Archive for November, 2006

November 21, 2006

What Constitutes A Good Life ?

recently, got this(below) FWD… many of us would have got same or similar FWDs explaining life… wondering, does such FWDs full-fill its needs.!? while some of us wouldnt require such funda (may be reminder once-a-while)… but reality is life is too big for a reason. our needs, wishes, purpose,.. everything changes with times even the definition for these terms. its one big life

Iam certainly the most blessed person, enjoying amazing daily life… good life is very subjective term & Life is too big for a purpose. do you think???

What Constitutes A Good Life ?
The ultimate expression of life is not a paycheck. The ultimate expression of life is not a Mercedes. The ultimate expression of life is not a million dollars or a bank account or a home. Here’s the ultimate expression of life in my opinion, and that is living the good life. Here’s what we must ask constantly, “What for me would be a good life?” And you have to keep going over and over the list. A list including areas such as spirituality, economics, health, relationships and recreation. What would constitute a good life? I’ve got a short list.

1) Number one, productivity. You won’t be happy if you don’t produce. The game of life is not rest. We must rest, but only long enough to gather strength to get back to productivity. What’s the reason for the seasons and the seeds, the soil and the sunshine, the rain and the miracle of life? It’s to see what you can do with it. To try your hand, other people have tried their hand; here’s what they did. You try your hand to see what you can do. So part of life is productivity.

2) Next are good friends. Friendship is probably the greatest support system in the world. Don’t deny yourself the time to develop this support system. Nothing can match it. It’s extraordinary in its benefit. Friends are those wonderful people who know all about you and still like you. A few years ago I lost one of my dearest friends. He died at age 53 – heart attack. David is gone, but he was one of my very special friends. I used to say of David that if I was stuck in a foreign jail somewhere accused unduly and if they would allow me one phone call, I would call David. Why? He would come and get me. That’s a friend. Somebody who would come and get you. Now we’ve all got casual friends. And if you called them they would say, “Hey, if you get back, call me we’ll have a party.” So you’ve got to have both, real friends and casual friends.

3) Next on the list of a good life is your culture. Your language, your music, the ceremonies, the traditions, the dress. All of that is so vitally important that you must keep it alive. In fact it is the uniqueness of all of us that when blended together brings vitality, energy, power, influence, uniqueness and rightness to the world.

4) Next is your spirituality. It helps to form the foundation of the family that builds the nation. And make sure you study, practice and teach. Don’t be careless about the spiritual part of your nature, it’s what makes us who we are, different from animals, dogs, cats, birds and mice. Spirituality.

5) Next – here’s what my parents taught me. Don’t miss anything. Don’t miss the game. Don’t miss the performance, don’t miss the movie, don’t miss the show, don’t miss the dance. Go to everything you possible can. Buy a ticket to everything you possibly can. Go see everything and experience all you possibly can. This has served me so well to this day. Just before my father died at age 93 if you were to call him at 10:30 or 11:00 at night, he wouldn’t be home. He was at the rodeo, he was watching the kids play softball, he was listening to the concert, he was at church, he was somewhere every night. Live a vital life. Here’s one of the reasons why. If you live well, you will earn well. If you live well it will show in your face, it will show in the texture of your voice. There will be something unique and magical about you if you live well. It will infuse not only your personal life but also your business life. And it will give you a vitality nothing else can give.

6) Next are your family and the inner circle. Invest in them and they’ll invest in you. Inspire them and they’ll inspire you. With your inner circle take care of the details. When my father was still alive, I used to call him when I traveled. He’d have breakfast most every morning with the farmers.

Little place called The Decoy Inn out in the country where we lived in Southwest Idaho. So Papa would go there and have breakfast and I’d call him just to give him a special day. Now if I was in Israel, I’d have to get up in the middle of the night, but it only took five minutes, ten minutes. So I’d call Papa and they’d bring him the phone. I’d say, “Papa I’m in Israel.” He’d say, “Israel! Son, how are things in Israel?” He’d talk real loud so everybody could hear – my son’s calling me from Israel. I’d say, “Papa last night they gave me a reception on the rooftop underneath the stars overlooking the Mediterranean.” He’d say, “Son, a reception on the rooftop underneath the stars overlooking the Mediterranean.” Now everybody knows the story. It only took 5 – 10 minutes, but what a special day for my father, age 93. If a father walks out of the house and he can still feel his daughter’s kiss on his face all day, he’s a powerful man. If a husband walks out of the house and he can still feel the imprint of his wife’s arms around his body he’s invincible all day. It’s the special stuff with the inner circle that makes you strong and powerful and influential. So don’t miss that opportunity. Here’s the greatest value. The prophet said, “There are many virtues and values, but here’s the greatest, one person caring for another.” There is no greater value than love. Better to live in a tent on the beach with someone you love than to live in a mansion by yourself. One person caring for another, that’s one of life’s greatest expressions.

So make sure in your busy day to remember the true purpose and the reasons you do what you do. May you truly live the kind of life that will bring the fruit and rewards that you desire.

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November 6, 2006

New age Arranged marriages: Groom’s perspective

http://in.rediff.com/getahead/2006/nov/01arrange.htm

Finished your studies, landed a job, and settled down? Like most other guys, marrying will probably be the next thing on your agenda. But, the dynamics of an arranged marriage have changed. Find out what the realities of this age-old tradition are, for a new generation.

New avatars

“Nowadays, parents simply suggest the person they feel is suitable for their son or daughter. Only if their child approves (after interacting with him or her), do things move ahead. Also, children are now increasingly taking the initiative to find their own partners. The number of people putting up their profiles at matrimonial sites is a case in point. So, children are now ‘arranging’ their own marriages,” says Sanjeev Sharma, 29, a software engineer currently in the ‘marriage market’, looking for a bride.

“By the new-age definition, an arranged marriage is just a ‘set-up’. Parents introduce their children to each other, who meet and may even date for some time. Then, if and when they are ready, they get married,” agrees Kamlesh Mathur, 27, a sales executive who has just joined the scene.

What are you looking for?

Who you will marry is one of the most important decisions you will make. Some questions that crop up include: What sort of a girl do I marry? Will she adjust to my family? How can I decide just by meeting her a few times? When should I marry? What if I make the wrong choice?

“Take a pen and paper and list the attributes you are looking for in a girl. For example, educational achievements, profession, appearance (looks, height, weight), etc. You might not find the ‘perfect’ girl, but you will have a fair idea of what you are looking for,” says Sanjeev. “The key to choosing the right partner is to look for a person with a good character too, not simply a good personality,” feels Kamlesh. Qualities to look out for include maturity and responsibility, a positive attitude toward life, commitment to the relationship, emotional openness, integrity and high self-esteem.

“Many men go for beauty when looking for a suitable bride. Sure, looks are important, but that should not be the most important criterion. Later on in life, it is her maturity and behaviour that will make all the difference,” feels Sanjeev.

In arranged marriages, family support also plays a major role in ensuring a successful marriage. This is where compatibility of social status, family values and caste/religion may come in. “If she is going to live with your parents in a joint family set-up, it would be wise to take a few inputs from family members as well,” advises Kamlesh.

Tell your parents

The selection process is tough on every one involved in it. In arranged marriages, the involvement of family and society is pretty high. Clearly define some minimum criteria for selection in terms of education, physical appearance, social status, family values, future career plans, etc., so your parents don’t waste their time. “It would be unfair to meet a girl three to four times only to change your mind, as it can have repercussions for her too. You should have your criteria ready. Be clear about what you are looking for, so you meet fewer people,” advises Jitesh Dwivedi, 28, a graphic designer who just finalised his match and will marry in December.

People often prefer partners from the same profession for better understanding. “For example, doctors sometimes prefer doctors for reasons that include being able to start a clinic together, etc. Also, the partner is better able to understand the working hours and professional difficulties. Thus, if you are looking for a specific match, convey it to your parents,” says Dr. Bhaskar Gupta, 29, a pathologist who had an arranged marriage last year. “As I am over 6 feet tall and live abroad, my personal preference is someone fluent in English and at least 5’3″ tall,” adds Sanjeev.

Background research

It is important for you and/or your parents to check the educational and family background of a prospective partner. This can be done via a reference check, a visit to the workplace (or institute, if she’s studying), through relatives, etc. The same process is used when the girl is abroad, but it is definitely more difficult. For one, a personal visit may not be possible and you have to rely on other sources for information. If you have friends/family abroad or living in proximity to the prospective bride, request them to meet her and check things out.

You can also perform an employer verification, check the visa status, request a medical test, etc. Also, communicate regularly through emails, phone, chat, etc. to know her better and get an insight into her lifestyle.

A meeting of minds

As we all know, it is difficult to judge a person based on a few meetings. How, then, do you select a life partner? “This is where you need to take additional help of other mediums of communication like phone, email, chat, etc. because it is sometimes possible to discuss issues more freely and actually get a better idea of the person through these mediums than in person,” says Jitesh.

Whenever you do meet, relax and be yourself. Keep an open mind and don’t hesitate to discuss important issues. Wear something that you look good and feel comfortable in. Try meeting away from the usual crowd of relatives, at some neutral place like a coffee shop, so you can interact without being influenced by others. Above all, trust your gut feeling.

Ask away!

Those days are long gone when youngsters getting married hardly knew anything about each other. Now you can ask just about anything and no one is supposed to take offence. “If you have questions that may seem uncomfortable but deal with the reality of today’s social situation, or if you have doubts, by all means ask! Because NOT asking a question may ultimately prove to be a bigger mistake than asking,” feels Dr. Bhaskar.

Here are some aspects that could be looked into once you get on familiar terrain.

General questions

  • Are you ready for marriage?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How do you like to spend your free time?
  • How do you feel about smoking and/or drinking?
  • What are you looking for in a spouse?
  • How much time do you need to decide?
  • What are your preferences, in terms of food?
  • What are your pet peeves?
  • How do you act when you get upset?
  • How do you feel about pets?
  • What is your family like?

Professional queries

  • What career path do you plan on taking?
  • How ambitious are you?
  • How much time do you spend at work?
  • How do you plan to balance work and family life?

Previous relationships

Today, a lot of young people may already have had a previous relationship. “Though having had a relationship is neither uncommon nor something to be ashamed of, people sometimes bring some ‘baggage’ — emotional and / or health-related — from the previous relationship. Of course, this applies to both men and women. Now, a woman should be equally cautious if a guy tells her he has had relationships previously, and should look for signs of any serious issues,” feels Dr. Bhaskar.

“Yes, a relationship in the past would be a concern for me. But then, my opinion can’t be generalised for all couples. It is a very individual thing,” says Kamlesh. “It is difficult to say, as it is a case-specific issue,” adds Sanjeev. “I feel there is nothing wrong with it if it is a thing of the past. What is more important is to be faithful to each other after marriage.”

Medical check-up?

“Yes, you and your partner should get one. Everyone knows the significance of getting oneself tested in today’s day and age, but the way you approach it involves a good amount of emotional maturity on the part of both,” says Sanjeev.

“It’s not as if you can’t ask the girl to be tested, but there is a degree of reluctance in asking, as it is a very delicate situation and people may feel insulted if not outraged. However, if tactfully handled, most people would respond favourably, even if they voice initial doubts,” says Dr. Bhaskar. “What you can do is tell the girl (and / or her parents) that, like you, they too are probably aware of the increasing incidence of HIV and may be experiencing some apprehension about it. Moreover, a blood test can also check for thalassemia and Rh factor. You can possibly both get tested at the same reliable clinic and then proceed with the marriage without any doubts,” he advises.

It’s your call

Do remember, all said and done, it is your marriage and your life that is at stake. After you get married, you and your wife are the ones who will face the music. Don’t marry a girl just because your parents or friends asked you to do so. “Once you marry, if things don’t work out and you end up saying, ‘It’s only because of my parents that I married you’, then your marriage is destined for disaster,” says Sanjeev.

November 6, 2006

New age Arranged marriages: A bride’s perspective

http://in.rediff.com/getahead/2006/nov/02arrange.htm

The concept of arranged marriages has changed. And, not just for men. As a woman, ideally, your life partner should be someone with whom you can share interests and who will encourage your independence. As with any relationship, friendship is the key. Good communication from the beginning will help ensure that yours is a lasting, loving partnership.

Let’s take a look at how to go about looking for these characteristics in the context of an arranged marriage.

New avatars

Arranged marriages are not like they were, say, 20 years ago. “It is now more like meeting someone through your family or like being set up for a blind date,” says Rachna Shukla, 25, a Web designer who had an arranged marriage earlier this year. “Parents or friends introduce the couple and let them talk via phone or email, meet a couple of times, and then ask for a decision. If the couple says No, it’s a No. However, when parents are involved, there will inevitably be some pressure as they can’t help but give their opinion and advice,” she adds.

These days, couples often initiate the dialogue themselves, through matrimonial sites (as parents may not be familiar with computers) and end up being the ones introducing each other to their parents. “I call it an ‘arranged introduction’, as the choice is solely left to the couple. I feel this is the natural direction in which ‘arranged marriages’ are headed,” says Chetna Johari, 27, a computer engineer who is presently on the manhunt.

“Another difference is that it is no longer only the guy who decides first. Girls have an equal prerogative to do so. Also, as women are now more career-oriented and financially independent, they are usually not in a hurry,” continues Chetna.

What are you looking for?

The first thing to keep in mind is to make a list (at least mentally) of attributes you would want in your life partner, so you can focus better on your search. Depending upon your preferences, some factors that might be taken into consideration (not necessarily in this order) are — job, salary, educational qualifications, appearance (looks, height, weight, etc.), caste, horoscope, values (traditional, liberal or moderate), habits (drinking, smoking, etc.), location, family background, social standing, etc.

Inform your parents

It’s best to spell out any preferences beforehand, so your parents can search accordingly and the list can be narrowed down. This way, you will save your parents’ time as well. “As I have a non-transferable job in Delhi, I would prefer a Delhi-based match,” says Shalini Srivastava, 24, who works with an NGO and is looking for a life partner.

Meeting your ‘could-be’

Deciding to marry someone is one of the most important decisions of your life. If you are confused, unsure or awkward, don’t fret — so is the other person. Just a few things you can keep in mind when you meet your could-be significant other:

Dos: Wear something that is both flattering and comfortable. Try meeting away from relatives. Choose a neutral venue like a coffee shop. Pretend that you are on a blind date and try to enjoy yourself.

Don’ts: Don’t approach the meeting with the mindset that you have to marry this person. Don’t think you’ll be sure to hate him either.

Before, during, and after

Before meeting, try getting in touch with the person over the phone or through e-mail to prepare you, to some extent, for what to expect. During the meeting, keep an open mindset. Relax and just be yourself. Don’t hesitate to discuss important issues. Afterwards, think calmly and give yourself time to assess. Although this meeting may not indicate if this is ‘the’ person you should marry, it can certainly tell you whether you want to get to know the person better and take a step forward.

If, at any time during the meeting, you realise it won’t work, keep your cool, be polite, and try to keep it as short as possible. “Trusting your gut feeling is the most important — if you feel something is not right, it probably is not,” advises Rachna.

Ask away!

It’s perfectly okay to ask any questions you have in mind. But remember, timing is the key. For example, it can be outright insulting and offensive if the very first question is ‘How much do you earn, both net and gross?’

“Sometimes, information is not offered voluntarily and one hesitates to ask. But, if the answer to a question is important in taking matters further, there is no harm in asking. Maybe the person you ask will feel offended. But, when you are taking such an important decision, you have to take that risk. Isn’t it better that they feel bad now, rather than you feeling worse later?” asks Rachna.

General questions that could be asked once you get familiar:

  • Are you ready for marriage?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How do you like to spend your free time?
  • How do you feel about smoking and/or drinking?
  • What are you looking for in a spouse?
  • How much time do you want to decide?
  • What are your preferences, in terms of food (non-vegetarian or vegetarian)?
  • How do you feel about pets?
  • What is your family like?
  • What are your likes and dislikes?
  • How do you act when you get upset?
  • How often will we visit our extended family (if staying apart from them)?
  • Do you believe in sharing housework?

Appropriate questions on the profession front:

  • What are your future career plans?
  • How much time do you spend at work?
  • Are you looking for a working wife, housewife, or is it immaterial to you?
  • What would we do in the situation that I get transferred?

Background research

Although researching the boy’s background might seem painstaking, it is very important. “My friend got married to a very charming boy with a very good job. As he was from a reputed family too, they didn’t bother to ask about his habits. It was only after marrying him that she found out he had a drinking problem,” says Shalini.

The difficulty of researching goes up a notch when the boy is abroad, especially if you don’t have any friends/relatives to help you out there. This was the case with Asha (name changed), who married an NRI in the US only to discover, when she got there, that he had a live-in American girlfriend.

Thus, it would be wise to make discreet inquiries outside with the help of relatives and friends, with respect to his job, family background, age, education, habits, financial condition, medical history, lifestyle, etc.

“You can get an employer verification to find out if he is working there or not. Definitely check the visa status. You may also ask for a proof of employment letter, request a medical test, etc. Try calling discreetly at an odd hour to see who picks up the phone at night. You can hire a detective to do a background check (this is expensive, however). If you have friends and family abroad, ask them to meet him and find out more,” says Chetna.

Additionally, communicate regularly through email, phone, chat, etc. to get a better idea about the person.

Previous relationships

“These days, it is not uncommon at all to have had a previous relationship. If my partner had a previous relationship, I would try and be reasonable and objective about it. It depends on many factors like the type of relationship, duration, feelings, etc. As long as it is a thing of the past and he is now committed to his marriage, I would probably not mind,” says Shalini.

“However, finding out about a potential partner’s previous sexual history is next to impossible. Asking such personal questions will seem too embarrassing,” says Rachna. “Arranged marriages involve the whole family and private information coming out in the open could have severe repercussions, so some may not openly disclose this aspect,” says Dr. Bhaskar Gupta, 29, a pathologist who had an arranged marriage last year.

A medical checkup?

“Both partners getting a blood test is absolutely a must. If the boy’s side feels offended, help by telling them that you are convinced about getting it done yourself too,” says Chetna. “Actually, it is difficult for the girl or the girl’s side to ask this, but I wish every person going through an arranged marriage would have the courage to insist on such tests. Isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?” she continues.

“There are cases where, out of hesitation, marriages have taken place without such insistence, based solely on the goodwill of the family. The boys have been discovered to be HIV-positive later,” says Dr. Bhaskar.

“A blood test should be made compulsory for couples before marriage. Today, more boys and girls are choosing to go together to a clinic and get the test done before marriage. Some experts advise on making a thalassemia test mandatory before marriage too, for couples in high-incidence states, on the lines of the Goa Government’s plan for compulsory pre-matrimony HIV screening,” he continues.

Is he the one?

Finally, there should be mutual consent and understanding from both sides; only then can a marriage be sustained. “It is important that you like your prospective partner enough to marry him,” says Rachna. Good arranged marriages occur when the parents support and help their children find life partners.

November 5, 2006

My G Reader


Got hooked to new look Google Reader… its easy manage all favourite websites, news, blogs.
Share feature is great. wish I could customize url (instead of shared/05468..) and view (to include labels, archive,..)

My Shared Item’s:
http://www.google.com/reader/shared/05468553025341923446

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