|HER WORLD||Sunday, January 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India|
I feel strongly about
A woman has to work five times harder than any man to make a satisfying impact in business or industry. In India, a woman is certainly recognised for her learning, education and will to work. She is not accepted as an equal even though she may produce impressive business results and succeed in creating a team, which can build a company or a business. Change in the business or industrial world has not been as fast as it should have been though many women have taken over companies from their parental or matrimonial families.
A successful journey
from Narangwal to UK
SO you are enchanted by your new love interest. He can do no wrong in your eyes. Through your rose-coloured glasses, this person looks nearly perfect, lovable, smart, honourable and down right irresistible. But let’s fast-forward a year or so. The impeccable love seems to have developed warts. Perhaps, his temper is atrocious or he has a streak of selfishness. May be he is a control freak or some kind of an addict. You are disillusioned and crushed. How could you have been so wrong? Were you a victim of his charming personality or enchanted by the spell of romantic illusion?
Kavita went through something like this in her relationship with Raghav. "I was in a bad relationship but couldn’t get myself to break up. Initially, he was bubbly, caring and carefree but soon he was changing. If I had a problem he always dismissed it. Instead, he’d come up with his own bigger problems. When he was with me he would be fine but gradually with his friends around he would rebuke me, order me around throw tantrums and, above all, would just ignore me as if I did not exist. After two agonising years I realised his charming carefree ways were just a facade. He would not commit himself to me. I called it off. Yes, after a short period of depression, I am feeling fine, much more in control of my life. I had become doormat and my whole life depended on his moods. I am feeling a free-spirited girl all over again and I am enjoying this freedom."
For starters, own up to wearing rose-coloured glasses. And take them off immediately. I know it is painful but squint those love filled eyes of yours and look carefully at your lover. Stop the minimising and the denial. Realise you may be projecting your own positive qualities on to him, seeing what you want to see, not what is there. If you see the truth and do not like it, you have several choices. Accept the person as he is, break up or get counseling for one or both of you. What ever be the reason, you know you have to kill off what is a dying relationship. Why then is it so hard to say good-bye? Perhaps because you feel sorry for yourself or the other person. May be you are still fond of him or asking for too much of the relationship and him. That is what happened to Anita and Ajay. " I was so sure that Ajay and I would be a couple for life. We looked good together and we had great jobs in the same office. So when he said that he wanted to break off, I felt terrible. I could not understand then. Of course today I can and I am much better off." Yes we are in a world of increasingly messy break-ups. Whenever a relationship ceases, all we want to do is forget that the man ever existed. We make an extra effort to obliterate the entire experience or, worse still, jump in to another relationship hoping to recover. But do not do that.
Try sifting out your emotions rationally. You will figure out what you want from a relationship, your strengths, weaknesses, and ability to judge people, capacity to handle criticism. You will also be able to reintegrate your emotions and then start a new relationship as and when. This is what Anita did. She realised after talking to a few people (including me) not to allow their personal and professional life to overlap. She also figured out that their interests after office hours were very different but proximity at work kept them close. They never got to know each other really well.
Seeing each other’s face everyday in office is not spending time. A relationship needs more than that. In short pick up the insights, learn from mistakes and move on. But it is up to you to stand firm. If the negatives outweigh the positives, it is time to go. You owe it to your self to find some one more suitable. Do not waste months or years of your life trying to salvage a relationship that is going no where. Look at it as a stepping stone to bettering your next one.
Nupur, another nice and homely girl who came to me some time ago narrated, "I did all the adjustments and yet he kept telling me that I was nagging too much. I sacrificed my whole lifestyle to suit his and if something disturbed that arrangement, I would cry. He was also doing well financially and interacting with a lot of women and also entertaining them, He kept lying to me about late nights saying they were business get togethers. He would also tell me to cool down and meanwhile throw tantrums himself and expected me to take them. A year later, I broke the relationship as I could not take the pressure". Yes, Nupur learnt to recognise the red flags of dishonesty, control trips, irresponsibility, and hot temper. Not to mention the chronic faultfinding. Thankfully, she realised she deserved much better and there was no need for her to settle for a lover who did not treat her right. She got out of the fantasy world and also knew that the leopard was not going to change his spots. This truth set her free and she could break the romantic illusion, which she had created.
Okay, so when is the best time to call a halt to a relationship you know is not right for you? The answer; the moment you realise it.
Here are a few pointers that can help you in putting an end to a relationship that is wrong:
You certainly will have relationship you deserve if you believe it can happen. Staying in a relationship that is not right will only drag you down and deplete your self-esteem. Always remember that breaking up a relationship today is infinitely less painful than doing it tomorrow or the next day.
Remember the price for avoidance is enormous. It is true hat avoiding the pain of saying ‘good bye’ is often the easiest route to take. But why live with unhappiness when you can free yourself to search productively for your ideal partner or at least a happier life. People grow out of bad relationships and grow in to better ones. Each bad relationship makes you better equipped to deal with your next one. You can find happiness in love if you are strong enough to discard the ties that are not right for you and keep looking.
I feel strongly about
IT was once again that expression of just having given up on her flustered face. Once again, she felt exhausted after constantly speaking at her husband, who at the best would ignore all her continuous "banal" talk and pretend that suddenly he had lost all the power to comprehend. After seeing that her point of view is not finding any audience with her husband, she banged his study door, pretended to be least bothered about him and left the room as the one who was spoken at and then was left alone to grumble. As always, the husband had been lost in his own world before she could convincingly put her point of view in front of him. What any woman would want is listening from her partner. But this is something which she seldom gets. Since ages only that persona of a woman is revered in which she is portrayed as unassuming and a tolerant listener who does not celebrate of the quality of speaking up. Maintaining a peaceful quiet has remained the hallmark of virtuous woman, whereas men have traditionally dominated the role of being speakers in society.
The feeling of being always spoken at and never listened to dominates the psyche of women from all walks of life—be it a homemaker or a woman climbing up the professional echelon. "Perhaps, it comes from our tradition where women have come to acquire the image of a submissive and frail personality who just responds to those things that are spoken at her. When a woman, be it at home or in her professional field, assumes the role of a ‘talker’ is always pointed at," says Anita Sharma, a city-based architect. Walk into any public place, a bunch of females would be bundled together and would continuously be whispering into each other’s ears whereas their male counterparts would be openly roaming about, will not be bothered about whether they are disrupting someone’s peace and would nearly yell at each other from a distance.
And when it comes to expressing their opinion in the public, generally it is the men who are in the fore-front rather then the women. Saurabh Goyal, an entrepreneur in his early 20s, feels:
"It would be wrong to say that men don’t listen to women. The fact is that when anything spoken has logic and relevant content, it always gets its due attention." Does that suggest that women do not articulate their views in a logical manner or don’t always make statements that need to be paid attention to? If this is the expression that generally prevails in the male psyche then women too need to introspect on this aspect.
Women over several generations have acquired this undisputed image of being gossips and chatterboxes whereas men have always projected themselves as straightforward talkers with a business-like approach that is geared more towards sharing ideas and not people-centred.
"It is not that women don’t speak enough or don’t speak effectively enough to express their opinions. Take the case of Sushma Swaraj, easily the best orator and spokesperson in the country today whose speeches are most eagerly listened to. But speaking and making people listen to you is an art which gets polished with time and experience. Women in the past, and to a great extent even today, have not had much of an outside interaction. "Talking with known, familiar people within the house is not sufficient to hone one’s skills as a speaker who is forceful. Being vociferous and authoritative while speaking was never needed by females. And this art never got developed in them," says Santosh, a homemaker.
Is it always a matter of grave concern that men are more dominant in making themselves heard than are women? Or, is the quality of dominating conversation, not listening to the other’s point of view and giving less opportunity to the other person to speak is always appreciated? Disagrees Manohar Jain, an entrepreneur, " I would prefer employing women at my workplace to men because they are efficient team workers and don’t get into an argument too often. Yes, it will not be wrong to say that women never have this burning desire to yell out loudly to express their opinions. Many a times, they respectfully obey, unlike their male counterparts. This makes them more effective team workers."
Women have this great ability to make people confide in them and listen to their problems. No wonder, in today’s professional scenario, they are making excellent counsellors, customer- care executives, educationalists, and other such fields where their listening skills come more handy."
A healthy communication
is best manifested when both effective speaking and effective
listening take place. Be it a home or a workplace, things will not
move when one person does not listen to the other.
A tycoon at 26
Handling a Rs 600-crore empire is a huge responsibility. Schauna Chauhan, daughter of Parle (Coca Cola and Thums Up) tycoon Prakash Chauhan has taken over the management and expansion of the Parle Agro group, the food product giant, at 26. Schauna is known by the nickname ‘lucky baby’ in her family because she was born in 1976, the year when George Fernandes asked Coca Cola to leave India. Schauna Chauha, ECO of Parle Agro, a food products manufacturing company which is beginning to rewrite its success story with the 26-year-old management expert at its helm, talks to Vimla Patil about her goals. In her own words...
A woman has to work five times harder than any man to make a satisfying impact in business or industry. In India, a woman is certainly recognised for her learning, education and will to work. She is not accepted as an equal even though she may produce impressive business results and succeed in creating a team, which can build a company or a business. Change in the business or industrial world has not been as fast as it should have been though many women have taken over companies from their parental or matrimonial families. Many others have acquired the best education from the world’s top institutions and earned positions which were not available to women till a decade ago. I am just 26. I know that I am not as experienced as some others in my business. When you inherit a ready-made business from your parents, the responsibility of making a success of your assignment is greater. I never played with dolls. I loved toy cars and as soon as I could, I began to go to the factories with my father. My friends used to call me Papa’s son! I went to the International School in Kodaikanal and then to Switzerland to earn a degree in international management. In this course, I studied world markets, management of money, finance, capital enhancement, human resources management, expansion of businesses and the philosophy of business. I also mastered French and Italian in addition to English and Hindi. I became an enthusiastic sportswoman with hockey and tennis as my favourite games. In my early twenties, I began to sit in on ad agency meetings, sales seminars and interviews for hiring experts. I was involved in all operations of the company.
My first interest after taking this position at Parle Agro was to consolidate the management team. I am deeply interested in human resource development and worked hard to get the right people in the right jobs. Our plants in Patalganga, Silvassa, Chennai and Delhi as well as Mumbai are now poised to take a leap in the future and we are looking forward expanding the range of our products. Our main products till now are Bailey (mineral water); Frooti in various flavours and N-Joi, a milk-based drink available in strawberry and mango flavours. N-Joi is targeted at working people who need quick nourishment when they skip meals or can’t buy expensive meals. This wholesome drink-snack is better than a roadside sandwich or a vada-pau. Our future plans include introducing many new flavours in both these products and offering newer ranges in jams, preserves, cheese and other food items. Our research and development departments are busy finalising the shape of things to come. My father has given me the complete responsibility of handling the growth of the company in India. I think every woman must work to earn to get financial independence. Being able to fend for oneself gives a woman many rights and creates a unique personality for her. She is able to demand justice and to stand on her own strength when a fair deal is denied to her. But I have a word of caution for aspiring women. They must work hard and forget that they are women while pursuing their career goals.
They must not ask for
privileges. They must be adaptable, flexible and committed in their
attitude. Secondly, women tend to be emotional. They should not allow
emotions to hamper their career path. The climate today is very
conducive for women to work or to become entrepreneurs. They must be
strong headed and focused in their work to take advantage of the
favourable scenario. Thirdly, I think women are born with management
skills because they manage families and homes. They can put up any
show and produce results. They should demand their due rights and take
their positions in business and industry without the slightest
journey from Narangwal to UK
IT’S been 34 years since Amarjeet Kaur, from the remote village Narangwal in district Ludhiana, set foot on British soil. She has served the country in a dedicated way , carved a niche for herself but remains anchored to her Indian roots. A B.A, B.ed from Punjab, she initially settled at Bradford, London and then finally in Pudsey. As she says:
"Since my children were toddlers when I came to England I did not start working immediately. Once they started going to school I too joined school. Although I was also offered teaching, I opted to join as an Education Welfare Officer, who is required to look after the attendance of the children in school." Since education is free and compulsory in this country, the state makes it a point to keep an eye on the truant children. If a child is persistently absent then his parents are called and their problems discussed. If it is a domestic problem, then help of health services, psychologists are taken. However, if it is carelessness on the part of the parents and they do not rectify it after repeated counselling then court action can be taken and a penalty imposed. In 1994, keeping her previous record into account, Amarjeet was offered an additional post on behalf of Queens Service (volunteers) as Justice of Peace. It involves trying offences like threat, jumping traffic lights and even murder. Both the posts can be held simultaneously as the second post is honorary .
Once Amarjeet retired, she became involved in introducing Punjabi in the local Sikh temple and attracting the youngsters towards their Punjabi roots. Not only is the language taught but the meaning of the holy text is also explained so that the culture actually seeps into them. "During vacations, camps are organised where little children are introduced to the Indian stream In England one has to really work hard to make one's children aware of their background, otherwise it is so easy to just left them to drift with the current," says Amarjeet as she recounts her experience of handling children.
Amarjeet is of the view that India has changed. "The standard of living of people has gone up. The women have a greater independence, are more career-oriented and are spending more time on themselves. Families have gone smaller and it is nice to see that the fathers are just as interested in the future of the child as the mother. When the children grow up and get married the modern parents do not mind if the children move out due to maladjustment. In fact, I have noticed that relations become more amicable after such a step," says Amarjeet.
As far as the education of an average Indian child is concerned, Amarjeet describes how the emphasis is more on cramming than letting individual thought develop. The British child is sharper and quicker because they are trained that way. Let's say if one puts them ten questions in a minute their response will be in a shorter time than an child trained in the Indian educational system. Visualisation plays a significant role in their day to day life. About bringing up children abroad, Amarjeet feels: Perhaps, one has been overprotective about one's culture but the fact of the matter is that the children in UK are more conventional than their counterparts in India. The dresses are bolder and generally there is a degree of independence bordering on arrogance. They have become westernised in their thought. However, the sad part is that the values have disappeared. Consumerism is rabid, competition is unhealthy but they will realise sooner or later that they are incomplete without their roots, spiritualism, genuine, non-materialistic love. The Indian community here has tried to inculcate the best of East and West in their children. They are not misfits in either of the cultures. Their marriages might be of their choice but they are celebrated in the traditional way."
When asked about the image of India overseas, the answer was disappointing. "The impression is not healthy. The first eyesore is corruption. Even if the people settled here aspire to do something for their home country they feel that the money will never reach the right people. Corruption has finished the national character. The respect of a nation is with the character of its citizens and so long as it is lacking, one cannot hold his head high, feels Amarjeet.
As far as returning to India goes, she is of the view that "No, there is no going back. Our children, future is here. Our children maybe Indians at heart but they are British in thinking. We have however, made sure that an important part of our being goes to them and from them hopefully to their children."
so does nationality but humans remain. We feel complete in parts.
However, our being is intricately intertwined with the places where we
grow up, mature and ripen. The human spirit may traverse thousands of
miles and yet be the same . Those who have left their homes need to go
back, maybe for a short while, to catch the fragrance of the place, to
rejuvenate their soul. A whiff and one is fresh again."