ARE WE REALLY GOOD CITIZEN?

Who is a good citizen? The one who keeps on criticizing and blaming government for all the issues or the one who believes in retaining laws and rules and effectuates his/her responsibilities. All of us might have gone through certain articles depicting what should and should not be done in order to be a good and responsible citizen. But how many times we really followed them? We want government to introduce new policies and plans for the sake of development. And eventually government does so. But do we really take care of those plans and reforms?

Okay I am not going to give you the list of all such reforms and plans. Instead I am going to talk about what does it means to be a good citizen. For being a good citizen first of all we have to understand the fact that, all  those laws, rules, plans are made for our welfare. Government imposes them so that we could be benefitted. If people don’t really follow them or show disrespect, then these rules and reforms won’t work. I accede it’s the responsibility of government to work for people and think about their welfare. But we people also have some responsibilities for our nation. And we can’t ignore them. Some of you may ask what are those responsibilities and duties. So, I am going to tell you about an incident.

In the year 2014 Loksabha Election was held. And in school we were taught about election and importance of casting votes in election. My hometown is in a village. And villagers were not so aware about the importance of voting. Therefore, me and some of my friends, we decided to spread awareness about how important is to cast our votes. Initially it was a bit tough to convince ladies and old men. Because, ladies thought they are illiterate and are busy in household. Old men thought they are old and young people are meant to cast votes. They thought their votes don’t count. But we explained them that, it is through their votes a new government will come into power. And that government has to be the one who will meet their expectations. Eventually they understood and everyone casted their vote. This really made us happy. And that day I understood it is very important to take part in nation’s welfare. Now, there are many fields in which we can contribute. We can work for ensuring or spread awareness in the field of education, health, sanitation etc.

We have been given the freedom to express and to do many things. But our action should not be in the direction of violating rules and regulations. Rather, we should discharge our duties and responsibilities towards our nation with honesty and zeal. A nation is said to be prosperous only if it’s citizen are cautious and responsible. We have to keep in mind our actions are somehow affecting our country in some way or the other.

If we want our government officials to be more responsible and hard-working, then we too need to strive hard. We need to follow guidelines and have to respect plans and reforms in order to maintain harmony and peace. Instead of being a critic, we should contribute in our country’s development. Some people think, why should they poke their nose in it? And this is called as ignorance. Ignorance can never make you a good citizen. But understanding your roles and duties and executing them can surely make you a good citizen.

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IS THERE ANYTHING CALLED AS CIVIC SENSE?

Its long back that we studied what is Civic Sense. We knew what it was when we were small obedient children. And today most of us have forgotten about it. Or should I say, as we are growing up we are becoming increasingly ignorant? Just to refresh your memory, Civic Sense is nothing but the sense of responsibility which refrains you from misusing and misbehaving in public places. Common examples could be not spitting or urinating on the roads, not portraying obscene behavior at public places etc. Civic Sense includes but is not limited to not creating public nuisance. It has a larger ambit and includes traffic, government, health, education, environment etc.

So many times I have seen that a nice posh Honda City is driving ahead of me and waits at the signal when it turns red. Good, the driver is following traffic rules. But that’s not all!! As soon as he stops, he rolls down the window and spits outside on the road. How disgusting is that? Mind you, not every time the driver is the chauffer, so many times he is the owner himself! Now if somebody is so prosperous that he can afford a Honda City, why can’t his thoughts and behavior be equally prosperous? Why don’t such people think twice before doing such dirty things?

Another common example is that of a mother taking her child to pee right on to the road! WOW, if mothers themselves encourage such behavior then obviously the kid is going to grow up learning wrong things. No wonder we get to see so many grownups also doing the same thing and mind you, they don’t need any quiet corners, just a wall is enough and many a times, even the wall is not necessary!!

I understand that our country lacks infrastructure and basic public amenities. But somebody somewhere has to find a way out. And each one of us says, WHY ME?? If we can’t do anything in a way that can change the country, we should at least be doing something in a smaller way like following discipline. If all the citizens of this country are determined to do so, India will definitely be the best places!

There are so many there examples that each one of us does everyday – like throwing bits of paper on the road. That reminds me of one classic example – and a recurring one – a commuter is sitting comfortably by the window in a local train. He has a nice backpack or a laptop bag with him. He is munching on to some chips and is really enjoying eating! As soon as he is done, he promptly throws the empty wrapper outside the running train. DISGUSTING!!! Instead, he could have just folded the wrapper and kept it in this bag till he comes across a garbage bin, but who wants to do that?

There is no point in blaming the country and the ruling, or for that matter non-ruling party for lack of infrastructure. The biggest question is how well the citizens of this country are going to be able to preserve and develop that infrastructure once that is provided. It’s a shame to see such things happening in metros like Mumbai but these things happen every day, every moment! We are lucky enough to have an opportunity to get educated then why do we forget our education so soon?

How common is it to see that the traffic signal at a junction turns red and none of the cars jump the signal? Very UNCOMMON, right? Why can’t we learn something from other countries where all the citizens follow traffic rules religiously? Over there, vehicles halt each time the traffic signal turns red, no matter if there is no pedestrian crossing the road! We like to use imported electronics, clothes and what not, then why can’t we imbibe some imported discipline in ourselves

I would love to see my country following the same discipline, but the question is who will do that? Being a responsible citizen, each one of us should step forward and take a pledge that we will do something to improvise the civic sense in our country. If we can’t change the entire country, which is obviously difficult and almost impossible, we can at least change ourselves for better. And if each one of us changes, INDIA will change for better.

DREAM INDIA. BETTER INDIA.

STOP PASSING THE BUCK

What is the national game of our nation?  It’s not hockey or cricket.  But “Passing The Buck“.  We enjoy it to the core as there’s no referee in this game other than our conscience which we seldom refer to.

Since the day when our country has attained the status of an independent nation we have gained the expertise in the aforesaid game.  The lightening speed with which we point out fingers starting from neighbors to authorities to government is unmistakable.

Be it the safety of women in the country, the corruption levels, the lack of cleanliness, hay-wire situation of law and order – name it and we have a standard reaction “This government is ineffective”, ” This government failed to deliver on its promises”, “Nothing changes in this country“. We are in continuous habit of whining but not even once we are ready to accept our failure as responsible citizens of a country.

Let me give you few instances:

Few months back (24th October, 2017 to be precise) a rape case came to light. Well, don’t be astonished, it came to light not because of any formal complaint or investigation but the fact is that it was committed in broad daylight on a pavement,  hustling and bustling with crowd. It did happen and the repelling truth is no one from the crowd were empathetic enough or had courage to stop the heinous crime. Rather it was filmed to be reported to the police. I wonder what signal is this incident sending to those who have an inclination towards crime? Carry a knife, do the crime, threaten  and get away with it, if at all charged things can be taken care of – isn’t it? And after every such crime a bandwagon of “Culture” caretakers jump in to pass judgements holding women responsible without realising that it is only preparing grounds for a volatile and an unsafe haven for our future generations.

We are responsible for the “Corrupt” image country have:  Do you know that India has been ranked 79th among 176 countries in the Corruption Perception Index 2018 released by the Transparency International organisation?  Now don’t be surprised by the statement that “We” are responsible for it. To save time from appearing before magistrate in case a traffic rule is broken or to get a driving license without clearing the test or to move a requisite file quickly up the ladder one thing that we retort to is “Pay Something and Get Anything“.  For us it’s a petty price we are paying to get things done swiftly.  But when scams worth billions come to surface we thump our chests saying all politicians are fraudsters and corrupted.  Don’t realise they are following the trend set by us “Pay us and bend the rules”. The only difference is in the figure on and in paper.

Comparison of Convenience: There’s a certain laid back attitude to which we are habituated to.  Whenever a comparison is drawn with other countries in terms of safety, corruption levels, pollution, law an order, GDP, infrastructure – every possible aspect which is counted while referring to the development index of a country we chose the mid way of “Convenience”.  We hate it when compared to the countries which are on top ranks of positives and have a default answers like:

  • Every country has its positives and negatives.
  • No country is problem free.
  • We are on right track of development.
  • Look at the countries whose ranks are worse than us, we are still better.

Common sense says comparison is always with the better to bring forth the best.  Alas! That’s too hard to understand for us.  To put it simply I would like to quote few figures:

India is on 102nd place with 46.9 points (more the better) when it comes to the safe countries to live.  So would it be right to compare with countries which are placed up in the point index (Denmark being on the top with 94.7 points) or  advisable to take it easy comparing ourselves with the alarming zones.  Isn’t it a matter of deep introspection that countries like Mongolia, Honduras, Ghana (as per the numbers) are doing better than us?

And the above mentioned ranking is based on studies of global terrorism, just one aspect and something beyond control of citizens.  But my point is to highlight how our mechanism of comparison works.

This is not a biased rant against my country but a genuine concern.

We Fear Law:  We are peace-loving people to the extent of not getting involved in any altercation involving law and executive forces of law namely Police.  Be it helping an accident victim or standing as a witness to the crime or raising voice against an injustice, we develop cold feet simply because we don’t want our peace to be disturbed by the long judiciary procedures and abrasive nature of police (there’s a reason to their behaviour which we don’t want to understand).  We want someone to take the initiative and we are happy to follow.  And when everyone waits for someone, no-one comes forward.  That’s a hard truth we need to accept and digest.  Until and unless we stand unitedly for supporting the law and order we can’t expect it to be any better.

It’s high time that we start reacting to the issues concerning our nation and its image however petty they might seem to be.  We are ironically very sensitive and react well to the social media posts but mind our own respective matters when our interference could actually make a difference.  Be it objecting to open urination, be it opposing eve teasing/ molestation, be it pointing out violation of traffic rules, be it reminding the importance of clean surroundings and sanitation – we choose to turn a blind eye because they (many of them) seem  to be quite trivial to be questioned or even not punishable under IPC (Indian Penal Code).

Well, we all are aware of a saying “drop by drop fills an ocean” and needs no explanation.  But the irony is that we fail to imply such a simple logic in our actions especially that hold importance for the society and the nation.  Silence of every deemed “Responsible” citizen is strengthening the determination of offenders of law ultimately shaming the image of the country.

This post as I told you earlier is not a rant but a heartfelt concern about my nation.  And when I said “We” that clearly includes me as well.  I shall not shy away from accepting the fact that I might have exhibited flaws as a citizen.  Acceptance is the key to betterment.

Next time before criticising the system or government just pause and ask “Have I done enough?“.

Speak up and help bring a change  OR  Remain silent and surrender to the injustice.  Whatever it is learn to own rather than simply Passing The Buck. 

(This article was Originally published in Kalpana’s own blog World4Womencom)

HOW MUCH EMOTIONAL SPACE DO WE OCCUPY UP IN OUR RELATIONSHIP?

My co-writers have talked much about Allowing Space in any relationship. It may be between spouses, other family members, friends, colleagues and so on. Space is always necessary for the growth of an individual, no doubt about it but I somehow feel very apprehensive of this term SPACE in a marital bond. Because a marriage always involves two different individuals where they grow together in that beautiful institute. If the husband is having a growth and the wife is not growing along with her spouse or vice versa then there’s something wrong in that marriage. But again as an individual each person needs to grow for him or her own self. In that case a reasonable amount of space is indispensable for both the partners individually.

Now in a relationship, how much emotional space does each partner occupy is essential to know. But before that we need to understand what does this term ‘Emotional Space’ means. Emotional Space is the time, energy, and space a partner spends dealing with or listening to the emotions, words, thoughts, needs, etc. of the other partner.

There are three types of scenarios that we find concerning Emotional Space which will help us to understand where we stand individually and together in our own marriage. Those scenarios are as follows:

Scenario 1

WHERE ONE PARTNER USES UP MOST OF THE EMOTIONAL SPACE

In this kind of scenario, one partner usually seen to be involved too much in a marital relationship and expressing most of the time where as the other partner seem to be uninvolved. One person may seem extremely emotional, needy, intense etc., while the other person may seem to be aloof and seem to have no needs at all in a marriage.

In my marriage, I actually feel very content at times and feel my wife to be complaining and needy all the time. It’s good that this scenario doesn’t exist all the time in our marriage.

Scenario 2

Where NEITHER of the PERSONs uses UP ANY EMOTIONAL SPACE

In this kind of scenario, two individuals seem to be enjoying each other’s company and can be intimate with each other but they don’t feel the need of any emotions in their relationship. Whether they have been staying long or short they fail to move deeper into each other’s emotional lives.

Sometimes, I feel very scared when I find both of us holding our phones and busy using up our so called space. I ask this question to myself that time, “Are we drifting apart?”

Usually, this is a worst scenario of a marriage relationship where the partners are busy with everything but themselves. Usually, they keep drifting apart till they get separated.

Scenario 3

Where BOTH the PErsons use UP required EMOTIONAL SPACE

This has to be the best scenario where both the partners deeply get involved with each other emotionally. They occupy the emotional space equally and beautifully. This is definitely the most ideal and healthy marriage relationship where neither of the partners will ever take the step up shutting out the other or stay far away emotionally for long.

Friends! Where do we stand in our marriage relationship today? Are we drifting apart in the names of space or staying involved in our marriage with joy?

Remember, if we are involved emotionally more with an outsider (includes our parents or siblings or closest of friends) than our own partners then there’s something wrong in our relationship which needs to be considered right away.

So, how much emotional space do you occupy in your relationship?

Keep reading and keep pondering,

Stay blessed!

BEING ALONE

Being alone 2

Those who know me in person would be rather surprised that I am blogging something about being alone! Ha ha.. someone who is always chattering and who is always surrounded by friends is talking about being alone, what an irony!

But its indeed true, my friends. Some who have known me inside out would vouch the fact that I am moody – I think all cancerians are 😉 well, no blame on the sun sign, but yes, I am indeed moody. I like to be with friends but I like to be alone. I know this doesn’t make sense, but this is what it is.

I will give you an example. I could have an amazing day out with friends, but later in the night I would want to withdraw, I would want to be with myself, I would want to be alone. Funny, isn’t it? Actually, it is not!

I believe that when we are continuously surrounded by people, be it friends or family or colleagues, we are often influenced by them. In some cases, we are intimidated by some people and at other times we are overwhelmed by certain dominating personalities around us. Sometimes we often behave in a particular fashion because that is what is expected from us. And many times we behave unnatural to please an important person around us. I agree that all this is inevitable but I feel lost in all this clutter. I feel artificial and I don’t like it. As the saying goes – “when in Rome do as Romans do” I would continue to be like that all through the day, but in the end I like to withdraw and be myself.

I like to sit down and do nothing – absolutely nothing. Because this is time when my mind ponders over what I really want – what I really want from life and what I really want from myself. All through the day I may focus on what others want from me, but at the end of it all, I think it is very important that I understand what do I want, what do I feel. That’s why I like being alone. All alone.

Life had changed so much after marriage. Suddenly I was feeling so busy with all the new responsibilities that I felt like I am having identity crisis because in the initial time of an Indian marriage – it’s more about being the daughter in law than being yourself. I had to change my likes and dislikes, I had to adapt to the new way of making food and I had to change the sleeping and waking up time too! No cribbing about that because almost all girls go through it, but the point here is that the transformation phase was so overwhelming and that was the point when the thought of being alone crept into my heart.

Fortunately or unfortunately I got a work assignment that took me to Europe for 15 days – all alone. No family no colleagues. I was so happy for those 15 days. I did miss my family for sure, but I didn’t fear the loneliness that came along with it because of time zone difference. I used that time for all that I always wanted to do without being disturbed – read, read and read more (books), sleep for long, watch senseless shows on television and take showers for a long time. Wow! It was indeed refreshing.

Many a times I just vanish from my friend circle – not that I cut contacts with them but it may not be like a usual call to ask how they are doing or have usual chats on the messages. And this is so frustrating for my friends I know, but I do have this “Being Alone” streak to my personality. And I really like that. Because it gives me time to understand myself. If I can’t understand myself how will I be able to understand others?

When I say I like to be alone I am absolutely clear to myself that I don’t want to be alone for life. I can’t imagine my life without my family and my friends. But yes, I certainly want to be alone on certain occasions. I echo Celine Dion’s words “Some people can’t stand being alone. I love solitude and silence. But when I come out of it, I am a regular talking machine”

I learn about my mistakes when I am alone and it gives me strength to accept those mistakes and apologize for them. It is so difficult to apologize, not many are able to do so. That’s because when a person makes a mistake, often he tends to defend himself. More than explaining, it is a process where the person is trying to makeup an excuse to himself. I have done that, but when I am alone, I acknowledge the fact that it’s easy to convince others about your mistakes but it is very difficult to convince yourself. I can see through my mistakes more clearly and I am able to understand why did I do so. And all this happens only when I am alone. All alone!

To conclude, I would say that being alone makes me a better human being, it makes me happy. But I reiterate that I also value to be around with my family. Jodie Foster’s words describe me perfectly

“Its an interesting combination: Having a great fear of being alone, and having a great need for solitude and the solitary experience . That’s always been a tug of war for me.”

I like to push and pull myself in this tug of war 🙂

DO YOU GIVE ENOUGH SPACE?

Read this:

babyyouaremylifeandIwanttoconfessittodayIcan’treallyimaginemyworldwithouyouYougivemehopeyouaremypassionandyouarecompassionEveryemotionthatIfeelinlifestartsfromyouandendsonyouIfIgetanotherbirthinlifeIwouldliketospenditalongwithyouYouarethemostspecialpersoninmylifeBabyyouaremyworldandIcan’tlivewithoutyouWanttospeciallyconfesstodaythatIstillloveyouandmyloveforyouistrueIloveyou!

Now read this:

Baby you are my life and I want to confess it today. I can’t really imagine my world without you. You give me hope, you are my passion and you are compassion. Every emotion that I feel in life starts from you and ends on you. If I get another birth in life, I would like to spend it along with you. You are the most special person in my life. Baby you are my world and I can’t live without you. Want to specially confess today that I still love you and my love for you is true. I love you!

When you read the first part, how difficult was it to read? Most of you must have skipped reading this part because of its tedious appearance. The beautiful message (part2) lost its essence only because there was no space between the words. It made a lot more sense and could give out the feelings in part 2 only because it was spaced properly.

Same happens with relationships. If you do not give space, the relationship becomes complicated and looses its essence. The charm of the relationship dies. Space is necessary.

Spacebar is the longest key on the keyboard. Ever wondered why? Because, SPACE is very important.

Give space, make life easy and beautiful.

SOCIETY CAN YOU MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, PLEASE?

I was in school when I read this line “Man is a social animal“.

As I grew up I realised that it made so much sense as a human being cannot live in solitude.  He needs constant support of the society around him for his survival.

And what’s Society? It’s You + Me = WE.

It’s all about inter-dependence, co-ordination and co-operation.

But over the ages with the evolution and development of civilizations across the globe the society has not just been an integral part of a man’s life as a support system but started poking nose into the private matters of his life and tuned more hostile, encroaching the space, the domain not meant for trespassing.

Petty examples explaining the gravity of the situation, of how the “society” is not just around us but very much in our living room or perhaps (worse) in our bedroom.

  • Marriage which is a very personal affair/ decision has always been a matter of keen interest for the neighbours and relatives.  “When are you getting married”, “why aren’t you getting married”, “your marriageable age is already passing, you must hurry up now before its too late”.  These questions might seem to be funny on this page but when in shoes of those, facing them, it’s irritating beyond explanation to answer such recurring questions to those who are not even remotely connected to their lives.
  • Marriages especially in countries like India have always been grand affairs.  No stone is left unturned to make it memorable. But unfortunately the prime motto of having all this glitter and bling is to impress “chaar log” ( Indian meme for friends+relatives = society).  Even if a suggestion is passed off to keep it minimalist pat comes a reply “log Kya kahenge” ( what would people say). And none of those “log” would come to pay off debts that one makes for this pompous celebration.
  • A neighbour always eavesdrop to listen what’s going on in other’s house, is everything alright between a daughter in law and  a mother in law or not?  And by “everything alright” I mean they are fighting  (that’s a rule of thumb perceived by many for that relation).  If that condition is fulfilled then their quota for gossip is filled for that week.
  • Honour killings are nothing but a grave offshoot of this habit of society appeasement. A family won’t mind turning criminal by breaking law as it is more honourable than allowing two individuals to culminate into one barring the lines of caste and religion. What a shame!
  • Rules and regulations as to how one should dress, behave, eat etc. are prime examples as to how our society controls our lives.

Man is under constant pressure of behaving himself so as to not to infuriate the society and face its wrath.  Fear of being judged, fear of being outcasted is rendering him helpless and hindering him from thinking, thinking free rather.

From Socrates to Newton; from Raja Ram Mohan Roy to Malala Yosouf, society around them have been telling them:

Dare to dream, dare to fly

We are here to chop off your wings and never let you try”.

Biggest Truth or Irony:  A society which is meant for the betterment of every individual comprising it never (of late) really means it.  Had it been so why would one empty the trash in front of other’s house? And mind you that’s not an unmindful act, people do it deliberately; Why no one would raise a voice against an eve-teaser teasing a girl in full public glare? For that matter why any injustice is tolerated or goes unnoticed willingly with a coward thought of “let’s not get into it“, ” how does it concern it to me“.   Truth is when it really matters the so-called “Society” deters from taking a charge and involving in our lives and set a life changing example for everyone to follow henceforth.

Hence my only request to the society:  “If you can’t stand for and with me when it matters, don’t try to crawl and make inroads into my haven later.  In this world I have a small world of my own : my family and my life, and that’s my space! Would you mind leaving that to me and minding your own Business, Please?”