Friday, August 26, 2016

Gender Equality - A new perspective

She was floored. He had held the car door open for her. He was taking her out to dinner. He was driving and she was sitting beside him. They reached their destination. He again got out and held the car door for her. Then he escorted her inside, and held the chair for her. Rutuja was liking every bit of this and a smile was playing on her lips all the time. What was she thinking? – “Serves him right, for not helping me around in the house?” Was this her way of paying back? What was he thinking? Was he showing his respect for her, was he being servile or was he just engaging in a typical PDA, or was he showing how he had an upper hand over her, in a subtle way? 

Elsewhere, Monica was in a café with her boyfriend. They were engaged to get married. Both were earning the same salary. She suggested they should go Dutch. He said he would pay one day and she, the next. He said, they were in it together, and nothing was solely his or hers. They would take care of their expenses together. 

Shuchita was an independent consultant and worked from home. Her meetings with clients (who were mostly male, purely a matter of coincidence) were at Starbucks or a CCD or any other central. mutually convenient place. Every meeting though, ended with her male counterparts footing the bill. She did try to ‘pay’, but her efforts were politely ignored. She does not know, whether that’s normal or not, she does not know whether she should feel good or not if they don’t allow her to pay the bill.
Gender stereotypes are not a new thing. While men are built by Nature to shoulder most of the work that requires strength, largely physical, women are built by Nature to nurture and take on most of the soft roles. 

You still find great women drivers who can do a parallel parking with amazing ease and back up equally smoothly without brushing against that quintessential pillar. There are women who change flats with a jack just as easily. The daily wage woman labourer too carries heavy loads while straddling an infant on her waist or in a cloth sling. In villages, women fetch water in 10 and 20 litre buckets/handis easily and daily, sometimes even twice a day. Closer home, women are proving their mettle physically and mentally – look at our Rio Olympic record – wrestling, vaulting, badminton – all physically tough games and not a man in sight where medals were concerned. In corporate boardrooms, women are superseding the men or maintaining shoulder length with the men, at the same time taking care of home and hearth. 

Men on the other hand, are also seen doing their duties at home, also taking on classic women roles. The house husband who works from home and takes care of the baby without a babysitter, while the wife is away at work, I have a neighbour, who does. The husband who makes it a point to make the first cuppa for his wife every single day; the husband who cannot drive and does not see it as a blow to his ego, again, I have another neighbour here; then there is the young man who treats his girlfriend /wife with equal respect, even in front of his parents or guests and does partake his share of the load at home. The husband who takes care of weekly groceries or who makes the bed or takes care of the laundry load as a practise. 

Gender equality is taking on different meanings, the right ones perhaps. 
And this is a welcome thought. Why after all, should equality mean that a woman should need to smoke or drink just to prove that she is as good as a man? She should do it out of her own choice and not out of compulsion. Why should men not pick up their own plates or cups after they are done? Why should the man hold the door or chair for a woman just because his forefathers did it or that is what makes him look good as a man? 

Gender equality should not be out of compulsion or to prove a point or to reduce the male ego or to establish feministic supremacy. It should be the freedom to choose what the man or woman wants to do with his or her life, work, chores, daily habits. It definitely should not be a pseudo thing, this equality bit. . But then there are other more naturally occurring phenomenon and questions. What if the husband wants a child and the woman does not? The husband cannot, even if he wishes too, carry a child right? How does a couple deal with this one then? 

Movies like The Intern and Ki & Ka are handling this subject from a modern perspective. TV Commercials like ‘Share the Load’ are doing their bit in establishing certain norms for equality in this day and age. 

Between a couple, married or not, gender equality should at best be ‘respect’ for each other. Levelling off and arriving at a happy, common ground, rather than fighting over one-upmanship or one-upwomanship. Different strokes for different couples. 

After all, men are from Mars and women are from Venus, so same difference, what say? But lest we forget, men and women still love to meet on Earth, ain’t that enough?

What are your views on gender equality? How do you as a couple get to a common, happy ground. Do you feel that we can eventually get to a point where there is complete gender equality?

Image credits:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Meet Rishi Dinani - my Student of the Month for July 2016


Meet Rishi Dinani, the happy-go-lucky young man who is our normal young, grinning kid next door - honest, humble and hard working. Rishi shares some amusing and amazing moments of his life with Student Mentor, Sonali Brahma (me) today. Read to know how you can be successful too, if you decide to woo luck through hard and smart work.


1.     When did you pass out from ISC? Indira School of Communication 
Technically in 2013 but I started working in Dec 2012

2.     How would you describe yourself as, then? (Friendly, happy go lucky, carefree)
Was happy go lucky and I got lucky :p. I started working with a very open mind and with minimum baggage which really helped.

3)  Did you have any career goals back then?
Not really, career goals at that moment were very cliché. I was having an interest in the creative side of things and wanted to be a part of a brand's success story make it big in the Advertising world with specific interest in the client servicing side. 

4) Was Sokrati your dream company? Had you planned to work for the digital


Not at all, me and Sokrati were very new in 2012, the company was a start-up . Honestly hadn't even heard about Sokrati. I was very curious digital marketing and the scope around specially because I was reading a lot about it and had a chance to work on it for a client during my internship.

5) How did you get into Sokrati? Was it difficult? Challenging?
Got in through a job listing on, Oh yes! It was difficult I had given too many interviews before Sokrati and kind off cracked most of the interviews, didn't pick up any as I was getting paid less than what I made during my internship and yes I was the highest paid intern in my entire batch 15K. All this got me puffed in my head and when I had like 3-4 grilling sessions at Sokrati I was like, I don't want to join this company at all, I also thought I would not crack the interview but then I did it. 

6) Are you still with them?

7) What is your current title and role in Sokrati?
Manager- Business Development 

8) How did you manage to rise so fast there? What qualities in you do you attribute      your success to?
                      A simple mantra, have an open mind and leave all your past baggage outside the door.               

9) Do you believe, one cannot have fun when you get out of college and into a job?   Why or why not?
No I don't, you need to like what you do and most important you should be willing to do some work. You cannot expect to just have fun without giving your 100% to the job.

10) Any tips to students in the digital industry?
      Just know your basics and you will do well.

11) Any tips to students to stay focused on their careers?
Please be patient and humble. Even If you spend a year in your first job and you realize it’s not for you, that's fine! You have your entire life in front of you and trust me no experience is a waste. 


Friday, July 8, 2016

The journey of Saudamini Joshi from a not-so-clear young girl to a confident young lady who knows where she has to go!

In a long-distance tête-à-tête, this young girl, my student back then, shares her journey with us – from a not-so-sure-about-which-stream to-take-kinda-girl to showing off her convo cap for earning a Master’s in Management from New York University, she has come a long way! Do read. You will know what it takes to dream and make that dream, real! 

Why did you decide to study management after mass communication?
I always planned to go for an MBA at some point in my life. I appeared for entrance exams for B-schools in India. I got through in Welingkar and KJ Somaiyya. When it was time to decide which one to choose, a little voice in my head said you should go for your Masters abroad. So I decided to give it a try. I scored really well on my GMAT. With my essays and good recommendation letters I got into NYU for the Integrated Marketing program. One semester into it I realized that the Management course would open more avenues for me so I transferred to that course in Spring 2015.
Don’t tell me, Sau. You were confused even there? Wow! J

Was it difficult to decide about studying abroad?
I wouldn't say it was difficult. I had my idols: my cousins who are doing extremely well in their careers here in the US. With the never ending support from my parents, it was an easy decision.
Was it difficult preparing for NYU? How did you prepare?
The GMAT part was moderately easy for me since I always had a quantitative aptitude and a flair for the English language. Very honestly, I prepared for GMAT in two weeks since my schedule at my then workplace was quite hectic. I treated the official GMAT guide as my bible. I solved it once and was good to go. TOEFL didn't need any prep at all.
What gave you the confidence?
I would say my parents' belief in me, and honest and focused efforts.

How did you fit in? At NYU? What overwhelmed you? How did you manage?
One thing about NYU and New York in general is that anybody would fit right in. They say that this city celebrates the different side of you. The first couple of weeks challenged all of the newbies like me as we were unaware of the subway system. We ended up taking the wrong trains and missing our stops a couple of times. But once I got a hang of it, I could comfortably leave my apartment with just my phone, metrocard, and debit card. At NYU, my first semester was very interesting because my peers came from various countries and cultures. When I transferred to the school of engineering in the second semester, the diversity in the classroom was way less as the class was mostly comprised of Indian and Chinese students since these are the countries that most engineers here come from. The system of studying, completing assignments, and grading here are way different than how they are back home. Also, here we needed to take responsibility of everything right from cooking to household chores - something that we didn't need to worry about before. I think it helped all of us grow up a little and appreciate every tiny thing that our parents did for us.

What do you plan to do now?
I am looking for a job in business intelligence and analytics

What did you graduate in before mass communication?
I did my Bachelors in Engineering.
Wow! You really are educated in all streams, Sau!

What is your personal philosophy?
Always think about 'what could be' rather than 'what could have been',

What is your professional philosophy?
Never stop learning and exploring. Getting too comfortable at doing what you're doing is a sign to look for the next challenge.

Who is your role model?
My first boss - Ms. Radhika Akolkar. She is the perfect combination of a leader and a team player. Assertive, yet polite, she has a personality that commands respect. I have seen her balance work and personal life in an impeccable way. I aspire to be like her one day.
If there was anything you could change about yourself before you took this course, what would it be?
Get more comfortable with concepts of statistics and practice coding. If I had done that I would've needed less time to get used to it and definitely have been even more productive.

Did I not tell you, that this young lady here has a pretty and sorted head sitting on her young shoulders? For those who don’t know, during her Mass Comm, where I taught her, she also was contemplating doing copywriting; even then I remember I had advised her to take up ‘brand/account planning’. She has made the right choice today and what a choice! 

Congratulations, my dear young lady. May you go on to create success and happiness wherever you go. And a few broken glass ceilings too, if I may add!