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Archive for the ‘youth’ Category

February 14th is an exciting day for young and old lovers alike. It can be a day of celebration of love. Love of all hues and colours, with all its grandness and simplicity. It gives me great pleasure to greet you all on the occasion of Valentine’s Day and say that I Love You All very much!

The word ‘Love’ has various connotations to it. As many connotations as the number of people who think about it and contemplate upon its meaning! The mother’s love to her children, the love between siblings, love and affection between spouses, the love between a Guru and a Shishya, love for God, the love among friends, the love we have for our pets, the love of the country, the love for a noble cause dear to us and so many others and then the most prevalent meaning as understood by ordinary mortals, the love between a young girl and a boy that has been celebrated through out human civilization in various forms of art and literature.

This love between a couple – a boy and a girl, a man and a woman, between two people of the same gender, as it is coming out of the closet more and more these days, generally have three faces to it. The intimacy, passion and the commitment. The generation and sustanance of love between two people depends on the amount of these three ingredients in different proportions.

First of all it is the physical attraction that brings two people close together. This attraction is triggered by the proximity of the two people. Perhaps they live in the same neighbourhood or study in the same class/college or work in the same company or may travel together to workplace. (It need not always be the physical proximity. It can even be the frequent proximity over an electronic medium like this, where the physical attraction exists only in imagination! 🙂 ) This proximity helps develop  aquaintence that may lead to excahnge of ideas and opinions. When the similarities in ideas and ideals become known, the attraction may grow stronger. They can come closer to each other  emotionally too and sparks fly, making the relationship a passionate one! But sometimes it is mere physical attraction that leads to passion and it may or may not last long. It may be just infatuation and may die down soon.

The emotional closeness leads to intimacy wherein the two individuals are ready to care and share. They may develop concern for each other’s wellbeing that leads to lot of sharing of personal information. This intimacy can lead to passion when the two may desire sexual intimacies. But their love may not feel complete until they feel committed to each other in this relationship. It is this commitment that takes them to the marriage altar.

Out of these three ingredients of intimacy, passion and commitment, passion may not last very long. After few years into relationship, it is bound to wane. It continues its existence, but not on the top of the list. Without a burning passion also, two people can remain good friends. It is the intimacy that keeps them close. Lot of sharing and caring continue to happen that keep them together. They show concern for each other and help the other resolve so many issues. In certain cases love can just be a platonic relationship (without hint of sexual desire between the two) being good friends and being there for each other in case of any crisis.  Coming back to what we were discussing, some times, the intimacy may slowly decline in relationships because of so many factors, like, getting too involved in their own careers, excessive indulgence in undesirable habits like drinking and gambling or even extra marital relationships.  People then slowly drift apart emotionally. They may even go in for a legal separation. But in some cases the commitment that they have made to each other can still bind them together, in the common interest of others who are depending on them.

Now a days we see lot of passion between a couple in the initial stages of friendship, which they may mistakenly believe as love. During the passionate moments they would have revealed their intimate matters to each other. But when passion dies and no commitment binding them, they can break apart leading to the emotional devastation of both.

It is this set of passionate couple that may go overboard celebrating Valentine’s day in all its elation. They shower expensive gifts to each other, dine at the most upmarket restaurant, promising everlasting love to each other. But without the commitment, it just can not last long. Many would be nursing a commitment phobia! How long can they go on like this? One of the partners is bound to seek the commitment in this relationship and the other partner feels that it is time to quit!

These days there are many ‘no-strings-attached’ casual relationships that both young girls and boys are ready to carry on. But it can have very serious repercussions, both on physical and mental health. They can not tread this path ignoring all the warning signs well written on the wall. Somewhere they need feel responsible for themselves and also the other person involved and wake up from this foolish stupor.

Marriage requires commitment. It can have the other two -passion and intimacy also in equal measures. To continue the commitment ’till death do us part’, lot of adjustments and compromises are needed. Subtle sacrifices are done. Love and trust are the strong pillars that keep the couple together. One needs to work on it like in any other relationship. No body can take the partner for granted. Mutual respect need to be accorded, space given to each other and yet feel totally connected. Valentine’s day or no valentine’s day, the intimate emotional bond can continue to get strengthened over the years……………….

All the above mentioned love are limited, conditional. If conditions are not fulfilled, then love disappears. But there can also be a love of a different kind that is limitless and unconditional! It is beyond bodily love or commitmental love. This love is in all our hearts. It is a gift that comes with creation. We are not aware of it. When we are ready to give that love unconditionally to others, the spring of love can overflow. It can touch every heart that comes in contact with that flow. This love is beyond gender, race or religion. It is the ultimate love that can soak everybody and is therepeutic to all. It can be panacea for all illnesses. It is spiritual. You just have to look within and unleash it. It can spread everywhere and pervade the whole universe. More you are ready to give, more it gets replenished. That is the Truth, the auspicious and the beautiful – Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram!

And it is this Love that I am giving all of you on this Valentine’s Day. I have no expectations of reciprocation from the other end.  I simply give becoz I have it in abundance! And I love giving 🙂

Love you all!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I read an interesting (read nonsensical) piece of Research result, in New Indian express, bangalore Edition, dated 7th Feb 08,  found out by the Italian scientists. I call it ‘junk research’ as the results of such researches do more harm than good to woman-kind!

They have found out that wearing high heeled shoes can boost a woman’s sexual desire, as walking with high heeled shoes improves the strength of pelvic floor muscles thus upping her sex life!!!

Can anything be more stupid than advising wearing high heel shoes to improve strength of pelvic muscles? Are there no better exercises to improve ones muscles than to resort to heeled shoes?? Have we all not heard of people breaking their back bones by falling down, unable to balance themselves with a pair of high heels? How many ladies suffer twists in ankle bones, tear in the ligaments, postural faults, all because they could not manage their steps while climbing stairs or by walking on uneven surfaces with these shoes on?

Podiatrists (foot specialists) say that the anatomical position of a heeled shoe wearer is abnormal. This causes lot of stress to the feet as well as to the back bone. This leads to many stress fractures to the foot bones. This also leads to foot ailments, swelling of toes, shooting pain caused by injuries to foot nerves, swelling of the balls of feet etc.

When such is the long list of ‘rewards’ for the high heeled shoe wearer, was there any need to pump in funds to this kind of research to declare another ‘attractive’  result of increased libido for the wearer?! I wonder which woman would want to break her bones, have plastered limbs, be bed-ridden with a ‘high- libido’ !

Any takers???

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The whole of last week saw all news papers covering the story of Britney Spears’ hospitalization, for the second time in a month for her mental illness. She has been diagnosed as suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Before we discuss what exactly is Bipolar disorder, lets have a peep at her life story so far:

Britney was born in December, 1981. That makes her 26 years of age now.

In 1993-94, when she was just 12 or 13 years of age, she gives a singing performance with Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake.

When 17 years, she releases her first Album “Baby one more time” that sells 25 million copies!

In the year 2000, She co-authors two memoirs with her mother.

In the same year she goes public about her relationship with her boyfriend Justin Timberlake. In 2002 she breaks up her friendship with Timberlake.

In 2003 MTV music awards function, she lip-locks with Madonna that shocks the entire audience. In the same year, she wins a Grammy award for best dance!

In January 2004, she marries her childhood friend Jason Alexander and the marriage ends after 55 hours!

In the same year she befriends Kevin Federline, a backup dancer. And in September 2004 she says “I do” in a surprise  marriage to Federline. She wears a designer wedding gown that cost her $26000.

In September 2005, they beget their first child, a baby boy.

In September 2006, she gives birth to another baby boy. During her 6th month pregnancy she poses sitting nude for Harper’s Bazaar magazine.

In 2007, she gets a divorce from Federline, citing irreconcilable differences.

In the same year she goes for a new hairstyle – going bald!

She gets in and out of Rehab centre for drug abuse and binging and alcohol.

In between her stays at Rehab centres, it was said that she even tried to hang herself once. I have no authentic info on this.

Same year, 2007, Federline files for custody of 2 boys and as she fails the drug test and also due to poor parenting skills, she loses temporarily custody of her 2 children to Federline.

In August 2007, she tries to make a comeback at MTV Video awards function and disappoints everybody with an awful performance.

In November 2007, she pays $120,000 to Federline as Lawyer’s fee.

Next day her new album “Black out” is released and does a roaring business!

In January 2008, she loses custody of her children to Federline. She is hospitalized for an evaluation of her mental status and is proclaimed as suffering from Bipolar disorder. She is discharged after two days.

On 31 January, she is hospitalized again and declared sick requiring longer stay and treatment for Bipolar. Britney alleges that her mother is sleeping around with her ex husband Federline.

Her mother gains legal control of her affairs from her manager who was allegedly using drugs on Britney and mismanaging her funds!

On February 6th Britney is discharged from the hospital much earlier than expected.

My goodness, what a roller coaster story of Britney’s life events!

You must be gasping for breath after reading her story…………………..

But it is all very sad. A teenage celebrity turning out to be a divorced mom at 26, losing custody of her 2 children and ending up in hospital for Bipolar treatment! …………….

What is Bipolar disorder???

Bipolar disorder was earlier called by the name Manic Depressive Disorder. As the name suggests, it is a Serious Mood disorder with extreme swings in mood – swinging from one pole of Mania to another pole of Depression! Hence the name Bipolar.

We all experience mood swings on and off. More so the teenagers with the onset of puberty and hormonal changes and changing expectations from parents, teachers, peer group etc. But these swings become a psychological disorder when the moods swing on and off in a day, in a week, in about two weeks, continuously for over two weeks and it totally turns the daily routine topsy-turvy.  The mood can change from elation to depression in cycles. 4 such cycles that may disrupt family and occupational relationships and routine work within a period of 12 months call for an evaluation by a psychiatrist. When the person is in manic state, he/she experiences elated mood, over confidence, requires less sleep than usual, is in a high energy state, may become restless, hyper active, irritable, argumentative, lose inhibitions, may indulge in drugs, smoking and alcohol, may even go overboard with sexual relationships. They may experience a sense of grandiosity, believe that they have high abilities and power, the sense of judgement lowers, may go on a spending spree, lavish reckless spending, will think the world is under their feet! They try to create situations with impulsivity, with shock value that gets the whole world’s attention.

You see many of these descriptions suiting Britney’s life happenings stated above.

This elated mood can last for a prolonged period or slowly fade giving rise to a feeling of low, a mood of depression! During this phase, they suddenly lose that confidence, start feeling inferior, lose interest in activities loved earlier, may withdraw from socializing, may experience a sense of hopelessness and worthlessness, may get suicidal ideations, may even attempt to take their life, become sad, irritable and anxious, sleep excess or very little, over eat or eat very less, low energy levels and fatigue, crying spells and may indulge in excess smoking, drinking and drugging, wrongly believing that all this would bring solace to their troubled heart and mind!

Again you can see so many of these depressive behaviours occuring in Britney’s life events.

These two moods may occur side by side or one long spell after the other, sometimes experiencing remission or rest from these swings and have normal moods and normal routine activities. The disrupted moods can cause havoc in a person’s life style. Just now you have read how Britney’s lifestyle changed from one episode to the other in such swift sweeping style!

What causes this disorder?  It is found that it can run in families – mother suffering and later on the daughter also catching on to this, making it look like a genetically caused disorder. But it is not so in many cases. Both men and women can get afflicted with this at any age. But usually the onset is during adolescence. It can set off in middle age too. But more women seem to suffer from this as women tend to be emotional and are vulnerable to normal swings in mood due to the hormonal disturbances in every menstrual cycle. The brain chemicals can also cause this type of disorder in some. The life environment and events can trigger such episodes. They may go to any length to seek attention from others. Sometimes, these attention seeking behaviours can have shock value like some instances in Britney’s life – overnight marriage and divorce, lip-lock with Madonna, going bald on an impulse, shaving off such long lovely blonde hair. It is found that many with Borderline Personality Disorder exhibit this kind of mood swings. Many cases go undiagnosed for years before it becomes unmanageable and then psychiatric help is sought. In some cases Bipolar can be mistaken for schizophrenia and wrongly treated, specially when the person starts exhibiting psychotic features like hallucination (sense perceptions that others around do not see or hear) and delusions (wrong beliefs) (Britney may have had this delusion of her mother having relationship with her boy friend and announcing it to the whole world!)

Pharmacological intervention by treating with mood stabilizers can keep the disorder in control. There is no total cure as such. Traces of these behaviours can remain for long. Psycho education to the person and to the family can help manage this better. Psycho therapy and counselling done parallely with medication can go a long way in stabilizing the moods and carrying on the routine life activities without much disruption.

In Britney’s case it was a matter of too much too soon. A young person will not be able to handle so much of success and money and name and fame all at once. Those things can become a very big stress to the mind, though on a positive note. A firm back up of values passed on from parent to child, a positive direction to move on, good support from family and friends at the time of emotional crisis periods, keeping oneself away from abuse of substances, indulging in healthy hobbies and interests can all help alleviate this mental illness to a large extent and manage life with a positive outlook.

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Please see my “view n review” page. Thanks.

New pic has replaced the one on adoption that was there earlier.

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Hello all,

this is the information that I received from Vandana through email. I am sure it will come of use to any of us or our kith and kin. Thank you, vandana.

This is very imprortant information about a web site called as www.saferindia.com     .

        This is a site of an NGO started by Ms Kiran Bedi   you can go to this site an log your complaint regarding any crime if the police at your place is not accepting your complaint. Then this NGO will mail your complaint to the DGP of your area. You can also use this mail as the legal document  in case of filing a case in the court of judgment.
        This is to be noted that this site is directly administered by Ms Kiran Bedi  so all your mails directly goes to her .
          Friends Plz spread this information in your network so that any one in such need can go to this site and launch his/her  complaint .

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In this post I would like to discuss other issues connected with adoption, more in the context of Indian milieu.

Who are the ones who generally adopt a child?

Married couples who have not had a child of their own, due to various reasons, who now want to go in for adoption.

Married couples who have their biological child/children and yet desire to expand their family through adoption.

Many couples these days want to remain childless by choice, go in for adoption, regardless of their fertility factor, to give a loving and caring home to a child in need.

Those who are not married, but are desirous of mothering or fathering a child can also adopt. Previously single men were barred from adopting a child, but now it is allowed.

There are certain conditions to be satisfied for adopting a child:

The couple should have been married for 5 years or more to go in for adoption.

The couple needs to have a reasonable income to be able to bring up a child.

The couple should have a good health status.

The couple should be free of any criminal records.

The composite age of the couple (i.e, their ages put together) should not exceed 90 to adopt a young child or an infant. And the age of each of them should not be above 45 years.

In case their composite age exceeds 90, they may go in for adoption of an older child.

Singles who wish to adopt should be between the ages of 30 and 45 years.

Singles should have a family supporting them in this regard.

Age difference between the single person and the child needs to be atleast 21.

A girl child will not be given in adoption to a single male person. 

A child will not be given for adoption to same sex couples.

Who are the children that are available for adoption?

First of all the child should be legally free for adoption.

Those who have been surrendered by biological parents or by the unwed mother- due to various kinds of prevailing life situations that make it difficult for them to bring up the child.
In cases of surrendered children, the agency generally gives the parent/s two months for a change of mind. In the meanwhile they are offered counselling services to be able to think of alternatives for the care and maintenance of the child.

Abandoned children found by a third party or police or by the child welfare committees or orphaned child found by anybody.

Destitute children – those who may run away from home and reach these institutions through police or through the child welfare committees or those who may voluntarily join the institution.

In the above cases the police do their best to trace the parents and send the children back home. If they can not be traced, then they may be placed for adoption. In case of older child, its consent is to be taken orally and in writing before placing for adoption.

In case of siblings, twins and triplets, care is taken not to separate the children and to give them to a single family in adoption.

Which is the adoption regulating body in India?

C A R A  Central Adoption Resource Agency is the governing body in our country that regulates all matters involved in adoption. Its main objective is to find a loving and caring home for every orphan / destitute / surrendered child.

There are In-country adoptions and also Inter-country adoptions done through this Body. Usually before considering a child for Inter-country adoption, it is first considered for adoption into an Indian family residing in India.

All adoption placement agencies in India need to be registered under C A R A and they must follow the guidelines set up by the State or Central Government. They are called Licenced Adoption Placement Agencies or L A P A.

Procedure for Adoption:

Those desirous of adopting a child need to first register themselves in any of the registered Adoption Agencies, with documents like Income Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Proof of Residence, health certificate, photographs of the couple, reference letters by relatives/friends who can vouch for the suitability of the couple to take care of the child and other such documents.

A Home-study is done by a social worker appointed by the Agency. The social worker will check the credentials and the suitability of the Parents desirous of adoption. A Home-study Report is prepared and submitted to the Agency.

Pre-adoption counselling is done to apprise them of all the sensibilities involved in an adoption.

Then the child is shown to them keeping in mind the description desired by the propective parents. Whenever possible, care is also taken to match the child’s features as close as possible to those of the parents so that there will not be too much of a mis-match and the child can gel well with other members of the family.

In case of an older child above 6 years, the child’s consent is also taken for adoption into this family.

Now petition will be filed in the court for obtaining orders for adoption from the court. This may take 6 to 8 weeks.

In case of a surrendered child, the surrendering document would have been signed by the parents or the unwed mother or in case of an unwed minor mother, other responsible family member’s signature is taken. These documents are kept in a sealed cover and given to the judge for his /her perusal. This document is kept by the agency in all confidence and can be shown to the child only after attaining the age of 18, if he/she desires to know this information.

There are three different laws that govern the adoption procedure and the adoptive parents are given information about these laws and they can decide upon the law by which the adoption that they go in would be governed.

Follow up visits by the social worker is done up to a year to check how the child is being brought up. In case the parents require post-adoption counselling on any matter, that would be available through the social worker. The visits by the social worker ends once the agency feels satisfied with the adjustment happening between the child and the parent/s.

The costs involved:

Cost of Registration is Rs. 200/-

Cost of preparation of Home-study report: Rs. 1,000/-

Maintanance charges of the child in the institution from the time of its admission : not exceeding Rs. 15,000/-, calculated as Rs. 50/- per day

Extra charges of treatment for any illnesses or hospitalization charges as produced through the Bills.

Conclusion: 

Here concludes my post on adoption and related issues. I have tried my best to give you all very authentic information in all the posts based on my own professional experience and the talks that I have had with adoptive parents and adopted children. I am open to corrections and progressive thoughts on adoption.

The issues that I have discussed in these posts are the ones that come up during counselling sessions. There can be many adoptive parents and birth parents and also adopted children who may not have experienced these issues and who may be perfectly adjusted and totally comfortable with the adoption undergone and who may have never felt the need for any kind of counselling. Hats off to these people. I am sure they can be very good confidants and counsellors to those who may require help in sorting out some of these issues and these well adjusted people and children can be of very big help to the support groups of adoptive parents and adopted children to motivate them to move on with life, enjoying every moment of parenting and every moment of growing up in an adoptive family.

I once again wish to thank the members of Sudatta Organization, Bangalore, for giving talks at our Training Centre in Malleshwaram to spread awareness about adoption. Sudatta is a self-support group of adoptive parents and adopted children in Bangalore. It was initiated first at Chennai. They have their branches in other cities of India, like Mangalore, Pune, Coimbatore. More about Sudatta here.

I request the readers to please state your own experiences as somebody who has been touched by adoption in any way in your lives. That would make the posts even more enriching.

Thanks to all of you for being with me in these posts.

For further details on adoption, please visit:

http://www.cara.nic.in/

email to C A R A: cara@bol.net.in

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Many of the doubts and confusions about adoption are alleviated during the pre-adoption counselling sessions. Here it is very important to note that both the husband and wife need to be in total consensus to go in for adoption. In case one of them is not too sure or hesitant or unwilling, it is imperative on part of the other spouse to help him/her see their view point very clearly. Counselling can once again help to sort out their emotions and come to a willing agreement. Many times, when one of the parents was not too willing for adoption, issues have cropped up at a later stage when they start blaming each other and blame the adoption for whatever differences / ills that have happened to the relationships. This can have a devastating effect upon the adopted child. He/she would perceive neglect and rejection by parents and would get emotionally scarred. This may lead to behavioural problems or psychological depression. Adoption may be a one time procedure but parenting a child is a life long procedure that may require appropriate counselling and guidance on and off.

Once the child is brought home, the parents have a tricky task of announcing the child’s arrival to their home. If the parents have resolved their earlier apprehensions and are comfortable with the fact of adoption, the act of “telling people” becomes easy and smooth. They need to have the courage of conviction that they are doing the most wonderful thing by bringing home this child to whom they are giving a new life and the child is giving a new life to the parents too! Parents at no point need to feel guilty or ashamed of their decision. The fact of adoption need not be covered in secrecy. If they can boldly announce the arrival of this child, people around them will also respect their decision and gladly welcome the child! They would willingly come forward to offer any kind of support that may be required by the new parents.

Parenting a first child is always very challenging to anybody and so will it be for adoptive parents too. It is very necessary that the extended family lend all support to the new parents and instill confidence in them that they can be wonderful parents to the new child. There can be moments when the child may fall sick or get injured and there is a tendency on part of adoptive parents to over protect their child and shield the child from any mishaps. If anything were to go wrong the parents may blame themselves for their inexperience and think that other parents would manage their children better than themselves. These anxieties need to be addressed by an understanding adult and put their fears and doubts to rest.

Adolescence (the teenage) is a turbulent period for all children wherein the children need to find an identity of their own. The ‘identity crisis’ that many teenagers experience during this phase of life can be exacerbated even more in a child who has been adopted. However well adjusted the child may be with the fact of adoption and might have even taken pride in the fact that it has such loving parents, the “need to search for its roots” may become very strong at this stage. Parents out of their fear of “rejection and abandonment” by their child may try to conceal all available information from the child. They may try to hide information about from where the child was brought home or information about its birth family if it was known to them. But here the parents need to understand how important it becomes for the child to know its origin. They have a duty to understand this strong need of their child and render all possible support to find its roots. This suggestion may seem very cruel to the parents who may believe that their child may never return to them if it found out its birth family. But these are very hard facts that adoptive parents need to be aware of and be mentally prepared for such an enquiry from their child. They need to be as honest as possible in revealing the available information. Many a times, such honest revelation from them increases the love that the child has for them and it will respect them even more for respecting its own feelings. It can only be a curiosity to know its origin and once the search becomes fruitful, the adopted child may return to its adoptive family as the child may realize that the birth parents/family were only there for namesake and all the rearing has been done by these parents and the bonding here would be much more worthy and stronger than the bonding that has never taken place with its birth family. It is very important to keep the communication channels open and welcoming between the parents and children so that no misunderstandings or misconstruing of situations can occur.

Many adult adoptees have recounted their feelings of alienation whenever there was any family get together, where some comment or the other about how a cousin resembles her mother very much or how a cousin has taken after his grandfather in his way of expressing anger or how certain traits run in the family blood, making the adopted children feel uncomfortable and wonder about his/her own traits and where it would have come from?! The unknown, dark past may stagger them many a times. Similarly the unknown genetic make up of the child may create anxiety in the parents’ mind too at times when the child’s level of its intellectual ability or any tendency to develop certain unhealthy habits that were never seen in their family earlier may become very intriguing and causing undue fears. But these fears can arise in any parents’ mind and adoption should not become a scapegoat. Most of our fears are unfounded and most of them are assumed fears and not facts. Sharing these apprehensions and not suppressing them is the way to resolve many of these issues.

Here comes the role of self support groups of adoptive parents and adopted children, where the parents and children can discuss their issues with others who may be nursing similar feelings or who may have crossed over such obstacles with their own strategies and acquired wisdom, now ready to share with others. “Sudatta” is one such adoptive parents’ self support group that is functioning in Bangalore city. In fact most of the contents that I have written here are from the notes that I had made while listening to the lectures by the Sudatta faculties, that were arranged by us during our Counselling Training Course. I am indebted to Dr. Gayathri Bhat, Dr Saraswathi, to Smt Sheela Kamath and Smt Radha Nagesh who came over to deliver lectures on adoption in our 4 batches of Counselling Training in the 4 years from 2004 to 2007.

More about Sudatta and other Adoption agencies, and the process of adoption in my next Post.

………………….. to be continued

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