Archive | March, 2010

Amendments to immigration laws on the way

Posted on 31 March 2010 by .

The Canadian government has announced that it is reviewing the list of work experience that qualifies candidates for immigration as skilled workers … again. The emphasis is on speeding up immigration processes, and on responding to labour market needs.

The emphasis on speeding up immigration processes is easy enough to understand. Until recently some visa offices were taking as long as 5 years to process a skilled worker application. The government claims that since it introduced its changes to the Federal Skilled Worker immigration program it has reduced the number of cases in the backlog by 40 percent. A reduction in the backlog means that that has been or will be a reduction in processing times.

The government is aiming to have new skilled worker applications processed in one year or less. This is good for everyone … except those who no longer qualify for immigration because the list of relevant jobs was shortened.

And that is the other element of this strategy: to limit the kinds of work experience that qualify an applicant for immigration. The government claims that it is restricting eligible work experience to those jobs that are currently in demand in Canada.

It is worth remembering that government is a little clumsy when it develops its lists of eligible work experience. The exercise is naturally quite inexact. But in an effort to make the list more responsive to the Canadian labour market, the Government is now talking to Canadian employers to find out where we need skilled foreign workers, and where we have enough Canadian workers that we do not need foreign workers. These consultations will determine which kinds of work experience will be on the revised list.

That should also mean that successful applicants should find it easier to find relevant work in Canada… although the Canadian government does not guarantee that.

It is impossible to know in advance how many jobs will be on the revised list. The existing list was designed before the world was hit with those American economic problems. Does that mean the new list will be shorter? Or is the government going to anticipate that the Canadian economy will continue to recover and that a year from now we will need more workers, not less? It remains to be seen.

One thing is certain: if you have work experience that is currently on the government’s list, you should apply as soon as possible. You will want to file your application before the list changes, because if your work experience is dropped from the list when the list is amended, your opportunity will may be gone.

Author:James Gregory

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Bloom Energy: The Future of Electricity

Posted on 31 March 2010 by .

On February 24th, 2010, we were finally enlightened as to what Bloom Energy, after almost 9 years of research and development with over $400 million in investments, have been working on. Its called the Bloom Energy Server. What now, you ask? According to the company, the Bloom Energy Server is a solid oxide fuel cell technology designed as a new class of distributed power generators. In lay terms, small, clean, affordable power plants right in your homes or businesses. For those of us not aware of what exactly is a fuel cell, then let yourself be enlightened. Fuel Cells are devices, like batteries, that create electricity by processing fuel through an electro-chemical process. However, unlike batteries, fuel cells never lose power. Fuel cells are commonly found in your everyday hybrid and electric cars.

Bloom Energy Servers are self-sustaining power generators so they don’t need to be hooked up to the central grid to distribute electricity. Instead, fuel (both renewable and fossil) mixed with simply oxygen is what is required to create the electricity, right on the spot. Now you are probably saying, that’s crazy man, this sounds more like rocket science? Funny thing, it’s founder and creator of Bloom Energy Server K. R. Sridhar was a NASA scientist, and this fuel cell technology is a modification of a technology originally meant for the Mars Program. However, since Mars project was scrapped, so K.R. took this rocket science and turned into something for the rest of the world. But the most astonishing part about all this technology, unlike its sister hydrogen based fuel cell constructed from expensive materials like platinum, the Bloom Energy fuel is made out of common, ordinary beach sand. SAY WHAT? Beach Sand, Oh and a secret paint coating that K.R. developed himself. Fine, this technology is literally space age, but so what? What does it mean for the U.S? That’s a valid question. So lets talk numbers.

According to Bloom Energy, one single Bloom Energy Server has the capacity to produce power of about 100 kW which can run a 30,000 sq. ft. office building or 100 Average North American Homes, while its foot print is no larger then a parking space. Now the price tag on this magical power generator is still unknown, but K.R. hopes that he can refine the manufacturing process to the point where the cost of a single Bloom Energy Server should range in the vicinity of $3000 USD. But that is a long way. As part of its commercial research, prominent corporate giants like Google, ebay, FedEx, Walmart, Bank of America, Coke, and Staples have already been using Bloom Energy Servers. Right now, information is still flowing in, as the launch was just a couple of days ago. But, if K. R. can pull this off, couple of years into the future, very near future, the possibility of having your own power plant in your back yard could be a possibility. Regardless of what the future is like, K. R., you have my attention, forget about paying off my student loans, I am saving my money for my own Power Plant.

Author:Aadil Maan

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Business Development- Multicultural Mega Networking

Posted on 31 March 2010 by .

As Greater Toronto Area is becoming more and more multicultural with every passing day, the diverse communities all across the region are taking strong initiatives to interact with each other. Toronto Board of Trade organized one such networking event for casual networking and business development. Among other participants were TiEToronto, promoting TieQuest 2010, Association of Canadian Chinese Entrepreneurs (ACCE), Taiwan Entrepreneur Society Taipei/Toronto (TESTT), Hispanic Business Association, Toronto Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other multicultural communities. Participants from all organizations exchanged contacts over light refreshments to grow their business contacts and expand their clientele. It was an evening that reflected the diversity of Toronto in the business community as well.

Speakers at the event.

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Divide and Conquer

Posted on 31 March 2010 by .

Such is the functioning of an irked mind, one which face questions it has no answer to, one which cannot look expectation in the eye, one which tries to mend one bridge but ends up fracturing another in the process, one which finds peace in only one of the two: either the way of the Sufis, in solitude, or in the way of the Colonials, in ‘Divide and Conquer.’

In today’s profane world, few would pick the former and most think of the latter as cruel and harsh, yet its notoriety is exaggerated, depending on the context, of course. The truth is most of our actions would fall into this category, be it knowingly or unconsciously is a different matter.

The brain, in theory, is responsible for an individual’s behavior. Other than the five basic senses, respiration, digestion and other physical functions, its more significant role is the control of the human conscience, the control of complex mental activities such as thought, analysis, abstract and sanity.

But the line between abstraction and breach of sanity is meager, almost invisible. What seems logical to one brain is a sign of insanity to another. What justice is to one brain is a criminal offense to another. Yet, in some bizarre situation, some eccentric location and at some peculiar time, what you once thought was morally wrong and blameworthy suddenly becomes apt and relevant. Only then does this individual comes to the realization that what may once have been a concrete ‘no’ to him, is not only a possible route but an indispensable path. And it is then, at that scene, time and place that the concept of ‘divide and conquer’ becomes evident.

A man struck with the utmost poverty, decides to ‘divide’ his morals and ‘conquer’ his shortcomings by stealing…
A man who’s loved one has been murdered, develops a dividing line between his thought and his emotions to allow grief and revenge to settle in their respective places, grief in the heart and revenge in the mind. In his mind he ‘conquers’ vengeance, and satiates it, which in turn extinguishes his heart’s grief. A blind man creates a clear ‘divide’ between his emotions of self-pity and his thoughts of achieving what any normal man can do. This drives him to ‘conquer’ the world without ever having seen it, through the eyes of his walking stick.

It is not only in such grave situations that one uses such a measure. In truth, everyone of us is either a descendant of one who once colonized or one who was once colonized. Centuries of intermingling and intermarriage have passed down a trait, a very powerful trait, essentially defining the notion of our very existence today.

Author:Farheen Anwar

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Indian, Pakistani or Just ‘Brown’?

Posted on 31 March 2010 by .

If you grew up in Canada, you are probably familiar with the terms “South Asian” or “Brown” or “Desi”. Back in India, all I knew was that I was Indian.

Not Pakistani.

Why the distinction? Because we split up, remember, in 1947? Because we are supposed to be bitter, sworn enemies. Because our histories are filled with blood and murder and rape. Because we’ve been fighting over the same piece of land for over 60 years. And because our cricket matches provide more tension than the Cold War probably ever did.

Then again, I never witnessed it, not the partition, not the blood. I never felt it, not the anger, not the hatred. And I never understood it, not the rivalry, not the enmity.

But still, I was Indian.

Not Pakistani.

Hang on. Why was I the rotten egg? Why couldn’t I simply hate Pakistanis like any good Indian should? I mean, they did massacre a lot of Indians (never mind the bit that we did the same). History of that scale just can’t be forgotten, can it? I don’t mean to de-value human life, but don’t we need to move on at some point.

Not just that, I had never seen a Pakistani in all my years in India, so how could I hate faceless and nameless strangers that I hadn’t even met? (Of course, that’s just a minor technicality; it shouldn’t come in the way of hate). I was always curious though. How did they look? And talk? And walk? And eat? What was it about them that made them so different from us?

After all, there must have been something that distinguishes them from me. I mean, I’m Indian.

Not Pakistani.

Then I came to York. And I met them, not just one or two, but by the dozens: faces, names, the whole deal. And it was kind of cool. (Not in the “Wow! You’re Pakistani!” way, but in the “So tell me more about yourself” way).

And all the awe that I had built up for 18 years just flashed away.

They weren’t different!

I mean, sure, they ate nihari (what is that???), said weird things like “hand ho gaya” (translation – hand happened?), called their aunts ‘khala’ and their maids ‘masi’, and often my only contribution to a conversation when I was surrounded by them was a “huh?” every few minutes – but other than that, they were the same!

And I couldn’t help but wonder, what is so different about me that makes me Indian?

Not Pakistani!

Honestly? I don’t know. Then again, considering that I sat in a room filled with Indians and cheered for Pakistan in an India-Pakistan match much before I even came to Canada, I’m probably not the right person to search for that difference. And after all these years, I don’t think I’m even looking anymore.

Why should my nation define who I am and who I’m not? Why should it have the right to tell me who are my friends and who are my enemies? Why should it tell me who to love and who to hate?

Why should it tell me that I’m Indian.

Not Pakistani.

Author: Ruchitta Mittal

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Gender Gone Wild – BESHARAM BOYS!

Posted on 31 March 2010 by .

In the South Asian space (I dare to say in the universal too) gender is a product of strict socialization, locating bodies within confines, constrictions and constructions. The birth of a body results in the immediate actions of the forces of socialization, teaching the body to be within the binary, male or female. Once the gendered body is produced any acts against this “nature” are not taken lightly – the society goes in an uproar of “ Hawww” and “ Hoos” and the family’s name is shamed for life. For anyone who has grown up within the Indian context, the leash of gender is tied tight to the neck and though it is believed that girls are pulled with greater force, males too are now being told their territory with greater force. With boys going wild and daring to be the other, the actions of gender are now being met with an equal and opposite reaction. It is indeed interesting to observe the Indian male acting outside its maleness; there is a tension here which is serving as a unique expose of “nature” and all that is considered “natural”.

The male is now doing what the female can do and this summary marks a crucial juncture of pause; gender has gone wild.

To get our thinking tuned to a wavelength it would be wise to assess the Indian male. The “Macho Man” Indian male accumulates to a walking coat of fur with plenty of meat where it matters the most – the bank! Pick up any of our past Bollywood hits and observe the ideal Indian male in action : he is gifted with powers beyond belief and has the capacity to purchase the planet. Make of this what you may and it should not be difficult for you to picture the image that each Indian male must become a mirror of. Since time in memoriam, Indian males have tried their utmost to resemble this representation by not crying, wooing girls and shaking with the capitalist grind. There is a pressure prevailing amidst this culture that requires of males to work towards this ideal and failure to do so results in a body being incomplete. There is a stack of details which explain the Indian male and the pressure to be is suffocating. Perhaps this explains why just a stroll through York University – the space of the disapora -  will tell you that this image is now slowly but surely being questioned and troubled. The Indian male around us now plays with the codes of the metrosexual, taking greater care in wiping off the grease and maintaining a smooth, subtle air. The end is not seen in the green note and a sense of artistic desire is being embraced. The space of the male is seen as fluid and everything from an Indian male’s choice of course and career is seeing change. The male is now doing what the female can do and this summary marks a crucial juncture of pause; gender has gone wild.

So what does it mean to say that males are being males no more? What will India and the South Asian region do about the males who are doing that which is not male?  These “Besharam Boys” who are shamelessly being female are walking a slippery slope and is South Asia ready to embrace this duality?

The answer to this question can proceed through many routes and one such route can lead to the battle between the past and the future in the present. India, as a slice of South Asia, boasts of a heritage that runs back centuries and the change being seen in males will result in a battle with modernity. India might begin to hear the conservative call as the changes manifested through the changing male might alert many to a threat to Indian heritage and culture. The changing male is a result of the increased proximity between bodies and land and with power being disseminated quite sporadically, India might find itself hearing a call to the glory of the past. The Indian male in the diaspora finds himself in a position of change and though these changes are making themselves visible, it is not to say that a war is not waging underneath. Again, make of this what you may, but without pointing fingers I am pointing to a point which might see the whole of South Asia warning the male of his space in order to fend off the possibility of further change. In essence, India and South Asia might be asking themselves a simple question, “ Now our males are males no more. What is next?”

This is indeed an important point to consider and as individuals of the diaspora we are located at the border of change. Indeed, gender is one of the most potent manifestations of the changes we are experiencing and far from just focusing on this change we must begin to see how this change reflects on our own side of the border. Will we be left on the edge forever? Will there be no side to call one’s own?

Author: Ali Abbas

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The Week that Was, and the Week Yet to Come: Testing Obama’s Mettle

Posted on 31 March 2010 by .

This coming week will tell us a great deal about the ability of President Obama to be a strong leader and an honest broker in Middle East peacemaking.

With the President having postponed his Asia visit in order to be on hand for conclusion of Congress’ year long deliberations on health care reform, he will now be in Washington during AIPAC’s annual policy conference and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to the US.  With both health care and Middle East peace high on the President’s agenda, all eyes will be on how the White House performs on both fronts.

Should he succeed in moving enough hesitant liberal and conservative members of his own party to accept compromises and vote for health care reform, the President will have demonstrated that he has the resolve to fight and win tough battles against powerful lobbies and hardened partisan opposition. Before attention shifts to the next domestic challenge, whether that be comprehensive immigration reform or a climate/energy bill, both of which involve taking on other powerful lobbies, the White House will have to face another tough issue knocking on its front door.

AIPAC is already gearing up to take on or take down this President who had the temerity to condemn Israel’s settlement plans in Jerusalem. We’ve seen past Administrations confront Israeli obstructionism. George H.W. Bush did it, and in subtle but clear ways, Bill Clinton did too. But the language used by this Administration in the past week has been unprecedented and remarkably tough. Vice President Biden “condemned”, Secretary of State Clinton deemed Israel’s behavior “insulting to the United States” and General Petraeus went further stating that Israel’s actions put American lives and prestige at risk. Then, at weeks end, with Secretary of State Clinton participating, the Quartet issued the strongest statement yet reaffirming that East Jerusalem is occupied territory and condemning Israeli construction plans.

Equally remarkable has been the muted response from Congress. Except for a predictable few and some partisan shots from Senator John McCain, his ally Senator Joseph Lieberman and Congressman Eric Cantor, the Republican Whip, key leadership in both Houses of Congress have kept their silence.

But this most probably won’t last for long. With AIPAC in town for their annual gathering, many Members of Congress running for reelection in November will in all likelihood make their required appearances to pay homage and express their “shock and dismay” at the Administration’s treatment of Israel. The entire affair will no doubt be orchestrated as a pro-Netanyahu pep rally, with an unmistakable anti-Obama undercurrent, all of which will only serve to demonstrate just how out of touch with American Jewish and Israeli opinion the famed and still powerful lobby has become. A recent poll in Israel shows 69% of Israelis saying they believe President Obama is “even-handed” and a majority expressing their displeasure with Netanyahu’s leadership.

The big test for the White House will come when Clinton and Netanyahu meet on Monday, and Netanyahu and the President meet on Tuesday. Expect talk about the enduring and unshakable relationship. But with all that out of the way, close attention should be paid to whether or not the Administration backs away from their demands on Israeli behavior. A White House melt down would doom the prospects for peace and would, as per the astute analysis of Petraeus, do grave damage to U.S. interests in the Arab World and beyond.

There are unconfirmed reports that Netanyahu may blink “and back down”, but this may be mere game playing from the Israeli Prime Minister. In any case, we’ll know soon enough.

Far from being the pragmatist some have claimed him to be, Netanyahu is an ideologue – a wily maneuvering ideologue – always pushing and always looking for an escape hatch. From the beginning he irritated the Obama team, but it has been his recent aggressiveness that brought them to the breaking point. Having bigger regional issues at stake in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and continuing effort to combat extremism, the White House could not tolerate Netanyahu’s most recent insult and were forced to respond.

Eager to begin talks, proximity or otherwise, the US Administration got the Palestinians and the Arab League to swallow a bitter pill, dropping their demand for preconditioning the talks on a total settlement freeze. But Netanyahu upended the entire affair with a series of announcements proclaiming Israel’s rights in Hebron, Bethlehem, the Jordan Valley and provocative actions in Jerusalem that would have rendered talks moot.

This is why the White House acted and why they dare not back down. To do so and create a replay of last fall when the Administration appeared to submit to Netanyahu’s game playing is a problem a White House spokesman said they are keen to avoid.

There are those who question this president’s mettle. If he wins on health care, and stands up to Netanyahu Obama will have shown that he is well prepared to lead in the battles yet to come. It will all play out for better or worse this week.

Author: Dr. James J. Zogby © President Arab American Institute

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Expanding Canada’s Refugee Resettlement Programs

Posted on 31 March 2010 by .

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney today launched a series of proposed reforms to Canada’s refugee system, beginning with a commitment to resettle 2,500 more UN-selected refugees living in refugee camps and urban slums once the package is approved.

“Millions of people have fled violence and persecution to seek refuge outside their home countries and we would like to do more to provide them with protection in Canada,” said Minister Kenney. “We know that we can’t help everyone. But what we can do is introduce balanced reforms to our refugee system that will allow us to expand our refugee resettlement programs to provide protection to more people.”

The Government-Assisted Refugees Program would be expanded over time by up to 500 places while a further 2,000 resettlement places would be added to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. This means that Canada would annually resettle as many as 14,500 UN-selected refugees from refugee camps and urban slums.

The increase would begin once Parliament approves legislation to be introduced tomorrow to improve the in-Canada asylum system. “We have been clear that Parliament enacting balanced reforms to our asylum system will be met by more government help for refugees living in desperate circumstances around the world and in urgent need of resettlement,” the Minister said.

There are an estimated 10.5 million UN-designated refugees living in refugee camps and urban slums in the world today. Countries with refugee resettlement programs resettle about 100,000 refugees from abroad each year. Of that number, Canada annually resettles 10,000 to 12,000, or one out of every 10 refugees resettled globally, through its government-assisted and privately sponsored refugee programs. In 2008, Canada was second to the United States among all industrialized countries for providing protection to refugees from abroad and at home.

“This is an encouraging move in the right direction that yet again demonstrates the humanitarian commitment of Canada to provide protection to needy refugees for whom resettlement is the only solution enabling them to rebuild their shattered lives with respect and dignity,” said Abraham Abraham, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Canadian representative. “The UNHCR remains grateful to the Government and people of Canada for their continued generosity and hospitality in making this possible.”

The Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) helps government-assisted refugees successfully integrate into Canadian society and the job market by providing immediate and essential services and income support on arrival. The balanced reforms to our refugee system would allow the Government of Canada to increase RAP funding by 20 percent from about $45 million to a total of $54 million. The first permanent funding increase in over 10 years, the investment would give those we welcome the support they need to begin their new lives in Canada. This would allow refugee resettlement assistance to catch up with and maintain alignment with provincial social assistance rates in order to provide refugees with access to immediate and essential services provided under RAP.

The amount of monthly income support provided to government-assisted refugees is based on prevailing provincial social assistance rates and provides the minimum amount required to cover only the most basic food and shelter needs until the refugees are able to become self-sufficient. This support is normally available for up to one year but may extend up to two years for refugees with special needs.

Spread over five years, enhancements to Canada’s resettlement program for refugees abroad would cost $90.7 million plus $21 million in ongoing funding.

Providing increased support for resettled refugees clearly demonstrates Canada’s ongoing humanitarian commitment and affirms our long-standing tradition as a leader in international refugee protection.

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Tips to Make Life More Meaningful

Posted on 31 March 2010 by .

Life can often appear to be hectic. Having a full-time job and being a full-time student can often be very stressful. At times I feel I have overloaded myself with more things than I can handle. I am sure, many of you can relate with my experiences, while you are trying to juggle several different roles in your lives. I go to bed thinking about the things that need to be done, and I wake up thinking about the things on my ‘To Do’ list.

When I’m not mindful, at the end of the day I can truly ask myself, “Where did the day go?” So when I feel like these questions are coming up, I do some brief exercises that help bring me to the present moment and remind myself that I’m living. I thank Dr. Elisha Goldstein (a renowned psychologist) who shared these tips with us on his blog. They have worked for me; see if they can help you balance your hectic life?

1. For 5 minutes: Whatever you are doing, just do it slightly slower. At work, we are all given tasks to do. One time per day, for 5 minutes, do that task a little bit slower. Do not do the task in slow motion, or take breaks from the task, simply do it a little bit slower.

2. Take 5 minutes at lunch to notice what you’re eating. You can actually do this at any meal, or any time you eat. You are going to notice what your food looks like, how it smells, feels, and tastes. As you pick up your food, notice the texture of it, is it bumpy, smooth, wet? Notice what you smell. As you take it in your mouth notice how it feels in your mouth, notice the tastes that are coming out of it, how your teeth break it down. As you swallow it, notice it going down your throat. Do the same with the drink.

3. Take 3 minutes to just sit and notice your breath.

Sit in a place of your choice, could be behind your desk, or anywhere. Close your eyes. For 3 minutes, simply pay attention to your breath. For these 3 minutes, your breath gets your undivided attention. If you notice yourself thinking about something, even the thought “Why am I doing this stupid exercise?”, just notice that you’re thinking that and then gently bring your attention back to your breath.

4. Wash the dishes.

If you’re not used to doing dishes, there will be many benefits to this one. As you begin to wash the dishes, notice the texture of the plate and the warmth of the water on your hands. Inhale and notice if there is any scent. Listen to hear the rush of the water or any other sounds that are happening around you. Not only will you be able to practice being in the moment, but many of your family and friends will be thrilled with you.

5. Take a bath or shower.

Preferably a bath if you have one, but even with a shower, you can take your moment in the shower or bath to feel the warmth of the water or feel how your body is immersed in the water. How does your skin feel? Do you notice any smells? Is your hair wet? Just be in the moment and notice all your senses … breathe.

6. Make love slightly slower for a few moments.

As you are making love to your significant other, take a moment to purposely move slightly slower. As you do this begin to mentally feel over all parts of your body. How your skin feels when touching his/hers, how are you breathing? Are you sweating? Is there a scent in the air? Take a moment and really be there making love.

7. Smell a flower for an extra breath.

This one I love. Often times I will be passing by a flower and if I remember to smell it, I take an extra inhalation to really get the full experience of the scent. You will be surprised how much that extra inhalation makes a difference in the experience.

8. Be silly. I’m serious ;)

Being silly allows your creative juices to flow and your creative juices is what life is all about. Letting yourself be silly can also be very relaxing and create joyful situations that are full of meaning.

9. Write a letter to someone close to you … telling them how much you appreciate them.

This is not a new idea by any stretch, yet it is always worth mentioning since it is so meaningful. A letter that that person will always cherish.

10. Remind yourself that you are a miracle.

This may be the most important. How they heck did any of us get here? When we break it down to nanotechnology and quantum physics, scientists are stumped to figure out the great mystery of us physically being here and interacting and creating symbols and concepts and communicating.

Author: Rahul Mehta

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A Woman in a World of Men

Posted on 31 March 2010 by .

From my vantage point, all I could see were men dressed in black. I slowly entered the room and cut through the crowd, excusing myself on the way, to finally find myself standing alone at the edge of the room. My high heels were still not high enough to help me compete with these men, and while I had worried all evening about the appropriate length of my skirt and the right amount of make-up, these fellow men would have only rehearsed the phrases they would use to network with each other and grow their businesses.

It is a world of men out there and while we find plenty of women in various professions, business is still a world where we are a rare species. To grow my small business, I take help from networking events to broaden my clientele. I have attended various seminars on ‘how to network’ and ironically, every one of them has taught me more about my ‘presentable look’ rather than the intelligent thoughts that I should bring forward.

I have had attended workshops where they tell me what accounts for a ‘business attire’ for a woman, how much jewelry is appropriate, what color of lip gloss to use and how high or low should my pony tail be; things that my fellow competitors don’t have to worry about.

Before coming to the event, while I stood in front of my mirror, staring at my half bare legs, I had to ‘analyze’ myself from every angle, to see what message my nearly-naked legs were going to give to the others in the room, ‘sexy’, ‘flirty,’ or hopefully ’professional’? I wished that the men in that room could see my ‘analytical’ skills and how I apply them at every stage of life.

It’s frustrating when these people out there don’t see the issues I have to deal with in this world of men. I am a beautiful woman, and a business shirt can still make me look sexy even when I want those men to just see me as a professional. They like addressing me as a business ‘person’ in their official talk; how hard they try in words to make me feel comfortable and how little they try in their eyes to give me the same comfort level.

I walk through that room full of men in black suits and they already give me strange smiles, some pointing out the obvious that I am an odd one out, while others encouraging me to approach them with god knows what intentions. Smiles are a wonderful tool, but a woman who smiles at you pays a different social price.

So, now I have to also ‘analyze’ the degree to which I smile and I have to ‘analyze’ the message my ‘eyes’ would convey.

In this room full of men, I mean business, not the sort of business between a man and a woman but the business between two professionals. I approach a gentleman and extend my hand for a shake, and imagine the thoughts running through my head; I have to ‘analyze’ how much force I put in that handshake. While that is an analysis I have to do consciously, on a more unconscious level, I can’t help analyzing the smile that he is giving me after caressing my soft hands. I like calling myself a laborer, but a mere pen or a keyboard can’t give you calluses on your hands and they still remain soft, soft hands of a beautiful woman.

We introduce ourselves, we talk, we exchange contacts and before moving ahead he gestures with his hand and finally says the words, “Call me.”  I ‘analyze’ the pun in his words, give him a smirk and the surety that he would hear back from me. I move to the next ‘man in black’ and the same episode is repeated all over again.

Now I don’t smirk, I smile at every one of them. I have learnt to ‘analyze’ the opposite specie, and I have learnt to move in the world of men.

I am a lady surrounded by men and I just don’t have enough time to give each one of them their due attention. Now, that makes me a successful ‘woman’ but I keep on wondering when I would become a successful businessperson in this world of men.

Author:Saniya Zahid

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