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Florence Nightingale


Florence Nightingale is one of the women who made a strong impression within me during my school days –  she is for alphabet F in #atozchallenge.

Without doubt, the quixotic nature of contributing to the well being of the wounded war soldiers will draw the attention of any little girl across cultures.  This explains on why after so many decades, her name pops up in my mind when I think of a person with name starting with alphabet “F”.  You can read about her life in Wikipedia here –  Florence Nightingale

As a generation, we had the advantage of schools preaching the importance of empathy and helping people-in-need  –  In downloadmy school, there was a dedicated one hour class time for MORAL STUDIES.  At that time,we thought of it as a class where the teacher tells stories of quixotic nature.  And incidentally these stories exposed me to a world outside the quiet convent classroom.  Looking back, it dawns on me that these one hour MORAL STUDIES class was indeed accentuating the core values which was taught and practiced at my humble home.  It also establishes the fact that value system based of humanity transcends the boundaries of geography, culture, religion, caste.  Empathy and support-to-the-needy was established at my Hindu orthodox family home in a small town at the south of India with the same vigor as how it was established at a large western Christian household at Europe for Florence Nightingale.  Probably that was the piece which influenced me as a child when I heard her story at the MORAL STUIDES class.  Now years away, I fondly remember her as  “Lady with the Lamp”.

Elizabeth, Queen of England


When you are born in a country which was a British colony for many years, you obviously are intrigued by the British monarchy being run by a Queen and not a King which is typical.   The strong impression the Queen of England made me in my childhood is one of the reason she is for alphabet E in #AtoZchallenge.images

For you to read more about her early life, we can check on the official website of The British Monarchy

While the kid inside me  is upset that the largest Indian diamond Kohinoor is still with the Queen of England ,  the admiration and awe for a British monarch is no way diminished.  The current queen (Elizabeth) is not just a figure head, but one of the most fiery band individual in her life  –  that made her sustain this political war and establish monarchy as a permanent feature in England.  If you lived in 20th century, she is one indomitable person you have to acknowledge!!

Hail the Queen!!  :)

 

Diana


When you think of someone who belonged to the general masses and rose to become the princess of Wales  –  we know we are talking about DIANA   – She is for alphabet D in #AtoZ challenge.

When you think of Diana’s story, there is always that romantic feel to this story   –  the feeling you get when you watch a nice fairy tale which ends beautifully with the honest princess getting to marry her right prince!

Just that Diana’s story did have a twisted ending later –  nevertheless, there is no second thoughts about Diana being a princess and living the dream of millions  –  she was lauded for many things including her simplicity, her beauty, her dressing sense and her ‘down-to-earth’ approach even after being the princess of Wales.  I always wondered how challenging it would had been for her to make this transformation from a normal girl to the princess and then become the most wanted person by the paparazzi!  She lived a dream!  God bless her soul!

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Chanda Kochhar, Chitra KS & Chitra Visveswaran


All  three women with names starting with C – for the #AtoZchallenge –   they are excelling in their own career sphere.  They all hail from a very humble background and have reached the pinnacle of their career.  They continue to be humble about what they have achieved and still strive hard to give 100% to what they do.   What else you need to be a role model !!!   It is easily possible to write a book on each of them for their achievements in life….though, i want to post these videos

Chanda Kochhar

Chanda is voted one of India’s top 15 business icons

Chitra KS

Chitra Visveswaran

 

Ayan Rand & Avvai Patti


Life continues to throw its challenges  –  every time you think you are in deep doldrums, there is something which makes us stabilize and bounce back.   For me,  most of the time it is the people around me  who gets me back up to my crest.   I thought I can use this #AtoZ challenge to list them for a month.  The first ones in the alphabet A are

220px-Ayn_Rand1Ayan Rand  is a Russian American novelist who lived between 1905 to 1982.  More than the novel, her philosophies are what impacted me the most.  If there is one book which any career oriented individual MUST read, then it is FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayan Rand.  Her philosophies are extremely spiritual in nature  –  one of my favorites quote from her is “Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values”

Avvai Patti is a famous Indian Tamil poetess who lived in the Sangam period (13th Century).  While i still have my avvaiown doubts about whether she is a mythical or real character, anyone who studies Tamil is bowled over by her simple profound quotes.  I will always remember Avvai Patti and Aathichoodi for life

Uyir Ezhuthu ஆத்திசூடி English translation
அறம் செய விரும்பு Intend to do right things
ஆறுவது சினம் Anger is momentary; do not take decisions during times of anger (in haste)
இயல்வது கரவேல் Help others based on your capacity
ஈவது விலக்கேல் Never stop aiding
உடையது விளம்பேல் Never boast
ஊக்கமது கைவிடேல் Never give up enthusiasm
எண் எழுத்து இகழேல் Never degrade learning
ஏற்பது இகழ்ச்சி Begging is shameful
ஐயமிட்டு உண் Share what you eat
ஒப்புர வொழுகு Be virtuous
ஓதுவது ஒழியேல் Never stop learning or reading
ஒள ஒளவியம் பேசேல் Never gossip
அஃகஞ் சுருக்கேல் Never compromise in food grains

 

Idiosyncrasies of being a woman


Another women’s day just passed by!  Lot of attention in media –  everyone did their bit!  The private sector, the public sector and the individuals – all played their part in promoting the awareness about celebrating womanhood! Nice messages were pouring into my whatsapp, twitter, fb and mails.  Everyone seemed to be enthusiastic about  sharing their wishes with me –  colleagues, friends, family…. and I reciprocated.  In addition, I did my bit by joining a walkathon organized at work for the sake of girl child. It was a win-win for me  –  I could do a long walk and also make sure that I did my bit on women’s day.

And then, this interesting conversation happened during the walkathon. There was this senior person from a  well established industry association which aggressively promotes “Diversity and Inclusivity” and in that context women.  This gentleman was sharing his views on women leadership and the need to support women during their child bearing years. Typical of someone who is passionate about what they do, this gentleman was describing and analyzing the various initiatives to support women in IT sector.

During the course of this passionate conversation, he highlighted that employers should appreciate the needs of the women during pregnancy period also. He gave an example  –  if a women has morning sickness, she should be given the option for flexible timing. I was mentally absorbing this fact of including pregnancy period also to provide flexibility to women and wondering what it means to run a project and accommodate these requests – in reality, IT sector struggles a lot to provide meaningful  flexi timing even post pregnancy as the work demands overlap timing with US time zones.

And suddenly he adds the spice ” you know, I was told that it is the senior women who are not very supportive to implement these small changes to take care of the women’s needs.  They say, “we have gone through the pregnancy period and managed work without any concessions.  Why can’t the current generation do this?’  That is where people say that men are different and take care of women better”. My thoughts were stilled and i was taken aback for a minute  –  alas, once again, i was reassured that women never get it easy!

My experience tells me to subscribe to the concept of “when going gets tough, the tough gets going” .  With this new perspective shared by this gentleman, my subscription can easily be construed as a senior women not appreciating the tough situation which a junior women is going through??!!!   Am aghast  –   should i patronize the younger generation to be a considerate senior or continue to goad them to cross over tough situations by being tough??  So, patronizing women is what they call as taking care of women??!!!   where will they get this right?!

These…. Idiosyncrasies of being a woman!!

Women forums in IT industry – hype or real?


I have had very interesting conversations with many on the need to start a Women’s Forum  in  IT corporates –  It ranged from “This is a long felt need”  to   “why only Women’s initiative – why not Men’s initiative? call it gender equality!!!….”

Over the years in IT industry, I hardly saw any situation where women can operate differently because they are women. When we assess someone’s capabilities to fit into IT industry, we look for standard traits –  Zero-defect project deliveries, vast domain knowledge, excellent communication and team management skills, client-facing capabilities ……..  all these are gender-inclusive expectations in our industry.

Research has also proven that women have a higher EQ (Emotional Quotient), which in today’s corporate world is rated higher than IQ – this actually gives women an edge over men in problem solving.  The recent trend analysis also concludes that corporates which have women as part of senior management have done much better than those who do not.

Ideally, with the above two facts, the women workforce in IT industry should be at a minimum of 50%.  In reality, statistics show that women workforce ranges between 25% to 30% and less than 15% of senior management in most global IT companies.

The reason for lesser percentage of women is mostly attributed to women’s extended role in family and childcare – this is true globally. Surveys have concluded that in households where men and women work, women still do twice as much housework and thrice as much childcare.

How do we enable women workforce to sustain their career aspirations while they manage their housework and childcare responsibilities   –   this is the major trigger for many IT corporates to start  corporate programs supporting women –  Ideally, from my perspective, these forums/programs need to

  • enable women workforce with additional skills required to multitask
  • leverage women’s potential for furthering organization goals
  • retain women talent
  • establish the IT corporate as “employer of choice” by women workforce

So, what can women do to with the support from these forums??

  • KNOW YOURSELF – “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” – James Allen.   With understanding themselves, comes the wisdom – with wisdom comes the personal power.
  • DEVELOP SKILLS – Ensure they develop skills which continue to give them the financial independence.  This is very critical – with financial independence comes a lot of responsibility and with responsibility, they grow as an individual
  • BE AWARE AND EMBRACE CHANGE –   Continuously challenge their limits – every archiver (Gender inclusive!) has done this!

We need a whole lot of committed change agents  who can make this change……and be part of the change!!   Till then, the debate on the need for  women’s forum will continue…and probably the cheeky lot will continue to check about the need for men’s forum!!

Adam


Category –  Drama-Romance ;  Rating –  3.5  ;  Comment  – Taking care of those who need that care is an esoteric experience in itself!

A lazy Sunday evening and aimless channel surfing –    I ended up watching “Adam” for an hour and half…a heartening realistic romance drama. It was a realistic ending with big emphasis on pragmatism!

The theme is an underlying romance between the budding writer and an Aspergers ,   For those, who is new to the term Aspergers,can read it out here…The movie tries to define love –  love is to whom you  may feel connected and about what.

Nevertheless, the challenge is always in the difference it makes when you know you are being loved Vs being in love.  No doubt that being in love is a great feeling, but I read somewhere that the most powerful force in a woman’s life is the need to be appreciated, loved and cherished for what she is… –  that kind of laid the foundation on why Beth feels that way…

What caught my attention in the movie is the challenges the caretakers of Aspergers  go through –  while it gives a great satisfaction to manage someone who has aberrations at psychological level (there are so many undefined mental states outside Aspergers, some even undetected!)  it is so tough on an individual  –  there are millions and millions of those individuals around this world who go through those emotions and pursue towards the greater goal of taking care of their loved ones…and many-a-times without any recognition.  This movie is a dedication to those lovely souls of mankind who care for others…God bless!

ps-if you are an Indian movie watcher  –  “My name is Khan” in Hindi  and ” Swati Mutyam” in Telugu (Sippikul Muthu” in Tamil) have similar story lines!

Utopian movies – Kalki (#atozapril 2013 challenge)


Utopian movies can be what is listed in Tossing it out OR can be the real drama where the main characters are so idealistic that the whole movie feels utopian.   Here is the letter U for A to Z challenge.

Kalki is a 1996 tamil regional movie directed by one of those famous directors of south India, K.Balachandar.  While the movie is a drama, the main character in the movie was portrayed so differently, it made the whole movie utopian.  Almost 17 years since that movie, I am still looking to meet someone with atleast 10% of the idealistic heroine’s character in real life.  Ofcourse, the heroine’s boyfriend who waits and accepts her AS IS  adds to the flavor of utopian movie!!

While the movie revolved around women and their rights and the challenges of a patriarchical society, I still felt that this movie is more of a wish of the director than of a reality! I may be sound sarcastic, but that is how i feel!

Juggling Movies (#atozchallenge 2013)


Tossing it out gave a reason on choosing such a strange topic  for letter J in A to Z April Challenge.   In the regional movies, the circus movies  will qualify straight for juggling movies.  In addition to ezham arivu (2011) which was featured already under circus movies,  there were two additional circus movies  –  apoorva sagotharargal (1989) and mera naam joker (1970).

While Ezham Arivu had a positive drama as theme, both the other two movies were the hero is part of circus and good at juggling had a sad theme –  a drama which was in line with my expectation .  Nevertheless, both the movies did very well in box office and also got enormous accolades for all quarters (forget this one soul who only likes romcoms!).

Beyond movies, Juggling immediately brought me the thought of theses “so-called”  multi tasking career focussed mothers!!  Sometimes, they are so very much into multiple things, it looks like they are the best jugglers in the world around.  What was so surprizing for me is the fact that whether it is the most advanced Western culture or the most conservative Eastern culture, women all over the world juggle things efficiently  –  finances, health, family, career, friends, hobbies, social contributions, etc… they amaze me!!  Starting from the iron lady Margaret Thatcher from East to that many tribal women in the remote villages of African forests, there are lot of efficient jugglers who ensures the world is as beautiful as it can be to many folks around them (ofcourse, there are some exceptions, but those are aberrations to the natural law!!)

While every time management tip ask us to avoid multitasking to be more efficient, I doubt if any women will subscribe to that fact and lose any time by sequencing activities !!  We see women on the move and checking their make-ups, we have women in the kitchen and taking those conference calls for work, we have women working on the fields and singing to keep their crying babies soothed, etc.  Can you add into this list??

 

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