Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In the name of lord

Hats off to you, dear Sri Ram Sene activists, for your ongoing efforts to preserve Indian culture.

Don’t bother about those who make a hue and cry over the issue. They just have the Lok Sabha elections in mind. Do you think that they really bother about the young women who were assaulted... err... taught culture... by your men in a pub in Mangalore last Saturday? I don’t think so.

You know, I heard some of these uncouth fellows venting their ire against your men, asking whether you will do this if the women in the pub were your mother or sister. How dare they say that! Why can’t you people just tell them that for you, mother or sister is not the issue, but the culture of India. I know even if it was your mother or sister, you would have pulled their dresses, hit them on their head and made them fall flat on their face. Nothing above culture. A person who uphold culture of the nation above anything else will not bother even if his wife is beaten up by his neighbour! I know you would certainly have garlanded the man for giving lessons to your wife on culture.

I heard your state convener Prasad Attavar saying, “We acted like brothers. Drinking by women is not Indian culture. It’ll morally degrade our society. Women are our mothers and they should behave like that.” Matru Devo Bhava... Gosh.... I got goose bumps. That means you treat all women like your mothers, right? I wonder whether you are a bachelor, Prasad. If so, you can expect a long queue of girls at your doorstep soon. After all, which girl will not love to marry this culture-conscious hero!

May be they don’t know that your mothers and sisters are beginning their days with Gayatri mantra, chanting couplets from the Upanishads and Vedas and drinking thulsithirth. I never meant the name of any serials.

And, I know they still dress like Sita and Draupadi. Showing belly button and covering breasts with a single cloth is also part of our rich culture. It would have been a feast for the eyes if all women were taught culture and made dress like that, isn’t it? I have always felt that whenever I read books interpreting the puranas. And, these westernized young women are walking around fully clad in jeans and T-shirts. How can they tarnish our culture like this!

And, I know though while in action you were jeans and pants, ( I know it is just for convenience )otherwise you always uphold our culture and wear only loin clothes. Even while wearing jeans, I know, you won’t wear Jockey or any other westernized cover underneath but only the ones worn by our great rishis. We don’t know any of our great kings who never drank. In fact, we uphold the culture by letting our men drink. Damn those guys who seek your apology, Prasad.

Hope you will continue with your efforts in preserving the culture of Ramjanmabhoomi.

Jai Sri Ram!

Learn from the Nature

DON'T GIVE UP: En route Mekedatu on April 9, 2008

Monday, January 26, 2009

R-Day essence

Today the maid in our PG wanted to know why my roommate was not going for work. My roommate explained to her that it is a holiday since it is Republic Day.

A woman in in her fifties, who had got her granddaughter also married and who still depends on us to know the time as she doesn’t know what the hands and numbers in a clock means, she didn’t understand what my friend told her.

She asked: “What is that?”

My friend explained: “It is a festival when our ministers hoist flag and cultural programmes are held...”

She asked again: “Is it Gandhi jhanda (flag)?”

My friend burst into laughter and said: “We have only one jhanda.”

She got confused and asked: “That was held recently, right? Just 4-5 months back?”

My friend who understood she was referring to Independence Day, told her: “We celebrate it twice a year.”

With a sigh, she said: “I don’t know why the government is giving holiday every now and then...” and carried on with her work.

We celebrated the 60th Republic Day. Anniversary of the day when our Constitution, with its preamble proclaiming the country to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, came into being.

For the salaried class, the joy of the day comes as a holiday. For many, it is a day to express their patriotism. For the government, it is a day to remember the nation's heroes. For people like this poor woman, it still means nothing.

After all, for those who don’t know what their fundamental rights are, who have never enjoyed the fruits of it, how does it matter that a Constitution does exist!

Jai Ho!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wheeeeeeee...... I’m at the wheels!

After 11 hours of driving classes in three months, a session by my friend and failing the licence test miserably once, I’m at the wheels now.

Yes, I got the licence to drive through Bangalore’s sometimes bumpy, sometimes smooth, sometimes grumpy and always crowded roads. I don’t know how many Gods’ sleep was disturbed today morning by the screaming prayers from my over-beating heart.

Driving a car was my dream since childhood. I never had the courage to try my hands on a two-wheeler which can turn upside down in no time. I was confident that it would be difficult to do that with a car, which is firm on the land on four wheels, finding logic for my wish to master the vehicle!

But my first lessons at the driving school turned not my vehicle, but my dream upside down. With the instructor resembling a cruel school teacher with a cane who also pokes fun on his pupil, I made my mind: ‘I never want to drive a car. After all, keeping away from it will only add to my safety.’

Then came the thought of the amount I paid to the driving school to teach me and to get me a licence. Losing the money I could not afford to think, especially in this recession time.

Every time I called home, amma and my brother gave me confidence to complete the lessons . They asked me not to worry as I can practise later.

It was not that easy. Anybody can advise.

Forgetting to hold the clutch when I reach for the gear, steering on to footpath at times, forgetting to apply brake and a confused look no my face asking my instructor what to do when I find no space to wade through the traffic (with my leg still on accelerator!), never letting the car miss any potholes on the way (especially when my instructor warns one is ahead!), flying over bumps totally out of control..., and all ending up in wild yelling from the instructor who had scant respect for me — I thought licence test was the greatest ever test I was going to face.

First time I went to take the test some three weeks ago. The vehicle inspector with a single ear-ring, catty eyes and coloured hair came and sat near me. As my hands were trembling on the steering, he asked me to take a reverse, which I did. But all my efforts could not take the vehicle forward after that. The inspector said, “NEXT...” as I walked out embarrassed.

This time I was prepared for a failure, first time I was not. At least my ego was not. And, everything on the cute old yellow car went on smooth - reverse forward, turn, everything. When I came to know the result by evening, my joy knew no bounds that I thought of sharing it with you all.

Thanks for listening :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Maintain the rhythm

Yesterday was a hectic day for me, nothing to be blamed but my laziness. I got up late by around 9.30. By the time I finished breakfast and reading newspaper, it was 12. Though I knew I was getting late, I had to make a few phone calls. By the time the calls were over, it was 12.40. I had to cook my lunch, pack my dinner, take bath, get ready and start for work by 2 pm. Usual time is 2.30, but since I had to go to a studio to get the print of a photo which had long been in my pen-drive, I thought of starting early.

It was after the phone calls that thought of doing so many things in so little time suddenly grew heavy on my head. As pressure mounted, I was frenzied. I tried to cut vegetables fast. Usually I pay attention to the shape of the pieces but yesterday all that my knife generated were amorphous. Some pieces jumped off the board and I had to pick them up and victimize again.

I had to wash a few clothes too. Hurrying to the bathroom, I soaked the clothes in a strong detergent so that my job would be done soon. Twenty minutes later I realized that I had opened the hot-water tap to soak them. Result - my white dress emerging in myriad shades of all my other clothes.

In utter disappointment, I finished the washing job only to realize that my curry was burning in the stove. To prevent further damage, I had to remove the sabji to another tava and in the process I burned my finger too. Rushing for honey bottle to save my burn, I slipped and sprained my ankle, which required another two minutes of applying thailam.

I finally started at 2.30, now very less time for my extra work if I take a bus. I got into an auto, still panting. I was caught in the same signal thrice before finally making way through the mad traffic. I asked the auto driver to drop me right in front of the studio. I paid him and rushed inside. While entering the studio, I was searching for the pendrive in my bag so that my studio affair would not get delayed. To my shock, I realized I missed it somewhere.

I searched my bag, again and again but in vain. Along with the disappointment of losing my pendrive and tiredness after the melee, I entered office. A firing from my boss for my carelessness made the day complete.

End of the day, I realized even if time is too less, you should maintain the rhythm. May be some job would be unfinished, but whatever done will be error free.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Do your bit

My previous post about education girls drew several queries, suggestions, apprehensions... that prompted me to elaborate on the issue.

I agree with the majority who opined that education cannot be the ultimate answer and that education should be a must for both boys and girls.

Education can only provide a platform for individuals to come up in life. It may not be the education that they receive in schools, but how they are equipped to face the challenges in life. Be it a vocation that they get trained in or their talents that are properly nourished.

Recently, I visited an NGO in Bangalore where they provide education to visually challenged children from poor economic backgrounds.
Mr Rakum, the founder who is also a karate expert, trains the students in karate and yoga along with providing regular education. They are given hands-on training in cooking, cleaning, washing and making pani puri and bhel puri as well. His whole idea is if the education they get there from kindergarten to post-graduation fails to earn them a job, they can rely on any of these extra activities to make a living. It sounded wonderful to me.

And, ensuring the well-being of women should of course, come from grass roots. Education is just one factor that will help women stand on their own feet. Many families are left in the dark just because the female member is not earning.

Take the example of alcoholic men (umpteen in Kerala, my native, where I lived till I completed my post-graduation) who are the only earning members in their family. Their families will have many stories to tell — a bright student who was pulled out of school and ended up as a labourer, an artist whose talents never saw light, a blessed singer who never recorded his/her voice... The future of the entire family would have been different if the wife was earning.

Veena (whom I had mentioned in my earlier post) could have given a better life to her child if she had a job. I understand personal loss can’t be compensated with education, but her pain would have been less if she could bring up her child on her own after her husband’s death.

Parents should feel the necessity to educate their girls. It would be of much help if the families become aware of the heinous crimes committed against women. If they are aware of it, of course, they will never want their daughter to pass through it.

I think it is of no use debating or researching on it. Let us be practical and achieve some results. If you can, pass on the message to at least two people who you know, be it your housemaid, the security at your apartment or your driver. If you can help at least two kids nurture their talents, our purpose is met.
Thank you all

I dedicate this post to my amma who never shared with me her dreams of marrying me off , instead who always told us (my brother and I) that making us stand on our own feet was her dream...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Educate them

In a charitable institution in Bangalore, 23-year-old Veena is taking care of her husband who is battling with advanced stage of penile cancer. Her husband is 45 years old. The couple has a 3-year-old kid who is being taken care of by Veena's parents. Veena used to work as ahousemaid to support her husband, a labourer. For her, the road ahead is a dark tunnel where no light is seen as of now, with doctors giving just days of survival chance for her husband.

Girija, whose family I knew in Kerala, had a different story. Her alcoholic husband once banged her head against the wall and she developed an internal injury which was unnoticed for many days. It later developed into a tumour, which was diagnosed at an advanced stage, paralysing her. She died months later, leaving behind a cute little daughter and husband who married another lady when Girija was still bed-ridden.

Recently, the news of a `modern Draupadi going to hiding' in a northern state hit headlines. Her husband had lost her in gambling! The poor woman, the mother of two kids, ran away from home to safeguard her dignity.

These did not happen in the 17th century. These are for the21st-century parents of girl children to read. Marrying your child off should not be your ultimate responsibility. Educate them and enable them to stand on their own feet first. They deserve much better than the dark lives mentioned above.

* Names have been changed

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Journey uphill


Recession and realization

Globalization, global warming and now, global economic recession.

For me, the last one was most thought-provoking. Well, it didn't provoke much thought when as a daily affair, I moved the stories of lay-off and bail-out to business desk from the global directory where I was working.

It made me think only after I got the recession pinch, when I heard that our company is also preparing the lay-off list. When it started as a rumour, we had a discussion during our tea-time, which we usually dedicate to recipes of new delicacies, experience with pets and moms sharing their little brats' latest misadventures. For once we shared our recession agony... which we had thought will never hit the editorial team. We shared our thoughts and finally arrived at a conclusion — that a recession was indeed essential for our country.

For all those who lived out of their means, for all those who used to spend uncontrollably during weekends just to kill time and to balance the huge economic disparity in our country, it was needed. Along with apologizing to all those who had to bear the brunt of recession by paying a heavy price, who may feel I'm insensitive, I think I'm right.

As a primary student, I remember going to school by public transport bus paying 40 paise. Many days when my amma gives me one rupee, my brother and I used to bring back the 20 paise balance after the to and fro journey. We never used to spend 10 paise on the much-tempting red apple candies unless amma allots it, may be once a week or so.

As a family which used to survive on a single income of my father who was a Central government employee, new dresses for us were a twice-a-year affair: when the school reopens and for Onam. And the joy the new dresses brought to us... I’ve never got it after I started buying clothes on my own, when my salary was three times my father’s salary after he completed some 30 years in office.

All my friends where children of government employees who lived a decent life, educating their children in convents, going for trips during holidays, eating out every weekends and what not.

The economic boom that we witnessed over the past 10-15 years nourished a negligible percentage of the country, making them grow like parasites on others who were pushed down under. People who got Rs 3,000 or Rs 5,000 per month felt they were nothing hearing the exponential salaries their not-so-brilliant peers got in IT companies. Forget the mental distress, the so-called economic boom brought with in an inlation that reached sky-high, making life unaffordable for them.

Less than 10 years ago, amma used to complain about price rise as rice was Rs 13 a kilogram and salt was Rs 3.50. I buy the same now for Rs 40 and Rs 10 respectively.

I feel lucky to have born then. If it was now, I would have never had new dresses even once a year, I would have never had a swing at home for every , may be I would have never continued my education after SSLC.

I realized it now, thanks to recession...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

One more new year rushing in just to fly away...