Sunday, May 2, 2010

My article published in The Hindu- Who is more intelligent- man or woman?

Who does it better?

Today's women who balance domestic and professional lives with self-assurance have changed age-old patriarchal notions
Photo: Bloomberg news HIS AND HERS A woman who tends to use more sides of her brain is associated with tact, diplomacy and social sensitivity

Is a woman more intelligent than a man? Or is this question silly or irrelevant in the year 2005 when women take rapid strides along with men? Whatever said and done, scientists are continuously exploring the gender gaps in the brains of men and women. Old myths on who excels at what are changing. Thanks to new brain imaging technology, a tour of the brain gives a good look at the living brain as it operates and grows.
New images show that the brain of both men and women are ever changing not just in response to hormones and aging but also in response to motivation, lifestyles, practice and medication. What the brain does best is to change and adapt. Its ability to change is phenomenal. Due to women's empowerment, the gender of the brain is slowly becoming more and more irrelevant and less of a deciding factor. Science, industry and certain other fields are still a man's world, many feel. Or are they? Not any longer, for today an increasing number of girls opts for engineering and technical courses.
The balance thus equalises as more women today refuse to be typecast in conventional, docile roles. Women were also discouraged from holding important positions on the assumption that they would quit on marrying or entering motherhood. Today's women who balance domestic and professional lives with self-assurance and style have changed that concept. Thus will the brains of both sexes be identical before long? Will man's and woman's behaviour and responses turn alike? Still certain distinct patterns that differentiate a man and a woman are still visible in the brain — though for how long is not sure.
A man's brain is around 10 per cent larger than a woman's. But, as once assumed, size does not determine intelligence. Studies are thus moving away from the fixation with size. Research shows men are more prone to say and do things unmindful of how they will affect others. And this increases with age, for a tissue behind the forehead concerning self-control and consequences wears off. A woman who tends to use more sides of her brain on the other hand is associated with tact, diplomacy and social sensitivity required of high profile university leaders. Woman school principals are thus outnumbering men in today's world.
Sentiments and emotions are also handled differently. Women utilising better the regions that handle language and higher functions narrate and discuss their emotions and feelings, while men who do their thinking with more focussed sides of the brain keep their worries low profile and carry on. Men are thus at times considered insensitive. With regard to verbal skills, women score. Other differences still visible pertain to perception. A man and a woman would see totally different things on observing a landscape, say scientists. Women see and feel things that men don't. They can also smell and notice colours and textures, which men cannot.
With change being the only permanent feature today, the futuristic lifestyles of the sexes would be interesting to conjure. As more and more men share household duties and more and more women venture into areas that were strictly male, the direction of both sexes seems to head for a common point. What will be the outcome of the pursuit for this mutual meeting ground? Will the new roles of both sexes create an odd and unusual society? Or will there be perfect harmony? Let's wait and watch.

My article published in The Hindu

Keeping the flame alive
The joint venture of marriage is on shaky ground in these changing times. Couples who have enjoyed this relationship for half a century and more tell Hemjit Bharathan it's all about adjustment

It is the same old love story. A few years into marriage and love is out the window. Never has this been truer than it is today with divorces and separations on the rise.
Nothing is more complicated and incomprehensible than love. Sustaining it in long-term, committed relationships is tricky. Love needs to be navigated, steered for its upkeep and maintenance. So how do couples married for forty to fifty years keep the flame of love burning? Parvathy and Narayanan who are celebrating their golden jubilee wedding year feel that certain faults in each other have to be ignored for a smooth innings of married life.
"Married life calls for a little bit of playacting," admits Narayanan good-humouredly. Though a man and woman are equal but to satisfy a man's ego a woman's intuition should lead her to act that she is inferior and helpless. The damsel in distress has always boosted a man's self-image." True, for isn't life a stage and are we not the actors as the famous playwright quoted?
"Communication is an important factor. Nothing should be bottled up and feelings should be expressed. It is important to spend time together. But TV has resulted in less interaction and exchange of ideas. Today's couples also give undue importance to entertainments and material enjoyment. Marriage should never be taken lightly. Stable marriages are the finest examples for today's youth and is the back bone of society," adds Narayanan
Parvathy opines, "There is no special behaviour code for husbands and wives. But one has to adjust, adjust and again adjust for compatibility. Tiffs and quarrels are part of married life and do not decrease with years. In fact it can even increase. But they should be taken lightly and should not be too often. Temper has to be controlled for sometimes nasty and unforgivable accusations are uttered shaking the foundation of the relationship. As couples advance in age their social lives get restricted. Children are away with their own problems. Friends also hardly drop in. It is then couples realise that they have only each other."
"Once you have learnt the ropes it is easy," feel Chandramathy Menon and R.K.Menon who are only a few years away from celebrating 50 years of their marriage. "Domination is less today," admits R. K. Menon.
"But a sad fact is that husbands and wives have become separate entities today. Attitudes have changed. Marriage was a joint venture earlier. There was more intimacy earlier as wives were always near their husbands. But today each pursues his/her own interests. Thus interaction is almost nil which is not a good trend. Birthday and anniversary gifts, which have become obligatory, should not form the yardstick to measure love."
Chandramathy relies on her woman's intuition to skilfully handle complexities like ego problems, something that results when two people share a roof.
"At first tolerance was one-sided. Only his decisions mattered. My opinions were ignored. But over a matter of time I dealt with things in such a way that my decisions were gradually delivered by him as his decisions," she discloses light-heartedly.
Anne and Jerome who are celebrating 55 years of their marriage this year feel that conversation between couples is very important. But couples should know not only when to talk but when to keep mum. "Sharing the same roof for years can lead to a lot of irritation. Thus marriage is a lifetime of adjustment. Couples should make that extra effort to please each other. As Jerome loves inviting guests I use my culinary skills to entertain them and I know he is pleased," says Anne revealing her use of diplomacy and thoughtfulness.
For Jerome, "Couples today only criticise but never praise or encourage each other. Thus a conscious effort should be made to compliment each other. Love should be demonstrated. Physical intimacy should not be confined to the bedroom. Holding hands or placing an arm round the other's shoulders while talking or watching T.V. helps in fostering intimacy.
Marriage, like other institutions is a continuous process of learning."
Nothing is as complex as the man-woman relationship. Perhaps this quote from a famous poet sums it best. "As unto the bow the cord is, so unto the man is woman. Although she bends him yet she obeys him. Although she draws him yet she follows him. Useless each without the other."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My article published in The Hindu on May 1st- Workers Day

Sweet fruits of labour
Hard work ha s more benefits than you realise
TOILING AWAY Working hard is very good

True and sincere labour uplifts the human race. Most of us work for wages. But few pause to reflect that more than material benefits our occupation reveals to us our own strength, temperance, diligence and instills faith in ourselves. Through work you discover yourself. It is said if heaven is blessed with rest, the blessing of mother earth is toil. Work thus justifies life.
Power of labour
Adam Smith, the father of Economics said that the original purchase money for all things was not dollar or pounds but hard and sincere labour. All the wealth of the world was thus originally purchased by labour.
Each of us has our unique style of work that sets us apart from our co-workers. So demand the best from yourself before others extract it from you. Don't simply work hard on a project but give it your individual best. For the foundation of true self-confidence and esteem is mastery over work. True happiness lies in the sense of fulfillment that arises after hard work.
"Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice," said Henry Ford. Rest and leisure can thus be truly enjoyed only after hard work. It is only continuous and committed exertion of our body, mind and intellect that prevents one from rusting.
The more one works the more willing one is to work more. Businessmen, professionals, manual labourers feel it is better to wear out after hard work than rust out after idleness.
Writers and artistes too assure that they don't wait for the mood or inspiration to set in before churning out masterpieces.
One accomplishes nothing by waiting for moods. For ideas and inspiration come during work and not before it. Genius often thus is a capacity to work hard.
Cure for maladies
Many maladies in today's world like boredom, depression, hypochondria, melancholy, complexes can be cured by proper employment. Such ills and woes are nothing but the body saying it needs work. In today's hectic life most people worry than work. It is thus worry that kills, and not work.
Perhaps nothing can be more arousing and motivating than the inspirational words uttered by Sam Goldwyn who said, "the harder I work the luckier I get."
Hemjit Bharathan

Saturday, April 10, 2010

One of my favourite articles on Soul Mates published in The Hindu


Do soul mates exist or are they just an idea?
Soulfully yours Your soul mate can be anybody, it does not hinge on romantic notions alone

Do you sometimes feel that somebody special with whom you have a deep and mysterious connection is out there somewhere waiting? And at an auspicious moment if fate intervenes you may be united as you are destined for each other.
‘Soul mates’, a term used to describe someone who makes us experience life in a deeper way has of late evoked a lot of passion, hope and excitement especially among the young who are bent on exploring life with all its in-depth philosophies and complexities.
Quite interesting is also what a soul mate means to different people. But do soul mates really exist or is it a mere fantasy and dream conjured by the hopelessly romantic and starry eyed? Romantic vs platonic
Sandeep Vasanth, a student of architecture, says, “soul mates definitely do exist. A soul mate is someone with whom you have a deeper connection. This relationship opens our eyes to a new perspective of life. Apart from the comfort factor, the trust, sharing and caring with such a person brings out the best in you.”
The word soul mate was by no means coined recently. It was described by Plato as a person’s better half. Many who have experienced the presence of soul mates swear their lives have been enriched.
Geetha K. Nambiar, a homemaker and an ardent believer says emphatically, “soul mates certainly do exist according to my personal experiences. A soul mate is somebody with whom you feel an instinctive bond that brings out the best in each other. The relationship can be
romantic or platonic. A soul mate can be a friend, colleague, business partner, close relative, spouse etc. It can also be an individual of the same sex.”
Elizabeth Kurien, logistics manager of a shipping company who agrees adds, “A soul mate can suddenly walk into your life and create a deep, fulfilling bond. Though I have intimate friends a soul mate is above all that. For there exists a deep, silent communication and understanding.
It is an awesome link that gives us deeper insights into life. But do not expect and wait for your soul mate to turn up and then marry because a soul mate need not always be your spouse. It is best to marry someone whom you find compatible enough. For sometime waiting for a soul mate to turn up can turn one into old bachelors or spinsters.”
The views of the older generation offer insight into the evolution of the term. Poothatta Narayanan, a septuagenarian says, “a soul mate earlier was always of the opposite sex and was someone with whom you shared a mystical and divine bond. It was a companion with whom you embarked on a spiritual journey. Radha and Krishna are the perfect example in mythology. However today soul mates though still an overpowering relationship has taken a more earthly level.”
Delving deeper, does this awe-inspiring bond – a blend of the sublime and the earthly – appeal only to the artistically and philosophically inclined? What about those in scientific and medical fields? Are they skeptical?
Dr Rajan Thomas, M.D., clears such doubts. He says, “I definitely believe that there is a soul mate for most of us and maybe for everybody. It is someone who makes us blossom. The emphasis here goes beyond from a mere physical relationship to a deeper emotional bond. Your soul mate thus can be your spouse, relative or anyone with whom you sense a deeper understanding. Often only when a person exits from your life and you begin to miss him dearly you realize that soul mates exist.”Unconvinced
However many are unconvinced. A. P. Prabhath, senior officer in a tea company feels such relationships exist only in dreams and fantasies and blames the media and movies in doling out mushy, romantic tales. He says, “Movies glorify love and romance to gigantic proportions giving it a glossy and unrealistic touch. Many fall for this. However in reality it is different. For intimate attachments and ties can lose its charm and magic once you enter into a close relationship. And whether soul mate or not you find that like any other relationship you have to work hard and make adjustments to keep it going.”
But many whose lives have been illumined by soul mates believe in this relationship with their hearts. The essence of this awe-inspiring bond lies in a profound connection that transcends from the mere physical and the romantic to something deep and inherent in our sub-conscious.
Those who feel soul mates are an illusion and a figment of one’s imagination are entitled to their own judgments. Yet on reflection does this illusion lie in the belief of soul mates or in its disbelief? For nobody can deny that great relationships and bonds give one hope and make life worth living. They uplift you to greater heights and of course nourish your soul.
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Thursday, October 29, 2009


The temple trees swayed rhythmically
In the late evening twilight glow
As I made my way towards it
The swans wading in the lake adjacent
And the surrounding serenity
Filled me with an irresistible peace.
Already thus drenched in divine light
I climbed up the steps leading to the temple
But for a moment paused
And looked back
As if I heard God call my name in the soft breeze
To tell me,
"I am here too"

Sunday, October 26, 2008


"You don't have to be crazy in the airlines, but it helps", said Eddie
Rickenbacker, a hero Pilot of World War 1 and former President of
Eastern Airlines. Sound wacky? Not really for in today's chaotic world
not just in airlines alone but in all fields this statement however
eccentric it may sound holds good is the unanimous opinion.

In today's fast, hi-tech world the frantic and turbulent race against
time stands out in stark contrast to the gracious, caring and
sensitive approach of yesterday. The earth today whirls dizzyingly
unlike earlier when there was a sense of time and place and it rotated
at a snug and cozy pace.

Is man thus losing his direction in keeping pace with this high-speed
and furious world? Is this drift natural or is he being displaced and
defeated? Not exactly. Viewing this awesome trend as a process of
evolution it is best to move along with the crowd than swim against
the tide, fight a losing battle and drown. Because there is more than
one thing to be said in favour of this mad, frenzied and wild universe
with all its commotion and confusion. For looking deeper it has been
found that chaos can be creative.

"You need chaos in your life to give birth to a dancing star",
prophesied Nietzsche the philosopher. For many new ideas, exciting
discoveries and strategies are born when our minds are taxed.
Initiative and ingenuity result from brainstorming sessions. It is
said that chaos and order are just opposites but not enemies. Many
great ideas and inspirations thus arise from anguish. Helen Keller
often reflected whether she could have done so much for humanity if
she was not challenged by her multiple disabilities. For it is amidst
crises and disorder we search for answers to get out of the rut we
seem trapped.

A life eternally rosy and comfy would be deprived of quality and
brilliance, due to lack of chances to strive for excellence. Our best
moments often occur during tumult, clamour and discomfort. Lack of
challenges and trials in our lives would be a slow death of our
talent, potential, abilities etc. Our skills would never be put on
test. "It is the tension between creativity and skepticism that has
produced the stunning and unexpected findings of science", announced
Carl Sagan the astronomer.

Charles Darwin was in a tormented predicament when his dominating
father enrolled him for medicine, which he hated. The sight of blood
unnerved him and he often fainted for surgery classes. It was during
such moments of distress he discovered his true vocation as naturalist
and not a doctor. Problems thus should not be viewed as obstacles but
opportunities to discover ourselves. They are the key to creativity.
The overlooked fact about uncertainties and trials is that if handled
deftly instead of making our lives miserable they foster our
imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.

Archimedes and many other discovers of ancient and modern times
admitted that it was a creative stress pounding in them that led to
path-breaking inventions. Galileo deified the outdated views of his
age, as he was disturbed and restless at the way the world thought.
Fluctuations, pandemonium and tension make us dissect ourselves,
reflect upon life and do some deep soul searching. In these moments of
retrospections lies the solution to many dilemmas

So accept chaos into your life. Never dread or run away from it.
Consider it as a positive phenomenon. Face trying situations with a
calm demeanor. Never worry. For worrying about problems does more harm
than the actual problem. Overcome turbulence and havoc by meditating
and deliberating upon them with restraint and view them as
opportunities to prove your mettle. Chaos and crises are valuable
lessons in life.

For our universe itself it is said evolved from the chaos of an
explosion that led to the Big Bang theory.