Monday, 14 September 2009

No pain, no gain!

Everybody's antennae stand up on their heads when they spot an unusual name amongst the patients in the hospital. Next quesion is- Does she speak English?

The opening up of the UK to the EU has ensured that we are exposed to a variety of nationalities, peoples, cultures and languages. So in a country where we struggle with women requesting a caesarean for no reason, we may have to deal with a woman who had lost three of her family while having a caesarean in Africa and is terrified of even a suggestion that she may need a caesarean. The terror makes communication difficult but worse still, sometimes we may find no translators for an African dialect and have to spend an hour and a half worth of three point translation from English to a European language and into an African one.

Pretty young European women, who are pregnant, jump the queue for being alloted a house. This makes some people resentful, but it makes things worse when they realise that the woman in question, has not lived in Europe but has acquired a European passport by being in an African country, which was until a few years ago, a colony of a European country.

Translation has become huge business in the UK. Schools with classful of children who don't speak English make teachers work twice as hard. Public services feel the brunt of the influx, especially where large numbers have settled down.

Strikes by a number of industrial workers protesting against companies opting for "cheap immigrant labour" is something happening more frequently, as the recession gets under way and makes news.

British workers probably need to remind themselves of Darwin's rules of survival of the fittest and reinvent themselves and move out to Europe, just like Mumbaikars, who need to think, why hordes of non skilled workers from Bihar, continue to find work in "amchi Mumbai".

Businesses work on basis of supply and demand, profitabilty and cost effectiveness. Doing business is easier, as long as you can remain competitive.

But as capitalism limps ahead, propped up by socialistic measures like intravenous boluses of tax payer's money, struggling businesses abandon social responsibilty. Common people like us are asked to bike to work, not go on flight holidays, recycle our rubbish and do our bit, while huge machines turn old cars into scrap, to kickstart the automobile industry.

What about all the wars which have taken such a huge toll on human life? America is top exporter of defence goods and this tiny island country is next- 21% market share.

The think tank has advised the Government that investing in Defence firms is likely to get us out of recession than investing in Banks! Well, that is not rocket science! But I wonder how you create a marketing campaign to create demand for defence services.

They envisage that since the wars on terror have been more successful in recruiting terrorists at home and abroad, the world is going to need kits to protect themselves from terrorists and also pirates- thankfully for the defence firms, they have made a comeback too!

It is not just doctors who benefit from other people's suffering.

So much for the symbiosis or interdependence of the two worlds- civilized, democratic and green and not so civilized, democratic and green.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

We dont talk any more!

Hubby and I had a birthday each in the past six weeks. Age is seeming to creep up steadily and stealthily on us.

One of our friend's sons has recently left home to go to University. This seems like a significant milestone, which somehow doesnt seem so far away now, as my daughter seems to be reaching up to my ears.

Living as close to the east coast as we do, it is essential that children will have to leave home to go to University. Some friends were reminiscing the time of their lives, before their sons left home. The long gone era, when their family holidayed together, enjoyed going to the same get togethers and the time when children were part of dinner table conversations. Sons, the macho guys, the traditional hunters, you wouldnt expect them to stay home, would you?

This reminded me of the guys from IIT, Delhi, years ago, who told us girls, the traditional homeward bound nurturers, from Lady Hardinge during a dance, that they "neverrrr" go home during holidays. This was indigestible news to us, girls, who all raised our eyebrows-"sachi?" coz we were busy counting down days to go home, while the guys were planning hikes and rafting trips for short breaks, unless emotionally blackmailed by mums, to come home.

Girls probably need the anchoring of family ties more than the guys, who like to believe they dont need it. But going by the way the two sexes handle a break up, there is no doubt in my mind, about who is more disillusioned about what they need and which is the stronger sex.

Parents always talk about monosyllable replies from teenage children, which any futile attempts at initiating a conversation with them, results in.

But even I remember my mum pointing out how my energy levels would get a huge boost as soon as a friend appeared on the door, while just before that I would be making pleas of fatigue and inertia, when asked to run an errand.

I am facing the same story now. I am no longer greeted by kids running with open arms, ready for a hug, when I come back from work. The house has become a lot quieter even when everybody is home, because of the enormous ability of my nearly teen daughter to be on the laptop all day long with ear phones in her ears.

We seem to be able to find out what is on her mind much better from facebook than in a face to face conversation which is scarce during a working day and is quite often full of instructions from my side and long faces/grimaces from hers.Whereas earlier children used to demand that we spend time with them, now they watch different television programs, have different social calendars and pursuits.

Recently, we were watching, enjoying rather, a video of one of the parades in Disneyland shot few years ago by our friends, when their eight year old playing on a mobile phone on the sofa commented without looking up- "Disneyland is rubbish".
Well, Disneyland's parades have definitely not been upgraded to include any recent Disney characters ...but..rubbish??!

I think we might be better prepared for the empty nest than parents a few years ago, or maybe not. Few years ago, parents used to complain about how much time kids spent on the telephone, now we complain about social networking sites, chats and sms.

Love Aajkal depicted quite explicitly, that in spite of the new generation's belief that they are different and much ahead, the emotions and aspirations from relationships remains the same.

Therefore, I think we, more than ever, need to make an extra effort to engage our children to ensure we find out what is going on in their lives and be able to listen to them, allay their fears, encourage and support them, especially because, today, our verbal communication is competing against the explosion of media, web and tele communications.