the fullest by stopping us from doing things which perhaps would have been extremely enthralling. It hinders our progress and sabotages enriching experiences. Also, Every time we give ourselves to fear, we intensify its dominance over us. For example, you dodged a singing competition out of fear by telling yourself you’ll surely pursue it next time, you have actually fed your black hat. This fear will intensify, beat you down and zap your self-confidence. Also, as you see other people effortlessly do the things you fear, you enter into an inferno of self-doubt, self-pity and even self-loathing. Not to mention the many regrets and rumination of those regrets which follow. "Only if I had fought my fear and done that, life would have been different today”, this is the quintessential statement of this rumination which haunts many of us.

These moronic fears have taken away many little achievements from our lives. If we would have been fearless and actually participated in that singing competition, perhaps we would have even won it. But thanks to our fear, we chose to bid adieu to the probable victory, fame, appreciation and happiness.

Let us suppose that there are legitimate chances of our fears coming true. Suppose we do trip over, be laughed at, perform badly or are rejected by the other person; what harm can it possibly do to our already low self-confidence and self-esteem? Maybe a little but the weight of the fact that we are facing our fears and taking a leap is way more than that of the supposed collateral damage and on the contrary if we supposedly succeed in our endeavor, then we’ll be the cat who got both the cream and the rat. 
So next time before we turn away from climbing up the rainbow, let’s ask ourselves what possibly could go wrong on the rainbow. Unless there are chances of falling off and hurting ourselves, there is no reason to turn away from such colorful challenges.


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Why Quitting Is Sometimes The Right Thing To Do?

Source: Unsplash

“He was weak so he quit”. This is the most common tagline given to those who quit. Other popular ones are, “he didn’t want to work hard” or “he wanted an easy way out”.  From an early age, we were taught that there is dignity to finish what we started and that leaving something midway is an act of weakness. “Winners don’t quit!” is a dogma to be remembered for life. We were not just taught this dogma but constantly reminded subtly at every stage of life. We were told to study for extra hours and shorten our play time because scoring less marks in a test was not good. We were told to be the best in the dance class, drawing class and tuition class or for that matter in every class because our parents had invested a lot of money in it. We were told to hold on to a good course or job because it was the wise thing to do. In a nutshell, we were constantly told that there is honor in finishing what we started and that quitting is not even an option. 

This principle has undoubtedly inspired many of us and motivated us to keep on going when greeted with a pitfall. Even we cannot deny that we love hearing stories of people who have achieved something great despite all the obstacles. They inspire us and we want to be like them. Would we be interested in watching a movie where the hero did not fight because there were too many villains and complications? The idea of finishing the race is so intimidating and enamored that we ourselves tend to consider quitting as wrong. We fail to give importance to the fact that in both real life and motion picture the heroes have one thing in common, they achieve what they desire and they are voluntarily determined to do it.   

Source: Unsplash

On one side we are told that time is precious and that we should make the best use of it and on the other side, we are asked to hold on to something we do not enjoy just because finishing is important. What is the value of sticking to and achieving something we never wanted but did so because again, it was the right thing to do? Isn’t it more logical and worthwhile to quit something we do not like and invest our time and effort into achieving something we love after all one life is all we have?

 It is important to understand that there is a difference between quitting and giving up in such cases. Giving up means we are no longer willing to make efforts whereas quitting means we are willing to make efforts in something more worthwhile. We are willing to make a sacrifice to follow our passion and not willing to compromise with our happiness, is what quitting really means. Giving up is an act of cowardice whereas quitting is an act of bravery. One needs great courage to quit something and start something new that he enjoys from scratch amidst the barrage of criticism.

Twinkle Khanna, a famous actor, interior designer, columnist and a writer, writes in her book titled Mrs. Funny Bones;  

Each day that you persist in a situation where you are miserable is a day wasted on the path that would lead you to happiness. There’s difference between trying and holding. When we were growing up, all we were told was, “try and try harder till you die” but today life is different, there is bravery in quitting, in not staying in one place for the sake of it.


My intention behind writing this post is not to promote quitting but to stop considering quitting as a taboo. Sometimes quitting is okay and sometimes even the best thing to do. We have to see things through and properly evaluate our situation before quitting something. Many of us have stories when we quit something for inappropriate reasons as kids. I remember myself quitting basketball coaching because I didn’t like the warm up sessions. Even as adults we may make faulty decisions and quit something on illogical grounds, so it is important to dig into the crux of the matter and make quitting as one of the wisest decisions of our life rather than a mistake. Remember that we are quitting to voluntarily deposit more hard work rather than running away from hard work.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Save Money Easily With These 3 Tips by Warren Buffet

Source: Fortune Live Media/ flickr Creative Commons license

Warren Buffett, The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and popularly known as the “Oracle of Omaha”, ranked number two on the Forbes 400 richest men for 15 years straight. According to Forbes, his Real Time Net Worth is $73.8 Billion and he ranks sixth among the richest men in the world as of 2017.

It is rightly said by wise men that wealth cannot be accumulated in days or with shortcuts and that most successful men start early in their lives. The life journey of this business leader, excellent investor and a highly regarded Philanthropist is the best example of what those wise men said.

Warren Buffett purchased his first share at the age of 11, by 13, he was running his own businesses as a paperboy and selling his own horseracing tip sheet and became a millionaire by his 30’s.
 He once said, “I always knew I was going to be rich, I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute”. It’s quite apparent from his life that it was not mere serendipity on which his fortunes thrived but it thrived on his sincerity, sagaciousness and modesty. 

As much as he is known for his success and richness, he is equally known for his frugality. His advice and tips on saving and investment are enlightening and something which can be easily followed by anyone. 

”Don't save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving” - Warren Buffett

Saving money can be easier by following these 3 simple yet effective tips by Warren Buffett


1)      Practice Living a Simple Life 


Source: Unsplash

Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world still lives in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska which he bought in 1958. When asked about the reason behind it in a BBC interview, he said, “I’m happy there. I’d move if I thought I’d be happier someplace else”, “How would I improve my life by having 10 houses around the globe?” This gives us an insight that even after being a millionaire his notion of happiness hasn’t changed.

Often we perceive a man as wealthy just because he spends a lot, whereas the real scenario could be different. This man who may not be not so wealthy enjoys being considered one and hence continues spending more than he earns. He feels the urge to maintain a certain lifestyle. This is the case of many of us today. Often we spend more than we have because we think it’s the right thing to do or because the society considers it elite and expects us to do so. Like throwing a big party on our 18th birthday or buying a bigger car when we are promoted. This demonstration effect, the need to “maintain a lifestyle” is the main reason why many people are in debt.

We also often perceive a man as happy just because he is wealthy and lives lavishly but again the real scenario could be different. Our wrong notion of considering luxury and happiness as synonyms is the real reason we cannot save. Opulence is attractive but not enriching, whereas modesty is not attractive but is enriching. We are so used to take the easier way that we end up spending a lot. We take the cab instead of the bus, we book movie tickets online even though the multiplex is just near our house. If we avoid spending on such useless luxuries, we’ll be a lot richer.  Warren Buffett says that if we can differentiate between luxury and happiness, we can save a lot and thus become truly wealthy.

     2) Spend Wisely

Source: Unsplash

Many of us don’t think before making a purchase. We buy gadgets that we don’t understand, buy apparels just because they’re trendy, attend a concert just because it’s the talk of the town. Before making a purchase, we should check whether the product is going to help us in any way or whether it’s a good investment. Quite often we find an old piece of clothing from our wardrobe and think, “why did I even buy this?" Or it also happens that we buy a product, bring it home and think, “I should have bought the other one.Warren Buffet quotes, “If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need. Quite true for a majority of us.
Don’t fall for the sales techniques that the companies often use. We get intimidated when we hear “Buy two and get one free” and end up buying three t-shirts of nearly the same kind and feel happy that we brought home something free. Free in the commercial market is a myth. If we don’t fall into such traps and avoid buying things that we don’t require, we can save a lot and be able to buy things that we actually require. If Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the world is frugal and likes buying things at a bargained rate, why can’t we? Look out for good deal and sales. If you anticipate the desired product to be put on sale, waiting for the sale is more logical than buying the product at the current high price. Practice frugality like Mr. Buffet.

Warren Buffet once said, “Long ago, Ben Graham taught me that ‘Price is what you pay; value is what you get.’ Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.” Higher prices do not always mean higher quality. We often spend on branded items and compromise with quality best suited for us. If we avoid our vision to be blurred with branded items and look for quality, we’ll be better satisfied and be able to save a lot for the future

     3)      Live a Luxurious Life


Source: Unsplash

Warren Buffet says that if we do a job that we love and enjoy, we are actually living a luxurious life. During an interview with CNBC, Warren Buffett quoted, "Success is really doing what you love and doing it well. It's as simple as that. Really getting to do what you love to do everyday - that's really the ultimate luxury…your standard of living is not equal to your cost of living." And what Buffett loves to do everyday is work at Berkshire Hathaway.

If we are happy in the job that we are doing, we’ll refrain from looking for happiness by spending on useless things.  Most of us are not able to save because we look for materialistic pleasure which is temporary. We associate happiness or enjoyment with a material and spend impetuously and when the temporary enjoyment of that material ends, we spend again. If we do not have a fulfilling job, we can at least spend on a fulfilling hobby. This way we can control our mind from wandering around intimidating commodities, be focused on what is fruitful and ultimately save a lot of money.

Warren Buffett says that investing in oneself is the best investment, a luxury in every sense of the word. In one of his speeches, he said, “Imagine that you had a car and that was the only car you'd have for your entire lifetime. Of course, you'd care for it well, changing the oil more frequently than necessary, driving carefully, etc. Now, consider that you only have one mind and one body. Prepare them for life, care for them. You can enhance your mind over time. A person's main asset is themselves, so preserve and enhance yourself.”

We are extremely precious therefore invest as much as you can on yourself, starting from right now and in no time you will get tremendous returns. This way you are saving today and investing for the future.

Learn more about saving and investment by watching this amazing video on YouTube One idiot The Movie