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.

Packing For a Road Trip

Am back from one road trip, and realized how much of unnecessary things I was carrying,  So to work things out here is what I did, I made a checklist.
A road trip is essentially a journey via automobiles, sometimes impromptu; it could involve some spiriting activity.
Before come into to the checklist of must have let me go through the stages of deciding what the must have’s are.
• Where are we going on the trip?
• When are we going?
• How long are we going?
• Who are our travel companions?
Very often travel instead of broadening the mind merely lengthens conversation!
A road trip needs to be planned well in advance. With at least a list of 10 places that we could like to see,
The next phase would be deciding the stop over’s, after which the travel breakers as a continuous journey might be difficult. These would depend on the travel companions.
The checklist would be then under the following titles.
• Essentials
• Safety
• Cleanups
• Boredom busters
• Extras
I would first put out the clothes and these would be decided on the availability of washing felicity during the trip. Things like:
• Tickets and bookings
• Automobile papers and coins for toll gates etc.
• Identification papers, emergency contact numbers
• Coins
• Cell phones with recharge vouchers.
• Water preferably cooler
• Medicine chest with prescription drugs, roadside first aid kit, general first aid kit, tablets for travel sickness.
• Toiletry, detergent for clothes.
• Flash light, emergency sewing kit. A nylon chord
• Wet wipes, paper towels, toilet papers.
• Trash bags
• Laundry bag, preferably a bucket which can double up if need arises
• Books for reading, and notebook for travelogue,
• Camera.
• CD with music of each traveller’s choice.
At the end of it all I would decide the size of the travel bag. Put in half the clothes I kept out and hopefully double the budget. 


This kind of works for me you may want to tweak this or create your own list.

Etiquette school drop outs

Carasid, is a lovely eatery at campal, they- have delicious cakes, now with Paratas and breakfast counter they have really grown.

What used to draw most of us to Carasid, was the feeling of sitting in the garden and sipping Tea.  The owners Sunil and Chris are great fun. Both are Marathon runners, yet they would indulge the arty- crafty crowd not to mention the Blogging world. If you had an idea that you were not sure of, Sunil is the go to person for a bounce off. His entire experience tempered with Landmark Forum Education is  a great guy. Then there is Sid, who is affectionate the entire experience was good.

It has been a great place, to eat somehow with food and coffee/Tea ideas and conversation seem to flow, discussions energized and how do I put it? it was like personal hospitality with Sunil-Chris-Sid around. Their staff is also extremely friendly and polite without intruding.

For the past month I have been observing, that when we have to have a meeting the group goes, “not Carasid”. We are now perplexed as to where do we sit for the one hour or one and hours we required for our work…. it isn’t that we have got bored the place it is that the place as morphed.

It is almost as if we are entering some office with stale coffee and lingering tobacco smell. The inviting kitchen fragrance no more wafts. The welcoming smile of Sunil – Chris – Sid and fellow foodies,is now replaced by obnoxious foul mouthed crew, of some event management company. I do not know the name nor do I want to know.

It is bad enough that they have hijacked most of the chairs, the two fans, and available plug points are totally hogged by this group, the most disgusting of them all was this guy who decided to plonk on my parked scooter, munched something and wiped his hand on my scooter seat, not to mention dropping ash I was petrified that my scooter would go up in flames.

Since it was just three of us meeting, and Carasid happened to be convenient we decided to me up  and guess what we had to hunt for chairs,Oh! Yes, after this jing-a-bing has hijacked al the tables, we are left with  2 and ½ unoccupied ones, half because there are laptop bags strewn over the place.  When we eventually found the chairs our conversation was rudely interrupted by  this demure salwar kameez clad girl talking about which male stripper to book for a bachlorette party, it was as if someone was pimping!!

Admist this great hostile territory the “on the move customers” add terror by driving right into the eating place, where the orphaned 2 and 1/2 chairs are located it is as if someone is trying to mow you down.

Sunil, Chris and Sid, when we have that wonderful warm place that Brand Carasid stood for back?

car invading the dining space at Carasid

For those of you who are working your start ups out of cafe’s https://parwatisingari.com/2012/04/07/the-coffee-house/ and as  just a passing thought   https://parwatisingari.com/2015/08/03/win-with-civility/

A Lunch Break -On a Road Trip

Have a long weekend, then the place to go is Goa, people enter the state from the skies, through the trains, on the roads, my grouse with road trippers is whiny long blog for another day the way they piddle anywhere and everywhere, drink beer and dump the bottles where they drain the last drop etc. etc.

But these road trippers and their behavior is quite an entertainment when we are on our way to work.  I think a road trip is more about an adventure, its not like place to goa you just drive along. The other day on my way back from work I saw four gentlemen  squatting on the university lawn, cooking their lunch.

cooking in the open

I was quite curious so I decided to have a small conversation. The men happened to be road trippers form Shivamogga in Karnataka and this was an annual activity they did the days were fixed that is the last three days of Navaratri, as business is low people are busy with the Dushera celebrations these men took a men only holiday.

They traveled with few utensils their agenda was simple they would drive around, pick something to cook wherever they found anything interesting, cooked had lunch and drove around. In the evening they would go to the casino, spend time there and repeat the routine next day, on the third day they would drive back.

The whole idea as they explained to me was to go outside and switch off. They do not actually tell anyone where they are going, since they do these road trips twice a year, one is definitely Goa and the other is interesting, they turn their mobiles off, and just drive, taking turns where ever they felt like and they said they would soon land in roads that do not know. There is no definite destination, they just walk and sit down when they can, whenever they have to and this entire exercise they say is so refreshing and empowering. It is like the whole world is there right outside… it is the adventure…and not a place to go to.  They accidentally discovered that when they got lost they discovered beautiful terrain and great experiences.

I realized this was what drove people to go on a road trip, or plan a road trip or even those armchair travelers they are always talking about this, posting quotes and waging a war against organized travel. OMG! That sounds like I am saying wage a war against organized crime!!

When we go on a road trip we make it a point to carry one set of change of clothes, lots of water and then it is “yunhi chala..chala re.. yuhi chala”  we leave the house without targeting an destination and time of arrival.

It is about doing something, without actually doing anything yet doing a lot.

taking their road trip business men from shimoga.


The Salesman

Hope Ira Hayes will excuse me for borrowing her title.

One of the most irritating issues for me, is the telecaller of illegal status, mumbling in Hindi!

The absolute height was the oriflame office from Bangalore, the customer care person talks to me in hindi and demands that I reply since it is rajyabhasha, of course me being me, I fired him in kannada, and told him to find someone who can speak to me in either English or kannada.

Since that day I am reluctant to interact with oriflame.

Now that I am calm  I introspect what makes a leader,?

Small experiences like the one I had with Flipkart, along ago when they were just hatching, I ordered a book called Angelology, there was a call from the customer care, asking me if I was sure that I wanted the book, have I read the review, I was taken aback I had not read the review. The executive told me she was concerned as it was not the kind of book I normally bought. Guess what she was right it was the wrong buy for me, but flipkart has a loyal customer despite Homeshop18 having discounts I bought Flipkart!

the only conclusion that I can come to is the understanding, listening and communication skills.

  • My flipkart customer care person, made me feel she was on my team.
  • She was listening to my story through the orders that I placed.

During my conversation with her, I  found it a little amusing that she had no first person singular. It was We, us all the way but I appreciated the sense of involvement her pronouns threw.

But now Flipkart has taken on Amazon proportions, so they no more care about their customers, while Amazon does the flipping, that is being concerned about their customer

In a personal or social interaction, we figured, simpler the language healthier the communication,  there is no reason to go

Sparkle, sparkle ,Oh! Celestial being

When twinkle,twinkle little star suits fine enough.

Another interesting interaction between my mother-in-law and me, she was narrating the pest salesman woe’s I replied”don’t tell me” to me it was saying I agree with you, but to my MIL it was “don’t tell me~I don’t  care” this simply meant slangs go right out of the window they mean something totally different.

Imagine saying

..and the child thats born on the Sabbath day

Is fair and wise and good and gay

It would mean something totally different in today’s environment. It was then I realized the importance of learning the vocabulary of the environment.

We take our relationships also pretty casually  I learnt this from Asma D’souza there is no lets meet us sometime, there is always lets me up on so and so time at so and so place. This is a way of honouring ourselves and our commitment   to the interaction. This kind of commitment makes people takes us seriously.

Integrity of words if you promise something then carry it through no matter what the cost it. This would mean in every walk of our life. Unless we honour our words why on earth would the next person do it?

This event happened at a restaurant, where were dining, the next table was very noisy and boisterous, I was all set to tell them that their conversation was boring us, at that moment, a kid all of maybe five years walked upto them hands on her waist she looked at them, they started the usual talk to the kid –

She looked them square in the eye and retorted

“How rude you are, didn’t you learn manners you are not suppose to disturb others in a public place.” She stomped right back to her lunch.

The crowd was quiet after that.

No Girl Left Behind

Today is the international girl child day,

I am looking back, when we grew up gender was never an issue, so to me lot of this stuff that media throws up is strange, yet last year a fellow blogger had put in a question, about girls changing name, I found it idiotic, I still do.

When BlogAdda requested us to blog for the India Today India summit I wrote my next blog before which out of curiosity I asked the 2nd year BBA girls about what do they want out life, and the answers just jolted me out. Most of the girls were from the army settlement with their father serving in the Indian army, they were sent to do graduation because it improves their marriage market, and BBA is because there are no exams, arts se business management behetar hai..

Coming to the point what did the girls want, well they wanted to be allowed to rest on Sunday’s like their brothers did, they wanted to be allowed to do their assignment like their brothers were, in short they wanted to be treated equal to their brothers, fair enough.

I eat the humble pie and acknowledge there are communities were gender inequality does exist.

The global theme of “No girl left behind”  my question is very simple, child marriages are not right I totally agreed, it could lead to young mothers, premature motherhood…well maybe but biologic motherhood happens only when the body is right, and emotional maturity is independent of the biologic age. I do find it very obnoxious that the western world keeps its teenage pregnancy under the wraps and goes to Africa and Asia with a missionary zeal.

It is not just Asia and Africa, look the US election Hillary is being held accountable for her husband’s misbehavior while Trump refuses to take on the onus of his own. When women speak they quote Michelle Obama or Eleanor Roosevelt, Nancy Reagan but quotes from Lincoln are used a little less.

I remember that my grandparents decided to educate a niece who stayed home after standard 12, to cook and clean. She was academically not performing well, that was put down to her shaky early education, but she went into depression, it turned out she did not want to go to college study and make a career, she happy with her cooking , cleaning and embroidery my grandparents of course gave up clucking and were very upset. But couple of years  later she got married and in her married home she was acquired fame for her embroidery skills which eventually became an economic venture for her.Today she trains people and sells her work.

Maybe we can resolve not leave the girl child behind, we can resolve to give her the choice of destination and the route to reach there, but we also need to give our sons the choice of staying behind.


Down the Memory lane.

picnic Once upon a time.

We are busy  planning for tomorrows Ramleela it is a student production and at the break, Mrs.Padmashree Josalkar and I were discussing our growing up, Padmashree is from the famous Gubbi theatre, she was talking of how the kids of the family would step in small roles, and as little kids they would forget that when performing they were characters and not “ammi” and” china”

I remember one ramkatha we performed at school, when my friend was Ravan, and I did Mandodhari, the scene was Mandodhari crying over Meghanaad’s death, and guess what one little kid from the first row, piped, up, ”How joru,..Jay is she is making paapa.. shah cry” that was the end of the dramatic moment.

But here I was thinking of some really great things we did, our class that entered standard one in the year 1971 was rather unique, anyway we began putting our own plays at the in standard three, and we were guided by the greatest story teller of them all, ”Amarachitrakatha,” we would open the book, and figure out where each one of us would have to stand,

Dialogues were easy too, just sprout what the character in the comic said, costumes were even easier we would just replicate what was in the illustration, the only whooper was, we were fed on some stereotypes like royals wore “zarf border” and commoners, “folk” wore cottons with checks, so were the jewellery silver and Kowaris  jewellery for the folk and gold like jewellery for the royals.

We would meticulously cut out jewellery in cardboard, stick golden paper on it, and use it.

It was the time before CD’s and TV so someone would meticulously learn up the songs, we would put in the steps, then three days before the performance, some ones older brother/uncle or handy relative would provide the table and harmonium,

It was really fun. I think it was these things that brought us together, since it was not structured with parental approval or guidance we got to experiment, the rule was simple don’t get your quarrels to parents.

annual lakshadeepa which all of us would attend

There was only one kid, who would actually complain to his parents, i remember all of us ganging up and telling him, “Kid we are telling you this, because you will complain to your parents, and they will come to shout at us, and see what we will do then,” funnily enough the boy got totally cured of his whining habits.

Today the products of our schoolroom theatre are quite well known personalities of performing arts.  Thankfully the same cannot be said about our brigand group, whose whole aim was eliminate all raw mangoes from the trees in the Manipal campus, maybe if we asked we would be allowed to pick it, but the thrill of stealthily getting on to tree while we delegated my brother to distract the lady of house, and do away with tender mango, sitting right on the centre of the road…yes that is what we did, sharing the mango not to mentioned smuggled salt and chilli powder, whew.. that was adventure.

Again everyone was part of everything guess that made our growing up balanced. Reading a book meant we climbed up a tree perched on a branch to read. When the new swimming pool was built at Manipal the entire gang of kids went to learn how to swim.

Holidays meant library, swimming, playing in the garden, eating in which ever house we were at lunch time. Remember this was the era before mobiles and phone, no one took amiss.

Still remember Brinda aunty, my friend’s mother, she baked the best biscuits in town, I promised myself I would be like her, she was well read, she kept a beautiful house, she cooked divinely, she could paint, she could stitch innovatively, well some day before I die I will get there, right now I am still struggling with housekeeping part. There was Saraswati aunty who taught us how to cook saagu to perfection. Narmada aunty who introduced us to ketchup with everything.

Thanks ZeeTV for this yaaron ki bharat though I do not qualify for it. I think I should share this bit, as way of saying thanks to the universe.

Mahila samaj 2
Manipal Mahila Samaj still active.

more on “http://www.ozee.com/shows/yaaron-ki-baraat.


Bright colours, punched out white dots that resemble a rhombus, some mirror work, some embroidery, the magic of Bhuj, the Bandhini.

When we went to Jamnagar, I was looking for the Kutch work, when our friend told us, that it is the Bandhini that you have to pick here more the Kutch work or the bead work. Well to be frank I would have still loved the bead work and I plan to go some day to pick it up the bead work.

However when I looked at those fabric a faint images of a friends garage, four preteen kids huddled trying out fabric colours, they were fads then, we had traced out some patterns though I cannot remember what, piercing a pencil securing the fabric with rubber bands, in a bucket we had poured in the dye, and I think immersed this fabric and totally forgot about it,

It is only now I recognize what we were trying our hand at, we were trying out Bandhini, a type of tie dye textile, decorated by plucking the cloth with fingernails into many tiny bindings that form a figurative design … this very apt definition is from Google and not mine.

However the tern Bandhini has its root in the Sanskrit word Banda or tie. Another very similar fabric art is the chungdi from Madurai, that’s for another day.

I was told by my guide, that the earliest evidence of Bandhini was in the Indus valley civilization, and dyeing was done even during the Indus valley days, there are 6th century painting depicting the cotton fabrics that were there. BanaBhatta’s Harshacharita talks of Bandhini being used in a royal wedding, and the paintings on the Ajanta walls holds evidence that Bandhini sari’s were considered auspicious.

Africa and south East Asia shows evidence of various natural dyes and manmade dyes being used. The Bandhini technique which is popularly called tie and dye was well developed in the china in 618-906 AD and Japan in the 552-794 AD

In India, the Khatri community started the Bandhini technique. They create turban fabric and shawls known as odni’s, the way the turban is draped and pattern on the fabric helps to identify which community the person belongs to.

My own commitment to my home looms, tell, me each and every piece of cloth embodies the spirit skill and personal history of an individual weaver…. it ties together with an endless thread the emotional life of the weaver, then comes the artisan with brush and dye, who adds the critical magic.

Bandhini Fabric with embroidary

For the followers of the loom I found this very interesting link …http://travelsintextiles.com/brilliant-bandhani/