Sunday, 26 December 2010

Month end Syndrome

 I have been postponing writing this post, but many of my friends would agree having suffered from this peculiar disease at some point in life. This disease has many symptoms, starting from high irritation, increased blood pressure, stay-at-home problems and total animosity to shopping and seeing a lady called your wife. The only cure for this hateful disease is Rx M Capsule, immersible in interest.

Most of the time, people suffering from this disease seem absorbed in self- pity, even if a friend says- "Hey, whats your problem" might seem a personal insult. Friends are very good doctors in donating M Capsule, only if they have it! Ironically, all our friends too suffer from this disease at the fag end of the month. Automatically, your wife becomes your Saviour, your own personal Clinical Specialist in curing the disease. I have known of many housewives who lovingly take money from their husband's pockets, not the hundreds or five hundreds but the tens and fives. This money is then saved in the unlikeliest places, starting from chilli jars to empty pickle pots. One of my friends used to save such pocketed money in rice bags. As the rice quantity reduces, the money becomes visible, especially at the fag end of the month. For some, this 'siruvattu kaasu'( money a wife saves unknowing to husband) becomes chits in some gold shops, for some it becomes a saree and in most cases of kind and loving wives, it enters the shirt pockets of suffering husbands at the month end! Magically, this disease vanishes when your pay check arrives in the beginning of the month!!!

Now i would like to know how my friends tackle this tricky issue. Please provide me your feed back-

1. How many of you borrow from your friends?
2. How many of you get the help of your wives?

I am simply curious to know if this Month end Syndrome is analogous to my own disease:)

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Where are they???

நாம் தொலைத்த பலவற்றில் சில இங்கே....

எப்போதாவது தெருவில் மணியோசையுடன் வரும் பஞ்சு மிட்டாய் காரன்...

ஞாயிறு மதியம் மூன்று மணிக்கு வாசலில் கூவும் கருப்பட்டி மிட்டாய் காரன்...
5303 - Roasted peanut seller, Cape Cormorin, India.

அம்மாவின் ஸ்கூல் முன்பு கடலையும் பட்டாணியும் விற்கும் பாட்டி

Vendor in Cochin South India stock photo

சில மாலை பொழுதுகளை சுகமாக்கும் வண்ண வண்ண பலூன்கள்...
fish selling woman on the beachvizhinjam , thiruvananthapuram , kerala , india stock photo

அயிர வாங்கலியோ அயிர....மூங்கில் கூடையில் அயிரை மீன் விற்கும் காத்து வளர்த்த பாட்டி...
Sweet seller Cochin.jpg
அப்பளப்பூவை விரல்களில் மாட்டி மகிழச்செய்யும் அப்பளம் பட்டாணிகாரர்...
On the beach of Alleppey.jpg

வெய்யில் கொளுத்தும் மதியங்களில் வரும் குச்சி ஐஸ் விற்பவர்...


மாலைகளில் வரும் வளையல் பான்சி காரர்...
Kili Josiyam (c)

எப்போதாவது தலை காட்டும் கிளி ஜோசியக்காரர்...

Narikuravas aka Indian Gypsies (c)

ஊசிமணி பாசிமணி விற்கும் குறத்தி பெண்கள்...
நரிகொம்பும் தேனும் விற்கும் குறவர்கள்...

Umbrella Repair

ராகத்துடன் "குட ரிப்பேர் " பாடும் குடை பழுது பார்ப்பவர்

கத்திரிக்கோல் கத்தி சாணை பிடிக்கலியோ சாணை...சாணை காரர்..


இன்னும் சொல்ல மறந்த எத்தனையோ பேர்...
கரன்சிகளின் வாசத்தில் மெய்மறந்த நம்முள்,
தொலைந்து போன குழந்தை பருவத்துடன்-
இவர்களும் அடக்கம்....

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Who will bell the cat?

Many of my friends used to say, in India, you have to be a person born FC( Forward Caste) or SC/ST( Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe). It is the BCs( Backward Classes) who bear the brunt as always. Though I am totally antagonistic against the caste system rampant in India, I must hang my head in shame on seeing no progress even after six decades. Post Independence, things were supposed to change. The suppressed Harijans( Mahatma Gandhi’s coinage- meaning ‘Hari”- God, “Jan”- people) were supposed to be given more opportunities for growth and development. They go by the name Dalits( crushed ones) too. The reservations for
started way back, starting from presence in Parliament to seats in schools, colleges, reservation for employment in Government and aided sectors. After India gained independence, the Constitution of India listed some erstwhile groups as Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). The framers of the Constitution believed that, due to the caste system, SCs and the STs were historically oppressed and denied respect and equal opportunity in Indian society and were thus under-represented in nation-building activities. The Constitution laid down 15% and 7.5% of vacancies to government aided educational institutes and for jobs in the government/public sector, as reserved quota for the SC and ST candidates respectively for a period of five years, after which the situation was to be reviewed. This period was routinely extended by the succeeding governments. The Supreme Court has finally fixed the quota as 50%. But in our own state Tamil Nadu, it is a whopping 69%.Untouchable @ National Geographic Magazine

This is not to discuss the quota system, but the adverse effects of it. The law of reservation was supposed to be reviewed every five years, but all Governments have been passing the buck fearing a vote-bank crisis. Now we can see people from SCST occupying plump jobs, moving up fast the ladders of promotions and postings. Vice of  being a person from BC and working in a Government Organisation, I have seen many of my Supervisors who lack even the basic working knowledge. They sit in top positions, as “Best among failures”. I wonder how that can be, a “best” among failure. The Best among our  failures is the caste based reservation quota system that has now left many people of the FC and BC jobless or disoriented and disgruntled in their current jobs. Why would not merit and experience be given utmost importance in promotions? That goodness, this is not plaguing the private sector where there is cut throat competition which the FCs play with ‘elan. Left out in these two races are the BCs. Instead of uprooting the dated Caste system, our Governments have sowed the seeds of hatred and vice of Class divide.

Funnier, the Government’s SCST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is a thorn in our legal system that has to be repealed immediately. In a recent judgement, a Delhi Court has stated there is rampant misuse of this Act, which carries a non-bailable warrant for the offender. "Unfortunately, one comes across growing instances of cases where the provisions of this Act have not so much been invoked for the betterment of those to whom it seeks to protect, than by those who want to settle personal scores by giving to an otherwise ordinary dispute, the colour of an alleged atrocity under the Act," Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said.

The court observed that the provisions of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, meant to protect the lot of the exploited sections, should not be allowed to be misused.

"Law cannot be the absolute property of a few and this court can only hope and appeal that the provisions of this Special Legislation are not abused by a few so as to ensure that its benefit is able to actually reach the exploited sections," ASJ Lau said.

Again there is no denying the fact that 160 million of Indians are from the lower castes and most of them are ignorant of the SCST Act. Most of these people in rural India are unaware of the law, while their counter parts in the cities are using this law as a weapon to settle personal scores. Lacklustre laws and legal impediments have fuelled the Maoist Movement in India. It is in the interest of the nation to repeal the existing caste based reservation law and enact such reservation based on 'creamy layer' including the SCSTs too.

Repealing the caste based law of reservation is something that is of utmost importance but our politicos are afraid to bell the cat. It takes some guts to call a spade a spade, guts that all our politicians lack. Let us see who stands upto the challenge…

Story of X and his ex- neofeminism in India

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Picture of Indian woman- depicting how they are today, techno, all business,but without moral values?

He was a marvelous human being, ready to help out anyone under any situation. He had a ready smile for everyone, was always accommodating and was the most gentle and soft person I ever came across. Irony, he got married to a feminist or rather I should call a F- word specialist, lets call her Mrs X. She was a downright feminist, no problem with that, but excessive feminism always renders problems in a relationship. She never disclosed her work place to him, never gave him a penny of her pay and he did not even know her bank account number though they lived under the same roof. Her main complaint was “their wave lengths did not match”. I wonder why wave length between a husband and wife would not match who had six months time o decide about their marriage. He was brought up under a very conservative family and she was brought up in a household where she was probably the ‘ruler’ of the home.

Of course all of us women are ‘rulers’ of the people’s hearts in our home before setting foot in our inlaws’ place. Where do we end up there depends on our upbringing and personal values. For Mrs X, all she wanted was probably his five figure salary, nothing else. She refused to go out with him, refused to dine with him, and most irritatingly, they never had started a familylife as a husband and wife. X was very patient with her for almost a year.That’s when things started to go from bad to worse when she had numerous friends( all males) who used to call her up after . Eventually, living in the same house, they stopped uttering even a word to each other, she cooked for her alone and he ate in hotels or wherever he could find food. After much struggle, he managed to get a nod for separation from her, only after he paid her five lakh rupees for her simple signature to get a mutual divorce. If this is not torture by a woman, what else is? But for him it was too late, the trauma and repeated fastings led him to ulcer. His remarriage too took place to an understanding kind girl and they were living happily. Alas, this was not a fairy tale to be.

His second wife was pregnant 5 months when disaster struck, his ulcer had now grown to a fullblown stomach cancer, stage 4. His last days were bitter, spent in reclusion and hatred. This girl bore the brunt of a feminist’s excessive behaviour. X died 4 months later, never had a chance to look at the face of his daughter. Whose fault is it now? This girl, left with a daughter is now struggling for her very survival, whereas the so called feminist Ex had got the ticket and visa to US with her divorce money and is living happily overseas.

I wonder what is the importance the younger generation girls attach to the institution of marriage. Freedom for women is a two-edged dagger that has to be dealt with caution. More freedom they get, they become insatiable. I am not a misogynist, but I would like some restraint on the hippie new gen X women in Indian cities who smoke, drink, freak out, have casual sex. Now talking sex is a taboo in our culture, but is that fine when our girls end up with casual sex? Where is the love and affection? Are they missing the subtlety of romance and the happiness of  sacrifice? I am totally disappointed with the cyber savvy, techno crazy, feministic Gen X women.

This is what Dr Prithika Chary has to say about women drinking...

Freedom is what we get to nurture ourselves positively, not to doom our ownselves in alcohol and money. Freedom is not to punish the men, it is to live amicably with them. Who can give us X back? Whom shall the little one call a father?

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Whose religion is it anyway?

Picture of Babri Masjid, before its demolition by Hindutva forces in 2002.

Religious tolerance is one subject I have always wanted to discuss. Though it may touch a raw nerve, I have to agree with one thing, religious tolerance stems from upbringing of an individual. We had been brought up by a lady for whom kindness stands above religion. To early man, religion was a way of life, something that could teach him the moral and social responsibility. As centuries passed on, vested interests found the line of religion very convincing to channelise public opinions in someone’s favor or against it. Even today, religion is a mere cloak for many, to save their hides.The seeds of religious intolerance took root during the Crusades and have been growing by leaps and bounds now. Radicalism in all religions seems to be a fashion statement today. Indian urban middle class is a classic example of religious and class tolerance. Right from childhood, we had immense interest in Hinduism and Islam,being born into devout Catholic Christian family. To us, all festivals were fine, so long as we got new dresses, sweets from friends and crackers to have fun. Diwali, Eid and Christmas were equally intriguing to us then. But my heart had wept at the Babri demolition, Staines murder, Godhra riots and numerous such incidents that happen in India, though ours is a Secular, Democratic Republic. I am afraid if these fanciful captions hold the sheen anymore.


Picture of Gladys Staines, wife of  Christian Missionary Graham Staines wo was burnt to death along with his children in 1999. Now an active Missionary, Ms Staines has forgiven the murderer of her husband and her two children.

Picture of Bilkis Bano, who was gangraped by 14 men during the Godhra carnage. She was then 20 years old, six months pregnant. Her 3 year old daughter was killed in front of her eyes, head smashed on a boulder. 20 of her relatives were killed on that fateful night of Godhra riots. To me, she is a real fighter, a woman of immense courage who has fought the legal and moral battles together with aplomb.

I would not say that minorities have less or limited rights than their Hindu counterparts in India. Atleast we are allowed to practice our own religion in peace. But there are some who play with this tender thread of peace by acting as Messaiahs, Prophesizing the Dooms Day. We can see thousands of such new Churches springing up, who are again playing with religious cards. As for the Muslims of our nation, there are some who peacefully co-exist with the others. Most of the earning members work in Gulf, raking in much needed foreign exchange. But there are many who remain still jobless, direction less and fall an easy victim to Separatists. Hate mongering becomes easy nowadays through media and the net. As for Islam and Christian unity, the issue has global ramifications. The poor light with which the West depicts the Muslim world and the pure hate that results from this negative portrayal is the root cause for the mistrust among us. And based on this mistrust, and generalising a religion for a social flaw, we simply ignore the other person’s religion and its values. This is why the Muslim world is more rigid in not allowing people of other religions practice their birth right to religion. Religion is not a game that we play to find the winner. He who is more tolerant with kindness and compassion wins any game.

Anyone who has recited all the three Abrahamic Holy Scriptures- The Holy Quran, The Holy Bible and the Holy Torah can certainly understand that all these must have come from The same source but mildly abridged. They all speak about the Formation of Universe, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, The Noah Flood, the Holy lives of Abraham, lives of Job, Moses, David, Solomon and even the description of John, Mary and Jesus. Even the descriptions of the Day of Judgement, Revelations and Life Herein after remain the same, though with slight changes. The Holy Torah talks about the arrival of both the Messengers of God- Massiha ( Jesus) and Comforter ( The Prophet Muhammed).

When our own religious scriptures have such similarity, where has all this hatred sprung up? Religious tolerance is the need of the hour. The Bible rightfully says- " The fruit of Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. Against such things there is no law"- Galatians, . The Qur'an too promotes love and mercy among humans, ""And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); verily in that are signs for those who reflect." Chapter 30, Verse 21. Spreading the kindness and love is what our God wants, that will certainly be His message to all of us in such troubled times. Let us not seek differences and difficulties for our future generations. Let all our children live in love and peace. After all, WE WORSHIP THE SAME GOD.


Picture of Fida Harris, who died in a locked school van
MANY INCIDENTS HAVE MADE ME WONDER IF THE MODERN DAY PARENTS ARE CARELESS OR CALLOUS...I cannot forget how we were brought up, an atmosphere of utmost care, parents, grandparents, siblings, Uncles, Aunts and extended family tending to us. We fall once, the Mother arrives first, then the father, grandparents....and ensues an hour of crying and soothing. I don't remember a day when i was not crying and being soothed by my parents. Modern day parents make me wonder if we were brought up more dependent on our parents. Children these days are more responsible by themselves and are more independent, a welcome phenomena, but i wonder is there more to it?

One incident that shocked me to hell happened here few months back. I still remember the pathetic child's name- Fida Harris. The sleeping UKG girl of IIS, Dammam was locked up in a school van irresponsibly by the driver, left in front of the school under the scorching desert sun for 5 hours. When the van was opened for afternoon trip, it was too late, the child had died...I am at a loss of words right now-

Looking at the cute little one, i am reminded of  my daughter in the same class in the same school, travelling by the same vans. It seems the driver was attending a phone call when he forgot to look inside the van after the children got down and just locked up by remote and left off. Can you imagine the last moments of that poor child??? Only reason, she was carelessly locked up and the little one did not know to open the lock from inside the van. Another episode was in a shopping mall in Dammam, where the lift was out of order and despite a board that it was out of service, a toddler who had roamed away from his parents, fell down to death. One more episode in Jeddah was where a 5 month old baby was left behind in a car a full night, that died. The mother had thought the child was with the maid and the maid had thought it was with the mother. Our own countrymen are no better- we boast of the extreme Indian care and love and affection. But we come across many incidents where children fall in open tube wells, open water tanks, and the recent murder for extortion cases of Muskan and Hrithik. I must say i was real happy when the murderer of the children Muskan and Hrithik was shot dead in an encounter by police.

Muskan, 11 and Hrithik 8 yrs old. Muskan was raped and drowned, Hrithik was drowned

How gruesome human race has become and how vulnerable our little ones are, leaves little to be imagined. Our indifferent attitudes, carelessness and irresponsibility towards our younger ones must be the most heinous crime, worse than a preplanned murder. I would not term all these cases as carelessness but all these were CALLOUS. Many people who have seen me take care of my kids, including my motherinlaw, say i am making my children more dependent on me. But i would rather love to be a clucking mother hen, than leave my children in someone else's careless hands.


Cynophobia, Ophidiophobia and all my phobias

 Fear of dogs and rabies is cynophobia. Fear of snakes is ohidiophobia and fear of leeches is bdellophobia! From time immemorial, our family has been cynophobic, especially my Dad. Iam the most "accident-prone" person in my family, having been slashed by a cat, bit by a dog, frightened by loads of snakes and leeches! The first occasion when i heard of dog bite and 40 injections was for grandmother twenty years back. A stray dog had bit her and she had forty injections, one daily. Dad was bit by a pomeranian pup in a relative's house. Sad, the dog died two days later, not because it bit Dad, but of rabies. Now we were so worried, Mother used to cry at nights alone, saying rabies was a dreadful disease. Listening to some of its symptoms from friends, i was agonised. Dad was given a few shots of Verorab, the anti-rabies vaccine. He was put on some peculiar diet. He recovered soon.

My own personal experience was funny! I hated dogs and pets from childhood. Not because i despise them, but because i get too involved with them and if they die, i bawl my eyes out! We children bought a black bunny from the nearby pet shop, just because nobody bought it. Named aptly Blacky, it was doing great, until one day a cat snatched it away from its box. The end. Both for blacky and my love of pets. It was the day after Navroj's wedding that i went to every home in my street distributing sweets to neighbours. I entered the house of Thynese. They had an army of pet dogs, around seven or eight cute spitz and pomeranians. I dont know where from the little devil came, all i could realise was that i was bit somewhere in my stomach! Almost unconscious( out of fear) i ran home. Then the usual Doctor visit. But this time, the teeth marks were not so clear, so the Doctor decided against an antidote. Thankfully, the dog that bit me is doing well!

Now Dad thought it safe to have a pet at home, he brought Ronnie, a lovely bouncing spitz. After Ronnie, we had a German Shepherd- Dixie. So with two dogs at home, am constantly afraid of what would happen, and when it would happen. May be i should have a box of antidotes ready!

Picture of a spitz

After dogs, next prime fear is that of snakes. My home is infected of snakes, loads and loads of them, i lost count of how many we killed. Usually we have the green snakes, occasionally the vipers and water snakes. A staunch garden lover, we have lot of greenery around the house and that probably attracts the legless visitors. Ronnie is ever alert and by change in his calls, we can know when we have an unwanted visitor. If let loose, Ronnie has a field day, biting the snake to pieces. But  the next day, we would have a field day babysitting him in the veterinary hospital!

And if there was someone who got bit by leeches and was suffering from those bites for more than a year, it would be ME and ME only! On a trip to Manjolai in the hills, i was bit by a couple of leeches, not a big issue. I just scrapped them away from my legs and aptly forgot about it. But that was not to be! Every month, there was a swelling and the skin turned itchy in my legs! After application of a few ointments and suffering about a year, i finally got cured from a local doctor practising Indian medicine. As i said earlier," I am always prone to accidents!" and must be having all antidotes handy...