Om Puri and Stacy Paris will occupy my thoughts for a long time to come (Om Puri and His Extraordinary Legacy, The Double Amputee Model Walking Tall on the Runway, Jan 20). They have bended rules of industries that thrive on physical perfection. Both of them have broken conventions, making way for others to follow their lead.
Puri, the powerhouse of talent, could lend gravitas to any role he'd take up. That he could hold his own in Bollywood, Hollywood and the UK simultaneously speaks volumes about his talent and confidence. Having won both the OBE from the UK and the Padma Shri from India, he seemed content when he tweeted that he was happy and proud. For the cinema-loving generation, his demise has left a void. People who don't necessarily measure up to the rigid and sometimes ridiculous beauty standards of tinseltown can seek inspiration from the success of this fine actor. His legacy will live on.
On the other hand, Stacy Paris stands tall in my eyes. To be this courageous in the face of continuing adversity seems next to impossible. It would be quite natural, not to mention easy, to wallow in self-pity and take the 'why me?' stance. But here is someone who dreams of bigger and better things and works towards achieving them. It's said that a flower that blooms in adversity and hardship is the most beautiful of all, and when that flower walks on the ramp - tall and proud - it sure will make heads turn and win many hearts. Way to go, Stacy!
» All work, no play?
The article on work-life balance was quite topical (Work-Life Balance, Jan 20). Interestingly, 'work-life balance' was never an issue with our parents, partly because the gender roles back then were more defined. Personally, this concept of the 'work-life balance' does not appeal to me as it seems to suggest that the two do not complement each other, and hence we need to juggle both. Instead, I find the term 'work-life blend' far more palatable. Today, technology has ensured that you remain connected to your near and dear ones even if you are working. On the other hand, there are times when work has to be attended to even when you are at home. As long as the individual has the maturity and acts
responsibly, the quality of life can be enhanced through the 'work-life blend'. As Confucius once said, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
Jaya Mahalingam, by email
Some people not only love work, they literally live to work (Work-Life Balance, Jan 20). They sacrifice family, friends, enjoyment, respite and entertainment at the altar of work. The well-known British journalist Clare Hollingworth, who broke the news of World War II, was one such person. Always on top of her game, she dedicated her entire life to the job she loved so much. The article made me think about the larger topic of work-life balance. I genuinely believe too much of anything is bad, including work. People who tend to lean more towards one aspect of their lives become rigid. They develop a notion that family and friends are secondary, and can be dealt with later. In the long run, this can have an adverse impact on their relationships. Also, if you are an out-and-out workaholic, chances are you will find yourself more susceptible to stress and burn out faster. One needs to identify, evaluate, prioritise and maintain a balance. I believe you cannot even be great at your job if you don't believe in taking time out for other things in your life. Hence, there is a need to work towards achieving balance.
Jayashree Kulkarni, by email
» The courage to heal
We are often bombarded with quotes like "Where there is a will, there is a way", "Survival of the fittest" and "Strength in the face of adversity". But the truth is that we generally do not pay heed to such advice unless hit by adversity. The inspiring story of Stacy is a wake-up call for many of us (The Double Amputee Model Walking Tall on the Runway, Jan 20). It showcases the human potential to withstand extreme pressure and emerge stronger. Each person is unique and their reaction to adversity varies. Some just wallow in self-pity, while others discover their inner strength and face the problem. It all depends on the individual's beliefs. Stacy's story reminded me of the Indian dancer and actress Sudha Chandran, who lost her leg in a road accident. The young girl didn't give up hope and went on to become an acclaimed classical dancer. Today's generation is much better off and has not endured the kind of hardships their elders have had to go through. A regular dose of such inspirational stories is the best we can do to teach them that all-important lesson of perseverance.
Siji Joy, by email