The two sides of globalization


Shifting gears back to politics and the parallels between the US elections and Brexit, one thought on my head lately is the discussion on jobs and the sentiment against globalization. There are a 100 reasons to hate the result of the election but we also need to take away that there is a sentiment that is building which hasn’t been talked about enough. 

As a student of economics, we have always been thought that globalization is a wonderful thing- free movement of people and products across countries without barriers resulting in economies of scale and lower prices. That premise has brought the world closer- we drink Kenyan coffee brewed in a German coffee machine in a cup made in China.

People who opposed globalization were labeled protectionist and countries pursuing such policies were pressured into joining the global free market for trade.

But there is a price to pay: developed countries like US and UK have seen jobs move to China and Mexico. The people working in these factories in the small industrial towns presumably don’t have degrees that offer them new jobs and don’t have the luxury to re-skill with mouths to feed and mortgages to pay. The result is they take lower paying jobs to pay the bills but might end up in a lower income segment. This group doesn’t reflect in any unemployment number but they feel forgotten by their governments. This article Article: Revenge of Forgotten Class has examples from the swing states. There were similar anecdotes from UK, where a builder interviewed said he worked for 20£ an hour but was outbid by Polish migrants who work for half that. His choices are to work at half pay or risk going hungry, even if he went the half pay route, he feels significantly poorer.

The lack of focus by the Democrats on this issue cost them a lot of votes- Michael Moore called the result in July and cited this particular reason for the Rust belt- Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin- traditionally Democrat states to switch to Republican. 

There needs to be more thought on how this situation needs to addressed otherwise those negatively affected by globalization with hold the politicians responsible for negotiating trade deals that resulted in cheaper items for them to buy but not enough money to afford them. 

How my life changes as a mom..


Motherhood is an intense experience- it is a life altering journey and you come out on the other side a new person! There are lots of blogs out there sharing best practices, what to do, etc. This isn’t one of them! I don’t claim to be an expert, I think every baby is different and every mother child relationship is unique so no pearls of wisdom from me.

I am changing gears and attempting humor! As a new mom, here are 5 changes I observed:

  • Meal time marathons: somehow my little one knows mom is ready to eat and has to be changed/ fed/ put to sleep. So my time to eat has been quartered (if that is even a word!). I am still slow but it feels like I am running a marathon to finish! 
  • Sleep time anytime: there was a time when I needed a solid 30 minute wind down time and a cozy blanket and bed to get me to sleep. Now a nursing chair where my neck is slumped to one side and arm numb is just fine! I can’t claim no wind down time but I am hoping it goes away- otherwise I finish nursing, settling the little one down and I am running a countdown in my head “in two hours I have to be up, so I better sleep now… make that one hour 55 minutes so I can run to the loo…” and so on until it’s time to wake up! 
  • Date night joy: we are blessed with doting parents so we get the night off every few weeks. Sounds romantic but mostly we get to the restaurant, and order everything at once just in case we have to rush home, spend the whole meal discussing our little miracle, and when I get home I have missed her and can’t believe we left her for so long! 
  • Chats with your friends are different: with your mom friends, no topic is off limits- “does your baby’s poop smell?” Or “how long does she feed?”- no real embarrassment or privacy. Having said that, the antenatal group is your most viewed chat group and your lifeline at 4am. 
  • How you shop changes:My me time activities are shopping and a little mani pedi every now and then.It’s all about efficiency, online shopping or pick up in store and try at home. Not sure if it is working out as efficiently as I hoped, lots of returns. 

How did your life change as a mom? Share your experience in the comments below.

The world today 

I don’t usually post on politics but I had to comment on the headlines from this year that will be in history books for years to come- Brexit and Trump presidency. Both have some parallels:

  • a vote that seems anti establishment 
  • Shows a strong city versus the rest divide
  • Can also be perceived as blue collar versus white collar divide
  • Age demographics show young old divide
  •  All odds, opinion polls, and pundit predictions are wrong 
  • A departure from globalization to a more inward looking view
  • Immigration backlash

The point I want to bring out is this is a shock because we live in a bubble and tend to surround ourselves with people who share our views- this include the media. As an immigrant who has always lived in big cities, my views have been liberal- I want to see a female president and I would have voted remain. So do most people I know and work with. I read New York Times, follow MSNBC and CNN- both liberal mouthpieces. What we miss is every poll has sampling bias and most channels were looking at self -fulfilling prophecies- people who support their theories. 

In the case of Trump, they spent a lot of time ridiculing his over the top comments, which he gave us a lot of. But they should have spent some time understanding who were the people voting for him. The media lumped and labeled all of them as stupid, less educated racists and sexists. I am not debating if they are or not, the point is without listening to why they support Trump and taking an elitist view of them being less intelligent was a huge blunder. 

I think Hillary made that mistake too- she called Bernie supporters the losers living in parent’s basements and Trump supporters deplorable. Clearly they tapped into some real discontentment with the economy and they voted to the person who heard them. 

This is the exact parallel to Brexit, with London voting remain and rest of the country voting exit. No one saw it coming, every poll expected a large win for remain. Even the exit lobbyists were not expecting to win!

It is easy to label those who don’t share our views as stupid, but trying to understand why they voted is crucial to uniting a divided country. And a big role for the liberal media is to spend some time with both sides of the divide, otherwise they will risk never getting it right!

Super parent

My life changed… we had our princess 3 weeks ago and from being a daughter, wife, professional, friend, and so many other hats, I get a new hat called mother…

The role of a mother is worshiped, described in movies and songs in the most pious ways. Hindi movies have songs where moms are praised by their children. I am now realizing what it really means to be a mother. But as I digest this new world, I had a different thought- why isn’t there as much of a fuss about fathers? While nature gives us the lion share of pregnancy and child birth, fathers are often the silent partners to the entire journey. We point out when the father is absent from a child’s life, but we don’t spend enough time celebrating their role in a child’s life.

I can speak from my experience- my husband was a part of every stage in my journey, helping me through morning sickness, trying to feel her kicks and an enthusiastic partner of my antenatal classes. From the second she was born, he was with her every second, every midnight feed he waited patiently to burp her, changed every diaper enthusiastically, worried about every reaction, and celebrated every activity she did. I watch with pride as I see her cuddle against him and nap for hours on end. When we go to doctor’s appointments, they are surprised at how involved he is, and tell me I am lucky- and my hubby is perplexed. As his paternity leave is almost done, I keep wondering how much we both will miss him.

It reminds me of the nature v/s nurture argument- moms have a natural bond, one that we feel from the womb with every kick and one that we feel every moment. But isn’t it amazing that someone can be a part of every moment without actually feeling it constantly? Isn’t that something we should watch with wonder, and maybe talk about every now and then..

The world I imagine for my daughter..

As I count the days to the arrival of my little princess, I have been thinking about the world I want her to come to.  The world for me was a lot better than me previous generation, but there is still sexism, women’s safety is a concern,  and women still have to battle for being treated equally.

5 dreams for my daughter are:

  • Safety for women is a right:

This needs to explanation: we live in a world where 20 schoolgirls were taken from Nigeria 2 years ago and there is no sign of them, university campuses in US have episodes of rape,and gang rape cases happen even today in India. We grow up with a sharp sense of fear, walking fast and being wary about strangers. It is a women’s job to constantly be alert and can never really relax. I hope the world is a nicer place where she doesn’t need to be on guard and enjoy the world for being what it is.

  • Sky is the limit for my girl:

“This job may not be right from a woman, it has long hours” or “it might be hard to do this job when you have a family”… how often have we heard things like this? If a man with a family can do it, there is no reason why a woman with a family cannot. We are breaking the glass ceiling, but it isn’t equal opportunity for everyone. It should be a given for all women to have any role they dream of, sky is the limit!

  • The term “like a girl” is a powerful statement, not an insult:

The Always “Like a Girl” commercial got me thinking, we use these statements all the time. But now when I hear someone say like a girl in a derogatory way, it will make me cringe. I want my daughter to never feel self conscious about being a girl, she can run like a girl and fight like a girl, but that is a because she is a girl, and there is nothing to be ashamed about!

  • No pressure on appearance:

A hot topic that has been written about a lot lately is the pressure on appearance. The airbrushed magazine covers set unrealistic standards for beauty and young readers get under pressure about their appearance, raising the ugly head of eating disorders, unnecessary plastic surgery, and self esteem issues. In a recent interview, Jennifer Lawrence (of all people!) mentioned she felt like the fattest one- something that baffles me. It is crucial to make all body shapes acceptable, as long as someone is happy and healthy!

  • Women for women:

This is something I often wonder about: when I got married, I decided to move to New York  to join my husband, I quit my job and I had not figured out my options. I had to face judgment from friends/family- strong career women who felt it was weak to follow a man around the world. When I speak to working moms, they mention how hard it is to juggle work and home and the often unreasonable work pressures. I used to believe women in senior positions would mean a more inclusive culture. But I have observed that often women in management roles have a uni-dimensional view of how to manage work life balance: the perspective is driven entirely on how they handled it. If they had full time nannies, they don’t get the pressure of leaving at 5pm to pick up from day care or take over from the day nanny. Don’t you think it is time we stand on each other’s corner? We should support any career choice or child care choices-we have so many battles everyday,  we don’t need to defend ourselves with other woman…

 

The world is your oyster and I hope nothing holds you back!❤

Pray for all of humanity

I am going to take a break from travel pictures to write about something that has been on my mind the past few days. The world is seeing an onslaught of terror attacks, each more horrific than the next- the sheer horror is hard to imagine. I am no political expert, so I am not offering any theories or hypothesis. One would expect the same level of horror for each of these episodes- whether it was Paris or Brussels, Lahore or Istanbul, Ivory Coast or Nigeria, Syria or Yemen, Beirut or Baghdad, or Pathankot in my own country. But we see Je Suis campaigns for Paris and Brussels, but not for the rest. It is easy to say that these social media campaigns are just a pop culture trend but it is a reflection of what we care about.

The western media BBC and CNN of the world pander to their viewers- any episode in Europe or USA gets far more attention than a similar episode in Asia or Africa. But shouldn’t every life matter? What did the children in Lahore do to deserve such an end? Shouldn’t we have the same compassion? Isn’t every life worth the same?

If media focuses on what gets them viewers, social media focuses on what people have heard and are reacting to, and the governments change the landmarks for those episodes that are “trending”. We hear from terror experts that in the face of such violence it is important for the country to band together, have a strong sense of solidarity, which will eventually lead to resilience. So shouldn’t this support be for everyone?

I come from a city that has been repeatedly suffered from terrorist attacks- from 1993 bomb blasts to 2008 attacks, Bombay has endured a lot. The city banded together after each attack, resilient in spirit, but living abroad in 2008, it was a story till the terrorists were arrested. Then the channels focused on their nationals impacted, before moving to the next big story. Seeing the moving tributes for Paris, I can’t help but wonder why the same reaction isn’t available for other countries.

Facebook may allow me to change my profile picture to show solidarity for France or Belgium , but I want to pray for all of humanity- every person affected by all these senseless acts for violence.

Hola Barcelona

Hi everyone

I escaped to sunny Barcelona from grey rainy London over the Easter holidays. Everyone I talked to prior to the trip said Barcelona was their favorite city, and you can see why on day 1- the sun, the people, the vibe of the city. There is something for everyone here- the Gothic quarters, Sangrada Familia, Parc Guell, tapas and sangria… the list goes on!

I have to say while I adored and loved Barcelona, I have to say for someone on their babymoon, I couldn’t indulge in a few things Barcelona was famous for: the bars and nightlife, sangria, and it was still a bit too cold for the beach. So this post is the more pregnant friendly activities in Barcelona: walking around the city, eating tapas, and just relaxing!🙂

Here are some of my pictures:

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Hubby enjoying the first sangria of the trip!

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Some gems around Gothic quarters

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St. Mary of the sea- amazing tall ceilings

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Cathedral of Barcelona

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Swans at Cathedral of Barcelona

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Parc Guell

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The grand Sangrada Familia- expected to complete construction in 2026, a full 150 years labour of love

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The apse at Sangrada Familia

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The incredible stain glass windows at Sangrada Familia

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The gorgeous ceilings with tree columns at Sangrada Familia

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An orange tree in Spanish Village (Poblo Espanyol)

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Poblo Espanyol has buildings styled by each region- some reviews found it touristy, but we loved it!

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Flamenco at the Andalusian part of Poblo Espanyol


I hope you enjoyed this slice of Barcelona- please share your comments!

The out”door” version of Barcelona

Barcelona has unique architecture- the buildings, town square and fountains are stunning even for those who aren’t architecture aficionados.I was obsessed with the doors and the outer facades of buildings.

Here are a few of my favorite ones (with my attempt at witty one liners), I hope you like it!🙂

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Blue dreams

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Make an entrance with unique shapes!

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Who knew we would match?

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An old classic

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Am I flaming hot?

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So classy!

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I have a large green footprint

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Dancing ladies to get your attention!

My Pursuit of Happiness

Have you ever felt blissfully happy ? Or does it seem like a moving target? I fall in the later category, every time I reach what I perceive as my goal, I realize that comes with its own set of fears and insecurity, and the goal changes.

As a child, I used to play pretend with my cousins; we built elaborate story lines of our lives (we pretended to be adults). My cousin would choose to be a model sometimes, or a business woman other times, but I almost always picked the same thing: a house with a garden and many kids. I would be the PTA and bake sale mom who also had the best roses in the block, so it comes as no surprise that my big dream as an adult was to some day become a mom.

And December 2015 gave me the opportunity to realize this life long dream. I always thought that moment would be pure bliss- after all, if this was all you ever wanted, it should feel special right? It was, but for like 1 or 2 minutes. Then followed waves of fear and insecurity- will everything be OK? things never work out for me, how can this be happening to me now? As we crossed the 12 week threshold, it moved to will I be a good mom? Every friend and relative I know is a mom will probably be better than me- will be the worst mom of the block? What if there are comparisons? Will I live up to other’s expectations? Will I live up to my own expectations? These thoughts are turn into dreams and it becomes a narrative in your head. Every mother gives you her tips and advice with the best intentions, but you get more and more petrified that they think you can’t handle it. As the whirlpool continued, I googled if this anxiety is common and apparently it is, so I can tick off not crazy box!

I know I can overcome it, but what got me thinking is why is it hard to stop worrying? I wake up every morning saying “this is all I have ever wanted so thank you universe” and focus on making it a stressful day, but somehow the thoughts are never far away. When we are aware that a small portion of our life is in our control, we still can’t relinquish control. I understand the worry when it is something you want to achieve, but when you seem to get what you hoped, why does fear get in the way? Is it the chase of our ideal vision which may or may not be realistic?

There are a lot of self help tips and ideas out there, but I haven’t read enough about the logic behind this train of thought. Understanding why would be an interesting window into our minds.

 

As I close this rambling train of thoughts, I am curious to see what you think- share your views and experience below!

10 Notable looks of Oscars 2016

Oscars is finally here! Unfortunately, being across the pond means I have to resort to viewing online clips the next day to write my review; I miss the real time experience. This year’s red carpet was a bit of a disappointment- all the gowns were unoriginal, nothing that was absolutely unique.

Here are my 10 notable looks from Oscars 2016

Brie

Brie Lawson (Source: Getty Images)

This year’s best actress winner Brie Lawson in this blue ruffled Gucci gown with a sparkling belt. While I am in love with the color, it has too many ruffles and her hair was all wrong.

Alicia

Alicia Vikander (Source: Getty Images)

The other winner, Alicia Vikander, wore a yellow strapless Louis Vuitton number, which looks inspired by Beauty and the Beast. While it is definitely different from the typical red carpet gowns, it looks like a prom dress.

J Law

Jennifer Lawrence (Source: Getty Images)

Red carpet favorite Jennifer Lawrence wore a sleeveless black Dior Haute Couture gown to compliment her new platinum hair. It isn’t the most original gown, the hair and dress worked together.

Priyanka

Priyanka Chopra (Source: Getty Images)

Desi Girl Priyanka Chopra put India on the map, presenting at the Oscars. She looked incredible in this strapless Zuhair Murad gown. Priyanka was in all the press for her 8 million dollars worth of Lorraine Schwartz jewelry, including 50 carat earrings- I am not a fan of the earrings. It doesn’t look like 50 carat real diamond earrings, more like the fake cubic zirconia ones. But all in all, great moment for Priyanka, well done!

Jen Garner

Jennifer Garner (Source: Getty Images)

Back in the singles market, Jennifer Garner stunned in this strapless black Versace gown with an asymmetrical neckline, showcasing her incredibly toned body.

Chrissy

Chrissy Teigen (Source: Getty Images)

Now this is pregnancy fashion done right! Chrissy Teigen wore a floral embellished Marchesa gown, which clung her blossoming bump.

Charlize

Charlize Theron (Source: Getty Images)

Charlize Theron wore a daring low cut and slinky red number by Christian Dior along with a 48.8 carat Harry Winston diamond necklace, along with 15.49 carat diamond earrings and a cushion cut diamond ring. She wore an impressive haul of 3.7 million dollars worth of jewelry. While her jewelry was impressive, Charlize’s gown is extremely similar to her prior Oscar looks. Come on Charlize, try something new!

Naomi

Naomi Watts (Source: Getty Images)

Another flashback from previous Oscars was Naomi Watts in strapless sapphire and amethyst Armani Prive gown, with a statement diamond necklace from Bulgari. The beading and sparkles look a bit tacky, and the look is a bore.

Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara (Source: Getty Images)

Sofia Vergara wowed with her curves in his strapless midnight blue Marchesa gown with silver details. While it isn’t the most unique gown, it is a departure from her typical mermaid style gowns. Sofia complemented the look with dangling 65 carat sapphire and diamond earrings by Lorraine Schwartz. I am not a fan of Sofia’s earrings or hair-do, but amazing outfit all in all!

Cate

Cate Blanchett (Source: Getty Images)

One of the stars to watch on the red carpet is Cate Blanchett, she is never boring and has the most unique style. This Oscars, she wore a green plunging Armani Prive gown. It was a polarizing dress, hitting best and worst dressed lists everywhere. I am not a fan of the color, it washes her out and the flower detail was cheap. Great attempt at bringing life to the red carpet, but sadly wrong choice of gown.

That wraps it up! Share your best and worst looks below…