Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A very Happy New Year

Let me wish everyone a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2010.

...and for those who have taken 2012 seriously, please remember that you have 2 more years to fulfill your ambitions, be happy and give other's happiness..

and for the rest of you who believe that this world is never going to end (during your lifetime), better work towards making it good so that it remains good while you :) last.. or at least good enough for your children so that they can take it up from where you left.

Let me leave a few links of blogs/newspapers that are reporting happy news from around the world…Yes we sure need them...

The one below is from a report on the co-author of "Three Cups of Tea”.. his work is mainly in Afganisthan..

that in 2000, there were 800,000 kids in school in Afghanistan, and this was during the height of the Taliban. The kids were nearly all boys. Today, there are 8.4 million children in school in Afghanistan, including 2.5 million females. So it’s the greatest increase in school enrollment in any country in modern history and the goal is 13 million.

I think that’s why I feel that educating girls is so important. If you educate a boy, you educate an individual but if you educate a girl, you educate a whole community.

The next is from goodnewsindia website which stopped spreading good news in the Year 2006 and for which the author has given a lengthy explanation. Please take time to read it through. He is now engaged in another fruitful venture.

“Given India’s history of throwing up influential people, waiting for a Gandhi is not an unrealistic act. But we can do something while we wait and do a bit of what he counseled: You cannot change others; but you can change yourself. If bad news depresses you, you can do something that radiates good news; so, become the good news and you begin to change the world. Indeed Gandhi deemed the greatest change we can ever seek is the change in ourselves. Feel the power of his insight: “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves.” [How I love this man! He knew the modern age was a myth; it believes all the water we need can be delivered in bottles.]

Reflecting further, I understood consuming less and consuming with sensitivity is also to contribute to conservation and/or production; without any measurable productive act, a sensitive consumer can contribute to production and begin to bridge the divide inside her.

Let me also post the reason why the author chose the name "point to return"..

“…the point is to return” says the tagline. And that can be read in many ways.
Return to your roots
Return to nature and to learning from it
Return something to the earth for gifts received and resources enjoyed.

The author has inspired many.. and if one reads the comments one gets to know how many were inspired enough to start their own ventures; yes.. how Solar Energy, Green Houses, Rainwater Harvesting etc. can make a positive change to our environment...

Volunteers at work...

Point to return has its presence in twitter too.

Let me sign off with a quote from him...

Just as one must believe in God despite the priest, one must hope farming can be made attractive despite the intruding professional agricultural scientists.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunitha needs your attention....

Finally I found time to watch Sunitha Krishnan’s presentation on TED.

I did read about her much earlier in a magazine and other bloggers GVK and IHM have already mentioned about her TED presentation in their own blogs in a compelling manner. Yet, I felt that the least I could do was mention her in my own blog though she and the cause that she has taken up deserves much more attention.

Sunitha herself is a victim and she says that she could never remember the incident clearly but the anger she felt was very intense and it is always the anger part that she remembers. It is this anger that led her to act. In her blog she writes thus.. There was a time in my life when I used to think if I meet God on the road, I may just kill him/her with my bare hands.

It took time for the healing and she again writes thus: In that journey I also realized that God is not somebody I might meet on the road…he/she is everywhere, in me, around me and with me. And then I started feeling the God experience in this journey which not only touched the fragile soul of the child but also my angry soul.

She starts the presentation with the story of three children who were rescued after being raped brutally.

In her presentation she neither moralises nor offers a solution. I think in her struggle she has realized that the task is very difficult and would remain so since the world where we live is a very complex one.

We as a society have justified prostitution in our own way. Let me jot down some of them.

- It is age old and it has been there and will always be there. (Men hunted animals for food, rubbed stones to get fire but does not do it anymore .. they evolved out of it.) For many this is the only business they want to do since the return is high. An article in the New York Times in February 2008 stated that officials estimate that sexual transactions in Amsterdam (where prostitution is legalized) account for about 100 million US dollars per year. The demand is high and hence the supply will be maintained. I am not sure if the demand earlier was for children as young as 3 years and if not, then either the demand has increased out of control or the supply has dwindled.... or our society has become much perverse. (Sunitha has rescued both boys and girls)

- If prostitutes are not there in a society then the rest of the women will be affected. It means to say that me or you are able to walk free in this society since the needs of a section of the society are being taken care of by these unfortunates and that we should just forget the fact it includes children too. One should also ignore the fact that these children and some others were never given a choice.

-Men and women are built differently and men just cannot control themselves as much as the women. Since I am from the female category maybe it is not like the urge to eat a chocolate or to purchase the beautiful set of jewelry on display. But then it discredits men (still in majority?) who has a control over these urges.

I am not sure if there is a real solution to this malady although some say that legalizing this trade could make it safer. But then statistics especially in Netherlands which legalized in 2000 tells otherwise.

In the Netherlands, women in prostitution point out that legalization or decriminalization of the sex industry cannot erase the stigma of prostitution but, instead, makes women more vulnerable to abuse because they must register and lose anonymity.

Thus, the majority of women in prostitution still choose to operate illegally and underground.

Legalizing this trade may help only those who seek the service but not the ones who are required to do this service. It may give those seeking it, protection and dignity in the society but not to the ones who are offering the service. Those seeking the service may still have a heart attack if he finds out that his sister, daughter or wife is also offering this service.

Legalizing prostitution or adultery may also help in cases such as the current "hot news" haunting the Congress party in Kerala. They know not what action to take since they fear they themselves may not come clean.

As for child trafficking/prostitutes the story in Netherlands is also not different.

Another argument for legalizing prostitution in the Netherlands was that it would help end child prostitution. In reality, however, child prostitution in the Netherlands has increased dramatically during the 1990s. The Amsterdam-based ChildRight organization estimates that the number has gone from 4,000 children in 1996 to 15,000 in 2001. The group estimates that at least 5,000 of the children in prostitution are from other countries, with a large segment being Nigerian girls (Tiggeloven: 2001).

We may not be able to do much but our apathy and our attitude to the victims have to change. We cannot also close our eyes to what is happening around. Sunitha herself was ostracized from the society for two years when she was just a victim. At a time when she deserved all help from the society, it turned against her. Later when she tried helping other victims she was yet again targeted and bullied. (She lost the sense of hearing in one ear and one of her staff was killed during a rescue operation0

A few more links...

Monday, December 14, 2009

I am angry

For so many reasons…

Today’s headline read thus:

Pak officers working with jihadis, Headley confirms to FBI

The FBI interrogation of David Coleman Headley has revealed a Lashkar training project involving jihadi fugitives from India. The youth, after they are trained by Pakistani army officials, are sent back to India as part of the game plan to conceal the Pakistani involvement and pass off the terror in India as a home-grown phenomenon.

Is it not frustrating to read this now when the same was being conveyed by the Indian side over and over since many years?

Was it not for the same reason India has been demanding that Dawood and the rest of the scums be turned over? It was frustrating when US did nothing to persuade Pakistan to hand over him then and one wondered why.

And now that US have discovered Headley to be behind the Mumbai attacks will he be turned over or should we just watch the same old drama being enacted? For India, will Headley also rest on the Fact Sheet pages just like Dawood? (The only difference being that Headley has been captured while Dawood still reigns)

Anyway let me leave US out since one cannot compel them to discard their own interests for the sake of another country.

But what is happening in God’s own country?

Why did it turn out to be terrorists own abode?

One was hoping against hope that at least at this juncture when things have taken a serious turn our politicians would act in a mature manner. Alas.. all they want to do is throw mud at each other while the public are left wondering if they all had indeed joined the Dawood network.

Both the Congress and the Communists parties have governed, dutifully taking turns, while the terrorist networks flourished. They have obliged enough and more for votes. And now every terrorists attack in the country is being linked to someone from Kerala. Nazir used to be a name loved and cherished by Keralites since it was the name of the beloved cine actor who ruled the Malayalam Cinema for years and more so since he deserved the adulation in every way; on or off the screen. The new Nasir has thrown it all away for reasons which we are now tired of listening. He has left many families in despair and a whole state in utter confusion.

Will Kerala be left unscathed after the dust has settled?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And we were O.K.

Received this via email I am not sure who the author is.. it may not even have originated from an Indian but yet I am sure most of us can relate to it.. so with due respect to the creator and with additions of my own in italics…

To all the wonderful kids who were born in India , grew up in the 60's,70's and 80's and survived :

First, we survived being born to mothers, some, whose husbands smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate whatever food was put on the table, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

They were mothers who did not check their blood pressure every few minutes. (mine didn’t)

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking or going out on our own. (nd all those longs walks up the mountains and along the streams with none to guide but just the dogs)

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags. [Our car would have been the most rickety since it had to go through the terrible tea estate roads. Needless to mention that only an Ambassador was built for it. Thinking about it now, I still cannot believe that my Father, instead of repairing the door which would not close [the mechanics had already closed shops after our late night movie] asked me to faithfully hold onto it while driving up a 20 km long treacherous mountainous road (Mundakayam to Kuttikanam)… I dont remember my Father looking back even once to see if I was still there! And recently when I mentioned this to him he feigned ignorance:) ]

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. (ahh the water was the purest!)

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. (dint we all? and most still do…)

We would share a dosa, dip a chapatti into someone else's plate of curry without batting an eyelid. (I hope the current generation still enjoys this)

We ate jam sandwiches or pickle on bread and butter, raw mangoes with salt (& chilly powder) and drank orange squash with sugar and water in it.

We ate at roadside stalls, drank water from tender coconuts, ate everything - Bhel Puri to bhajias and samosas, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING! (there was no dearth of games.. we made games out of nothing…but now the kids can have all the PS$.. and still be bored)

We would leave home in the morning and play all day during the holidays, we were never ever bored, and we were allowed freedom all day as long as we were back when the streetlights came on, or when our parents told us to do so. No one was able to reach us all day by mobile phone or phone. (those were the days!)

And we were O.K.

We swam with an inflated tube which we got from somebody who was replacing their car tyres.

We ran barefoot without thinking about it, if we got cut we used iodine on it which made us jump. We did not wash our hands ten times a day. (Wash hands?)
And we were OK.

We did not have parents who said things like "what would you like for breakfast, lunch or dinner".

We ate what was put in front of us and best of all, there was never any leftovers. (but now we have to push and prod them to eat..)

We fell out of trees numerous times, got cut, broke bones and teeth. (We jumped from one tree to another and my younger sister was the leader!)

We ate fruit lying on the ground that we shook down from the tree above. (and how tasty those were!)And we never washed the fruit.

We had a bath using a bucket and mug. We did not know what shampoo and conditioners meant.

Yet this generation of ours has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

Please pass this on to others who have had the luck and good fortune to grow up as kids in India in the 60's 70's and 80's.

Blog Archive