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.

Developing and Sustaining Relationships…Part II

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In the previous article I had discussed the factors which bind a relationship, in this part I will bring out some issues which may hinder healthy growth of any relationship. If love, trust, respect and space help in binding a relation together than what are likely threats to it. An understanding of the causes leading to breakups, may help in taking precautionary measures, if one wishes to take.

In my view, one of the main reason which adversely affects relationship is the ownership right or in simple words a tendency to control a person emotionally and physically. No sooner we get into a relationship; marriage or friendship, we have a tendency to exercise our ownership rights, we don’t feel comfortable to see our partner with somebody else. He or she is not expected to enjoy (in most cases) same relationship with other people, which they enjoyed before marriage or before getting into friendship. There is an evident dislike towards any person who is trying to get closer or just wanting to be friendly with my friend. This dislike, more often than not is a result of fear of losing control and may be due to lack of confidence in one self as also in the friend / relation (husband / wife). This behaviour can be seen even in so called short term friendships, one may develop in a social networking sites by virtue of being part of same group or having common interests. This tendency to exercise control on another person gives rise to the emotion of hatred, anger which will definitely be harmful for any relationship. 

Opposite to the habit of exercising control is the tendency of one partner to be totally dependent on the other specially in the area of decision making. Total dependency on making decisions concerning one’s life, may at times, lead to ruining of a relationship. Tendency to exercise control or being dependent on someone else for decision making is very evident in Indian households, where usually the father (in some cases the mother), exercises total control. I have come across many married ladies and children who have given up their hobbies like dancing, singing, just because the husband or the parents do not like it. 

The tendency to call a partner (husband or wife or friend) as ‘mine’ to show the authority was always there and is still going strong. More often than not boys and even girls now can be seen stamping their authority on their friend by calling him or her as ‘only mine’. Same holds true for some husbands, who after marriage think they have owned yet another property. Yes, he or she is yours, your relation or friend, but certainly not your property. In any relationship, all partners have same rights, all are equal. No one is, or should be treated as subservient, if the relation has to be long lasting. Everyone has a mind of their own, consultations and discussions can be there to come to a decision, but one individual’s decision cannot be forced on other partner(s). 

Why should a lady become just a surname after marriage? How can she be expected to give up the identity she has lived with, till she got married? She should always retain her identity as an individual, as a human. This feeling of ownership further leads to encroachment, that is not leaving any free space to each other. Wanting to know everything happening in spouses or friends life; both professional and personal. Snooping in your partner’s (even your children’s) mobile and other gadgets to find out with whom he / she has been talking, is not love, it is pure jealousy or over possessiveness which has a potential to kill any relationship. These encroachments are best avoided. 

Expectations that one of the partners has to change him or herself to make the relationship sustaining, is actually damaging. Relationships are not about changing yourself as per convenience but it is about respecting and loving the person the way he / she is. Relationships are about complementing each other. Complementarity helps in growth of a relation, If one is looking to filling the voids in life through a relationship, then it may become counterproductive. 

Conflicts, due to differences of opinion are bound to happen, but these should not put a relationship in danger of a breakup. Handling the differences in a mature manner, understanding the other persons view point and may be finding a middle path, if need be, to resolve the differences is what is important to make any relation strong. Differences of opinions are to be respected and in no way should lead to loss of respect. 

Mis-communications and lack of communication (or complete breakdown) can lead to major problems, even ending in divorce; separation, suicides. Communication is not just verbal but reflected by actions and emotions as well. You may not talk but yet convey the right vibes by your actions and emotions. 

The ill effects of breach of trust, lack of respect for each other’s habits, views, hobbies, friends and relations, is well understood by everyone and needs no elaboration. 

Separation (in any relation), how so ever compelling may be the reason, and whatever deliberations partners have gone through, before taking the final call, will still cause pain. The two partners and their relatives / friends should try and make the separation process as smooth as possible, with minimum scope for dirty issues rising again and causing heart aches. Smoother the separation process, easier it is for the wounds, if any, to heal as also the chances of recurring pains due to bad memoirs are also lesser. 

It has to be understood that relationship is between two humans or two souls and not between two appointments or father – son, teacher- student etc. Two humans only meet each other because of a particular relation or appointments in office or schools etc but the relation can only further evolve based on the human (e) behaviour of the two individuals. Without human factor no relationship can survive. A strong relation is built around the bond established by love, respect and trust and is very difficult to break. The following quote of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American author, aviator and author of the popular inspirational book “Gift from the Sea” sums up the essence of a relationship: –

“The only real security (in relationship) is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not even in hoping. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was, nor forward to what it might it be, but living in the present and accepting it as it is now”

 

Developing and sustaining Relationships…

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Friendship is the only relationship a person selects as per his / her choice. All other relationships are based on birth and marriage. Relations like Parent- child, Uncle, aunts are all based on birth and are beyond the realms of choice. Relationships in Indian sub-continent, whether by birth or choice, have generally all lasted the test of time, however, cases of strained relations in marriage are on the rise now. 

What makes a relation sustain? Is it love, respect (family or self), trust, or peer and family pressure. All are very valid reasons, however, in my view two main factors that bind any relationship are love and respect. Love is the bedrock of any relation, irrespective of whether it is by birth or by choice. The main factor which bonds two people in a relationship / friend is love. Though, it is argued that a boy and a girl cannot be ‘just’ friends. The use of word ‘just’, in friendship , itself is wrong. Friendship between two persons should not need any justification or scrutiny. In fact, use of the word ‘just’ to justify a relationship, itself raises doubts on the nature of relation. The main reason two person would like to be in each other’s company is love. Whether this love is for the hobbies, habits, subjects is a matter of choice. It is not just love for each other but also love / liking for common things which may act as a source of attraction between two people. Love, one of the most sacred words used to describe a relation is one of the most misunderstood today. 

The important aspects of love are commitment & nurturing without which it is just infatuation and will wither down in no time. Even in the 21st century India, the society does not accept that a boy and a girl can be only friends, they may have no intent of marrying each other nor have a sexual relation. Even if they have a sexual relation…… so what? Is the love between parent- child, between siblings different from the one, between two friends of opposite sex? Love cannot be defined differently depending on situations and the personalities involved. It is same in every relation, only difference being that love between two persons related by blood develops naturally due to strong sense of belonging and responsibility, whereas in case of two strangers it develops slowly as they meet and understand each other and develop liking for each other’s traits, habits etc. Having a great friend from opposite sex, at whatever age, is an amazing experience. You got to have one, to understand this. 

Respect is another reason which bind two persons together and is responsible for the longevity of a relation. Respect, for each other’s values, views, likes and dislikes, habits, emotions, friends, relatives all goes towards making a relation strong. One of the main reasons which makes marriages last in India is the respect husband and wife have for each other and their respective relatives. Respect for each other’s values is a must .Each one of us , is generally , brought up differently and probably may have a different way of doing a thing and have diverse beliefs. These differences have to be understood and respected by the partners. I am a Hindu from Uttar Pradesh whereas my wife comes from a staunch Sikh family of Punjab. Both, naturally, have been brought up in different environments. We met by chance, developed a liking for each other and married with the blessings of our parents but what has kept us together, despite our different upbringing and habits is the love and respect not just for each other but also for the values our parents have imbibed in us. 

After love and respect comes understanding of each other. This includes understanding of views, requirements, priorities in life. Maturity and understanding are two interdependent factors which have a long-term effect on any relation. If one is mature enough, he / she will understand the issue well and deal with it in a balanced manner or it can be also said , if one understands then any issue can be handled in a mature manner. Maturity is not as much dependent on age as it is on experience and off course the type of experience; good or bad. 

Trust is another factor which is vital for success of any relation be it friendship, siblings or marriage. Lack of trust can mar any relation in no time .Trust is built over a period of time and can help overcome any obstacle which may threaten a relation .Transparency in activities is what trust is based on . The actions over a period of time build or breaches trust. 

Space , yes I mean space, is a must in any relation . Even a husband and wife require some independent space, at times; Space for work , friends and may be relatives. Space , at crucial juncture , also helps in healing hurts and setting the perceived wrongs, right . 

Communication, is another factor which binds two people together. As long as smooth communication exists between two person, the relation cannot be easily affected by smooth talks of anyone else and any issues or problems can be easily resolved. 

Another factor, which keeps a relation going is the willingness on the part of partners to sustain the relation. Each individual has a different emotional and intelligence threshold and accordingly his / her understanding of a perceived problem differs. What also affects this threshold, is the environment, both present and the one the individual has been brought up in. During our growing years we observe our parents and elders doing a thing in a particular way, and that becomes the only way of doing that thing, for us.  Any variation, even if logical, is initially resisted and may lead to heart burns / arguments. This is where time ‘space’ and communication matters most in a relation. Take your time and if required maintain space but don’t forget to keep the communication alive, in whatever way. It’s a matter of time, and one will get to a right solution. Fortunately, Indians have patience and willingness to sustain a relation, in abundance. I remember, as a child once telling my mother not to maintain relation with one of our relatives because of his continuous ability to cause problems for us(my perception) but my mother just said, Breaking anything, even a relation is not difficult but what is difficult is building, maintaining and sustaining a relation. Hiccups, differences of perception and thoughts will be there in any relation, what matters in life is the ability of understanding the difference and finding the solution. Isn’t Human Resource management, more about this and less about evaluations and dismissals. Indian culture and traditions have stood the test of time based on our strong family values and bonding. Family bonding is seen in all our relations including professional. When even in professional field we do not dismiss employees easily  (this may not be true in some new corporate/business houses) , how can relations break easily. Whereas if u see, some western cultures have a system of hire and fire and this can be seen not just in professional life but also in personal relations, where even institution of marriage has no value, you get married one day and divorce the next day…heights of Hire and fire concept. 

Listening is also an ability, most of us lack. If we can listen to each other with patience half the problems won’t arise in life. Even if some problems do arise, these can be resolved by effective communication and listening. 

These are some of the factors, which if adhered to, help in making a relation healthy and prosperous. In part 2 of the article I will deal with some of the factors which, if not taken care of, are capable in harming a relation ,at times irretrievably. 

“A happy marriage perhaps represents the ideal of human relationships A setting in which each partner, while acknowledging the need of other, feels free to what be what he or she by nature is……A relationship in which instinct as well as intellect can find expression , in which giving and taking are equal, in which each accepts the other and I confronts thou”         

                                                                                                                    Anthony Starr                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                             

 

Being Single…. is a choice not a compulsion

 

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To start with let me make it very clear that I am happily married for last 20 years, have two kids and living life to the fullest. But then I lived the life of a single for first 32 years of my life. In my part of the world (India) it doesn’t matter whether you are a man or lady, if you remain single for long (how long is difficult to define but maybe till late 20s or beyond) majority of your well-wishers get worried and take upon themselves the responsibility of getting you engaged. Most of them, by the way, are not interested in what you want. 

A large part of the society, starts believing that there is something wrong with you, physically or emotionally. You become a part of their daily gossip. It gets a bit more difficult if you are a lady as at times the character also is put under the scanner and God only can save you from the negative gossip if you are seen around with male friends. Young widows, especially if they prefer to remain independent, may face still tougher situations. There is always a mounting pressure of parents / in-laws for remarrying. The character is always under scrutiny by the so-called guardians of society. Coming home late at night from work or having male friends is discouraged. Then there are people who would always be around to try and take advantages of someone’s loneliness. Somehow most of our elders in the society have this feeling that a single mom won’t be able to take proper care of her children. I don’t know why they can’t let her be and leave her to make her own decisions. If she needs your advice or support she will come to you. More than the sympathy and expressions of pity she requires empathy and respect. 

A person may be a single for a period of time for different reasons like family responsibility, turbulent relation in the past or death of a partner at young age. Well, I remained single for 32 years because the thought of marriage never came to my mind till then. I was happy being single and did not feel the need for a partner. I was alone but never lonely. I had my hobbies, my job and my friends to fill up my life and space was never there for a life partner to come in. I am a firm believer that one should not get into a marital relation till he / she is ready for it. There is no need to rush into relation because your parents want it or you think you have found the man / woman of your life. “One should marry only when the mind says so and you feel the need”. There is no set time and age for this feeling to come in. Some may get it at 20 while others may not get it even at 40. There is nothing like early or late marriage. Any relation builds and sustains on just love and friendship. “The sooner you get out of formalities and become friends more enjoyable the relationship / married life will become”. 

I remember when I was around 30, many of my juniors ( mostly married ) used to ask me my reason for preferring to be a single and I used to tell them that in our country ( India ) 90 percent of the men get married because their parents wanted them to get married , approximately eight percent get married because they could not say no to the first girl they met in life , it’s only two percent of the man who actually get married when they want to get married and to the girl they want to get married to. I am part of that two percent and will marry only when I feel the need. I actually married when I felt the need my mind and to the girl my mind said I should (The heart started beating thereafter) and believe you me life has been fun last twenty years and honestly much better than when I was single. In fact, there is no comparison. 

“Trust me….Get married when the mind says so…Let the heart join the party thereafter…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding Human Relations…..

 

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“Understanding is key. People can find the strength to carry on simply knowing that there is someone out there that understands them unconditionally”                                                                                                                                                 Daisaku Ikeda


Developing , understanding and maintaining relationship is as important a factor in the success of an organisation as it is for the professional and personal growth of an individual. Any organisat
ion is like a family and just as the relationships or bonding in a family reflects the happiness quotient ,  good relations between members of  the organisation will ensure its growth. Any organisation which fails to understand and take care of the physical , psychological, spiritual and emotional needs of its members will find the move on path to success very difficult.  Relation between organisation (management) and employees is not just of work and salaries , it is much more than that. 

Relations based on appointments or seniority may not last for long .To be long lasting the relations have to be based on understanding , beliefs and mutual respect. Bonding between a senior and a junior may be difficult to develop and sustain but between an elder and a younger based on mutual respect , beliefs and faith is easier to develop and is normally long lasting. However , the younger in any relation should always cater for the space for age , experience , responsibility and maturity. 

Interpersonal relations / bonding in any organisation has a direct bearing on the productivity /outcome. Management and employees, both have to understand each other’s constraints, needs / necessities / requirements and emotions . Understanding human behaviour also helps in conflict resolutions , if any. It helps to understand/ analyse the reason for conflict between two individuals / group. 

Management has to cater for the physical needs like the working environment / comfort , safety and physiological requirement of the employees like breaks / food arrangements and medical needs to keep them well motivated. The organisation which reaches out beyond and caters for the welfare of the families of the employee will always achieve better results. An employee assured of the safety , security , well being of his family including good education for children will give his best in the profession. 

Management should always work towards empowering the employee by way of continuous refresher training , keeping him abreast with the latest technological changes , involving him in decision making at the required level. An employee should also understand the need for personal and professional growth .A sense of belonging and the feeling that he / she is wanted in the organisation will go a long way in increasing the motivation level. Fostering of team spirit is vital for achieving the end result helps in enhancing the sense of belonging. 

Each member of the team has to have trust in each other’s abilities and intent. Trust is built over a period of time based on successive actions and responses/ reactions of individuals in varied environments / conditions. 

Promotion and incentives at regular period, based on capabilities and without discrimination or favours will develop faith of the employee in the management motivate him to work selflessly. 

Spiritual needs of the employee , also have to be well understood and respected by the management. Discrimination on grounds of religion , caste and community cannot be tolerated. The beliefs and values systems of the workers must be respected but at the same time the employee should not allow the religious needs and values to interfere in the work . 

Management should be able to empathise with the employees. Team members do not look for sympathy but for empathy and understanding of their problems and provision of workable solution. To achieve empathy the people in management have to understand/experience the working conditions of the team . 

To achieve success ,in any field / task ,a strong bond between the management and workers or better put ; between team members, based on mutual trust , respect , beliefs is an absolute must. The advent and extensive usage of technology that voice mails , video conferencing may save time my help you in working from the comfort of your chosen office space / home but to understand human relations and to bond better your feet should be on the move ( when required )and the mind should always be ticking. Nothing can bond a team better than personal touch , understanding and empathy for each other. And lastly business /or production is not just dependent on the production team but it also depends on the understanding of need, desires of the client /consumer.          

          If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of  human relationships – the ability of all people, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.”

                                                                                  Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Responsible Parenting …….Happy Children….

It’parenting-responsibilities-200x200s very common to hear parents complaining that the kids , specially teenagers hardly like to spend time with them . The boys specially share very little , refuse to open their hearts in front of parents. Even the children have similar complaints about their parents- No Quality time.

Who or what is to be blamed for such a situation arising in a family? Well actually no one or should I say practically all the family members. We can blame the technology as well, the TV , cell phones or the internet.

The main reason is our lifestyle. We as parents forget our responsibilities or at times try to force our way which pushes the child not necessarily into a shell but certainly away. The parents have to spend quality time with the kids. No TV, No technology just quality time together. Talking, playing or discussing. It has to be part of the daily routine in the family where they all sit together and talk or play .This will get the child closer to the parent .

There should never be a fear syndrome. Child should respect the elders, never fear them . He should not hesitate to tell the truth. This will only happen when there is a bond of trust. Parents do not jump to conclusions and listen to the child and respect his views. Avoid admonishing the child publicly. But a mistake should always be pointed out and corrective measures taken. Also remember not to remind a child time and again of mistake he / she had done.

Today’s kids are well aware of the environment and the happenings. They will always have lots of questions. Ans the questions honestly. Do not ever try to enforce your will on the kids. It may work for some time but sooner than later it will push the kid away from the parents.

Life is not just studies and competitions. Encourage the child to develop a hobby. This will help them grow and also help them to keep away from TV and internet.

Ensure that all meals are had together. If not all at least the dinner and that to in dining hall. No TV or other distractions. Having meals together is the best way of spending quality time together. Do not discuss studies at the dining table.

Be polite and if need be firm in dealing with kids . Avoid shouting and abusing. Parents quarreling in front of kids is a Big No. Kids learn from every action of parents. Anything they observe become part of their behaviour pattern.

Assist the kids with their school work . Just employing a tutor is not enough. Your kid requires you. Guide them in whatever you can.

As the kids grow up into teenagers develop friendship with them . Friends never hide anything from each other and do not hesitate to discuss the worst of the situation they are in.

Aim to empower the child, Do not make him dependent on anyone or anything.

Remember to give kids quality time, guide them , teach them , play with them…..Be a friend. Parents and kids both will be happy.