Wednesday, October 26, 2005


“Where is my tie amma?” I asked my mother. ‘Look at right hand side of your shelf. I ironed it yesterday. Wear that plain shirt which I have ironed. That gives an official look’ told my mother.

She is right. That will be a perfect dress for today’s interview. I wonder how I am still not fed up with these interviews. Almost I have attended a dozen of them. When I get an offer, I feel like rejecting it. When I want to get an offer, they feel like rejecting me. This interview process seems to be a mutually exclusive one which does not bind with my wish.

Well, if they are not selecting me in today’s interview, definitely, this will be the thirteenth unfortunate company to have lost a valuable human resource. But today, I will try my best to make them fortunate.

I think I got ready almost. Just with few gulps of food which my mother feeds me, I think I should start.

‘Gopi, went through today’s newspaper? Know in which country Manmohan Singh is today?’ asked my father.

‘Appa, it is not IAS interview which I am going to attend that they think of testing my general knowledge. It is ordinary entry level position where in they would be testing my memory in whatever I read in my graduation. Nothing more. It is getting late. Bye bye both of you.’

I have an intuitive relationship with my vehicle. I kick started it confidently despite the fact that it was drenched completely in yesterday’s rain. My confidence paid, and just in a single kick, its engine came back to life.

Hardly did I cover few kilometers, as if to disprove my intuitive relationship, my vehicle broke down. The wet road threatened me really and I should carefully set my foot on the road. As I successfully found a dry patch of land, very cautiously I rested my feet there.

Even before getting down from my vehicle, a speeding car went past me in a jiffy, emptying the contents of a mini pool on the road in my carefully ironed plain official shirt. Had it been a cinematic situation, I would have preferred running behind the car with handful of stones, breaking its windows and showing my muscle power to that driver with my heavy punch leaving his nose swollen. But left only with half an hour to honor the appointment, I could not try these cinematic possibilities.

Cursing my fate, I searched for a mechanic shop. Luckily, I found one quickly. After a close examination, mechanic made it clear that it had to remain there atleast for half a day. I angrily kicked it once and left that place in search of an auto. Oh, how come I forgot my untidy shirt? I would go to Gopal’s place, if possible would get his bike.

Gopal did lend his shirt, but the bike was already taken by his father. Here I go in search of an auto. I was left with just fifteen minutes. What if I am late by half an hour? I had been waiting for interviewers for hours together in my earlier experiences and politely went inside with a hard done pleasant face. I would not lose my opportunity if I am late by half an hour this time.

It is difficult to get an auto on a rainy day. No one was willing to drop me as it was at quite a long distance. Irritatedly, as I walked, there I saw a street dog staring at me. Seeing eye to eye shows confident gesture. This unnecessary advice of someone came to my mind at inappropriate time and I thought I should try it with dog’s eye. As I also stared at the dog with brimming confidence, a thoroughly confused Mani (my college mate whom I hate) barked at me. Already bearing a hurt ego due to carwala’s arrogant driving, I did not want to lose my ego to this stupid street dog also. Moreover, I always had a strange feeling. To frighten the dog which tries to frighten me by it’s barking. ‘hey silly, u thought I will be terrified with your loud barking? I am unbeatable.’ I took a stone and pelted at it. A thing which I wanted to do to the carwala.

Most of the dogs succumb to my yelling and pelting. But this one was an exception. As ferocious as I was, it leaped towards me with an unimaginable speed, showing its ugly terrifying teeth. I could not afford to show my bravery and fight back. Not that I am less brave, but for the time factor, u see I am very strong willed to oppose a lion even. If at all I thought of taking my toes, it was only because of the interview which I had to attend u see.

Somehow I managed to come unhurt from that encounter. Atlast, I found an auto, and reached the premises.

The people there were considerate and did not mind me being half an hour late. I went inside politely and confidently, wished them good morning and took my seat. After the usual warming up questions, one of the interviewers asked smilingly, ‘Do you know for which country did Manmohan Singh set out yesterday? It formed major headlines today.’ ‘Oh no, even this company is not fortunate’ I thought, preparing some relevant blabbering to attack that question.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Marriage Rituals - Study by a Novice / Araivekkadu

Long back, when I was reading Cho’s Enge Brahmanan, the explanations which he gave for kalyana mantrams sounded too male chauvinistic, that I wanted to peep into that section of Veda myself, to get a first hand information. But I never felt like digging deep and left it as such. Now that I will be indulging myself into one such process shortly, I dusted back that old desire and initiated learning the marriage rituals. Marriage rituals are explained in this link by Ramanan. (The source which I read was different and a very mild controversy may exist) The motive of this post is not to explain marriage ritual, but to analyze the status given to women in these rituals.

BG – Bride Groom

Mostly, BG utters all mantras through out the process and the mantras he utters can be classified broadly under these headings:

To burn/destroy unwanted and bad qualities of bride
to remove possible diseases of bride (in nugathadi ritual)
promises which he makes and making clear his expectations (sapthapathy)
Mantras uttered during Grahapravesam

The very first ritual of wedding starts with a controversy. Bride’s father washing the feet of BG. I tried a lot to find a convincing logic for it. But in all vain. Assuming BG as incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the father in law to be does this ritual. All this Vishnu stuff seemed a clear muffing up for me and the motive can be just to announce BG as the supreme guest of the function.

The next ceremony, wherein, supposedly, BG and G are to see eye to eye for the first time, BG feels the terrible fear of possible bad qualities in her which can affect his family and close relatives. He prays to God, to burn those qualities in his bride, which can kill him, his siblings and his future progenies. The next ritual which follows is nugathadi one. That is, BG placing wooden yoke in B’s head and praying God to remove all known and unknown diseases within her. (It is misinterpreted otherwise to mean that couples are wished to go ahead in their life, just as oxen tied in yoke, sharing equal responsibility with good understanding. But it represents a different story involving Aapala, where in Indra removes her off all diseases by making her go through the hole in wooden yoke of his chariot.)

The above two processes seems completely sensible because, before accepting a new person as one’s life partner, the apprehensions which one senses about the other are normal. Hence praying to God to get rid of bad qualities and diseases is nothing illogical. It would have been perfectly right and unbiased, if only Bride is also given an equal chance to pray to Almighty to remove, destroy and burn all those qualities in her bridegroom, which can kill her, to remove all those known/unknown diseases in him.

Miserably, Bride is forced to believe that the person she is going to marry is perfectly sane, well within his senses when he makes his promises. She is denied of her rights to doubt the bride groom of his bad qualities. She is denied of her rights to doubt his promises and pray Almighty to remove those qualities in him which can destroy her and her progeny.

Next comes sapthapathy ritual. Here BG offers great promises and just demands two things from his wife. He wants her to be his loyal follower who can give him healthy male progenies.

As I was losing my cool when I read this praying for male child stuff, my mother came out with a nice explanation for why gender makes a difference. Probably because, woman, as she embraces the gothram of her husband, do not carry any values of her paternal home and only a male progeny carry the values and can be a true heir of his father. That sounds logical.

But making her lose her individuality, and asking her to become a follower is an injustice, to thrust slavery in her.

Though in reality, hardly the couple understands meaning of these mantras, the fact that women are looked down hurts. Vedas, considered as uttered by Devas and sensed by great saints, should not be bound by time for its validity. Hence we cannot cover-up saying that it suited perfectly in those days when women were under privileged. If it is bound by time, it requires revision. If it requires revision, it needs human interruption. If human interruption is warranted, it loses its divinity. Is there any meaning in following something which has lost its divinity? But this questioning won’t help and it has to be undergone.

Warning I: Whatever I have concluded is with my zero knowledge in Sanskrit, just relying on translated version. Novice readers with little knowledge about these can better consult with some reliable scholar before jumping into conclusions.

Warning II: This post of mine is a genuine attempt to analyze and understand Hindu customs. A non Hindu/ non believer cannot misuse it to abuse my religion. This is a closed post meant only for Hindus.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What an Employer can offer?

I always found myself too over confident to believe concretly that I am gifted with talent to do what ever I want to. In such an overconfidence, I attempted to write a column, provoked by one of the recent writing in The Hindu (issue date 12/10/05).

Destined to spend 10 to 12 hours a day at office, it is extremely important that employees feel good to be there. What really makes them happy?

‘Working under pressure’ this is the mantra most BPO’s in transaction processing line utter. These organizations are best suited for just out of college freshers who want a job desperately. I perceive strongly that this line is chosen as a career for life by those who lack great ambitions. Still, associating oneself with a big brand name will make that working under pressure a bit less painful.

Though this brand name may keep them loyal to their companies for quite some time, this cannot help in the long run. An employee who wants to explore and do more will really badly need a change.

Apart from brand name, amenities which the company offer plays an important role in creating this feel good atmosphere. Rather than the utility of the amenity offered, the pride that ‘my company offers such and such to me’ plays a vital role. An employee would love to boast of the quality of lunch provided to him free of cost/subsidized rate. It is not that he is tightfisted not to take his own lunch, but the fact that the company cares matters.

The important factor which cannot be ignored is the pride which an employee has in his work. I have heard my friend lamenting that she deserves well to do a better job than she is doing now. Though paid heftily, the ultimate pleasure is derived when we really cherish what we do.

The irritating part can be, when the organization/department is in its nascent stage, and least efforts are taken by the management to streamline the procedures properly. The demotivation which the employee suffers is great. Giving way for subjective judgment is the best way for dispiriting the employee.

On the contrary, in a department which is in nascent stage, when the management is with open ears to get good suggestion from every employee, right from organizational procedures to appraising pattern, the democratic liberty given and the feeling of being consulted can really make an employee loyal.

A nagging superior, least interested in shouldering responsibilities, with a pessimistic view about anything new, to add to all these, with a completely hollow head, can make the employee doubt the very faith about his future prospects in the organization. Though most of the private organizations have done away with such superiors and it is only quality that pays, it is sad to notice that few really count the years of experience, which sidelines the rationality and reckon less on skill set of others.

To conclude, an organization will be doing complete justice to its employees, if it offers a democratic environment, with responsible and understanding superiors and cheerful and friendly colleagues and most importantly a really challenging or feel proud work which the employee wants. If those who read it conclude that such an ideal organization do not exist, let me tell u, I am part of one.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


This post actually fits in perfectly in Bharath post’s comment section. But after reading his post, I was convinced that I have enough to say to make it a post in itself.

Freedom is something which every human being craves for. It is certainly true that Indian women are deprived of their freedom to a great extent. Or to put it differently, they are not brave enough to fight back and get what they want, in spite of good education and financial independence.

Women are from different mould. They think differently, they feel differently and they get hurt differently. This is applicable universally. So, their need for freedom is also different.

Just as men do not feel the need to stray half nude in streets, women also are comfortable dressing in full. In fact, the comfort level and confidence in dressing up fully is immense. When it is universally clear that men drool on women, it is morally incorrect to induce some innocent. It is really difficult to set standards and description on moral ethics. But that is not the license to let one’s morality fly in air and enjoy ‘freedom’.

Western culture is an extreme. Islamic culture is another extreme. Indian culture does not fall under any of the extremities. The problem arises only when we try to sway this way or that way. When organizations like RSS stress on this point, it is to be maturely interpreted that they are emphasizing a right point in a wrong way. They indulge in violence, an extreme, to oppose another extreme, western culture. The tools that these organizations take in their hand are incorrect. Not their motto. (Personally, I would not mind anyone slapping an errant and saying this should not be done. But who will agree? Especially in a spoilt democracy like India.)

Also I do not intend to give clean chit to men and society. It is sad that the obnoxious incident which Bharath pointed out is not strange in our society. But men at large who indulge in these activities are invertebrates, lacking the basic courage. Not even a single man, when left alone would dare to do such a filthy thing. It is only the crowd which gives them the strength and shelter so that they can hide safely when some one stares back even. Remember women, courage is your strength, which those boneless lack.

An educated women, has a matured role to play. There is no doubt that she has a major responsibility to safeguard our culture. When restrictions are self imposed (nothing more than a natural urge to cover oneself fully) with no intention to fall in love with aberrations, atleast she will have the satisfaction of being right on her part. Just because aberrations have become part and parcel of people in some part of the world, a verbatim copy would not just suit our society as our society is still immature and confined.

Gifted with good education and financial independence, most of the women in India have the good sense to think and tackle their own problems. When she feels that she has to face extra problems due to her gender, she should be willing to fight back and win. Feminity is not synonymous to fragility. If someone finds solace in leaning and lamenting, we can sympathize at her, just as we sympathize on seeing a handicapped, a handicap, which was thrust by her own self. A female who cannot tackle her own problem can can as well get herself destroyed, as Darwin said, survival of the fittest.