Friday, April 30, 2010


These are rangolis drawn when I had just started to photograph my rangolis.You can observe that they are hazy & blurred. I would like to believe that my snapping skills were lacking.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Late mark

In the Priydarshan movie, "Yeh Tera Ghar ,yeh mera ghar",the heroine is always late to office.Once ,she walks in, late as usual .Her boss is just waiting for her.He explodes " So,what is the reason for being late today ? " Mahima Chaudhary ,the heroine ,replies," Today ,there is a strike by the autos. I had to walk." The boss quips ," Yes,even if there was a strike by the pilots,you will still be late.Next time,you are late,please stay at home & write a book -listing numerous reasons for being late to office."

A  colleague in office had narrated the said scene to me .I enjoyed it again,when I saw it  on the idiot box.I was reminded of my office days  wherein, I was at the receiving end for marking the muster.I had this unenviable job, of marking employees late.Some people did come in time, while some were addicted to late arrivals.Ladies ,were rarely late .But ,again there were exceptions.The proximity of home to the office was responsible for late entries  in office.My husband used to joke that with people who live next door to the office will enter office after all have come in ! So,the employees were not to be blamed for arriving late !

Late marks would get condoned by requesting the boss.The boss would oblige most of the times.This used to bug me, as I could not understand as to why I was told to do some work which would be disregarded after a few minutes.Maybe,this was my boss's idea of keeping me occupied ! On second thoughts,all the bosses without exception, overlooked   late marks.This raised  their stature  in the eyes of the latecomers with my simultaneous degradation.So,it was a double edged sword.My requests to boss, that he must himself mark the muster were always brushed aside as the boss clarified that the employees must know that I am next to him, in hierarchy.And  all behaved, as if I never existed.

People who came in time could seek permission & leave early for any urgent work and or emergency .But some took this permission as if it was a right nah license.If you had the guts to enquire about the emergency,you would get such looks that you would live to regret a leftime ! But thankfully,as per rules,late marks & early goings were limited to three in a month.

The fourth late mark would lead to a deduction  of half day casual leave.But this situation rarely arose, thanks to  magnanimous bosses.One day,one die hard late comer, arrived late.It was his third late mark in that month.As the working hours drew to a close,he requested, that, he be allowed to leave early .I refused -reminding him that he had come late for the third time in a month.He pleaded ,that he had some emergency .Moreover ,he argued that others who had got three late marks had left early on some days .I stated that ,the boss had allowed it .The debate hotted up & he opined that he was leaving early.I warned him that half day casual leave will be deducted as per the personnel manual.He went & sought support from his colleagues.One female colleague said ," The officer is a fool.If I had been in her place,I would have deducted the half day without telling you ." That had the desired effect.He continued in office till the end of office hours.After all,he did not want to lose his half day  for nothing !

Friday, April 23, 2010


I have experimented with a circular pattern.The one on the right is a bird ( maybe a peacock ) with its plumage spread out.You can observe the beak & eye at the centre of the pattern.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Why is it, that we often pretend that all is well ,when it isn't ? This is specially so ,  in personal  life.A family will like to show that all the members are coexisting with gay ( ? ! ) abandon though not one minute passes without an argument .We all pretend to be what we are not.We parade ourselves in front of others individually as also collectively, as if, we are  the best family & we have happiness that brimmeth over, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I have observed people who would like to call friends & relatives to their homes just to parade the supposed happy times their family is enjoying.The invitation to others is to arouse jealousy .It is  also to remind them that because of wrong values,the others are not happy as a family.At all such times,the family members put on their masks & try to behave well. But as soon as the guests depart,the masks go off & the fights begin !

This all happens because someone in the family tries to control how other members ought to behave not just socially but also in other spheres of life.The ladies in the house will be told to give up jobs as they are the caregivers .If sons are settled in a different location -abroad or at another inland location,they will be recalled back.Even son -inlaws will be recalled back.The protests will all be silenced by emotional blackmail.

Then,the word will be spread around that though that lady had a cushy job ( meaning ,she was relaxing on the job,that is) ,she left it on her own ! The NRI guy also opted for a job in this small town as he doesn;t care a damn about money or the big bad city.He was pining for home & so with  the first offer,  he landed ,he returned.About small things like NRI guy or the city person coping with small town attitudes at work & otherwise & the ladies getting bored at home,the karta is least  bothered.

This recalling is advertised to all amongst friends & relatives in order to exhibit the power of the karta.This is only a pointer that the karta is running the family with an iron hand .Moreover people are invited to have a dekko at the whole family in flesh & blood to understand what a happy family means & perhaps, looks like.

Sometimes,the karta is able to remote control the members of the household.Like the karta will be advising that a job had to be done in one particular way only & if the member strays from that ,then all hell breaks loose even if it is equally effective & equally ethical.The member have no privacy & hence the whole family goes together to shopping,travelling ,etal.But sometimes, the oldest couple in the family will masquerade as a newly wed couple & go for walks,cinemas,theatre etc.Agreed, that as they couldn't do it in those earlier days,does not mean that they have to make up for all that now.Moreover,if they have no respect for solitude of  couples  in the family,are they not forgetting something ?

The karta will also try to drag his partner as a tag all around.Hence if the woman refuses,there is a backlash.The younger unemployed women at home are blamed as they are idling away whilst the oldest woman is so busy slogging that she is unable to accompany the karta.So the anger of the karta is not that his wife is working but because her exhaustion leaves her no time to accompany the dictator.If she would be besides him on all his jaunts with his retired cronies,he is not one bit affected by her tiredness.

But all the tension & the feud arises because of the stiff attitude of the karta.All this leads to hatred & bitter feelings which would have never happened if things were not forced down the throats of all .But ,some never want to admit that they can  commit wrongs like fellow humans .So,the saga continues with things reaching to such a situation, that members stay together but the invisble walls amongst them getting stronger by the day.

So,it is better to listen to all before coercing others to fall in line with one's outdated thoughts.Otherwise,we will only get regret & hatred in return.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Undertime !

I learnt a new word today -undertime.It means  time spent by an employee on leisure during working hours .Now,when I say leisure, I mean like a person chatting on phone,surfing the net ,typing personal letters,going shopping,etc -all during office hours.Yes,of course one can debate that the phone chat was official,net surfing was also official & so on .The  only characteristic, that makes the said activity official, is that, it was done during the course of employment,nothing more.

Some people are very disciplined.They are the earliest to arrive in office & then they start their long phone chats.But then, this is not undertime,isn't it.Yes,it is not, till it continues  before the office timings but, if the chatting continues after the office timings have started,it becomes undertime.Which is what usually happens- obviously on office phones,the calls are pretty long as office is footing the stupendous bill or bills.There are others who stay back after office hours to chat on phone.Sometimes,they even get paid for overtime- for  working overtime on the phone !

I initially worked in an office in a moffusil area.Some computers were shifted to our branch offices for easing data entry work.This, in turn, led to the transfer of a data entry operator to the branch.He would very sincerely do his work but beyond that,he refused to do any other work even if he was sitting idle.On Fridays,there would be load shedding & hence the data entry operator would just sit & stare at others  .Our requests to him to make himself useful would elicit responses like," My salary makes it unaffordable for me to do any other work other than data entry." His colleagues would just stare at him with jealousy & lament their  fate that they had to continue working whilst he lazed away.

Once,I had picked up some vegetables on my way to office.It was a Friday & the power went off.The data entry operator took my jhola containing the vegetables & started cleaning the veggies.I begged him to do some other office work but he continued with his undertime.He also quipped, that if any executives came for a surprise visit, he would tell then that his boss ( me ) had ordered him to do the cleaning ! Thankfully,nobody came & I was spared the undue explanations about the supposed official undertiming by the employee.Obviously,I was glad that my veggies had got cleaned at office expense during undertrime of an employee but not myself ! This was a double whammy ! I had more time for rest- at home,that is .

In the suburban office,the man Friday, in office, was notorious for being absent for hours together.He would go to bank to deposit the day's collection & on the way back,he would be undertiming.He would even have a haircut by undertiming .He was of the firm opinion, that he had a license to undertime as he worked so hard -for the Company ,that is ! But all this led to his doing overtime till late nights as work was always pending for reasons which were there for all to see.

On one occasion,all male employees went to enjoy an extended lunch which went on for nearly three hours ! They were undertiming en masse ! This can be coined male bonding nah undertiming.But then ,men always complain about females bonding about everything except work.Maybe, this male group undertiming is an exception -one too many !

So,you can understand that overtime & undertime are opposites  in one sense but similar  in another sense.The meanings of the words are opposite to each other.They are both, the same in a way, as both lead to a drain on the employer.In fact,undertiming is the cause why overtime becomes a necessity !

The absence of undertime would have robbed employees of the gold mine of overtime ! So both need each other or better still, thrive in the presence of each other !

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dress code.

Jairam Ramesh  discarded the gown & hat  at the graduation ceremony of the Indian Institute of Forest Management,Bhopal.He opined, that, one should be comfortable with clothes being worn & hence do away with medieval legacy.

I couldn't agree more.In a tropical country like India,one can wear a  loose dress & not  a gown which is just too suffocating.Moreover,in our nation,wherein, more than half the people have hardly any thing to wear,it is a crime to go for dresses  which use reams of cloth just, for some ceremonies ! They  can be better utilised in covering the have nots.Hats are also a big no. Hats have never been  part of our culture.Again,the same argument, is that in our hot & humid climate,it is better to keep the head cool by keeping it uncovered.

I have found it quite amusing that lawyers  & judges continue to wear the gowns in High Courts.I just cannot understand, all this adherence to the British system of dressing .Agreed,that we have borrowed heavily from the Western system of jurisprudence but, still ,we can improve, as time marches ahead.Looks, like we are still struck somewhere behind.So,we still insist on dress code for advocates & judges in our courts long after temperatures have risen drastically in the tropics.I am sure,the frayed tempers in courts have a lot to do with the gowns worn by the lawyers & judges.If the gowns are done away with,I am sure,many will keep their cool in the sylvan atmospheres.Even productivity will improve !We will have less of a backlog.

My daughter has to wear tie to school.I feel, it, is like the noose on the nubile necks of kids.It is so hot that with the tie ,it becomes a torture.It is worse than the noose of the hanging as one experiences it only once ( if any ) but the kids have to endure the noose on a daily basis.Moreover,the tie fits snugly only when the collar button is put in place.So it is a double whammy for the children !

We can easily do away with ties,gowns,etc from our dress codes for schools,courts,college ceremonies etc.Even the corporate culture of wearing suits ought to be done away with .Moreover,experience has shown that appearances can be deceptive .Dresses make up for appearances which are quite contrary  to the nature of the wearer. This will translate into being green as well as less stuffy clothes will mean more coolness & hence less of power to run fans,air conditioners etc.So,one can save power as well.I think, it is ridiculous, that people wear suits & go to office & then turn on the air conditioners to cool off.In a power starved nation as ours,we ought to do better, than, indulge, in such wasteful expenditure.

I think , Jairam Ramesh has echoed what many of us have been trying to say since years.We need to ape good qualities from others taking into account ,our own circumstances & in this case, our surroundings, inclusive of climate.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Moral policing ?

As we head towards liberal attitudes in society in fact, in all norms of life,there are some  who want to play spoilsports.I am against women or girls in bikinis .I had read the past in the Illustrated Weekly of India ( remember it ? )-yes,the  weekly magazine of the Times of India which was once edited by the likes of M.V Kamath,Khuswant Singh etc .It was an interview, given by the ex-doyen of dance films,V.Shantaram.He had said that a fully covered woman is more sensuous.This thought  has always stayed with me & I wonder, as to what is anybody trying to show off in skimpy outfits.

But dressing is one aspect .There is another thing also-some people think that they are morally very upright about everything.

One  of my aunts has this grievance against my hubby who is constantly travelling on work.She feels, that my hubby is foreover crossing the seven seas & hence a paapi.She asked me on Ugadi ,"So,is it a holiday for your husband today ?" I told her that,as he was in the Gulf on that day,he was working as Ugadi is not a festivals for the Arabs there.But, she forgot to state, that, her son had gone to attend office.Her son works for an MNC with headquarters in Rome .So,they have holidays as per the Vatican, for the employees in India,  whereas, my hubby should have a holiday for an Indian festival , in a country other India,than  where he is travelling to work !

I have an Uncle,  who objects, to his wife meeting her brother,  when hubby is absent,though they are all senior citizens now ! He thinks, that except him , all are crooked in  body & mind ! He opines or rather, would have us, believe, that he is straight.The other day,when an old male relative came visiting  his son's home ,he was aghast .This was because,horror of horrors,his son was in office & his wife was alone with their six year old daughter ! So, he conveyed, his disgust to the senior citizen in no uncertain terms ! It so happened, that ,the old man was travelling to Badrinath  in the following week .So,he quipped to my suspicious Uncle ," Since ,I have sinned by going to your son's home in his absence,I am going on a pilgrimage to wash it away ! "

I feel, as long as people don't hurt others by being themselves, even if it can be termed too liberal,we should let things be.Just because,we are unable to withstand the openness,does not mean,we demean our fellow human beings.We have to learn to take things in our stride, provided, of course,it does no harm to anyone.Obviously,we cant let our imagination run riot & think of atrocious situations wherein,some disaster may strike.Hence,this talk about seedha & tedha has got to stop.Let us embrace all & walk towards a better tomorrow !
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