Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Share A Drop - Of Love And Life




A class room space is all I need
One hearty meal is all you feed

Hungry tummy & hungry mind
Share a drop of love, be kind

Food with love, I ask not much
Milestone to reach inch by inch

For a life, I want to learn
Morsel of food I yearn......




India has reached Mars. No doubt. But perhaps one peek from Mars and what is seen is the poor hungry children often deprived of food, school, proper sanitation/toilets. They are the future of India, that is the youth, the children and we know the ground reality. At the ground level, the children constituting 35% of population, yet their various issues are yet to be acknowledged at giant scale so as to take that leap in solving the crisis. It could be sanitary issues, illiteracy and importantly undernourishment. According to UNICEF one third of world's malnourished children hail in India.  While, India has 440 million children, home to largest number of children in the world. 

In our India, we are very busy celebrating a socially lesser relevant "Children's Day". It's tuned in synonymous to a ritual now. The outcome of it is a zero in accomplishment with what the hungry child in India gets. A meaningless children's day, where in the most important issues of them hardly hit headlines. Some do not make to a weekly magazine too. What use is that special day where in a bunch of them hardly have food to eat or place to pee.

"When a poor hungry person dies, it is not fault of God. It is fault of you and I who did not give that person what he wanted" - Mother Teresa

We all have heard of mid-day meal schemes in schools. Akshaya Patra is one non profit organisation that has been working parallel with mid day meal schemes in schools. The main goal is to achieve a no school drop out due to hunger. Feed the stomach and then the minds is the mantra.

We have often heard of many stories of people needing helping hand to that road side paper seller or rag picker who earns his meal as well as little peek into books. But, how much does that help. A complete grooming called education can happen in a disciplined fashion in a school and in hand goes the requirement of a morsel of food. We might donate to orphanages, we might help that road side boy. But now, a novel idea is to blog a post. Every such post can feed one sponsored child though Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda. I too have indulged with doing my bit to the needy children in orphanages. Now I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with  Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.


Remember this:



In this era of technological advancement, the idea of channelizing the promotion of curbing the cause of class room hunger, via social media is worthy of taking an awe for. Now apart from social and  moral responsibility of helping and poor, we also take note of Bloggers Social Responsibility
A thank you note to BlogAdda for bringing up a worthy idea for a noble cause initiated by Akshaya Patra


We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give" - Winston Churchill
               

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Honey I Am Pregnant


Last week, I almost fitted back into my old jeans, four months after the baby was out and ..I was as happy as reaching Mars myself.  Only those mothers who have bothered to walk in worst ever cat walk throughout pregnancy, with the baby bump, can relate to my madness.

Just few months before it was, when my family was finally frustrated, how terribly I was worried about inflating and inflating to a double XL size, outgrowing my beautiful wardrobe, they consoled me. Common you have given a good news! In my India there is only and only one meaning to the "good news".  That's when you are going to be "mommy darling".

How I just subscribed into vomiting for 9 months. After a big Diwali clean-work rush, when you decide to iron your laundry and almost faint on the laundry table, all you are told is to rest. The real haunting symptom was yet to come, when you puke and fuss and finally rush to the doctor who doesn't refuse to analyse your waste and declare you are now eligible to vomit for the next 9 months. What! it's happening, I told myself, laughed alone in the washroom and finally got to my car. Why, I had to ring up and tell him , the daddy to be. No answer on phone, and I decided to pop a text message with 2 words "It's positive. Quick reply "Congratulations to you". Please do not fall pity to my plight, as I drove on a main highway reading this pitiful message. I urged myself to reply "same to you too". Blood boiling in me, but kept my cool. Yet, my mind refused to get out of thoughts like, what if during delivery pain I call him and he says "good luck". What if I myself had to drive to hospital, and he visits labour ward singing "congratulations". Huh. Home was nearing and luckily he called me. Immediately I acted" Congratulations to you dear, you gonna be daddy". It was then I saw a thrill in his voice and in order to hush him down I had to remind him, honey am pregnant, not you!

Next few weeks passed by, making friends with big multi-coloured vitamins and other tablets and also the devil in my throat called nausea. Like a typical Hindi Bollywood movie, I started showing up with few vomiting sessions, dizzy times that finally the head count of our family was going to increase by another.

As if the world just toppled over or you did over something, and you dread those days when you can neither see your own feet without a mirror or wear your own sock independently. Sometime back had heard few jokes like the first few years of marriage and your room smells of perfumes. In the next few years it's baby powder, baby soap and stuff. The last stage sees and smells only medicines and medicines.  I looked at myself in the mirror and decided, Thank God I was still in 2nd stage. Though yet to hit 40, at times I feel I visit the dentist more than any other relative or friend.

It was not just the clothes that were changed. The seating settings of my office chair, my car and what ever. Huh. Whole lot of a roller coaster adventure. Many a times my expressions wore a disgusting warning sign that almost read "Under severe pregnancy hormonal influence- Beware of me". And people suddenly turned sober towards me. You just had to walk in to the shopping mart. The cart would just walk into you from nowhere. Soon I learnt the trick of sticking my shopping list on the cart and only pretending to bend on to pick something. Those things would pop onto my cart. There was always a good Samaritan for me everywhere. It was like a mega offer of "feel pampered-Get pregnant". Not just the family and friends, but anybody who sees you pampers you. The 9 months of luxury seems like one of those air travels in the business class, where in the cabin crew is always after you with cup of juice or food, whether you asked for it or not.

Who loves being in an insomniac spell for few months though. Last person was me. But you got to bet, every single night, I almost thought of the night security watchman at our security gate. At times, I wished, I could offer part time service to my community or take that extra walk with him as he makes his rounds in the community at midnight. Walking inside the room at mid nights were so boring.

As the roller coaster months of doing the cat walk with the baby bump rolled over, awaiting another happy spell, of a new life in your arm. There ceases flow of words. It's a feeling. That's it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

PEE-KABOO


"Enough is enough, will you pee now or you chose not to travel with us further"- was my mother shouting at me. Lush green grass, silence and abandoned place, just right to pee when you were travelling 24X7 on a marathon tour with the popular tour operators. More than 2 decades ago, peeing in public was an art. The older ladies educated me how they could cover my butt with their hanging pieces of sari and I could pee in peace. Peace? Hell. I peed in piece. Playing peekaboo with few pairs of eyes that pretended not to see me and few mosquitoes that buzzed around.
I am that bloody Indian with 5 rooms 4 toilets in my home today, yet dreads those memory lane journeys of pee-kaboo, where my bladder often yelled for it's respectful urinal rights, at me. Those, night bus journeys were a nightmare. Jungles as open toilets, singing loudly was only option if the bladder shouted the hell out of holding the pee for long hours. Using a public toilet was a bane. The very spell of the filthy look, feces slathered floor, and scent, knocked the saner in me and would often make me flee for my life into the sky for the holy urinals and rest in pee. 


In the country side, there is always an uncle that walks a mile every morning with a tumbler of water in hand. Perhaps the women in the family had the royal chance to use the nearby surroundings for the rituals. As for little Babli, she too learnt the royal art. The cat walk with a tumbler of water. The older aunties of babli, planned their peeing picnic. It was their time for "kitty-pee-party". Discuss life's problems over a pee time. But Babli  despairingly, watched the surroundings reeking filthy feces. Something called a latrine was a luxury. They were meant for the upper class just like those in cities who own a swimming pool inside a house, whereas folks  far away in country side often deprived of mere water line in their "so called" homes. 
Oh holy lord of urinals! The king of S.A gifted his daughter a royal toilet made of pure gold.  Our folks in India  are those fortunate enough to see stars in the sky while they defecate. 

Babli, felt miserable day by day. The behooving walk to the open pee stations, turned agonizing. Her mind bubbled, why olden  days culture included defecation in open and keep house clean. World grew faster, man stood up to a mouse click, yet not a toilet revolution. Open defecation is no more an art. It's the dirty truth of the country that the leaders who come to Babli's village with white clothing, folded hands once  a year, never looked back for a peek into sanitary issues. They brought laptops to Babli's school in order to educate and develop the youth. You want to smirk at this. Health is wealth is that proverb the teacher only writes on the school board each morning. And that leaves Babli wondering why she cant pee in peace, or play in a place without human feces or the aura of the urinals.  How long could she hold her pee at her school too, that had no toilets? Till she toiled to find a safe surrounding or a lone latrine with nearly collapsing walls and no sings of water in there for ages?


Nearly half  of India's population have no toilets. Nearly half have cellphones though. Smart hygiene faults.
Only 46.9% of the 246.6million households have lavatories. 49.8% defecate in the open. Remaining 3.2% use public toilets.  A cultural taboo of decades ago, has never seen a up gradation even today with the world in our palm. People wash their clothes in river/ponds/lakes in the country side. Pee at one end, bathe at other. The cities are worst. With no ponds, folks turn to walls, pits around municipality trash bins and so on. The women are hit most, off their dignity and safety. A summit in Delhi highlighted statistics that just 15% of rural people have access to toilet. 
For women, dignity and safety in hands with hygiene finds priority. This piece of news when reported globally, where a lady denied stepping into her husbands house in rural India, for lack of toilet, perhaps rang a bell in the society to some extent.



The Prime Minister of India has lead the revolution called "swach bharath" where cleanliness, hygiene is going to be utmost priority. Domex has taken an extra ordinary revolutionary step towards health and hygiene of folks. More in the rural India.
You are just a click away towards doing your bit for your society, your women folks, through Domex Toilet Academy. http://www.domex.in/.  
Help build healthier India, help woman, girls and children like babli find their dignity in safety.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Maid Goes Wi-Fi

Image Source: Google.
Not before long it was, when, in India, that lady with wet sari wandered around tiding up my kitchen and the grubby kneed son of hers, cleaned weeds in my garden. Maid was the key word. The job outsourced. Unending domestic chores were to be unearthed  by the maiden of the house, hence often outsourced part of job to the maid. The luxury was face to face talks, unlike today, where my most conversations with my maid are on whattsapp and few calls.

The flash backs pose ghostly appearances in my thoughts, when I run my marathon in my "foreign" house from room to kitchen and back to another room. What! I wanted to faint on discovering longish formalities in filling up several forms, study the labour law just to have a house help. Life of an NRI was more about papers. Visas and the likes. 

The India house almost made my sweet dreams at times. Each time I clean my finger nails off the vegetable remain, reminds me of those happy moments when, I once was young and free enough to fill nail paints too. Nail paints are nightmare now. Every time I get off driver seat of my car, back home  shopping just milk and bread, my head throbs thinking of that handsome boy of the supermarket that home delivered stuff in my  Bangalore home. And that milk delivery boy, who never snubbed me, when he dropped milk packets at my door at 5 AM and most mornings had to ring bell for like forever if I had not showed up at the door on time.

Imagine you still had whole lot of time to cook-eat, cook-eat, while the maid attended other chores. Unimaginable, that my foren (foreign) house turned me into an roly-poly. Katrina lady of bollywood was lucky to be framed barbie. I could only manage to pose like Ms.Wobbly. Cooking-cooking-and feeding. The clock loved howling at me, to run, both on my toes and heels. A roly-poly me was found everywhere in the house all the time. Forward, backward, this way and that way. Night saw me like an effigy of my own, stiff out of exhaustion, ready to crash on the bed. Just the breakfast was a huff-puff. With no break the roly-poly would next be behind the wheels. Office provided refreshing coffee at least. Roly-Poly's lunch menu read like this- "hurried lunch, skipped lunch, forgotten lunch, leftover dinner stuff...and so on ". But the haunts of "getting back into the kitchen in the evening, running the laundry, dishwasher would drown me in insomniac slumber. Dining in peace was a luxury too. My creativity in work was born dead as the robot in me was conceived. Denial was punishment. You end up doing your dirty laundry, to emptying the trash.



Going by the speed at which 2G internet has transformed the world into 4G today the "maid job" too has spread wings rapidly. Giving and taking orders have taken shape of the MNC culture. Tradiotional "jhadoo" (jhadoo=hindi term for broom) have found profound use as symbols of political parties. The domestic vacuum cleaners do a better job though noisy. The silent brooms are cornered. Good bye to the old wet-sari maid and welcome the hi-fi , wi-fi  maid. The modern avatar of the maid. Here job outsourcing hops next level. You hire a maid. She hires herself a baby sitter!

Those maid gossips of India had gone online here with silent demands from the maid on wi-fi. She was everywhere. One should not miss those Facebook updates. Though I am still waiting for something like "Now vacuum cleaning-feeling annoyed"! No doubt the WhattsApp was full of her. Updating selfie after selfie, while scouring & scrubbing.  It's just that coping with chopping happens to her only as she can install her smart phone facing her and the chop board. It's just that the onions can never bring tears to her eyes, as her eyes popped over the phone. Wonder how many of my dinner menu have been rolling over on her WhattsApp or Facebook. Mind it, the man in the house has to worry both about the wife and the wi-fi. If wi-fi is down maid is upset, and if the maid is upset the wife is upset!

Bye Bye  "bayee". The maid is busy buzzing status updates. The remarkable transformation of bayee to Wi. Catch her online if she hasn't turned up for work today! No  bayee (bayee meaning maid in Hindi) sounds more like no to sleep to me. But there's no better heaven than cooking your own meal, be your own maid.
Maid made.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Crack-Less And Not Cracker-less Deepawali



I dislike this new app called "NO to Deepawali crackers"discovered by liberals . Close the App and open the "I love my Culture; I shall abide by rules and limits to enjoy it" app. We smart people like smart phones have scrounged in too many apps in life. Trash them. Refresh memory, recharge self and add in beautiful apps.

I am a true bloody Indian! When it comes to festivals, I am even truly traditional Hindu. And when it's Deepawali, I loved doing hopscotch on roads midst red coloured crackers scattered all over. Some half burnt that might just buzz right on you! Yet, loved standing along the road along with other neighbours and few street dogs, watch the men throw the crackers as if they went spinning the cricket ball like Kumble or if they just planned to bomb the neighbourhood, light a rocket and flee as if for life. It was little of pest control too in our mosquito filled native. I miss all these fun!

Now, to calculate why  crack the C called CONFUSION. The confusion of human ego as to banning fireworks for Deepawali that forms part of culture, and carelessness of environmental regulations. Dear oh, it's our festival, it's our culture. Light oil lamps, don't save on oil. Burst a few crackers not someone's ears or foot! Forget the weighing machine and hog on all those delicacies, sweets  and savories.

Let's not get into figures, but the fact that fireworks and crackers form beautiful part of festive celebrations. The illuminations with lamps and fireworks hold significance to victory of good over evil, indications of the joy of people on earth.
Be it Deepawali or Christmas. With the pollution standards to be regulated by government, over different kinds and sources of pollution, we ought to take oath to point the government on environmental regulation standards for which we need not compromise on celebrating 2 days festival in the entire 365!
It's become a fashion liberal trend to say absolute NO to crackers.  Pollution is the heroic reason. Why not, We mighty people have buckled up for a race. Who spends more on crackers? We human race are into big time race everywhere. Heard that children find fantasy in flaunting how many thousands they have spent on crackers. Less said the better. Beautiful confusion of ego with pollution for an No to crackers.

As for some, the very concern on why child labour encouraged in making the crackers in India. Even if it were true, at the least, that's damn not a reason to not enjoy your beautiful culture of spreading smiles through some crackers apart from sweets and love. Spare a thought to the Indian women labour involved in the making. Their long hours of labour is their bread and few hours of your fun. In fact it's more of women empowerment here.

Craving for attention, now  big boards go in hands of cute child. The board will say "I have asthma, Say No to crackers". Dear oh, please bomb your fireworks in decently open ground and not across your neighbour's window sill. And the same child will next year be acknowledging a "thank you - loved the fire works".

The cities where normal people have to jostle and jump to reach their respective offices on time each morning, are stuck with the more pollution in air already. But finally puffing and panting, they relax for Deepawali spreading eternal peace and want to say no crackers please. Dear oh, get on and  enjoy the sparklers for an hour in the entire 365. It will brighten up the child's face. We brave hearts, have gathered the absolute courage to lift the boards for most Hindu festivals on complete banning of all the festive mood. Now we need to gather that extra courage to amend them to saying "control your limits on the air and sound pollution" You draw your line. The already polluted laws and regulations along with air is apparently a burden on government, as my 'no crackers" is not going to suddenly clean the air. Also gather that extra courage to save such boards every festive season. Christmas fireworks, and the quagmires reeking animal blood  in public places during Eid. Pollution again! And also shove some boards onto the doors of the activists when animals are abducted to be savoured for festivals.

These small gesture we make will make us love law. When Deepawali is round the corner, do get busy lighting those beautiful mud lamps with oil and wick. Lord Rama was welcomed this way and even if we wish to decorate our houses with big coloured electrical lights, it is spread smiles and love not a ball of envious fire onto your neighbour's stomach that he rushes to nearest shop to get a heavier and bigger lighting. Say no to ego not celebrations.  Dear oh, crack the puzzle. It's inside us. Burst it out with loudest noise, and those fireworks with least.

Mind it, little fun is eligibility alright! But when a friend had to relocate her child every Diwali to a different location, she had to actually beat the doors of those around who flaunting tons of crackers burst at their doorstep. Pinch his ear and tell the neighbour, "It's festival darling. Spread peace and love, by drawing your line and not migraine by almost bombing the place with  cheap Chinese crackers. Because the mighty city Indians might soon as well end up preaching "No to Agarbatthis-they spread air pollution". Culture and traditions have to be experienced in their right dosage and loved it that way.
  
Le's end the "Confusion" not the "Crackers!! Let's save the Hindu culture and kill the ego not traditions.

Thoughts  have been churned in here with essence of logic, culture and a right message in festive spirits. With the extra bit of intellectual ideologies, remember to say No to all those extra bits during all festivals.

Giving it a personalized touch with my words and my preparations.










In fact, am going to expect 56 inch chest PM of India who has just vaccinated India off corruption and has intensified the process of country's progress, to in future add the feather on cap called "Disney India" where lots of fireworks be held and the same people you see here holding big boards will buy tickets to watch the fireworks.

For those who understand my plight of being bloody Indian in writing this-cheers.
For those who are still confused- do refresh yourself and come back for cheers!
Because I have this bad habit of writing and writing what is right and what I know is right.