A Crappy Affair

World toilet day
The UN has declared Nov.19th as the world Toilet day.
We have lived and grown up with toilets, of course during our younger days when we travelled we never used public toilets since we were worried about hygiene with the advent of pay toilets those are taken care off too.
The impact of open defection never really struck in, after all at school we were thought that one method of seed dispersion was undigested seeds in the faecal matter.
At the medical school the impact of water borne disease and zoonosis kind of seeped in.
Last year when I went with the Banega Swach Bharat drive of NDTV I realized the greater impact of it, there was a man who wanted toilets constructed because he wife died when she slipped as she went out the fields. Gone were the days people looked at costing, the issue that the public presented was know how, they knew they needed toilets, they wanted the toilets too, the issue was how would the sewage handle it self they did not want it let loose into the fields and rivers as it would cause contamination. The knowledge partners organized by NDTV addressed this fundamental issue.
maybe if a year back somebody told me that the international toilet day was linked with equality, dignity and gender violence and sanitation I would have rolled with laughter. But the exposure a year ago and working with the migrant workers have really opened my eyes to something larger.
I heard stories of villagers who want to send their daughters to school but the fact that there were no toilets and the trees had been cut off to widen the roads made them aware of the desperate need for toilets and trees.
On the flip side were elders who were psychologically comfortable doing their daily rituals in the open environment so they had bowel constriction when they had to use the toilets. Interestingly the resource person suggested roofless toilets and planting of trees, or keeping flower pots.
When we are dealing with the migrant labour and informal work force things take a different turn. In a supermarket or a mall there are staff toilets and toilets for the public, but in a village market, or construction site we have neither.
Some village markets have now come up with pay toilets but construction sites are still open. The workers have nowhere to ease themselves through their 10hrs of working. Neither do they have access to potable water unless they are carrying it.
It is easy to say that India as a nation has no sense of hygiene/dignity/whatever, to a certain extent yes, but if we do not provide the toilets where on earth are the people to go, they have to ease themselves so they will go into the shrubs if they are available or go in the open.
An year back I met a company that dealt with portable toilets, when we asked them why were these not used in places where temporary toilets were required, we were told
• Their initial costing is high
• They were western toilets and Indians were not comfortable using it.
By the way the company has come up with an Indian model this year. The waste was dealt with chemically so there was no odour emitted.
The sanitation maintenance people on the Indian railway have another thing to say. Yes, the train toilets are public places. The Indian railway has recently shifted to bio-cleansing toilet units, they put up signage’s to tell people not to throw their diapers, the sanitary towels and tissues down the toilet , yet people do so, particularly in the first class section which is supposed to occupied by the more educated aware citizens as opposed to the plebiscites of the sleeper class.
The international toilet day would be a great point to start an awareness drive, and toilet training—yes I use it deliberately because we need to learn how to use a public toilet, keep it clean and conserve resources.
https://wordpress.com/posts/parwatisingari.wordpress.com?s=NDTV
https://parwatisingari.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/sanitation-for-the-roadside-worker/
http://www.un.org/en/events/toiletday/
http://www.lifestyletodaynews.com/green-living/a-visit-to-one-of-the-weirdest-museums-in-the-world-the-toilet-museum/

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Given the current situation, suddenly there is seems to an increase in public lynching, police versus the commoner situation. So maybe today is the right day to see where we are on this one.

In 1997 UN launched the international day in support of torture victims this is a result of the UN convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This convention is binding according to international law

Torture could be infliction of physical or mental pain through violence, fear or massive humiliation. The UN also includes governmental torture like police or interrogative procedures to extract confessions, but pain or suffering caused by legal penalty is not considered torture.

In India the use of torture is quite widespread and predominant it is quite unchallenged and unopposed that it has sadly become normal and legitimate practise in investigating crimes or extracting confessions. Women face custodial rape, molestation and other form of sexual harassment, this is not just inflicted on accused but legitimate petitioners, complainants or informants are also subjected to inhuman degrading treatment that violates human dignity.

The constitution of India provides for life , dignity and honour in the chapter of fundamental rights, that makes it the primary obligation of the judiciary to ensure that its dignity is maintains. Article 5 of UDHR 1948 specifically proclaims, “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.  Article 7 of ICCPR (International covenant on civil and political rights) adds an addendum that no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experiment.  The Human Rights Commission has been delegated the responsibility of implementation of the above decree under the Article 40v-4 of ICCPR,..as the purpose of this article is to maintain human dignity, it is applicable even in situations of public emergency.

The Human rights committee includes corporal punishment at educational institutes and patients in medical institutions.

The Convention Against Torture And Other Cruel Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment,(CAT) adopted on Dec.10th 1984 aims to prevent and prohibits acts of torture  in the

Article 1     it defines torture.

Article 2     says torture cannot be justified even during war or public emergency

Article 3     forbids states parties to expel or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he could be in danger of being tortured. It also allows the extradition of people accused on torture.

The implementation of this is monitored by a Committee Against Torture which consists of 10 experts elected by the state parties to the convention and they serve in their personal capacity.

India has signed the convention against torture but not ratified it, India has expressed concern over Art.20 and Art.22 of the convention.

Victims of torture tend to feel a lot of rage and focus on revenge and very defensive.  Torture survivors tend to get angry at the slightest provocation resulting in people staying away from them, social isolation and loneliness has tremendous impact on the person’s physical and mental health. Anxiety disorder triggered by recurring nightmares and flashbacks could happen. Sounds and sights associated with the torture could trigger the anxiety episode. Post torture anxiety victims tend to avoid social situation where they fear being judged, embarrassed or humiliated. Depression is wide spread in torture survivors and could experience recurring thoughts of death and suicide.  There are victims who go to great lengths to avoid thoughts, conversations, activities and places that could trigger a recollection of the trauma, leading to social withdrawal and isolation this is Emotional Numbing And Avoidance. Some torture survivors are suffer from hyper arousal, this is a condition where they are very vigilant and alert and are easily startled, this is a constant state and does not need a trigger. This in turn makes them stressed and angry many times they are not able to handle day to day activities. They tend to have outburst of angers. About 51% of the people suffering from post torture tend to exhibit sexual dysfunction particularly if they have suffered sexual torture or rape.  This at times is linked to depression or PTSD this in turn could affect the person’s confidence and the way he or she interacts socially.

The psychological effect varies with each individual so it becomes necessary to plan the treatment also case by case.

 

With The Refugees

World Refugee Day commemorates the obstacles that Refugees face each year. It also honours their courage and strength, on June 20th the United Nations observes the World Refugee Day.

The United Nations High Commission has set up #WithRefugees petition to create an action plan to bring about solidarity and global responsibility on behalf of refugee. Asylum seekers differ from Refugees as they are individuals who have sought international protection and their claim for refugee status has not yet been determined.

According to the UN-refugee body as of 2015 there are about 2,07,861 persons of concern  and 6,480 asylum seeks.  India has offered sheltered to Tibetans, the chakmas the Afghans and ethnic Srilankan Tamils.  Despite of one of the largest refugee population in South Asia we are yet to enact an uniform law that addresses the issue of asylum.

Interestingly  none of the domestic laws speak in reference to the term “refugee” India has not signed the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention on the status of Refugees nor has the 1967 protocol dealing with rights and services the host state must provide the refugees been signed.  Though there is an informal refuge regime, parallel to the international one, no formal asylum policy is devised; the decision for granting of asylum is ad hoc and case-to-case basis. In 2015 the congress MP Shashi Tharoor introduced a private member bill called the asylum bill 2015 it is to provide for the establishment of a legal framework to harmonize India’s refugee policy, this has not yet been taken up for consideration.

The Tibetans who came seeking asylum in 1959 along with the Dalai Lama were treated as refugee’s and given land and housing, it since been discontinued.  They can avail all the privileges of an Indian citizen though they cannot vote or take government jobs provided they have a registration certificate (RC) the RC a prerequisite to live in India is issued by the passport office Delhi on recommendations of the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama Delhi.

The Sri Lankan Tamil refugees could be either camp refugees or non-camp refugees  this depends on the socio-economic parameter. They cannot vote or own property though they can own cattle and purchase things for domestic use. The identity card is issued either for the family or to individuals, and it would document details of the names, age, relationships, gender, date and location of arrival in India their education background and the address in SriLanka, the camp revenue inspector also issues a refugee certificate which is required for them to return to SriLanka.

Since July 2016 the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jains Parsis and Christians refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan staying in India on Term Visa’s have been regularized, they are allowed to open bank accounts, purchase property for self occupation and suitable accommodation for carrying out self employment, take self-employment and obtain documents like driving licenses, PAN cards and Aadhar numbers. They are also given privileges like free movement within the state or union Territory; transfer fo visa paper from one state to the other, waiver of penalty on non-extension of short-term or long term visas on time.

Bangladeshi’s and Pakistani’s who belong to minority communities and have entered India on or before Dec.31,2014 have exempted from relevant provisions of rules and order made under the Passport Act 1920 (Entry into India) and the Foreigners Act 1946 with respect to their entry and stay in India without documents or after the expiry of those documents.

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Saunter Along

To Saunter is to walk about in an idle or leisurely manner,  or more specifically a verb describing a a style walking. It is simply to walk slowly with a joyful disposition, and has been spoken of by many naturalist . Julia Cameron the creativity guide, swears that sauntering opens up the creative blocks.

Henry David Thoreau says he has met  one or two people in the course of his life who have understood the art of walking, that is of taking walks who had the genius so to speak, for sauntering,

These days we live in a series of interiors, disconnected from one another, but when we walk we are measuring and connecting to the earth, then we connect with everything unlike walking through the spaces- that we occupy, then we are walking only those interiors. Sauntering out in the open is about living and connecting with whole world rather than in the interiors that we build against the world.

June 19th the world acknowledges the right to saunter, as World Sauntering Day or International Sauntering Day  its just to remind us to take it easy, connect with the greenery, gaze at the sky, it is taking some quality time with yourself, maybe like taking yourself on a date. In 1979 when Jogging became a rage, W.T. Rabe created the sauntering day so that one could relax and enjoy oneself.

Everyone has the right to walk from one end of the city to the other, in secure and beautiful spaces. Everyone has the right to use the public transport, view a unhampered clean street and not be obstructed by two wheelers dashing on the side walk or cluttered with railings, signs and rubbish.

It is quite essential to do nature walking, that is any kind of  walking we can do in natural world, be it strolling, striding, sauntering, stepping, treading  whatever….Here is what Julia Cameron suggests, go outside, don’t tell anyone, don’t take your phone. Start walking and keep walking till you longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same road each day, to work back from work we stop seeing it actually. We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to function without being aware, which we cannot do when we are walking a new terrain. Of course we cannot get anything out of, one cannot utilize it for anything either thats the basic idea saunter  park when you feel  like just be with whatever you are and whatever you have,  we will actually discover a whole world out there, it would be just out there out of our familiar window, and we would foolishly miss it.

My own experience in sauntering is when we go out to saunter, really aimlessly maybe right till sundown, it was really going in.

“Walking is the only form of transportation in which a man proceeds erect – like a man – on his own legs, under his own power. There is immense satisfaction in that.”
― Edward AbbeyPostcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast

Tale of Two Airports.

We who are groomed at the Drone’s club do know a thing or two, though it  is not a commonly accepted fact, the transformation of information to knowledge to epiphany tends to happen at that “eureka moment” how it hurts that this Drone’s vocabulary has been copyrighted by the blighter called Archimedes if I am not wrong.

Any way sitting at the Hyderabad airport I sorely miss the entertainment provided by the airport staff of Bangalore or Goa. You don’t get to see those smartly dressed ground staff, clutching to the walkie talkie like it were the last life line of Kaun banega crorepati , calling out to people that would put the vision of an Indian Bazaar in a British Raj story to shame, the hustle of, ”passengers to Vijayawada or whatever wada ” is sorely missing.

That gentleman Nehru would be highly thrilled how his socialistic values have translated, think of this, the inherent vice of capitalism is unequal sharing of blessings, so we “Kingfisher airlines ”owned by Mallya so on and so forth,  never mind that the plane is constructed in a factory supported by ordinary taxpayer, never mind the road we take to the airport the Vayu-Vajra floated by the Karnataka govt. are all taxpayer sponsored, Mr.Mallya is the owner of Kingfisher..then the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries, so we have stinking toilets in the airport and messy floors. Not to mention hollering mothers and rolling kids.

Coming to think of it, we have not really evolved from a railroad station, its just that to reach airport we have to take a cab 20 miles out town no wonder literature guys do not say ,”as pretty as an airport”

Just so that I do not think that we have turned capitalistic, the announcer goes,

“flight 6Ewhatever from wherever will be arriving shortly”

“flight 6Ewhatever has arrived from wherever and we welcome the passengers.”

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Bangalore Airport

“passengers travelling to Goa on indigo flight-XYZ, please proceed to gate 23,”

Guess what we could follow the announcement, I mean we could hear it and understand it…. the secret was revealed to me through a quiet SMS that Hyderabad is a silent airport, so we have no loud announcements, the boarding announcements are made at the right time and closed 25mnts prior to the take-off.

Hopefully we are finally evolving.

Fret-Flight

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6.20 pm passengers hustling the airport staff, as they in turn hustle people for boarding the flight going the opposite direction.

Some blighter in his  lack of wisdom, said that our learning capacity decreases with age.

It really isn’t so, instead of Makemytrip.com and its infuriating customer care we opted to book through Yatra.com who actually do not care for customers.

The fly out trip was quite uneventful and just when I accepted that with age everything mellows the return trip happened. There are some things that do not change with advancing age and experience like if the departure time of a train is 7.20pm then one is at the railway station by 10 to 7, the airlines demand such etiquette too, they actually ask to check in 2hrs before.

So 7.20 departure, that would mean 5.20 check in that would translate to leave the house at 3pm, we have to make allowances for the rush-brigade. But this day the roads decided to open up and let us zoom through and we were at the airport precisely at 4.30.

As I entered by airport, I was knocked down, and it takes a lot knock me down, for if your were to fish my body from the Mandovi I would be called a woman of substance, anyway knocked down by what I thought was cannon in action, and before I could pick myself up I hear a loud tirade in Hindi for moment it was as if I was in someone’s living room where the  war of siblings was on, then I realized it was the Lucknow Gharanah on the move.

Its not so bad, a rather pleasant looking young man, was kind enough to tell me, that I should wait in the chairs that were in front of desk 12, for that is where TruJet check in took place, and that it would open at 5.20, when I do get there at 5.20 I had to disturb this young man on his mobile, and he was again kind enough to tell me that the counter has been transferred to 74-75.

Wadding through the ocean of unoccupied chairs, kids rolling on the floor and shooting around like miniature turbo’s I reach  counter 74, all formalities done by a nice little girl who looked like she was thrown to the wolves, and she tells me madam you had better rush the boarding is at 6.30.

Security clearance, done and I arrive at the terminal guess what the boarding was on, for Vijaywada. The pretty airline staff in smart Air Asia uniform, did the true type exercise that the passenger hustlers in the local bus terminus go, “passengers to Vijyawada, any passengers to Vijayawada,” sounded exactly like how achanna the travel agent called out at the Manipal bus-stand,”Udupi-Udupi-Mangaluru” delivered in classic airport English accent.

The Vijayawada guys went away

Here we were awaiting our flight. Right from 6.30 to 8.30 till we eventually took off,

Never more did I miss the Indian railway and its announcer saying,”yatriyon kripaya dhyan de Gadi sankhya GI che-sat-che thodehi samay mein platform number teen par aane ka sambhavana hai.” It kind of keeps us aware, and we know how much of time we have to pick up that samosa, eat it, should we have that cup of tea and most the last minute rush to the loo to be taken care off…

From 6.30 to 8.30 the amazing excuses we were given in order that it was rendered,

  • The aircraft is here, the staff are yet to come… 6.30 to 7.15
  • The are having a small clearance issue and we are sorting it.
  • The craft is a small craft, so we are having landing issues, this at 7.40

The only thing seems to evoke a civil answer is a threat to tweet about their bad service.

Honestly courtesy basic civil behavior seems to be a vintage occurrence.

After this on the scout’s honor I promise never to fly to any destination where the trains can take me.

Between sweet and sour — Muramba

The sweet and sour of life between Break-up and Patch-up…about relationships and everyday joys. review of the Marathi movie Muramba. a Romcom.

“Its Chinmayee’s movie,”

“Its about a husband empowering his wife”

It was Hobson’s choice and off we went to Samrat for the movie. Somehow I expected an near empty theatre, and to my surprise it was a near full house, the audience ranged from young couples to senior couples to the “united Indian family goes to movies

A well narrated crisp movie, in the first half it deals with the mundane ridiculousness of everyday life. while the second half brings the more pertinent issue out.

Traditional story telling is either about a person, or a event, this narrative is more focused on the event, “the breakup of Aalok and Indu” the narrative uses flashback to share the events that lead to the break up.

Chinmayee Sumeet as Janaki Aalok’s mother has given a restrained elegant performance. The concerned mother who is alternatively dominating and allowing her son space. Sachin Khedekar as Aalok’s father, who very subtly brings his son to his senses. Mithila Palkar as Indu the girl in love who wants to supportive, but needs to know what she is supporting and Amey Wagh as Aalok who is trapped in his own comfort zone.

Chinmayee and Sachin bring out the bond between the much married couple very well, the easy companionship the underlying protectiveness and respect comes through. Somewhere through the movie there is a feel that there is something else happening which Aalok with his blinkers about his break up is missing, it turns out to his parents wedding anniversary.

Indu on her scooter, Aalok on his bike, the Deshmukhs(Sachin and Chinmayee) in their car,  Janaki’s hurt when her son calls her, “a 10th pass from Dharwad” with disdain, her own self-satisfied look when drives the family car through the safe roads of the housing colony, the detailing has been meticulous.

When Mr.Deshmukh calls his wife by her maiden family name “Ashtekar” it brought home some familiar family moments.

With English subtitles it made understanding the movie easy.

Muramba Well I say – ah movie for the family to see.

Mah jawbox ay dishes–rescuer — Big Bosch!!

I am hurt, angry and want to forget that I am 50+ and stamp my feet like the youngest inner child trapped in me,

BlogAdda you have hurt me so terrible, that I shall go and eat some worms, big ones small ones wriggly wiggly one.

Don’t stare at me, okay I get it you are clueless about what inspired my ranting okay.

Remember the time when you are young and you have the next 20yrs years to build your dream life, I was there once. And my dream house had a wonderful kitchen right out of inside outside magazine with a Nikki-Tasha cooking range and unnamed brand of dishwasher and unnamed brand of washing machine.

When I set up my own house, I realized that there few tasks that can be akinned   to the torture of Sisyphus and housework was one of them an never ending cycle of the clean becoming soiled, the soiled having to be cleaned over and over , day after day.  I hate it…

“I do the dishes in my house, because nobody does them the way I do it,” this is a quote from either Bill Clinton or Bill Gates I am not sure, but I hate it…

Standing with sleeves rolled up and arms in the sink, is not how I like to end my day. My thoughts go round and round and it occurs to me, if I ever wrote a book, which I attempt every November it would of the stream of consciousness type and deal with an hour in the life of a woman, at the sink. I feel resentful at Mr. Tee and Jay as they plonk right in front of the TV while I am cleaning up the mess, of course nobody compels me to do it, but a sunk sink at 4am is not a welcome sight. More importantly I would be sitting on nails with dishes not done, or laundry not aired.

You know one of the wisest advice I received about kitchen chores came from my mother, “Do the dishes when you’re cooking” I visualize myself stacking the dishwasher as I cook.

I dream of buying that dishwasher. I have walked up to the IFB kitchen got the pictures and quotes, the only thing I get to hear…

“Oh! It is fine for us in US, even in US we don’t use it for all our dishes” one bay area house wife advices.

“Oh! It cannot be used for Indian cooking, our cooking is greasy” next NRI gyan.

“It does not really reduce work, you have to rinse the stuff and put it in,”  — it cannot more frustrating than washing dishes already washed by the maid, because, “she travels by bus and you do not know if she who she was sitting next to”

If this Bosch demo was open to people outside Mumbai=Bangalore- or Delhi, believe me I would apply, if I know the dates at Mumbai/Bangalore I would still manage after all with my family being Bangalore based and my in-laws from Mumbai not a bad deal.

I visualize myself, recording the demo, and then asking those questions I have the check list

  • Can I wash the wok in it?
  • Can I wash the milk vessel in it?
  • Can delay the onset, — that really does not matter, for I can run the dishwasher and set the clothes washer to start when it is done.
  • What happens if the power goes off in between
  • How much of water will it consume – can have the used water collecting at a place to recycle it?
  • How much of power will it take?
  • How much of floor area will it consume?

But (my nostrils flared, fists clenched, rib tightened) BlogAdda, you deprive me of a chance to present my case to my family.dishwasher 2

Think about this, everyone, wants to save the earth, but nobody wants to help mom do the dishes, and no matter how much I hate it, most discussions of feminism refuse address the question who does the dishes, yet at the end of the day those damn dishes are there in the sink and they have to be done!!

The only redeeming factor of the lack of a dishwasher is you get the ideal time with appropriate emotional backing to plan the perfect murder mystery  … how else would explain the juicy murders penned by Agatha Christie?