June 16, 2019

The Fathers Who Raised Us


#Amreading, #Amwriting, #Blogchatter, #Blogging, #DadDay, #Family, #FathersDay, #HappyFathersDay, #India, #Indian, #IndvsPak, #Love, #Memories, #NonFiction, #parents,
A dedication to the fathers who raised grateful kids and build proud families. In memory of the inspirational patriarchs, weight of whose gratitude, we realize every single day!
Happy Fathers Day


Prologue

We tend to look at our childhoods from our mother’s eyes. For most of us, the attachment to the Creator comes naturally, while it needs a certain amount of growing up to really appreciate the role of our other half!
But if you grew up in the India of the 80s and the 90s, that gratitude also comes bearing the realization of how much times have changed, for the better, of course.

I am going to make a few generalizations, based on my knowledge, experiences and interpretations. Barring a few specifics, I would expect them to be applicable to vast majority of Indian middle-class households.

“The complicated joy of being a father, is traveling two roads every moment-both looking forward as I watch him grow up while glancing backward at the boy I once was.”

An Indian father in those decades, was a young man caught between two ideas of India. One was that of his parents- who had seen and overcome times of national insufficiencies that had made them naturally circumspect. The other, was his own, in which he, along with his generation, envisioned breaking the socialistic cocoon of post-colonial India and dream bigger than his parents ever did.

In a few years, in the new millennium, this man, now a father of teens, was about to be introduced to another India – global, rootless, loud, brash, brave and uncompromising. Imagine keeping up with the times when the world changes around you, so dramatically, and so many times, in a span of one-half lifetime! The paradox is akin to enjoying the calmness of Sunil Gavaskar bat for 5 days, with Kishor Kumar playing in the background, immediately followed by the shock and awe of watching an IPL Super Over to the blasting tunes of YoYo Honey Singh!

Add to this, the responsibilities of raising self-sufficient kids, building proud families, keeping up and passing on parents’ traditions, maintaining a social standing and making a professional career amongst all, and we may start to see your fathers in a new light.

The illusion of joint-families was still going strong when men of this generation became fathers. If we ever found them lacking in expressions, especially of love and affection, this was a major reason. It was not the norm to spend an entire evening with just your wife and kids; one had to pencil in time for parents and social discourse. It was also unusual to buy presents for just your children, and often, you had to entertain the other kids in the house too! And remember, the circumspect parents are still very much a part of their daily lives. So, spending money for pleasure of any kind, was frowned upon, and often loudly so.

Another aspect of parenting that often goes unnoticed is, professional lives. These men were fathers in a pre-open market and sixth pay commission era. Their monthly salaries were a mediocre 4-digits, part of which, once again, went towards joint families’ expenditures. But we still got toys, didn’t we? Also, new bags, shoes, water bottles and stationery, each school year. And somehow, there was still money left for Mathematics tuition, if needed! Thinking of your father as a magician, yet?

But finance was not the only aspect. If your fondest childhood memories of home, are with the women of your household, there was a good reason for it.  This was also a time when jobs, private or government, did not acknowledge the significance of fatherhood. Hence, there were no provisions for paternity leave, family leave or work from home. The only savior were the LTCs (leave travel concession) offered by a few employers, mostly banks, for paid family vacations. Of course, only annually though!

That generation chose jobs over careers for the most part. Partly because, their elders, belonged to a guarded society often seeking stability over ambition and they passed on that wisdom. But also, because now, as fathers and parents, they sought the same stability for their children. Hence, a transfer, even the ones that were byproducts of promotions, were perceived as the biggest career challenge, especially in the middle of a school year. A job switch was a strict no-no!

Another lesser appreciated factor is language. This generation was mostly taught in vernacular but were forced to make careers in English. They then raised a generation obsessed with, and often judgmental about, English. Once again, they found themselves caught between changing times, trying to impress their parents, peers and children, all at the same time!

Epilogue

The Indian millennial (born after 1982) fathers have the luxury of being focused on just a few things in life. Make no mistake in appreciating how this generation is changing the course of Indian history by being resolute, industrious and unbelievably aspirational. But their liberties as parents cannot be understated. The MNCs ensure that they now have both money and time to start and raise a family. Society in its traditional form does not exist anymore. Hence, the norms, expectations and obligations that it brought along, have greatly been reduced as well. The biggest factor of all, though, is parental support. Most couples now, cannot imagine starting a family, without foreseeing uprooting their parents for months at stretch, to help with the babies.  
The challenges of our fathers were not limited to their younger days. The battle is still on. Now in their sixties and seventies, they are still trying every bit to be better in their new roles- as grandparents! Trying to be more involved, more understanding, less overbearing and sharing the burden (joy!) of raising families of their children. The modern life now demands of them to be tech savvy as well.  And, boy, are they winning on that front, or what!

The doggedness, adaptation and prioritization of our fathers is something to be inspired by. Their ability to learn new things and explore new places while of reminiscing the bygone era, is astonishing.
While Mothers make homes, Fathers build families. It is in their eyes, where we celebrate our successes and mourn our losses, the most. It is the reassurance of having those eyes watching us forever, cautioning us on every step and cheering for us when no one else would, that saves us from ourselves.

May they always watch over us! Like my favorite photo below! 
Amen!   


#Amreading, #Amwriting, #Blogchatter, #Blogging, #DadDay, #Family, #FathersDay, #HappyFathersDay, #India, #Indian, #IndvsPak, #Love, #Memories, #NonFiction, #parents,



October 7, 2018

A Blogger's Motivation


Prologue


#Bloggers are simply complicated! Yes, figure that one out.
Writing completes us. Yet, we find a million reasons of not being regular at it!

Social media recognition charms us. Yet, we cite this as our most common distraction preventing us from doing the very blogging that gave us the recognition in the first place.
We are intellectual but conflicted; social but aloof; creative but easily sidetracked and enthusiastic but cynical!
We are unique, in every sense of the word, aren’t we! 
Bloggers, however, always strive for motivation, which comes in all shapes, sizes and forms.

The Story
#Blogchatter has been a reliable source for a healthy dose of motivation all year long. From weekly doses of #MondayMotivation and Twitter chat, to annual blogging festivals like #AtoZChallenge and E-Book Carnival, Blogchatter has been instrumental in providing the Indian bloggers with plenty of opportunities to find their groove and stay inspired.
With #BlogchatterProjects, last year, the good folks at Blogchatter, served an excellent campaign for bloggers of all genres, styles, interests and preferences. It was aptly called projects because, like a well-executed professional project, it applied the “horses-for-courses” approach. While the freedom of choosing topic, designing campaign and committing to blog only four times a month, made sure that all the creative faculties of authors were satisfied, Blogchatter itself took care of the promotion and strategy.
The project approach worked perfectly for me as I often find the balancing act of creating content and promoting it, much harder than my peers. This shared approach took that burden off me and let me venture into writing for a genre that I had never explored before.
I had always been interested in leadership, management and personal development. I had undergone professional trainings to hone these skills and was motivated to share them further. I chose “Leadership Lessons from Everyday Life” as my project topic and decided to share my views and learnings. I also challenged myself by sharing these posts on LinkedIn and amongst my professional network, thus, taking my blogging to the next level. This was the second time in one year that I had been motivated to do so. Earlier the E-Book Carnival had inspired me to share my work with my parents and family for the first time in 8 years of blogging.
The results were amazing! The idea of choosing a specific #hashtag for every campaign let us track our progress and that itself was an unbelievable experience. I used #WritefullyYours for the blog and #LeadNow and #LeadershipNow for my posts for the campaign.
In the first week of the campaign, I wrote about “Leadership Lessons in Everyday Life” and #LeadershipNow reached over 78,000 people with 213,000 impressions. The hashtag #WritefullyYours reached about 67,000 with 194,000 impressions.
 
 
My next post – “Growing Old vs Growing Up – The Need for New Leaders” was also hugely successful with the hashtags #LeadNow and #WritefullyYours reaching over 55,000 people with over 80,000 impressions.
 
 
But the most heartwarming reward was to be top post on #Indiblogger. I had been blogger for 8 years, and among my many rewards, being a top voted post on Indiblogger was always lacking. With #BlogchatterProjects, I achieved that twice in a row!
 
 
Reminiscing the projects would be incomplete without mentioning the connections that I built in those 4 weeks with the fellow project participants. The variety of topics and the diversity of candidates was astonishing. It was both humbling and inspiring to see the sheer talent in the mix. To name only a few, we had @arvjpr documenting Jaipur in photographs, @SKparenting blogging about kids’ #STEM skills development, @ranveer_78 trying to make #PoetryPositive, @PiyushaVir giving tips on how to become a writer, @ravishmani giving people opportunities to feature in a book by sharing their stories, and one of my personal favorites, @nehatambe interviewing people following alternative careers! Yours truly featured in one of the posts by her on Food Science, that I guest wrote in an interview format. I later was into another LinkedIn post.

Epilogue
Blogchatter Projects was a campaign that made me grow as a writer. I could reach the avenues that I did not know existed by writing on topics I never even considered writing on! Talk about next level!
Blogging is a professional hobby. Yes, figure that one out too! But its so, isn’t it? It takes passion, effort, networking and, every now and then, re-inventing! This campaign gave all of the opportunity to be all of that and more.
It was a great idea and I eagerly await Season 2!
Bring it on, bloggers!

Register for Season Two of #BlogchatterProjects here -> Link
 
 
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