Let leadership skills be not defined by gender

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern’s leadership skills and handling of the situation are being applauded post the mosque attack, I have been reading statements like, “That’s the reason all countries should be run by women leaders.”
 
Jacinda Ardern is not the first woman leader. There have been many women head of states and ministers before her and still are there. But I am sure not all of them have handled the situations with Jacinda Ardern’s skills. So, let’s simply put it as “The world should have more leaders like Jacinda Ardern”, irrespective of the gender.
 
PS: Had all women been so compassionate, there would have been no saas-bahu issues and so many unhappy women around (not generalizing!).

The Instagram Mommy

At last Roma was satisfied with that perfect click.  She used various filters to beautify the photo and then uploaded it on her Instagram story.  She was eagerly awaiting the likes and comments.  She kept on checking her phone and within 10 minutes she got 50 likes and 10 comments.  “Not many comments and likes”, she was disappointed.  It was such a nice click, wonder why so less likes and comments.

Little Diya was getting cranky.  She was all of 10 months and was wearing that beautiful frilly pink frock that her mom got from the kids apparel brand for which she was paid to write.  She was her mom Roma’s favourite muse.  Since the time Roma became pregnant with Diya, she started documenting each and every phase of her pregnancy on her blog and later started posting Instagram stories.  Soon, she had many followers on her blog website and Instagram.  What started as penning down her pregnancy journey and killing her free time, since she had left her job following a complicated pregnancy, soon made her a popular blogger and Instagram star.

Soon, she started making money as various baby brands, cereal brands, apparel brands started approaching her.  Her passion had made her richer not just by followers but monetarily too.

She had become so addicted to updating her life that even five minutes prior to being wheeled to the operation theatre she was live updating every detail of her delivery!

Her bundle of joy, her daughter Diya, arrived and Roma was over the moon.  She held her little princess close to her, gave her a kiss on her forehead, and called out for her husband Ravi.  Ravi wanted to savour that moment with the two beautiful girls of his life, but Roma said, “Ravi please get my mobile.  I just want to capture this moment and send it out to my followers.  They must be impatiently waiting for my baby details.”  Ravi became upset but didn’t want to show this to his wife who was so happy.  Roma despite the C-section stitches and the overall weakness was excited to post the most memorable moment of her life.  No sooner did she post her photo, she started getting hundreds of likes and comments.  She felt like a star again.

Every top baby brand now approached her for endorsement, Insta stories, blogs.  Now with her baby being her muse, Roma wanted to churn out as many stories as she could, wanted more and more brands to approach her.  It was kind of becoming like an obsession for her.

Earlier that day she saw two new mom bloggers who had more likes and comments on their Instagram stories than her.  Roma felt extremely upset and insecure.  She was literally sulking.  Ravi came home from the office and saw his wife upset.  He went near her, gave her a hug, and asked, “What’s the matter darling?  You look very upset.”  Roma burst out into tears and said, “You know Ravi, it seems I have become very complacent after Diya’s birth.  I am no more the Number 1 Mommy Blogger.  I was so sure that I will win the Best Young Mommy Blogger award this year, but two new bloggers are threatening my position.  I need to buck up, work harder.  Diya doesn’t cooperate always for the photos.  What do I do to maintain my position?”

Ravi tried to pacify her, “Look dear, there are bound to be many more mom bloggers like you who are equally talented, active, and popular.  You have your own position, you are unique just like everyone else.  Don’t compare or compete.  Just relax and enjoy your motherhood.  Diya is just a baby, don’t expect her to be cheerful and cooperative all the time!”  Roma became angry and blurted out, “Ravi it seems you don’t want me to be the Number 1 blogger.  You don’t love me like before.”  Ravi realized that it was no of use trying to tell Roma anything now.

Roma had sleepless nights now.  In the nights whenever she would be feeding her 6-month-old Diya, she would constantly think of ideas to usurp her contenders and ways to create new and better content.  She decided to present Diya’s day-to-day activities in various interesting forms.  It would be a sure shot hit.

Once again with all the zeal she started photographing Diya in various poses, cute dresses, carefully displaying the product she was writing about or endorsing.  She would be very particular about the lighting, sometimes waking up Diya to catch the early morning light on her balcony, sometimes waiting to get that perfect shot while little Diya would get cranky because of being sleepy.  Sometimes she would make Diya wear headbands, flowers, make her sit or sleep in a certain position and keep on repeating it till Diya started wailing loudly.

Ravi had many times asked Roma to slow down, to let Diya enjoy her infancy and childhood, and take pictures of her for their memories and not for Instagram stories, but Roma would simply ignore him.  Roma loved the fact that now she had innumerable followers, fans.  She would daily get mails and messages asking her for tips for that “perfect” way to raise a child like she did, how she managed to raise a child who never became cranky, how she managed to look so good despite being a new mom, etc., etc.  More and more brands were approaching her due to her rising popularity.

One winter morning, just days before Diya’s first birthday, Roma had decided to capture Diya’s “spontaneous” candid moment in the balcony.  There was a chill in the air that day.  Roma started waking up Diya at around 7 am.  Diya became extremely cranky and started wailing loudly.  Roma tried her best to pacify her, but Diya became crankier.  Roma got annoyed and yelled at Diya, “Why don’t you cooperate?  Don’t you understand I have to give the baby brand this photo and writeup today?  What’s wrong with you?”  Soon Ravi came and held Diya in his arms and started consoling her.  For the first time, Ravi lost his cool on Roma.  He angrily said, “To hell with your Insta stories and your “picture-perfect” motherhood.  Is your brand or your story more important than your child?  Instead of comforting her you are yelling at her.  She has simply become a muse for you.  You have forgotten to enjoy her moments without bothering about your popularity, story, photos, awards.  Its good to be popular, okay to post your stories, but for once let the child be!  You have become obsessed with all this.  For once just be a regular mommy and not the Instagram Mommy.  Do you even remember the last time you played with Diya or had moments with Diya without bothering about your stories or photos?” Ravi stomped out of the room with Diya in his arms.

Roma sat stunned for a while.  Ravi’s words echoed in her head.  He was right.  She didn’t remember the last time she had played with Diya, fed Diya, talked to Diya without bothering about her photos and stories.  She had lost the spontaneity as a mother.  She hadn’t bothered to check whether Diya was cranky, uncomfortable, hungry, sleepy and had only concentrated on taking the “perfect” pictures.

She decided to take a break from being an Instagram Mommy and concentrate more on enjoying her daughter’s childhood.  Of course, she would click a lot of pictures but only for her family album.  She would post pictures on social networking sites and write blogs too but only those which would be spontaneous and straight from the heart.  If the followers and brands understood this approach, she was fine with it, else it didn’t matter to her anymore.

She went in the adjoining room and saw Ravi playing with Diya with Diya sitting on his chest and giggling and laughing.  Roma had tears in her eyes and smile on her lips.  She went and joined them.  Her mobile was all alone in the other room.

 

 

Strong role model

My mother never went out and earned. I won’t call her non-working because managing a home is a lot of work. But she was very strong and raised 3 children without any support, managed household chores and outside work while my father was posted in far away mines. She raised me and my 2 siblings to be extremely hard working, sincere, and with good values. She still is very active and takes care of everything. She has been a strong role model in my life.
 
Why am I saying this? Because some woman asked another woman to give an example of financially independent women as a strong role model. Earning gives financial independence, no doubt, but that doesn’t equate with being a strong role model. My respect for my mother would have been the same had she been earning.
 
Any woman/mother can be a strong role model. Let’s not equate money with everything.
 
PS: I have and will never get into this working versus stay-at-home mom debate as I know that every woman is strong, working hard, and fighting her own battles.

Ads are easier, life is not

Of late watching a lot of ads emphasizing the fact that how we shouldn’t pressurize our children in academics or choice of career. These ads are going viral and becoming popular with people concurring with the ads and liking it. Great!
 
But the real change will come when the parents or people just don’t agree with the ads but agree to follow them too in real life too! Its difficult given our education system and emphasis of marks during admission in colleges. There’s cut-throat savage competition out there and the real test will be when parents support the unconventional career choices of their children, when they support them on days when they haven’t scored well or accept their caliber.
 
Its very easy to make ads, but real life is not so easy. Making an ad viral is easy, supporting choices for many parents is still not. Emphasizing that marks are not everything is easy, admission in colleges is not. Unfortunately, we still reside in a society where marks and usual career choices measure the intelligence.

Mumbai Local/Circle of Life

#Mumbailocallife
#lifecomestoafullcircle
 
I came to Mumbai after my marriage in Feb 2002 and started working in an office in Andheri from April 2002 and that was my first tryst of traveling by Mumbai local. After living a sheltered life in Baroda where traveling wasn’t a hassle at all, I had to get accustomed to the huge crowd and the life of Mumbai local. Getting down at Andheri station was a nightmare and so was getting in at the peak office hours. I conceived my son in April itself and because of no health issues I continued working. My son in my womb and me would travel from Borivali to Andheri and back daily. I would talk to him, try to protect him from the crowd and the “dhakka-dhakki” and feel scared that he shouldn’t get hurt. I stopped working in my seventh month as I could no longer take the risk of traveling by local in my advanced pregnancy.
 
Present day I rarely travel by local train. But when I do my son, who now daily travels by local train from Borivali to Churchgate, guides me as to from which platform to catch fast train/slow train and be careful while traveling.
 
Life indeed comes to a full circle. The son with whom I traveled in the Mumbai locals when he was in my womb and protected him now guides me and protects me.

Soch badlo–Be the change

#sochbadlo
 
When Isha Ambani got married and now when Akash Ambani got married, women in different groups had the same question, “Will both the new bahus meet their mother-in-law’s expectations? Will they wake up in the morning and make tea?”
 
I want to ask all this women, “Would you all also expect the same from your daughter-in-law?” A qualified girl who is at par with your son will be judged by meeting your expectations and serving tea? Why o why women have to do this to their own tribe? Women in India lament “Nothing is going to change”, but with this mindset nothing will change.
 
No, I swear I don’t have any such tea-making, saree-clad bahu expectations from my DIL because I was not and I am not that kind. My daughter will value new relations but not at the expense of meeting “societal expectations” of waking up early or making tea or three meals a day. Be it a girl or a boy, both need to respect and love their new families.
 
Just welcome the girl with open arms..

Different shades of the Capricorn Girl

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Chapter 1:  Another daughter is born.  I was the second daughter of my parents and while my parents were happy the people around them lamented the fact that “another daughter was born.”

Chapter 2:  The chubby stubborn toddler.  As my mom says, I was a very chubby and a very stubborn child.  I would bang my head on the wall if I didn’t like my dress!

Chapter 3:  That studious girl.  I was a very good student and a very sincere one too.  Had dreams of becoming a doctor.

Chapter 4:  Singer in the making.  In my school and other singing competitions, I always used to come first in the singing competitions.  I would have made a good career as a singer.

Chapter 5:  Turbulent teenage years of an introvert girl.  I had a very tough time during teenage thanks to body image issues and shifting to new schools and adjusting to new environment.  For a introverted girl like me it was difficult.

Chapter 6:  Finding independence.  I bloomed once I started working and interacting with people better.

Chapter 7:  Man of my dreams.  Got married to a simple, awesome man in an arranged marriage setup.  One of the best decisions of my life was to say YES to him.  Life has been great with him.

Chapter 8:  Small town girl in the City of Dreams.  From a small town, I came to Mumbai as a new bride and began a new chapter of my life.  This city had a huge impact in shaping me up and giving me confidence and recognition.

Chapter 9:  They Young Mommy.  I became a wife and a mother both at the age of 25.  One of the best chapters of my life.

Chapter 10:  Balancing Act.  I started working from home so that I could take care of my child.  Trust me, working from home is tough and that too with a baby.  But somehow I sailed through.

Chapter 11:  Mommyhood returns.  Had my second child when my first one was almost 5.  Now life revolved around these 2 little people.

Chapter 12:  A writer is born.  I started sharing my motherhood experiences in various mom forums and that’s where I began to write and blog seriously.  I had found my true passion.

Chapter 13:  Fighting another battle.  At the age of 35, I got diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, which has no cure.  Instead of crying and sulking, I decided to be positive and live with it bravely.

Chapter 14:  Handling a teen and a preteen.  Trust me, handling a teen and preteen is challenging yet fun!  Nothing beats the feeling of looking at your children growing up to be good and confident humans.

Chapter 15:  Ageing gracefully.  Now I have learnt to forgive and forget better, learnt to let go, learnt to not get affected by everything, and learnt to give a damn too!

Chapter 16:  Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost.  Still lots to learn, lots to do, a lot on my wishlist.