Muddled Thoughts

Matilda effect…

In 1993, Margaret Rossiter coined a term for the forgotten women in science and, more generally, academia: The Matilda Effect. There was a pattern throughout history, she argued, of women who, when compared to men, failed to receive equal recognition or reputation for equal scientific achievement. These are the women whose names have been relegated to footnotes, or whose accomplishments have been scrubbed out like a blemish.”

The Matilda Effect is defined as “the systematic repression and denial of the contribution of woman scientists in research, whose work is often attributed to their male colleagues” but which applies to other fields as well and goes doubly for women of color. This is just science, not even history in the larger sense. The absence of women in history is man made.

Let’s ask ourselves is this still happening today and if yes – why are we women putting up with it? Rather than getting mad at men, let’s partner to empower women and men to collaborate as equals and true partners

While I know first hand about men taking credit for others work, it doesn’t stop at just taking credit for women’s work. Inferior people in the right positions will take credit for others work no matter gender to further themselves. These people should be the targets.

True. Beyond that is the intolerable and undeniable fact that such a vast number of women do not enjoy basic human rights the world over, are enslaved, and treated as less than a self. The record is damning. Each woman is someone’s sister, daughter, or mother, each is an “I”, a self. Yet still, even now in this day and age they are treated without basic freedoms and basic human rights. It is intollerable.

Strong honorable men are not threatened by strong women, often they have a strong vibrant woman at their side 🙂

Hear a magnetic song to celebrate any day as Women’s Day!!!

https://youtu.be/HucAF6Pg-vg

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“Not my problem”?? Its you.

Any partner who sees their partner suffering and, whether the reason is reasonable or not, says “It’s not my problem. It’s you” is not a partner. 

Partnership is about coming together when things are hard, not distancing from it. This is a basic tenet of any good relationship – empathy and compassion for the other person, not to mention if what you are doing is hurting the other person, stopping it. You do not have to accept less than that because you have mental issues.

I think there is something to be said for not being overly anxious or insecure when our significant others have friends they could potentially be attracted to. That being said, though, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a line in which loyalties end up being compromised. So, I’m not sure that I agree that this is totally our thing to figure out. Some of the activities might seem to be potentially problematic and tiptoeing up to some line of inappropriateness (it’s one of those things where even if you can’t define the line, you sort of recognize it when it shows up). Also, if some of those behaviors are painful to you, they are painful to you, and a good partner will at least try to be sensitive to that rather than say it’s totally your thing to figure out.

Partner’s behavior would make one feel insecure. It doesn’t have to be “is he going to have an affair”; it can just be “is our connection dying on the vine and am I seeing the signs of it in the way he is no longer prioritizing me”.

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When joy and grief are knitted together…

I could barely read this but its a good read.

https://driftingthrough.com/2015/01/30/lessons-from-the-worst-day-of-my-life-2/
The lessons are invaluable and at least the experience has left us with those.

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Is marriage an achievement?

A friend forwarded this image to me on Whatsapp. Not sure I agree entirely. A wedding is not an achievement. A good, balanced marriage certainly is, calling for years of work on the part of both parties.

Thankfully marriage was never ever a topic in our household. Education and career was. I was never told not to do this, not to say this, etc because I had to get married one day. During studies when other girls used to fantasize about marriage I on the other hand thought about polishing my skill, volunteering and even started working. And when I was earning, girls my age were getting married and I on the other hand was learning new skills and thinking about how to get a house on my name! My family never ever got worried about our marriage and when the right time came I married on my terms and by my choice and still living how I wanted to. 

Individual religious beliefs also have a high impact on this uneven happiness or otherwise in the marriage. 

Making a marriage, or any relationship, work takes effort. Being happy in a marriage, or other relationship, is an achievement that should be celebrated. 

Getting married in and of itself is not an achievement. Getting married is not a goal. It is just a thing that can happen or not in the middle of all your achievements. And when it happens make sure you get married on your own terms. 🙂

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Love is…

First day of the year and I am more excited than anyone. Another beautiful chapter to be written over a year.

Excitedly I opened my gifted journal to the first question. It happens to be the most over-used and misunderstood word – LOVE. It is never easy to define love…or is it?

Infatuation is not love.

Attention is not love.

Sex is not love.

Love is mysterious.

I don’t know if I believe in the idea of soul mates or love at first sight. But I do believe that I have someone who is exactly right for me. Not because he was perfect, or because I was, but because our combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two individuals fit like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

When we are incomplete, we are always searching for somebody to complete us. But, after a few years of a relationship, we blame our partners for the feeling of un-fulfillment. Let’s admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us. Choosing to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure. The most painful thing is losing ourself in the process of loving someone too much or expecting someone to love us in a certain way, and forgetting that we are special too.

People like to say love is unconditional, but even so it definitely should come with a disclaimer. Falling in love is easy but staying in love is a huge responsibility. It’s like someone wants you to be happy and that makes you automatically responsible for their happiness because they won’t be happy unless you are. Phew – now that’s a vicious cycle and a responsibility! But if there is always an expectation attached – something in return, then its heading to a disaster. 

We will question our partner if they really love us. We will ask this a dozen times but do we ever ask if they are mad at us. When someone is angry, we don’t doubt it for a moment. Thus the reverse should be true also. We doubt the positive qualities in others, but seldom the negative. Why do we doubt the negative in life instead of having faith in the positive? Is it so difficult? Are we engineered like that?

We secretly wish for that special person who is right for us. But if we happen to have kissed a few frogs, we begin to suspect the existence of the prince. Why is so? Was I wrong in some way to find partners who were wrong in a complementary way? I don’t think that’s the case – they helped me a lot to grow fully into my own wrongness.

And it isn’t until we finally overcome our deepest fears, our courage of taking another change – the ones that make us truly who we are – that we are ready to find a lifelong partner. Only then do we finally know what we are looking for. But not just any wrong person: the right-wrong person – someone we lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.”

To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. I think as we grow wiser with time, we are more willing with our accumulated courage take a chance on someone. Becoming soul-mates takes a lifetime to perfect. We have to recognize that there cannot be any relationship unless there is commitment, loyalty, love, patience, and persistence.

It’s said that “When God knows we are ready for commitment, He will reveal the right person even under the wrong circumstances.” I strongly believe in it because I found that special person who is wrong for me in just the right way – someone who knows the shape of my fears and contour my dreams.

Its amazing how a person who was a stranger suddenly meant the world to me. He deserves the world and one day I will find out how to give it to him.

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Give another chance, can you?

Whilst I am trying to keep things light around because I am in the happiest phase of my life, sometimes things like relationships becomes a weighty subject.

Like it did for a dear friend of mine – let me call her Annie.

After a string of dates with a series of losers, players, flakes and bores, her next foray into the dating world led her to the classic selfish jerk. She meets a promising man. He’s employed. He’s interesting. He’s passionate about the world around him. He says he wants to get married one day. He seems normal – you know how hard it is to find a normal guy.

But life turned around for her soon enough. He put her down and manipulated her every chance he got. Being inexperienced, she assumed this was normal. Her confidence plummeted, and even after discovering his infidelity few times she didn’t have the courage to break it off with him. She even moved to a different country to be with this man. Basically, she tried everything (Love is blind for many). She didn’t think she was doing anything wrong, and didn’t feel she deserved any better.

In one of their parties, her man’s best friend forced himself onto her. Next day, she confided in her man as he was the only person she really knew who would understand and support her during her emotional distress.

Instead of supporting, he laughed at her. This ignorant “man” told her she “was only good for sex anyway.”

Tragically, part of her believed him.

It’s easy to see why Annie is now terrified of relationships. Even when she meets a guy that seems nice, she rules them out fearing he’s another jerk. She’s wounded and in her own words, “cynical.”

We know intellectually that not every man is as bad as the ones we have encountered. It would be a huge mistake to blame each new guy for the sins of the men in our past.

Nonetheless, moving on is not as easy as snapping our fingers and putting trauma such as infidelity and emotional cruelty behind us. Our experiences are very real, very painful, and they are bound to shade our whole view of the world.

We need to remind ourselvesJust please don’t let them determine it.

Yes, easier said than done!

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Leaders who do things right…or wrong

One of the most important relationships in our lives — that between the manager and the managed.

I will use the word `boss’ rather than `leader,’ `manager,’ or `supervisor’ (although all are bosses) because it implies an authority figure that has direct and frequent contact with subordinates – and who is responsible for personally directing and evaluating their work.

We are living through a period of tremendous change in the workplace and the world alike. It takes us online, gives us advice on how to dress for success, and reiterates how to present our ideas effectively.

I see leadership as a craft; something personal. We all want our team to think we are a good boss, right? We all also want to get perfect results and please our own boss, right? Why does it seem so hard to do one, not at the expense of the other?

Growing up we all had interactions with one leader or another. The way leaders lead in the past is different than how we have to lead today. Our teams are a hybrid of physical and virtual and figuring out how to effectively lead is a challenge all while maintaining our own “style”. For example, growing up my old leaders were not tech savvy – facebook, twitter and instagram didn’t mean much or were not invented. But in today’s world social media is everywhere. From Generation X to the new Millennial generation, we need to understand the importance of how each generation thinks, plans, and finally leads in their professional life – goal setting, preparation and finding ones strengths in the fields that one will become leaders in.

However, often we are in dilemma I bet many other like me face…

There is a generational difference in attitude and expectations and this will inevitably affect leadership style. The old ways are certainly dated and the old school values of individual responsibility and self-reliance are not as ingrained in a connected generation more focused on cooperation and group work. This is not inherently a good or bad thing, but a change that is best acknowledged and accommodated for.

For some reason, when a capable employee who seems to get along with fellow employees becomes “the boss”, something usually happens with how they interact with those same employees; and that “something” usually isn’t good. Welcome to corporate world, where a good two-thirds of its employees don’t like their jobs, primarily because they don’t like their bosses. In the business world, however, everyone agrees that having a “good boss” is highly preferable to having a “bad boss.”

I am not capable to talk about the leadership theory, but I believe that I can balance it with pragmatic lens on the real world. This is a fundamentally optimistic point of view: it is saying that we can all improve, that we are all working prototypes capable of learning and getting better.

However defined, a “boss” by nature is given or somehow obtains at least some degree of control of and – yes – responsibility for others, for better or worse “when performing essential chores like taking charge, making wise decisions, and turning talk into action. They are pounding themselves and their people so hard for short term results of any kind that they have forgotten how to get the best out of them. They have never needed peak levels of creativity, engagement, and risk-taking by their very best people.

A mark of being a good boss is that people don’t notice what you are doing, but are merely aware of that things are going well. And for bad boss, people tend to notice only where they are spectacularly bad and miss most of the components and contributing factors. I believe that they should understand human nature and knows what you should do, shouldn’t do and not be foolish enough to do just because, for a moment in time Mr Boss, you have got the power to get away with a temporary cover up.

Whose resonance not only made you laugh but also made you wonder what you were thinking by getting into organizational life in the first place? In reality, bosses are rarely good all around or bad all around, but instead some kind of a mix.

Well, I’m getting close to my word limit (self imposed) or I could go on and on. Hopefully I have succeeded in whetting your appetite.

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In a relationship…

It’s troubling that there’s still an assumption that female single-hood is an inherently problematic state. For reasons that are utterly beyond me, everything leads to a pitiful sigh. Singletons are associated with various adjectives – lonely, boring, arrogant and picky. People make judgments based on our success, lifestyle and even opinions which according to them are reasons for “being single”. Surely, if they judge singletons so severely, I’m wondering if those individuals are trying to justify their own choices in life (being married, raising families, etc), and possibly some unhappiness with them. Is the world built for couples only where singles need not apply? Do whatever feels right for you. I know it’s hard to ignore the messages we are sent by society, as they are incessant and usually one-sided (i.e. to be considered a mature, responsible adult you must be married and have children), but if we understand that society as a whole is pretty conservative, and that most people will indeed comply with societal norms, we are then in a better position to see it for what it is, and to then take whatever life path truly feels right for us.

Am I really Single?

How can I be ALONE if I have friends/family around that will never leave me? Sure, I don’t have an intimate partner but I sometimes think intimacy is overrated. One can be alone in a crowded room, or at home with a spouse who is distant and uncommunicative. But I have always said I would rather be alone than wish I was! (You may have to think about that for a moment). However, I made many choices in my life that somehow put me away from my family and the society that I grew up with (I don’t mean in a brattish way but my college and job choices), and thankfully I don’t have to deal with “when will you settle down?” situation. Yes, it’s wonderful not to deal with it. As to the 21st century, we already have 7 billion people on this earth– it’s not like single people are causing the extinction of society or the human race!

Experience Life

If I make myself a nice dish or if I go down into the park alone to admire nature around me, is the experience lost? If something amuses me or stimulates me to think in a new way, in what sense is the experience lost? If I remember the event, clearly it is not lost. Even if I don’t remember the event, I lived the event: my body and mind were engaged in the world. However, society seem to be saying that Singletons have no existence unless some other person understands our experience. What is to be gained by subtracting private feelings and insights from our being?

Being Happy

The old better single/better married debate is never-ending and there is no better! You can be happy either way, or unhappy either way. And usually, at some points in our life we will be one, and other points we will be the other. Happiness is relative and highly personal. We all have to walk our own paths to happiness, not those based on societal prescriptions. 36 isn’t old, but it is old enough to question whether its worth starting a family. Hmmm…all I should do is enjoy every day, and not put pressure on myself for things that are beyond my control. Things will fall in place when it’s the right time and when God has planned for it. Oh yes, I have come to realized it off late…and my belief only becomes stronger. A failed engagement had left me charred – I was hypersensitive at times and sometimes these “times” were of indefinite duration. It’s better sooner rather than later as we accept and learn from our choices and our circumstances. And then it occurred to me (ting!!) – I’m glad it did, for otherwise I would have been a square peg trying to jam myself into a round hole, with all the anger and angst that entails. Everyone wants to be getting on the other side of the table and so was I. How about I sit and enjoy my side of the table until the table for two is seated with right person?

Indians are more driven with social norms and values where everything should conform to society’s expectation. As soon as we are born, every thing is pre-defined for us. I am yet to be anchored down by the spells of Cupid, the looks of Medussa, the agony of Romeo however every married friend of mine – male or female – shares their secret “I wish I was single” or leaves a sigh “It sounds so nice, the freedom.”, not because they are unhappy in their marriage but because they forgot what it was to be happy by themselves.

A lot of people, married and single, harbor a fantasy of a perfect relationship with a perfect mate. Sadly, a lot of marriages end when one of the partners wakes from the dream and is unwilling or unable to accept the truth that relationships, especially marriage, take work, patience, and perseverance to last. I admit that I can’t and don’t plan to keep this trajectory but I am in no rush and in a happy phase with myself – enjoying life as I should be. I think when it’s time to settle with someone, when you feel you are with a person you truly love and can happily live with together, sharing and compromising, your heart then will settle naturally, without an effort. I know few ‘un’happily married people in age 40+ to know that “settling” earlier is often a bad idea. I also know a number of happy couples who didn’t meet until they were older. It happens that way sometimes, and it doesn’t mean there’s anything “wrong” with either person.

Self-Acceptance

I personally believe this one life is best enjoyed w/ someone to share moments with. However, it can be scary to look around and see ourselves different from our couple friends. Yet this is what makes us special; our implicit, silent yet firm rebellion against social norms make us of a distinct character. Women particularly should realize that they are not defined by their relationships but ultimately how they feel about themselves. We often mock self-esteem but for well-being, it is crucial. The ability to NOT settle for something untrue to oneself requires more intellect, strength and insight.

Comfortable being “Alone”

When and if, I find a person, one that is comfortable doing things with me and doing things by himself may be a good pick. I admire my girlfriends’ relationships with their husbands, but I am in awe of what they can do independently as well. A woman never knows when she can count on her independence – it’s not a bad thing, indeed. But a woman never knows when she can count on her partner – that’s not a bad thing either.

Remember, there is a big difference between feeling alone and enjoying your solitude. Those who are content in solitude are fortunate indeed. So many people still feel it is scary to see yourself different from peers? What about all the social changes through the decades? Hasn’t there been a big increase in singles, and much later age of marriage? As for divorce–I am not suggesting that it is a GOOD thing but let’s admit that the ratio has increased. That implies that people have the freedom to find some happiness in life. When divorce was frowned upon (rather still is considered as a taboo) people had to adjust, or have marriage in name only, for the sake of the children. I believe, if women can support themselves they will marry for love and compatibility. The great advance in gender equality means there is more chance for good relationships based on mutual respect.

Living our Dream

Married people romanticize being single, and single people romanticize marriage. Not everyone believes being married with children, house and white picket fence is “living the dream,” I may dare say that, at times, the thought is even boring. Getting married is a part of circle of life and not the whole life. Until then, break down your “wants/needs” and play with the combination of bittersweet and earnest longing to “be who you are” and have an upbeat view of the future without fitting into a well-defined plan. There are many ways to be engaged with life – Social cause, learning to dance, go back-packing, etc. when you feel like it. Life, love, food, travel, hobbies can be shared with a variety of people. One does not need a mate in order to have a sense of sharing in life, or to have love.

Feel our feelings

Singletons being neurotic and nasty??? Well, I cry at weddings. I almost burst with love when my friend described his joy at seeing his baby born. My parents might have a different opinion on how young adults view relationships as good or bad as a function of whether it benefits them or fits the template that they have fashioned for themselves. Growing up with my grandparents and parents, I have seen how relationships were nurtured amidst the chaotic lifestyle. I learnt that relationships aren’t oases, magically discovered in the desert. Relationships are structures that are constructed over years, with much effort and deliberate action.

I love the idea of marriage, not blasting it, but living alone does have its perks. It can be annoying though, to have to deal with people’s consternation when they feel troubled by not knowing how to categorize you. This is an age-old debate – Both have benefits and challenges. It does not mean good or bad, it means different. Yet there’s always this terrified rush to justify and denigrate to quell insecurities. Relax, life is varied! People say that singletons in their 30s become choosy/picky. Of course we should be, cos we understand ourself much better than what we were in our 20s.

It’s easy to learn swimming when you are still a child. As an adult, you are scared to jump cos you know the depth which can drown you. Relationship is like a huge swimming pool where 2 people die in with no safety jacket. It’s said that “female freedom has an expiration  date” – but does that mean simply settling with someone. The question remains: Should YOU?

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Catch up with friends!!

Over the last week or so, I have been feeling I need to spend a bit more time on my friendships. As I make it a point to listen to my intuition, I decided to call a good friend who has been on my mind, and the first thing he said was that he and his wife had been thinking about me too and were feeling a need to catch up with their friends. We all had a great laugh at the coincidence, and then we had a lovely chat, catching up on one another’s lives. It was just another reminder to me how valuable my friends are and how important it is to find ways to stay in touch, even when they are far away.

Of course, getting together in person is best, but isn’t always feasible. Nowadays despite physical distances, there are so many ways to keep in touch that our friends and family don’t ever seem to be too far away. In addition, we have cell phones to stay in touch from just about anywhere. And then there are instant messaging programs that allow us to use the computer to catch up with people we haven’t seen in a while and the programs such as FaceTime and Skype, where you can see each other while carrying on your conversation. If we are pressed for time, communicating with your friends all at once through a social networking makes it really easy. Online social networking is a great way to keep up with everyone without having to contact each person separately to find out what they are up to.

And there are always emails or good old-fashioned letters, notes and postcards. Almost everyone enjoys finding a nice personal note in among the bills and junk mail. I know that I do!

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Slave over a Stove!!

It really annoys me when people want to jump down my throat because I don’t do what they think I should. Cooking is one such art form for which I am always asked “Why don’t you cook for yourself?” – the question for which I am yet to master a response for it. I raise quite a few eyebrows when people learn that I have hired the services of a cook who does that for me. I cook or don’t cook based upon what works for me, individually. So, to each it’s own.

Indian society give a lot of emphasize for home-cooked meals – wait for it – prepared by women. Maybe cooking and cleaning was considered the “traditional wife role” in the 50’s but it’s 2014. Gender roles aren’t implicit, inherent things, they were created by society and I think that people are afraid to step out of them or just have simply grown up to think that way. Even in this century, when everyone seems to be talking about women empowerment, there are quite a few men who still reason out by saying cooking3My wife works but I pay most of the bills, so if I can’t get a hot meal every now then what am I getting out of this?” Really?? Ugghh! Do we now ever meet a woman nowadays who doesn’t work or want to work? Men sure don’t mind their partner bringing home a paycheck, but they do not hesitate to pull “traditional wife” trigger to force woman into the kitchen. Some men even don’t know how to fix a damn thing in the house so they pay someone to do it for them, and that’s considered totally fine. But a woman who won’t/maybe can’t cook and decide to pay someone for it, she is judged for her capabilities. If cooking skill should be used as some measure for spouse value, then admittedly, I would like a man who knows how to cook while I will clean, wash the dishes, and every thing else on the good wife list…

If all it took to get a ring was cooking skills then why are there so many single ladies who can cook up delicious meals? None of my male friends settled down because their girls cooked, but they settled down because they wanted to…with her! Simple as that! I know quite a few men who would prefer a wife with a career of her own to a wife staying at home cooking dinner.

Lucky me, my family never suffered from ‘gender-role’ syndrome. Besides few  of my cousins who tried every trick on their plate to  get me to learn cooking but I seem to have been born with a magnetic chip which repels me from the kitchen. And when I did enter – over the stove, mixing ingredients, high, medium, or low * head starts to swim*. I will not blame them for being judgmental about me as they are experts in dishing out something slurp-I-ciously amazing with whatever lies in the fridge. Now this is talent and an art which I firmly believe one is born with!!

For me, cooking is a form of art. Some tend to appreciate it while some enjoy performing it everyday. For past so many years, my grandma and mom are enjoying the best tea I can vouch for in the world, prepared exclusively by my dad…every morning. Prior to my dad, it was my grandfather who did so thus starting the ritual. And this was timed well. As my grandmother would return from the temple and later sit in the balcony, hot tea would be served to all. Ah, such a romantic gesture which expressed love subtly but strongly! Anyways, I asked my dad if tea-making responsibility was asked from him, his answer was simple: “I love doing so for lovely ladies in my life” while he secretly enjoys the praises too!! 😉 This leaves me with a thought – although one might grow up assuming certain activities to be gender-specific, however its upon one’s own self to not accept and do in order to comply with society norms. Do what makes you happy even if it means taking up those activities which might make the other fall in love with you each time…like my mother as she sips her morning tea every day. Btw, both the ladies also get to have the luxury of enjoying dinner prepared by my dad…every Sunday.

Instead of dictating the traditional role each should play, it would be wonderful to learn to be the back up for each other so that once a while, either one of them is allowed a breather without being a slave over a stove. Until of course…

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