Together We Bond

You are not alone We are there and therefore Together we Bond

Expectations Management April 16, 2007

Filed under: Management,Reflections — togetherwebond @ 7:55 am

Very interesting article and puts into perspective what we in this day and age expect from marriages and relationships in general. Reinforces my opinion that life (happiness and sorrow) is all about managing expectations. And at times there is a breaking point quite unique and specific for specific situations and people…

When going through what I considered a difficult phase in my marriage, what struck me were the differences in perception around me. My maid for example, was ‘happy’ in her marriage as her husband did not beat her, he drank and took her money and did not help at home, did not work, but she thought it was OK.

Another colleague had a difficult time as she did not have any children and lived in joint family who constantly blamed her for that (with no evidence that this was in fact her ‘fault’), she had to hand over all her salary and received a meager pocket money for her expenses. After putting up with this for many years, she finally spoke about her problems to a small group of girls in the office and was surprised when she heard our views. What really was the breaking point for her (after many years of misery) was the fact that her husband refused to share their room and she had to sleep in the living room. A kind of public acknowledgement of their failed marriage. A blessing in disguise, if you ask me. She walked out and lived by herself afraid to go home to her parents. Then came the realization that life was not so bad on her own. In fact if she could manage to look beyond the stigma (a bit exaggerated) she was even enjoying life!

A very close friend of mine lived with her husband and daughter. She was also bringing up her sisters daughter. Her sister tragically passed away while the child was barely a year old and couldn’t be left with her father ( a long story and a bit out of context here). Her husband seemed to be constantly between jobs. He forced his family (including a battery of three sisters) on her with requests from them to cook for them, clean and baby sit for them and even buy things for them.. My friend was good at her job (though not a very high ranking one). She worked hard, managed home and finances, had a home loan for a flat she was buying, managed to spend time with the kids’ studies, other extracurricular activities and also made sure they had occasional fun, a movie, a picnic, etc. Suddenly her husband fell very ill and she realized that he had AIDS! He had been infected while cheating on her during his clandestine visits to ‘God knows where’ she said and couldn’t care less about the gory details. She nursed him through his treatment and counseling. A huge cost burden apart from the emotional trauma. Luckily she and the kids were not infected. But the breaking point was his behavior. He insisted on ‘unprotected sex’ a sure way to transmit the virus!!! So finally this was the breaking point for her. A realization that this person did not really care about his child or her. A difficult to explain situation to a society who thinks she is a demon to abandon a sick spouse, the NGOs who point out not to discriminate against AIDS, her own family who cant understand much of what is happening (ignorance). But she explained everything to her kids she said as she needed them to understand what she was going through!!

One could go on as there are so many stories and experiences like these.Marriages between physically and mentally challenged people are not different than others. Expectations have to be met and managed, but there they are likely to be significantly lower. Does that make it easier may be it is!

On a lighter vein, in a work related context, I heard the word ‘expectation based management’ from a HQ colleague recently. What he means that all work processes that have been carefully mapped and agreed upon, could basically take a walk. And this was a kind of top down approach where ‘expectations’ will be set and everyone is expected to deliver!!!

By Prakruti–http://doorgagankichaonmain.blogspot.com/

 

Ten Signs April 2, 2007

Filed under: Management,Reflections — togetherwebond @ 11:17 am

Reading the tell tale signs of commitment phobia in women was no epiphany for me. I have almost all of them and generally suspected that I have a great fear of getting into a bad situation – once bitten, twice shy and all that. Of the ten on the list, I identify most strongly with 4,5,8 and to some extent with 3.

1. You have a long and elaborate list of requirements for your ideal mate.
2. You go from one short-lived relationship to the next.
3. You have a habit of dating “unavailable” men.
4. You consider your married friends’ lives boring and think they settled for less.
5. You stay in relationships that are rocky and offer little hope of commitment.
6. You back out of plans at the last minute and have trouble setting a time for dates.
7. You cultivate large networks of friends at the expense of a single romantic relationship.
8. You have a lot of relationship trauma in your past.
9. Your career is very important to you and you often choose work over relationships.
10.You are constantly blowing “hot” and “cold” in your relationships.

Several of my girlfriends who are single moms in their 30s, do not really intend to remarry or even want to be in a long term committed relationship. Interestingly enough these seem to be goals they appear to be pursuing with some zeal or so they tell themselves. After much talk about commitment, engagement and the like, there is almost always a compelling reason not to take the final plunge.

Their twelve year old would get all confused with two dads competing for turf and attention, they are not emotionally ready to start a new family complete with another child plus thirty seven is too late for motherhood anyways. They can’t deal with another bunch of in-laws. His ex is shrew and he’s not fully over her yet. Finally status quo is safer more certain territory – why fix something that is not broke ?

It is common for these women to be surrounded by a bunch of likeminded girlfriends. They hang out with the gang making it difficult for the interested man to break into the clique, test the waters of the dating market tentatively at best, fully prepared to withdraw if it gets too complicated. Marriage no longer has any special significance to them mainly because their desire for motherhood is fulfilled.

It would seem like a man is useful only for purposes of procreation and quite disposable thereafter. This is not to minimize the pain that these women have been through in their marriage and relationships but it does seem that attaining motherhood acts as the deal breaker for a relationship already on the rocks.

Having achieved a new lease of life and a second shot at being single (and this time in no rush to marry) they no longer find it conceivable to settle for less, to cut corners or compromise in marriage. The dread biological clock factor no longer forces precipitate decisions. It also helps that men are so abundantly and readily available for short term flings.

The attitudes I speak of are more commonly seen in the west though the women in question can very well be from the east. I am sure as divorces become more common back home, women there will feel a lot like their sisters in the west. In a society that accepts their marital status (or the lack of it) so effortlessly, they are able to discover the distinct advantages of their circumstances and make the most of it. The combination of motherhood, unbridled freedom and not needing to adjust and compromise at every turn outweighs the value of the “married” tag for women who have had to pay a high price to come out of one.

By Heartcrossings-http://www.heartcrossings.blogspot.com/

 

‘Chasing the Good Life…on being Single’–Book Review March 19, 2007

Filed under: Entertainment,Management,Reflections — togetherwebond @ 10:07 am

‘Chasing the Good Life…on being Single’ edited by Bhaichand Patel, is delightfully fresh and frank; a compilation of essays by ‘singletons’ from various walks of life and yes, both men and women. The contributors range from Jerry Pinto, the 38 year old novelist and poet to Kushwant Singh, India’s oldest enfant terrible, from Dolly Thakore, casting director, journalist and script writer to Urvashi Bhutalia, the founder of the first feminist publishing house called Kali, and many more..

Farrukh Dhondy, novelist and columnist, explores the insinuations of the words bachelor; meaning gay or resolute bachelor and spinster evoking an image of the ‘unfortunate wall flower that was never asked for the next dance’!! Quite happy with his single status and not looking for that ‘promised land’ any more, he concludes that the quest to dissolve the single is an elusive, never ending but necessary pursuit.

An independent liberal from the tender age of 15, Aruna Vasudev is founder of the cine magazine called ‘Cinemaya’ a PhD from Paris and a reputed writer and has graced many a jury in film fests world over. After having lost her husband to cancer she found herself a singleton and a single parent at the same time! Work, travel, and a wide circle of friends and family leave her no time to catch her breath. Complete self reliance is what life has taught her and she has ‘no complaints’ Life is a party she says when you learn to take the high moments with the low, and treat the two impostors just the same.

Marriages are made in heaven and end in the bathroom says Asha Naarang Spaak, who was married not once but twice and enjoyed it while it lasted! (a case of hope over experience, she explains). For her the joys of being single are too much to give up for the (dis)comfort of having a spouse.

Not all is a bed of roses!! And the question that comes to every ones mind is what about loneliness and what about sex. Well, Gauri Dange, from Pune says…when you are 40 something and all the speculation about your past and future love life has died down… you are in a really cosy spot …no more questions, no more sympathetic looks. When you feel you are on a high and want a partner…a mental image (made of nice bits of all the men you know) comes to your mind. Then the moment passes and you stretch this way and that quite smug and snug in your solitude!!

To Kushwant Singh, the joy of living alone comes from being able to relieve himself of his gastric gases without being embarrassed and to be able walk around without his clothes!! He misses his wife and is sometimes lonely. But he admits that he does not have the gift of friendship and is quite happy with his solitary status. ‘When the time comes,’ he says, ‘everyone has to take the long road to oblivion all alone, so why not prepare for it while in good health?’

For Sheela Reddy, books editor for outlook, the secret success to her marriage is the long distance… her husband lives and works in Bihar and she in Delhi. The perfect recipe for her is two die-hard singles with preferable very less in common!!

After fleeing from her ‘Barsati’ in Delhi where the landlord had actually let himself in, the romanticism of living alone in peaceful melancholy shattered, Radhika Jha, novelist and dancer, still maintains that singleness had to be experienced before any ‘real love’ is possible. However, a lot has changed since those early days and now it’s easy to be single; liberalization, attitudes, lifestyles and finances have benefited singles tremendously. Its a rich experience-(without the glamour) but the price is the moments when one is truly alone which steal up on you, she says, and catch you unawares when you are most vulnerable. Living alone you experience the naked intensity of each moment-the good and the bad!

Single but not alone says…Humra Quraishi. After her divorce and a few painful years of adjusting to a new life, her circle of close friends, two children and close family are her world now and its enough, she says.

What struck me about this one by Varsha Das is its complete honesty and for me, a sense of someone else saying my lines…”I was quite certain that once I moved away from him life would be lovely” she says. She now realizes how foolish and perhaps simplistic her views were. With two kids and meager means she expresses her emotional swings between satisfaction and insecurity. She finds her refuge in a full time job, her kids and home and finally came to terms with her life fully triumphant. Letting go the negative feeling she feels is extremely important to be able to truly move on…’I stopped holding others responsible for my unhappiness’ and that was the turning point! She loves living alone and takes full charge of her responsibilities. And is smiling no matter what!

Dolly Thakore has learnt to deal with all the ‘men’s jobs’ mechanics, accountants, tax consultants, painter and plumbers of the world. After 20 odd years of living alone she has an indomitable persona (a put off for many men?). Loneliness does strike but she does all right she says !!

For Mahua Sen, coming to terms with her singleness has been an experience. She thinks, in life relationships are far lonelier than being on your own. Even you are not on your side she says.

Namrata Joshi, the Delhi based journalist says… you have to stay away from home to find yourself. Single to her is a constant engagement with who you are and the dynamics of this involvement change with time. She objects to the formalization of love and companionship into matrimony. For her being single is like being on a long journey; there are always possibilities as long as you travel. Arrival doesn’t interest me she says. Where do you go from there.

Coming from a conservative upper middle class muslim family, Sadia Dehlvi surfaced from a marriage and began life as a single in saddi dili. There has been loneliness, tears and heartbreak she says but matrimony does not necessarily provide the remedy. She has no need to feel the crippling of ones personal growth with the power play that marriages come to be. Women she believes have changed drastically and men have not which is why they are unable to handle the women of today!!

Single and sixty four, Rahul Singh has never been married. But came perilously close he says. I am not gay, not a DOM (dirty old man). I am a pretty good cook, play a variety of sport and have a close circle of family and friends. Perhaps a little self centered and selfish he admits. But then no one is perfect even if single!

To Urvashi Butalia who seems to think she got there without really thinking but wanting to, there are many more relationships that are sustaining, sometimes much deeper and richer than a married relationship. She is single by choice, and feels singleness suits her, as others may feel more suited to marriage!

Relocation, divorce and death are the most stressful things in ones lifetime says Anjali Puri… who got to tackle the first two together!! As a resentful wife she wondered why she was stuck with the unfairness of the medieval division of labor but now she feels a sense of entitlement managing her home, kids and work!! Her two children are quite resilient she says and quite efficiently divide their time between eleven months of not-quite-perfect-but-always-there-mom, and a month with Santa Claus dad!! Loneliness…After a day at work and an evening of parenting she is not really looking for romance but misses an intelligent, companionable and undemanding adult (of the non maid type) for company!!

There are more accounts of the singletons and their views but frankly the thin thread that runs through all these accounts is that quite happiness, success, close circle of family and friends, societal acceptance and even admiration in today’s world. Finally there is nothing wrong in matrimony if it allows you to grow, be independent and free. But a single life is certainly much better than the shackled, power plays, controlling and even crippling relationships we see more and more today!!

Finally…A very good read and much recommended!!

By Prakruti

 

Better & Lighter after 30 February 19, 2007

Filed under: Entertainment,Management,Reflections — togetherwebond @ 12:04 pm

It is always a delight to meet like-minded women personally from the same walks of life and with whom we interact frequently on the internet. We have so much in common from our past that when we met this weekend, it was no coincidence that we shared similar likes and dislikes, tastes and had the same views on life and the same status, the most sought after cherished status: SINGLE. Oh yaaaa…most of us have had to go through an ordeal to achieve this treasured status (once again).

All of us were in sync that life only begins after age 30. There is something special to it, which only when one has achieved the 30 can perceive.

I will give a practical example: When we travel from India to USA and if are overloaded with extra baggage then the airport attendant asks us to do away with certain kilos from our total baggage weight. And there at that point, we start deciding what to take and what to discard. What we discard is excess baggage. The excess baggage that we can do without and we don’t need. The excess baggage that we can comfortably be without. And at age 30 most of us have gladly discarded our excess baggage and we are thus lighter and carry only the vital stuff with us i.e. our zesty attitude & freedom.

And now for those who have not understood what I mean, well when you turn 28 or 29 and feel burdened, trapped, harassed, tortured and depressed, it will dawn 🙂

So….some of us fine ladies decided to meet and paint the town red this weekend with our antics. A weekend of fun and frolic and naughtiness. We met at a common place and stayed the night at one friend’s home closest to some hot spots, happening places and clubs here in the east coast. The snowfall from earlier this week and the cold weather created the perfect ambience for the eventful weekend. A bunch of 30 somethings have a lot to speak and share. Adventures galore…!! We brunched and dined and had some fine red wine. And in the night we partied until the wee hours of the morning. Being the Valentine weekend there was no dearth of single men who considered themselves blessed (oh yaaaaa…) when we obliged to shake a leg with them.

I suggest to all members in their cities to meet up, socialize and chill. As Prakruti says too “Life is lovely, if you know how to live it!!!”

No doubt life gets only better and lighter after 30. Got it???

By Sripriya

 

Loneliness or LOVELINESS!!! February 8, 2007

Filed under: Management,Reflections — togetherwebond @ 12:12 pm

The decision to break a marriage is a serious one. There are many important considerations-love, family, kids, finances, living, life itself!!! Post divorce solitude is something that most women dread. Is it better to have a wife battering, disrespectful, mama’s boy, kind of guy in your life or not to have anyone at all…. is sometimes the question. To all those women out there struggling to find an answer here are a few tips…

Well lesson number one……

Like yourself and your own company, irrespective of whether you have a nice hubby or not. This is the best gift you can give yourself and the results are great. I can promise you there will be a time when all you want is a couple of hours with yourself.

How can you do that?? Well, a friend told me once, if you break it down, every individual is made up of MIND, BODY, HEART and SOUL. Each one of these has its own needs. The mind needs peace and calm, stimulation of intellect, seeks knowledge and wisdom. The heart seeks gratification of emotions; love, sympathy, understanding, compassion, and needs to both give and take. As long as your feelings are genuine, don’t shy away from them. Don’t worry about the future, sometimes we all do, will this last, will I always feel like this etc. Take the moments of happiness that come your way, as long they don’t hurt some others. Don’t neglect your body it has needs too. Take care of it, you have only one life, feel beautiful and you will be beautiful. Luxuriate in your bath and paint your toenails and don’t forget to exercise and eat healthy!!! The soul has its needs and we tend to recognise its mystic musings late in life. At least I didn’t feel it even existed before. Meditation helps you connect with life itself. True bliss I am told comes from the soul and not the body, mind or the heart!!! Yet to see it happen though!!

There is no doubt that a beautiful relationship can completely transform your life. The writer and Poet Khalil Gibran said about love…

When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

So if you find love take it and then be open to its highs and lows…the laughter and the tears!!!

Sometimes we neglect the value of having a driving interest in our life- a hobby if you like….music, song and dance, cooking, gardening, stitching, a sport, anything that truly refreshes you and makes you want to do more, better and new things in your area of interest!! I was so terrified of water and finally learnt to swim only a few years back. But I took an advanced course after the beginners and find that I completely enjoy it. A trip to Goa is so much more different now after I learnt to swim!! So there goes, if there is something you would like to try, do it now and do it for yourself!!

I have been divorced for over a year now and the first few months were devastating. But with time and help from friends and family and my kids, I am truly enjoying the freedom and the independence and peace!!

Life is lovely, if you know how to live it!!! 🙂

By Prakruti

 

Financial Empowerment November 3, 2006

Filed under: Management — togetherwebond @ 9:59 am

As educated women most of us are financially independent before marriage. Unfortunately in the haze of romantic bliss or to fulfill conservative stereotypes we hand over our financial resources to our husbands or in-laws soon after marriage. I have seen and experienced first-hand the outcome of such foolish decisions. There have been a few instances where I found my debit card missing only to find it later, with all money removed from the account. I have found myself penniless and scared in a strange city after having been thrown out of the house for the umpteenth time. Instances like this have made me a little wiser about retaining my financial freedom. After all even if money can’t buy you happiness it certainly helps you find the path to happiness. In my case completing my education, moving out of the city where I lived as a married woman and now money to help me fight divorce cases in courts.

Some of the simple things to remember:

**SAVE. It is never too late to save. At least save 10-15% of your monthly income in a Recurring Deposit or open a Simple Investment Plan with any of the banks wherein the bank invests your money in mutual funds. For both these schemes, there is no lock-in period so you are free to withdraw the money in case of an emergency.

**Never share a joint account with your spouse. If you plan to share a joint account do so only for the purpose of meeting the monthly household expenses. The rest of the money should be in your single account.

**Always get yourself a life insurance and do not nominate your spouse until you have been married a few years at least, preferably five years and more.

**Always make a will and it is never too early or late. This may sound morbid but it is always important to make a will. Even if things are going smoothly you never know when it might go downhill. So make a will and bequeath whatever assets you have to whomever you want to be the beneficiary. Once again, do this in a level-headed way not clouded by emotional sentiments. You will probably spend Rs.1000 if you want it done by a lawyer. Or you could write one yourself and have two witnesses attest it.

**Do not share pin numbers of debit or credit cards.

**Always share the household finances jointly unless you are extremely sure of the person you are with.

**Try and buy a house early. Get a home loan. With so many banks, both retail and public sector banks more than willing to give loans to working women do it as soon as it is possible. And banks like HSBC, IDBI and UTI even go far as extending a 90% home loan.

**Try and invest in as many savings instruments as possible. NSC certificates. If you are employed increase your contribution to the Provident Fund account.

**Get yourself and education. Learn new skills and spread your knowledge base. You never know when education will land you a better job.

**Always have a passport. If you don’t have one get it made immediately.

Here are some rules of financial freedom I came across in Forbes magazine which might be of help. And remember most of it has to do with common sense.

You need enough life insurance to replace at least five years of your salary – as much as 10 years if you have several young children or significant debts.
Life insurance lets surviving family members maintain something close to the standard of living they enjoyed prior to you or your spouse’s death. Stay-at-home spouses also should have life insurance, since they do all sorts of things that you would need to pay someone else to do in their absence.

There are two types of policies:
Cash-value: These cover you for your entire life and includes an investment component.
Term: These cover you for a specific period of time and provide a death benefit only.
For most people the choice is a no-brainer – the premiums on a term policy are much lower

When you buy insurance, choose the highest deductible you can afford. It’s the easiest way to lower your premium.
It’s the open secret of the insurance game: File a claim, your premiums go up. For that reason, it’s in your interest – as much as possible – to shoulder small damages out of pocket.

If you’re not saving 10% of your salary, you aren’t saving enough.
The earlier you start saving, the less you’ll need to set aside every year to meet your goals. That’s because you allow your money more time to grow — the gains on your invested savings will build on the prior year’s gains. That’s the power of compounding, and it’s the best way to accumulate wealth.

Saving at least 10% of your annual salary for retirement is recommended, but the older you start saving, the more you’ll need to save. If you start at 50, you may need to put away 30% a year and still postpone retirement by a few years.

Keep three months’ worth of living expenses in a bank savings account or a high-yield money-market fund for emergencies. If you have kids or rely on one income, make it six months’.
An emergency fund is a hassle to build, but you’ll be glad you did next time your transmission sputters or your boss hands you a pink slip. Besides curbing spending where you can and setting aside a small amount of your pay every two weeks, there are several ways to build your cash cushion. Some sources to draw on:
*A bonus or financial gift from a relative
*Money you get back from a flexible spending account, a transportation reimbursement account or an insurance claim.
*An extra paycheck. If you’re paid every two weeks, you’ll get 26 paychecks a year. So in some months you’ll get three instead of two. If your fixed monthly expenses don’t change, you might be able to set aside one paycheck a year.

Aim to build a retirement nest egg that is 25 times the annual investment income you need.
So if you want $40,000 a year to supplement Social Security and a pension, you must save $1 million. This rule is based on the amount that you can safely withdraw from your nest egg in retirement.

The single most effective thing you can do to ensure that your money will last is to start out with a low withdrawal rate of 4 percent, then raise that amount annually to compensate for a cost-of-living increase or inflation.

The reason is that if a bear market hits early in retirement, an enormous loss can put such a big dent in the portfolio that it won’t be able to recover in time to benefit when the market rebounds.

By Jamais Moi Meme

 

Travel and Leisure October 11, 2006

Filed under: Entertainment,Management,Parenthood — togetherwebond @ 8:25 am

Gear up for some fun times….. 🙂

I have been reading all the articles on the site with interest and also the equally interesting feedback and comments for the authors and others. So now comes something quite different…

Planning and ENJOYING vacations being single and with kids can be a daunting thought. Planning a vacation by myself with the kids seemed so scary to me at first. But I was determined to test it out. Since our first holiday by ourselves to Paris we have also been to Kenya, Amsterdam, Venice and numerous locations in Switzerland. Since we also travel to India atleast once a year we have also been to many places there like Coorg, Vythri, Mysore, Trivandrum… Here are some tips for the single parent or even if you are travelling alone:

1. Plan ahead for the best prices and the most convenient timings. If you are travelling by road print maps etc in advance and speak to people who have been that route before. They can have some amazing tips. If you are travelling in India by road, choose the car and driver carefully!!
2. Book a hotel in advance. A decent one located close to the places you would like to visit is best. It need not be fancy but it should be clean and safe. Don’t take any chances with the hotel, a good reference from friends who have travelled or a good guidebook like lonely planet is a must.
3. Travel light!!
4. Plan for the evenings. After a nice full and tiring day, kids like to relax in the hotel, may be watch a movie or play games like cards or other board games, read, draw, etc. Be prepared and carry what you need to keep them entertained.
5. Plan what you will be doing in advance in a way that there is variety for them and for you. Museums are not normally the most exciting places for the kids so club it with something more fun for them. Don’t plan to see too many places in a day. Its better to spend time sitting around in roadside cafes and by the riverside etc than rushing from one ‘spot’ to another.
6. Carry some snacks and water in your backpack and get the kids to carry some too. You never know how far food can be sometimes and how inedible too!!!
7. Invest in a good guidebook. Personally I love the Lonely Planet guidebooks. Maps and telephone numbers etc
8. Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. First aid-to be carried, credit cards and travel documents-to be kept very safely, carry as little money as needed, keep the kids close and tell them what to do if they are separated from you, give them mobile phones if possible, dress appropriately and prepare for the local weather
9. Making friends. Sometimes it is comforting to make friends and tag along but be careful and do that only if the other group also really wants that. Sometimes it’s more fun to spend the time with yourself and the kids alone. Be wise in choosing.
10. Don’t be nervous, as the kids can smell your fears. Be cheerful and you will spread happiness and cheer around!!

Enjoy …. 🙂

By Prakruti