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.

Arguments on Argument

Arguments the dictionary defines as,

  • A reason given as proof or rebuttal.
  • It could be a disclosure intended to persuade.
  • It could be a coherent series of statements leading from a premise to a conclusion.

It was quite an eye-opener for me here I was using a word without real clarity of what it meant.

But when I do ponder over it, it occurs arguments are ways to understand reason, probably if we can well formulate the argument for something, we could probably have the reason for our belief and acts. To reframe it, understanding an argument is about better reasoning to endorse our beliefs.

Understanding an argument also allows us to pre-empt mistakes.

Yet we use arguments in only one of its manifestation that is lead from a premise to a conclusion.

Particularly if these arguments are triggered by anger then it might be a good idea to step back from anger. I have argued before that anger is not an enemy but a tough task master, I still stand by it.

Having said that lets trace this journey from a premise to a conclusion. There could be an emotional trigger somewhere, and the trigger could have little to do with the present situation, all the same it could dig up an old wound.

Somewhere the emotion begins take on a life of its own, and we lose control the argument then becomes irrelevant or even inappropriate.  The feeling of losing control is totally overwhelming. The best possible thing we could do in the situation is to step back and take a deep breath, which sounds and easy and do-able but experience has taught me, that it is mission impossible…(I have a secret cache of broken crockery which I further break.)

When emotion begins to control me, I do not know how to step back, so I depend on EFT or mudra to help me. It helps me step back and look honestly into what caused such an overwhelming feeling in me, and what are the best choices that I have to deal with root cause.

I sometimes call up my mentor from Landmark who is an independent life coach today Mr.Venugopal.D. To help me sort the issue, of course he brings me back to the breathing, but still there are relevant questions that he walks me through.

I have noticed within myself that I tend to get overwhelmed, or react irrationally when my body dehydrates, that is I am drinking less water, sometimes all I need to do is to take a walk in the park, or read a Barbara cart land, that is essentially not take myself or life too seriously.

There was a phase in my life when I realized, “OH1 the poor me “drama was so addicting, that I would re-tell every story to ensure that I stayed the poor victim. I actually began to wonder if there was an hormone addiction to the metabolism, or hormonal patterns created by the body when we are angry… once such questions began to emerge I figured the need to sit back and look at the actual cause, and resolving that required patience, and understanding.

I had to argue before myself…that is reason before me that being clear about my feelings, and intentions and communicating them made an healthier option, also we tend to take out frustrations out on people who are closest to us, which is not only abusing them but also detrimental to the relationship.

By the way when I do lose it, which unfortunately is more often than not, I sit back and write out… until I come down to the point… where either there is a pay off or a core issue. Then I do a forgiveness ritual for myself.

Baingan Bertha

We become what we love, everything else is just movement.

This was the sufiyana message that I received today.

I come from town called Perampalli. Which is famous for its eggplants, I do not call it brinjal because these are green in color, round and seeded. In kannada we call it gulla.

 An vertically and horizontally challenged woman in gullavva.

An individual’s lack of knowledge receives an epithet “sutta badanekayi”

Eggplants are so ingrained in us that one of my life’s ambition is to write a book called Baingan-365 . Off all the various dishes made of eggplant my favorite is the grilled one with seasoning. We call it badanekayi bhartha

The grilled version of this in bhaiyyaland is called Baingan Bharta.

with the above data, my recent accident seems fully explained.

yours sincerely



Baingan Bertha.


Of Slump and Trump

I am not a very political aware person, neither do I have intelligence to understand anything beyond housekeeping nor do I have the interest in doing so.  Yet when I hear MrD and my daughters argue about and express eloquently the scenario it strikes to me, that we are forgetting a huge issue.

Jimmy Kimmel went about taking his audience through the 5 stages of grief, yet, what I do not understand here why it is so difficult that to accept more people want Mr. Trump or BJP than those who do not want.

Mr. Trump talks of returning to  a society where women, Asians, Hispanics are kept out from work arena, leaving more jobs for the white American male…  a generation that has not really recovered from the Great recession…Obama Care and taxation has spelt a death to their small enterprises. With dwindling younger generation this generation now in its late fifties to eighties who were normally apathetic are out exercising their franchise, and they are on this trip of going back to the good old days.

In India Mr.Amit Shah went about awakening the sleeping giant of middle class particularly in the cow belt who see a more open and inclusive society as threat to the way they live. This message is persistently reinforced by the movies and television serials. So much so I am beginning to wonder if the entire conspiracy theory is true and the chief conspirator is Murdoch.

Possible that Mr. Murdoch is a racist, misogynist and ensures that his channels subtly propagate these ideas, I do not.

Think of it here is Mr. Trump a commoner who over threw the elite Clintons, and Mr.Modi who over threw the Elite congress WOGS is a chaiwallah. The media beating made both Mr. Trump and Mr.Modi mascots of the underdog. There is something that tells us there is hope the situation can be handled by the common man that is one major reason why most of us are willing to stand by the inconvenience we face over the past few days.

There are alternate voices, they do not want to sing the tune of the mainstream but want to contribute their music to the symphony that voice we try to erase all in the name of progress makes its stand very clear.

On the other hand, media has lost credibility too… if you have been observing the take on currency scenario then from Saturday evening to Sunday evening Times Now ran the same clipping of the voice on the street.

Okay now we are on the acceptance stage of everything, Trump…Currency Slump and all other media dump we need to get more involved and take responsibility as a community. Do we even acknowledge the identity of the community that we are in, particularly the educated migrant community… what is the pace, flavour and rhythm of this community that I have infiltrated into, how I can contribute… these are questions we never ask.

Most of us are not really leaders; the least we can do is to support those who lead.

Life…Whats next?

Dear Zindagi
You are mystery aren’t you, I mean each day begins without a clue as to how it is going to go, I could go anyway, anywhere it is the beginning of the rest of my life. Actually when I think of life and mystery I kind of agree with Oscar Wilde, true mystery is not the invisible it is the visible. Zindagi you can be exciting and excitement adds thrill, wonder and energy to life. it this thrill that brings me back to the now and here.
I guess which is why I think of you as an mystery.. Dear Zindagi what a mystery you are strange is it not. The minute I say mystery a picture of a mist and smoke, a woman with gun, someone shot… a scream and whodunit emerges, the trail of clues the sifting of the actual leads from the red herring the adrenaline rush the final answer what we always knew it was the butler!!
Well my epiphany here was something totally different. you do not work mysteriously you are the mystery just the experience of taking a different road to the same destination, the vista is totally different, one comes across newer vendors with newer buyers mothers calling out are different, sometimes there are no mothers calling out but there are mothers looking out for someone to sit by them and give them that hearing.
Sometimes it is a child that is peddling through the sidewalk on her tricycle sometimes it is an elder trying to walk with dignity that he once had… before he had to combat arthritis. the shrubs that flower are different, so the shade giving trees. It amazing how much one different turn can change our life.
The new incense that we burn the smell it evokes is a mystery just as our own reactions to it. Sometimes these fragrances actually trigger some long forgotten memory. Or the mystery of cooking a new vegetable.. For me it is vegetable after all I am vegetarian. Everything is just amazing.
Zindagi I think hence forth I shall call you Neshamah the whispering will you be my friend, shall we walk this walk together?
In psychiatry we are told that the known is pleasure and unknown is pain. Some even talk of the fear of the unknown, but on the brink of unrevealing a mystery there is everything the anticipation, a little fear an over drive of imagination with regard to what might be there, yet it is being in here, it is exhilaration of being alive a past hurt is a forgotten buried with due respect and the scar is its tombstone, while the future incubates… the nerves are tingling adrenaline peaks it is for this moment and what it reveals.
Dear Zindagi I am reminded of that wondrous rainbow, today I know the rainbow just sums you up. Think of it takes both sun and rain to create the rainbow, so the same with life, there are smooth rides, rollercoaster ones, how we deal with it decides our Karma and the quality of our life, there are times when it is essential to work for the pot at the end of the rainbow, there are times when it is essential to just step back and choose the colour on the rainbow that we would like to slide on.
Dear Zindagi thanks for the timely wake I hope I won’t slide back to being a zombie.
“I am writing a letter to life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda“

Is life like that?

Dear Zindagi…
First I do apologize for referring to you as Zindagi instead of the O!Jeevave as I refer to you in my night conversation.
Somewhere it has become fashionable to say, “life sucks” we are brought up with a social conditioning of “hardships, poverty and being serious” is about life and living… one actually felt guilty about laughing, laughing meant I was frivolous, or more interestingly it meant I was unintelligent.
Walking in the rain, or talking to the poor fisherwoman at the corner of the street meant that you had no better work to do, and that translated to incapable or unambitious neither looked were qualities to be imbibed.
The journey on this tedious solemn path can be draining. Until I realized I had to break the tyranny of words, for the words created the image. How beautiful life is each stage letting us discover just a little bit of ourselves, by the end of the journey the learning is quite interesting.
As child the joy of the rains, the fascination of the thunder, the warmth of bonding between siblings, cousins and innumerable relatives. Then there is the this amazing thrill in discovery. The world with its wonderful animals, birds, plants, leaves, fruits and flowers it is amazing.
When I began my journey towards the light, and to heal the first thing that I had to learn was to change my conversation with you, Zindagi, I had stop all those complaints, I had to acknowledge the hurt but not dwell on it, it meant I had to grow out of feeling sorry for myself.
Each day I wrote 5 things I was grateful for and guess what suddenly I realized that there was so much joy in it. Though I wonder why is it that we find it so difficult to remember and acknowledge happiness. Is it because hurt leaves a scar… happiness does not… maybe the scar not about healing the hurt but reminding us that we are healed, so rejoice.
Zindagi.. have I thanked you for the wonderful people you put in my life? Who have given me the honour of being in their space, as they taught me, as they lead me, sometimes they let me lend them my energy so that they could move on? I used to think of it as being used, and feel belittled until I realized that each person in my life was just where they had to be doing just what they had to do, it was for me to flow with or against.
Another aspect of life that social etiquette and education sucks out is the ability to roar with laughter. The genuine mirth that emerges, that was the next step in my healing. Once I learnt to be thank full for the people, and energies and learning in my space, I decided to acknowledge the amusing things each day the first fifteen days were really bad, until I eventually learnt that I had given up laughing, the capacity to be what is called silly, and adulthood did not exclude silliness what adulthood excluded was thoughtlessness.
Actually there is so much I want to say, to appreciate all the beautiful things in life that you bring, and how honoured I am to even be alive.
Thank You zindagi more tomorrow.
I am writing a letter to life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda“.

Discovering Woman Power In Kerala

ranjitha-1I went on work to Kochi,

The work output was disastrous which more a material for a soul searching blog.

But it also meant I was out of work earlier than schedule, just as I was figuring out something to do, I wanted to go to Mattancherry the Jewish quarter,  there was a rather loud alteration going on, I do know Malayalam is kind of louder than Kannada, yet one does not anticipate an auto-rickshaw at a place like the Crowne plaza and still less loud voices.

It turned out, that the auto-driver was someone who came in regularly to drop people and this time round there were two foreigners who were intrigued and wanted to converse with the driver and that kind of offended the gate man.

The driver intrigued me too.

The smart young man at the travel desk was quick on the uptake, he figured my interest too.  he signaled a mutual settlement, spoke to the auto driver and told me, I could get into the auto just outside the gate.

Now if you are wondering what is so amazing about this driver she was woman.

She told me she would charge me 200/- for the morning, she would take me round the Kochi spice market, then to  another site, after which she said she would take me to the Thevada folklore museum, and pick me up after two hours since, ”madama..rendu…hour..nokaano..” I assumed that it was Malayalam to tell me I would need 2hrs to see the museum.

To me she was very intriguing, and we had a conversation, me speaking a mixture of Tulu-Tamil-English, and she a mixture of Malayalam-Tamil-English, we had chai at the “cutting chaya” picked up “aluve-varthakai” .(banana halwa and chips)

Ranjita that was her name had the rather familiar story of being cheated after couple of marriage. Her husband told her he was going to the gulf and she never saw him again, to bring her two children up, she decided to drive the auto, initially she said she did only school trips because the income was steady and she felt respectable.

That kind of hurt, she said, somehow being a driver for hire it was a huge challenge for the mentally, one day she said, she talked to a woman who was working as domestic help, it then struck to her that the domestic help was also hired, so did not have to feel polluted she was actually in a better position because she had an investment to her name that is her auto, she owned a vehicle.

She says office going women, hire her on monthly basis then there were two elderly ladies who she would take to doctor on weekly basis.

She was proud of children who went to school and studied, that they did well in their exams, Ranjita’s daughter is very proud of the fact that Ranjita dared to be different.

The day was really fruitful, and Ranjita dropped me to the folklore museum where I discovered another wonderful woman.



World College Radio Day

We were on one of our family road trips, my daughter and MrD were arguing over the two FM stations, the thought struck that television, radio, and all the sources of amusement and information surround us in our daily give us an illusion that our mind is active, for somewhere along the line we are conditioned to react to an external stimulus. But their power rather limited when it comes to keeping our mind going to an extent they are like drugs. We grow used to them and we continuously need more and more of them. after a while they have no effect, look at the number of people going to sleep with the TV on. But it kind of retards our tapping of our internal resources, and we cease to grow intrinsically… when we cease to grow we begin to die… with this wonderful intellectual epiphany I continued to reflect on the topic.

When we grew up in the 70- 80’s there were no televisions, forget internet it was all about radio. The news, songs, interviews participating in radio programs was a huge thing. somewhere I thought radio’s were relegated to the past, then came the  community radio concept.

With Lago Raho Munna Bhai, it occurred that the radio had re-invented itself, the world of RJ’s and their PJ’s I mean poor jokes, the creation of programs, think of this our local chain of supermarkets, Magsons has its own radio channel with the jockey saying, “RJ somebody or the other only Magsons FM channel” did I realize that just like in-house magazine there were in house radio channels.

I then discovered the world college radio day, college radio seems to be the happening things on US campus I am actually wondering why are the wannabe – American campus college’s in India don’t have it, more intriguing is how come it is not featured in KJo’s movies.

Anyway why college radio at all? keeping my prejudices away I decided to seriously look at the pros and cons of it all… well it creates the college community, weaves the faculty and students into a fraternity. Communication becomes clean and clear. it helps to put out information on interdisciplinary events, newer courses, announcements of various kinds, disaster awareness creation.

Somehow radio-jockeying has been limited to Journalism and media students or telecommunication students. Yet business management students and finance students would benefit from it too. Let’s look at how it could benefit the student community…

  • Radio-jockeying requires oratory skills, and creative connecting along with curetting music.
  • The listener is a kind of customer, so dealing with listeners helps to develop customer service skills.
  • Current issues and issues relating to the community are often the backdrops for the RJ’s play-list, this creates an awareness of the challenges of the community.
  • Gives problem solving skills
  • Being an RJ would mean showing up on the decided time, this develops a sense of commitment and responsibility towards time.
  • Introduces people to new music.
  • It also allows for lot of fun and goofing.
  • It is an added credence on the resume.

In 2011 the Indianapolis university started this program, and 2012 the movement went global and 600 colleges participated. Events include radio-jockeying marathon. The lone indian participants are  https://www.facebook.com/ACJ-Radio-124192384433900/  would you like to start your own college radio station then  check this out http://indiauncut.blogspot.in/2006/04/want-to-start-campus-radio-station.html

At the end of the day what I realized is that everything is an energy we can use it either constructively or destructively.

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