What’s in a cup of tea???

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Tea is an intricate part of our lives.  Part of all our rituals, functions, office conferences. From early morning till you hit the bed at night, tea fills the day in its many flavours. Some can’t leave the bed in the morning without a cup of tea, for some it is the instant medication for headache or works a stress buster. It serves as a stimulant for some, igniting their mental faculty when required the most; during decision making. Tea is not bound by region, season or religion. “It is loved in all regions of the world and consumed in all seasons and weather conditions. It will be not wrong to say that Tea is one common factor which binds the world”. Friendships, relationships flourish as meetings take place over cup of tea. 

There are so many flavours and styles brewing that what one likes may not be someone else’s cup of tea. Everyone has their own favourite type (black, green, with milk, peppermint, spicy and so on) and like it brewed in their own way. A cup of tea can make or mar the mood. The aroma released as hot water is poured over tea leaves is just awesome. The aroma itself refreshes the mood and sets the mind on fire. 

I have been a fan of tea since a very young age. During initial years of life, I preferred tea mixed with milk. I have had the good fortune of travelling through best of the tea gardens located in the North East and southern regions of the country. The variety available is mind boggling. After trying different flavours, I finally decided that black was my cup of tea. 

After a long period of hit and trial I found my perfect cup of tea. Hot water (not boiling) poured over tea leaves (tea bag) and let it brew for two minutes. I do not like my tea too hot or warm. Just about hot tastes the best for me, so I let it rest in the cup for about five minutes before taking a sip. Crockery also plays a major role in making the tea good or bad. Porcelain is the best for me, preferring a colourful stylish cup in the morning to elegant white (maybe gold rimmed) in the office. Earthenware adds its own aroma to tea. 

My day starts and ends with a cup of black tea. A hot cup of tea before hitting the bed releases all the stress accumulated over the day. It certainly works for me. 

“Friends, to enjoy tea, brew it your own way, do not leave it to others (whenever you can help it)”

Moving away from the joint family…….the after effects….

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We in India take pride in our old age traditions and culture of family bonding. Indian culture thrived on family bonding. Once a relationship was formed, it was for life. The strong family bonds continue even now, though the cities have seen a shift from joint to nuclear families.

Children are generally moving out of parental home for reasons of profession and also to a large extent, after marriage, in search of independence. Cases of separation/ divorce are on the increase. The elders, somehow, blame it on the increasing effect of western culture, but that may not be the main reason at all. 

The joint families had a major advantage of emotional, physical and financial support available within the family. Whenever there was a problem the entire family used to revolve around to help resolve the issue. The work load was equitably distributed between all family members. However, as the families grew bigger the requirements increased, specially of the space, living and work space both. Thus, the need to move to alternate places emerged. Job opportunities was a major reason of young adults moving base from rural to urban centers. 

Though the males apparently were the patriarchs in the family but in reality, the families revolved around the mothers, the ladies. It is the ladies who took care of the family, brought up children, helped maintained family bonding. Was, emotional support and love the only reasons for the family bonding, the reason for marriage to last till death interfered? Well, at the face of it, appeared so. However, in reality the reasons may be beyond emotions. In Indian families, girls, since ages, have been brought up with a mindset that their main role in life is to take care of the family, bring up children. The ladies were supposed to stay in home and only men folk were supposed to go out and work. Girls were generally groomed to be homely, not actually empowered to have a professional career. Rather the girls were discouraged from pursuing a job. Situation in rural areas or towns have still not changed much where girls are groomed with the mindset that they require the support of the man to survive. They have to be married at the earliest possible age. 

Once the girls were not empowered to face the world, to be independent, they were forced to accept whatever life came their way after marriage. Even if the lady was not happy with her way of life, after marriage, she generally endured it all because of the fear of survival, if marriage broke. The parents forced/ convinced the girls to make compromises/ adjust. 

Now, the modern-day girls in cities and to some extent in small towns are educated and longing to have a professional career. They are sure of themselves and don’t feel the need of a man to survive. Even boys want to move out of the shadows of elders to grow on their own strength. An educated, empowered girl/ boy will not take nonsense from anyone. Even husbands don’t like to see their wives being humiliated by elders in the name of culture and traditions. These are the main reasons giving rise to nuclear families, forcing young adults to leave the parental homes. There is a flip side to it; even small difference in opinion at times grow into major issues, as there are no elders around to help resolve the problems.  When both, husband and wife are working, the child suffers to an extent. They are not able to give the child the attention he deserves. 

A change in mindset, which encourages independence under the same roof, is required, if family bonding have to foster. Parents have to change their outlook. Even the youngsters have to evolve and understand their responsibility towards parents and family as a whole. 

“Profession may force a child to stay away from parent, but the emotions can’t be allowed to die”

Evenings used to be so beautiful….Where has all the laughter gone?

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I remember years back, much before the Multi-National Companies(MNCs) stepped in India, much before the Tutorials/ Coaching classes became ‘fashionable’, evenings used to be so much fun. 

People of all age used to eagerly await the arrival of the evening to hit the play grounds, the parks or just to meet friends and walk on the roads. The women folk could be seen sitting in groups, latest gossips/ ideas being exchanged in a friendly environment. The couple of hours spent in the evening with friends used to be the real stress busters. There were no day and night cricket matches, evenings used to be left free for the people to interact, to socialise. 

Where have those evenings gone? Where has that leisure vanished? I am afraid, the evenings are still there, people, the fun, the laughter has gone missing. The kids are tied up in the books, running from classrooms in the day to the tutorials/ coaching classes in the evenings. Much of youth/ middle age is spent behind the workstations trying to earn much more than what can be spent. Love, which used to bloom in the gardens, under the trees or by the lake side is now being exchanged through messages/ smileys online.  At homes , TV and cell phones have more or less taken over the space for meaningful conversations. Stress levels are going high with young kids suffering from high blood pressure, obesity, heart problems, diabetes and what not. Where are we headed for? 

People step out of the homes in the morning and step back in at night (a large number late night). It seems as if the evenings have ceased to exist. Fortunately, the evenings still exist, the beauty is still around in nature, waiting for the people to realise and enjoy. It is for us, the people, to slow down, to set our schedule right, get back the old routine, get back the laughter. 

We have all become part of the rat race, knowing fully well that the one who wins will still remain a rat. We have to get back our human senses, start being social. Use the evening to unwind, de-stress, spend time with family/ friends. Get the laughter back in the air.

Yoga…..The easy way to self-improvement…self-empowerment…

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21st June, the longest day of the year, was declared as the International Day of Yoga in 2015.Yoga, originally meaning ‘union’ in Sanskrit has been practiced in the India and the countries around since times immemorial. However, it’s only a few years back that it proliferated common households in India. 

True to its name, Yoga is best done in groups. It brings people together. Yoga is truly a symbol of unity in diversity, doesn’t matter what caste, creed, colour, religion, race or region you belong to you can perform yoga. 

Yoga is not just about unity, its about health and fitness. Fitness of mind, body and cleansing of thoughts. Once you are out early in the morning, performing Yoga, the exposure to the fresh air, the pollution free environment and the exercise per se you undergo not just helps in improvement of physique but also empowers you with a healthy mind. Empowers you to think ahead, to think through. Yoga is a complete package for self-improvement. 

Yoga will help you realise your true potential. If you ask people of any age group, to name one thing/ task they find most difficult to do in the day, a majority will certainly say, it’s getting out of the bed, early morning. Once you have achieved that rest all falls in place. Therefore, anyone who is into Yoga has already overcome this problem of getting up early in the morning and after the physical routine of yoga exercises is mentally and physically fit to take on the world. 

“Yoga does not just add years to your life it adds life to your years”. It symbolises addition for happiness. Happiness is in being together, in sharing and caring. 

You improve by adding happiness, spreading happiness, adding knowledge, adding relationships/ friends. 

“Do Yoga….Enrich your body and mind….Detoxify…Empower yourself”

Born Lucky….Born Blessed…

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I was born in a lower middle-class family. At the time of my birth my dad was a clerk in a government organisation and mother a housewife. My father was a high school pass out and My mom, what some will say, a school dropout. 

But then, I was born lucky. Lucky because my parents understood the meaning of good education, more than that they understood the relevance of value education. They ensured that all of us siblings went to good schools and got the best of the education. 

I was lucky that my parents instilled moral values in me, made me capable of differentiating right from wrong. Made us corruption proof. “They taught me to live within my means and that to live happy I don’t have to own too much, rather, no one should own me”. 

I was born lucky to have parents who taught me to stand on my own feet very early in life. They taught me the meaning of ‘Never ever giving up’. They were the best examples of ‘fighters’ I have ever seen. They achieved most with the minimum. They ingrained deep down in my brain that “Happiness had very little connection with material possessions. Happiness has to flow from within”. 

They never differentiated between people, in fact it is late in school, I learnt that people could be differentiated on basis of caste, creed, religion and region. They taught me the value of respecting, maintaining and honouring relationships. 

My parents gave me the freedom of choice, freedom to do what I wanted to do with my life. 

Yes I was born lucky, born blessed and continue to reap the rewards till date…..Yes I am Happy.

Whose permission are you waiting for????….Move out of the shadow to excel….

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All parents desire an obedient child. There is nothing wrong in a child being obedient. There has to be some discipline in life, majority of the parents take it too far and desire that the child should blindly follow all orders; submissive to authority. Most parents desire that the child should seek their permission/ approval before taking any step. This may be correct to an extent in the initial years of life when the child is just learning and may not have the ability to make his own decisions. 

This desire is one of the main reason contributing to the children not achieving their set goals in future. The child gets so used to seeking permissions / approvals that even after his own professional/ business carrier the habit refuses to leave him/ her. He looks around for approvals from parents / seniors / colleagues / spouse before starting something new. This is what leads to failure as maybe he is trying to do something which actually is not his preference/ choice; he is got into it because he is incapable of making his own decisions or mentally too weak to say No to others. 

Learn to make your decisions. It’s your life, you know what’s best for you. You don’t have to take permissions from others. Yes, keep your parents/ partner informed, seek their inputs where needed, discuss with them but final decision has to be yours. Make your own decisions, be your own boss. If you can’t be even your own boss then you certainly can’t lead others. 

“Move out of the shadow…..If you want to grow in life…”

Effective communication…..Key to success….

 

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Communication is the key to success. Communication may be verbal or non-verbal, just expressions convey it all. Good communication skills are a must to convey a view point, to convince people. You may have the facts and logic right but if you are not able to put across it to the target audience in a convincing manner then you may fail to get their approval. 

At home, the art of communication matters in keeping the happiness index high. Dialogues are any day better than monologues. Allow the kids to express their but most of them may be poor in face to face and written communication. Most of them get nervous with the thought of getting on to the stage. It’s the responsibility of parents and teachers to develop the communication skills of the children. This will help the kids in facing the world, head on, in future. They will not develop cold feet facing interviews or giving presentations. 

In offices, a word of appreciation or even a ‘smily’ through the email from the senior will go a long way in keeping the junior motivated. Hugs still matter and can-do magic. An arm round the shoulder, a pat on the back or a casual inquiry about the well-being helps in keeping the atmosphere stress free in the work places. Hear everyone, take feedback, it positively helps in improving and making the right decisions. Empathy matters more than sympathy in work places. 

Communication helps social interaction. Many professionals have lost out on growth prospects because of bad word of mouth reputation. This doesn’t mean a senior should mollycoddle the juniors. Be firm in your professional dealings and have total control on the language you use and be humane in behaviour. 

“Communication skills matter the most in a professional career and personal life….You can honestly convey whatever you wanted to…..without actually saying much” 

“ Boys …You are likely to lose out on a potential girlfriend for want of good communication skills …..learn to communicate effectively…”