Tag Archives: child

Navaratri Gifts

Navaratri is a special time when the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga are worshipped. I got posted out of my hometown when I started working. I requested my mother to give me any spare kitchen items. She gave me six plates and bowls out of which none of the two plates or bowls were same. I asked her, how she got this unique set. She said those are my Navaratri gifts. Small girls (Kumari) are worshipped during Navaratri as Goddess. This is called Kumari puja. As part of this ceremony, they are invited, a small dot with vermilion is placed on their forehead. They are then offered food cooked specially for this occasion. After this they are gifted with plates, bowls and sometimes toys. As kids we used to have invitation from numerous houses in our neighborhood. If we were unable to make it, they would send the gift to our house. It used to be fun to get up early in the morning, take bath, wear new clothes and go for the ceremony. The festivities would turn even bigger from the 7 day (Saptami), when we used to visit the Bengali community. There we would have a huge idol of Goddess Durga along with her four kids. We would offer our prayers and meet up with everyone. Although these festivities are only for few days but we used to start preparing three months before.

This year I decided to offer gifts to Goddess through Kumari puja. Luckily all the Kumaris I knew were fond of books which happens to be my hobby as well, so I gifted them classics. All the kids were happy. We also visited the Durga Puja organized by Bengali Association of Pittsburgh. These festivities always take me back to my carefree school days. On the tenth day we have Dashami when the idols are immersed in water. We take blessings of our elders and wish everyone “Happy Dussehra”.

Exams!!!!!!!

The academic session in India begins in June and ends in April. The end of March signals the beginning of exams. This has more effect on human life than any season. The neighbourhoods become quiet and kids spend more time indoors. Most of them have tension on their faces. These days the competition begins right from kindergarden and so even the parents move around with a very serious face.

As a kid I used to become very scheduled during this time. Getting up on time, studying and reducing on watching television. Everyday when the morning alarm used to ring, I used to tell my lazy self, “Its just for a month and then you will be free after the exams”. When I see the kids today, nothing has changed it seems. The same tension, the same schedule and the same anxiety. The exams make a child realize the importance of being regular with studies. It also explains the need to take up the responsibility of one’s studies. At my home, there used to be a new tension after exams. My mother used to be a teacher. As soon as the exams used to be over, her paper checking used to start. I still remember watching television endlessly whereas mom checking for hours.

The only people happy are the ones who are in 10th and 12th grades. The board exams get over by march end and so does their ordeal. The 10th graders are the happiest as the first challenging exam is over. Consequently the multiplexes are filled with them.

To all the people having exams, just put in your best. All the best.

Corporate Maternity leave

Maternity leave is the most sought after leave of married ladies in corporate offices. Generally its 3 months long. There has often been a debate about extending it. Here are three perspectives that I would like to bring forward:

Women
Ladies generally work till the 9th month and then go for this leave right before delivery. After delivery they become weak and the three months are needed for recovery. Even after 3 months the child is completely dependent on the mother. As a result many women go for a leave without pay or sabbatical after their maternity leaves. Those who continue generally create a support system of inlaws, nannies and day-care centers. Many of them even leave their jobs. Therefore women feel that the leave should be extended for 2 years.

Men
Generally the paternity leave is of 1 week in corporate offices. This is often the cause of envy of the men. They too feel like spending time with their newborn child, seeing him/her speak first word or take their first steps. They keep calling home after every 1 hour to know the status of their child. They often comment that Paternity leave should be increase to atleast 6 months.

Company
Now we come to the company. They have to pay the female candidates during the maternity leave. If we see from their perspective its a great expense but the corporate culture always encourages it. Increasing it to 2 years will be a big hit on their budget. On top of it if its increased then men too will demand that the paternity leave be increased.

This debate will continue forever. These days women have really excelled in creating a support system. Merrisa Mayer has proved that a mother of a new born baby can do wonders.