My Vice Head Boy

When you are bringing up kids, you always wonder at every step. “Is this right? Am I doing the right thing?” Such thoughts cloud the mind, many nights and days.

And everyone you meet somehow has the authority to tell you what is good for your kid. Some say out of genuine concern and others are simply jealous. Yes! I never used to believe that people who appear so close, can harm you in any way. But, life has its own ways to show you the truth.

Recently, I heard a lot about my teenage son (mind you he is a good boy) and mostly it was to prove that what I’m doing is wrong. It got me wondering … are they right?

Why would anyone give me a wrong feedback? Maybe it’s me who is not paying enough attention (though its never enough), maybe I’ve given too much liberty (which I have), maybe I’m too soft on my kids?

Well, how good is parenting or how bad, one can never measure, can we? As I let all these doubts cloud my mind, in my heart I knew I was doing the right thing or maybe what is right in the prevailing circumstances. And guess what, he did prove me right!

The school had its investiture ceremony and he walked down the red carpet, head held high, to take the badge of the ‘Vice Head Boy’ of the Senior Secondary School.

Happiness rolled down my cheeks in the form of tears and pride stayed back in my smile.

And proudly for the next two weeks I showed off my ‘Vice Head Boy’ to each and everyone who ever doubted me.

He may be the Deputy as of now but for me he is the ‘Head Boy’ and I’m a proud mother!!!

Startups & Branding

One fine morning, sitting over coffee on a white sofa in a posh building in Gurgoan, I met a very interesting lady in her 40s. I somehow liked her instantly.

She asked me, “What do you do?” I told her, “I have a creative agency …do Branding.” And then I asked her too, “Well, what do you do?” She replied, “I’m into advertising.” “Oh cool, so we are in the same line. Great.”

With this, we got off chatting…

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Next she told me how she started working in 1999 after stepping out of some big institute and worked for other people till she created her own company under the name of ‘White Ink‘ which went dormant after she got married and had kids.

She revived it later around 2012 or so and since then she has never looked back. She also opened a design store of her own in the name of ‘India Design Store’. Now she is handling two big impressive clients. [Dates which she mentioned may differ as I was high on coffee!]

I was hearing her talk in awe. She did a lot in these years and managed to establish herself well.

Then it was my turn… as she asked me, “What about you? What kind of clients do you have?”

Well, I did not have big names or 20 years behind me. I contemplated if I should make a story or tell her the truth? She was a stranger after all and what difference would it make! But, then, I wanted to be honest, so I told her the truth.

“I started picking things about five years ago but technically ventured into branding two years back. I’m helping small businesses grow and I’m myself a startup… and the clients we handle aren’t so well known at present. Then, we also design national Hindi fortnightly Buland Prajatantra and enrich its content. Besides, we also take up website development and social media campaigns.”

13781973_1068167439937619_7257486377479006680_nI told her the truth as it is! “…the whole point is… the big names in the market don’t need me as much, right now. Those raring to go are much comfortable with us, and together we are creating… what they want. My aim has always been to bring out honest and hard working people doing creative works. And, I’ve been good at this, always.”

She was happy to hear my happy housewife turned entrepreneur (if I call myself) story. We both had smiles and a new friendship to carry home. Obviously, we exchanged numbers and checked out Facebook accounts, the first thing as we got home.

To more work and new friends! Cheers.

Financial Knowledge Is A Must: Hold The Trigger In Your Hand

Painless ways of saving money. Photo copyright gcaffe.comThe other day I was given an article to read on finance. Well I did read as I could not say no, but lost interest before you could say Jack Robinson. Further below, a heading caught my eye which said ‘That Feeling Called Love’. Like a magnet I got stuck. There’s something about love that kicks me off. And I know so many like me who have literally no interest in money matters, politics etc.

I am in awe of the current generation of girls coming up. They are simply flying, care a damn about love and earn pots of money and spend pots too. It’s truly amazing to see them so capable and so talented.

There was a lot of talent and ability in the older generation too but somehow it was crushed and they were suppressed for general happiness of the family. And there are tons of women I know who have been clueless, after the death of their husbands, about their finances, accounts, lockers, and will. So, they end up in a soup. And if by chance the kids or siblings are smart and wicked, they would be on the road.

An interior designer Garima Aggarwal says, “I think women should keep their own finances. Due to their innate quality of saving, organizing and being a little pessimistic about future, they can manage the money equally well. There are so many financial institutes which have made investing amazingly easy. Take the advice of the wise man in your house but hold the trigger in your hand.”

Easier said than done but maybe in today’s time the new generation girls are smart and learn bank tactics early in life. The good part is that they have similar minded men also who support them fully.

Parveen Kalia, Programme Manager Project Disha (Apparel Expat Promotion Council), says, “I do the investments but expenses we both share and trust each other completely. It should be an equal give and take.”

Anupam Bhatia, an Asst. Professor at Symbiosis Pune, feels that at times to avoid any confrontations at home over money matters, woman of the house herself leaves the major decisions of finance handling to men. She said, “When it comes to our relationships, money is not the issue. It’s actually what the money represents to two different individuals that can be problematic, as well as the communication or lack thereof around the topic. Though I can be a better person to manage the finances, yet I don’t feel like taking a front seat. So at times it becomes a polite yes to most of the decisions taken by the man of the house. Assuming he is doing the best for us. This is wrong on my part. And it does not mean that discussions do not happen and consensus not taken. But, yet, at times one should and tend to agree on a point. And this goes for both husband and wife. Otherwise it would lead to disagreements at home. That’s what I call taking sensible decision to keep peace and happiness of the home.”

Well, if you are trained in money matters from a young age then it should be no problem at all. You must know how to operate your own bank accounts, your locker, fixed deposits etc. and take charge. Also, make a will and distribute assets fairly. Don’t think you will live forever. Be prepared for the worst.

Anu Chakrabarty, an entrepreneur, says, “My dad and mom made me very independent. As kids I also ran the finances of the house; sometimes I obviously struggled. When I was 16, dad started taking me to the bank, post office etc. and showed me how to fill forms, opened accounts for us and gave us money to deposit in PPF etc. As I got married, my husband supported me completely. I am an equal partner in all decision making and a director in my husband’s company. But believe me if I hadn’t been trained by dad and not been supported and encouraged by mom, I would have never been able to take some of the toughest decisions of my life. Therefore, financial independence and financial knowledge are extremely important.”

It is never too late to learn if you don’t know. Start learning and investing more time in yourself and make yourself a stronger woman. Independence is the key … Mehru Jaffer, author of ‘The Book Of Muhammad’, strongly feels that women should handle their own matters. She says, “Since we live in an age of crass capitalism and hyper consumerism, women have to know how to manage money whether working at home or in an office. Feudalism is over and no man or woman today wants to be patronised by the patriarch.”