Athiti Dev(il)obhava

Athithi devo bhava…


What about the responsibility of tourists, nobody talks about that, not even the effervescent travel bloggers.

Yesterday we went Basilica Bon Jesus at Old Goa, the place was swarming with tourists.

The guidelines to tourists are placed all over the Basilica, “Do not photograph people” being the most prominent one. yet the tourists, were blatantly clicking pictures of themselves, using selfie sticks. When the security personal objected, they would steal the selfie and gloat about it.

There was one particular crowd standing right in front of the board that said do not click people and went trigger happy. So Mr.Aamir Khan do you have something to tell the tourists? About responsible behaviour?  This is just some stuff to help you with the script.

Tourism  no doubt plays an important role in the economy of Goa, that does not mean that tourists are “Devo” or gods, they people we welcome into our homes, it is an interaction of mutual respect, there are certain norms to be followed.

There is a concept called responsible tourism, this was defined in AITR’s 2005 resolution it goes like this == responsible tourism complies with the principles of social and economic justices and exerts full respect towards the environment and its cultures. It recognizes the centrality of the local host community and its right to act a s a protagonist in developing a sustainable and responsible tourism. Responsible tourism actuates to foster a positive interaction between the tourist industry, local community and the travellers.

Here is what probably most local host communities look to

To minimize environmental damage caused by the carelessness of the tourist and growing destruction to environment corresponding to the growing tourist influx.

To give the local population a central role in the tourist development of their own territory.  That the involvement of the local community through a participatory democracy and in decision making process is essential for sustainable touristic development.

To respect the local culture by including its essence in the overall touristic experience by focusing on and creating awareness of the local culture , its traditions, the lifestyle, the gastronomy, the handicrafts etc.

Maybe next time any of you decide to travel to a terrain, you could keep an open mind, particularly when you come to Goa, yes we are different from rest of India, but we are not very different from the west coast culture.

Respect human rights particularly privacy and decorum in public places.

Help to preserve the natural environment that you have come to see, there are wildlife and habitats that need to be safe guarded.

Each place has its own cultural resources that are the document of the history of the people, please respect it, selfie in a Basilica, or loud hooting is Salarjung Museum is disrespectful.

When you buy something you do contribute to the economic and social development of the place, try to see that you can pick something that is truly local.

In your Google search do look at the cultural expectation at a place, like not wearing run down shorts into a temple or church, not clicking pictures within the prayer houses,  not scratching the edifices, along the way.

These are just small gestures that reflects you culture and your upbringing to the host community. It is about your dignity…

I hope soon the Basilica will come with deposit your mobiles rule like the Thirupathi Temple.

Hindi Diwas

image courtsey internet
image courtsey internet

This is the ultimate insult to me as an Indian… I am not Hindi I am a respectable south Indian who can speak all the five southern languages, in addition to HINDI for this day is a declaration that my language and my people are still under threat.

Of course I find the label Indian in itself rather ill-fitting.

the other day, I was at Taleigao market, buying Haldi cha paan for patoli, one young something came up and asked the vendor “yeh kattal kitne ke ” now the vendor did not understand what kattal was, and what this person was holding was a neerphanas.

The bus conductors at vasco for a while have been Bhaiyya-landers.

Every employee of Hyatt Bamboli is a north Indian and does not speak either Konkani or English.

The most recent is the courier boy from Tej courier who refused to speak anything other than Hindi so giving him directions to my house was next to impossible.

I walk into Corporation bank Manipal and an employee who has been in Manipal for 5yrs, has his colleagues speak broken Hindi to him, while the gentleman does not speak either Kannada or English.

The telecallers that give you those sales talk I know it is immaterial but they rattle off in Hindi. This becomes a nuisance when we want some information.  When these telecallers call ask them to speak Konkani or English… they blank out. The same happened in Karnataka when I told them speak Kannada or English the call was dropped. But in Andhra or Tamil nadu the same telecaller will not dare speak in any language other than Telgu or Tamil.

This is imposing of the language.

Ever since BJP has taken over the number of hoardings in Hindi have increased. Why can’t we have hoardings in Konkani? Have it in roman and devanagri  why fight over things.

At a debate that was vibrant Mr.Frederick Norohna has the point straight the threat is not from English or Portuguese, it is from Hindi. I really cannot see why the Gomata-kannada population is embarrassed to speak their language. I do not see any difference in this particular matter when it comes to Konkan- Karavali. Just check out how fanatic Maharashtrian are about their language

When a language is not spoken it dies, with it dies the history, the science and the collective knowledge of that community.  with the advent of CBSE the kids don’t learn regional history, we are only taught Moghal, Rajputs and their struggle for power, the regional history goes untold. The children learn of authors and the scanty intellectuals of cowbelt, Rabindranath Tagore is heralded but how many Goan kids know about Abe Faria or even the achievements of Dada Vaidya? The fact that the southern states, just let the invaders be, they could foucs on education and other things, which why literacy and  education is more in the south. History does not acknowledge it, we are only ridiculed for not fighting the invaders.

Take a walk along Chogum road where wellness canters and health vendors are present, the owners are all Hindi speaking and they have anyone working for them speak Hindi.  I know of two girls who were born in goa, they studied in Sharada mandir, one of them even took a merit seat in GMC but cannot speak a word of either Konkani or Marathi.  The justification is “Hindi rashtrabasha hai.”

Revolt against this stifling imposition of Hindi has manifested on august 15th and its epicentre is interestingly the capital city of placid Karnataka. I remember when at school Advani had come down for his campaign and he was specifically told not to speak Hindi, he did, saying it was the rashtrabasha hence the matrabhasha of the country… they lost Udupi, Mangalore to congress.

Ever since BJP has come to power everything is Hindi centric, every public building named after an illuminate from the cowbelt RSS cadre. The prime minister speaks only in Hindi, if he were to speak gujrathi I would still accept it, I would probably ask Mrs.Pandya to translate it for me.

hindi 2
If this is not imposing what is? image courtesy google

Non Hindi speaking states form a larger population as compared to Hindi speaking states. Government institutions insist on a Hindi Diwas, how about ensuring that migrants of all socio-economic levels learn the state language before relocating?

May be we can decree that Cow-belters who dwell in non-hindi speaking areas will not speak Hindi for the entire day, but will converse only in the state language.

This should not be an issue with the language translating apps that are available today.

Think like a girl….

image courtesy google.
image courtesy google.

“I’m blogging for the India Today Woman Summit 2015 #WomenPower activity at BlogAdda.”

The prompt began with the oft repeated quote it’s impossible to guess what a woman wants. Then there was reference to gender equality.  Yes we seem to be very confused on the stand a much needed discussion, do woman want to be treated specially or equally? Do men know the difference? This is the precise kind of thing that would raise my hackles. More so when India today is hosting an entire summit on this

Do men know the difference, is  an irrelevant question. For the more pertinent question would be do women know the difference do we as a gender really know what we want. Can I as one woman talk for my entire gender which faces different challenges at different zones.   It is not about men treating women, but it also about women treating women. This might be kind of complex like PGWodehouse saying peoples people want people to marry people’s people that that people don’t like.  It starts from creating the want.

Somewhere this journey has begun, from the free unfettered human being we have been relegated to boundaries of organized society. Well this  applies to men as well, which we shall address when India Today holds a confused men’s summit.

Lets start at the very beginning , … kind of good place to start at.

I have walked this earth for 50yrs, I am from the south, particularly from the west coast where we are matriarchal and matrilineal.  Our scenario is very clear,

We have a voice. If a woman does not have a voice it is not the social structure but it is situation specific.She is a victim of low self esteem. We are all educated, by the the society evolved from the 50’s to 60’s the trend of celebrating the son’s birthday as a public event and daughters as a family affair had already morphed to a child’s birthday is a social event.

Most of us were educated in the fields that we wanted to. If we did not get a choice neither did our brothers. Most of us chose the men we wanted to marry. Traditionally we had the rights to perform the final rites of our parents but somewhere patriarchy took  over but it was a minor issue. And to me this entire gender thing was over done.

But last year the BBA students came up with a play where they spoke of  serials like Band Baja Bharat, and various Karan Johar movies creating a trend of  Mehendi-Sangeet-Kanyadaan—Bidai the group that performed this, were mostly from the Shetty community, and Kerala, the children brought out a very important point that these were societies that had no kanyadaan. But now it has become part so the girl child from having dignity and identity has willingly accepted becoming a commodity. The social evolution of this can be discussed if  I can get the time and platform  being right we could discuss.

This year the students have a new issue. Group 1, is a set of Goan kids, this is a real event. Goa was a very safe place for girls. Stalking was unheard of until Konkan railway came with its immigrants and tourists, not to mention the great Hindi flicks.  Yet for the past month one of the girls is being stalked. She eventually accosted her stalker, he accused her of getting henchmen to beat him up. She did verbally over haul him, what irks is when she went to the police station the cops refused to accept a complaint without a male relative being present, “if you can’t get your father or brother, at least get your mother.” – the students are putting up a street play on this.

The other issue which the kids are dealing with is, at home, where the daughters are expected to do the house work, while the sons are not, the justification the mother gives is ,”Shaadi ke baad tere ko to hi karna hai, woh kyon karega uske biwi karegi” the girls look at this as conditioning, and presumption that the daughter-in-law would function on this lines.—the kids have created a lovely modern play on this.

Another issue that the students had brought up was sexual abuse at home, this girl child was abused by her brother, when she complained to her mother her mother’s response was ,”tu ne hi kuch kiya hoga.”

The last case I am sharing, is about Vandana who is around my age, she did her engineering in IIT, married an NRI, once she went to states her mother-in-law  insisted that she stays at home, and mind you it is not about becoming a homemaker, it is about being a house keeper because the lady of the house is still the mother-in-law.  The general attitude is why should she work husband earns enough.

I am sharing these cases hoping that something will trigger somewhere. When I did ask all these women what is that they wanted, did men understand it… this is what they had to say,

What they are looking for is a change in the conditioning of the girl child’s mind from birth. The compartmentalizing of genders. They looking for having a choice to live the kind of life they would like to live, they are looking for physical safety, and dignity. When we say society we mean the  male and the female. Incidentally it is not about the men understanding it is about how women see themselves.

Children learn about themselves the way they are treated by their mothers, their attitudes towards themselves is learnt from the mother or the primary care giver, while the way they engage with the outside is what they learn from the behaviour of the primary care giver towards the secondary care giver.

So where do we go from here? to me this clipping kind of sums it all up.

Hen stain up fur yerself.

iniblogger-- women's empowermentring the bell–

How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself? Anais Nin.

Urmi’s niece has just put her yet to be two to a school, and Urmi was scandalized, why have a baby if you want to outsource its care. For a minute she was stood stunned, for she realized that it was the generation before speaking through her, without realizing that her niece had different challenges to face.

Urmi, now in her mid forties wondered how relevant this was, yes her generation maybe the generation of ambitious women and changing values and morals, like Madonna put it, “I’m tough, I’m ambitious and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay” only the last part did not work for the average young Indian girl of the ‘80’s

“I wanted to become a doctor; I could not so my daughter and her daughter will full fill my dreams.” If the sins of the ancestors visit the youngsters their ambitions came to haunt the next generation. Sometimes Urmi wondered then what my secret dreams I enforce on the next generation. Isn’t this living in the past?

The new age life coach’s drone, “reality is something we create for ourselves, our imaginary fears get transmitted to the universe and we call it a premonition”

Whatever happened to Good Old Newton’s third law and the universal law of Karma Urmi wondered. A hazy memory slowly awakening her…

“We now break for tea, and return I want you to open the worksheet 2 and fill in what your dreams are.”
Uri’s older sister Anagha was on Uri’s case, the last 10 yrs had seen Uri turn from a bubbly fun-loving vibrant person to a withdrawn subdued personality. It looked like life was drained out her. Anagha being a trainer with ‘laws of attraction ’decided to try that to bring Uri out of her shell.
“I want you ladies to fill in what you want and not what your mother-father- or aunty next door want for you. You don’t have play safe you only need to express.”
Uri picked up her pen but when blank—- there was a sense of déjà vu –5yrs back
“I’m Dr. Sequera here, could I meet you this evening, not to talk work but to discuss a concept with you”
“What’s it about”
“Well. Yes Maria…Dr, Iyer I shall see you this evening my patient has turned up right now.”
In the evening Patricia Sequera asked Uri to list her dreams, Uri realized she had forgotten how to dream,

What did she want before she got married? Being a doctor was of course there she also wanted to travel. Even her choice of career, archaeology her first choice, had created a havoc at home, you won’t get a job, but today after medicine, and with anthropology as a hobby went to various digs, scheduling it in between her husbands, vacations and numerable trips to his ashram so that kinds schedule would not be interrupted.

Urmi’s daughter did tell her,”mama glad you are my mother, you don’t limit me.” But then she had forgotten to dream, being a mother, wife, daughter-in-law, she had put herself last each time, still
“You are troubling my son, your ambitions are too demanding”—when Uri knew for a fact that she didn’t even ask her husband to take her out for a cup of tea. If she needed a break she took it alone, for her husband, had his spiritual commitments as priority, “why don’t you divorce him “what her mother-in-law asked of her only last week. Is that the price she paid for killing her dreams? Well Urmi had done her dream list, which was part of the Amway training that’s were Uri changed too; she started awakening her dreams and talents.
“Blanking out doc?”Manini’s voice brought Uri back to earth, “it happens to all of us, what I want you to do over the week, is pick up career magazines, leisure, and life style magazines at least 10 each and pick up all the pictures that you like, then put up all those that make you smile, we take on from there”
indiblogger 4The vision board as Manini called it, was ready, now display it where you can see it.
— Déjà vu. “Put it up where you can see it” Patricia had said. Uri had made a board with places she wanted to travel.
“Uri, take this nonsense, by doing this you are pressuring your husband do you realize? You can’t have impossible ambitions do realize what it will do to your marriage”–this was Uri’s mother “don’t you realize that your children are your priority, focus on them, your dreams and ambitions should not be at their cost.”—Uri had hidden the board.
Uri had immediately felt guilty for dreaming or evening nursing those ambitions.
“What’s up doc?” Uri told manini about the past,
“Doc, you put up your dreams and your focus for yourself. Your children will also share them with you. If your husband feels pressurized it’s his problem. You are not demanding anything from anyone, this is the second barrier to overcome, what do you urmila want do you realize that you have been mrs.Iyer, Sarayu – swati’s mother, Uma Shiva Raman’ daughter for so long that you have killed Urmila. When Urmila is present, aware active, she will have the energy to do the role play, to choose and prioritize this is the reality you need to create.

It is considered normal and right for the woman to come last every bloody serial aired by the Hindi channels glorifies the long-suffering, sacrificing woman. The saddest part is when a man marries a woman knowing her ambitions and talent, he demands no expects her to step down.

A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it, D.H. Lawrence, said in Lady Chatterley’s lover.

country roads take me home

This was the days when I was a junior doctor at SDME Dharwad,
We had a student from the Mundgod Tibetan settlement. A soft-spoken well-behaved girl. But she did the forbidden that is she fell in love with an Indian boy.
I met her couple of years later; she was no more the exuberant girl that I knew. She was confused. After obliging her family and giving up on her love she spent time at Dharmashala, to her it was still more traumatic. Born and brought up in India, she was going through an identity crisis. Though Dharmashala was have reinforced her Tibetan roots meeting up with others with her problem made her question what she had accepted all her life.
Would she sometime in the future go back to Tibetan assuming she did, will she be able to live there after this cosmopolitan upbringing. The shops run by Tibetans at Dharmashala was like personification of the generation that grew in India, the shops sold old normal Tibetan household requirement that were not used anymore.
For want of another name I call her Tenzin, she is the victim of a country and culture that is trying to survive in another instead of flowing along.
I say this because, of the vast Chinese community that we come across. Not only in Calcutta, you have them at Beneras, at Bombay too. Ching mani was what my brother and his friends called Thomas Ching whose father ran a Chinese restraunt (actually a shack) at udupi. The family spoke Chinese at home, kept up Chinese traditions and cuisine but the kids were fluent in both Kannada and Tulu. Ching’s mother of coursed mentioned that with the kids eating at their friends house she has picked up lot of udupi cuisine. She makes a variation of Bisibele bath with Chinese blend!
For those of you watch the show High way on my plate, Mayur and Rocky did mention that the china town in Calcutta talked of adapting the basic Chinese cuisine to Indian palate how else would one explain the Chinese bhel?
Forget about china and mid-eastern cuisine and culture that exist harmoniously with the Indian traditions. Even the European horlicks has lent itself to Indianness by becoming horlicks burfee!