Breaking the Shackles #Metoomovement.

With the #metoomovement gaining much heat and ruckus within the cracks and crevices of the society, I happened to come across multitudinous perspectives that were voiced, trolled, encashed, adjudged, ridiculed, encouraged, ‘memed’ and spoofed!

MW-FZ253_metoo__20171129125805_ZHParticularly though, there was quite a push back on one of a ghostwriter’s blog post.  #GeetanjaliArora’s *MeToo Vs. ‘I slapped him back’, who was criticised on her insensitivity towards the victims who opened up publicly. However, I had immediately echoed on her perspective and acknowledged the power & strength that she propagated for women to practice when caught in such compromising grounds. This blog had immediately gained much attention and was followed fervently, ridiculed, for expressing a perspective against being an ‘Abla Nari’. Some of the arguments that the lady had invoked. were about why ever did the women undergo the path of shame, pain and torture across all these years, only to cry foul after nearly two-three decades? Why had they not fought against the spiteful system then, than joining the bandwagon now?!

images

Although I stand as a staunch protector of women who were victimized in the hands of dogmatic conservative men, either in the name of religion, or to salve the patriarchical society’s male pride, or their dignity & integrity of a “respectable” family to complement the living in a humbug society; although I have excess acridity towards the Male Chauvinistic Pigs (MCPs) of our society, the debate, as I see, is not about the patriarchal society that had enslaved women for aeons together, under the garbled illusions portrayed for women; revered and encouraged to be akin to goddesses or adorned beauties or delicate darlings, chained by societal mandates; it’s a fair balance: Either we call in for strength in the name of an adversity (a basic “fight or flight” response – the most primal instinct in the game of human survival!) or silently bear the ignominy and ordeal, living a life of a victim after an assault. Every woman has experienced diverse environments, with different sets of rules, with varying gender prejudices, and strange customs and conventions. Every victim could have had their own share of restraints and helplessness! Every woman who went through the unspeakable quagmire of emotional torments, the world that they survived in or thrived despite adversities, were living representations of their internal fears and restrictions. What if they had the courage to stand tall, fight back or silently chose the easy path of passive escape?! Were some of them lucky to have that choice? If ever they chose, were they able to seek emancipation from the external clutches of exploitation or was it a choice to be made to be freed from internal bondages?

MeToo closing tweet

Women raped in marriages never had the courage to choose to opt out of the routines of their daily tortures. Many women don’t have the power to break the shackles of societal burdens and imposed expectations. It’s a perspective but a powerful tool too, to empower women, to pause, speculate and reconsider; It’s a fair balance. Tarana Burke had started this movement to provide an encouragement to share stories, their acceptance for the victims of sexual violence to devoid them of shame and guilt; it was a healing movement, a community-based approach which suddenly took “to an unwavering obsession with the perpetrators — a cyclical circus of accusations, culpability, and indiscretions.” according to her, which is bang on right! The internet has taken to a high drama and hue and cry on recounting with extravagant pleasure, every detail on the act of offence that motives of such victims are confounded. #MeToo was about supporting the survivors, giving the victims wings to fly against their tragic, disgraceful moments, not just a gender war (men versus women), it was equally an opportunity for other parts of society who were abused, could be the transgenders and the  heterosexuals, could be children and the elderly – those sects that lie on the intersection of that weak moment, which becomes an opportunity for a prowling predator. But what if the prowler was fought back right at that junction? What if the legal system was so strong that such perpetrators were punished immediately, would the malady not be universally known but discreetly put under the wraps by every kith and kin of the victim, under the sheaths of shame and sacrilege?!

Let us ponder on the other perspective then: What if these women had stood up for their rights to clear away the years of shame and trauma that they chose to bear? I believe in each of those encounters or attacks that pose a choice within the internal core of a woman and thus has an inner resilience, fortitude to either resolve to take to battle or to succumb to the servitudes of the dominants. We are the ones who choose the path of our lives. But having said that, accepting that perspective, we do not put those who are suffering in the lurch, on the contrary, we show them the path of righteousness; for within every suppressor lies the birth of another newer oppressor!

With this new wave that gained momentum since last year mainly in the arena of entertainment, the bane is rampant within the deepest roots of the society where what we see is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Thus, appreciate every spec of opinion, every possible challenge and counter-challenge, because unless we don’t challenge the status-quo or counter question the #metoo phenomenon and similar such multitudinous debates, we cannot create a holistic way forward! We the women, who in ancient history were superpowers.

The Women Creed were well-respected, the goddesses or the Devis like the Durgas, Parvati, Sita stemmed from the acknowledgement and reverence if the power of a woman. Navratri again is a platform for cultural-social interaction between the two genders celebrating and worshipping the essence of beauty, passion, love and strength of a woman in all her elegance in the form of dance, with time it weathered through varied alterations in objectives, interpretations and phenomena. It also identifies with the power of Durga who killed the mighty Maheshasura. Did we ever retrospect as to the era in which this superpower got quashed to a mere plaything in the hands of masculine gratification, a tool of regalement and ridicule for the rich and the powerful?! Women, as ancient hunters, were equally powerful as men, who used to bring as much food or more from their hunting spree, as was brought by their men. Women took to the homes, sought shelter to tending and caring for their progenies, against the vagaries of nature. Eventually, as a part of their daily game of survival, men rose up to a feat to provide refuge and protection to pregnant and tending women for nurturing of their future generations.

33c2b34e9c75b189af24734f7d8fef32.jpg

As an antithesis, today, as we speak of #metoo, we have overcome a long strife from #suffragette movement to the #metoo movement. However, are we not missing a point here? The issue at hand is not about sexism or gender discrimination or sexual predators or sexual crimes, #MeToo definitely at the root cause is all about a power differential. let’s take a sneak peek at the root of “exploitation”. Let’s talk about poverty. The storyline is the same. The powerful – gender or power or position wise, can exploit the meek, weak and the ones the have-less or have-nots. When did inequality at any level or layer creep within this world? The difference thus, and the debate is all about “what kind of situations provide succour to any kind of exploitation”? Why? : even men can start a campaign of #metoo and am sure there would be myriads of stories about sexual abuse or exploitation. A recent news of a 17-year-old boy who had started behaving unusually after he ran off from his paying guest accommodation with a single woman who had her own children living under the same roof, she had sexually assaulted him perforce almost for more than a year or longer. The problem is not about #metoo. Time and again we have heard of malevolent women who misused the law of dowry and rape. We know about many stories where female bosses have exploited or misused their powers on other women or men. The question thus should not be only about #Metoo, the question needs to be expanded beyond the gender inequality issue, the question should be Question #who-else-too, #he-too, #they-too, #we-the-people-too, #poor-too! Let us not generalise from the movement, we need to redefine the problem based on individual case based on intent, extent, misuse and its impact to address the core issues within our society, one by one. This definitely is not a gender-based issue but is more power-driven. #Metoo has given an opportunity to subdued women to #speak-up, be #empowered and has acknowledged the strife that these women have undergone, have we given similar platforms or forums to other human issues like those who are impoverished, imprisoned or equally being abused? Sexual (physical), financial or mental exploitation occurs when evil, greed, narcissism or power driven hedonics to coerce the weak and the negotiable links. But will not an oppressor continue if met with the silent suffering of the torture? The weak or the negotiable links of exploitation are lack of courage, lack of self-respect or self-love, and the knowledge of the possibility that ‘one can be free’. In theory, this may sound harsh but my heart goes out to people who have suffered in the hands of the exploits.

It is beyond doubt, the journey that people went through is shocking. At times we judge, “how’s that possible?!” How did they bear this? But I believe that “exploitation is directly proportional to being weak – in mind, body, self-love, honour, respect.” I think what’s important is “the power within” the aura within, self-perseverance, fortitude and the need to be emancipated. Do we want to waddle in self-pity or do we want to guide those who are striving against their internal quagmires, (it always is about the internal wars and strifes that an individual has within) than external influences? Question is “what’s in my control and my circle of influence and how”, to make a change. Its time to let victims to be transformed into positive assailants, rather known as change agents (to assert within the society that “no more victimization” and to make a paradigm shift in the way of living of such people within a society. Even before getting overwhelmed with so much hoopla and overselling of some of the victims, it is time to reckon and find. What’s the kind of society we would like to have from here and the now?!

Pearls of wisdom from an 👼 Angel!

Maintaining a work-life balance is very crucial and yet so tough in today’s world. Work pressure many a time, take a toll on our lives, impacting our health & our family as we continue giving precedence to work; perchance, it could be the sole means to make our living!’

1

Tom was fuming after another assumption based feedback that he had recently and unfairly received from his boss. After almost 10 days of sickness sabbatical, he was back into the fray only to be humiliated and criticized about the lags in the workflow, operational glitches and baseless accusations which were deemed to be flawed thus thwarting his effectiveness.

Tom had taken the feedback with a smile & a pinch of salt. He declared that he was anticipating this criticism post his return from his sabbatical and despite his contrary belief on the allegations, he thanked his boss to keep the truce. But inside, he was fuming. He was hell-bent on getting a complete feedback to understand pointers on how and where he could change to a win-win work style as a way forward towards his superior. His superior was a fastidious man who was unhappy within and thus being coercive, micro-managing, imposing to get his way done for gaining brownies for salving his ego.

boss image

However, he faced the ire of his boss the first day of his return from his recent surgery, as though the boss was waiting to nab and eat him raw. Although Tom was prepared that the vehement boss may rankle him, demanding head on tight timelined job chores, the feeling that he was being treated as a slave stemmed from such interfaces, especially his bosses unrealistic expectations to work during holidays or sickness absenteeism, with an eye for detail, zilch scope of error, as an infallible creature was quite draining and harsh for Tom to comprehend. To top it all, baseless allegations & irrational criticism that spewed from the boss was unjust and intolerable for him.

stress

He was baffled when his boss garbled cynically: “take another 6 weeks of sabbatical and let me know if you can or cannot bring the work quantum towards “internal set benchmark.” The benchmarks were defined approx. 4 years back when the work quantum was at a constant low & his tenacity & low risk taking ability did not allow the process to be tweaked for optimal resource utilization! An explanation was out of scope as the boss sagaciously escaped his stance by saying “I don’t have no time to understand the process at execution level or your implementation issues, bring back the internal set timelines to get the process streamlined”. Having said that, the boss could have left at it, Tom was hurt & wondered, why did she have a temper flare and the acrimonious attack, what went wrong in his absence, or was it that he did not offer assistance while being in the hospital as some of his cronies have done in the past? Tom wished he could gather his self-respect, muster some courage and just throw away his job – although the feeling was of sheer vehemence and absolute dejection, Tom felt, unfortunately, due to his personal obligations, took a step back to remain committed to his current insecure and stressful job. Tom felt tied down to the shackles of slavery, work was drudgery and he was under a constant pressure of facing humiliation and the heat from his whimsical boss.

Contemplating on the incident, as Tom took his daughter off to walk later that evening, to get her school stationary refilled, he was still flustered with the proceeds at work, seemed pensive and distant. As the father & daughter walked from shop to shop, Tom was fuming, cribbing, cursing and accusing his superior, complaining about how he felt and how unjustly the boss had behaved at work.

images

Tom swore a lot and his daughter suddenly quipped “hey, you’ve sworn so many times in a span of 5 minutes, take care” and Tom retorted, “check the magnitude of anger that’s simmering inside of me dearie, can you understand the gravity of trauma that man may have inflicted on me? Just ‘coz he doesn’t know how to give constructive feedback?!”. Amy remained silent as they continued to walk, she was enjoying the drizzle and she kept moving off her protective umbrella against the rain to feel the drizzle on her, her face getting wet.

Tom smiled, he liked that innocent fun that she was having, and he suddenly lightened.

StMichael-2432RX

As they passed by the church on their stretch, Tom mumbled, “please Lord, help me to get a better job, criteria – a good boss.” Amy immediately countered “no boss on this earth is good, they all are meant to be cruel” and Tom was zapped. How on earth would Amy make such a statement! Amy shrugged, “I just know it”. Perchance, she meant that all people with authority and power think that it is their right to misbehave and exploit people working under them, & treat them as slaves, not respect them as humans but as commodities, who could be manipulated per their authoritarian prowesses, misusing their powers to allay their insecurities. Perchance, Amy had hit the right chord with that statement. Tom reconsidered, maybe, the boss did not know how to push or motivate Tom towards unified teams goals, or rather, define and set the right expectations.

father-and-daughter-strolling-along-the-beach-at-sunset-silhouettes-dfbgbg

Perchance due to the bosses ineptitude to communicate effectively, he could have lost his temper and used threatening, criticism as a means of slaughter to get him results. Some bosses deem such demeanour by virtue of their hierarchy in the organization & to behave rudely to showcase and throw their weights around as their right! In fact, the team who had been designated the task to take care of the work quantum in Toms absence actually had struggled, were unable to manage the extra burden delegated to them efficiently. In a world where expectations are not well defined, it gets easy to push the buttons or enter the blame game at a fall of a pin or making of an error, such jungle rules & systems have the opportunistic malevolent competitors fill in rumours to seek extra brownie points to get way ahead in the race! Tom wondered, does his boss not have a mind of his own to disregard false wolves in the pack? Or is it that leading such pack of wolves in a system with no well-defined process is encouraged to keep the lion in his den well protected?

Tom and Amy purchased the stationary, choosing and seeking each other’s opinion on what could be the best buy. Tom ran few other errands, the roads that they strolled on, were as good as an adventure as they had many potholes, murky & muddy, some stretches had trees bending, bowed enough, touching the pedestrian or rather blocking the path; while some others had electric poles with wires dangling off their hooks low enough to touch a passer bys head. Amy was although enjoying the stretch, as it was not her routine, but nevertheless, she enjoyed the stretch as a fun game, naming it akin to parkour! Tom kept on speculating how he should stop letting the shortcomings of his boss and the whimsical mood swings that paved the way to incisive criticism stop affecting him till he gets a better opportunity & continues doing his best in the quagmire that he is in. Amy partook in understanding Tom’s situation, helping him, listening to him, with as much intelligence that she held.

some-people-feel-the-rain-others-just-get-wet-26299066

As they were now walking towards the last errand, a sudden downpour of rain caught them, soaking them just as they hurried to open the umbrella. Amy’s umbrella twisted and she started laughing, as she got wet. Tom pulled her umbrella back down on her. As Tom went to get the last item on his list in the store, Amy stood in the rain with the umbrella, watching people rushing back homewards or for their errands, evading the downpour, with umbrellas or those caught in the rains without umbrellas, patiently watching and yet enjoying every bit of the moment. Tom looking back at her, smiling, feeling the happiness of that moment that Amy was into, so much pure and innocent pleasure, the pleasure of being in the now. Amy suddenly took a deep breath, smelling the earthy smell emanating from the bosoms of the parched earth that just got drenched with cold droplets of rain. She looked askance at me, re-checked the word in her mind whether correct not correct, “is that Petri?” Tom corrected “Petrichor”, both mumbled the word and played with its phonetics to get the correct pronunciation.

pearls-of-wisdom

Amy started speaking that she had found stuff on Youtube where she started speaking about how people leave their bosses and not an organization or a job, how if one wasn’t happy in their current work, people started searching for better opportunities, what are the etiquette of an interview and so on. Tom was muted with astonishment as to how a small kid as her, a 13-year-old, could be so vocal about so many topics which she’s not yet experienced too. And Tom, all the while was stuck in the ruts of his own conflicts with his boss. Suddenly the world through the eyes of Amy looked so humongous, full of opportunities and Tom immediately felt as though a heavy weight was off his chest. After all, a hassle at work couldn’t kill him for sure and there was much more to it than being merely stuck on the criticism. There was life beyond work, pure pleasures, life had innocence and freedom as seen through the eyes of a kid! As father & daughter were now returning homeward, suddenly Amy stopped Tom amidst the rantings, hugged him, held him by the shoulder and without much emotions, softly said “Pop, do remember, I would always be there with you in your worst and the best of times. Don’t feel alone” and she pecked a kiss on Tom’s forehead. That single statement was so heart-touching, so profound, that it cleared all the vile and the fog and the fury within Tom. So what, if he had a bad day with his boss or had many bad days with his whimsical boss? Amy with this lovely gesture transformed it into a beautiful memorable day!!!

Some Pearls of Wisdom shared by Amy that day:

pearl-of-wisdom-850x496

  • The power to transform: No matter how bad your day can be, every cloud and every bad phase has a potential to be transformed into something really beautiful, better and memorable.
  • Have fun under any circumstance: Find ways to have fun and adventure. Be a child when waddling through issues or challenges and find solutions to every situation with fun and frolic.
  • Find your support system to vent out your fury and have an empathetic listening ear around you, it proves a balm to a sore soul.
  • All bosses are meant to be cruel!!! Haha, pedagogical and patriarchal systems may say yes. In today’s world though, this is and would not be in fashion for long. In fact, most organizations and leaders in the world are embracing a transparent, empathetic and mutually respecting environment, they are speaking of mindfulness not only in schools but also at workplaces. It’s time to bring in a paradigm shift in the management styles especially changing the leadership style in the face of the millennials who know it all, who have myriads of opportunities and are vocal about their needs and demands.
  • Find & learn better ways to give constructive feedback to your employees than venting out vehement criticism to make the other person feel puny. Hone your skills to provide the right feedback at the right time in a right way. We don’t have to look into management, go into the foundations of philosophy, Aristotle’s challenge who said “Anyone can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – this is not easy.”. Develop the art of constructive feedback.
  • Be with your people in phases of crisis and mobilize a system of flexibility at the workplace, to accommodate workplace demand during a potential crisis, plan for the best but anticipate & thus plan for the worst as well.
  • Time to start moving work culture from performance to reformance, rebuild and reconnect.
  • Possibilities are aplenty, only if intent becomes the vision and mission of organizations. Social Reformation in the way organizations work would benefit the greater good than the profit-centric few within the organizational hierarchy.

Amy an innocent child, an epitome of innovation, untarnished intelligence to make decisions that can build better systems and problem-solving frameworks. Tom is an epitome of all the employees who are stuck in the rut of work systems and policies that are monopolistic and tyrannical without respect & care for an individual. As for the boss, the typical globally hated autocratic figure!

images (1)

Life is simple, do not complicate it. Enjoy each moment as it comes and never take work issues home and vice versa. Despite problems, there is always a way to a better life ad better solutions, don’t chain yourself. Stress kills so does work, work for a purpose so that we look forward to building a new day, every day! These are the pearls of wisdom through a 13-year-old!

Well Being (700)

CHANGE, the only CONSTANT. #Napowrimo2018

I agree, what is life without uncertainty??!!!

Have anyone of you experienced life in its absolute certainty?! Wonder how had our lives be under the realms of absolute certainty?

Life with certainty has no zest, no surprises, the excitement fades off with time, constancy in its constants loses its charm, perhaps it may lead towards eventual boredom. Being constant cannot be natural in any sense!

CHANGE is the only CERTAINTY THAT NATURE HAS TO OFFER US, change has been an epitome of evolution, adaptation, versatility. Change infuses novelty, change in all its forms, favourable or unfavourable, is an inevitable part of the universal laws of nature. Change displays sheer intricacies and nuances of the daily necessities of our life, undoubtedly encountered by all of us at any nook and corner, every day, every minute and every second of our lives!!

pexels-photo-207906.jpeg

And yet, although we all know it, we actually try to dissuade it. That inevitable change causes so much of discomfort within us; we resist it or just shun it, at times we fight tooth and nail to retain what we love, what we have set as a habit on our lives, we hold on to it so tenaciously, unknowingly resisting every other opportunity that it may be knocking on our doors, but alas, life and nature has a way to nudge, prod, push or just kick us to accept the very change.

FB_IMG_1522521486547.jpg

The energy that saps in the internal rift and rife against what ‘we want’ versus ‘what we have to’ go through is phenomenally draining and stressful. We have this intrinsic trait to ‘fight or flight’ for our survival, a primitive instinct that defines our endurance, our capacity to combat whatever form of change that it be; then why and since when have we as humans shackled ourselves into self-made comforts?

Somewhere, with industrial advancements in information technology, we have rolled into a set belief system, created by our societies as an absolute way of our living. This not only has dulled our senses & unlearned our ‘fight or flight’ mechanism at managing uncertainties in our life. The conditioning to keep abreast with best of gadgets, social status or physical or material achievements in life gained precedence while failure is degraded as a social stigma, an absolute shame, a disgrace that no one is primed to manage it appropriately.

We glorify success while failures are ridiculed and jeered upon. With power gurus & management gurus, failure although promoted as a stepping stone to success, the common man amongst whom we cohabit, are yet to cope up with this and are inept while dealing with struggle creating constant stress & suffering.

FB_IMG_1522350529507.jpg

Its never the change that causes much grief but our responses, inferences & beliefs create anxiety or happiness. Our spirit yearns to find ourselves, a constant search on our existentialism, striving to seek meaning to our life; on who we are, what’s our life’s purpose, why we do the way we do?

In our daily internal battles, we continue to ‘live and die’ each day, craving for something that’s outside of us. We seek changes per our heart’s desire, without balancing internal scales of our happiness, chasing empty dreams, materialistic acquisitions, social realizations to puff our egos, and yet, return back to an interminable, eternal void. Everything lies within, look within thyself, introspect, to find your happiness.

Albeit, happiness cannot come from finding oneself or solitude for long, the journey of life needs to be constantly explored from seeking togetherness with our near & dears, gaining acceptance within the society, and not from recognition or external validation. Life lived either for the larger benefit or the greater good, without which our lives would be in vain! Giving back is more soulful than giving is the essence of life that leads to nirvana, absolute beatification! Finding self and its higher purpose, would not only bring internal peace & satisfaction but would anticipate any change, desirous or disastrous, with equal dexterity. Experiencing uncertainty only then becomes a joyous journey and the fight responses are harnessed to get the best of what you want as it is synchronous with one’s life’s purpose.

pexels-photo-214574.jpeg

Thus, irrespective of where we all are heading towards, or what we all are going through, experiencing life as it comes, is what keeps us live and kicking. For a minute, stop in your tracks, create the arena of self awareness and stop judging, stop comparing, stop competing; there’s no right or wrong turn, it’s here and the now, anticipating self, anticipating others as they come and anticipating changes in the tides of times. Time, the only CONSTANT, that keeps ticking until the end of our times.

So live it, love it, celebrate it, the present is yours, revel! The past was gory, sour, spiteful or glorious, successful or tumultuous, accept it because nothing remains a constant! The future is inevitable & uncertain, embrace it without expectations, judgments or promises. Tomorrow is unpredictable, so enjoy until it lasts!! Success, money, failure, or love, happiness, grief & sorrows, upon which we evaluate ourselves, constantly change towards growth, regrowth or transformation – let it happen. One who gains command in accepting the unacceptable or welcoming the inevitable at all times – is a true game changer.

To sum it all, sheer living is important, rest is worldly history that has no significance to “THE LIVING”! After all, everything goes down to ashes, what remains is the spirit and the essence of living that has mastered or un-mastered it all! Enjoy the journey as & till it lasts.