To build a nation where the mind is without fear… Without Casteism and stereotypes…

A meritocracy holds that if you work hard enough, you can succeed in life, regardless of race, religion, gender or social status. But despite concrete efforts to downplay class as a forecaster for intelligence and achievement, many people still believe their destiny is tied to their station in life. Do they really believe or are made to believe?

“When you are in Rome, behave like romans”. You need to respect a country’s culture but what if the culture is having a negative impact on its image. During a recent visit to India, we had a candid chat with our colleagues from US and the inevitable and predictable question of caste and stereotype always popped up. They find it so fascinating that it had to be a part of the conversation.

Is bindi a mark of caste? How can you identify someone from a lower caste? Why do you have a caste system? How does it work, etc.? Is “general” category people superior than SC/ST/OBC? Does birth decide the deeds? Then comes the stereotypes. All Tamilians are obsessed with Engineering and Mathematics? All Tamilians can’t speak (or refuse to speak) Hindi because it is injurious to their rather fragile pride? Are Baniyas miser? Are Punjabis loud and a show-off community? All Biharis are unsophisticated and selfish people? Sikhs are short-tempered?

Their never-ending questions full with curiosity made me realize that “Indian” culture is quite famous outside and how typical we still are even in 21st century? 🙂

So accordingly, the caste system was made in India. It was a good arrangement for those days. It is just that over a period of time, one become a brahmin by birth not by worth; that is when the trouble started. That is so with every system. Whatever system we create, we must constantly work to keep it clean and make it happen well otherwise every system, no matter how beautiful the system is to start with, can become a source of exploitation.

Over a period of time, societies have tried to make every difference into a discrimination. Differences are fine. The world is bound to be different and it is nice that it is different, but we try to make every difference into discrimination, whether it is race, religion or gender. So when we lost our senses and started making everything prejudiced, the Indian caste system became an ugly system. What was once a very relevant way to develop skills in a society has unfortunately became discriminatory and negative, not productive.

We make every difference discriminatory simply because every human being is longing to be a little more than what he is right now. One unfortunate way he has found is to put down the person next to him. But we have worked like that for a long time and we are continuing to work like that. It is time to change it. A person’s worth is determined by his knowledge and capacity and the inherent qualities which mark his conduct in life.

The four fold division of castes’ in the Bhagavad Gita was created according to the apportionment of qualities and duties, not birth, not sacrament but righteous conduct alone. This sacred book says “Be he a Sudra or a member of any other class, says the Lord in the same epic, “he that serves as a raft on a raftless current, or helps to ford the unfordable, deserves respect in every-way.”

India is a great country and will always remain. Let’s build a better society and let my global colleagues and the world see and believe that Modern India is simply regurgitating the past inequalities. Brahmins are no longer pundits but Supreme Court judges, Governors and diplomats. Vaishyas are no longer baniyas with a dhoti but CEOs with a tie and a suit.

A recent statement by a couple in their late 80’s of today’s India: They told me: Nidhi, you will witness a beautiful society where “Caste or varna will not matter, the “inside” still and will count more.” Be a good human being and the problem is solved. I could not stop smiling. 🙂

 

Thanks for Reading!!!

 

“Thank You” for shaping my dream

945250_1032159470183488_1745992338618823620_n12088213_952246334841469_225329299215642891_n 12122513_952137074852395_3406218156125264139_n

Think about the people who have made a meaningful difference in your career. Was it a professor who encouraged you to dream big? Or a boss who cleared obstacles so you could get to the next level? Maybe it was someone you barely knew who shared a piece of advice at exactly the right time?

I have been fortunate to have had many mentors, and the reason I have my “RedCandy” ready and running is Mohit Pawar (Mohit Sir…:)). He made me feel smarter than I thought I was – and stretched me to take on new challenges. For those of us whose lives have been shaped by mentors, we know how important these mentoring relationships can be.

I first met him in 2011 at a WordPress conference and from there this dream of writing took birth. I never thought I would be doing this and now 5 years later, I feel so glad and confident to achieve this milestone.

An entrepreneur, blogger, Digital marketing expert, author of India Startup Guide and The Digital Marketing Handbook, an amazing boss (His team would definitely agree) and an incredible human being, I am lucky to share the best combination with him- A mentor and a friend.

My “Digital Marketing” learning started 1.5 years back and under his wing the time seems to have passed in a flash. I was a reckless student who was always inconsiderate on the demands of his time and the limitations of his availability. A mail written to him at 2:00 AM always had its revert at 5:00 AM. I used to ask, sir when do you sleep? I didn’t realize how busy the life of a writer/entrepreneur/ author could be and the best part was that he never made me realize too… 🙂

Our meetings with his never-ending positive talks and feedback (Over coffee and molten chocolate cakes 🙂 ) always boosted my confidence and encouraged me to develop as a professional and an expert in my field. He encouraged my secret writing ambitions, secret because I didn’t know myself that I have such a dream.

Even on receiving a useless submission from my end, his gentle and reassuring suggestions to make it better cheered me to just keep continuing, making that assignment a ladder to climb the next level. His belief and assurance is the reason I kept going.

The endless discussions, chatting, emails, brainstorming and all the hard work with getting this going and where I am today, it feels beautiful to express my gratitude to him.

The simple act of just being so considerate to someone else’s dream can make a world of difference. Mentoring can change a life. I know. My mentor changed mine.

I feel glad with all the mentoring and guidance I have received, and I know I’m not done learning yet. The list will continue to grow through the years. What does your list look like?

Find an opportunity to thank your mentors for what they have meant to you. Tell your mentors what impact they have had on you.

Happy Reading!!!

 

Go, get a life Mom!!!

IMG-20140511-WA0002From a disciplinarian to a guru and a friend and YES a MOM- a mother’s journey is a fascinating tale of evolution.

From her first visit in the early morning to your room to just make sure that you get an extra hour of sleep really well to the last goodnight hug, a mom does it all without demand of a break. 🙂

It makes me feel so proud today to see myself as a confident young woman just as I would say a reflection of my mom, which I have always found besides me as I grew and flourished through the years and much more to come. This moment has also brought back memories of all the lessons I learnt along the way through her. I realize that most of these were actually learnt in my childhood, mostly through examples set by my parents. The values that they instilled in my formative years gave me the foundation on which I try to live my life even today. Our parents are possibly the first adults, who we wish to emulate. We want to dress like our mothers, deal with people like our fathers and have a relationship like theirs. We grow up looking for a man who can stand tall with our father. And that is why we need parents who are strong, rooted and loving, all rolled into one. I was lucky enough to have a childhood and still today, which gave me all that. While my father did all that he could to raise us as responsible and sorted adults, my mother, a working mother, added value to the job.

Growing up with a mom who works meant a lot of things to be learnt right in the childhood. While a working mother meant less family time, we learned to make the most of the things and live in the moment.

It was always so good to see my family that supported a woman to adopt a profession that is driven by her own inner-compulsions- a need to seek fulfillment.

The core of every mom will always remain the same but no longer does a woman’s world revolve around just home and family. In seeking the best for her child in a competitive world that throws up numerous choices, she steps into new territories. Armed with confidence, she not only nurtures her kids better, but also gets on in her individual journey satisfactorily. Along with the rest of the world, mothers too have discovered their individuality and seek ways to enhance it. Today, the mothers have kept an open mind to the learning process; the mother-child duo has grown into a strong unit, the most beautiful relationship in the world. A mother’s natural emotional bonding and maternal instincts have kept her closely linked to the changing needs and preferences of the New-age child. It is when the mother is still rooted deeply in her role as a homemaker; it is on us to make build her own parallel journey- discovering, understanding and finding herself. As she learns and becomes the repository of new information, she would carry that rare mix of knowledge and learning that as a conduit for her role as a mother, it will passed on to you tempered with caution and grounding that will be cherished for life. Mom, it is all those little learnings and steps that made this journey of childhood to being an adult so beautiful. Thank you!!!

Happy Reading!! 🙂

 

All set to Explore India. Come on, here are some six don’ts to keep in mind!!

This is how my girls travel light… 🙂

20160324_223854Don’t cram in too much: Travelling can be a treat to the senses and therefore, it’s important to enjoy each place before you move to another destination. Though, it’s tempting to fit in a lot of places within a short span of time, it can be quite overwhelming. On a long vacation, try to avoid too many consecutive travel days in your itinerary and spend some peaceful time in the given city.

Don’t over-plan: Even the best laid plans can go awry: trains may be delayed, traffic, may be bad and hotels may not look the way they did in the brochure which happens most of the time. Thanks to the “photography tricks”. The key lies in going with the flow; however do not leave everything to chance. In peak travel periods, hotels fill u, flights are expensive and train availability is difficult, in-fact almost impossible. So make advance reservations and arrangements.

Don’t go the ordinary way: Just don’t go with the fixed list of things to see and do. Always be flexible and let the destination surprise you. Travel guide books and pre-packaged itinerary aside, India has a lot to offer in terms of the spontaneous, the magical and the bizarre. For instance, a local market can tell and offer you more than the local sight-seeing places. Off seasons can be better-off to enjoy the place without making much hole in your pocket.

Don’t be a messy tourist: I have often seen our foreign tourists being in their most courteous behavior when travelling to our country. Do not treat national parks and mountain regions like your private picnic spots. At public places, avoid listening to loud music, making growling noises or throwing litter around. Garbage is a major problem in India, so don’t be a part of this problem.

Don’t annoy the locals: Taking photographs of locals without seeking their permission is considered rude in some cultures. For example, in Ladakh the young lamas can get very irritated, if you click their pictures without consent. Familiarize yourself with the local customs; do not hurt people’s sensibilities, especially villagers by your lack of knowledge.

At times, there will be traffic jams, delays, roadblocks, for no conceivable reasons, so if things don’t go your way, learn it to take it in your stride. For most travelers, India can be a great life lesson.

Travel Safe:

  • Drink bottled water only. Unlike other countries, tap water in India is not potable.
  • Avoid long distance car travel during monsoon season. Floods, landslides are common in many parts of India, which can double the travel time or leave you stranded.
  • Don’t forget the altitude!! Being adventurous is a good thing but take it in your best advantage. While travelling to places like Ladakh, do not start trekking on the very first day, give yourself enough time to acclimatized, to avoid altitude sickness.
  • Don’t hire guides without checking their ID first.
  • Some travel pouch necessities: Insect repellant, mosquito cream, soap strips, facial wipes, and necessary medicines for journey sickness.

Do share your travel experiences. Happy Travelling… 🙂

Thanks for reading!!