Monday, March 21, 2016

AtoZ Challenge Theme Reveal 2016

Yes, it is that time of the year again, the AtoZ Challenge! This is my third consecutive year of participation. Frankly I had started preparing for this event around four months back. This year too, I have tried to work on my posts ahead of time and schedule them to be published on respective days.

For my new readers and new bloggers, let me tell you something about this challenge. The AtoZ Challenge takes place every year in the month of April. Bloggers need to sign up for this event in the month of January. Participants would start beginning April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until we finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z. It doesn't even have to be a word--it can be a proper noun, the letter used as a symbol, or the letter itself. The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day. Sundays are off. The letter schedule for this year is as given in the picture below.

In 2014, I chose "Places" as my theme for the entire challenge, and in 2015, I chose "Names". This year, I have decided to keep my theme as "Flowers I have grown up with".

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Afternoon on a Hill"

I come from a family of flora lovers and enthusiasts. A flower garden has been an indispensable part of our home and homes of our extended families. Apart from genes, being born and raised in the land of natural beauty, Assam, has been another contributing factor to my amateur green thumb. Being away from home, I have always tried to have a bit of green in my house. So this year, I have chosen to share the flowers I have grown up with in the AtoZ Challenge 2016. But choosing only 26 flowers from the list of hundreds have been a challenge for me in itself. As a consolation to myself, I am sharing a few pictures of flowers, which I could not include in the main event. They are all from our garden back home.
Spider Lily
Common Myrtle
Red and White Striped Lily
Phlox and Zinnia

Ladies Slipper
Glory Lily

Moha Bhringoraj
Flowers are those little colorful beacons of the sun from which we get sunshine when dark, somber skies blanket our thoughts. ~Dodinsky,

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Making More Of Less

Early last year, I met a lady who told me, "In our society, there are not much expectations from women (profession-wise). So why not take advantage of this?"

The lady in question is a corporate soft-skills trainer. Interestingly she had changed her career path quite a number of times. She is an qualified architect who didn't find the profession interesting once she started working. So she enrolled for MBA and chose Finance as her discipline. Once again, when she started working in the Finance field, it failed to settle her. And finally after a few years, she started her career as an soft-skills trainer.

I was seriously bemused by her career story. I asked her, "Were there no questions?" That's when she told me with a smile that in our society, there are not much expectations from a woman regarding her career. So she took this fact in her stride and explored the various options and her interests, until she found her true calling.

In our paternalistic households, it is true that women do not have the pressure to earn, unless there is no earning male in the house. Yes, we are educated and urged to become someone but that is primarily by our parents. Once we are married, most in-laws hardly bother whether we are working or not as long as we are managing our household responsibilities as well. Teaching is still considered to be the best profession for us as it gives ample time to us to cook and clean and raise our children. Jobs are considered to be an activity to pass our time and earn some pocket money.

I have seen many, many women give up their careers after getting married or having kids. Either she manages both her career and home or gives up one. And of course we are conditioned congenially to choose home over career. After all, what kind of a woman chooses career over family; the worst kind.

All the married women out there, honestly think, why are you working? We work to be financially independent (to be able to shop without being taunted!!), to be our parents' pride and justify their sacrifices, to be someone, to have a say in matters, to support the family and mostly for our self-esteem. And when we earn, we feel powerful, don't we? May be that's why Maa always said, "First become financially independent, then you can do whatever you want."

Anyways, what I was actually talking about is that since nobody expects us to earn millions or to be featured on the covers of the leading business magazines, we can try to do what gives us happiness. A dear friend of mine after studying history, mass communication and working in media houses, discovered that her true passion laid in baking. And I am so proud of her yummy creations and the fact that she finally found the conviction to turn her passion into profession. There is another friend who gave up her job to start her own online kids' channel. Cool, isn't it! Then there is a colleague's sister who is a qualified physiotherapist but had to give up her career for the time-being to raise her son. She loves to cook and recently started taking orders from her friends to make sweets.

May be, someday, I too shall be able to make out a profession of the things that I love doing. May be I shall get paid to read books!! The point is when our passion becomes our profession, we cannot fail (this was quoted by a young colleague of mine). This is true for men and women alike. But I think when it comes to career, it is much easier for us women to take risks rather than the designated bread-earners of the family. What say ladies?