Sunday, December 31, 2006

The plight of the housewife and the second child. Part II

Well last time we had left the housewife in a lurch of indecision and its time to scrutinize her situation further before looking at rescue methods . To do so we subject her to further difficult situations that I have seen her to be put into by natural circumstances. The elder child passes out of class 12 with a reasonably good performance and gets admitted to a "good" college with triple E ( Electrical and Electronic Engineering ) or if the son is as good a vagabond as me then comes to CMI to study physics .

Nota Bene : My mother is not a housewife . She is a doctor .

Now this housewife in question has a whole day to herself with nothing to do in particular . Except perhaps if not for the placebo effect the ashamed-to-call-themselves-conservatives would like to label "home making " as a very important occupation .

I wonder how the home can be made by just the housewife contributing to it technically and the husband standing by for the "moral support " !!

THis housewife now has a further problem of haing nothing substantiall to worry except for a vague fear she herself doesnt understand and labels it for lack of words " the son's future " . She even does not have a definite knowledge of what an engineering course takes or what it imbibes the student with . On the face of it she sees a very confusing output that initially all go in with different branches but all come out with a job in some XYZ software company and becoming a part of the IT sector which is supposedly "booming" .

The child now exposed to the more vibrant life of an engineering college and hostel has lesser attractions for th home and proportions his free time ( which is almost always ! ) to the upcoming techfests . Training himself to be an enterpreneur who can do very well human resource management and financial management and can design robots . Not bad but the 2 vital questions that get asked here :

1. Isnt everyone else also doing teh same ?
2. How is the housewife supposed to compensate for this vaccuum in her life with some thing more precise than the wories about the "son's future" ?

Well our concern here is the second question . On the other hand the husband returns back home with a gloomy face and a frown in his forehead due to worries with his boss and obviously he finds lesser time for his wife now that the common link between the child is away from home and the worries look a bit more distant , on the telephone .

So the wife is now losing company from all sides . She is more and more feeling the need to have something more substantial to occupy herself with . She needs something to contribute to . She feels out of use . She feels left alone . She craves for the son to return home . She needs a proffession .

She regrets not being allowed to continue her education to the level of becoming a proffessional . She now regrets her parents agreeing to the marriage . She regrets all that has already happened in her life . She regrets everything .

She wishes history could be re-written . She knows it cant be . She feels desperate . Day by day she feels more and more helpless . She then develops a tendency for high blood pressure . Diabetes . Migraine .
All gets labelled as the post-menopausal effects . The husbands finds an oppurtunity to sympathize and to make a grand show of how concerned he is about the health of his wife . He gets her to the best doctor . The doctor gives medicines .

But the actual problem is never understood.

She has a psychological problem .

She feels a life lost for the purpose of others . First the father , then the husband and then the son . She feels a need for an identity of her own and she regrets that a financial independence arising from a proffession would have solved this problem .

She just regrets and regrets eat up life the fastest .

Now is the second child is the solution to this problem ?

Perhaps not a complete solution but it obviously could have led to a better state of affairs from the psychological point of view . The second child if possibly of the opposite sex than the first would also have in it a prospect of bunch of new experiences for the housewife as a mother .

A second chiled timed such that when the elder son/daughter has passed out the sibling still has the important phases of his/her schol life left . So that in theabsence of the elkder one the housewife has something substantial to occupy herself .

She atleast has the chance to tell herself that she is making a contribution to the society by being the instrument of moulding an individual for the society . She will have something substantial to do than to just worry about the "distant" son's future ( which she technically doesnt understand ) . She will have the opputunity to occupy herself with the daily chores associated with the growing and maturing of another child .

The feeling of being responsible for the good and bad for another upcoming living organism can surely be a fulfilling and more satisfactory experience that to be decorating the inanimate house for those piecemeal appreciations from the husband .

It has been a personal experience of mine that such housewives are far better off psychologically who have a secondchild with a good difference of age between the siblings . Another active elemnt in the house endowing her with responsibilities is not a bad compensation for the missing one .

But then this solution brings with itself further cascading issues . They are as follows ::

1. So will personal happiness of the housewife outweigh the national requirement of curbing the exponential population growth of the nation ?

2. What about those families which are not financially well off to be able to shoulder the financial requirements to bring up two children equally well ?

These new cascaded issues and those others mentioned in part I shall be dealt in part III onwards .

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The plight of the housewife and the second child . Part I

The typical Indian housewife has always been one of the burning
issues inside my mind for many years and a few recent experinces has
provocated me to put down some of my observations and analysis in this
topic .

We take into consideration the typical case in a middle class or the
upper middle class Indian family , the section of the society with whom
I am most familiar .

It is a nuclear family . The husband is well established in his work
place but has a hectic life to cater to the needs of the proffession
and will on most days come home with the pending work from office in
his hand or mind . Or he will be joining in some promotion party of a
collegue in the office in the evening or will be poring over how to
sort out the next looming trouble in the office .

The son/daughter is doing well in school and is performing more or
less to the parent's expectations . He has his coaching classes to
assist him and his fellow friends to call up when in need of
non-financial help .

The wife is the person in question . The modern society has tried to
garb it in various fancy names like the "home-maker " but I sometimes
really wonder whether it is not in same spirit as calling the
maid-servant at home the "domestic help" .

She doesnt have the technical qualifications to assist either the
husband at work or her chid in studies . She is hence forced by fate to
contend herself to be helping in the so called back stage
duties behind every successful person in the world . She is left to be
helping out make the morning breakfast and iron the dresses for both of
them or worse wash it . She has to help both of them "get ready" to
face the "bigger" challenges in the world outside .

But no-matter how suave the modern male chauvinistic society tries to
get to hide its basic feelings by saying that thus " behind every
succssful man is a woman " ... the truth remains that up-front the
world will never recognise her contribution to the successful .

In the Indian society brought up with such terribly ingrained
inhibitions most husbands wont plant a tender kiss on their wife before
leaving for office .

Is money and duties as a husband a complete substitute for the need to
expresss gratitude and thankfulness ?

She will atmost be remembered as the " wife of Mr. So and So " and not
as the one who helped " Mr So and So " become successful . Her identity
was assumed to be lost the day she was married off .

The nation is brought up to believe that the success of the woman lies
in her ability to de-burden the man from his non-technical necessities
of life like to cook his food so that he doesnt have to "waste " time
cooking for himself . Thus the wife goes to sleep at night deluding
herself in a false sense of contentment of being the mother of a good
student and a successful husband .

Even if the day doesnt end forcing her again to be the instrument of
man's basic pleasures ,it ends bad enough to be detrimental to the
growth of the society.

During the day the wife's plight is the perhaps the worst . Both the
other residents being out of home she , being technically inacapable of
engaging herself in proffessional activity has the folowing options
left to her ::

1. Engage herself in her so called "implicit" duties of the
housewife to keep the house , clean and decorated .
These are supposed to be an indicator of the wife's success!! ..
so that the guests can come and say that " Mr So and So " has a
beautiful home and the husband can have the pleasure of behaving like
some rich guy giving alms way of saying " Its all due to the efforts of
my great wife " ... what a deplorable consolation prize !!!

2. Learn innovative cooking to "serve" her husband those
delicacies .
( For some stray of the hook appreciation from the husband about being a good hand at the kitchen ! )

3. Or the worst alternative is the wife spending such vital
periods of her life gorging herself on those pathetically churned out
typically mediocre soaps and serials on television , targetted at the
non-thinking masses . The same repititive kind of stories where the
husband's sister will be cruel to the wife and the husband will
probably have an extra marital affair with the wife's sister !!

The brainless soaps and serials have really gone a long way to
make sure that the in-family filths and the dark quagmires never end by
providing shallower and darker ideas of creating them . Thus they make
no contribution to the society than to make the society prone to such
ideas and to make people apprehensive of the the weirdest of
possibilities . They rarely come up with a solution since if they do so
the mega serials will have to end after a finite time .

Thus the house-wife is fed with such dark ideas thanks to the
silver screen and she has found company by then to discuss the possible
next episode with either the maid-servant or the next door wife .

What a waste of time , life and vital resources of India !!!

Ultimately we have at hand a society filled with such a huge section
of so called "home-makers" whose potential talents have been subjugated
, thinking has been convoluted and their education wasted and
converted into a machine that rises in the morning to "serve " , spend
the day wasting in totally unfruitful and brainless jobs and ends the
day "serving" .

No nation develops with such a cancerous growth inside it . A huge
reason for India's failures in the international arena is due to the
existence of such a class .

Over the next blogs I shall discuss the next 4 levels of this problem

1. What are the better alternatives for this house-wife to spend
the day with ?

2. In the evening the house-wife can atleast ask her child about the
progresses in school and try to help out with her common sense .
Atleast she has the worry of bringing up a child to occupy her mind .

But how capable is she of doing it ?

3. Now the son has passed out of calss 12 and is in an engineering
college far away living in a hostel . What does the house-wife now ,
possible aged 40 , do in the empty house ?

Enters the role of the second child .

4. What are the remedies to this problem ? What can be the better
future ?

Is a husband and a wife who are collegues in the proffession and decide
to have no children a better alternative ?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Setting an example worth applauding .

{ The important issue starts in the fourth paragraph . Those who know about the "Li'l Champs" contest can very well skip the first 3.}

Recently there was a high profile programme on television calleed "Li'l Champs" which was a music contest among children across India . The permanent judges were Alka Yagnik , Vappi Lahiri and Abhijit ( and a guest judge for every round like Jagjit Singh was invited once ) and the final decider was sms voting . It was a sensation across India and finally after rigorous rounds ( in both classical and non-classical music ) and a very high strung competition between startling musical talents across India and after a lot of controversies ( regarding why so and so who was singing fabulously did not qualify for the next round etc etc ) the final winnner was a girl who lived in my colony called Sanchita !

I had never known her though she lived in my colony and further I had never known of any child prodigy in my colony . Further she is a student of a very much ill reputed and a forlorn local school in our neighbourhood. { Its a different matter that I know very littlle about the people in my colony since once in a blue moon I interact with anyone outside my family.}

Overnight this local girl was a sensation across India ( our small place was finally on the national consciousness map! ) and police had to be enforced to control the crowds who flocked to receive her the day she came back from Mumbai . She has already been given offers to do playback singing at Bollywood . Everything surely justifies her terrific voice and the maturity in singing that enthralled the audiences across the nation .

But the most important aspect of this incident came to my knowledge only today . Sanchita is very poor in academics and performs terribly at school. She failed in class 9 twice. Hence she was expelled from a reputed school earlier and had finally landed up in that pathetic school .

The common mindset in India that academics is the holliest thing to do on earth and it is everyone's national duty to top the class and get a 100 in the maths paper . So it makes it worth noting that Sanchita's family supported her continuing to hone her exceptional musical talents even in the face of such academic disasters .

It really sets an example for the rest of India to follow .

Its only saddening that this bias towards academics and the inbred attitude of putting academics first has ruined millions of people in India who were born with rare talents to excel in fields outside academics . Another girl in my colony had met the reverse fate . She had an exceptional voice for Indian classical music but her music training was truncated by her parents because she was performing badly at school .

Its high time that India starts doing a door to door search for such talents and hone and finance their upbringing focussed to manifest their talents on the international platform . Letting talents to waste away in the dark alleys and lanes of underdeveloped areas like where I live , is the worst thing that can happen to a nation .

These finally show up in things like the dismal medal tally at the Doha Asian Games where India has managed to scrape a meagre figure of 6 gold medals whereas China has something around 150 gold medals .

Success of a nation lies in finding out and honing the special talents from the masses and being able to generate success on the international arena from them and not in a general average development of the nation . Average upliftment can be the second priority .

Have you ever wondered why there are no Field's medalists in our country where people are crazed about getting a 100 in the school maths exams ? Why in a country where people are so sensitive about academics neither we have been able to get any of the Nobel prizes for so many years or get the first rank in the Olympics ?

Its a high time the country sits up and takes a hard look at its mechanisms and the psychology of its people.

N.B :: I always performed horribly in my school maths exams till class 10 and it was an extremely embarassing time for me when my relatives kept asking me about my school maths marks before asking anyother of my academic details .

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Home Cooked Food

When people say that they do not find the food in places outside their home especially food in hostels as good as at home what they actually mean is not what is apparent .

Its a dislike that stems not from any quantitative aspects of the food like the taste , quality etc but from the inhibitions of the conservative that sits inside everyone of us .

In however small proportion it may be there always exists a small shade of this inside everyone . Here it is manifesting its presence by not enabling the person to appreciate the probable taste and quality of food or at least the sense of adventure in trying out new things like food here .

It creates as perennial bias inside the person towards home food which has no logical basis but is only a small effect of the general activities of this entity in preventing one person from looking outside the barriers of "habit" and the "usual" and "routine" . A small scale manifestation of the conservative activities of this identity within us .

This effect is extremely dangerous when it manifests itself on scales larger than just a dislike for home food ( better to put it as a psychological restrain in trying out things beyond what the person is habituated to ) . This might manifest in the person's inability to accept radical changes in view point in science especially in physics which happen every second . The subject is very dynamics and it is of utmost importance to be able to keep the mind open and to be able to take in and be able to cause radical shifts of view as the perspectives of the subject change radically from time to time .

Even Einstein and C.V.Raman could not accept quantum theory to be the truth of the universe or at least a far better theory to explain the nature than the other theories prevalent then . Even probably the most dynamic of all scientists like Feynman was sceptic of String theory when Murray Gell Mann started proposing it .

Even today in India most of the physicists I have met though have a long experience of dabbling with Feynman's works are not comfortable in looking at the subject from Feynman's view point or in being able to comfortably read Feynman's writings .

None of my colleagues in college look at or appreciate the causality aspect of quantum theory or its deterministic nature that gets shadowed by the more famed indeterministic aspect of the theory . They have chosen to tread the paths along the text-book problems whereas I have always preferred to look at the more global picture of the subject beyond the problem solving approach ( I wonder whether the time I spend looking at the routine aspects is even 1% of the time my collegues spend on it ) which I hope will eventually helps me gain new insights into the deeper connections in the subject with the pressing questions in physics .

I especially prefer to look at the Quantum theory as an independent truth which has its natural existence without any shadows of the "home cooked food" like Classical Mechanics . As usual my collegues dont appreciate this view of mine .

The most crucial vehicle to travel these non-routine terrains is a concept which again is missing from the conventional play-safe approaches that students take, the concept of "Propagator Kernel". A construction which was a brainchild of Feynman and which brings to light the causal aspect of the theory . "Propagator Kernels" are mathematically equivalent to green's functions for partial differential equations . Its only from the "Propagator Kernel " view that it is possible to see how relativistic quantum theory allows a finite chance for a particle to escape the time-cone !! Or to see how a field quantization revolutionizes the concept of a "vacuum" .

Most students study quantum theory through the functional approach to it where the whole theory is reduced to a mundane algorithm of solving partial differential equations and the students totally miss out the theoretic and the conceptual elegance of the bra-ket formalism and people keep practising solving some differential equations whereas the global picture of this philosophy is totally forgotten !!

People believing in the routine approaches keep forgetting that there is a unimodular complex number multiplied to the wave functions ( an aspect which gets dangerously de-emphasized in the conventional approach! since people keep concentrating on the modulus squared and this quantity is soon lost !! ) which contains in reality some of the deepest aspects of nature like the projective space structure of the quantum state space or the the gauge symmetry of the field considered or the deep problem of being able ( or not !) to choose a path in space-time such that the field tensor has the gauge symmetry at every point .

All such restrictive views are larger manifestation of the people not being able to look beyond the usual and the long-term habits and not being able to feel comfortable with food at different places and a perennial basis for home cooked food . A small manifestation of the disastrous psychological block to try out new things and take up the challenges of adventurous exploration .