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.

The bad influence

“They say I should stay away from you,” I said. “They said you’re not good for me.”
“I’m not,” he said with a wicked smile, “But doesn’t that make it even more fun?”
― Kassandra CrossBlack Magic: New Adult Witchcraft Paranormal Suspence Romance

Ever thought what this being good for some one or being bad for some is all about. Quite often then not I think it more the fear of the umbilical cord cutting, suddenly from supreme reigning who is all knowing the mother’s knowledge bank gets questioned.

Sometimes we fear, that out child might grow beyond us go to another level, and may not be able to accept us, the child might reject us.

There such funny notions and quirks that come to play, like this mother who did not want her daughter to fraternize with her niece because the niece wore lace bra’s and every one knew that girls who wore lace bra’s before marriage were of questionable morality. Today the daughter, and niece are both in their fifties, yet the mother tells her daughter,”Why do you have spend so much of time in conversation with her, you know she is a bad influence.”

When the child gets the first friend from outside the closed circle, the child actually invites another energy, another thought process, and as long as we equip the child with right values the child should do fine.

I know one mother, who insisted that her child was good, and brought up, “properly” but it was the influence of the others he associated with that made him misbehave, the bottom line was,” my book is not botched.”

Probably a more interested question to ask is why did the child choose this friend?

Why does this particular question bother me?

Why does this thinking pattern upset me?

It used to bother me, that every time there was TV sit-com on my daughter would pick up the most moronic character to empathize with, and it would upset me no end. the entire thing surfaced a day ago when someone told me, that I was “wile, unfunny and not in the least bit clever” that was when I caught myself, that was my inner child, being less intelligent… and hey presto the inner child popped, not being good enough…. most mothers are probably dealing with the same issue, though we all wrap in up in our protective, righteous or moralistic wrappers,

Not that the monsters of peer pressure and teenage experimenting does not exist, not that negative influence is not around, but it may not be as big a bogey as we feel. Since most of us feel only when the child thinks differently from us. we have to find the other to blame.

I remember telling an aunt this, if anyone says, I am responsible for her child’s bad behaviour I would thank her, because, no mother accepts that her child is easily influenced, if I  can get someone to choose something over the strong upbringing she has given that makes me so much more powerful!!

“The only people you have to look out for in life are the people that don’t care about anything or anyone. These are the people that end up teaching your children.”
Shannon L. Alder


Ps— i donot know why this piece insists on being written. Everyone is welcome to take potshots.

Psst…answer me quick, Purrson

Apparently it is answer your cats question today, in Uncle Sam’s land.

Let’s not get catty or bitchy here, good for the cats. Initially I did find it funny, but on second thoughts, I wondered about cats and dogs. Let me start out stating my stand on it, I hate domesticating animals, there is something fundamentally against nature about it all.  then we make it house friendly by clipping its nails, we then want to mask its odour, control the hair shedding I mean make it everything uncatlike.

Think about it, cats are the smallest form of felines, yet they have survived man when their more powerful cousins have gone extinct. Like Christopher Hitchens observes in The Portable Atheist The Essential Reading For Nonbeliever” “Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”

If animals could speak the dog would probably be a blundering outspoken fellow but the cat… would turn its nose in disdain and have the grace of never saying a word too much. Back to answering your cats question…. let’s get c (h) atty and not bitchy.



Ps note meow translates of woof in bitchy for all other translation please refer FelesCanis-Hamster dictionary or Lingua Beastalis,

I know that it answer your cats question day, but even when we have a conversation with a spirit attachment we begin with hello, I am so and so can I know your name. Imagine someone doing to a cat.

“Hi, kitty, I shall you Rajesh Khanna,”

“Meow” from now on, I shall put in the translation. “Cats don’t have name”

“No?” asked the surprised owner for she had just named her cat “Rajesh Khanna” and the rest of the family called her Kitty. But the cat insisted,

“Cats don’t have names, because we know who we are, unlike humans who need names because they do not know who they are!!”

“Okay I am here to answer your questions if you any.”

Actually human it is a waste of my time, but since you ask, let us clear the air here,

“Why do you want me in your life?”

“For companionship”

“Yet you are away the whole day, and  when you go out, you lock up everything and just a leave two rooms for me to move about, you don’t even leave a window open for me ..”

“Well you mess up the place; scratch the table legs, go potty on the bed, and what if you got lost outside,”

“Well, human, maybe you do not realize this but we cats are loyal to a house and locking in…Duh… you cramp my style.  I need to establish my territory, it is a very feline thing to do, like my big cousin the lion there can be only one feline for an area. Coming back what is this stink about potty place?”

“Of course, it is gross to go potty all over the place, particularly when you have litter box”

“Oh! Yeah out in the open where everyone can see…during our wilder days, we went to shades behind the bushes, or hid our potty in the sand, sometimes, I am sick and I cannot help it.”

“can we work a signal that tells you to leave me alone, like you tell your partner you have a head ache, there are days I don’t want to be petted you get it?”

“Why do you get ballistic when I knock stuff over, particularly from over the fridge?”

“For one you could fall, and then it is my house”

“Well darling when you get a cat in, it is the cat’s house, and all self respecting cats perch on the highest point to survey their domain.”

“Why do you talk down to me, when you spot a mouse?”

“Its suppose to be a cat delicacy mice I mean, and it is also supposed to be your job to catch mice.”

“My job she says, after clipping my claws, shampooing my fur, and not letting me develop my hunting skills…duh!”

“Okay how do I let develop hunting instincts,”

“By letting me check out sounds and investigating things,”

“But hone, curiosity kills the cat.”

How like a human to get only part of the story right…”human, the rest of the saying goes satisfaction brought it back. Coming back to the questions human what is the issue with scratching the furniture?”


“I need to honey, remember you want me to catch the mice.”

“Enough, enough I think Kitty; I have answered enough of your questions,”

“Fine human I understand to err is human, as long as you realize to purr is feline.”

Unsuccessful Pondering.

Bette Midler says the worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you.

When we come to success we firmly believe those things, it is lonely at the top, and success is climbing higher, the entire imagery is about steps, climbing the ladder still worse a pinnacle. Competitions and elimination only reinforce the belief.

There was a time in life when I had this vision of holding my breath, sacrificing rest and trudging uphill until I reached where I do not know…  there was the imagery of race, and horse wearing blinkers, so that he reaches the goal post, but hello how do I recognize the goal post.

I remember being told, that I should appear the exam, and see what marks I get, then I would have to make efforts in increasing it by 10% it sounded like some kind of a arithmetic progression. Somewhere along the line, I wonder if that is the issue, I mean the fear climbing high, a fear that one might suffer from vertigo. And if you think vertigo is fear of falling, well, it is a little different, it is the voice of emptiness below us, which tempts and lures us, it is thdesire to fall against which terrified we defend ourselves… that persistent wisdom that is knocked into us, the higher go you climb the greater is your fall.

Maybe it is quite contridictatory on one hand you are told to focus and succeed, and then you are cautioned, the higher you climb the greater is your fall…it is lonely there and god knows what.

The seven habits of successful people, steps to success etc, etc. we seem to aiming at success, converting it into a target without really reckoning what it is, the more target like it becomes probably higher are our chances of missing it.

This week when I joined the hunt for happiness group it came bang on, success was a lot like happiness, one could not pursue it… it had to happen. Though unlike happiness which has to recognized, success could be the unintended side effect of personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself. Like happiness success must happen, we have to let it happen without really manipulating for it. maybe listening to our conscience doing what it commands with the best of your knowledge with all sincerity, then we might achieve what is by and large called as success.

My daughter  told me something very beautiful, success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get. Like Winston Churchill, put it success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts…

Over the years of practising dentistry and hypnotherapy, I realize that the greatest issue is not success, popularity or power, but what most of are dealing with is self-rejection.  With success, popularity and power we look for the external clutches to satiate, or present great temptation, again their seductive quality is from the shield the self-rejection. When we have come to believe those voices that call us worthless, and unlovable with tangible proofs, then success (obviously financial implication) popularity and power become attractive solutions. As soon as someone differs from us, or criticizes us, we feel rejected, or abandoned, and we actually pat ourselves on the back, thinking, “I told you and this only goes to prove that I am a nobody, and I am really worthless.”

I like to think of it is the dark side, the side that negates our sacred self, for it tells us, that we deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten rejected and abandoned, it stops us from experiencing our potential.




tearsOne reason why I attempt the Indispire is  sometimes gives me deeper understanding of words, sometimes I see a new word that is really interesting then the rest of the day I try to use it.  somewhere i like the kind of authority and magic words wield.

The interesting part is in Sanskrit it is called Shabda and is made up of two components the Spota and the Dwani. Spota is the phonetic and dwani is the intonation, the combination of the two gives the word its potency. I like Rudyard Kipling’s take on it, that words are the most powerful drug used by mankind. To me it is actually like X-rays if used properly it will go through anything, one can just read and get pierced.

As I was trying to find out what actually the word meant I went to Merriam-Webster the word of the day  Lachrymose an adjective.

My initial challenge was to try to find out what the word meant. I figured, it must be New age spell or one of those things like boyz and girlz instead of boys and girls. So thought it was lack of remorse. I did use it in that context fortunately for me, when we speak we don’t see the spelling, we only see images.

Lachrymose means given to tears or weeping, or tending to cause tears.

It comes from the Latin word lacrimosus, which in turn is comes from the noun lacrima…now I am on familiar territory of the lacrimal glands and secretion. Though lachrymose appeared in English only around 1727, how ever in the 15th century Lachrymal was used…this was sometimes spelled as lacrimal particular for scientific application. To the date it is used in Medical terminology to mean “of, relating to, or being glands that produce tears” Lachrymose takes a little different flavour as it means someone who is so moved, or feels so strongly that tears flow. It could also mean something that evokes that strong emotion that brings tears.

Lachrymose I finally can handle it but I wonder if Lachrymosic would be tendency to be Lachrymose, or should I say tendency to Lachrymosis? Anyway for now I go with Lachrymose.

Wondering what other words, come in, after all the words of the year bygone, belongs to last year’s language and words of the year to come is the language of the future, but the word learnt today is the word of the present.

I like to imagine words as forgotten names, like names they have power, power that lights fires, in the minds of people, words that wring tears…are they lachrimyatic?

Pravasi Divas

To me Pravasi always meant traveler

So ideally Pravasi Divas should be about Tourists, or if we are talking Indian here, it should be about the travelling Indian, well close enough, Pravasi Divas is about the migrant Indian, who has either given up or on the verge of giving up his/her Indian Citizenship. Oh! he/she is still rooted enough to an Over Seas Indian card..

Jan 9th, is celebrated as the Pravasi Divas and it is supposed to acknowledge the contribution of NRI’s to India.

The skeptic in me, pops high up I wonder if we are talking only about the NRI’s shown in Hindi movies, or do we have the courage to own up to the vast population of the indentured labourers that we find in Guyana, South Africa, Mauratitius and other countries.

When my parents went to states, they were at the Nigara falls, when some one commented if they  were Indians, my cousin who accompanying  replied,

”Well, my guests are Indians, but I am American.”

We have gated communities at Hyderabad, and Bangalore, where Americanism so strong that the children celebrate Halloween, they so totally identify themselves with that.

I AM NOT  saying that it is a bad thing, after all  kids brought up in Delhi are most comfortable with that environment, like the 4th generation of Pandya’s in Udupi are more comfortable speaking Tulu and Kannada than Gujarati’s.

Coming back, to the indentured labourers, are we willing to accept that there were women who entered relationships with their white overseers as that meant a little more money, a more comfortable life for the their off springs. Many times, the men were left behind in Bihar or wherever they went from so the woman did get into other relationships.  Swamps and insect ridden habitat was their reality. Are we willing to acknowledge their sacrifice for the family they left behind in India?

Their traditions, rooted in the year of their migration, and nurtured in the land they migrated too, has its own unique flavour and identity, one cannot call them Indians any more. Maybe at best we call them of Indian origin.

The first generation that migrates, stays clinging to their roots, the second generation, begins with weaning. They compromise on the or rather turn symbiotic and the third generation does not belong to the roots, it is an independent new form that is conceived, nurtured and flourished in a new environment.

Honestly I think we should let the NRI’s be, what they choose to be No-way Returning Indian, it is time we acknowledged the people who are in the country striving to exist and more than that create growth.

This year Bangalore gears up to host the “Pravasi divas” the day MKGandhi returned from South Africa, the day we look at the productive export the country had achieved from indentured labourers, to the white collared or is it the blue collared soft guys.


On NH66

I love driving down the stretch from Goa to Udupi.

On this stretch despite the dug up roads, crazy diversions and sliced old houses, which to me are slicing up of an old way of life there are some salient point.

One of them is a small eatery which is tucked in a village called Gunavante some 30Kms, off the town of Kumta on the NH66, it was known as NH17 before.This eatery was introduced to us, by my friend’s father and it did not have visible name board.

The sliced hillock and other buildings make mooring rather difficult, as the familiar landmarks are no more there. On our onward journey we missed out on this joint maybe having had breakfast at Kamat upachaar at ankola we were not really looking out for it.

Dosa haven

On our way back we managed to sight the place and we got down for breakfast. The place is as if we are walking into somebody’s house maybe we are I am not sure, the simply arranged old fashioned benches, unpretentious decor he has four tables and four benches, yes the old fashioned ones, the only difference this time is that he has tied the bench to the wooden pillars of the house as the sliced terrain renders the risk of the bench and people sitting on it getting toppled.

He opens at the crack of dawn, as his first customers land at 7 am. The menu is very rustic, “Tuppa dosai” there is no hint of Masala, with traditional coastal chutney which is made with coconut and urad dal, and sambhar again the coastal kind,  avalakki Mosaru that is beaten rice with curd served with pickle, buns another traditional coastal snack made of banana’s and maida served with chutney, and Idli and vada… it is called vada and not the urban “meduvada” for in the rural or traditional Udupi cuisine meduvada is something else. The only concession to modernization is Puri-bhaji, which is puri with potatoes instead of the traditional puri-palya or puri with random vegetables cooked with coconut in coconut oil.

The rustic seat, secured to prevent toppling, check out the traditional coastal pillars.

The dosa’s are amazing, yes they do seem to swim in ghee but the crispness is just right it is served piping hot. The coffee is to amazing, Idli of course was rather flat, maybe because we really just enjoyed the amazing dosa,

As we were waiting for the dosa to arrive, I could see the old grinding stone, where a gentleman was grinding for the idli and dosa for the next day. It reminded me of my grandfather and his siblings and many of the young people from the Brahmin families during the turn of the last century.

People had just begun moving from their villages outside to find jobs that were considered modern like putting hotels youngsters also moved to town to study. Traditional people would leave home after school, do bit of their studies at Mangalore or Madras and move on to Madras for higher studies. Though these people were not impoverished there was a lack of cash since transactions would be in kind. It was kind of  became an accepted norms for the Brahmin boys who left home to study to be offered stay and food at these hotels in return they would grind and prepare the batter of the next day, cut up vegetable for and help the cook get ready for the next day.  These activities would be supervised by the owner’s wife.

So and Udupi hotel came to mean a place where the food was cooked and served by Brahmins,  it also meant the use of onions was also zilch, as opposed to the military hotels which served non-veg and drinks.

Of course Udupi hotels now mean different the kind of food served is so totally different from where it began.

Eating there brought home the extent we have walked from independence to today, culturally value wise. The container of water at the entrance every guest walks up washes his or her hands, asks the owner if they can wear their foot wear in, it occurred to me we are at the crossroads where a way of life is slowly dying.

back on NH17 I mean NH66


Making My Trip

Welcome to muckmytrip.com… press 1 for current booking…press 2 for whatever,

Required number pressed…


Pause…deep breathe

“Good morning Rakesh, My name is Rastapopulous Mindyourbusinessova, and I have a booking for Timbuctoo on the 30th of February I need to make some changes”

“Mr.MIndyouhbisnissnowa…do aih h’av da permission to call yah Rastapopulous?”

“okay, but it is not Mister it is Doctor,

“Okay, Dr.Mrs.Rastapopulous madam, Let me tell you I am here to help you how may I do so?”

“like I told you, I have a booking for February 30th I would like to postpone it but my ticket is a combined ticket for eerie miniee and mynimo and me so I do we do it?”

“Let me tell you Rastapopulous, I will need your PNR number then I will connect you to the airlines you can tell them your problem and they will break your PNR”

“What about the costing.”

“Let me tell Rastapopulous, the airlines will have to break your PNR and then we can go forward, I will connect you to the airlines please stay on hold.”

“Since I have booked the ticket through you can’t you do it for me?”

“Let me tell you Rastapopulous…” the call gets disconnected.

Redial muckmytrip.com and this time after all the preliminaries “yellomynameyizaneeshahowmayihelpyoutoday?”

“I was in conversation with one Marrakesh we got disconnected,”


“I have a booking to Timbuctoo on February 30th; I would like to reschedule it.”

“Can you give me your PNR number”


“Okay  itisatickettotimbuctooforthe30thoffebraurypassengersrastapopulousenniemeanieminiemow ifaiyamnotmistaken”(it is a ticket to timbuctoo, for the 30th of February for Rastapopulous,Eenie,Meanie, Minimow if I am not mistaken)

Well she was not mistaken.



“You are Rastapopulous Mindyourbusinessnova”


“How may I help?”

By now it is already 45mnts. Out, I take a deep breathe

Kindly reschedule my ticket, the others fly as scheduled.”


“Hell they will I booked the ticket through you you damn well do it, I do not have the time for it.’

 “please hold on”

She is definitely more efficient than her colleague,

“Dear customer your call is important to us, please hold on while we connect you to concern airlines.”… Call drops,

I rush to the loo, before I embarrass myself, and the mobile rings.

“Hello my name is Winnie pooh and I am calling from muckmytrip.com, kyameinMr.Rastapopuloussebathkarsaktahoon?”

“You may not, unless you speak English or Kannada or Tamil, or any language that I can understand, ”

“’well Mr.Rastapopulous let me tell you once your trip is over please contact us for the reimbursement of the cancellation”

“No Mr. Customer care, Let me tell you cancel my booking and send me the modified ticket that’s it.”’

“But your booking Sir,”

“Mind your Butt; it is madam and not sir,”

Phew, that is a relief,

I dial 0820-2570100,”hello, Lambodhar here,”

“Lambodhar I have booked flight tickets and they are a mess”

“Do you have a previous booking?”


“Give me the PNR and I will get back to you in about an hour is that okay”


Half an hour later, I get a message, “your PNR XYZ1234ABC has been cancelled and your new PNR number is NML1234ABC for the 30th of February by gone with the wind aircraft, and NML789WLC for the 15th of March”

Lambodhar never lets me down.

Though I have modified the names, this is an real experience, by the way Lambodhar and his contact number are real, the man is amazing.