She woke up to the startling alarm at 5:30 am, slid into her bathroom slippers and entered the bathroom to complete her morning chores. She then picked up the wailing baby, smiled sweetly at him, and receiving a reciprocated smile, placed him on the changing pad and changed his soiled diaper. Plugging him to her engorged breasts, she fed him milk to his heart content and put him back to sleep in his crib. Entering the kitchen, she prepared fresh and hot pancakes and tossed them onto her husband’s plate to appease his appetite. Donning her office suit, she lugged her handbag and the baby’s diaper bag, and carefully placed the baby in his car seat and drove him to his daycare.
Once, Shakespeare said “What’s in the name”? and we all nodded in agreement. But, when it comes to Indian names, his quote doesn’t hold good. Indian parents invest immense time and effort in choosing the ‘best name’ that conveys the ‘best meaning’ of their child. Unlike western names, Indian names hold a lot of significance to the meanings- some are derived from ancient scripts like Sanskrit upholding great values and significance. Indian names usually mean lot of things like celestial objects like sun, moon, star, earth; nature like rose, jasmine, flower, petal, et al; praising one’s beauty like beautiful eyes, lips, smile, etc; ornaments like bindi, bracelet, earrings, etc; musical instruments; intelligence, smartness, bravery, invincible etc.
There are several books that I relished reading. Some books that I would re-visit and re-read. One such book is “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. This author is renowned for authoring some profound novels like Blink, Tipping Point, David and Goliath, etc. His books strive for introspection, deeper knowledge, understanding and analysis of various eminent scenarios and is packed with sheer brilliance.
This incident occurred during my high school. One day, during class, my teacher announced about the upcoming debate and speech competitions and asked for participation entries. When there was no show of hands, she curiously looked at me and said “Why don’t you participate”? You are a chatterbox. Let’s hear you talk on stage”. There were grins and chatter all around the classroom. I wasn’t sure if it was an insult or a compliment, but, I reluctantly signed up for the speech competition. That evening, I went back home and pestered my dad (who has a great command over English) to write me a speech and told him about the upcoming competition. My dad excitedly fulfilled my desire by writing me a four paged long speech, that I rehearsed several times to perfection.
Micheal Jackson’s song “Heal the world” makes so much meaning in today’s world. In the world full of vengeance, hatred, religious fanaticism, cruelty and insanity, it is appalling to read news pertaining to daily rapes/gang rapes of young babies, girls and women across the world ; the shocking terrorism activities of ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaida etc which cripple the world, killing people in the name of religion; the prostitution rings involving human trafficking, abduction and forced prostitution; Manslaughter using guns; drunken driving and reckless driving leading to road accidents; gruesome murders; animal cruelty in the name of game, fun and honor; religious fanatics slaughtering people in the name of religion; hate crimes over one’s skin color and race; greed over oil reserves; international interference and meddling for world dominance; attacking countries and denizens using nuclear weapons; inhuman mothers killing their own babies; children killing their own parents; dowry deaths; female infanticide etc.
My daily routine is boring as well as exciting. Despite spending eight hours glued to my desk, everyday at work, performing mundane tasks, I totally enjoy the quality time that I spend with my baby for the rest of the day.
Every morning, I wake up in the wee hours like 12AM/3 AM/5 AM etc (sans the alarm clock, yes! May God bless Motherhood- an inbuilt alarm clock) to see my baby smiling in his crib beside my bed. It will be his diaper changing time and feeding time. I carefully pick him up, and plant a kiss lovingly on his cheerful face, wishing him good morning. I perform the diaper-change ritual followed by feeding, and then rock him to sleep.
Handheld devices like iPhones, Android phones, iPads and other tablets have replaced computers. Even though they are smaller, compact, easy-to-carry and are always accessible, there are numerous disadvantages(at least for me). I was first introduced to “computers” during my third grade at school in India. I was fascinated to learn the different parts of computer – like monitor, CPU, keyboard, mouse, input and output devices, printer etc. It was exciting to press the keys on the keyboard and view them on the monitor. The idea of CPU being the “brain” of the entire computer and learning about its marvelous computing capabilities and processing speeds totally awed me! As we entered high school, I got a chance to explore Microsoft office suite like excel, word, power point etc. We had lab exams at school, where we were judged on creating an excel document and computing some math problem on it; typing essays on word and creating slides and showcasing slideshows on power point. In my college, undergrad and graduate schools, I was introduced to a plethora of programming languages. Today, I use my office desktop for my job. Its really comforting to view 15″ monitor screen, while typing frantically on the regular keyboard and navigating with the mouse.
Thanks to the technological breakthroughs, now, we can carry the entire computer in our pocket in the form of smart phones and tablets. Smartphones and tablets provide the same facilities like- accessing emails, social networking sites, news websites, stocks, blogs, maps, weather, etc just by few taps on the touchscreen. You can even type lengthy messages and emails using the popup keyboard on your phone’s touchscreen. This compactness and mobility is truly stupendous, but straining sometimes. I really feel frustrated over straining my eyes while reading lengthy messages and emails on my phone. It is also painful to use the touchscreen keyboard to type lengthy emails. iPad is definitely bigger in size than iPhone, but I hate that large screen which prevents me from typing with both hands and forcing me to type single-handed. Staring at the screen also makes my eyes watery. Slavery towards smart phones and tablets and the urge to check them constantly and respond immediately is also frustrating.
This is an entry for Daily Post’s today’s Prompt
Having a baby surely comes with its share of pros and cons. Those sleepless nights, hair pulling, moments of shocks & surprises, freaking out, hand-on experiences, learning, unlearning, re-learning, making mistakes, lamenting, moving heaven to earth and running from pillar to post while trying hard to figure out why your baby isn’t calming down, despite you religiously following all the rules of the book: “how to calm a baby down”; and finally, being envious of parents who can pull it off together excellently – these are the cons of parenting. Some of the pros include – giving life to another human being, rejoicing and spending your quality time with another little living being, small triumphs and gratifications, watching his growth spurts, witnessing his fascinating milestones, receiving praises and accolades over successful parenting, and definitely the rejuvenation you experience when you see him smile.
Four months ago, I gave birth to a beautiful human being, having gone through twelve hours of labor pain which didn’t even recede despite anesthesia, and the only savior was epidural; followed by intense post surgery pain due to last minute cesarean, medicine to abate pain and inconsistent bed rest. It was even painful for me to hold my baby accurately and breastfeed him. I made a conscious effort always to carefully get up, walk, bend over and carry him fearing that I might exert too much pressure on my c-section stitches.
I had turned into a zombie with numerous alarms beeping on my phone for every three hours to remind me of his feeding times. I have even woken up at wee hours in the morning like 12 am, 3 am and 6 am – just to feed him, change his diapers, swaddle, sing and rock him to sleep. Several times, I have even pulled my hair out trying to figure out – What else should be done for his wailing to stop? Why wasn’t he feeding right? Why didn’t he have accurate number of wet and dirty diapers? Why wasn’t he sleeping right? et al. Our house had even turned into a war zone trying to find the other person to deflect the blame on.
There are plentiful things that bore me to death – ranging from gossips, uninteresting conversations, narcissism, lectures, meetings, et al. But, the most important thing that ‘kills’ me is boring and disengaging presentation. How many of you have sat in the audience when someone is flashing his power point on the projector, across the room and rendering his imposed discourse on the dispassionate, incurious and lackluster crowd?
A powerful presentation creates a wonderful impact on the audience, drawing their attention towards your matter in the presentation. You will get to express yourself correctly and the audience will be able to grasp the matter accurately.
Things which bugs me are:
- Essays on slides – The whole purpose of power point presentations are be concise and maintain brevity. Slides with bullet-ed points comprising of a line or two attracts the audience. Some people have the tendency to write essays on their slides and read it exactly word-to-word from them, sans the eye contact with their audience. I wish to stop these people right there and tell them “Hello, I can read English too”!
- Not elaborating the matter – This is in conjunction with above point. Some people just read slides and fail to elaborate the matter, thus boring the audience.
- Not keeping eye contact – It is really mandatory that the presenter keeps eye contact with his audience to assure them that he knows the matter and also make them feel important. Some people give presentations looking at walls, ceiling, floor and at their slides, completely oblivious of their audience.
- Not engaging with their audience – Everyone hates to sit in monologue conversations. If you are just going on with your discourse and not taking any questions from the audience, you are totally losing their attention.
Every performance, activity and feat requires an audience. A good audience encourages the performer to give his best, eases and relaxes his mind and also provides comfort during the performance. Some performers require ‘well known faces’ amidst their audience; whereas, others require strangers. Some feel comfortable receiving encouragement from loved ones; whereas others from strangers. For me, I would love the presence of strangers than my own family and friends.
Since my childhood, I have given numerous performances like song, drama and dance recitals. Every time that I went on stage, I was consciously aware of the fact that my parents and friends are paying rapt attention to every word of the lyrics that came out of my mouth, every step I took in my dance and every move in my drama. This ‘conscious mind’ has always put tremendous pressure on me to give my best, stressing me out that I might fail or let my family and friends down. Honestly, I didn’t enjoy performing under stress. It was also demotivating whenever I didn’t win a competition under this stress. Even during my MBA graduation walk, my husband was amidst the audience hollering and cheering for me, whilst happily snapping pictures, that I was consciously aware of, when I took a walk to receive my degree from the dean. When I married and moved to US for the first time,every time my husband(who is a great cook) ventured into the kitchen whilst I was cooking totally freaked me out. It made me so conscious that he might not like my cooking style or my food. Even today, I literally push him out of the kitchen whenever he steps into it.
Therefore, I can safely say that I need strangers amidst my audience to help me ease and give my best performance.
This post is an entry for The Daily Post’s-Daily Prompt: “Witness Protection“