Wednesday, 26 October 2016

I am happy without kids!!

Today is  Sushma's last day at her office. She is a 32 years old, Senior manager in Tech Mahindra and a seemingly successful woman by all standards of the society.

Farewell scene with her two friends Radhika and Maya:
Radhika: Hey Sushma, congrats buddie for your promotion.. You are probably gonna be the VP of the company by next year, right?
Sushma: think so yaar. But not sure, I am planning to move to Jalandhar, may be I have to quit this job before that. My in laws and Sumit are expecting us to have a baby. Sumit has joint family there, it will be easy to take care of me and our baby.
Radhika: What are you talking about? Are you sure, you want to leave this job?
Maya: Are you stupid? Don’t take it otherwise, but kids are just like parasites. Your whole life will revolve around them. You wont be able to roam around. His childhood, his career, his dreams are soon gonna replace yours. Come on dearie, your career has just started to take new heights, and you are ruining it at this crucial stage.
Radhika: See, We are not asking you to not have a baby, delay it for some time.
Sushma: I don’t think I have many choices here, becoming a mother is a magical feeling and moreover I am 30+. I think I should be ready for this now.
Maya: As you wish, don’t regret after 10 years, when I will be the CEO of some company and you would be worrying about the mathematics exam of your kid :D
Three of them started giggling. But the question they raised truly presents one glimpse of thoughts of this generation.

Today, I am writing about a recent trend in the thinking of the new generation. Here, I am ignoring the emotional aspect while talking from a logical and practical point of view.
Conventionally, kids are considered so adorable, lovable and innocent that they become the quintessential part of life after a certain point of time. But in recent times, this necessity is turning into convenience and becoming a well informed decision. For example, many developed countries are facing "no baby boom", where even their replacement levels has shown negative growth like Japan, Germany etc. In India  also, there is a chunk of youth for whom 35 has become new 30 to get married and kids are becoming optional due to delayed marriages or choices.
I have discussed few of the reasons behind this trend in this post.
One reason could be the change in mindset of the present generation. This generation is the generation that "refuses to grow up". Facebook connectivity has brought teenager characteristics into all the generations people specially 25 to 35 group. On a lighter note, they don’t want to be called as uncle or aunty. This shift in mindset is visible  in various forms.

Present youth loves travelling, thrill and adventure. They see kids as the hindrance to their freedom. They prefer to spend their dynamic period of 30 to 35 in fulfilling personal aspirations than meeting family expectations. Career, freedom, fun, independence are their equal priorities along with the conventional responsibilities.

While earlier generation used to consider kids as a medium to increase bond between a couple. Today, many couples fight after becoming parents because they have the grievance that they do not go out as a “couple” instead of “Parents”. For them, child comes as liability at a crucial juncture point. They are not ready to raise a child either mentally, or economically or physically. Parenting is a sudden turning point for them.

Also in the current generation, working parents and long distance jobs are the norms. For them, specially mother, its very difficult to raise a child alone. In previous generations, joint family was a boon in this regard. This advantage is not more with the present generation where metros have become "karmabhoomi" which is far from their "Janambhoomi".

In general, Women suffers a lot in practical life in due course. They face difficulty in coming back after maternity period. In unorganized sector, it is worse. Many organization have provisions for limited leave period while others put barriers on their career growth in one or other forms, eg, pregnant women are not allowed to get on foreign attachments. Getting back with their colleagues after a long break become difficult. As per a survey, 25-27% women leave jobs after they bear a child.

There has been a wider discussion over gender justice and equality. But in true sense, Parenthood responsibility is not yet shared equally. Apart from natural barriers, there are mental barriers that a woman can take care of child in a better way while father has limited role. Even the laws favor the same. In the recent bill to  liberalize maternity leave, there is no mention of paternal leave. The quantum of leave is also different even after the pregnancy period. Childhood is still closely linked with motherhood than fatherhood.

Last but not the least, one reason is that with increasing globalization and consumerism, children are added liability in terms of expenditure. The newly imbibed individualism has decreased the craze for carrying further the generations for the same reason. People are thinking rationally and in a more evolving way. They have their personal aspirations to maintain a child within themselves which they consider to be compromised once they have kids and their responsibilities.

Apart from these general reasons, there are personal preferences. One of our senior Professor(50 years old) didn’t has kids, and when I inquired and came to know about this, I felt sorry for him. His reply on my sorry statement gave me a new perspective of people regarding the subject, "In day to day life, I meet my friends and relatives and find them very disturbed because of their children's deeds like studies, bad habits. Some complains that their children doesn’t take care of them while some who stays with them have grievances of bad treatment. At least I m happy, free from expectations and anxiety I may have if I had children."

This trend may make our demographic pyramid similar to developed countries.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

The Perfect Man- Another Rare species

    In continuation to my previous post- Good girl: A rare species , here is another bucket of expectation for another half section of the world: The Man.
      1. Mard ko dard ni hota: A good boy should know how to control his emotions all the time. Being emotional is the prerogative of women. He should know how to fight, otherwise he will be considered as a girl wearing bangles " hathh wich chudiya pehndi h kya". Be a man, dude.
      1. All men are dogs: generalization hurt them most which sometimes make them least trustworthy
      1. Are you a Momma's boy or a joru ka gulam? He has to strike a very fine balance throughout his life by juggling in between
      1. If you want to marry a suitable girl, either you should be Einstein, i.e., lucrative career or you should be born with a silver spoon, i.e rich enough to impress upon your life partner and to carry forward your love story.
      2. How can he earn less than his other half: Not necessary his ego is pressurizing him but the society for sure.
      3. List of husband material is not that short: strong and soft at the same time.
      4. Centre of the family unit while maintaining work life balance
      Boss: These files should get compiled by tomorrow
      Ma: Beta, Ghootno me soojan h jaldi aa (Son, my knees are swelled up, come fast)
      Wife: what have you brought on our 10th wedding anniversary
      1. "Ladies first" syndrome dealing with the pseudo feminists
      2. He should always buy coffee/dinner/gift for his lady for his family, as if his wallet has some self generating capacity
      3. Boy should propose first (this rule is written in holy books). A man who cant make her girl laugh doesn’t deserve her. He should be tall, dark and handsome or chocolaty boy. He should be good at sports, dance, romance, guitar. And O boy, how dare you judging me by my looks?
      4. Additional responsibilities are always on his head by default: running the business of family, present on funeral (chita nu aag kon dega), ghar ka chirag, Aankho ka tara(apple of the eye), Bhudaape ka sahara
      5. Even in legal arena his capacity is defined- A man cannot nurture a child hence the most of the decisions go in favor of women in case of judicial separation. Neither anyone questions the moral and legal duties of a man to pay maintenance and alimony to a working wife during separation. At what level the misuse of 498A of IPC is going on.
      We have to admit that in the present setup even men also face discrimination and it will be utterly foolish to consider that they are the only privileged one because of their sex.
      While the feminist wave has certainly defined new roles for women as a breadwinner instead of traditional cook, but no such wave has taken birth to let a man be emotional enough to express himself.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Why inequality of opportunity matters?

Everyone is born equal. Really? If that is the case, there won't be any need  of one of the crucial functions of state, i.e., welfare. Despite infinite attempts by state to reduce inequality, we can witness a huge gap between the haves and have-nots. The problem lies in the fact that, our policy makers always try to treat the symptom, that is, inequality of outcomes, instead of focusing on the cause,i.e., inequality of opportunity. Opportunity can be defined as the accessibility to something.

Is inequality inherently bad?
Probably not so, the inequality that emerges because of the different choices and varying degree of ‘effort’ (assuming same circumstances) is fine. But what happens when a person’s potential to succeed in life is simply determined by the lottery of birth?  It is the Inequality of Opportunity which emerges because of factors over which we have little or no control, i.e., ‘circumstances’. To simplify, equality of opportunity means ‘levelling the playing field’, ‘giving everybody an equal start’ and ‘making the most of inherent talents.
                                    विरासत में मिली कुर्सी पे राज करते हैं 
                                           फिर भी खुद पे नाज करते हैं। 

Of course, our outcomes do reflect our own efforts and decisions. But other people’s efforts and decisions also play an important role, and we have little control over these.
The outcome of future of  a child reflects entirely the efforts and decisions of his parents, but again he has no choice in determining his parents.
Which caste he is in,  what are his limits, which school he will go, what food will he eat, what should be his occupation, what facilities he will get, when and whom to marry- the family has a major say.
In later stage of life, other people’s actions also start to affect the choices and efforts that a person makes – their teachers and their classmates. Because he doesn’t select teachers or classmates, the choices and efforts of that person again gets constricted.

We are increasingly becoming obsessed with the outcomes or merit in a person's life, while equality of opportunity is persistently at the back seat. One such example is the advantage enjoyed by a certain section of society by getting education in English medium. Majority of students receive their study in vernacular medium. And once they are forced to adopt English as part of a compulsory paper in some of the most competitive exams (SSC, UPSC), they are thrown out of the competition without giving due attention to the opportunity they received in their education. Their communication skills in English is most likely to be poorer than the students who got quality education with special emphasis on "English". This is evident from the fact that more than 70% students selected in  white collar jobs are from English medium. And it seems like, English has become a symbol of superior civilization.

Another example is the compulsory paper of "computer typing" in most of the Group 'D' clerical examinations. How the people from rural background, who haven't ever seen, how the computer functions, are expected to compete with chitty chatty urban youth.

I m neither against English language nor against usage of computer technology in the present world, as both are becoming the essential tools to compete in the global world. I m just in favor of parity and equality in terms of opportunity.

The foundation of an individual is built in his school, the quality of education he receives there. And unfortunately, here money carries more weight over merit. Because only rich people can afford the schools of better exposure with an opportunity of all round personality development. Is there really a point of putting competitive examination like IIT, PMT after 12th class, by the time a gap based on financial differentiation is already created? Why can there be no competitive exam for entering into a school itself without fees barrier, which might have the potential to create level playing field from the beginning and goes with the principle of merit in pure?

Is reservation the solution?
60 decades of history of reservation couldn't change the picture very much, shows the inherent flaw of the policy. Reservation might send someone at a place which he might not deserve on purely merit criteria as an obligation of representation. This is evident in the dropping out of nearly 90% SC/ST of the total in IIT Roorkee last year because of the excess academic stress. The problem again lies in the approach of addressing the outcome not the opportunity. As an analogy, if a person is made to run in race but he starts 5 m behind, it is likely that he will be behind 5 m throughout the journey, unless he puts extra ordinary efforts.

Though inequality in all conditions boils down to the financial capacity of a person, (in Indian case caste, religion might be the other factors). It seems like money has overshadowed all the other things, like talent.

The only solution I can think of right now to remove inequality of opportunity is "equal quality of education at equal cost" so that the future of nation can be safeguarded. As far as means are concerned, this humongous task cannot be left to Government only. Other people need to come to help others by creating opportunity. This will be the sustainable redistribution of skewed opportunities.

Unless we are not ensuring equality of opportunity, we might be losing brilliant minds such as APJ Kalam in the distant villages devoid of opportunity.

(Don’t) Waste the Thunder, Recycle

6:30 PM, I pressed the doorbell of my flat. As I was waiting for my brother to open the door, my eyes fell on a dozen cold drink bottles ...