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Month: November 2015

Oh My Dear Son!

Oh My Dear Son!

Indian Moms seem so obsessed with their sonny boys. Surely, I may be generalizing here. But my observations almost always tilt towards this. So whether they are 10, 20, 30 or even 40, the moms just can’t stop babying their “Laadla Betas”.

For example, Mom Grey gets restless every time her son eats even one roti lesser than usual. Even if sonny boy explains that he is just simply full and there isn’t any major issue, she would insist on him immediately consuming a homemade brew to ease digestion!!!!! I really don’t interfere in the mommy-son relationship, but it quite amuses me how moms still baby over their 40 something son’s appetite. I am sure he is well aware of his stomach and could ask for any sort of brew if a discomfort was actually felt.

Another senseless thing I heard was from my colleague “P”. Buddy “P”has been married for just over a year. Her mother-in-law (MIL) loves to cater to every bit of her 30 year old son’s needs. So whether it is the socks on the floor or the towel on the bed, it is supposed to be “P’s” job. MIL would never let her son clear his dinner plate, or for that matter fetch a glass of water on his own. On days when “P” is really tired and insists on her hubby helping to clear the dishes, MIL would discourage the same by saying “He works so hard for the family and has come back after a tired day. Why trouble him with more work?” What dear MIL is probably forgetting is that “P” too could have had a tiring day. Pressures from office or simply pre-menstrual syndrome, she could well get a hand to help around. Further, on days when delicacies were prepared in the kitchen, the first serving would always be served to their son and the balance is then to be consumed by her.

I was once told that this kind of pampering comes from the love the mom has for the boy. I agree there is unconditional love. But I see no justification in babying their sons well into adulthood. Parenting as a responsibility comes to an end when kids grow into adults, irrespective of his marital status. But many mothers seldom let go…..

And yes, there are “laadli betis” too… But somehow when these betis get married the “Damaad” steals the show!!!!

Related Posts

The Great Indian Damaad

Should I really advice my daughter that there isn’t any difference in being a boy or girl?

4 Main Reasons Why Indians Prefer a Son

Temple Under The Filth

Temple Under The Filth

I drove slowly into the street, searching for the little Ram Mandir I had heard about from Mrs. Kumar. She had said, “Though it is a small temple, it is clean and pious. You get a calm feeling here.” As I had some time at hand this evening, I decided to explore this little temple I had never visited, though it existed in my neighborhood.

My car inched its way up the street. I followed the directions Mrs. Kumar had given me, yet I could not locate the temple. The only thing that I noticed was the stench. Where was the temple? I drove till the end of the road, turned around and re-did the whole route. But nowhere was a little temple in sight. Was I missing something? That’s when I noticed the tree. It had sacred bits of thread and cloth wound around it. The temple was beside.

I had found it at last… and was I happy? NO!

There below the holy tree lay strewn, garbage in polythene.

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The Holy Tree Outside the temple

Braving myself after what I saw around the temple, I walked inside. The white marble floor felt cool in the evening chill of Delhi. I spotted the priest and asked him why the filth lay around. He said they were the offering that was made the previous day to the deity on the occasion of Chhath puja. I closed my eyes and walked out. There wasn’t an aorta of piousness there.

Celebrations and festivities are something we all look forward to. There are traditionally followed rituals and customs that are adhered to. It sure is the time to pray, eat, and celebrate with family and friends. But why is it that after every festival day, we are unable to cope with the garbage we generate?

This was especially noticeable the day after Diwali. My morning walk was a nightmare that day. I saw strewn all across the pavement and road, in affluent colonies, packets and boxes discarded after the fireworks inside were consumed.

We Indians are very particular about our traditional practices and customary rituals. How I wish we were equally particular in clearing up the muck we generate.

Boys & Girls Should Not Sit On the Same Bench in College

Boys & Girls Should Not Sit On the Same Bench in College


World Toilet Day IndiChange Participant

This bit of news in this morning’s newspaper caught my eye.

“Keep boys and girls apart, not shoulder to shoulder on the same bench, in a co-education system”. These were the words of the Education Minister of Kerala-a state considered to be progressive in thinking with high literacy rates. The Minister seemed ok if the boys and girl are seated side by side but does not support them sitting on the same bench.

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The surprising bit in this news is that there exists a taboo in the manner of seating inside a classroom. The two genders are kept apart, yet quite a many government schools and colleges in the state lack one of the most basic thing- a separate toilet for girls.

There are over 1200 schools and colleges in our country that still aren’t equipped with a separate toilet for girls. And the ones which exist, are either ill-maintained with poor sanitation, minimal or no water supply and probably a door that would not close. The absence of toilets for girls could have severe repercussions. It leads to an increase in dropout rate of girl students. It is associated with health-related issues arising out of spending extended periods of time with a full bladder. Urination in the open jeopardizes safety of girls and also compromises with their dignity.

We Indians often focus and raise a hue and cry on trivial matters rather on addressing issues that are essential. A few years back, a notable personality of our northern most state raised an eyebrow and criticized the government for allowing co-education in schools and colleges. He said the government was promoting ‘immoral activities’ by keeping girls and boys shoulder to shoulder. “Young boys and girls are kept together in co-education system and are shoulder to shoulder with each other. You are keeping fire and hay together and no one can save the hay from burning”, he said.

How I wish he had used his energy to get the most basic thing in place- a toilet for girls in schools.

On a personal note, I don’t really see harm in seating boys and girls together on the same bench. In a progressive society, both genders must learn to co-exist with no place for alienation or discrimination. Being in the presence of the opposite gender from the early formative years, brings about better behaviour patterns and awareness about living together.

Who Said There is No Child Marriage Anymore?

Who Said There is No Child Marriage Anymore?


Indian Bloggers

My domestic help Sangeetha seemed unusually excited. “Ladki dekhne ja rahi hoon, didi. Apne ladke ki liye.” (I am going to see a bride for my son). I looked up from the newspaper I was reading and asked her what her son’s age was. “Unees- bees saal ka ho gaya. (He is 19-20 years). Pichle mahine baawarchi ki naukri lag gayi. Ab shaadi karadenge, ladka settle ho jayaga” (Last month he got a job as a cook, We will get him married now, and he would settle down in life).

In an instant my tone changed from a curious one to one of concern. “Sangeetha, do you know it is against the law to get your son married before his marriageable age of 21? And the girl whom you have chosen should be above 18 to get married.  What you are doing is child marriage, and it is illegal in our country.”

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“Come on Didi, no one checks. And all these rules are only for you “Saaheb log” (boss/rich people).

I asked her, “Sangeetha tell me why do you want to get your son married so soon? He has just started earning, why not let him save up some money and then start his new life.” To this question of mine, Sangeetha gave me crisp confident answers. Answers which shook me up, Answers which brought out underlying issues- of poverty, of the existing caste system in the society, issues concerning virginity/chastity..

Here were her reasons

  • My son is young, and getting him married would mean he would not be attracted/fall in love/ get involved with any other girl. Especially a girl from another caste. Falling in love is still considered a taboo in many sections of society.
  • Another source of income: Another member in the family would mean another source of income. The daughter –in –law too would  work as a domestic help, thus bringing in a few extra thousands every month to the family.
  • The earlier the marriage, the easier to get a young bride. The similar logic of point one applies here. Younger the bride, more chaste she is. There would be lesser chances she would have got involved with someone.

Despite me discouraging her, Sangeetha seemed obstinate.

Very often we people living in urban spaces and big metros, fail to realize the widespread existence of child marriage that still exists in our society. The common thought is such practice exists only among the rural, illiterate and low income group.

However, today after I heard out Sangeetha, I personally felt, such a practice isn’t really restricted to a particular section of society. It is prevalent widespread in our country-across sections, across economic classes, across the literate and illiterate. It’s probably not just the law that would stop this. The awareness must be spread by each one of us to all around us.

Relates Posts:

The Great Indian Damaad

Should I really advice my daughter that there isn’t any difference in being a boy or girl?

The Curious Case of the Missing Girls

4 Main Reasons Why Indians Prefer a Son 

The Ghost Town Of India- Kuldhara, Rajasthan

The Ghost Town Of India- Kuldhara, Rajasthan


Indian Bloggers

About 20 odd kilometers from the desert town of Jaisalmer lies Kuldhara. As I took to the dusty road that led to this ancient town of Rajasthan, I noticed the scant presence of humans around. The sun was at its fiery best and an unusual silence prevailed. I reached Kuldhara, eerie and desolate. I had heard it had been abandoned by its people more than 200 years ago.

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The Abondened Village

 I spotted a few villagers grazing goats nearby. What really was the story of Kuldhara?

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Jeetendar and Ramesh- Boys from the neighbouring Manpiya village who served as my guide

For a paltry amount of Rs. 10/- two little boys came up to me to narrate the tale. It seemed Salim Singh the Minister of the Kingdom; fell in love with a girl from the village. He was absolutely obstinate that he wanted to marry her, and if the villagers came in his way, he would levy huge taxes on them. Overnight the entire village abandoned their homes and fled. No one knows where they went. And before they left, a curse was placed by them on Kuldhara that no one will ever be able to settle in their village thereafter.

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The Stretch of Eeriness

Probably the curse stays true till date; cause the town still remains barren and uninhabited. The houses remain intact in the same way it had been left behind by its inhabitants.

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Moving on in life- After a Cancer Treatment

Moving on in life- After a Cancer Treatment

You have begun your battle. Diagnosis of cancer brings with it numerous things. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, scans etc… It often proves to be a setback to many physically, emotionally and of course financially too. Though the battle is often considered an ongoing one, at the end of every treatment cycle, it is time to sit down and breathe. Give yourself a pat on your back for having endured a treatment, so harsh.

Cancer treatments could be very stressful. The side effects cannot be undermined, and may linger longer in many patients. You may thus get a sense of relief when you complete a cycle of treatment. Amidst all this feeling of relief, it is very common to worry about cancer coming back at a later stage. Of course post treatment regular intervals would call for physical examinations, scans blood tests etc… Still it is best to accept the situation and move on. Get yourself a quality of life and not be bogged down by the ailment.

  • Moving on with life style changes

Look at it this way. You have got a new lease of life, wouldnt you want to spend the best time with your loved ones? Do the things you love to do the most? A change in lifestyle could improve your overall health mentally and physically.

  • Whats that hobby that you left behind?

Love playing the piano, or digging up seeds in your little kitchen garden? Do it now. The positive changes you would see in you could probably prevent a recurrence. Its better than worrying you see!!!

  • Healthy way out

Long walks on your drive, the fresh morning air, loads of fresh fruits and veggies, get them more. It will do wonders to your quality of life. Exercise, eat well and rest plenty. You’d get over the fatigue caused by chemotherapy pretty soon.

  • The emotional you

Cancer diagnosis and treatment could often make you feel depressed and lonely.You have gone through a lot emotionally since diagnosis. Coping with your own physical state, plus the impact your illness has on your immediate caregivers. isnt easy. Post treatment, it is the time to get your emotional state back in form. Turn to your family and friends for comfort. Catch up with old friends and yap away on the glorious years of the past.  The warmth you would get from your people and loved ones would be a great source of comfort.

Life has some wonderful things which you still probably havent explored. So instead of feeling guilty, or getting worried about a remission, get going, move on and enjoy all that’s around you. Start the positive changes from day one post treatment. It would make you feel better, healthier and cheer you up after the gloom you have left behind with the treatment. Cancer really isnt in your hands. But what is, is how you are going to spend the remaining part of your life.

Start feeling the fragrance around you.

What Lies Behind The Station Wall?

What Lies Behind The Station Wall?

Have you ever wondered what lies behind the walls of those small railway stations that we come across on long journeys? As I sit travelling from New Delhi to Jaisalmer by train, I am reminded of  a story- ” Time stops at Shamili” -written by Ruskin Bond, in which he expresses his curiosity about how life would be outside the railway station.
My train  traversed through bigger known cities -Alwar, Jaipur, Jodhpur. And some towns I had never really heard off- Marwar Mathanya, Phalodi,Ashapura Gomat…

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A town new to me…

A ghost station it seemed, for not a single vendor I spotted, just a couple of turbaned lone travellers. The station master sat in a small little room, peeping occassionaly to check if all was right around. Behind the single structure of the station, I spotted women in coulourful sarees with veiled faces. In those few minutes before the train could chug along once again, it seemed to me the town was veiled by the station building.

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Delicious pakodas at Pokhran station

I chanced upon the remote station of Pokran where India did its nuclear test. I got down to soak in a bit of sun and stretch my muscles a bit. I munched on hot pakodas that was packed in newspapers and sold at the station. Not sure if it was because i was hungry, but they were the tastiest pakodas I have ever eaten.

You know the best way to feel, see and experience India is by doing a long distance rail journey. Its an amazing feeling.
When was the last time you did a long train journey? What were your observations? Would love to hear about it.

What's With The Saliva, I Say?

What's With The Saliva, I Say?

I have often wondered what makes people spit in public places. Why is it is so difficult for people to keep those few extra milli-litres of saliva within themselves? It’s a mystery that has baffled me…

This morning as I drove from upscale Chanakyapuri to Gurgaon Sector 29, my eyes witnessed the woeful habit on the streets of Delhi. From the red- stained teeth “pan” eaters to elegantly dressed english speaking individuals, the habit of spitting seems to be commonly prevalent. 

And if you thought this habit is restricted to the lower income group, well, you sure need to think again. A middle aged lady dressed in what seemed to be clothes bought from an upscale store, rolled down her window to get that extra milli-litre of saliva out. In perfect projectile motion the spray of saliva splattered on the pavement. A little later, I spotted a little kiddo roll down the window of the Audi he was in and spit out his half- chewed gum, right on the road.

When that extra bit of saliva seems to be a bother, people go to any extent to relieve themselves of it.But what happens when one is in their very own home?Do they instantly dispose that extra bit in their bed room or living room? 

The answer is a big NO.

So when one is outside home, isn’t it just simple to carry a small packet/ bag/container to get that bit out, instead of spreading infection across?