Black and White

Isn’t it incredible that Indians are such racists? Well, maybe not so unbelievable since an entire country was convinced  that they are inferior just because of their skin color and were conquered for so long by the British .

And still there is a LOT that needs to change even now. I find it absolutely infuriating when I hear comments from our generation’s educated people about each other’s skin colour. And I find it especially painful when I see kids making fun of each other’s colors. While I was in Gurgaon, I overheard a 10 or 11 year old boy persistently bugging a slightly duskier girl (who was an American Citizen) about how come she is so dark when she is from the US. “Are you sure you are American? You look like an African..Hahaha “. The girl just rolled her eyes and said “You are such a racist!”. I mean, forget the fact that this boy has no clue about the hundred other ethnicities present in the US, but he was making fun of his friend because of her color. Ugh. The “credit” goes completely to the shallow parents who have shown this young boy that people are defined by their color and not any other “deeper” aspect. Children on their own will never pass judgement on anyone. They accept everyone equally with big hearts. The comments they hear at home mould them to be the kind of person they are.

I have seen that the north and south of India are equally color obsessed. While they look at a fair person in the south like some angel descended from heaven, the dark person in north is looked down upon  – “Why are you roaming around in the sun? Madrasi jaise lagoge”. Tamil movie industry is full of women from the north of India solely because of their skin color! There was a neighbour when we were in Haryana who was very “sympathetic” towards me because apparently my new born baby was dark. How can you judge a new born baby? India is strange – for a country with majority of the population with dark skin, people openly stare in awe at the white-skinned foreigners and openly heckle those with dark skin. Isn’t it pathetic that there have been so many cases of racist attacks of African students by Indians? What are we teaching our kids?

My own mother was brought up in a household where she was constantly taunted for being so dark esp since my grandmother was “fair”. She grew up using tubes and tubes of “Fair and Lovely” and still uses them religiously! And the constant criticism she faced makes her notice the “color” of a person before she looks at anything else. I have grown up hearing her describing people as “fair” or “dark”. Maybe that is why I am doubly sensitive about this topic !

6777511-black-and-white-wallpaper

It really irks me when anyone brings up color in their conversation. People feeling sorry for themselves because they are dark..People feeling proud of their “white” skin. What is in a color?? and What have you done to get your skin color ? It is something you are born with. How does that define you or change who you are as a person? And why give so much importance to it. Do you feel inferior if your nose has spots on it? Do you feel superior if your eyes have long lashes? Do you feel bad about your ears being pointy? Do you judge someone for having short nails? Then why the obsession with color and fairness creams and whitening lotions!

It is not easy to rise up above biases and even harder to bring up your child to be accepting of all. It has to be a conscious decision on your part to not comment on someone’s color / weight etc especially in front of your children. When you point out a dark lady and say “She is so black that you cant see her in the dark..Hahaha”  or when you point at some fair lady saying ” Wow look how fair that lady is! I wish I had that complexion”, you are saying that their color is of utmost importance and that being dark won’t cut it. There has to be a shift in the way you describe people. Once you control your temptation to make fun of others, you can see a visible change in how your child behaves with people of all colors and sizes. Because if your kids become  racists, it will be your fault.

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my 2013 Blog in review

 

I am hoping that posting SOMETHING will magically erase the bloggers block that I have going..They say the only way from the bottom is up…so Herez to a better 2014!!

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Love Marriage Vs the other boring kind

So I see that the debate continues. The promos on SONY tv for their new show Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage  (http://www.facebook.com/LoveYaArrange) got me slightly rattled since arranged marriage seems to have gotten  the upper hand. The “arranged marriage” girl has the respect for her parents. She has the statistics to prove that love marriage is a farce.  Aarghhh..Let’s get it straight and not go into stereotypes. Its not true that the “love marriage” kinds don’t care for their parents and that the arranged marriage kinds are the respectful proper mummyji pappa-ji kinds.

Let me begin my “rebuttal”. I had a love marriage, the North-meets-South types, and yet my parents were happy about the match that I found. In fact, when I asked my mom if she felt bad that I selected my husband myself, she said “No. I am actually glad that you did. We were dreading the process of finding the “right” guy for you”. So if you are mature, think through about it and the families consent, then love marriages are the way to go. No disrespect meant to anyone. It just happened.

Another point that my humble opponent raised was that you know everything about the person you get married to with no surprises left. Trust me, even after 8 years of going out, getting married and living together was an entirely different package(and good ofcourse :D).  I do agree that arranged marriages have the nice “discover your partner” feel initially.. All those firsts, those new feelings, those palpitating hearts which the love marriage couple have already been through. But not to worry, there will be many exciting firsts for them too . After the initial honeymoon phase is over, the arranged marriages and love marriages look very very very similar.

And coming to divorce statistics, in most cases people in bad arranged marriages suffer because they think the families will be hurt, while people in love marriages have the courage to reverse their own decision. So booo to that!

The only “good” point about arranged marriages that I see is how both the families get along fabulously. (There are plenty of exceptions on this too I bet). But then in these days of nuclear families, how often does everyone in both families meet?  The immediate ones, in any case have adjusted to you and to your immediate family…the only barrier I see is the language one ..remove that and both parties will be partying together everyday !haha

That thing which annoyed me and my bold move

As I mentioned in the last post I ended up with an interview for an IT services company in a role which I really liked , after applying for it on LinkedIn. I had 1 telephonic HR interview which I thought went decent and 1 line interview which I thought went really well. Especially since the guy on the other line said they liked me and wanted me to work with them and asked me about salary expectations and all that.  I also had a face-to-face line interview which again went really well (according to me) . Although they said they’ll offer me contractual employment since I had no experience whatsoever.  I was okay with that since I am supremely confident that I’ll be able to impress one and all with my skills in a short period of time. ..lol..okay Who am I kidding!?  But point being I was okay with it. He said the HR person will call me to draft the contract and other terms et al.  I almost jumped in joy (once he left ofcourse) that finally I am getting something that I wanted. The role I liked, the industry not as much but it was a good start.

So one week passes by after the interview and nothing from their side. The second week, I decide to write a mail to the HR asking for a time to talk. She replies the next day saying that she’ll call me the next day. I wait and wait for that call which never comes. I am pretty bugged by this time so by the end of that week I decide to make the call myself to find out what’s happening.  But everytime I called she was out! I called for 6 days in a row atleast 3 times a day and not once was she in her office.  Even if she was out, she could have informed me that the call has been postponed or anything of that sort. I almost got the feeling that she was deliberately avoiding my calls. Or maybe I’m paranoid, but 6 days in a row how can she be out? So I got terribly peeved! I hate it when companies don’t respond. The least they owe you is an explanation of any kind. I don’t mind being said a no to but being in limbo is the worst. This time around I decided I will not take the shit and wrote a bold and scathing mail to them saying that I am hugely disappointed with the experience and did not like the way they treated me and I’d much rather not work in such an unprofessional setting. Ahem..

I knew that it wasn’t going to get me anywhere but somewhere I was half expecting a mail back saying “Waah Charulatha. You are the change agent that our organization has always needed. Because of your honesty, we are willing to hire you right away..Sign on the dotted line NOW!” .Sigh..sadly my first instinct proved right and I did not get a response to even that. Maybe some organizations don’t like to be told that they were “unprofessional”. Or Maybe the HR female was actually out of station for 10 days and did not have mail access and Maybe the other interviewer also went MIA online for some reason. Hmm..in which case I’ll probably write one more mail saying “About the last mail, that wasn’t me ..My computer got hacked and I don’t know how that mail got sent!!” ..lol..

So What Works

Obviously it is not me! Booo for that! And am back with one of my wallowing-in-self-pity-about-my-unemployment type of entries ..

Anyways this is more a post about the different ways I’ve approached job-hunting. And after 2.5 months of exhausting all the television series – both online and realtime on tv , I actually feel the need to go out there and get a job..So yayy for thinking constructively atleast. So this job thing is proving to be more elusive than Osama Bin Laden.

I started off looking for a job quite leisurely, mailing 1 alum per day asking about openings. I did get more than a couple of responses and some which actually took me through to the interview stage. Actually make that 1 interview.  Having done that I decided to try bombarding Naukri.com and MonsterIndia.com with my job applications. I still do that pretty faithfully infact. Naukri regularly sends me shortlists from C++ companies who want me to do only C++. After 20 lakhs and 1 year of ISB I cannot bring myself to do that! I also get listings for being a french translator, receptionist etc etc which I am currently not looking for really 🙂 . Monster is slightly better off, atleast the consultants who shortlist me there don’t want me to code.  But it is crazy how even after applying to a minimum of 7 jobs per day, I still haven’t had a single interview through these job sites. I thought it had something to do with my mentioned current salary (which was my last drawn salary) since everytime I’d apply I’d notice that 400 applicants have lesser CTC and have more experience. So I went ahead and put my current salary as 0 lakhs per annum (since I am currently unemployed, this is true !!) Still no luck..sigh..I am really curious about the kind of people who do get jobs from India’s largest placement portalss..very curious..

Next I tried getting my hands on lists of consultants in Mumbai. I had always thought once my resume hits Naukri and Monster, consultants will be calling me day in and day out..Ahem but it was not to be so..It’s almost the other way around. I tried calling a few consultants, some of whom got intimidated when I mentioned my last drawn CTC..So I stopped mentioning it once in for all. I even lie about it now ! But even after that consultants don’t call me back ever..It’s like my resume has untouchable written all over it or something. Even now I think that my resume doesn’t look all that bad. Hell, even I get impressed looking at all I’ve done ;)..I must have mailed around 30 consultants and called some 20 consultants. Only one  responded to my SOS and got me an interview.

Next I decided to hit LinkedIn jobs. I  never knew LinkedIn was so awesome until I started spending so much time on it. On an off-track, One thing I really like about LinkedIn is that whenever you view a company website, you can actually see “career” paths of employees. As in which companies they’ve come from and where they went next sorta thing. Very cool..Anyhow so LinkedIn Jobs proved to be the most effective so far. I applied to 2 and got an interview on my 2nd application. Ofcourse the story with that interview is another tragedy. Will write about that in my next post!! 🙂

After that a friend of mine suggested I just make a list of companies to target and then find the head of the department that I want to apply to on LinkedIn and message him/her. This was a good suggestion although you had to be connected to most to directly send messages. Anyhow I managed to bag an interview with this method. BTW that interview took the grand total of all the interviews I’ve given to three. 3 ..munru..teen..in three months!! Ugh..So 3 is definitely not my lucky number — maybe 4 is :D..Thinking back to the last interview and after an awesome pep talk by Jaggi and Sweta I don’t think I should have taken the shit the interviewer gave me for not knowing “web analytics” and “web technology”.  I tend to become meek if I feel the interviewer has an upper hand. Plus they should mentioned in advance there will be a written test.  I read about all that web stuff for 2 hours today and I could have actually cracked that stupid test. What was the point of the test if I could do that in 2 hours? All these things which you can learn on the job shouldn’t come in the way of giving someone employment. What about the interest to learn?? Grrr..
So yeah, right now I’m continuing all the above tactics.  I am also looking at internships because frankly 3 months is a long time and I don’t want it to be a completely unproductive unbelievably long “vacation”.  And incredibly, I want exposure and I really want to learn ..and I really don’t care too much for high CTCs.

Any other ideas for catching a break?? (Not literally since I am on a break already, but you know..get a job kinda thing!?)

Any good news?

Two years into marital bliss and  one question which follows us around consistently – “Any good news?” Aargghh. It is a constant lecture that you have to listen to wherever you go from whomsoever is present about the importance of a family and why is it that you haven’t started one. (Ofcourse like-minded friends don’t ask these questions because they are in all probability going through the same thing!) Before I got married, the one question which stalked me at all times was “When are you getting married?”..especially since I had been going out with Atul for a long time and somehow every relative – near and distant and their near and distant ones – knew about it!  And much to my surprise, the next stage of questioning began almost immediately after my honeymoon like the only reason we would go for one was to propagate our progeny! 🙂

Okay so I’m not really the devil woman who can’t stand kids..I am in all agreement that there should be a kid to entertain us at home, but in due course of time. I feel I’m too young (mentally and emotionally not chronologically ;)) to handle all that responsibility. I feel I’m just getting started with the fun part of my life.  There should be atleast 5 years of that right??? 😀 I don’t mean to sound selfish but what about all the impromptu movies we go to or the sudden dinner plans that we have. What about those long poker nights and the entire days of mindless television watching?  and days that I can get off without entering the kitchen even for a minute??? Sighh..Okay yes fine I am a selfish “witch” (On a side track..Have you noticed how the word bitch gets converted to “witch” on the subtitle tracks on all english movies on tv? And asshole becomes jerk..and shit becomes crap..lol..Okay now back to my egocentric monologue)..Don’t I need to “grow up” first to raise children ? What about finances and all of that which the kid will usurp? Okay am not really serious about the finances part..Not anymore atleast. When I told this to my mom she came up with one more of her famed tamil sayings – When a spoonful of sugar is added to a glass full of milk, the glass doesn’t overflow..Waah Waah..But what if it is not a spoonful of sugar and something else which will make the glass overflow??? Harrr harr..Now I am rambling! (That reminds me of the other jewel she gave me long long back – When cotton and fire are in the same room, it is bound to catch fire! ) I am impressed with how spontaneously my mom comes up with meaningful sayings. Anyhow, so yeah I do want a family and stuff but I want to be ready for it..Or maybe I’ll never be ready and when it happens I’ll just be ready. I don’t know..Some babies are cute and playable but some are sorta annoying and they aren’t toilet trained..Hmmmm..On the other hand, if my parents had thought so much about this whole thing, I might not be writing this blog entry right now so maybe I shouldn’t over-analyse this..Okay apologies for treating this blog like a madwoman’s Dear Diary entry..lol..sometimes you need to rant and rave and crib and whine.

So in summary I don’t know if it is a trend or I just happen to make friends with people who think like me but almost all my gal pals are terrified of the whole becoming a mother thing too. So I am not the only insensitive selfish being on earth..And also surprisingly most of their husbands (including mine) claim that they are all ready to become a father..Weird turn of events huh?

Learning To Drive

Okay so I am terrified of traffic and driving in traffic (for me even a cycle in front of me constitutes as traffic ! :)) .  It has been 5 years since I took driving lessons and got a valid license. Although I passed an actual test – both written and practical, to get my license I have had zero practice driving in “real” traffic on “real” roads since then. So anyhow Atul had been persuading me to try my hand at driving and I would always come up with all sorts of excuses –  it’s too dark, the road is too crooked, there are pedestrians on the road, it’s a weekday, I’m not mentally prepared yet etc to postpone it indefinitely..But then I suddenly thought that it is time to take the plunge.

So I don’t really  know why I have this phobia towards driving. Maybe because firstly it involves like a million things to do at once..I just hate that..change gear, press  clutch, take your foot off the accelerator, look at the mirror, hold the steering wheel blah blaaa..all at once! It’s just too much to take for me..And Secondly, I have some serious trust issues on the road. I always feel , even if I am just a passenger in a car, that everyone around me is a random maniac who will do crazy things with their vehicle anytime. I cannot bring myself to trust indicators or  even vehicles going straight. I expect them to suddenly veer to the left or right or anywhere but straight obstructing my path. Maybe I’ve seen too many car action movies where villains are waiting to overturn your car :)..I half expect cars with the right indicator to go left and vice versa or trucks which will move sideways because the driver slept off on the steering wheel..you get the picture don’t you?

That would be ME while driving

Anyways I did try driving once in Mumbai outside my apartments  – straight road, absolutely no turns..no traffic..no people around and it worked just fine. I was beginning to think that things weren’t SOO bad. But then we went to Kurukshetra and Atul made me drive on a “real” road with turns and I was sweating my heart out with all the tension inspite of there being minimal traffic. And it was also there that I realised ..things were bad..and my driving pretty much sucks and seems irreparable.  So anways I drove straight on the road, turned a couple of times, not very uneventfully ofcourse – almost banged into a pavement, stopped the car abruptly right in between the turn and did a right turn just to avoid manoeuvering a U-turn!   Phew..Who knew turns are way more difficult than straight driving..It feels like an explosion of odd jobs to do all at once – Press Clutch..change gear ..brake.. stop for a while..look for cars..look at mirror..change gear..press accelerator..move the steering wheel..breathe..Brrr..Gives me the shivers although I’ve considered myself a multi-tasker. I really wonder how people talk while driving or hold cellphones or eat or do anything other than focussing completely on doing all those “driving” tactics. Anyhow Atul wanted me to practise a few more turns but I had had enough of practice – driving really unnerves me..My heart was already beating too fast for comfort. He cajoled and coaxed but then I put my foot down (literally! On the brake..) Stopped the car  forcefully refusing to drive another inch. I was literally screaming out begging “Noo..Nooo..I can’t..Nahin..No..Please “.. Atul called me a nautanki (Drama Queen i.e!)  and took the driver’s seat..Thank god!

I really don’t know when this mental block will vanish.Why can’t they just make cars with two sets of accelerators and brakes so that I have 2 less things to worry about? Or maybe an automatic car is the answer to my prayers? I don’t know but I just wish this Sooper driving Phobia miraculously vanishes…and sigh.. Atul has never asked me to try my hand at driving again!