Not quite over the moon
Julie’s capital success story
A slice of Bengal
Not quite over the moon
More and more working urban newlyweds are rejecting the idea of a honeymoon in the traditional sense of the word, says
The word 'honeymoon' came into the English language in the early 16th century. 'Moon' meant 28 days or the first month spent together and 'honey' signified the sweetness of the time when love is at its zenith. Since then the word denotes a holiday taken by the newlyweds right after the wedding. Nowadays, however, neither does it last for a month, nor, as couples have reported, is it the all-wonderful time that it is reputed to be.
More and more working urban newlyweds are rejecting the idea of the 'honeymoon' in the traditional sense of the word, which till recently meant that right after the wedding the starry-eyed couple takes off to exotic lands in a cloud of confetti.
In the 18th and 19th centuries a honeymoon was a wedding trip, "the express object of which" according to George Eliot, "is to isolate two people on the grounds that they are all the world to one another". The aristocracy and the rich classes of Europe would often extend this initial period of marriage for six months to a year. Today, however, the happy couple are usually too busy to take more than a week off.
Also, is a honeymoon really as sweet as it's rumoured to be? "It's such a strain," exclaims Reena Aggarwal, housewife, at a t`EAte-`E0-t`EAte with her friends. "All those meals when you have to make conversation. What is there to say at breakfast, lunch and dinner when you have been together with each other all day anyway?"
"Actually", says Radha, a bank employee, "one must simply go where there is something to do which interests both the husband and the wife. Where there is lots to see or some kind of a water sport resort or some such place. Then there is a chance of it working out. Otherwise it can get very boring."
Says Jaya Sinha, marraige counsellor, "In fact, it would be better if after the wedding ceremony the bride were allowed to go home to her own room and rest. How wonderful to meet later all refreshed and rested and ready for anything rather than tired, confused and hassled!"
Anita, on the other hand, has another take. "The best thing about our honeymoon was that at last we had time to do some talking. We got to know one another and about the way we felt about all sorts of things."
What could be the pressures that a young couple might face while on a honeymoon? "Each of the partners reveals many facets of their personality which had not come out before. These can be traumatic in themselves. It is not only the physical experiences which can be shattering on a honeymoon," says a Delhi-based marriage counsellor.
"There is so much to do before the wedding—planning the ceremony, choosing the clothes and jewellery, meeting relatives, going to parties, being pampered and petted and lots and lots of friends to dash about with. Suddenly all the familiar friends had gone. There was no moral support when Anil decided to carry the piles of luggage himself; it crossed my mind that he may be miserly," says Geeta, whose husband was in the Army. "Definitely, the honeymoon was a period of strain for me. Not to have any time to myself was terrible. The days were still fine but the nights could be traumatic. The tension was palpable on both sides. One is never at one's best, mastering a new skill and neither of us realised that it maybe weeks before we are adjusted. Honeymoons can put that kind of pressure on you."
Are honeymoons still as popular as they used to be? "Well" says Mrs Bains, a homemaker, whose husband is a businessman. They are preparing for their daughter's wedding. "A good holiday before you start life together is certainly important. After all you need a little romance before you start 'making do' don't you? Life catches up with you later on."
Money may also play a part in this decision. "More and more people are doing without a honeymoon because of the expense. We couldn't afford to go away and we didn't miss it. Though we did have a wonderful holiday in Sri Lanka a year after our marriage," says Ambika Lal, a college lecturer.
Rahul and Raveena Singh, both of who are working in an advertising agency didn't even think of having a honeymoon. "We had our house and we went straight home to that-both of us were involved in furnishing and finishing it and frankly, it wouldn't have been worth going away when all we were longing to do was to see how the house was getting along"
Some young people seem to think that the whole idea of a honeymoon is archaic. "We've been spending so much time together before marriage that there seems no reason to spend money on a honeymoon. I mean the whole point is to get to know one another, isn't it? We have been together since college. Maybe we'll take a little holiday after the marriage ceremony, a weekend or so and then get back to work," says Gurvinder Singh, a free-lance photographer.
Have telescoping timelines and life's
practicalities managed to rob the romance of what cynics suggest is the
last romantic thing in a marriage? Is the honeymoon really over? The
jury is still out on this one.
Julie’s capital success story
Women of substance don’t try to break through the glass ceiling, they create their own cathedrals,
writes Julie Meyer
AT SCHOOL in California, I tried hard to be top of my class. But I didn’t want to bend the rules by dropping the subject I found most difficult, physics. So I studied physics, got only a B in the exam, and ended up second.
The guy who came first avoided physics and got straight As. I cried all night when I learned I was not going to graduate top of my high school class, but it was an object lesson in free will and accountability: men make the rules, so they know how to bend and even break them.
In any field, it’s
comforting to know what the rules are. I searched high and low for them
as I explored France as a young woman of 22; Paris was where I grew up,
professionally and culturally. I eventually realised that culture was
the software of the mind, and that one had to reprogramme the mind to
live successfully overseas.
As a result of having started my professional life outside my native country, I believe I started earlier than most to think of myself as an asset that I would have to continue to develop; a brand that it was my responsibility to enhance.
The standard job ladder
didn’t apply when you were in a foreign country. It was important for
me to know what I could do as an individual, stripped of any home-turf
By the age of 30, I started to understand what was going on, and I began to compete fiercely with myself. When I set out to accomplish something, I was extremely focused. However, I never benchmarked myself against my (overwhelmingly male) peer group.
Corporate life, though, is
all about positioning yourself vis-a-vis your colleagues to shine in
front of the boss. I only cared how I fared compared with the standards
I set for myself, so corporate life was never going to work for me.
They are strong on accountability, and that corresponds nicely to the life of an entrepreneur. Whether sales are good or bad, and whatever the market conditions, the buck stops at the feet of the founder, who has to see the bright side of things day in and day out. Complaining only wastes time. Women are also good on transparency, building relationships and creating the context of trust in an environment that allows people to fulfil their potential.
What women are not good at is saying `I’m worth $10 million’. So since that didn’t come naturally to me, I started practising.
As Madeleine Albright famously said, "There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women." I couldn’t agree more. What saddens me is how the average 32-year-old, well-educated woman spends more of her time trying to find a husband than trying to build herself into a unique asset and brand. If these women were to expend as much energy developing themselves as professionals, they would find that they would become much more attractive —to a more attractive type of man—and have multiple strategies for happiness throughout their lives.
When I was 29, a key promotion that had been promised was delayed because of an affair my boss was conducting with our client’s senior executive. She was worried that I would get too close to the truth. I was devastated, eventually promoted, and vowed that I would never allow someone’s agenda to stop me from achieving my potential.
When I was 32, I was running a network of entrepreneurs that helped start-ups to grow and secure funding. I thought investors—again overwhelmingly men—were smarter than I was. They must be: they were sitting on billions of dollars of funds. But the downturn in the market left a lot of those investors surprised—without any answer as to how to systematically create high-growth companies.
I had a vision for a very different global investment and advisory firm. I couldn’t see myself in any of the banks, bankers, venture capital firms or venture capitalists that I had met. All the firms were founded by and for men.
They didn’t value what I saw as the critical factors for start-up growth: alignment of objectives; focus on relationships; integrity; strength without aggression; ambition without ego. So I had to found Ariadne Capital—choosing the mythological princess who helped Theseus through the labyrinth with a golden thread as my namesake.
Time will tell whether we become the leading global investment and advisory firm; watch this space.
A slice of Bengal
Kannu Raj Gill’s character as a quintessential Bengali mother, Mohini Basu, in the hit TV serial Kasauti Zindagi Ki, despite being a true-blue Punjabi, has evoked admiration for her acting prowess.
Anurag Basu’s mother is Amritsar-born Kulwinder Randhawa. Born in the academically inclined family of Squadron leader (retd) Jarnail Singh and Satwant Kaur Randhawa, Kannu says: "Merely changing my name from Kulwinder to Kannu changed my entire life. From a school teacher, I became an actress."
She comes across as a graceful, strong woman. Her fashionable blunt-cut, big bindi, pearls and sari intricately draped in a typically Bengali style is a fashion statement.
Another feather in her cap is her forceful role as Leila Singh, wife of an AOC in Sara Akash, as the mother of flight lieutenant Monica Singh.
It was during her schooling in Agra , Kanpur and Jamnagar that she grasped languages with typical nuances, accents and pronunciation. This stood her in good stead in her acting career. She directed and participated as a teacher in plays , dances, dramas for schools , fashion shows and annual Army functions .
A Masters in English honours from DAV College, Amritsar, Kannu said her father planned no career for her. After marrying Col R.S. Gill, Kannu pursued her studies to complete her Bachelors and Masters in education . She rose to become a headmistress in a school in Jammu.
She landed in Mumbai to get a job as pre-primary teacher in well-known G.D. Somani school branch in Cuff Parade. "A providential meeting with parents of a child suffering from severe eczema, a fashion photographer and a model, changed my life. The father found my face very photogenic and did a free portfolio.
Meeting Ekta Kapoor of Balaji Productions was another turning point. The small screen soon made her a household name.