Archive: September 2013

Profile photo of Anita Ayela Finding Our Feet…

beach-feet-shutterstock_80497978-300x200 ‘Miss America is an Indian!!’

An unusual joy filled my mind when I learnt that Miss America 2014 is an Indian. When I heard her last name, I felt immense joy that she is from Andhra Pradesh. How does it make a difference to me? Why do I feel so happy about a total stranger just when I know that she is from my community? Isn’t this wrong? Is this what is called racism? I don’t know.

The feeling of alienation, the feeling that we are not getting our due recognition in a country which feeds us but is not our own, is always engraved into our souls. And when one person from our country achieves something in this alien country, the sisterhood feeling springs out. Nothing wrong, I would say. After all who doesn’t like recognition? And who doesn’t like to show off that we (read Indians) too can achieve something?

My childhood was spent in Odisha though I’m a Telugu speaking girl. I couldn’t say with confidence that I’m from Andhra when I was growing up. But since I did my higher studies in Andhra Pradesh and started working there, I have been able to face myself when I said that I’m from Andhra. I have never felt a part of odisha simply because I was not part of it, I just grew up there! If not for my dad’s State Gov job, I’m sure he too wouldn’t have liked to stay there for so many years, away from Andhra. In a bigger spectrum, now living in the US makes me feel that I don’t belong here and crave to be a part of India.

What is it that keeps us ticking in a place that is not our own? It is this very feeling of alienation and the craving to go back to your roots! The constant longing for our state, our country and our community is what keeps us hanging in there. It is natural human psychology that we crave for and long for something only until we get it. Once it becomes ours, we tend to forget its importance. We tend to forget the journey towards the destination, all we feel is relaxed that now we are where we want to be.

When in a new country, we focus more on the culture of our country. We teach our kids the tastes and customs of India and we tend to teach them our language and culture too. What is it that makes us do this? Is it just because we are scared that we will forget our culture or is it because we want to pass on our culture to the next generation? Maybe neither, it is because we love our country and miss being there that we try to create that world here.

It is 12 years now since we moved to the US, but we are still ‘moved’ by everything that is Indian. I have seen so many Indians in the US who are happily settled here, their kids settled here and they are leading a satisfying life as citizens. But then, when something happens in India, they feel for it, they cry their hearts out to be amongst theirour kith and kin in India.

Some may say that they don’t visit India anymore because there is nobody there for them, no parents or siblings, and no extended family. For some of us, once-in-two-years regime of going to India may be for our own pleasure and purpose. But for all of us, our hearts miss a beat when we watch the news of India and the disasters that are happening there. Isn’t this what is called ‘patriotism’ in the true sense of the word? When your heart beats for something, for someone, unconditionally, that is called love, and that is where love is and always will be! In our hearts, for our country, no matter where we are! Jai hind!

Profile photo of Anita Ayela Cyber Addiction

iphone-addiction

(Published in www.bkhush.com as Bow your head and numb your fingers!   )

Recently I heard someone saying that though we have progressed so much, we bow our head even today like slaves-slaves to electronics. And that person was talking about ‘texting’ forever, heads down, eyes staring into the screen as fingers dance in tune!!

All kinds of screens have become the ‘in’ thing now, or as Gen Y kids would say ‘fad’!  All Apple products, all kinds of Tablets, smart phones, Kindle, all have the same effect on kids all over the world. I know that as the generation is growing and the technology is progressing, people from our generation need to understand and support the new generation. But easier said than done!

It becomes quite irritating at times, when kids are forever stuck to these screens. Especially when these screens join us at the dining table too, making weird noises of the arrival of SMS! I’m surprised how the fingers of kids have not gone numb by now by the frequency with which they are used typing messages back and forth!

I always wonder what is it that has pulled the kids away from the playgrounds, from the theatres or the books. I wonder when the playgrounds gave way to the laptops, the theatres to the tablets and the books to the Kindles! I believed that getting the reason out of the horse’s mouth would be the best thing and so I talked to some kids of friends and family.

Apeksha, 14 yrs old girl says “We prefer screen time because I think that a lot of the things that we do outside or at a friend’s house, we can now do on iPads, and cell phones, and main source of entertainment is now TV. The TV shows that are on TV now, are so much more real and relatable that, I think, that we kids feel that we don’t need to go outside and experience it we just want to watch it on the screen.”

I’m sure a lot of parents would have encountered this problem in the summer that passed us by-TV! Yes, TV becomes an integral part of vacation, wherever they are, be it home or holidaying in a hotel! They watch and watch and watch; repeats after repeat, making the parents scream in their heads but admonish the teenagers gently! I remember those days when India had just got TVs and the timings of telecast were fixed and so we had time to do other things too. All we had is one channel unlike the numerous ones that are available to our kids now, which obviously allows them to watch more. I don’t actually want to think what we would have done as kids if we had so many channels too. Maybe we too would have…

When I talked to another kid, Ria, 12 years old, she said

I think that kids/teens of today prefer screen time over playing outside because social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+. Twitter, Gmail.. (the list goes on and on.) allows us to talk to friends at any time, on the other hand, if someone was to play outside, your choice of playmates/friends would be limited. Also, social networking makes it easier to communicate and share thoughts and ideas. Websites like these allow kids/teens to say what’s on their mind without over thinking about what others will think of you (it gives them a form of confidence) because you are “talking” to a screen not a person.”

Well, well, kids do surprise me a lot these days. It might seem like a joke but, I have seen kids’ texting to each other in the same house too with just a wall to separate their bedrooms. I, as a parent, fail to understand how communication skills are used these days on these social networking sites and why kids need screens to boost their confidence levels. Human contact and human voices has become a rarity, at least for the majority of kids, or so say a lot of parents.

My daughter said, “Most of our teachers ask us to do our homework online and so we need laptops. No homework done means no grades. We are to type out our assignments and make PowerPoint for projects, how else do we do that if not on the computers? So, laptops and computers are a must for us.”

Now, there goes another teenager at my house, telling me that the laptop screen is a must to get grades. Now, do I have a say in that, if grades are important for us too. My memory of note books for homework, and pens and pencils for writing are slowly slipping out of my system, giving way to my kid’s way of writing and communicating! However much we as parents think of taking away all these ‘screens’ from the kids, it is not possible. It is like sending the kids into the stone-age when it is the requirement of the society to adapt to the changing technology.

We all know from experience how kids want the very thing that we don’t want them to have.Instead of trying to scream at them , snatch their iPhones or pull our own hair with helplessness, it is essential that we learn the importance of these electronics and then explain it to the kids the limitation of their usage.Maybe we need to have an eye on them while they use these electronics usefully, and set a schedule to use these ‘texting’ devices and ‘gaming’ equipment.And last but not the least, tell them the importance of meeting friends in person, taking part in sports or other extra curricular activities outside their bedrooms!!

Well, come to think of it,can we blame the kids enough if we are reading this on a blog or e-magazine, on the laptop too and not in a physical book? What say guys?! 🙂