Category Archives: Family

Taking Care of an Aging Parent


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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A young man lived with his wife, his four-year-old son and his frail elderly father – a widower with blurry eyes,  trembling hands, and faltering steps.

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The family would eat together at the dining table. The elderly person’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating rather difficult for him. Often, food fell off his spoon and dropped on the floor, and as he clutched his glass of milk with unsteady hands, milk spilled on the tablecloth and his lap.

The daughter-in-law irritated with the mess he created bawled out. “I have had enough of his spilling food and milk on the table and the floor. You must do something about your father,” she told her husband.

So, the son set a small table at the corner of the dining room. Since the elderly man had broken a number of ceramic dishes, the daughter-in-law served his food in wooden bowls.

The four-year-old boy watched his grandfather eat alone silently at the little table while he and his parents ate at the grand dining table. Sometimes he saw tears rolling down his grandfather’s cheeks whenever his parents admonished him for dropping his spoon, spilling food, milk, or water.

One evening, before supper, the father noticed his little son playing with wood scraps and strings.

“What are you making, son?” he asked.

“Oh, Dad, I’m making two little wooden bowls,” the boy replied.

“Bowls?”

“Yes.”

“What for?”

“For you and mama to eat your food from when I grow up.”

The boy’s parents were speechless.

The four-year-old smiled sweetly at his parents and went back to work. He did not see the tears that streamed down their cheeks.

That evening, the boy smiled as his father and mother led the venerable parent back to the grand dining table.

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Discovering the Real Togetherness


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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To become a true global citizen, one must abandon all notions of ‘otherness’ and instead embrace ‘togetherness’.
― Suzy Kassem (American writer, film director, philosopher, author, and poet of Egyptian heritage.)

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Internet technology helps us stay connected with people living anywhere around the world, but the ability to speak face-to-face with ease has declined and, in fact, is dysfunctional severing kinship and physical interaction with those around us.

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Texting while driving (Source: ryot.org)
Texting while driving (Source: ryot.org)

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Now, with mobiles, people have replaced lively phone calls by texting mnemonic-like nonsensical internet slang words with little substance oblivious to what is happening around them. This indeed is an alarming trend.

This video shows how some simple actions can provide the impetus to bring about the joy in togetherness.

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Mom Explains How Life Changes After Pregnancy.


By  Mary Sue

Do you know how life changes when a young couple decides to become young parents? Do they think it boils down to adding more commitments and costs? Or do you already know about the emotional toll and everything it entails? Here’s a story that elucidates it all.

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Sleeping pregnant woman (Source: pluslifestyles.com)
Sleeping pregnant woman (Source: pluslifestyles.com)

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“We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of “starting a family.”

“We’re taking a survey,” she says half-joking. “Do you think I should have a baby?”

“It will change your life,” I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

“I know,” she says, “no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations.”

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.

I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, “What if that had been MY child?” That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.

That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of “Mom!” will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby’s sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five-year-old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at McDonald’s will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.

That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks.

I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child.

I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.

I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time.

I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. “You’ll never regret it,” I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter’s hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

Please share this with a Mom that you know or all of your girlfriends who may someday be Moms. May you always have in your arms the one who is in your heart.”

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Re-posted from  hrtwarming.com

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The International Women’s Day 2015: Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity… If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior… If non-violence is the law of our being, the future is with women… – Mahatma Gandhi

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International Women's Day 2015 (Photo: UN Women/Fernando Bocanegra)
International Women’s Day 2015 (Photo: UN Women/Fernando Bocanegra)

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On March 8th every year, the day originally known as the International Working Women’s Day, people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD).

In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th. Two years later, in December 1977, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the role of women in peace efforts and development and urged an end to discrimination and increase support for women’s full and equal participation. To this to effect, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women Rights and International Peace observed on any day of the year according to their historical and national traditions by Member States.

The Beijing Platform for Action

The International Women’s Day 2015 celebrated globally today will highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women’s rights. While there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain.

On this day, the focus is on upholding women’s achievements, recognize challenges, and pay greater attention to women’s rights and gender equality to mobilize all people to do their part. The Beijing Platform for Action focuses on 12 critical areas of concern, and envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.

To this end, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is the clarion call of UN Women’s Beijing+20 campaign “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!”

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Simple Acts of Kindness


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Myself  .By T.V. Antony Raj

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Kindness

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What is “kindness”?

In this video clip we see five acts of kindness by strangers lending a helping hand.

Simple acts of kindness such as these are sure to bring a smile on the face of the persons being helped. Don’t you think that undemanding acts of kindness are sure to brighten the world we live in just a wee bit more?

And, this is what life is all about.

Give it a try!

Pass the Salt


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Pass the salt

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Youngsters, including my grandson, label me old fashioned when I sneer at them using their smartphones. I welcome technology. Way back in 1983, I was the first person to teach computer science with my Apple IIe in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin Districts in Tamilnadu, India. Since then technology has travelled a long way and improved a million times, but not all is that good.

Technology is radically changing the way we interact with each other. While connecting us in many ways, smartphones are also disconnecting every one of us, even family members. From the time my college-going grandson enters the house, he never talks with me, but jabbers with people using his smartphone, or indulges in texting. He always dines alone while jabbering or texting using his phone.

Smartphones have brought on the phenomenon of causing “death of conversation”. The smartphone technology is affecting social cohesion in the younger generation. They do not know when to switch off their instruments and start conversing directly with those seated just next to them. Due to the rapid rise of the smartphone, our younger generation does not know what social etiquette or interpersonal relationship is.

Young filmmaker Matthew Abeler perfectly depicts the overuse of technology in his short film titled: “Pass The Salt”. While the father and mother are having dinner with their two sons, one son’s phone beeps. Then, both sons start texting. Father says, “pass the salt” and one of the texting sons passes him the pepper. The hilarious ending with the sons dumbfounded should make everyone think twice before they pull out their phone the next time in the middle of dinner.

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By the way, it is good etiquette to always pass salt and pepper together. If a person asks for just one, pass both anyway.

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How Much Time Do Men Spend on Household Chores?


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Recently, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) conducted a survey on “gender disparities in various nations” across 30 countries. It revealed that women average 158 minutes a day doing paid work and men spend 259 minutes in their workplaces.

The survey also revealed that an average woman does 168 minutes a day of housework while men spend 74 minutes a day on household chores. The men average 18 minutes for shopping and 16 minutes caring for the family, and women spend 28 minutes and 40 minutes for these tasks.

Average minutes per day men spend on unpaid housework (Source: theatlantic.com)
Average minutes per day men spend on unpaid housework (Source: oecd.org)

Slovenia was part of the former Yugoslavia. In 1991, Slovenia became an independent country. The above chart shows that men in Slovenia do the most unpaid household chores at 114 minutes per day.

Men in Korea and Turkey spend a mere 21 minutes a day on housework, while their women spend 2 hours 18 and 4 hours 21 minutes a day respectively.

In its recent gender inequality index, the United Nations placed India at position 132 out of 148 countries. This certainly shows that equality in sharing household chores does not apply to Indian men. In the above chart, India is at the bottom of the list after the Koreans and the Turks.

Pinky Das, a housewife from Kolkata, buys vegetables for her household. (TOI file photo by Sayantan Ghosh)
Pinky Das, a housewife from Kolkata, buys vegetables for her household. (TOI file photo by Sayantan Ghosh)

An average Indian man devotes just 19 minutes doing household chores while an Indian woman spends 4 hours 58 minutes doing housework.

The position of Indian men in the above chart looks too true. But we should be aware that most of them get meagre income and salaries. Hence, they spend more time at their workplaces. And, when they come home after a gruelling day’s work, they need to rest their tired body and mind.

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My Impromptu Advice to a Youth


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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FB - No friends to show (Small)

Last week, a youth from Andhra befriended me on Facebook. He had joined Facebook recently. I visited his page and clicked on “Friends” and found to my surprise it showed “No friends to show”.

Last night when I was logged into FB, this youth came on-line to chat with me.

Here is a part of the verbatim conversation:

He: sir u have gud stuff in ur page sir (sic)

Me: Thanks Uxxx.

He: you r welcome sir (sic)

Me: Did you visit my website: http://tvaraj.com ?

He: sir i had good communication skills with me,i can face people,i can motivate people and i am hard worker sir how can i use theses all things for my life and for the nation

am really cnfused

am also good at acting sir

any advice from ur xperience (sic)

Me: Uxxx, we belong to different way of looking at life due to our age difference. So, I never give advice to young people. Sorry.

I have been smitten many times and burnt my fingers and my image by advising youngsters.

He: it’s ok sir no need to tell sorry i jst tried (sic)

I felt sorry for this youngster and the ‘teacher’ inside me gave in and my fingers started typing:

Me: What I find in you is that you are quick learner. Last time I communicated with you, you were using a lot of short cuts. Today, I find you completely changed. Keep it up.

When I was young, I was pulled in to act in the main parts in all college dramas. It gave me courage to face any number of people. But I would say this: “If you want to make a mark in life, forget about acting.”

Don’t emulate film stars and never have them as your idols.

Next, forget about the nation. Always remember “Charity begins at home.”

You are part of the nation, your parents are also part of the nation. If you and your parents grow, the nation will prosper automatically.

So, first obey your parents and don’t let their hearts bleed. In Tamil we have the saying “Maathaa-Pithaa, Guru, Deivam” meaning “[Honour your] parents, teachers, and gods [in that order.]”

When I say parents, it includes your own brothers and sisters also. Your family.

After you have done the needful for your parents and made them happy, then you can think about your poor relatives who are in need.

So, it will take a long time to fulfill these tasks. Be honest with yourself and your friends and relatives.

Forget about taking active part in politics because all politicians are just rogues bent on making money only.

Don’t trust and go after priests of any religion. They too are cheats bent on making money by blessing you.

There is a saying in Tamil: “koduppavanai kandaal deivam kunangi kunangi aadumaam” meaning “if a god sees a donor, it will start dancing obsequiously.”

Here ‘god’ means those rascals in temples and houses of worship and the devil dancers who act as if the gods or demons, the Holy Spirit, etc., have entered into their body and start dancing feverishly and holler nonsense. That is ‘talking in tongues’.

The real blessings come from your parents and your own elders.

After that I waited for about 15 minutes for his response. But there was none from him.

Today morning, when I logged in to FB, I saw the following:

He: thnk u sir goldn wrd (sic)

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This is Communal Harmony in My Beloved India


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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United We StandTHIS IS MY BELOVED INDIA!

Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis …

” And peace on Earth to people of good will …”

This is India - Merry Christmas!
This is India – Merry Christmas!

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I came across the above fabulous photo on the internet. Do you like it? What message does it convey?

Here are some photographs I came across while surfing the net. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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The vow of Hindu-Muslim unity

Talking about communal harmony on April 8, 1919, Mahatma Gandhi said:

“If the Hindu-Muslim communities could be united in one bond of mutual friendship and if each could act towards the other as children of the same mother, it would be a consummation devoutly to be wished. But before this unity becomes a reality, both the communities will have to give up a good deal, and will have to make radical changes in ideas held herefore. Members of one community when talking about those of the other at times indulge in terms so vulgar that they but acerbate the relations between the two. In Hindu society, we do not hesitate to indulge in unbecoming language when talking of the Mohammedans and vice-versa. Many believe that an ingrained and ineradicable animosity exists between the Hindus and
Mohammedans.

“When both are inspired by the spirit of sacrifice, when both try to do their duty towards one another instead of pressing their rights, then and then only would the long-standing differences between the two communities cease. Each must respect the other’s religion, must refrain from even secretly thinking ill of the other. We must politely dissuade members of both communities from indulging in bad language against one another. Only a serious endeavour in this direction can remove the estrangement between us.” (25:201-202)

He made the members present take a vow as under:

“With God as the witness, we Hindus and Mohammedans declare that we shall behave towards one another as children of the same parents, that we shall have no differences, that the sorrows of each shall be the sorrows of the other and that each shall help the other in removing them. We shall respect each other’s religion and religious feelings and shall not stand in the way of our respective religious practices. We shall always refrain from violence to each other in the name of religion.”

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Black Friday and the United Stupids of America (USA)!


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Last year when I was in the United States, a friend from India called me over the phone a week before Thanksgiving Day. He requested me to buy a laptop for him on Black Friday. He said that he had heard that on Black Friday electronic goods could be bought at bargain prices. Little did he know about the madness that inundates the United Stupids of America (USA) on Black Friday.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November. Also, traditionally, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season starts in the United States on Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving Day.Most major retailers open their sales outlets extremely early on Black Friday to kick off the holiday shopping season and offer promotional sales.

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States and people celebrate the day with religious fervor.

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.
Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.

People get together with their loved ones, invariably devour large amounts of food centered around an enormous roasted turkey, and like angels and saints praise and thank God for all that they have.

Black Friday - People waiting outside a mall.
Black Friday – People waiting outside a mall.

But on the following day, the Black Friday, they become United Stupids of America by transmogrifying from angels to demons. They stubbornly gather outside malls, some from midnight on. They while away their time chattering and shivering, undaunted by the bitter winter cold, and wait for the shops to open.

As soon as the doors open, the stampede begins.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall (isource)
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall (isource)
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

People behave like crazed animals. They barge into the malls like raging bulls. They trample and maul one another to buy more stuff that they already have or absolutely do not need; just 24 hours after offering thanks for how much they have.

That is Black Friday for you in the United States of America. No other country in the world can boast of such a frenzied day.

Though Black Friday is not an official holiday, many non-retail employers give their employees the day off, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers.

Earlier, retailers opened shop on Black Friday at 6 am. However, in the late 2000s, many retailers opened their retail outlets at 5 am, and some opened at 4 am. Big names including Target, Kohls, Macy’s, Best Buy, etc. open at midnight. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, broke the Black Friday tradition in 2011 by opening its store on Thanksgiving evening.

Here is a video clip depicting the madness of the United Stupids of America for you to decide whether you too want to join these berserk folks and avail bargains on Black Friday.

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