baggout Blogging Contest

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Men in position

It is a mystery why people in position take women for granted. I have often experienced men happily married for long/ newly married/having a steady girl approaching women working under them or in any way they consider to be below them for a date. When I first joined office I was young and my colleagues were young too. My colleagues were mostly of the opposite sex and I found them to be equally fresh in mind and innocent in their approach. My office boss was married with children and oh so sober. I never felt there could be any other approach from him than what was official. I remained blissfully unaware of the ugly side of working under a male boss and in a predominantly male surrounding..

My next job was after a four year gap. I was four year older and approaching thirty at the time I took up my second working life which continues till date. At that stage of my life I was going through a rough patch and it had a toll on both my mental and physical appearance. I was totally insecure and washed out. And I started facing undesirable male attention. Undesirable , because these people belonged to the management and they never took me as their equal and yet they would try to be too friendly but only in the sly. They would ask me for lunch but request me to keep it as a secret. I felt trapped and suffocated amongst them. I cried ‘foul’ and approached my immediate office boss who gave me the biggest shock in my life. I considered him to be a gentleman and he sure turned out to be one and vehemently condemned such behaviour but in the same breath advised me to keep mum about confiding in him. He was too scared for his own job. My colleagues were also of no help but I got help and support from the most unexpected corner ; that is from the top. When I approached the person at the helm of affairs in our office at Kolkata I was pleasantly surprised to find a gentleman and a savior in him. He never doubted my integrity and my character , as most of my male bosses and colleagues had done before and after.' Why should she be approached, there must be some invitation from her side' etc.etc... I was so thankful to God and so relieved to find that there were still some people you could safely call a “Perfect Gentleman”. I admired him and developed a secret crush on him for the rest one year , during which period he remained at the top, his being a honourory post.

My latest encounter was with an office manager, younger to me in years. A happily married young man, very courteous and otherwise pleasant. The new Manager was quite attractive and quite young but a little overbearing. Any way I hate to be dominated and I tried to be at my ease. While taking notes I would look up feeling his eyes on me a little too insistent and I would look back hard, I would find him too near behind my back to be comfortable while helping take out a file from the closet. But I could not be sure as otherwise he was very courteous, he had dropped me home on a few occasions we had to remain at the office late but what happened that day was like a thunderbolt. I went to bring a file from his chamber and I felt his eyes on me, I looked up and saw him giving me a slow and deliberate wink. I stood routed to the ground, not believing my eyes, and then turned back in disgust almost running out of the room. Once seated in my place I took some time to compose myself. My colleague Abhoy (name changed) asked me ‘ what is it? And I said he winked at me, slow and steady. But who asked A. And he laughed when I named the manager. Well he likes you it seems- said A 'but this is not the proper way to express ..' he added. What should I do now, I could not take this insult lying down, must protest, how cunning how obnoxious , how demeaning . Next time I went to his room to take notes he behaved normal as if nothing has happened making it quite clear that he was a habitual flirt. But why should he pick on me, is she a flirt, am I cheap? I brooded over it the whole day and the day after telling nothing to anybody. After two days of mental agony I , determined to make a protest, even if belated, went to his chamber . He looked up from the file that he was studying and looked at me. It seemed he sensed what was coming. I mustered all the courage I had and blurted out

“Why did you wink at me the other day?” The next few minutes were nightmare I wanted to forget. He stood up from the chair, towering over me and shouted

“Winked? How dare you tell lies. I have never done any such thing in my life. What is behind your mind Mrs. xxx? Have you gone mad. I warn you to be very careful in future. I won’t let go …. making accusation…. , get out of my room at once, I say.”

I came out of his room drenched with humiliation and anger, an utter fool.. Once outside i realised everybody was looking at me, they have obviously heard the Manager shout. I looked at them and said –

“You must have heard what he said but I will tell you what happened. The day before yesterday he winked at me slow and steady like I have never seen before, quite simply like telling me ‘I Want to …. You.’ I came to protest , won’t you support me and ask him to apologize” my heart sank even before my appeal fell flat, I saw most of them looking down.

Mainak. A relatively new incumbent, said

“But Mrs xxx, how do we know you are telling the truth. We have seen him dropping you home quite a few times. If he was that type why did you allow him. You have never said anything about him. How do we believe he has become a lecher all on a sudden and how do we know that you have not led him on?

How typically mean & foolish – I felt like slapping him.

“Sxxxi”, said Jibanda,” you must have been mistaken”

“How can any one be mistaken on such a matter Jibanda!” I wailed.

I looked at others but every body avoided my eyes. I could not believe my ears, these men are my colleagues, we have worked together for almost 25 years now. The manager has joined for 10 months only and still they are not to take my words against his. How can it be possible! And I even quarreled with my husband for these spineless creatures. I believed they were my friends. I regretted all my association with them, all their togetherness, friendship seemed loathsome to me. What a fool was I , believing that we were like minded!, what a stupendous error of judgment on my part to have faith in them.

What would I do , where do I stand, now that I had been befooled by the Manager, betrayed by my colleagues, should I fight for justice and make him apologize - if only there was an inbuilt camera- I thought. The manager was a coward and not man enough to be bothered about and my colleagues were a herd of sheep and I will have to accept the situation as it is and go on taking notes from this beast and go on mixing with mycolleagues as before but I will never be the same with my colleagues. What a situation to be in – but should I have remained silent? Could I have respected myself if I did? Not all my humiliation could have made mr remain silent, even if it happened twice in my life.

I decided I should write about it………
(Names and designations changed for obvious reasons)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Faith is positive

The Power of Subconscious

Recently I was reading a book by Dr Joseph Murphy “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind”. You must go through the book and you will come out a winner , I can vouch for it.

DR. JOSEPH MURPHY wrote, taught, counseled, and lectured to thousands all over the world for nearly fifty years. Born in 1898, he was educated in Ireland and England. Years of research studying the world’s major religions convinced him that some great Power lay behind them all: And he asserted what I felt so powerfully: The Power is within you! If you are interested , you can log in to Dr Murphy’s home page . You can get a host of other useful links on this subject; just type ;The Power of Subconscious’ on your search engine and you are there

Faith! I wonder what you understand by the word. You may say that you have become cynic because you had such and such experience- but is it really so? Do we loose faith because of external factors? Is not cynism an attitude which comes from within, a very destructive and negative feeling that can be altered and be cured of, only when you consciously aware of it ? You may not agree but I think you would still have become a cynic if your experience were any different. As a four year old – I believed that on Christmas day Santa Clause would keep my toy under my pillow- and could not realize why Santa did not do so. Was I at fault! Santa did come and fulfill my friend Bittu’s wish in the form of a beautiful red toy car. Was Bittu a better child than me? The truth was only very plain- Bittu was blessed with a pair of loving & caring parents and I had a father who was alcoholic and a mother who was a patient of depression.. But I never lost faith. It is true that next year also as a five year old I wished and prayed for a gift from Santa Clause and the disappointment this time was greater than last year. Santa did bless Bittu more even at his birth and for that matter I was also relatively more blessed to have found a home than those children loitering in the street. My elder brother took me aside and gently broke the truth. The feeling was of both disappointment and relief. Oh it was so hard to believe that there was really no Santa Clause to shower us with gifts but then I was happy that I was not a bad girl. But did I loose faith? The answer again is No. In those early childhood days my big brother impressed upon me by pointing out that God resides in everything even in the brick walls and I should not hurt anything and I always avoided hurting the tables and chairs and all furniture and now I realize, that I got away from hurting myself. My brother said- God knows everything and so if I tell a lie or steal sugar from the kitchen or even think of doing so God will definitely know and that knocked me down. I never grew out of the feeling of some one watching over me. It is both reassuring and correcting I still am afraid of offending God when I think ill of people I do not like- and that is quite often- I must admit- but atleast I am aware of my action and the presence of the Almighty inside me. My having faith in God is not due to anything supernatural that I experienced but only because I trusted my brother and believed in what he said. In sort I had enormous faith in my brother and the power faith has on us may be akin to a super power.

One or two years later I had a bitter experience . After one of my aunts got married to a very rich man, we the children were fortunate to get Rs.10/- each as gift. In those days- in the early fifties- ten rupees in our country (INDIA) were a lot of money and we all made plans to buy the choicest things with it. I had a doll and I wanted little furniture for it, bed, almirah, dressing table and so many things. But I was too small to buy them by myself and so I took our caretaker, into confidence. He assured me that he would ask the carpenter working at the shop down the street to make little furniture for my doll and took the money from me. Days went by but the furniture never came. Whenever I enquired, and that was atleast 5 times a day, our caretaker would keep on assuring me that those were being built and that he had himself seen them in the making- until one day he announced with an angry face that the shop owner was a cheat and he had fled the town with my money and ofcourse of many others, closing the shop forever. I wept broken hearted and cursed the shop owner and hoped that he would meet with all sorts of misfortune, only to beg of God not to punish me for my wishing ill of someone. When at a later stage , I was entering into my teens, I came to know that our Caretaker was a cheat and that he was the cause of many of our misfortune, I could not be angry with him- as my anger subsided with time- but my faith did not. I believed and still believe that he must have suffered equally in the hands of Mother Nature. I may be wrong and he may have lived happily ever after, but the fact that faith can heal an injured soul , stands.

These two experiences have taught me a few very important truths about life. First , we should realize and accept that life is full of mystery which we can never explain. For example as a child I did not realize why Santa is not coming to fulfill my wishes. Then as I started growing up I blamed it on my parents. But now I know even they cannot be blamed for their action and/or inaction, for who knows, what had driven them to alcoholism and depression and this way the reasoning will go on endlessly? My parents are no more with me, but I wish, all children should stop for a while and ponder before being critical of their parents, of being judgmental on them and indulge in self pity. Our parents are , after all ,only human and they should expect moral support from their children like we children expect it from them. We can only accept life as it comes and try to improve upon it and have faith in ourselves.

Secondly and more importantly, I realized that while I could not forgive our Caretaker for cheating me as a child, I have been blessed with the first hand experience of how a child’s heart bleeds when its hope is destroyed. So as far as we can, we should always try to keep the trust that children may place on us.

These were very early and harsh experiences , obviously a lot more in number and in strength came later in life alongwith wonderfully happy experiences, some of which linger in my memory, some have perished with time, that I had of life but I could never be a cynic. Clouds for me have always a silver lining. So perhaps we may say , faith, the great healing power comes from within and not without reason.

Faith is positive and carries enormous strength with it. A typical example of the manifestation of positive power and its effect on us humans is the re-inclusion of the southpaw , the ex-captain, Sourav Ganguli, in the Indian National Cricket Team. Every body had more or less written off Ganguli except Ganguli himself. This speaks volume of the tremendous amount of faith he has in his own ability and his positive frame of mind that could be an asset to any body irrespective of his or her stature in life.
Have faith, be positive and search for the power within, to come out Happy, Content and of course a Winner.


My lovely little baby doll my cute teddy bear
You left me with my babydom - dear, dear, dear
My own baby boys and girls my own flesh and blood
Coming into adulthood - they have grown apart
You were my Idol- my object of faith
Daily roses and prayers I offered at your gate!
Mysterious light rays are piercing my heart
Taking away your images
I am falling apart
Who is there calling me
From beyond the world of sound
My heart is running faster
With uneven bounce
Inscrutable and unknown joyfully divine
Whatever you may be but You are mine
You are my FAITH now
Now you are my God
My travel has ended
You’re the end of Road

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Agony and Ecstacy

I sat dazed with the lifeless body of Appu on my lap.Although everything was over I could not let go of his body. The love Appu taught me, the affection he drew from me the friendship that existed between us will remain with me as long as I live. I felt his white coat. His two black mischievous eyes would never look at me. I was crying inconsolably, but Appu was not there to lick my tears away. I was left alone , no one to turn to at this hour of grief. I remembered the day Rituaunty presented me with a cute little white German Spits puppy . I picked him up and he licked my nose with his soft pink tongue. It was love at first sight. My barren life was full with love for the helpless little puppy, I called Appu. My life changed from the very day. I was a late riser, but not after Appu came to my life. Early in the morning he would wake me up, licking my palm and would put his wet nose on my ear.The moment I opened my eyes I would find him sitting upright beside me, looking at me with intense eagerness. I could not disappoint him and would take him out for a walk which he enjoyed enormously.Gradually it became a habit with me too. Though I prepared his meal as directed by the vet, his meals would never be complete without tit-bits from my lunch and dinner. I spoiled him thoroughly. I would wash him,. I would wash him, cuddle him, brush his coat, play with him. In short he was everything to me, a middle aged spinster, with indifferent looks and with a reputation of having a bad temper, devoid of affection, an eccentric whom people generally avoidedand made fun of at the back. Appu did not judge me, he gave his love unconditionally, that a dog can only do. After Appu came to my life, I never felt lonely. Appu was also a very good watch dog. He would run around the house driving away any body he thought was anintruder. He would not even spare the crows. He grew up to be a most mischievous and naughty dog pampered beyond imagination. But I did not have the heart topunish him for his misdeeds, which were much too often, but for once. My landlord , Mr Bose, used tocome on a fixed date every month to collect the rentand some how I did not like him at all. Endowed with akeen sense of observation that comes naturally to adog, Appu could guess my feelings and could not to lerate my land lord and I had to put him on leash every month he came. One month I forgot to chain himand the moment Mr Bose stepped inside Appu startedgrowling,. My landlord got scared and backed out quickly and that was his undoing. Appu went after him and made him run for cover with his heart in his mouth. Passers by look looked at him with suspicion as they saw him running out of my house, his belly sticking out, with a dog at his heels. The incident took only two to three minutes and by that time I took control of the situation and rebuked Appu sternly and held him back by his collar. Once safely out of our gate and Appu under my control, Mr Bose shouted from the street “madam, this is too much. Why do you keep a dog if you cannot control him. Either you train your dog or vacate my house”. He stood there fuming with rage. People witnessing the little scene got a free entertainment. I got so angry, I did what I had never done before. I beat Appu mercilessly with his own leash. But Appu took the beating lying down. I satdown on the floor, throwing away the leash andweeping. Two year old Appu was all over me, licking and sniffing me, disturbed to see me cry. I took his soft worm body to my bosom and asked for forgiveness, hating myself. I never beat him after that. Thus through good and bad two of us lived. Before meeting Appu I never knew that such friendship, bond and affection could exist between a human being a canine.I saw Appu grew up into a handsome dog. But time flew and only in eleven years the little puppy grew old.For the last few months Appu was not keeping well, skipping meals. I called the vet and he said Appu was dying. He had a cancerous grown in his tummy and itwas in an advanced stage. The said point that he was suffering like hell. He was deteriorating fast and itwas quite evident that he was in great pain. He wouldwag his tail gently and try to lift his head when Icalled him by name. The doctor advised me to put himto sleep. There was no point in keeping him alive fora few more months and let him suffer. After a few sleepless nights and after watching helplessly how Appur suffered I called the vet. I took Appu on mylap. When the doctor pushed in injection Appu lookedat me for the last time. I knew for certain he realized that we were parting. After the vet left Isat with his body on my lap. My mind went back tonearly fifty years. I was only five and we went to visit my grandfather. He lived alone with his dog, Peter. Peter was my grandfather’s pet, just as Appu was mine. Peter would let me cuddle him and play with his ball. I do not know how old was he but he appeared quite big to me. For some days I heard Peter was sick.He stopped taking meals and would remain hidden underthe bed all the time. Grandfather brought the vet and after he was gone I was not allowed to go near Peter.I heard he had a disease, which sounded like rabbit tome (of course now I know). The next day I woke upearly, it was nearly down. From my bedroom window Isaw Peter was sitting chained at the back yard.Grandfather stood before him with his hunting rifle.Peter was looking at grandfather, it seemed to me,with a strange appeal in his eyes and in a moment therifle went off, the bullet hitting Peter in the middleof his forehead. I was shocked and horrified, so muchso, I never asked any body about Peter or the incident.From that day onwards I looked at my grandfather as a murder and hated him and I refused to visit him evenwhen he was in his deathbed.
With Appu’s lifeless body on my lap, I cried for forgiveness of my grandfather. How he must havesuffered to pull the trigger on Peter. It took fifty years for me to learn the truth. You could never knowthe agony and the ecstasy of keeping a pet unless you actually have one.