Want to die better?

Ever since I had the misfortune of watching helplessly my father being tortured to death in a hospital ICU in India, I have not had a single day of peace, for the past 22 months. I started feeling useful only after I got associated with Pallium India, a non profit organisation based in Kerala, which is making painstaking efforts to help patients with life limiting illnesses get basic pain relief. dying_flowers____by_ladybutterly83

A day spent with the medical staff and volunteers of Pallium in January was a beautiful experience, more so since we had the company of Dr. Rajagopal, the founder of Pallium and a couple of guests from the UK, among them senior journalist Jeremy Laurance, who was working on a feature story on palliative care in India.

The link here is the article Jeremy wrote, published on Mosaic, and republished by prominent publishers such as the Independent.

This article was first published by Wellcome on Mosaic and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/death-doulas-dying-palliative-care-hospice-kerala-india-a7597496.html

Grandmoms

I think the world would become a better place when we all stop taking people for granted. There is something between ego and self-respect called self-worth or dignity, which we should wisely mentor.

I was talking to a 75-year-old close relative of mine this morning, and in the middle of a normal conversation, she became emotional. Living alone for two years, ever since her husband passed away, away from her children, who are busy hoarding wealth in other parts of the world, the poor woman was dreading the Onam festival due to arrive in mid-September. She didn’t know what to do about it; she was uneasy about being a misfit amidst the festivities around. Onam traditionally brings the whole family together in the southern state of India, and here she was, alone, and lonely.  dora-with-grandma

I told her I would send some friends over and she should prepare the Onam feast for them. She seemed somewhat satisfied, only for a while.

Then she spilt her worries and fears, unintentionally, against her best efforts to hide. She said, “Why can’t my granddaughter come and live with me for a while?”

disegno-nonno-nipote-in-cucina-da-colorareI thought that was a good idea. Why didn’t anyone think about it? In fact, that was a great idea. Considering this was a grandmother, who had once spent a few years away from her husband and her own old mother – who was around the same age she is now – to look after this girl who was then a baby; so she wouldn’t be alone with a nanny while her mother could study, and later work; this was the right thing to do. It is a natural and humane payback, more so when she is the one person her grandma gets along famously and whose company she so badly longs for. I would have done it, if I were her.

Respect… Wayne Dyer

Self-help-expert-Wayne-Dyer-de

Now that I have been introduced to the teachings of the great Wayne Dyer, I am a better person for sure. Sad, he had to go so soon, at 75! He could have easily lived for at least 10 more years. But I know he wanted to go, and so he went. It cannot be any other way. images

Thank you Sir. RESPECT.

 

 

Those who haven’t met him yet: http://www.drwaynedyer.com/

 

 

 

Rs 2,000 crores worth women safety? Wow! But how?

 

womanIndia’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has announced an additional Rs 1,000 crores to the Nirbhaya fund to create safe public spaces for women. The women safety fund now stands at Rs 2000 crore. Wow!

But how is all this money going to be spent? Who is to decide how the money is spent? The women and child development ministry is in charge of planning schemes to create safe spaces for women. And do we trust the ministry to come up with concrete programmes? Unfortunately, no, due to its poor credibility and failed past records.

The railway minister announced part of the fund will be used to install CCTV in trains so as to make long distance trains safer for women. But what use are they when goons cover their faces and drag women out of crowded vehicle, and gang rape them? Why not have armed police personal in women only compartments, let there be more ladies compartments. Why not distribute free pepper sprays and stun guns to women? Till such time, the men of our country accept women as equal stakeholders and admit equal rights, the country must protect its women, young and old, rich and poor, rural and urban. Period.

Last year, the government allotted Rs 150 crore for making Indian cities safer for women and Rs 50 crore for securing public transport. But still highway gang-rapes happen! We now have 36 Rape Crisis Centres in place. Good moves. But can there be better moves. Surely, unarguably, urgently, yes.

It is a good thing to have separate social security schemes for women worth Rs 79,258 crore. Appreciate it. But no woman can benefit from any welfare scheme when public spaces are playing fields of sexual predators. How safe can women feel when streets, public transport, parks, schools, workplaces, and their own neighbourhoods are increasingly turning unsafe?

It is comforting to know New Delhi is part of the Safe Cities Free of Violence against Women and Girls initiative by the UN Women. Why not copy it in all cities, towns and villages? Let us quickly prevent and respond to sexual harassment and all forms of sexual violence against women across diverse backdrops.indianwomen

We could learn from Egypt and adopt women’s safety audits to guide urban planning and from. Port Moresby and take steps to improve women’s safety in local markets. Why can’t we do all that and more?

In India, sexual harassment in public spaces remains a largely neglected issue, with few policies in place address it, or prevent it. To start with, we need to put young people at the heart of prevention efforts. India needs to develop a non-formal curriculum to end violence against women and girls. We also need to change norms and behaviour of men and boys on gender equality and women’s rights.

Why doesn’t India take international Orange Day seriously? Why don’t our celebrities join in to end violence against women? Why not observe 25th of every month as awareness day against violence against women? World over, Orange Day has garnered support as a high-profile initiative involving celebrities and sports stars to raise the profile of the issue. Why don’t Indian celebrities take up this opportunity real seriously, commit an advocacy initiative, and pledge to end violence against women?

Sometimes I wonder, is the government of India seriously clueless about the plight of women in the country? Or is it unconcerned?

The government must run back to back awareness campaigns to prevent violence against women in order to change attitudes and behaviours which tolerate and perpetuate gender inequality. Maybe, we should extend the clean India campaign to cover the filthy gender bias.

It’s WAR then!

war 1

How much is too much?

I was considering this question for over a month.

A close relative (technically) had been bitching about me and MINE, calling us names, abusing, not sparing even my just widowed mother. Slander had become her favorite tool. She would call up and verbally abuse my 70-year-old mom, even accuse her of the unthinkable.

I read spiritual texts, listened to calming music, practiced yoga and meditation. They worked partly. I focused on my writing. It helped somewhat.

But she continued uninterrupted.

I forgave her, ignored her rubbish talk, prayed she be talked out of her craziness, waited for her to recover, realize, repent…

Initially, I thought all she needed was medication, a few months in the psychiatric hospital and she would be fine.

But no, her attacks rather intensified, encouraged, and supported by her family, and probably some losers she considers “friends”.

Then my relatives started calling me up, saying my silence was fueling her abusive behavior. They said it was all about money. I wasn’t sure it could be a materialistic motive that made her want to fall so low.

18ixhvts900nejpgI lost my cool a day back, when a relative called me to say this woman was spreading crap about my people, which could permanently brand them social outcasts. And I knew, that was it. I couldn’t allow my patience to be the reason for my people to suffer. I had to do something. And I did.

I called up her husband and told him to get her back to senses or treat her. If not, I would be compelled to seek court intervention to get her into a health facility, for she has crossed the line of acceptability by a million miles.

I hope they get it right this time. For, certainly I have run out of patience. And I mean WAR.

Anger, Charge of Irascibility

Holy Cow!

indian-gang-rape-victim

Can it be happening?

India is outraged by a documentary showing a tragedy called women of India.

Face it. It’s a FACT.

Don’t understand how exposing gender inequality in India will harm my country! And dear women, what are you protesting against, your self interest?

And all this before the film is even out.

The film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLg131SZk1o

Their argument: Showing interview of the rapists and men blaming women for getting raped will make those men heroes! Heroes? In the eyes of whom? Potential rapists, who were waitng for inspiration in the form os a documentary? Haven’t heard a more absurd thought.

Things have reached such a flashpoint that the director Leslee Udwin has now appealed to the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to intervene and help lift a ban imposed in India. Politicians and protesters had ganged up against the screening of the film made around the brutal rape in December 2012 of 23-year-old physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh in Delhi. The rapists are still in jail, giving out arrogant statements.

Leslee’s India’s Daughter includes interviews with one of the men convicted for the crime, who is now in prison in Delhi and waiting for the supreme court to hear his appeal against the death sentence for over a year (what a joke! Really), after a fast court trial verdict. Instead of focussing on hanging the rapists at the earliest, authorities are banning the domestic broadcast of the film and trying to prevent it from being shown worldwide.

‘I made a film on rape in India. Men’s brutal attitudes truly shocked me,’ says Leslee.

Of course, MOST of India’s men consider women as their property, rather domestic animals, not just sex slaves. FACT. We like it or not. 05_india_g_w

Men, introspect. Not just how you view any random woman, but also what you think about, how you treat your own women, be it mother, wife, sister or daughter, colleague, just any woman you are lucky to be around.

I do not think exposing a criminal’s mindset equals to glorifying a rapist, provided adequate editing and blurring of images are in place.

With or without the film, most Indian men think like Nirbhaya’s rapists, and more. While in other countries men have to woo his woman, in India men can get them in arranged marriages to women they haven’t even spoken to, even once, and also get paid a dowry for taking the woman as wife. How sick is that? And that is our proud tradition, going on gloriously for centuries. But my countrymen would be shocked if I call it a redundant practice.

Don’t believe this, see how some big shots reacted to the India’s Daughter:

India’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Venkaiah Naidu said, “This is an international conspiracy to defame India.”

India’s home minister, Rajnath Singh assured parliament that the Indian government was already exploring ways of stopping the worldwide broadcast. A notice had been sent to BBC4, which will show the film on Sunday in Britain, he said. “We will not allow anyone to leverage such unfortunate incidents (the 2012 Delhi rape) for commercial benefits,” he added.

India, see sense, face it – gender inequality is our Problem No. 1. We can’t shut eyes and call it night. Not anymore. Let’s get out of the dark ages.

This harrowing documentary gives an insight into a horrific crime that sent shockwaves around the world and led to protests across India demanding changes in attitudes towards women.

This is why I am fully behind India’s Daughter.

The BBC will broadcast Storyville – India’s Daughter. Do watch.

The home minister alleges Udwin had not submitted the full, uncut footage of the interview for approval by jail authorities. If that is true, and if she has manipulated the footage to misrepresent facts, legal action can be taken against her. So why all this overreaction?

But Udwin says she had taken the full 16 hours of “raw, unedited footage” to the jail, but a three-member review committee, after watching it for three hours, told her: “We can’t sit through all this, it’s too long”.

“So I submitted an edited version which was cleared.”

Knowing my countrymen, I BELIEVE HER.

india-rape

Dear Prime Minister Mr Modi…

By 2028, India will be more populous than China, according to the recently released OPEC World Oil Outlook. I have no reason to contest that report. My only doubt, however, is: Do we really need those many years to top that list?

Mumbai

A normal day in Mumbai, uff—

Garbage on a Mumbai beach

The report made me aware of one of my worst fears – crowds. I am very scared of crowds. My other fears include dirt, dust, anger (my anger included), violence and love. There are a few other things as well, but not as scary.
Anyway, this blog is dedicated to my country, India. Some of the things that keep me away include its ever growing population and the continuing government apathy, overflowing garbage bins, and the role of women in society.

Slums, housing senseless migration to citiesI wish Prime Minister Narandra Modi would take up population control with as much enthusiasm as his clean India campaign (which I appreciate much). It is an urgent need. As much, if not more. Because, while we can shame people who litter public spaces, as we can see them in the act, population grows in private spaces, away from the public eye, all the time!

Add to it, the new drama ‘kiss of love’. Are they nuts? These women who participate in a public kissing and hugging protest, in a country like India? I can vouch that all the women taking part are signing themselves up for molestation. Let’s admit, most Indian men consider women sex objects, except immediate family members. In a society which has online sexual stimulation aplenty, but very few no-strings-attached opportunities, frustrated males are in big numbers. Take care women. TAKE CARE!!

And, Mr. Prime Minister Modi, we need a Population Control Minister, Please. Urgently.

Soul mates

images (1)Do soul mates exist?
I believe they do. Image

Couples who are perfectly matched in temperament, who strongly resemble each another in attitudes or beliefs exist.

One may not be married to the soul mate (if it is someone from the opposite gender), when married in haste.
But one will meet one’s soul mate/mates sometime in life, souls that connect with instantly, effortlessly.

What if you are already in a committed relationship by the time you meet your match?
Simple. One don’t necessarily need to have a traditional ‘married’ relationship with the soul mate. One can share a platonic bond with the soul mate, while maintaining the existing committed relationship, provided the partner is taken into confidence, I believe.

So how does one know when the conscience keeper appears suddenly?  Image
One will, in spite of the many obvious differences, feel a strong connection, the heart will burst with joy, and mind will leap out and bond, in spite of many inhibitions. It is something like love, but without necessarily the physical attraction.

Will everyone feel that kind of attachment sometime in life? I think so. At least everyone should. If you are alive, you should somewhere in life meet that special someone. And if you are unattached when you meet that person, nothing like it.