I was in Mysore for more than 20 years and then came that excruciating call of growing up- 'what next?' Moved out for MBA. The stretch of road traveled for the new destination was 760 kms- Hyderabad. The idea of “home away from home” has always made me laugh at its ridiculousness. Moreover, wasn't the city home to more than 7.4 million people already by the time I was to arrive in the year 2012? Frankly, I was not quite comfortable with the beckoning of a new place. Calling it a home was nowhere in my list. But when you are twenty-something, career triumphs over all other priorities. They say, it got to. So I had to follow where life took me next. But who had thought that 700 days and I will be made to re-think- which is home? Hyderabad started growing in me- so easily.
With two years been well spent here, now I feel the constant necessity to look back. To repeat and repeat, over and over again- Hyderabad, how beautiful you have been to me! Here's magic- resplendent. Every city whispers of stories- told, untold. Stories- muzzled, puzzled, bloated, shrunk and old.
Twin cities (Hyderabad & Secunderabad) are what make Hyderabad different from the rest of them. The city resembles like two sides of a coin. The Secunderabad depicts the historic culture, old monuments & buildings under the patronage of Nizams. On the other side, Hyderabad is quite like the other metro cities. Often called the Cyberabad- once known as “City of pearls” has transformed into the country's one of the leading IT hubs. But somehow the city and its dwellers have managed to keep the richness of the culture quite intact- in all its splendor and grandeur.
Oh the Charminar and Laad Bazaar- early morning cup of Iraani chai and Hussain Sagar as the sun sets in the sky! Among other places to visit- Golconda Fort far away in the top of the hill, the Falaknama Palace, Hussain Sagar lake in the middle of the old city, the magnificent Chowmahalla Palace, meandering lanes and history-laden streets. Elderly women in silk sarees, salwaar kameez with khada dupattas, smiling affectionately and Hyderabadi men are always ready for hearty conversations and tete-a-tete over a cup of tea. The Hyderabadi youngsters are equally welcoming. In the initial days, I used to feel baffled by the South Indian head waggles but then I gradually realized that the Hindi spoken here is absolutely adorable. You haven't heard that sort if you haven't been to Hyderabad ever. Hyderabadi Hindi sounds more complicated and interesting from any other form of Hindi spoken throughout the country.
The food? Well, the more is said, the less it is. From Paneer Dosa to Hyderabadi Biryani, Mozamjahi market's Karachi Bakery, the delicious Haleem of the city, Mirchi Ka Salan, Secunderabad's Paradise's Faluda and all the street-food and delicacies… this city's cuisine is world apart. Having tasted biryani in more than a dozen of famous restaurants over the last two years, I am yet to conclude which one is the best. When in Hyderabad, eat as the Hyderabadis eat. Bet, you will not regret the decision.
This Hyderabad has been there in my highs and in my lows. Every rising sun has brought me promises of new beginnings. Every setting sun has given me hope for a better tomorrow. The city with all its enchantment has been there to whisper to me that everything is just as beautiful as it can be- gifting me friends, surprises, memories and a lot of photographs which will stay picture-perfect for the rest life. This city is where home can be.
In 2010, US-based Centre For Work-Life Policy published a report that found that 15% of women working at executive level or above had admitted to having sex with their boss. Unsurprisingly, 37% of workers surveyed were of the opinion that by sleeping with their boss, women improved their career prospects.
Office affairs have always been around, but in the past decade or so, it appears that they have become ubiquitous. Experts are of the opinion that as the number of women entering the workforce has increased, office affairs are becoming commonplace.
Naivety or Power Acquisition?
Sociologists list out different reasons why a percentage of women sleep around with their bosses, and it is not about promotions all the time. Young women, who are taking their baby steps in their careers, might sometimes make the decision of having an affair with their bosses out of sheer naivety. However, a lot of women are aware of what they are getting into. In today's fiercely competitive corporate world, it sometimes becomes easier to survive if you have the back of your boss. Sugar daddy dating is no longer limited to rich businessmen and young college girls. This is probably the reason why a lot of women are not too perturbed when asked whether they would consider the option of sleeping their way to the top.
The Other Side of the Coin
There are a number of working professionals who believe that sex plays a far too important role in deciding promotions, appraisals, and plum assignments. These perceptions can prove detrimental to the office environment. The story of office dalliances isn't always rosy; lawsuits and out-of-court settlements become the way out after an office affair goes wrong.
The Question of Morality
When the subject of women sleeping with their bosses is brought up, a lot of perspectives come up. Some women believe that the corporate world is heavily-biased and a certain level of glass ceiling exists for women. They opine that as the unwritten rules of corporate workplaces are against the women, men shouldn't cringe about some women using their bodies to advance their careers. They believe that questions of morality should not be asked only to women as there is no level playing field in the corporate world.
Another perspective on this hotly-debated topic revolves around the good ol' feelings of love and intimacy. If a young woman knows about the marital status of her boss, or for that matter, his age, and still goes ahead and agrees to be in a relationship with him because she truly loves him, nobody should have a problem with that. Stereotyping every relationship between a young woman and her older boss is certainly not justified.
So whether you are a supporter, opponent, or somebody who's content by sitting on the fence, office affairs are a reality of the current times.
Malls are emblematic of our consumerist culture. They live or die with the economy.
Dubai international airport reported that in 2013, passenger traffic was 66 million, an increase of 15 per cent over the previous year.
I know where they all went: to the Dubai Mall, which saw 75 million visitors that year, again a 15 per cent increase over the previous year.
It seemed to me, when I was visiting, that all of them were there at one time in that place. But then, the airport can itself be easily mistaken for a mall.
The popular phrase, “if you build it, they will come” is proven at the Dubai mall. It not only houses over 1,200 retail outlets of every kind, but also an aquarium, an ice rink and movie theaters. There is a skywalk that connects the mall to the nearby metro station, with convenient moving walk-ways.
Of course, as you walk along the skywalk, you also get to see the imposing Burj Khalifa, the 160-storey building alongside, which means that another item can be checked off the tourist's 'must see' list.
Over 40 per cent of visitors to the mall are estimated to be tourists, that is, they come to see the mall as a sight-seeing spot. Of course, this does not mean they don't intend to shop once they are there.
The Dubai Mall has places allocated for prayer, but one wonders if the mall itself is the prayer house of our times given that we worship consumerism.
Economies are down because demand needs to be stimulated. Money is not the problem for you can get credit for the flimsiest of reasons. If you are not carrying a credit card, chain stores in US malls issue a store credit card which will entitle you to an additional 10 per cent discount.
Anything, as long as you buy.
The mall culture is the epitome of the consumerism that drives our economies. With convenient parking and often good access to public transport, malls are no longer just places to shop in but tourist destinations in themselves. It is the same pitch casino companies provide when seeking permission from towns in the US — that they are not gambling places but entertainment destinations.
Malls can die as the economy twists and turns. Changing demographics and economic base lead to shops moving out.
Then, lower rents attract a different clientele. One 'dead mall' (as it was locally known) in northeast US became the venue of a mini indoor golf course and paint-ball shooting arena, bringing in youngsters again, looking for a place to spend their time.
Malls have gradually got integrated into our lives beyond the goods they provide.
Many malls in America open an hour or so early to allow the elderly to use their corridors as walking paths in a climate controlled environment. I wonder when malls will start seeking subsidies claiming they are a public resource.
The mall may also be a blessing in other ways.
If you are against the glitz of commercial neon signs on every street in town that is subject to an invasion by a shop, what better way than for a community to banish all shopping to an enclosed building away from residential areas where the weak can drown in their own indulgence. Long live the mall!
This article was originally published in The Hindu, Business Line
We always talk about Mumbai being the country's financial hub and the need for it to be slum-free in order to be a top-class city. But at the same time, the reality is that we've got nearly 52% of the city's population living in slums. In one way or another, outdoors, at homes or in hospitals, this population contributes in a big way to the machinery and economy of Mumbai.
Therefore it's important that we talk about slums in a more humane manner. We often look at them as dirty structures that should be removed, and not as places where human beings live. Obviously, rehabilitation is important. We need to alleviate their poverty and elevate them at least to a class that is higher than their current economic means.
I'm very hopeful about this happening because I see great change in the form of growing aspiration among the people living there. Slum-dwelling children now go to school and colleges, they see successful people on television and other media and want to be like them. It is therefore important that we give them the opportunity to improve their lives.
Somebody once commented that they found it funny that I spend all my MPLADS (Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) money on building toilets at slums. I don't think it's funny for people who use those toilets. In this day and age, for women to still go out in the open to defecate is undignifying. I do provide a lot of my money to improve sanitation among people who don't have it and I will continue to do so.
If we want Mumbai to become a first class city, we need to improve the infrastructure, traffic conditions and also work on rehabilitation of slums.
The constituency I represent in the Parliament is very diverse. It has people who live in slums as well as those who live in apartment buildings. Constantly improving roads, creating footpaths and open spaces, maintenance of the seaside promenades and beautifying them is also important. Recently, we in association with the police installed road CCTV cameras along Bandra, Santacruz and Khar on an experimental basis. Our focus is on providing safety and comfort to people in the highly urban belts as well.
In the last five years, Mumbai has changed in such ways that one can't say anymore that it has been neglected in comparison to New Delhi. At the outset, Mumbai is a little disadvantaged compared to Delhi due to the fact that it is a little island which does not allow much by way of expansion. But projects such as the Bandra-Worli Sealink have eliminated the woes of commuters who previously had only one arterial road to reach South Mumbai. Similarly the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road, which will open in April 2014, will be superb for reducing travel time between the Eastern and Western Express Highways. Then there is also the Milan flyover and the elevated Sahar Road which have eased the way for traffic going to the city's airports. Not to mention the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road, the Monorail and the Metro. Yes, Mumbai still has problems today, but look at where Mumbai was and how far we've come in these 10 years.
There have to be systemic changes in fast-tracking infrastructure projects. It takes forever to get one file shifted from one desk to another and further. Projects in Mumbai do get stalled because we have to deal with structures that need to go to make way, including slums. One has to give them compensation or rehabilitation. Many times people go into litigation and get stay orders against removal of the impeding structure. They don't agree to the package offered by the government. These are the technical hurdles that delay many projects.
But a city cannot improve beyond a point without the cooperation of its people. I always tell people that if they wish to see something improved, they have to come together and I will facilitate anything they need. But they should come up with ideas. This approach has worked wonders in places such as Union Park in Bandra, where the people converted a patch of area that was a complete dump into a Eco Park that uses only solar panels for lighting and implements rainwater harvesting. It has become a boon for the people who live around it. In the same fashion, we had also set up a community radio for Bandra, Khar and Santacruz residents.
People should realise that if we need to bring in change, all of us have to be prepared for it. Once a year, we promote a car-free day on Carter Road where we request people not to bring vehicles. Despite us cordoning off the road from both ends, people still bring their cars and park it right where the barricades are placed, creating huge congestion there.
In Barcelona, there are narrow roads for cars on both sides of a wide footpath meant for walking. It's beautiful to see people cycling, skating and walking on such spaces. But if we were to do that here in Mumbai, the car-owners would throw a fit. We tried constructing a bicycle lane at Bandra Kurla Complex but it didn't work. In no time there were cars parked all over the bicycle tracks. They tried a specialised bus lane in Delhi and it didn't work.
I find that there is a lack of feeling among people about what they are giving to the city. Look at the Times Square in New York City, where no cars are allowed. People sit there on the street and enjoy the sights and the sounds and listen to music. You can only do something like that when people cooperate with it. You can't expect the government to do everything. It's important that people realise that Mumbai is their city too. There has to be a sense of ownership and belonging and only then will the city change.
I don't know what these guards are guarding us from. I see them everywhere. I wonder what they are thinking whole day sitting on that chair looking into empty spaces. They see the whole world pass by at least 24 times in a day. People fight, smile, argue, celebrate in front of them but never really notice them; their presence has become so obvious to everyone.
The most likeable person in every institute/organization is the guard. They might have had a fight with their wives a night before but you would still see them smiling every morning. We don't smile back that's a different thing.
You would see them sitting under open skies on an extreme winter night when they are on a night shift but never care to ask them whether they need anything – a blanket or a cup of tea.
Heists don't happen every day/night, so I don't know how they keep themselves alert and motivated all the time when they know that chances of something untoward happening is very less.
If they ask you for your identity cards every time you enter the office/college premises you shout at them but all they are doing is their duty which is asked of them by their supervisors.
From one shift to another shift, sometimes they end up working 7 days a week without a break. So if you find some guard dozing off during his duty, blame it on the inhuman schedule under which they work.
Outside a jewelry shop there are 2-3 guards sitting and chatting and you wonder these are the people responsible for the security of thousands of crores of worth of money inside the shop. One day a burglary happens and then the first finger is pointed towards the guard that he is involved in the theft. But did you ever appreciate the fact that nothing happened in his tenure as a guard of that place all these years? Now suddenly he is responsible for everything.
The worst part is most of these guards are hired on contract basis and are not even permanent employees of the organization.
It is a thankless job where getting appreciation is too far and between. All you get is abuses of people and peanuts in salary.
A General Male Engineering candidate, from kolkata, a mediocre student, neither bright, nor too bad either..
graduated in 2013.. this year was 2nd attempt in all the exams: IIFT, CAT, SNAP, XAT and lastly MICA.. REJECTED all throughout consistently.. its not that i did not study hard and prepare well.. worked very hard for all of them.. guess i just ran out of luck and blessings..
i have no job, am unemployed.. and plus me and my father dont get along much.. jamta nahi hain zyaada.. just a mamma's boy.. stay back at home and help my mom out in day to day activities.. just a homesick and nostalgic guy..
it all ends today.. i mean all the positivity and hopes of an MBA.. i always dreamt of doing an MBA from a college which had acres of campus, old buildings and all.. good friends/environment/masti/COLLEGE LIFE basically.. coz my previous experience was very very bad... guess all dreams comes to a '.' (fullstop)
have no idea, how am i going to spend or live my life from tomm onwards..
no idea, no plans, no nothing..
(Continued from earlier...)
By this time the good samaritan was annoyed and he would not give him money and i was wondering why did he not call the conductor or what should be done in such a case next in line was me and i was almost sure that he would be coming to me next since the man in front of me was clearly not going to give him anything. Just then the bus stopped at a signal point and to show the man that he the drunk meant business he got down and started walking in the opposite direction to the bus. So i thought there goes another delinquent and God knows what will happen to him immediately i see that another guy who looked just a bit elder to an adolescent kept his bag on the seat and got down to get the man back in the bus now this surprised me since he was sitting right behind me and up till now was just a passive viewer and had shown no interest in whatever was going on. The Bus started and was gaining speed and i thought that this guy will not be able to get into the bus his friend was still clutching the bag of this young guy. So suddenly there is a Car that stops in front of the bus and the bus stopped for a fraction of second and the guy along with the drunk gets in takes him to an empty seat and forces him to sit down and gives him a ten rupee note. Now as comes back and sits behind me i was highly intrigued and curious to know why this selfless act suddenly when he did not appear to be any interested earlier. So he tells me that the Drunk works in a workshop nearby to his own workplace they generally have a common joint where sometimes all of those working in the area gather and eat. He knew that the drunk man had an old mother and no one else he spent his money drinking and his old mother somehow managed the household.The drunk stayed a bit ahead of Kamraj Nagar but the good samaritan along with our young hero stayed at Kamraj Nagar and knew each other they knew where he stayed and thus got the ticket till there. So getting curious i ask our hero that what will happen when he gets down at Kamraj Nagar he may again go anywhere since the drunk was clearly not in his senses. The young man replies that he would go and drop him to his house since more than the drunk he was worried the hassles the old lady would go through if her son did not returned back. So hearing all this i was touched and thought that many a times small acts of kindness that we do goes unpraised and unsung but it is not for the praises that one does this however if someone showed respect to such acts one feels nice so i told our young hero that it was indeed thoughtful of him and good deeds are always rewarded by the almighty. Soon enough our journey and the momentary association came to an end, i saw our good samaritan and the young hero get down taking the drunk with them and the bus moved on.........
PS:: My feeble attempts of writing thought that the new format of 1000 words would be a great and also good enough and Lo and behold found it to be 1200 words well human desires for more cant be satisfied whether its money or words in this case :P :P
Life at my college could not be described as Hectic its just Hectic and Awesome in so many ways. My classmates who make it even better for as an observer of Human Behaviour you would find each and every types and also each and every stereotype being shattered and i love them all for their uniqueness and their diversity of thoughts.( Not naming the college since i don't want to make it sound like a marketing article :P was once given a feedback by laj mam) So my college has improved me made me realise so many things that has compelled me to look at life through many different prism. Well i will philosophise on all of this later on. I have met some of the most talented and really nice people at heart here and also thanks to the college and its fieldwork program i have been able to explore various parts of Mumbai, not just the cool hangout places but the real Mumbai with its everyday trials and tribulations. Whether it is the ride to the fieldwork station in a local train or taking an opposite route in the local train to actually get a less crowded train, travelling a bit more than required but loving each and every part of it. This real Mumbai and the experience that i have got in my last year of stay here can safely be said that had i been in any other Management Institute in mumbai I may not have been able to get it
Well the Reason of writing this note was not to exhort the virtues of my college which people around me are bored to death hearing for they would like me to stop my ranting again and again of how good this place is but to narrate a small incident that i witnessed while coming back from the last day of my fieldwork
Well my fieldwork organisation is in Thane and generally i would take a Train while coming back but that day as it was the last day of fieldwork as the semester is coming to an end was late exchanging numbers and niceties since you don't repeat your fieldwork organisation once you have been there and I have had a very good learning and an overall great treatment from the organisation that i had gone to.
Well to cut a long story short after waiting for 15 minutes i get into a C42 express bus that will take me all the way from Thane to Chembur. Now as I paid the conductor for my Ticket there was a Man who was sitting just in front of me like any other normal passenger everything being usual as it remains during a bus ride. Suddenly I see a man who was sitting in the seats reserved for ladies get up and come towards my direction the bus was not crowded i didn't pay much attention so he suddenly stops right beside the Man who was sitting right in front of me and starts asking him for money.
Now the Man was intoxicated and he was smelling of the country liquor that he had consumed and the other man to whom the drunk was asking money for was just ignoring him. Now i had seen beggars or even drunks in train asking for money but i have never seen such a scene in a bus so it was kind of new for me. The drunk was constantly pestering him to give him twenty rupees for food or at least the bus ticket etc. So our good Samaritan buys him the bus ticket to Kamraj nagar and this fellow goes and sits back. After two minutes he comes back again to the man sitting in front of me and again starts requesting money and even tells him that he will jump from the bus or get down mid way clearly if he doesn't give him twenty rupees.......
This weekend, a family member returned from a vacation to find that her house had been burgled.
Nothing had prepared her for this, though while entering the house she was flummoxed to see all the five locks on the front double-door engaged, instead of the three that she used to fasten as a regular practice. In fact, she hadn't even been carrying the keys to the other two locks. A carpenter had to be called to saw and break open the door. Who had locked the doors beyond what she had before leaving?
It didn't take long to find that out. The house had been rummaged beyond recognition from the inside. It was as if a private indoor tornado had struck and slurped out the innards of all the closets, cabinets, lockers, shelves, the food and beverages in the refrigerator included. Clothes from the bedroom were strewn across in the living room. Empty cola bottles lay on the floor. Not only had there been burglars, they had also lounged around inside and had a little after-party too.
The audacity was disturbing. It was as if someone had wanted to send us a nasty message that they could enter the house, bring it to shambles and end it with a celebration whenever they wanted. Who had this much ill-will against us? Who had we hurt so much for them to avenge it this way? Did they have more acrimony towards us, was more hatred coming?
The police visited, and an audit of the missing items was done. We ran through the list again and again, and to our surprise didn't find much stolen, though a couple of ancient and rather close-to-heart jewellery items had gone. Fortunately, the family did not store much in the house as a habit. For the amount of physical disorder they had brought, the project would have been a bad return on investment for the burglars.
The accusatory finger immediately pointed towards - who else but - the domestic helps. Especially that one who had sinisterly quit four months ago after working for us for twelve years, and hadn't returned her bunch of the house-keys for two months afterward. The one with the drunkard wife-beating husband. Who else would know when the occupants go on vacations? Who else would enter our house by opening three locks and leave while fastening all the five? Who else but a desperate alcoholic would steal booty worth a distress-sale price of barely a couple of lakhs?
The senior family members' ire against her knew no bounds of fury. How could she break our trust, after we paid for nearly all her education and also footed a part of her marriage expenses? Or was it her husband and his drunky-time friends at the country liquor bar, who might have committed their adventure without her knowledge?
As they are wont to do, the elders of the family and all the neighbours spent the next day cursing everyone from the maid to our luck, to karma and all the evil-prevention pujas we had skipped performing in these years. The investigating officer and forensics team was due to visit in the evening, and we were going to leave no stone unturned in making the police thrash the hell out of the maid's drunkard husband until he divulges the truth. The money may not come back, but nobody was going to break our trust and get away with it.
Just then, an uncle having his evening tea by the window noticed the little gap in the box grill. Made by bending the iron rods that made the grill, the gap was just enough for a slender man of 25 to enter and leave with a small plunder.
The grill hole was brought to everybody's attention. It hadn't been there before we left for the vacation. This had to be it. This is how the thieves entered, by breaking the rusting box grill and exploiting the imperfectly-sliding window doors, not through the front-door. One-by-one, everyone in the neighbourhood visited to examine the hole, providing dozens of theories explaining how the thieves must have managed it - what tools they must have used, what their height and weight must have been, what community must they have been from, how they must have researched the target before going for the kill, et al.
Tea was served, and the discussion moved to descriptions of similar burglaries that had happened in the vicinity recently. Of course it was the same burglars, said someone, explaining in detail how the modus operandi had been the same. As for the mystery of the two additional locks, the thieves must have fastened them from the inside in order to protect themselves in case the house-owners arrives while they were stealing.
So after all, this was the work of some small-time professional thieves. They were just doing their job! Some were even praising the thieves for their skill with breaking iron grills.
By the time the second round of tea was over, everyone felt sorry for the maid. How could we have vilified her like this? Poor woman, she was such a noble hard-working soul. Even her husband, no matter his alcoholism, was such a harmless guy who never complained about the delayed monthly payments for washing cars. If they had to steal, they would use the keys, and not break in through a window.
Everyone was at peace and was laughing. They had done more detective work in these two days than they had in all their lives.
The police visited in the evening, completed their procedure and left. But everyone in the family was just relieved that nobody had meant to hurt them, and nobody was going to be hurt because of them.
To me, the incident was an interesting Indian middle-class character sketch, my own personal Khosla ka Ghosla moment.
Today is a new day gifted to me to utilize all my senses, knowledge, thoughts, muscles and it will end in the evening. I prepared myself to act accordingly. First of all i have to take the name of the almighty and i did the same by saluting him for the offer he has given to me free of cost. We hardly think about our senses until something goes wrong. Let me clarify this by sharing with you a fact that often happens with me. I chew Gutkhas (tobacco contents); how many in a day that depends on my mood and feeling. When my tongue gets affected & i am unable to feel the taste of any curry or other food then i realize that i shouldn't have taken so many Gutkhas. I decide to pay back now by curing my tongue through the application of many tricks i know. Sometimes when all my tricks are failed then i prefer medication. Oh yes, somewhere i had read about it that we should properly utilize our senses. What a relief when things are back to normal. Today i am going to utilize all my knowledge & thoughts properly. How would i do that because i have nothing to do. I have no work at all because i am jobless. Okay, let me shift to my thoughts now. What is the view of my thoughts regarding it. I am thinking...