Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hikikomori – the new fad

By - Mridula Chaudhari

Japan is one of the most developed nations across the world. Tourists throng Tokyo and are overawed at the progress that Japan has made in all areas. Technology is used liberally which has made life of its people much easier than ours. Their public transport is said to be remarkable. Their subway and train systems are convenient and accurate which makes moving around easy and comfortable. To make the long story short, Japan is a land of abundance, a man made marvel.

But behind this razzmatazz there lies a sad story too. According to a survey released by the Government, more than half a million young boys and girls have shunned society and chosen to live isolated lives. This phenomenon is said to be called as ‘hikikomori’ by the Japanese Government. A person is said to be ridden with hikikomori if he or she has chosen to live in isolation for six months or more without going to school, work or venturing out to socialize.

The interesting element about hikikomori is that it is not caused by sheer laziness, as one would feel. The main reason is stated to be unable to succeed in life or in career. Now this is a serious matter. Competition is fierce in all areas and without that there is no urge to move ahead. This very need to be on the top must have made Japan so technically savvy and much more ahead of us. They say India will need at least 50-60 years to catch up with Japan and its technological advancement. Though that may be true, we at least do not have to fight with such a situation pertaining to hikikomori.

India’s social structure is so strong that even an aunt, a friend, a didi or a dada will never let our children get into the skin of hikikomori. The family pressures may drive a young boy to work hard, to do well but he will not stay indoors for as many as six months just because he ‘doesn’t feel like going to school’.

The demographics show that people affected by hikikomori are from middle class families and in the age group of 15 to 39, with men being more affected than women who face huge pressures to succeed early in life in school and in jobs as well. I am happy that we have understanding parents who care more about the wellbeing of their children than their careers.

Though this kind of social reclusion is not restricted to Japan, other nations who show this style of behavior, though not in high numbers are US, China and Spain among other nations. India does not even feature in the list. But if our education system and other related issues are not sorted out early, we can expect our best brains to be cooling their heels at home with a video game or a comic in their hands.

Let this only be a sounding board to all of us and vow to safeguard our children from getting into something like this!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Let’s leave them alone!!

By- Mridula Chaudhari

Internet is abuzz with stories of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s divorce.  Brangelina has been the most sought after couple the world over and this falling apart of Brad and Angelina has left everyone flabbergasted. How come? Oh really? How’s that possible? That was bound to happen. It’s his karma! These are a few and varied opinions of people close and not so close to Brangelina, as they are …oops were called.

The teenagers are surfing the Internet for more and more stories of the couple, they can lay their eyes on. The fingertips are clicking on each and every ounce of news they can savour. The news is both heartening and heart breaking. Single status of Pitt has made many a maidens happy, less said about the male fraternity.

Whole lot of stories of how they met, where they met first, how their chemistry worked in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, how the Friend’s star calls it Pitt’s Karma, how it’s a complete sham, how it was false from the get go is dishing out quite a pot boiler and how they fabricated their love story to double their star power. We won’t be surprised if a movie will soon be made on ‘Brangelina’. There could also be a book penned by one of them that will now come out of the closet and sell like hot cake.

Now one wonders what makes two people love each other beyond limits and after few years they cannot stand each other. Why do people undergo such an emotional change over time? What could be a possible reason for not liking two people who had shared the most beautiful and intimate moments together?

And what happens to the children? Does the couple ever think of these things before deciding to get divorced? The most common reasons for any divorce are said to be heavy arguments, infidelity, lack of commitment, lack of compatibility and abuse. But mind you these are the reasons for the not so famous couple. For the high and mighty the reasons are different and most probably difficult to fathom for the common people.

Hence let us just leave them alone and focus on our personal relationships and safeguard them. Let us make lives of people around us happy and be happy ourselves rather than digging into Brangelina’s life!

Friday, September 23, 2016

From Acche din to Sacche dil!

By - Mridula Chaudhari


When will we actually be able to see Acche din? This question has often been haunting the Indian population. Ever since the phrase has been coined, like fools we have been waiting for the day to dawn upon us. But looks like, the dawning is being postponed day after day and day after day. Bacches are growing up to become bades and netas are trying to become sacche waiting for the acche din.

Acche din for Kapil Sharma have never descended (as if they descend from the skies) for he keeps making fun of the phrase in his show time and again. If dins arent acche for Kapil then less said for people like us who cant even fathom the meaning of the phrase. Now with the current controversies of cutting mangroves is certainly not acche din for the standup comedian of the small screen. However for Katrina, acche din are certainly here, what with she being bestowed the Smita Patil Award for excellence in Cinema, whether its acche din for the viewers of cinema is a debatable issue.
So when Nitishji advices to drink juice instead of a peg or two with lights turned off, it certainly spell acche din for a healthy society.

People jumping signals in Pune will be notified via an inland letter sent to their home. They will have to pay the fine in stipulated period and if they fail to do so, a court notice will be served to them. The camera fitted on the signals will be catching the footage of number plates and if the culprits refuse to accept their fault, their own video will be shown to them. Now this is certainly not acche din for Punekars since jumping signal has now become their habit and they get a high in doing this. But certainly this spells acche din for the traffic police who are seen checking their cell phones while standing on the signals and ignoring the Jumping Jacks.

Under a Swaccha Bharat campaign, in a village in Haryana a drone will be monitoring those who defecate in the open. Notices will be sent to those who are seen doing the ‘deed’ and if they do not accept the responsibility, they will be shown their own videos? Now this certainly cannot be called acche din for the people at large.

Finally it is up to us to decide what are acche din and what are not. For having a disciplined state, we will have to initially get rid of our own bad habits. The habit of throwing rubbish on the roads, jumping the signals, not maintaining civic discipline etc. will have to be done away with. For this lot of work will have to be spearheaded at the root level. This will not be taken very positively since the connotation of acche din is all about making the city beautiful overnight by somebody and else and certainly not ME. Somebody else needs a change, I certainly dont. And if I need a change then certainly it is not acche din for me.

With Acche din, sacche dil will follow soon!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Show your worth!!!

There is an interesting story about a snake that lived in a village. The snake was a bit ferocious and would keep biting people without a reason. There came a saint in the village once. People complained to him about the snake’s habit of being reckless in his behavior. The saint spoke to the snake and asked him to be a little docile and not show his aggression so much.

The snake listened to him and tamed down. He would be seen lying on the streets while people would kick him and pass by. The snake would not even budge and suffer all the injuries without any combat. The saint visited the village again and saw the bleeding snake by the roadside. He went to the snake and asked what caused this current condition. The snake told him that since he was supposed to keep quiet, he did not retaliate even when people came and kicked him several times. He did nothing to hurt anybody and did not even stop people from hurting him. The saint then told the snake, I asked you not to hurt people; I never stopped you from spreading your hood and raising your head. If you had done so, nobody would have had the courage to hurt you like this.

The snake learnt his lesson the hard way, one needs to protect himself, not by hurting others but by showing what he is capable of doing. If that is not done, people would naturally take advantage of him.

The snake certainly taught me a thing or two about life. I realized that there are so many around us, who try to take advantage of ohers. The beauty is in shooing them away without harming. Showing them what you are capable of without saying it in so many words. Mere exhibiting aggression can do the needful. 

Good luck!!!