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.

Following Mama’s footsteps.. bring up baby

four generations.

We become parents the moment we give have a child, but parenting is a different game ball 24/7 is the only shift they offer specially if you’re a mother, I have heard about this from my grandmother one who would be 100 odd years if she was alive and another who would be 90, and from my mother who is 71 and my own experiences. But it does come with a lot of lighter moment.

Here is an interesting conversation between my daughter and her friend.

“How does the baby eat in mama’s stomach?” was the other kid’s question.

“See this is mama’s stomach” my daughter says showing a carry bag, then she puts a doll into it. And very patiently explains, “This is the baby inside it.”

After this she inserts a vacuum cleaner hose and tells her ,”there is pipe from amma’s stomach to baby’s stomach,  the food goes in like this” she says turning the vacuum cleaner’s expel  button on. I was really surprised that she had understood what I had explained when she asked me and was able to actually convey it.

P1311050550518Then came the gizmo’s into our lives, the PC’s, the laptops and the mobiles. The younger one is the gizmo girl.  the camera, the PC the laptop they all just seem to obey her, her introduction to the world of gizmo’s occurred when she was two years and few months, when the older  kids were very “adult” and working on the computer my three  year few months old nephew took this kid to the computer guided her to  a button, and told her “off” the rest of the afternoon two of them would hit the off button every time the older ones turned the PC on.

The other day it was rather a pleasure watching my daughters flank my mother and teach her how to use her new Android phone.  My uncles and aunts in their early 70’s line up home when my younger daughter is at home to learn how to use the laptop.  Somehow technology has brought our family closer instead of creating a chasm , so the techno war that my peer talks about does not really exist in my space.

Today, my younger daughter  shoots photographs, or my husband does they then work round it, while my older daughter and I use it for our blogs. It is the younger one who has taught me how to uses the various apps, while the older one has downloaded the apps for doctors. They whatsapp my mom, or skype her. The most interesting thing was they actually got my mother-in-law to participate in a prayer group that she wanted to, by linking her up on Skype. Like my young  wise woman would like to say, technology is a tool, what we do with it is our look out.

papa's girl
papa’s girl

Parenting I realize is a journey with no road map and even experientially highly customized. My own take on what I figured with parenting… this is not an advice just a share.. That it could be us, as individuals or our children what they become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they are not really trying to teach us, we are formed by little scraps of wisdom. For where I stand the best thing we can for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms, allow them to take the subway.. Let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves.

DSC_1168Children are people,  and they should have to reach to learn about things, to understand things, just as adults have to reach if they want to grow in mental stature. Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows, most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favour by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good  can always triumph over evil.

Some stuff that were handed down to me by my parents and grandparents

  • It is important that every child realizes that there is no absolute right or absolute wrong  there is only appropriate – this was from my father.
  • It is important that- a child learns to be true to itself, the world will then follow it.

From aunt we learnt that a task has to done, don’t  treat it like a virtue or a sin, neither is it gender specific.

Another tip I am really greatful for is my grandmother telling me, fix a meal time and location. And  the minute the child can sit up let her join you on the dining table. Of course it will be messy initially but she will learn to eat by herself soon.

My mother gave me a really good one, till the age of 6 love the child to bits, from 8-16, be a task master, from 18 onwards treat your kid like a friend . Learning to accept failure is just as important as winning.

My grandmother used to tell me,  no matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behaviour and it’s not about the kids we are talking here, their behaviour will be normal.

at Hyderabad
at Hyderabad

My mother would tell, I know it is hard for you as a young mother to believe that almost before you turn around the children will be gone and you will be alone with your husband. You had better be sure you’re are developing the kind of love and friendship that will delightful and enduring. Let the children learn from your attitude that he is important.  Be kind, it is a rough world and  your kid, like everyone is fighting to survive , be cheerful and not a whiner.

This blogger contest is supported by Kid Social Shell, a unique digital parenting platform with 11 gaming-learning apps. Use it play 3D nursery rhymes, counting number games, shapes games, fun math worksheets, coloring games and more!”

A bridge to acceptance

chikkammanora gardi (4)Dealing with disappointment,

In 1993 when I started with my dental clinic I used to see, something like 10 patients a day, that was enormous, then I had to take 2yrs, break, with all challenges and relocating, to a new space, I lost my confidence in the place my practise was weaker it half, and I landed feeling disappointed with myself, as a corollary I assumed my patients were disappointed with me too. If I had stepped out and networked with other dentists I would I realized that everyone was on the same page.

I went into a phase of being stuck with the realm of how things might have been, this with regards to a different career, relationship and name it, and it popped into the kingdom of what-might-have been.

Whenever we do something in life with an expectation of we’d like it to turn out we risk experiencing disappointment, when things don’t go  the way we envisioned it we feel a range of emotions right from being let down to depressed and there are moments when we are angry with ourselves and others. Yahoo!! This is the onset of the blame game. What I did realize that it was a  tough feeling to experience, yet it is an integral part of life, and there are different ways to deal with it.

The key was acknowledging it and being ready to let it go. When I began dealing with my own sense of failure, the first thing was to acknowledge that things didn’t go the way I envisioned. .. this disappointed me and made me angry, this acceptance helped move into the new emotional territory. I wrote about what I had envisioned and the experience of disappointment this kind of revealed to me, where I was out of alignment. This realization helped me move on.

After ascertaining the destination, I went about rescripting my plan of action, and I realized that in the long run the breakdown was a great thing to happen it allowed me to grow in a different path. It also taught me the skill of pausing, taking cognisance of  the reality and take the next step responsibly with all awareness.

The past two weeks I have been dealing with clients who are wallowing in disappointment over their failure and about 40% when they connected with their higher self discovered that they were out of balance with their life plan, they incarnated with, and this realization really altered things for them.

Its not about disappointment, it is not about life giving us second chance, it is about us aligning along our true potential, the events the circumstances are all incidental.

Intimacy without responsibility ?    

This is something that always intrigued me, the co dependency of intimacy and responsibility, how does this work in relation to our roles, and the roles we play with  others.

Freedom in a relationship is about becoming very clear about our own co-dependency and the kind of roles we play with others, be it our intimate partners or family or friends and colleagues.

Many times I have wondered, who am I in the presence of others? Is that the real me?  I know I do hide my joy, pain, truth or love. Then I come to what is real love? How can I be in relationship with others and stay true to myself not feel abandoned or enmeshed with other. How can I let go of wanting to save or fix you and just take on my own SELF? yet feel happy and loved?

Having intimacy without responsibility I am told is about practising the art and skill of freedom in relationship…moving toward more love and care for self.

But one thing I have noticed, there is some mystery and sacred space that relationship takes us.  this honours a universal truth—that is, every relationship I have is mirroring something about me that is wanting to come up into consciousness for my healing and transformation… my wholeness and the evolution of my soul.chikkammanora gardi (4)Whenever I have a problem or issue with anyone, I have an opportunity to heal and transform something within me. like an un resolved old wound or trauma, something I lost, maybe something I needed, or something that I am totally unaware of. Each person that we attract in our life, is a part of our wholeness, a missing piece of the healing puzzle. That no matter what happens in this relationship. I am healing more because I am choosing to view every part of relationship as a sacred thing.

Maybe I should declare…I am speaking my truth principle#1

I am here on this earth for my own soul’s evolution — not take care of you

I learnt that love is not about taking care of someone else, though it could be rewarding, this becomes a burden sooner or later. Some people learn to take this because it was part of their survival; many had to grow up too fast having to take care of siblings, or make up for imbalance in parental care.

There are times when I have felt caretaking can become a disease. Most caretakers become martyrs and eventually become sick or addicted to something to take away the pain. When I care-take someone else, I get to not take care of myself, if I am  care-taking , YOU are what I am always thinking about. I begin to worry, control, manipulate and hold in my feelings or I become angry and hurtful. Either way it does not work and I am not whole.

But I am on this earth for my evolution, I am here to take care of ME.I will let YOU take care of YOURSELF, this does not mean I will not support you. I will figure out how to do it, so that both of us looked up in the healthiest t way.

As I learn to take care of me, i am actually to free to love the other fully. I will not have to be fearful of the time spent to gather. I know I am not giving away of a part of myself. I am actually committing myself to my journey.

Probably answering these questions may be helpful.

  • Who am I taking care oo?
  • In what way do I do this?
  • How long have I been trying to take care of other people?
  • Am I committed to the evolution of my own soul?

Right of Way

Traffic offenders
Traffic offenders

A friend shared her experience that she had on the road.

Waiting at a signal, when the signal turned green the bus ahead just began to move. Out of nowhere came 10 kids, who stood right in front of the bus chattering.

Here is the situation the light is green the bus has to move, so do the people in the vehicles behind the bus. The options that the driver has is very simple,

  1. He just continues to drive and let the kids face the consequences.
  2. He waits honking for the crowd to move.

Had he done the first there would be a hue cry and very parent in town would take cudgels not mention cop bashing state transport minister and police department bashing.–> central transport minister abused the PM is nailed. There would be beating up the poor driver him being imprisoned and his already impoverished family getting more harassed three and half Hindi movies emerging out of this.

The hapless driver chooses the second option that resulted in nuisance value to the people waiting behind.

I remember a patient of mine who was driver saying “Madam, animals move when they hear the horns, kids don’t mothers walking their kids are worse.”

My own experience in front of the Dempe College, this girl was on the phone ambling across, her language was pretty bad grammatically and colourful with explicit. I stopped my bike, to glare at her.

She threw a four letter biologic act at me. I got off my bike and to tell her “listen kid, I can out swear you, but the truth is you cannot die under my bike getting under the wheels of a bus is sure shot at committing suicide.” The girl of course glared all over again.

Of course Shefali being the logical teacher talks about rights. I am little intolerant. What occurs to me, our lack of respect for us and others? It is also a reflection of our attitude to life…

We focus on what is the lack but not about optimizing what is available. We talk of increase in crimes and breaking in the law and order situation. We do not acknowledge that we break the law every time we drive down the one-way. I have seen parents go against the flow in a one way when they come to drop their kids. So what are we telling the kids “road rules don’t matter.” We do not consider sending our children by a school bus which would reduce the burden, in addition teaching some basic sharing and considering others skill in children we drive 9kms to school drop the kid return to begin our work day.

citizen journalistThis kind of inability to consider the other reflects in every aspect of modern India.

On second thoughts had driver treated them like he treats cattle that is honk and carry on the kids would have probably moved off the road. If we really want the kids and parents to obey rule then we tell them each time the child breaks a traffic rule he loses one mark at the 12th exam and if the parents are the traffic offenders then it is one mark each at 12th board exam and GCET I guess all the traffic offense in front of the schools, and coaching classes will immediately cease.

Devious aren’t I?

shades of grey

avoidance 2One afternoon at canapé,

It was our women’s evening out and the group consisted of women who are juggling young adult kids, busy career schedule, busier husband’s schedule, senior parents. It was meant to be an evening for us to relax and let our steam out. We had official husband bashing and issue bashing days.

Rohini has joined our group recently. Somehow the equation has got messed up with rohini constantly being on the phone. Since Rohini is a person I relate to out of the Saturday sorority,  I realize that despite initial interactions with her, most people tend to avoid her. The reason was quite interesting. After initial enthusiasm she would not carry an activity through, during interactions she would either be on the phone or talk about irrelevant things. There were moments where she would slip into to lisping like a twelve-year-old.

It took us bit more time to figure that it was essentially because she did not want to take responsibilities for the issues she was facing.

Yes we all confronted issues and find resolutions. At the sorority, we share our challenge, our breakdown and somewhere we find the solution. Our principle is excellent we use CTRT after allowing the person wallow in self-pity for about half and hour we then stir her to finding the resolution and one us turn into buddy.

Its not just Rohini, I have found this with lot of other people, we numb ourselves. This prevents us from confronting the issue and keeps us from ever finding the resolution or peace.

Despite of being equipped to experience a complex array of diverse emotions, we are so uncomfortable confronting our most powerful emotions. We may shy away from delight, despair and instead of the resplendent colours we slide into the monotone world of grey.  I found myself snuggling into the world of samosa’s and banana chips, there are others who delve into the comforts of alcohol, sugar, shopping, television or anything, but most of these are temporary.

This refusal to confront keeps us from finding resolution or peace. Of course there is no pain or powerlessness but there is no joy or healing either.

The numbing activity no matter what it is somewhere diminishes the quality of our life. The surface needs are tended to, but our deeper needs stay unaddressed.  We begin our disconnect from the world around us.

Maybe finding out what makes us numb ourselves, what is triggering us to emotionally fade out may help us recover ourselves.

With each numbing activity we cut out of our life, we find ourselves more aware and experiencing a greater emotional acuity. Senses once shrouded by the fog of numbness becomes sharp and acute. Traumas and pain long hidden will emerge out to the forefront helping our conscious  and reveal themselves so that we can heal them. Somewhere our deeper self finds a self that is comfortable experiencing and working through the intense emotion with courage and grace.

dhimaag ki ghanti bhajao.

indiblogger 1Ringing the bell to prevent crime against women, is just not enough, it starts with a very deep disturbance in the cultural ethos.

We are in an environment where woman has become an object of possession to bartered, or battered. This is of course a contention of domestic violence. But there is something more,

Look at the movies, the serials, the advertisement they all show, an abusive male,

Women seeking approval from peers,

Women hooking the most coveted boyfriend after using the product,

We have made woman the trophy.

With the shift to personality culture, grab the eyeball is the key. Get the attention no matter what. We are into group thinks,

Advertisements work like peer opinion guidelines, particularly for the teenagers and preteens, if you do notice most advertisement are targeted to the, giving them lifestyle ideals, lesbianism, cougar traits etc.

In a research conducted, a group of individuals were given a problem. 95%provided the right answers. Next actors were planted and they gave the wrong answers loudly and clearly and confidently after which the rate of right answers dropped by 25%.

This about peer pressure, this changes the view of the problem the mind does not consciously think well, the answer may be A but since majority of the people go with A so shall I , nor does it go like I want the group to like me, what happens is people go along with the group because they thought hey had arrived at the same correct answer serendipitously.

The peer  opinion here is created very subtly by a group of advertisers, who are looking at a shock value, or those script writers who writing railway romances themselves.

Shutting of the TV or PIL’s are giving them unnecessary importance, one way to tackle this is viewer censorship. That is the viewers lodge a complaint with www.ibindia.com.

the baksheesh given by a king to his favourite dancing girl, has now turned to audience gifting cash to school performers spontaneously, i am talking not of academics but of stage performers, and sports performers,

the raining of money at dance competitions at favourite contestants, these create an unhealthy environment, where the individual becomes an object.

citizen journalistHow and when we are going to tackle this I do not know but unless we do, particularly with the advertisement and violence in movies, these trends are only going to increase.

If you notice I am rewriting the same material, hoping that someone will sit up and take notice. With all that hype about Jiah Khan no one hauls the doctor who treated her for the first abuse  for not reporting, it is assault.