Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Breaking the Email Addiction

Read this very interesting article at Harvard Business Review, written by Tony Shwartz. The original can be found here...

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Do you wake up in the morning and bring your laptop into bed with you, or check it before you brush your teeth?

Do you check email while you're driving, even though you're four times as likely to have an accident when you do?

Are you answering email on your iPhone or Blackberry when you walk between meetings, or on your way to the parking lot?

Do you keep answering while you're sitting in your car in your driveway or garage when you get home?

Do you bring your laptop back into bed with you at night, and make one final check before you turn out the lights?

Last month my company, The Energy Project, posted a poll on the Huffington Post asking people about their experience in the workplace. One of the questions was about email.

Out of 1200 respondents, some 60 percent said they spend less than two waking hours a day completely disconnected from email. Twenty percent spend less than a half hour disconnected. Email has become our intravenous feeding tube.

I gave a talk recently at a Fortune 100 company about the value of focusing on one thing at a time and the attentional costs of constant interruptions. When I was done, an articulate and ingenuous young man who worked in finance came up to me. "I believe everything you said," he said, "but I can't do it. If I get an email, I have to look at it."

"Have you considered just turning it off at certain times during the day?" I asked.

"I don't think I can," he replied. "As soon as I turn it off, I'd start obsessing about what I'm missing."

It isn't overload we're battling anymore, it's addiction — to action, and information, and connection, but above all to instant gratification.

In the late 1960s, the psychologist Walter Mischel began conducting his famous "marshmallow" experiment. He placed a marshmallow in front of a succession of four-year-olds. Mischel told them they were free to eat the marshmallow simply by ringing a bell after he'd left the room. However, if they were able to wait untill he returned, he told them they could have two marshmallows.

Seventy percent of the children gave up in less than a minute. Only thirty percent were able to wait 15 minutes.

Mischel termed marshmallows a "hot stimulus" — meaning highly seductive — not unlike the ping of an email, or a text.

We're pulled to anything that provides instant gratification, even when we know we'd get a bigger reward for delaying. We're also quick to respond to any excuse to stop working on something that is difficult and requires high concentration.

What Mischel discovered is that the low delayers quickly burned down their limited reservoir of will and discipline by staring directly (and longingly) at the marshmallow.

The high delayers found something else entirely to focus on. They never looked at the marshmallow.

Mischel came to call this skill "strategic allocation of attention." It's a capacity many of us have lost when it comes to the Pavlovian pull of email.

Years later, when Mischel redid the experiment with a new group of 4-year-olds, he decided to teach the poor delayers among them the techniques of the high delayers — very simple ways to redirect their attention away from the marshmallow. Kids who hadn't been able to wait more than a minute rapidly learned to hold out for a full 15 minutes.

We, too, can strategically train our attention. When it comes to email and the Internet, it's critical that we do so to give ourselves more time to think more reflectively, creatively, and deeply in an increasingly complex world.

If you're truly tethered to your email, start small. Choose a specific time each day to turn off your email for a half hour, or an hour, and focus on something that requires your full attention. Then begin adding other times as your focus gets stronger. 

Here's one way to start. Take back your lunch. I wrote about this movement on this site last week. Get up from your computer step outside and leave your iPhone or your Blackberry behind. Instead, use the time to quiet your mind, or to think through a difficult problem, or to truly connect with a friend, or a colleague. You'll be building much needed renewal into your day, and you'll also be effectively retraining your attention.

Take back your lunch, and take back your attention. They're two first steps in taking back your life.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What Women Want?


Whether they give or refuse, it delights women just the same to have been asked.
~Ovid

The chief excitement in a woman's life is spotting women who are fatter than she is.
 ~Helen Rowland

What women want? That is a question that philosophers, theologists and what not have been pondering over since the dawn of the life. I am sure even Adam must have faced the same problem when dealing with Eve. How he overcome that problem, and I am glad that he did or else there wouldn’t have been such a contest for the lack of participants and organizers, is something that we will probably never know.

At different points, we hear different responses to what women want.
•    An email forward that I got some time back narrated the story of how an old witch married a young man and gave him two choices: a) Should she remain beautiful in the day and become a hag at night; or b) Should she remain hag in the day and become beautiful at night? The young man told the witch the witch that she can chose the option herself. To which the witch decided to remain beautiful ever because what she wanted, and by corollary all women want, is to be in charge of their own destiny.
•    Yet another forward lists down some things that women want from men and from society in general including Respect; some Chivalry; conversation and not just talking and listening; tactfully dealing with whatever issue is bothering them and the works.
•    Yet another article on net states that they just want to sort out other’s lives. Plain. Kapish.


A Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt starrer “What Women want?” in 2000 discussed the same issue. The protagonist wants to know what women want for a cosmetic Market Research and ends up with an ability to hear women’s thoughts and makes the life better for him. Wish it was that easy!

I personally feel that despite all the ruckus and ponderings and thought processes going on about what women want, despite the various researched and market studies and questionnaires and surveys, the answer is pretty simple.

Even women themselves don’t know what they want!

Even women concede this point. At MY Sun's Woman forum, user ‘lovelyrita’ confessed that guys might find it difficult to figure out the female mind. She said: "How can men be expected to know what women want when women don't know what they want? Some women are their own worst enemies!"

But imagine… what if the women are asking themselves the question “What do men want?” Perhaps they are every bit as confused about opposite sex as we are. And they try to act according to what they think that we want. And men, mistakenly, take that as what women really want and try to base our actions on that.


Incidentally, I feel that what a woman wants is:
  • A successful career for their children
  • For their husband to appreciate their work and the food they cook, irrespective of how good or bad either may be
  • For their bosses to appreciate their talent
  • To be able to spend some free time as and how they want
  • Respect from those that she respects

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This is in response to What Women Want contest at BlogAdda.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where is the honour in killing?


 Of lately, we have been hearing a lot about honour killing.

Some recent cases:
  1. The young couple Monica and Kuldeep along with Monica's cousin Shobha were brutally murdered in the Ashok Vihar neighbourhood on 21st June. (Source)
  2. On 20th June, Monika (18) and her lover Rinku (19), both from Jat families, were brutally killed for honour at Nimriwali village, near Bhiwani. The father of the girl, her brother, uncle and cousins are suspected to be behind the crime and are absconding. (Source)
  3. Nirupama Pathak, a 22-year-old journalist was found dead in the last week of April at her family home in Jharkhand. The post-mortem report says she was murdered by smothering and that she was 10-12 weeks pregnant. Her only fault was that she fell in love with a boy from another caste. (Source)
These are but a scratch on the surface of the many that don’t even get reported because the parents on both sides are opposed to the marriage and end up covering the matter from police. In some cases, the police are also involved to “teach the young ones a lesson”.

According to 2007 estimates of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the annual worldwide total of honor-killing victims may be as high as 5,000.

Its not that this honour killing is something unique to India only. Worldwide cases have been reported on this matter. Most of them, however, have been reported in Islamic countries where the women are the main victims of such brutality. In India, democratic as we are, they don’t discriminate between the men and women and kill them both and any of the accomplices. Just like the “mob never forgets”, even these goons never forget how their honour was tarnished four years ago when their daughter married outside their caste, they will bid their time until the perfect opportunity when they kill them all.

And then the nerve of these people trying to justify the killings. The parents of the girl in the latest case on 20th June, are openly supporting the killers saying that they haven’t done anything wrong.

And what is our government doing on all this? Just waiting and watching, letting the phase pass; till the time the entire case cools down so that whatever decision they take does not affect their vote bank politics. Incidentally Law Minister M Veerappa Moily claims that Home Ministry has prepared a Bill aimed at "putting an end" to such crimes and which will be "a tight law to put an end to such crimes".

You know what I think about this?


Nobody has a right to kill anyone. Sometimes you may wish that killing was legalized just so that you can get even with that prick who keeps on bugging you. But you still don’t have right to kill someone. Who are these people to decide if the girl/boy deserve to die if they married outside their caste?

PS: If this trend continues, people might have to stop haggling over prices with various vendors lest the vendor takes an offence of the haggling and decides to “teach someone a lesson”.

Images courtesy the “honourable” gentlemen who killed those poor souls
(Sourced from blogs.reuters.com, ibnlive.in.com, images.sodahead.com and epaper.hindustantimes.com)  

Additional feed:
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/how-govt-plans-to-fight-honour-killings-33467
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/honour-killing-victims-family-justifies-murder/125138-3.html?from=tn

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Indiblog Rank

Got my Indiblog rank today... was pleasantly surprised with a healthy 73... They say that the top blogs get a rank between 80-90... So I guess 73 isn't that bad.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A step back on the evolution ladder


 
Comparing a man from Neolithic age to a modern day average man, you can see several things different, or which were lacking in that person; which can be broadly counted as:


  1. An inclined, slouched posture
  2. Lack of knowledge
  3. Inability to strings two words together
  4. Decreased comprehensive ability 
  5. Lower cognitive skills
  6. A gobbled up language
  7. Reluctance (sometimes due to lack) to wear proper clothes, in effect revealing more than hiding
  8. No concept of social communication with others except their close group

Now looking at the younger generation, that is to say people in the tweens and teens of nowadays; you can immediately notice several things:



1.  I am sure all of us have seen the evolution cycle at some point of time. And if you are a human then you must have noticed how the teenagers walk with a continuous slouch. Now, I am sure some of it must be due to the heavy bags which they were make to carry when they were young (it was easy back then… now any effort to make them do anything is met with a reproaching glare and a weeklong sulk) but that’s something Kapil Sibal has taken care of now by ensuring that no one fails and hence no need to study. Ergo no need for heavy bags. But that still doesn’t solve the problem of slouching and as a result they walk as if they have de-evolved

2.   They are dumb. No talking about the JEE and PMT cracking dudes and dudettes, the average teen is dumb and other than bookish or freaky, western knowledge; doesn’t have an iota of practical gyaan.
3.  Trying to talk to them is like talking to a Gorilla or Chimpanzee, partly because they ALWAYS have earphones plugged and partly because they can’t speak in proper Hindi or English. They are only comfortable with Hinglish and that too with words with not more than two syllables. That is to say apart from their “ummm”s and “hmmm”s and “like”s and “basically”s.
4.  Another aspect of talking to these people is getting them understand what you are saying, preferably after a couple of efforts only and not more, and not getting frustrated enough to either strangle yourself or wishing for a horrible explosion to wipe out their existence.
5.  While the computing technology has advanced to the level where multi tasking is not a new concept but something that everyone takes for granted, the tweens have once again gone a step backwards and adopted an “only one task at a time” framework and come hell or high water, you cannot take them off it or watch them sulk for an eternity. Probably doing two things at a time might prove to be too strenuous a task for the fragile empty showcase that their tiny brain is.
6.  Have you ever had a chance to read a message from them? Count yourself fortunate if you haven’t; because the way they write English makes you glad that they were not present when the language was being finalized as it would have been a major pain to read through it all. But why the hell do they have to write complete stories in this f****d up language? Imagine, if we had Ved Vyasa write the Vedas and Upanishads in SMSese. That would have been something to be afraid of.
7.  Looking at the tweens, even the spawns of some of the more effluent families, the first thing that you may think is what the hell is he wearing? Torn jeans, faded Che Guera shirts which barely cover their asses (literally so) and both of which (shirts and jeans and not the third thing mentioned above) are ten sizes bigger than what they should be wearing. Net Result: A Rhinoceros wearing Elephant skin and being under the impression that it is looking better than a peacock in their full plumage in the rains.
8.  To put it in nut shell, they don’t know how to be socially adaptable. Very rarely have I found a teenager who is comfortable in a social kind of setting unless it involves people in their own age group. And forget them helping you out if you have had a busy day and suddenly a dozen guests come over to your place. They will just plug in their earphones and ignore everyone else. In that aspect, they are worth two locked doors and a trick staircase (meaning worse than useless and with substantial potential for being more harmful than helpful) (always wanted to use it since I read it in HP).

No I am no child psychologist or a historian by any means, but even the least observant reader may be able to notice how the defining characteristics in the two “species” are similar. This could only mean one thing… We are moving back the evolution ladder!

Your views please!

Image Courtesy: www.working-well.org and http://www.partofmyevolution.com

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Friend in deed


SO, WHAT do you make of the petition to do away with the upper limit of friends a person is allowed to have on Facebook? The current maximum stands at 5,000; go above this number and your account is disabled and you are frozen out of the site. In protest, the more gregarious Facebookers have started an on-line petition to beseech the site's administrators to let them have as many friends as they want. So, those of you who want to `friend' more than 5,000 people know exactly where to sign up. 
As for me, I'm still reeling from the realisation that there are people out there who have 5,000 friends ­ and still want more. I'm not sure I even know 5,000 people, let alone have that number lining up to `friend' me on Facebook. 
In fact, if I add up all the numbers, I would probably be lucky if I reached a thousand, if that. 
Don't get me wrong. I may not be the world's fore- most expert on social media, but I am not a total idiot either. I understand that a friend on Facebook is not really a friend in the traditional sense of the term. Facebook friends can be people who you know very peripherally or maybe not at all. They may include work colleagues, business contacts, friends of friends, com- plete strangers, hell, even cyber stalkers and the like. 
But even so, 5,000 `friends'? You have got to be kid- ding. Of course, if you believe social scientists then the number of friends a person can realistically hope to make is way below this mark. British anthropologist, Robin Dunbar, came up with a magic number: 150. This, according to him, was the number of people any one person can have stable social relationships with. 
Dunbar's number, as it somewhat inevitably came to be called, is based on the size of the neo-cortex of the human brain and the size of communities in hunter- gatherer societies. Dunbar's theory is borne out by recent anecdotal evidence on social networking sites which shows that no matter how many `friends' a person may have ­ 500 or 5,000 ­ meaningful and regu- lar communication is restricted to just around 150 people. Human beings, it would seem, are hardwired to interact within relatively small, well-integrated groups in which most people know each other and have some sort of social link with one another. 
And yet, the moment you sign up for any social networking site, you find all kinds of characters crawling out of the woodwork, asking to be your friend. People you barely said hello to in school or col- lege suddenly want to be `added' to your list. Colleagues whom you haven't seen in years want to link up again. Everyone wants to get back in touch even though there is probably a good reason why you lost touch to begin with. And then, there are the loonies: complete strangers who want to be your friend simply because they like your profile picture. 
My guess is that all those people who already have a few thou- sand people on their `friend' list and are now clamouring to ask for more, simply sign on anyone who sends in a request. After all, social media sites are all about showing off these days, about how well- connected and popular you are. So, as far as friends go, the dictum seems to be: the more the merrier. 
But really, when you think about it, how many people would you call a friend? In my experience, very few people qualify if you are being completely honest with yourself. Few child- hood friends survive the transition to adulthood. If you are very fortunate indeed, you probably still have ten people in your life who knew you as a child. 
College buddies have a slightly better survival rate, but even so you probably aren't in regular touch with more than a dozen. Work colleagues tend to fall off the radar pretty soon once you switch jobs with just a handful making the cut as friends. And few of us know our neighbours well enough to call them acquaintances, leave alone friends. 
In fact, when it comes down to it, there are very few people you can call friends in the real sense of the term. In my book, only those who qualify on the following five counts make the list.
  • Someone you can call at two in the morning simply because you are in a blue funk and can't fall asleep.
  • Someone you rely on to tell you that your bum does look big in those pair of jeans (and those blonde high- lights really don't work).
  • Someone who drops in to see you with a steaming cup of cappuccino/chicken soup when you are at home nursing a cold (and whom you can greet at the door in your pyjamas).
  • Someone you would trust to look after your kids if you were to die in a horrible accident.
  • Someone you can have a slam-dunk row with ­ name-calling, phone- banging, abuse-shouting, etc. ­ secure in the knowledge that it will make no difference to your relationship. 
Frankly, if you have five people in your life with whom you can do all of the above, you should count yourself lucky.
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Disclaimer:

Read this absolutely wonderful article on Social Networking in Sunday HT Brunch and copy pasting it here... The original rights lie with Seema Goswami.
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A just decision for Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Yesterday, the decision for union carbide came. The case is important for all the Indians as this marks the long 26 years of the greatest industrial accident in the world.  An incident in which over 25,000people lost their lives and lakhs were effected by the leakage of the deadly gas from the Union Carbide chemical factory in Bhopal, India.

Needless to say, like all high profile cases involving the high end, filthy rich poeple or cases involving bureaucrats and industrialists or incidents involving global executives from MNCs, the verdict for this case as well was not very much different in the substance and reiterated our "faith" in the Indian Judicial system that we can not trust it.

There were eight accused and seven were found guity while one has already died. The accused were fined Rs. 25000 and two year Jail time. A lot of hue and cry was raised over it that the justice system has let us down and stricter punishment for the accused. I, for one, can not understand the reason for all this because:
  • When has the justice ever been transparent or fair to the public in general that you should set your expectations on it being so this time around. Now, it would have been a different matter altogether were you the spawn of a politician or an industrialist or probably executives from a leading petrochemical giant. Then, and only then, every one from the peon to the constable upwards till the judges would have been frantic to save your ass. but, as we all know, those who did die did not belong to any such elite class... So fair enough!
  • Some people were crying foul over the fact that the accused were fined merely 25000 while according to various estimates about 25000 people died in that incident and about 5 lakh effected with repercussions being felt till date and babies being born with congenital defects till date. That's about Re. 1 per dead person. I say what did the poor people think they are worth? A lifetime of meals to their family? Surely those poor people who dies could not have been worth more than Re. 1 or else they would have been staying somewhere else and would not have been effected by the gas tragedy.
  •  Not withstanding the number of people died and got effected by the incident; I think that Union Carbide did their part in trying to reduce the overgrowing population of the country. Obviously several other prestigious institutions also feel the same way looking at the various awards conferred to  Keshub Mahindra (an accused in Bhopal Tragedy). For further details, please refer here.
  • Some people are also blaming Dow and Union Carbide officials for their lack luster attitude towards the apathy of the people of Bhopal. Some find fault with our judicial system. I say, when our own government is not concerned with its own people, why do we keep on blaming others?
PS: Is anybody following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? I am sure we are bound to see lots of action in that case as well.

PPS: Some interesting links:
http://bhopal.net/2010dharna/blog/?p=3365
http://in.yfittopostblog.com/2010/06/07/the-big-story-bhopal-tragedy-verdict/
http://shekharkapur.com/blog/2010/06/bhopal-gas-tragedy-the-great-sell-out-by-the-government-of-india/

Image Courtesy: khatarkar.files.wordpress.com

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stereotypes – Parents


And here is another one on stereotypes... This time it is the parents who will have to take the flak. The idea came in the form of a friend saying how her parents are not letting her go to a wedding and that got me thinking.
Warning: A long post!!!


OH-MY-CHILD-IS-SO-DELICATE-SO-HE-WONT-DO-ANYTHING: Also known as being very over protective (yes I know hyper exaggeration but these are stereotypes, aren’t they?). They are typical examples of how you SHOULDN’T be with kids. Typical examples can be seen in Bengali household when come cold (which for Bengalis means as soon as temperature falls below 40 deg C) they will take out all their winter clothes, including monkey caps and the works; and force their kids to wear it. I mean it is really a fun sight to watch a Bengali kid all decked up in gloves, muffler, sweater, warmers and monkey cap while all others roam around in T-shirts. And mind you, it is not restricted to the young ones only. Yet another variety comes in the form of parents who won’t let their children have any practical exposure such buying bread, or going to a chemist shop to buy medicine or god forbid if they have to buy the stationary. No. Their kids, they feel, are much too simple to have these dangerous experiences at the tender age of 25 years.

I-LET-MY-CHILD-DO-WHATEVER-THEY-WANT: On the other hand of the spectrum to the over protective parents are the over liberal parents who couldn’t give two hoots about what their child is up to. Most of the parents that fall into this category have loads and loads of money. So whenever their kids want something, they just give them another platinum card with no ceiling just so that they stop bothering their parents. That’s when the various incidents like the BMW-Hit-And-Run cases happen. But hey…the parents still don’t sweat because they have another set of platinum cards just for these purposes and funding the lavish lifestyles of their children. The children, following the examples of their parents, then evolve into two very different categories – One: The likes of Manu Sharma etc who, in the intoxication of their wealth, end up killing one or more people with guns, or BMWs or may even bore the prospects to death with unending talks about what their daddy does or how much money their mommy make. Second: The likes of people who, when have too much money, will spend all of it on high end ecstasy products like meth, cocaine, liquor etc and then die at the age of 25-30 years or drive their BMW over some innocent pedestrians. You get the idea.

SHOWOFFS: These parents take immense pride in whatever their child is doing and never, ever, ever miss an opportunity to one-up the other person when they are talking about their kids. Their sample conversation with other parents having kids in the same age group would be:

“Parents A: Did you know that Arun won a painting competition in the school?
Parents B: In the school? (With disdain written all over their face) Arrey that’s nothing. Our Noni won an inter-school dancing competition this year.
Parents B: (Not wanting to be shown down) I say that’s beginner’s luck. Arun has been winning that for two years now.

Meanwhile Arun and Noni and wailing in the background for their feeder which the ayah then brings to them.”


I-WONT-SHUTUP-TALKING-ABOUT-MY-KIDS: Aka too much proud parents. Did you know that their kid starting walking at the age of 2 years? Did you know that when he was three, he drew a map of India on their drawing room just with his drool? Did you know that he is so healthy that he poops ten times a day? I don’t really care about such parents. It is one thing when the parents actually have something to boast about. It’s another thing when you start obsessing with every breath and sigh of your kid. It gets even more irritating when these start posting each and every such thing on their twitter and facebook networks in addition to detailed visual representations on their blogs and flikr.

I-WONT-SHUTUP-TALKING-ABOUT-MY-NEPHEWS-AND-NIECES: Aka too much proud uncles and aunts. They are a sub-category of the showoffs and not of the too much proud parents. Not having done anything worthwhile in their entire lives, and having children with the talent equivalent of a wooden log, they find contentment in the achievements of their nephews and nieces, however distantly related they may be. Of course, like all the aunts and uncles, they try and act all derogatory in the face of these children just so the kids don’t get any wrong ideas like they are loved by their aunt and uncle or that they are even needed in this world. In the face of the parents of the child they will always, ALWAYS, criticize the parents for the upbringing that they have given to the child. Examples could include instances ranging from child’s drools all over the drawing room wall or his capacity to poop ten times a day to the child being a voracious reader/student. People don't really need much effort to find faults with others. Given any day, their wooden log of a child is always better than other's poop factory.

THE-ARGUMENTATIVE-PARENTS: They are the single biggest pain that any child is inherited with, even including congenital birth defects. These people single handedly, ok not single handedly but with four or more hands amongst themselves (considering any pati, patni aur woh type of cases are involved), are responsible for the destruction of a person’s childhood and emotional scars so deep that grand canyon compares to be a scratch on the surface. Often, it is with parents like these and lack of social development that you get the people belonging to the mentally troubled genre such as psychopaths, stalkers etc.

CRIBBER: The parents in this category have two further sub-categories and in order to do justice to them, it would be better to explain them separately. First category is of the parents who are never satisfied with whatever their child does. Even if the child studies for 25 hours in a day, they will not be satisfied with them. Not only that, they will also crib about the fact that their child doesn’t study “as much as he should” whenever they are around other parents and especially around teachers. They will always want their child to do more. If the child secured 90%, then instead of applauding them of the feat, they will always bugger them about the rest of the 10% and push them to get even higher marks in the future. It is with these parents that the children find themselves falling short of targets set for them and often provokes them for unwarranted extreme actions such as self inflicted injuries for the fear of disappointed their over-expecting parents. It is a different matter altogether that the parents themselves can even spell “SACHET” but they will still expect their children to win every damn thing that comes in to sight. The second category of these parents is the ones who are never satisfied with whatever they have. They will always crib about how costly the education for their child is, how they are barely able to make their expenses meet and how they have to make cut backs just so that their child gets proper education and how self-sacrificial they are. All while they are packing for a trip to Maldives (See they wanted to go to Mauritius but due to their sacrificial nature, they decided to cut back a little and go to Maldives instead).

POSSESSIVE: “Mera beta/beti sirf mere hain” (My son/daughter are mine only). Different from the Over-protective parents, as the category head suggests in itself, these parents are extremely possessive for their children. They themselves may work their children to death, as if in a hurry to depreciate all their net worth in one go; but they can’t tolerate their child even lifting a finger to help anyone else. Ironically, they also want that other’s children should always be willing to help them out in case of any requirement, however small it may be.

COMPARERS: These parents are never satisfied with whatever their child does or however hard he/she is trying. For them, their perfect child would always be some other than their own offspring; perhaps someone from an unknown planet in a galaxy far far away where, as the stereotypes go, he would not be the perfect child for his parents. Come what may, if the child comes to these parents and says “Hey dad! Know What? I scored a perfect 100 in Maths.”; in all probabilities the parents, instead of patting him on the back and giving a warm hug, would instead ask him “What about Rohan? He also got 100 in Maths didn’t he? And to top it all he also got 100 in Science when all you got was a lousy 98. What good are you for?” Of course, it is these parents who, more often than not, end up killing their own children (both metaphorically as well as literally speaking). With such a pressure on the children, the child forgets how to enjoy and instead starts slaving towards better marks or higher achievements to satiate the unquenchable thirst of their parents. This if the child is lucky. If the child is unlucky, the continuous contempt and the disapproving stance of their parents and fear of any activity with which they might end up disappointing their parents often drives them to retaliate against the society and become unconcerned, non-productive members or drive them down the path of death.

CONTROL-FREAKS: You would have heard all about these parents from your friends and secretely all think that their parents belong to this secret cult. Yes… they aaaaaaare the controoooooooooooooool freaks. They like to control each and every aspect of your life such as when you eat, when you sleep, when you wake up and when you work. Their sole purpose in life, other than your “goodwill”, is to be an overbearing presence in your life and be the force that guides all your actions.

CELEBRITY-PARENTS: The likes of BranGelina couple, Sushmita Sen like people who, now that they have gained as much as they could from the conventional media; are now focusing on non-conventional media to get some recognition and/or moolah for them. Then, there are variations of celebrity parents who were (or at least are supposed to be) stars in the iron age and are now planning for a launching pad for their off-spring. Please note that it is forever a launching pad till the offspring themselves become a veteran of the industry and looks for a “launching pad” for their own spawn. Famous for various movies wih their off springs in the lead, they used to be typically found in the Hollywood arena. This, however, has changed now with newer species rearing their heads in places such as cricket and reality shows.

WANNABE-CELEBRITY-PARENTS: Talking about reality shows brings us to our next set of prental stereotypes… wannabes. They are more typically the parents of some B or C or Z grade star who try and hog the limelight as much as they can. Case in point – Rakhi Sawant and his her mother. As the legend goes, Rakhi Sawant was a hard working, dedicated item girl who got into the business of remixed old songs itemized to current flavors to fulfill her obligations towards her brother, her mother and towards her family in general. She was forced to dance and Jejus (Yes. No spelling mistake there and if you have heard Rakhi you know what I mean) knows what all. But at some point, she got disowned/cheated/tortured etc from the family. This was after the BigBossSeason1 era, which incidentally got her a lot of publicity. Subsequently, the BigBossSeason3 era began with Rakhi’s mom coming into limelight and her ruing the spoilt relations in the family. Yet another species of this sub-class of parents are the ones who have their child (however young or old they maybe) participate in one of the umpteen numbers of reality shows on the Idiot Box (Now literally so). These parents then try to get maximum sympathy votes from the junta (in case of public voting) or judges by reciting a prepared script of how bad they have had, how difficult their lives were and how their child is just short of being angelic by reaching this far. They cry and sob, or make allegations over the decisions and try and create limelight for themselves and their child.

PERFECT-PARENTS: I hate to do this to the lot of you but someone has to bust this myth once and for all. THERE ARE NO PERFECT PARENTS!!! Whatever parents there exists; they are always a convoluted concoction of one or more of the above categories. In some parents, one particular traits would be very significantly observable while in others some other traits. Though, all of the traits are present in all of the parents, at all points of time, in however miniscule proportions. Even god Ram could not be a perfect parent… what are we but mere mortals?

PS: From the post, you might have gotten the idea that all BMW owners are bad and are prone to hurt someone or other. But that’s not true. Some are dead and some behind the bars.