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Books
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
DATING DIAPERS AND DENIAL
YOU CAN WIN
Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work & Life
The No A****** Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't
Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance
Winning: The Answers - Confronting 74 of the Toughest Questions in Business Today
Know How: The 8 skills that separate people who perform from those who don't
Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness
iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It
An Inconvenient Truth
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
Tough Choices: A Memoir
A Hand to Guide Me
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Teacher man: A Memoir
Cat O'Nine Tales
Partners in crime
Marley and Me
Freakonomics
The World Is Flat
Screw it, let's do it
Phishing : Cutting the Identity Theft Line
Manager's Guide to the Sarbanes Oxley Act
Security and Usability
THE SEA
Great Age Guides
Seeing What's Next
Blue Ocean Strategy
Follow This Path
The GE Work-out: How to Implement GE's Revolutionary Method for Busting Bureaucracy and Attacking Organizational Problems-Fast!
Sack The CEO
Competing for the Future
The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less
Bringing out the best in people
A Practical Guide to Easing Tension and Conquering Stress
Working relationships : The simple truth about getting along with friends and foes at work
101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap.. and Others Don't
Competitive Advantage (The profitability differentiator)
Competing for the Future (Blueprint for the future)
Digital Capital
Pipe Dreams (Greed, Ego and Death of Enron)
A Good Hard Kick in the Ass (New rules of business)
What the CEO Wants You to Know (Explicating the building blocks of business)
It's Not the Big that Eat the Small...It's the Fast that Eat the Slow (Reaffirms credo of Business@the speed of thought)
My Forbidden Face by Latifa (Tragedy of women in Taliban's reign of terror)
Big Brands Big Trouble (Jack Trout studies common mistakes of big brands)
No Logo (Crusade that announced death on the brand bullies)
My Pedagogic Creed (John Dewey's famous declaration concerning education)
Lexus and the Olive Tree (Anti-globalization is a search for the Sixties high)
A woman is made not born (Beauvoir's radical statement led to the second feminist movement)
Against Method(Outline of an anarchistic theory of science)
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (A paradigmatic work that changed the history of science forever)
The Dilbert Future
(Scott Adams applies his trenchant wit to forecast life in 21st century)
Swimming Across
(Intel chairman Andy Grove's journey to freedom)
Dot Bomb (A juicy insider account of the cyber madness of the Nineties)
Jack: Straight from the Gut (The global industrial titan paints a word picture of his self)
Next: The Future Just Happened (A mordantly funny exploration of the brave new world spawned by the Internet)
The Anatomy of Buzz (A groundbreaking guide to creating word-of-mouth magic that cuts through skepticism and information overload of today's consumers)
Rebel Code (A high-velocity chronicle of the open-source transformation taking place in the tech world)
The Attention Economy (An engrossing account of the human bandwidth deficiency facing employees in the internet economy)
An Excerpt from "Second Coming of Steve Jobs" (A fascinating, complex potrait of Apple's tech magician)
IBM and the Holocaust
(A powerful expose of IBM's collusion with Nazi Germany)
An Extract from "Pride Before the Fall" (A book on Microsoft's antitrust case)
Home

DATING DIAPERS AND DENIAL

Select extracts from the book

Childbirth was not easy! In fact, our first-born, Aisha, was born in extremely alien conditions: at a hospital in Kawasaki in Japan. The only English term those guys knew back then was 'curry and chutney' used while ordering 'curry and chutney' at any Indian or Pakistani restaurant. And, the only Japanese word we knew was 'Sayonara' taught to us by Asha Parekh.

Combining the two, one could not do much except have dinner and part: both activities not quite directly relevant to childbirth. The Japanese government was very kind to us and provided us with the services of an interpreter. We were grateful till we read the fine print: we had to pay her by the hour. The thought of it gave both of us severe cramps akin to uterine contractions.

In both cases, it turned out to be a false alarm, since I never went into labour, and Alok discovered he didn't have a uterus.

Since I did not go into labour, and it was seven days over the due date, they finally decided to operate.

It was a unique c-section operation conducted with the help of placards to convey important steps in the procedure to me.

'Now It Is Prick', or 'Now You Is Ouch.'

I must have laughed a lot through the procedure, perhaps giving them an inaccurate cross-cultural lesson - 'Indians laugh a lot during childbirth'.

Maybe, it's part of the curriculum of the Tokyo University for International Relations now.

On Play Behaviour

I grew up in a family of girls: we are three sisters. Our pastimes were elaborate activities built mostly around dolls. These dolls changed clothes a lot, got married a lot and had babies all the time.

Wedding celebrations were common during our playtime.

We would take pains dressing up, mostly by wrapping our grandmother's sarees pulled from the laundry basket, preparing exotic wedding meals (glucose biscuits served on leaves), and going through complicated rituals that were mostly cooked up along with the meals.

The only complication was that we had a lot of girl-dolls and just one boy-doll. He was called Bobby and he wore a bandmaster's dress which was really moulded plastic. So, he had socks that just grew on him, of the same material as his legs were. If Bobby were human, his autopsy would enter the Guinness Book:

'Dr Shekhar, see those socks, they have exactly the same DNA as the legs'

Bobby was much in demand, since in those good-old-days, we did not marry girl-dolls to girl-dolls. Hence, Bobby ended up marrying a lot.

In fact, sometimes, he would do triple shifts in a day, as bridegroom. I guess this caused him a lot of stress and he ended up peeling quite a bit of his cheap paint.

In this process, when Bobby went on to lose his youth and charm, we had to face the sad reality of retiring him from his services. Retirement for dolls meant lying in the smelly medicine cabinet with the mangled toy guitar and Zena, the doll without hair and legs.

So, with Bobby out of the marriage market, we had to turn to Munna and Tiger. They were our dogs. Munna was a dapper looking stray who would trot into the compound after a day's worth of vagrancy with tales to regale Tiger, the dumb pet for whom Munna was a role model of sorts.

They would happily accept our request to play 'groom'. The sops were they got to partake in the wedding feast and also chew on their garlands. If they resisted, we used the leash to restrain them: all in all, quite symbolic of an actual human wedding.

On Kids' Social Events

Every year, I approach Independence Day with a great deal of respect and fear. Respect for the freedom fighters who put all at stake for their motherland. In fact, their stories touch the deepest spot in my heart every time I reflect on their tales of valor.

And fear because of the task of dressing up my kids as a'freedom fighter of their choice'.

Yes, that is how we celebrate Independence Day in Apartment Complex Club Associations.

So I woke up in a cold sweat on the morning of 15th of August last year and asked my kids: 'So which freedom fighter do you want to dress as?', I thought I should be democratic in the true spirit of the nation.

'Sonia Gandhi.'

'Benton.'

Since both responses were inadmissible even after applying huge amounts of creative liberty, I had to go back to good, old autocratic ways.

I told Aisha she could dress as 'Annie Besant' or 'Sarojini Naidu'.

She heard me describe the outfits and then, politely declined.

She wanted to be 'Jhansi ki Rani'. Like all the other thirty-four girls in the building. You see 'Rani Jhansi' is a popular choice since she dresses up like a queen.

All little girls get that part about her. But, since re-creating her exact look can be tough, mothers just stick to broad guidelines: pretty Indian clothes and lots of jewellery.

So, we had many Jhansi Ranis that evening, dressed in sarees, lehengas, salawar kameez, laanchas, and ghagharas, pirouetting daintily, maybe trying to ward off the British with their moves.

I focused on converting 'Benton' boy into a suitable freedom fighter. He did not put up much of a fight. He was not much into the celebration except waving the flag occasionally and yelling 'Jai Hind'.

After some thought which yielded zero ideas, I dressed him up as 'Anonymous Soldier', dressed in a kurta pyjama and gave him a toy sword. Not only did this gesture salute those that paid a nameless tribute to the nation, it leveraged very well on the only outfit he had.

At the venue, the kids lined up to enact a play to summarize the struggle. I realized there was a problem:

There seemed to be a shortage of British soldiers. The kids playing that part either did not want the 'loser' role or their parents insisted they'd better air their ethnic costumes this time of the year. There must have been an emergency huddle of sorts.

Then, suddenly, I saw Aisha in a magenta evening gown with hat and stole, entering the melee as a 'British soldier', brandishing her Rani-Jhansi sword.

My girl is always that sweet, adjusting kid, you see.

There was another girl, dressed in a 'Barbie Doll' top and denim skirt with a name placard hanging around her neck with 'Lord Dalhousie' written on it.

Then, there was Lord Macaulay in bermudas, with an orange and blue water gun saved from last 'Holi'. These were some last minute entrants that salvaged the play.

The plot of the play was simple: basically, you were dressed either as a 'British Soldier' or as an 'Indian Freedom Fighter' and wage a war against each other by kicking, punching and pulling hair.

Till 'Gandhji', wearing a skin colored skull cap came in and implored for peace, after ducking a few punches himself. At that immediate point, the British soldiers displayed exaggerated emotions of respect for 'Gandhiji' and fell at his feet.

On Wondering How It Will Be Like to Die

I wonder what the scene would be, at my own memorial service!

My mind drifts away to imagine the scene of action. The house looks nice (maybe the maid did show up for work today). There are flowers all around, and some nice wine chilling in the corner. I hope there is some more ice in the fridge, and that they have some other beverages as well. I inspect the cutlery that has been laid out, and count the number of plates.

I look furtively at the clock, wondering if the guests will start arriving now. I am nervous. And then it strikes me: I no longer need to be! I am dead, after all.

I see Alok looking sad and staring vacantly. It's because he has missed his game of golf today. He walks around absentmindedly, at times, practicing his swing with an imaginary iron, as he often does.

I can picture Aisha, as a pretty-young woman, with a good-looking, down-to-earth, rich, polite and intelligent husband. The husband is multi-faceted, multi-talented, courteous, knows how to treat a woman and extremely successful at work.

In short, he is mythical.

Prithvi walks in with a girl on his arm. She looks like Reese Witherspoon, with that pesky, rude mouth and a cheap dress.

'Bitch!'. I mutter under my breath (taking a creative liberty here since there is no breath left, really).

She comes from a horrible family, with atrocious values and is deceitful and cunning. Of course, there is no way I can actually know all of this. But, that is a mother-in-law liberty I take.

One cannot take away this privilege from any woman, even posthumously.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

In her own words, Rachna Singh is often described as funny, mad, type A, creative, impatient, and caring. She was born in Allahabad to Ajit Thakurdas and Kamalini Thakurdas. The young writer is married to Alok Kumar Singh and is a mother of two children. She has experience in the corporate world with companies like Tata Motors of Telco, Infosys and Dell.

She says in her blog 'I have found my calling in OD, taking care of Org Design, Change Mgmt, Succession Plg, and macro-leadership development tools. In 2010, doing new things in the area of OD, Leadership Devt while taking out time to pursue my writing and spend time with my family'.

Other recent book of Rachna is Nuptial Knots that was published in the year 2010.

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