Friday, December 29, 2006

Ignorance isn't always bliss...

Over the years, my family has contributed to the bank accounts of several medical practitioners. Save for the really serious and scary illnesses (much to my dismay, I might add), between the four of us, we've managed to have pretty much every illness in the books. And managed to visit numerous doctors and hospitals to boot.

Which is why I was rather startled to discover a new side to Indian doctors some time back. Someone in the family is undergoing treatment for something (forthcoming, ain't I? it's not me, by the way) and has been visiting a new doctor (by new, I mean we hadn't honoured this particular place with our patronage previously).

So anyway, this particular chap has been prescribing medicines to us, and as our habit is, we've been coming back home and looking up those medicines on the 'net. (Have I not told you how useful the thing is?!?) And as it turns out, this doctor is not as forthcoming as we'd like him to be. He has prescribed two drugs, one which is for something entirely different from the presenting problem, and another one which can have serious side effects if used for a long time.

Now maybe these medicines are what is needed for our situation, but that does not mean he can give any freaking drug without even explaining to us why he's doing so or what possible consequences there could as a result of these drugs.

My father tells this is very typical of Indian doctors; they like to believe we're all ignorant buffoons and don't need to be told anything beyond the very obvious. I think it's utterly irresponsible of them to do so. Not everyone looks up their prescribed medicines like we do, and there is always the chance that things could go very wrong with the consumption of these drugs. And it amazes me that these doctors can be such idiots.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So I was wondering...

I woke up yesterday morning with a question on my mind.

One of the symptoms of schizophrenia is a "disturbace of thought content" wherein a schizophrenic may experience various forms of delusions or false beliefs.

Now, in the Harry Potter universe, there is potion called Veritaserum. For the uninitiated, Veritaserum is a 'truth potion', just a few drops of which can cause the drinker to spill his/her deepest secrets.

So my question was, if a schizophrenic is given Veritaserum, would (s)he speak the truth as we, the supposedly "normal" people of the world, see it? Or would (s)he continue to express the truth as perceived by him/her?

For the schizophrenic, these delusions are very, very real. So my guess is, even Veritaserum wouldn't be able to make him/her perceive reality the way others around him/her do. Because it would make him/her speak the truth that (s)he sees.

I wake up with weird thoughts.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The best laid plans of men and mice...

I found this really brilliant poem in a book I was reading; thought I'll post it here.


I had planned the meeting of us,
Glad beneath a starlit sky,
Swift compelling arms around me,
While enchanted moments fly.

I had thought of things to tell you,
Only you could understand,
As we walked together,
In a rare enchanted land.

But you came an hour too early,
And the kitchen floor was wet,
I was elbow deep in dishes,
And my hair was in a net.

As I wrung the soapy dishcloth,
My romance was all a wreck,
And for one hot bothered moment,
I'd have rather wrung your neck.

- Sonia Hardie

Ain't it perfect?!? =)

Thursday, November 23, 2006


You know, the thing about technology is that it makes it devilishly hard for me to get rid of people. It was so much easier in the good old days (ain't I ancient?) when all you had to do was stop speaking to someone you wanted out of your life, and stop taking his/her calls. The person would eventually give up, and there would be no awkward scenes or anything. Pheobe did it so effectively that Monica never even caught onto her game for crying out loud.

Now, however, it just doesn't work that way. So you get a call on your cell phone, and since the number flashing belongs to that annoying person who only ever calls when (s)he needs something, you ignore the call and carry on with what you were doing, humming gleefully. But then the landline rings, and you just know it's that person. Luckily, your mother picks up, and catches on to what your wild gesticulations mean and makes up some excuse.

But you see, it doesn't end there. No sirree. The next time you come online, you see him/her waiting on MSN Messenger like an eagle waits for his prey to come out of hiding. Luckily, you have your settings set such that you sign in on Appear Offline mode, so you manage to block the accursed person. But what you've forgotten is that (s)he still has your other email address, and can email you whenever (s)he chooses to do so. And if you thought just ignoring the email and not replying was an option, think again. (S)he has not only visited your Orkut profile, but also the profiles of people who scrap you, and therefore knows that you have come online and have replied to others, so why not me huh? Huh? Tell me, tell me, why?


Friday, November 17, 2006

I'm sorry... I didn't plan to!

It's a good thing I neither went into journalism, nor have any plans of doing so. I think journalism, or at least the kind of journalism I'm talking about, involves a certain amount of objectivity or detachment from the facts of whatever you might be reporting. I don't have that.

There is no doubt the possibility that I might develop such an attitude in the future, but as of now, I don't see that happening. These days, I tend to get a little too worked up about most things that I read about in the papers.

I read this article earlier this week, and all I could think was, "momentary lapse"?!? Bull. Even if it was, the girl was eight years old people!!! How can you forget the utter brutality of what she underwent simply because it wasn't planned?!? Oh, and the fact that the so-and-so didn't kill her, but simply left her to bleed to death really does let him off the hook, doesn't it? And of course it doesn't fall under the category of "rarest of rare" cases, because child sexual abuse is so bloody common in this country.

Someone I know is of the opinion that Santosh Singh was given the death penalty solely because of the public opinion surrounding the case. I'm beginning to believe he's right. Do we really need to create public outrage every single time we want to see justice? Is creating a brouhaha the only way we can get justice?

I was a much happier person before I started reading the newspapers.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Dire straits

About a year ago, during a rather innocuous conversation, a friend of mine happened to mention ot me that according to Vaastu Shastra or Feng Shui or one of those things, how organized your home is supposedly signifies how clear you are in your thoughts. That day, on returning home, I went to my room and took a good look around. Sure enough, a horrible mess met my eyes.

Now, I might not believe in any of those schools of thought, but this particular line of thought made sense to me. My thoughts have been in a complete clutter for the past two years or so now, and my room, well, when has that not been a mess?!? That, my dear and not-so-dear readers, is why the train of thought in most of my entries rarely seems to follow any logical path.

The bottomline is, while my room occasionally does undergo a thorough spring-cleaning session, the clutter my thoughts have been in for the last two years has reached a point where I don't seem to be able to sort them out even if I tried. Moreover, this feeling has intensified in the recent past. I feel pulled in different directions all the time in pretty much every aspect of my life these days. There are innumerable options, demands, suggestions, commands, and roads that seem to magically appear before me without me evincing the slightest bit of desire for any of it. I sometimes feel like a captured octopus who has eight different idiots pulling at each of its legs - not a very pleasnt image to bring to mind, I agree. The desparation for answers seems to be just increasing at times.

I think I would be in a better state - at least mentally, if nothing else - if I had some degree of faith in yoga, or art of living, or reiki, or something. Unfortunately, I don't. And that means that I am quite likely to finally give in to my long-cherished desire of throwing a crystal vase at the wall and smashing it to smithereens very soon.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

People are scum

One of the few newspapers I actally still have some degree of respect for is the weekly Tehelka. Yet, reading it week after week fills me with a sense of despair about our country. What is wrong with us? There appears to be corruption, injustice, poverty, abuse, and whatnot is practically every aspect of our society. Someone do something!!!

Read these articles:

Dalits go on rampage in Nagpur over caste killings
Dalit killings: Curfew in Maha town
For more articles...

I defy any of you to claim you didn't shudder in revulsion while reading the first article.

Yes, I'm a feminist. So people reading this will probably start again about how I always get riled about these issues. But come on, being horrified about this incident can't be just for that reason. What kind of inhuman savages carry out such atrocities?

The last time I wrote about women being abused by men, I was rather startled by some of the comments I received wherein some men felt that you can't blame men for reacting if women dress in a certain way (not that I've seen all those many women dress in mini-skirts on the roads of Delhi - known as the rape capital - but I'm sure that's due to my selective blindeness). What's their excuse now? Why were these two women tortured, raped, and killed in such a brutal manner? What's the justification for the two sons of Surekha Bhotmange being beaten up, killed, and mutilated?

It's been more than a month since this incident, yet no action has been taken till this past week. It's only now that after Dalit youths turned violent while protesting against the murders that some degree of action has been taken. The Maharashtra givernment has finally ordered a CID enquiry, and the case will apparently be tried in a fast-track court. Whether that actually happens remains to be seen, but I do wish some protest marches could happen about cases that don't just affect people in the Metros.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Take a look around...

Just so often, there comes along a genuinely sweet incident or book or essay or something that makes me believe for about half a day that yes, true love does exist in this world after all.

The latest such thing to catch my fancy isn't even about romantic love though. It's just about... love. The words might be clichéd as hell, but they make sense don't they?
"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around. "

~ Hugh Grant in the opening scene of Love Actually
No wonder I like airports!

We keep looking for that funny feeling called love, or what we think is happiness, when most of the time, it's right there before us. All we really need to do it is reach out and grasp it, which sadly,
doesn't work out too often.

Now, if only I acted on all that I talk about. Life would be so much simpler.

Friday, October 20, 2006


As some of you may know, my brother's the editor of his school magazine. And the kid has just got their second web magazine up and running. So go take a look at it if you want! And email all comments to!

Happy Diwali!

May the festive season bring lots of happiness to you and your family! :)

Friday, October 13, 2006

What they will never know...

There's a lot non-animal lovers will never understand or know.

Non-animal lovers will never understand just what a pet means to us animal lovers. They will never understand that to us, bringing home a pet is the same as bringing home a babe in arms; to us, getting a pet is the same as adopting a child.

They will never understand that our pets are family to us, that they are considered in every important family decision that is taken. They will never understand that no matter how much we crib about having to take care of our pet, we miss all those little duties terribly the second we no longer have to do them. They will never understand that no matter how beautiful an outing or a holiday has been, at the back of our mind is the constant thought and worry about how our pet must be coping. They will never know the misery we feel when we look into the mournful eyes of our pet as soon as he/she realises we are going off somewhere without him/her.

They will never know the warmth we feel when our dog stands to greet us at the front door, having sensed our arrival as soon as we entered the lane, wagging his/her tail in joy at seeing us again. They will never know the peace that can be experienced simply by sitting on the floor, with a hand on your pet who is sprawled next to you. They will never know the calm that can settle in you when your pet senses your inner turmoil and comes to nudge you with his/her nose.

They will never know the sheer joy of rolling in the grass with your dog like a little child. They will never know how soothing it is to just pet your dog, and of course, how exasperating it is when you want to remove your hand, and he/she looks at you like you've committed some cardinal sin.

They will also never know the utter trauma of knowing your dog is suffering, and that you are helpless to do anything about it. They will never know the complete wretchedness of having to take a decision that will end his/her suffering, but also his/her life. And luckily for them, they will never know the grief we go through when we lose our beloved pet.

There's a lot they will never know.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Just a note to say...

This always happens. I have periods of extreme verbosity, and I churn out entry after entry. Then just when I start feeling smug about how regular I've become, I go and hit a period of writer's block.

So as usual, I've started about half a dozen entries in the last couple of weeks, none of which have seen the light of day yet, and most of which probably won't.

Therefore, solely to amuse myself, I decided to spruce things up a little around here. So if you're new here, you might... er... need to highlight some of the earlier entries so you can read them - the colours didn't quite come out right. And who knows, maybe there'll even be an entry before vacation ends!

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I am very curious about a certain phenomenon that seems to have started these days. Apparently, when someone has an accident, or turns out to have some kind of serious illness, either an email service or a mobile network service comes forward and offers to give a certain amount of money every time a message about the individual concerned is forwarded. Now, here's my question: how does the mobile/email service in question know when the message is forwarded? Do they encrypt some kind of tracking code into the message (I wouldn't know if that's the correct terminology; I'm rather ignorant about these things)? Or they do have access to all our inboxes, and therefore know just how often we send/receive these messages (and therefore being a complete violation of privacy)?

Now, if it is one of these things, wouldn't it just be simpler to directly and openly hand over a huge some of money to the individual in need? At least, that way, they'd get a great deal of publicity. Oh, and they could even throw a huge bash and get their photos on Page 3 in the process!!!

Did I hear someone call me a cynic? Guilty as charged. I don't believe in altruism. At least, not when there's nothing in it for you in return. And definitely not for utter strangers. Sure, I help my friends and family if they need me to, because for some odd reason, I care about the bunch of them. I also help random classmates and colleagues, but if I was to examine my motives, it would probably be in the hope that when I need help from them, I'll get it (plus there's the fact that I'm not too good at saying no). And as far as strangers are concerned I don't think I've helped out more than one or two in my life!

So here's what I'm curious about (no, it wasn't the question at the beginning): what makes all these people so gullible to believe these forwards, and thereafter so willing and eager to send them on? They don't know these individuals, yet they will continue to send forward after forward to "help" them.

I mean, come on, I've been using the World Wide Web for seven to eight years now, and that girl Rachel who supposedly has cancer has been the same freaking age ever since! Sure, even I got taken in initially... Oui, even I have been nice enough to send out that mail a few times, but then you see, after a year or so, I wisened up. So why don't these people?

To quote a wise woman, "People are stupid".

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Where have all the smiles gone?

If you don't like something, change it, If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.
- Maya Angelou

Rather ironic words coming from me, I know.

I visited Mumbai a while back and I was amazed at how helpful the people there are. There were individuals who actually went out of their way to give us directions or any other assistance that we needed at the time. Now to someone who has lived in the NCR for more than a decade, such attitudes came as a rather pleasant surprise. Yet, through it all, I noticed one thing: no one smiles in Mumbai. People are undoubtedly helpful there, but their expressions are constantly bland, if not outrightly grim.

Since coming back, however, I've realised this isn't just a phenomenon specific just to Mumbai. On my way to university in the mornings, I look around and I see nothing but grim or worried or stressed faces. Everyone on the road seems to have a furrowed brow. No one smiles any more!

Yes, we enjoy the occasional laugh with friends or family. By and large, however, we crib and we complain. We complain about anything and everything that we possibly can. I do it myself - I gripe about deadlines, class schedules from hell, chores to carry out, inconsiderate or annoying people, lechers on the road, hair loss, you name it. Everyone I know has something or the other to crib about. Maya Angelou's words of wisdom obviously have very little place in our lives today.

When did this happen? When did we start complaining about every little thing in life? When did we stop being grateful for what we have? When did we forget to appreciate the small pleasures in life? When did we forget how to smile?

Friday, September 01, 2006

The willing violation of privacy

It is a very "in" thing these days to be a member of as many online communities as possible. You join, fill up a profile about yourself, put up as many photos of yourself, and add everyone you know who's also a member of that website as your "friend". So within about a week of joining, the whole world knows you some 60-odd friends. The interesting thing about these websites is that people you had completely lost touch with suddenly reappear in your life and add you as their friends. So it's all very exciting and lots of messages going back and forth about how looooooooooooooooong it's been and how grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat it is to hear from you again and what is up with you these days and blah, blah, blah!!! After about four-five such messages, silence re-emerges, and you simply occasionally visit each other's profile, and pat yourselves on the back about how many people you're in touch with.

I have never seen the point of these websites. Yes, they occasionally lead to a real reconnection between long-lost friends, and yes they can be fun at times (and very amusing at others for some!!!), but for the most part, it seems to be a kind of security blanket (in a friend's words - copyrights must be respected) to say that you know what a 101 people are doing. I know what most of former classmates are doing today thanks to these websites, but I wouldn't say I'm in touch with any of them. Knowing where a person is does not amount to keeping in touch in my book.
The latest craze is a website called Orkut. This has gone one step forward. It has the concept of "scrapbooks" wherein you can leave messages for people in a way that the whole world can read them. Now, maybe I'm a neurotically private person, who doesn't really like the whole world to know what I'm upto, but I honestly do find the whole concept of scraps quite absurd.

I was talking to a friend on the phone the other night. Now he happens to be someone who is a hardcore fan of these websites. He mentioned how he met an school friend some days back, someone who he hasn't spoken to in years, yet someone who knows every detail of what's going on in his life and vice versa, simply because they've been reading up each other's scraps. I tried pointing out that such a thing isn't exactly something to be kicked about, but he thinks it's quite cool for whatever reason. Well, gee I'm sorry, but I don't get it.

How is it cool to have someone who you haven't spoken to in years know every little detail about your life?!? Some former schoolmates of mine added me as their "friends" on Orkut; I accepted out of politeness. These people are now scrapping me asking me about what's going on in my life, as well as sending me Friendship Day scraps. The best part about this? Not once in our eight years of being in the same school did we ever exchange words. I'm sorry, but I don't get it.

Something happened to me a couple of months back that was probably the best news I had received in a long, long time. Not wanting the whole freaking world to know about it, I emailed four-five people about it because I felt they deserved to know. Two replied very nicely, while the other two simply scrapped me back. I'm sorry, but I don't get it.

I don't get how you can let the whole world know what's happening in your life. I don't get how you can let everyone read your conversations with anyone. I don't get how you can scrap someone who has emailed you about something quite personal. I do realise that not everyone likes to keep things as private as I do, and I respect that. But this latest fad seems to be encouraging a complete lack of privacy for anyone and everyone, and I'm sorry, but I don't get how that can be considered so highly wonderful.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What's your motive?

A/N: This piece was written some months back when it seemed fairly relevant to what was happening around me. Time has passed, but the issue has persisted in hanging around! So I figured I'll put it up here. For the record, I am not passing judgment on anyone; I'm simply stating an opinion.

April 09, 2006:
My generation's in a furore these days. The HRD Minister announced an increase in the reservation quotas for SC/ST/OBCs in institutions of higher education. So protest marches, SMS forwards, impassioned emails, online petitions et al. have been back in full force. In fact, this time, even fasting and self-immolation were being used from what I hear.

Immanuel Kant said that the value of action depends on their motives, not results. He spoke of "duty for duty's sake"; the only proper motivation for any action is faith in moral law. According to him, doing something because you feel it is good or right to do it is immoral. I don't agree with him to the extent of calling it immoral, but to a certain extent, he makes sense.

One of the emails I got asked us not to join in on the protests simply because Rang De Basanti made it cool to speak out. The writer was right; many of the people who protested against the verdict in the Jessica Lall trial did so for that very reason. There are dozens of such verdicts made in this country, which go unnoticed - either because the victim isn't a model, or because these isn't an inspiring movie around at the time to propel people to notice it.

I'm not saying the hype shouldn't have happened. On the contrary, I'm glad it did. At least Jessica will get justice - hopefully. But I do believe the reason the hype happened was not wholly a desire to see justice. And that is sad.

The motivation for people reacting against the possibe quota is very different. This time, it affects us directly. My own chances of getting into a decent master's program went straight from a fairly optimistic 5% to 0.1%. No kidding.

So I'm guessing the protests will be even more vociferous this time round. However, chances are, the protests won't be covered by as many news channels this time round (After all, Salman Khan just got bail!!!). The hype will be there, but not as visible.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Feminism - Part II

Look at the newspaper in the morning. Have you noticed how frequent it is that we read of a rape case? Moreover, have you noticed how the reports about rapes have slowly moved from being splashed all over the front page to becoming a tiny article squeezed in somewhere on the third or fourth page? It's almost as if such reports have become commonplace in the eyes of whoever it is that decides the importance of various newspaper articles.

When you do read about a rape case, it horrifies you (at least, I'm assuming it does, because if it doesn't, then you've got to be the worst kind of sadist there is). Even so, there will always be a section of society that tries to, if not outrightly justify the heinousness of the crime, explain how it is actually the fault of the girl that it happened. They talk about the way the girl dresses, what she was doing at the time, who she was with at the time - anything to try and lull the general public into believing that the... what's a polite word to use here?... ass who committed the crime was almost forced to do it by some temptress.

Well, forgive me if I sound crazy, but I really beg to differ from such utter hogwash. No matter how a woman dresses, behaves, or lives her freaking life gives any man the right to rape her. I once read about a prostitute who was raped, and the perpetrator was acquited because after all, she was a prostitute. I think that's unfair. I might not condone her choice of... uh... career, but that still doesn't give a man the right to force himself on her. No matter what the situation, there has to be mutual consent, for crying out loud.

Then there are of course those philosphers who talk about how it's the short skirt, the tight jeans, the low-necked tops, and what-nots worn by the victims that are too blame. The guy's fault? Of course not! I suppose they've never heard of child sexual abuse, where half the kids aren't old enough to be able to tempt the ass? I suppose they've never heard of marital rape, where often the woman doesn't even know what's happening to her? I suppose they've never read those reports which categorically state that a majority of rape victims are usally dressed in staid salwar kameezes?

If you're a girl/woman living in Delhi, it's practically impossible to walk down a road alone and feel safe at the same time. You know there will be at least one guy out there who will leer at you. It's a way of life most of us have got used to by now. I sometimes think I'm lucky to have just been eve-teased badly a few times (dressed in salwar kameezes, mind you!) and not raped. But then the feminist in me comes out and wonders why we should have to put up with it in the first place. Why cant we feel safe walking on the road in our own colony? Why should we constantly have to worry about what might heppen if we have to use public transport? Why can't two girls walk down to a dhaba at two in the night without one of them getting pulled into a car and gangraped?

Honestly, all this talk of equality coming about between men and women? It's utter nonsense. Women have always got a raw deal, and I really don't see it changing anytime soon.

Feminism - Part I

My friends call me a feminist - I suppose it would be only fair to say they're right. I think the lot of women has been full of hardships for aeons now. Moreover, people might say things are improving, and that men and women are treated equally, you only have to look around you to know that's not true.

I read the book Princess by Jean P. Sasson when I was 11 or 12... I often think that's what made me so cynical about relationships and men. It's the 21st century, and the women of Saudi Arabia are still treated like puppets, with no will of their own. Even the women who are, in the materialistic sense at least, surrounded by every luxury known to man, have no voice of their own, and in many ways have come to accept that as their lot.

Look around you in India itself. A large majority of the female population still knows that her future, no matter which college she might be attending, still lies in a marriage to a man her family will choose for her. She knows that ultimately, her life will all about looking after the needs & wants of her husband and children, and very often, in-laws. Having a career is an impossible dream for innumerable Indian women.

There is a soap on Indian television these days about a joint family where the autocratic head of the family has always treated the women like puppets, and they have never felt it should be any different either. Along comes the new daughter-in-law with her modern ideas, and the women of the house decide enough is enough, we need to rebel. Melodramatic? I wonder. I think the attitudes depicted in that show are a very real depiction of Indian society even today, whether people choose to accept it or not.

Honestly, I don't think there's anything all that wrong with being a stay-at-home wife; in fact, I have the utmost respect for such women (more so because I don't see myself ever being able to lead that kind of a life). However, I do think that it should be the woman's decision. It should be her choice, and hers alone. Sadly, this is rarely the case. Most women are stay-at-homes mothers because that is what is expected of them. Of course, very often, they have never even thought of any other option (mostly because they're been brought up knowing what their future held). But what of those women who may have dreams of going out and working, and are unable to do so because of their family environment.

Of course, things are changing. The number of women taking up courses that could lead to great careers and the number of women actually going out to work has been increasing steadily over the years. I read a report in the newspaper a couple of months back about how this year, the number of girls applying for courses like B.Com and Economics in the top colleges has been far more than any other year, whereas a couple of years back, these same colleges were actually considering having a separate quota for girls to encourage them to apply to these courses! So great, things are changing. But to what extent?

How many working women have the complete and unwavering support of their families? How many working mothers have their husband helping out around the house? Not too many. It is still the woman of the house who has to come back home every evening, as tired as her husband, if not more, and start with all the cooking, cleaning, dusting of the house. And God forbid if her children misbehave or do badly in their studies even the slightest bit, because of course it's the fault of the mother for not paying enough attention to her children.

Yes, things are changing. I come from a very different background. Many girls are now expected to have a career, just like the sons of the family. Yet, it is a very small section of society which is changing. We have a long, long way to go before men and women are truly treated equally in this country of ours.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

It's all about the quality...

A/N: I'm no parent, just a regular person who's too fond of whiling away time by thinking up thoughts which others unfortunately get to read. So these aren't the opinions of an expert, but then, as one of my favourite quotes goes: you don't have to be an authority on a subject to express your opinion.
One of the most clichéd terms we hear today is "quality time." It refers to the time a working parent spends with his/her child, who is otherwise neglected. The phrase originated in the United States of America in the 1980s, and according to a spot of research I did, it came from the notion that parents can 'have it all', i.e. a successful career and happy home life.
I remember hearing of this phrase all the time as a child - parents would proudly claim they spend "quality time" with their children. With the passage of time, the phrase started being viewed with some degree of cynicism. There came about an attitude of thinking, "Oh, that person completely ignores his/her children, and then thinks (s)he can make up for it by spending a few minutes or buying expensive gifts," etc.
In today's world, most families do have both parents working, which isn't that bad a thing. Yes, it is sad to see parents leave their children with nannies even as infants - I think you need to stay with your child for at least some time till (s)he is somewhat old enough. But after a point, it gets necessary to leave them (however heartwrenching it may be) and go out to do your job. And that's when quality time kicks in.
Quite frankly, I don't see why quality time is such a bad thing. If you get to spend less time with your child, it makes sense to make those few moments matter. You've only got to look at families where there is a stay-at-home parent, but the child is still completely spoilt to know it's not always quantity that matters. On the other hand, if in the time that you have together, you manage to have conversations with your child over things that matter, you'll probably do a better job at instilling values than a harried mother who ends up pleading with her children (ineffectively, at that) to behave.
Of course, it also depends what exactly you take quality time to be. I would say talking, playing games, or doing anything together would count. Giving the kid an expensive toy, and then just sitting in the same room with a bunch of files probably wouldn't have the same effect.
Quality time isn't just restricted to parent-child relationships either. If you have a friend who you don't get to meet too often, then the occasions when you do meet need to matter, and you need to think of ways to stay connected despite not meeting too often. A lot of relationships fade away because not enough effort is made by either one or both parties to keep it going strong. And it's up to you to decide which are the relationships that deserve to be kept going, and which ones you can let fade away.