Ladies in Charge

office

I happened to answer the office LAN Line number and was greeted by an overconfident female Sales Representative of an Insurance Company. She introduced herself quickly and immediately requested for her to be connected to “Sir“. I was confused.

I checked, “May I know who you need to speak to?”

She responded, “The Manager in Charge please.”

I responded, “Well! I am a Lady and I am the Manager in Charge”

Silence for 2 seconds.

She fumbled a little thereafter but managed to explain the requirement and I connected her to our Admin department.

I couldn’t help but muse that even in today’s world, the underlying assumption is that it is ultimately men who are in charge of management at large establishments. It pained me more because the assumption was made by a Lady Professional herself.

I guess Women in India need to lead many more successful organizations before this mindset will start to change.

What Competition? I have already given up!

Yog Maharaj

Pavan and I were relaxing on the couch talking about nothing and everything during one of those rare heart to heart conversations. The children were making a loud cacophony in the background and we were struggling to hear each other over the din. I bent close to Pavan and gingerly said, “I think you are up against stiff competition!!” Deep in my heart, I honestly felt that he had already lost to the competition but then he is a proud man (rightly so) and I did not want to hurt his male ego by saying that. Pavan made a low grumbling sound in his throat; looked me straight in the eye and said, “What Competition? I have already given up!!” And with that we both burst into laughter!

The competition in question has been with none other than the new man in my life; the self presumed head our family. In the initial stages, he succeeded in robbing my husband of his wife. But over a period of time, taking advantage of Pavans extended travel, this new man has also managed to rob Pavan of his house including his clothes, shoes and even food. With that, he has very conveniently assumed the role of Head of the Family in our house. Nobody enters or leaves the house without his permission. No one can eat, sleep, study, work or play without his acceptance.

This new man is, but of course, our two year old son, Yog.  I have been through toddler years before and I was prepared to see Yog being possessive in context to other children. However, till date, Yog has not had any problem with other children being in the house. He has been waiting patiently to pick a real, worthy opponent who he considers strong enough to compete with him. Yog finally found that competition in his Dad. Pavan has to just hug me close for Yog to get into war mode. As Pavan sits down for meals, Yog rushes to his table and finishes most of his food before Pavan has got a chance to even start eating. Most days, Yog sleeps happily in his own bed. But the days Pavan is in town, Yog will only go to sleep only when positioned squarely in between both of us.

No reason, logic, reward, punishment has helped us to make little Yog understand that Dad is not really competition. How can I make him understand that his mother has more than enough love to share between his Dad, his sister and himself? But nah! Yog doesn’t want to understand this, right now. So for now, we have decided to let Yog dictate terms for all of us. After all, we don’t have the heart to fight against all the cuteness and love packed in that tiny body. For now, he is the boss and we are mere servants to our darling “Yog Maharaj”. So yes, there is indeed no competition! We have all given up and surrendered to our new ruler.

Choices of Death

grave

Scene 1

Prithvi lay still on the floor. His body was stone cold and draped in white. His six year old daughter, Santoshi, stood at his feet, trying to make out the expression on his face. Was Dad happy or was he sad at leaving her? She stared hard for a while and then bent down to touch his feet. This was her last memory of her dad.

Santoshi spent the next 25 years of her life blaming her dad for leaving her when he did. Ever since that day when she touched her father the last time, life had lost all hope for Santoshi. School was full of ominous strangers and home was full of dark shadows. Men, who till few months back were considered family, were now constantly fleecing her family for money, sexual favors and property. Most nights Santoshi cried herself to sleep, cursing her father for not trying hard enough to live for her, for her family. In her childish memory, the only fact that was worth remembering was that her Dad did not love her enough. That is why he did not try hard enough to live for her. He did not try hard enough to beat a common disease like Diabetes. He felt it easier to indulge in the moment and leave her alone on this planet. Prithvi was 45 when he died out of the choices he had made in his life. He left behind 3 daughters, a wife and his 75 year old mother.

Scene 2

It was the 1st of January. But more importantly it was Yashs 24th birthday. The joy of New Year coupled with his Birthday always ensured that Yashs birthday was a night long party bash. As always, Yash spent his Birthday Eve partying with friends till late in the night. They drank, danced and laughed like there was no tomorrow. This year was extra special. He had got a job in his dream company – Infosys and he has also proposed to his lady love. It was now only a matter of few years before he could settle down with her. As the music blasted into the year and the countdown for the New Year began, he made a resolution in his heart to clear all the loans his father had taken for his education. In just one year, he was sure he could turn the fate of his family around. As the party ended, Yashs friend offered to drop him home on his bike. Yash readily agreed. It also gave him the opportunity to continue the party from his home. This was the good life.

It was 3 AM in the night when the phone rang at Allangudi village in the interiors of Tamil Nadu, at Yashs parents home. The tired voice on the line informed Yashs Father that their son had met with a road accident. His death had been painless and instantaneous owing to a head injury. They were requested to come to Chennai to collect the body. Yash was 24 years, 1 hour and 2 minutes old when he died out of the choices he had made in his life. He left behind his mother, father and a Girlfriend.

Scene 3

Guru had a following of close to 300 devotees. Most devotees came from the local villages of Punjab. Ranjit, one of the followers of the Guru, had even constructed a small temple in the name of the Guru in Patiala. Guru was thankful for the love and devotion of his followers but he knew, in his heart, that there was a bigger calling for him. One cold January morning, he called up his father and informed him that he had decided to shed his current physical form on 31st May of the same year. He thanked his father for all that he had done for him and as a final gesture, requested his father to return his body to his mother, after his death.

And so it was. On the 31st day of May, Guru discarded the body that he had been living in, thus far. Guru was ageless when he left this world out of his choice. He left behind 300 followers who grew to seven lakh followers over the course of the next 7 years. The followers still claim that Guru is among them and guides them for direction whenever they feel lost.

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We all have to die one day. We do not have a choice in that. What we can choose is the way we live our life. Choices on how we live, to a large extent, decide not only how we die but also who we leave behind after our death.

 

P.S. All three scenes are based on true stories. The names and facts have been changed as a token of respect for the departed souls.