Monthly Archives: May 2008

They deserve some dignity too!

Chechi, finally that woman is leaving. Thank God”, my 9 year old cousin was expressing her relief evidently feigning her emotions. Her mother was present when this conversation happened and I could picture the situation the kid was in. Caught between two worlds, one in which she craved for attention and be counted as grown up and the other which forced her not to involve in adults’ matters. These words from the child signified the malice that was overpowering her innocence as she was growing up. All she did was repeat what she had been hearing for days together, about the maid servant in her house.
“The Woman” mentioned here is their maid-servant, a lady almost 60 years old who had been looking after both the kids in the family for the past 6 years. As years passed by, the family started having problems with her. In a way the family started taking her for granted and she started taking them for a ride. Misunderstandings, bickering, altercations crept in and the rows between the lady and my aunt were worse than what Ekta Kapoor’s creative heads have managed to come up with. Yours truly had to play the role of a neutral observer-complaint- listener here, during those short visits I made to their house. During day-time the lady would embark on a defamation mission against my aunt and during evenings my aunt would start off on her servant’s antics.
The only conclusion I could draw was both of them just couldn’t stand each other and inevitably the lady had to be kicked out of the house.
This year around when the summer vacations started, officially the servant bid good-bye with tears in her eyes. The level of attachment between her and the kids would put the parents to shame. I was sure about that.
But, this statement from my cousin completely shocked me. I didn’t know how to put it across to the child, but at least she should have respected the woman’s age. This is what I felt at that moment.
Dear Ria, do You know that ammamma who you now addressed as THE WOMAN came into your life when your parents were running helterskelter in search of someone to look after you and your sister? Do you know both of you were suffering from a serious case of dysentery and you couldn’t digest anything that you ate, until ammamma came and looked after you? Despite her old-age and deteriorating health, in spite of countless arguments between your mom and her, she never intentionally stepped back from her duties towards both of you.
You had no right to pass a statement like that my child. The tears she shed while leaving was a symbol of how much she loved both of you. I can assure you, you would hardly find people like that. Now you won’t understand, but in years to come you’ll realize it kid!

The other day I noticed that our neighbours had gone out and the maid servant was locked inside the house. Isn’t it a totally inhuman act? This girl is almost of my age. I have tried striking up a conversation with her but mostly I am met with a blank expression, the eyes which speak of fear and pain, and a smile forcibly pasted on her beautiful face. She looks after the 2 kids in the house aged 5 and 2. I know she is educated, maybe at least till 10th std. She totally adores the kids and the feeling is mutual. But, the elder one, who is adapting himself to the civil society has started showing signs of rudeness and superiority over the girl.

Given a conversation between the women in our colony, the discussion never ends without a mention of the maid-servant. While one section comprises of repeated complaints about their maid-servant, in a competition on Who has the worst servant, another section is desperately on the lookout for a servant. The extent to which these women can lie and they call themselves professionals, serving the nation.

Even maid-servants or domestic help deserve to be treated in a humane way! If not for them, our households wouldn’t be the same. At some point of time, we would have experienced how the household turns upside down when the servant doesn’t turn up for a day. But the way they are treated in majority of the households raises many questions. Don’t they deserve to live with dignity? Just coz of their economical backwardness, are they anything less than human beings?

For the past one week, the Noida murder case and added media frenzy swept the entire nation. From the domestic help being the suspect to the latest version of the 14 year old teen sharing a Close relationship with the servant, and father discovering them in an Objectionable position ( why the hell do people play around with ambiguity) stories have been cooking up by the minute.
Nuclear families are totally dependent on servants for looking after their children. When you entrust your child in their hands, why not treat them with a little bit of concern or regard for their individuality? I have seen houses where they keep a separate utensils for the servant, hygiene being stated as the reason. Where does all this hygienic factor go when you eat the food cooked by the same servant or your children are fed by the servant? Why this bias against servants as being unclean and unhygienic coz they do the menial jobs for you? Do you even bother that, it is your toilets that she cleans, it is your leftover food that she eats, it is your plates that she washes?
From being a matter of status symbol, today a servant has become a necessity, attributed to our changing life-styles and increasing incomes. But, when will our mentality change? When will we learn to treat them as human beings?
Remember , we were born lucky or else it could have been any one of us in their position.

This post was written on the basis of what I saw around me. I do agree there are some servants who can be real pain in the neck, but this post is purely based on innocent, unprivileged souls who are ill-treated and exploited in unimaginable ways. They have no escape coz of the need to fill their stomachs and feed their families.


Power of a Mother’s love

The blaring ambulance horn pierced through my ears. The entire day I lay on the hospital bed, unconscious. I was admitted and under observation with a serious case of Jaundice. Completely dehydrated, nauseated, and tired, every muscle in my body ached. As I opened my eyes, I caught a glimpse of few men; bringing in a man and a woman who were victims of an accident. Amidst the chaos, a baby was wailing loudly. The doctors and nurses sprung into action. As I was regaining my consciousness, the scene was a bit too much for me to register.
I heard the man crying, “Did anything happen to my daughter? Is she safe? Please check on her” The man was becoming paranoid. The nursing staff was settling him down on the bed next to mine. Amidst their reassurances that the baby was safe, he was weeping, “I cannot bear it, if anything happens to my daughter.” From the gap in the curtains, I saw a face, smeared in blood crying out for his baby. The pain, the injuries, the broken arm, nothing mattered as much as the child’s safety.
The baby must be his daughter, I thought. They brought a cute little baby, almost 6 months old, screaming in the arms of a man. She let out another shriek seeing her badly bruised father. From that moment, my heart went out to that child. Was she expressing her agony in the only form she knew which was, to cry? Did she have any idea about what was going on? Was it the unfamiliar circumstances, strange people, and scary scenes that made her cry? Was she hungry?

There was no news of the woman who was brought in. I began panicking. Hospital ER does give you the worst nightmares. The question of the Mother’s condition was troubling me.”What happened to the mother”? I asked mom. Even before she could reply, the Father let out a loud scream. The mother was pronounced dead, and the doctor was conveying the news to him. I really wonder how doctors manage to break the news of a patient’s death. It must have taken a lot of courage to do it.
I could feel the pain; the family was suffering at that moment. If fate hadn’t played this game on them, they would be enjoying the trip to their native place. The grandparents who were eagerly waiting to see their grandchild had to face the news of their daughter’s death. It was a tragic accident. A rash truck driver had rammed into their car. The mother and daughter were thrown out of the car, in the impact. When people rushed to the spot, they saw the child wailing in the protective embrace of the mother. The mother in her attempt to save the baby hit her head on the median. She died on the spot. Blood was oozing from her head and the baby was covered in blood. They retrieved the baby, held in a tight life-saving grip from the lifeless body of the mother. The child didn’t have a single bruise. She had a miraculous escape. It was God’s grace and the mother’s sacrifice, that she was alive.
When I heard the story, tears welled up in my eyes. This child, at a tender age of six months lost her mother due to an irresponsible drunken driver. Every scream of hers, felt like an arrow throbbing into my heart. The sight on the bed next to me, is still imprinted in my memory. The father was holding on to the child, motionless, tears running down his cheeks, wearing a woebegone expression. That silent protective embrace spoke millions. What would have been his state of mind at that time? …Thank God for saving his daughter’s life or question God after all, why did his wife die?
In those mournful moments, my heart and my mind were trying to reach out to the child. Was it the vulnerable state I was in coz of my physical weakness or the intensity of the melancholic situation I was in? This was the first time I was experiencing the bare truth of life and death, in such close proximity. I just couldn’t take this child off my mind. The baby, who I first saw just a few minutes ago, was forcing me to ask an array of questions to myself. Questions I had never thought of before.
How would she realize her mother had died? Was it when she missed the warmth of her mother’s embrace? Who would she cuddle unto? Who would feed her? In years to come, how would she know about her mother? What would she know about her mother? The woman who carried her in her womb for nine months? The woman who underwent all the pain to give birth to her? The mother who nurtured her for six months? The mother who gave that child a life, not once but twice? What would the child feel when she comes to know how her mother died? How would she adjust to the unfamiliar circumstances henceforth? How would she actually sense the death of her mother?
I drifted off to sleep as an effect of the sedation. Another loud cry woke me up. I saw a woman holding this baby and feeding her water in a feeding bottle. I presumed the woman to be some relative of the bereaved family. Mom told me that she was the mother of the patient lying on the bed to my right. The patient was a young woman, in an advanced stage of pregnancy. She was there, IV fluids and saline injected into her body. She’d had an attack of fits. The mother who was alarmed at the state of the daughter, was now looking after a baby, who was a complete stranger.
Almost 8 months have passed since this incident but it feels like yesterday. I was deeply moved by the act of humanity shown by people who were forced to come together by circumstances. Complete strangers, shed their inhibitions, and extended their help to a family, which was torn apart by the death of a close one. Every one in that hospital ER played their part, much more than what was demanded or expected. Humanity has not faded from the face of the earth. This incident made me believe so. Even now when I think of that baby, a mixture of emotions rise up. I hate to term, what I feel as sympathy. It’s truly beyond what words can describe. For once, I find myself unable to express what I feel.
This is not exactly a happy mother’s day post!
On this day, I pay my due respects to that 21-year-old Mother, who gave up her life, while protecting her daughter. The mother who became immortal in our minds, who with her deed fortified the power of a Mother’s love.

Twist in the tale

It all started on the final day of our church feast. St.Joseph was getting richer by the minute, the offering box(nercha petti) didn’t have a hole that was big enough for the riches. Like any other true devotee I too proceeded towards St.Joseph’s statue. In a parish church, where people know you, it is a matter of serious discussion if you do not put anything in the offering box and limit yourselves to kissing the statue which is a ritual. Everyone seemed desperate to please St.Joseph, give heavy offerings and seek his blessings. The crowd near the statue was nothing less than a mayhem. Everyone was pulling, pushing, nudging and resorting to all sorts of ways to get their cue first.

As I made my way into what seemed like queue, I was deceived. As I approached St.Joseph, uncles and aunties, kids and grown-ups, everyone seemed to be in a hurry to get St.Joseph’s blessings (rather to be the first ones in the queue for the dinner that they had begun to serve). People learn the lessons of orderliness, maintaining a queue etc but forget them very easily. When your chance doesn’t come due to lack of orderliness these lessons are revised rather customized to complain how people are so ridiculous and ruthless. Yours truly was just two people away from St.Joseph. I was extending my hand to put the money into the offering box. There was this Ammachi (old lady) clad in a chatta mundu in front of me. Now this Ammachi was really fat. I believe Ammachis in chatta-mundu look sexy only when they are Fat. As she did a forty-five degree turn, I proceeded in the same direction, the distance between us being just a hair’s breadth. Suddenly all calculations on directions went wrong and Ammachi did a reverse. She directly bumped into me and my entire system shook for a second. After the immediate shock, I saw that Ammachi’s pendant got stuck on the pallu of M aunty’s 5k fancy sari which she was talking about during mass. As Ammachi was being dragged by the sari pallu-pendant-gold-chain ( you can picturize it, I guess), I was somewhere in the middle of this chaos. Now, I was sure Ammachi would fall and instinctively I tried to remove the pendant from aunty’s silk woven pallu without much damage to the thread. But things had gone out of hand by then, I was also being pulled along and my hand struck something hard. I have no clue what it was. I retrieved Ammachi’s pendant who gave me a grateful look and the beautiful toothless smile. M Auntie was totally unaware of what happened.. ( all this happened in a matter of few seconds, at least I felt so). Finally, I pushed my way through (got pushed would be a better description) gave my offerings and everyone was complaining about how small the opening in the box is. Half the notes were lying scattered, and it would have been easy for any jackass to flick a few notes from there. (now don’t question my criminal instincts, it’s just a possibility).

By God’s grace and St.Joseph’s blessings, I was thrown out of the ruckus. As I tried to put my structure back into its symmetry by stretching etc, the right arm just didn’t seem to be right. As I tried lifting my hand and almost swallowed down a loud scream that came of the excruciating pain. Dinner was next. Since, father was bored of daughter’s cooking and daughter was tired of cooking, both of us eagerly waiting for this dinner after the celebrations. In Malayalam it is called snehavirunnu. I was alarmed by the thought of having to face another crowd. But, to my utter surprise the I saw a straight line, extending a few metres, and no chaos at all. Does hunger force you to behave yourself? It was a buffet dinner and single-handedly I managed to eat. After heading back home, it was time for major over-reaction! I had been suffering from pain like hell. It was two-days of complete hand-rest for me.
When I couldn’t bear the thought of being an invalid for one more day, I began packing. In my desperate attempt to show off that, now I have to make up for the lack of a macho-son in the family, to make my dad conscious about his old-age, determined to prove that I’m capable of managing things myself, I lifted a heavy carton. This time, the scream couldn’t be swallowed. The hand just didn’t seem to oblige with my system.
This was the reason my friends, I couldn’t make it for the school-reunion. I’m still facing the consequences for backing-off in the last minute in the form of life-threatening smses, calls, scraps and offlines.
I made an escapade to Bangalore within a day, but A double-twisted arm does not fit the picture perfectly. As I was alighting from the train, my backpack was pulled backwards in the crowd of people who couldn’t wait to put their foot in Bangalore and I sprained my neck. My neck has been in a perfect 90 degree angle ever-since.
Twisted and Sprained, to avoid further adjectives to my physical well-being, I am enrolling for a week long course on “Dynamics of Crowd Behaviour- How to protect yourself”.

The 5 Step Anger therapy

I took this tag from Jina and as she said, this is a real therapy! I found the tag just at the right time when I was in one of those I want to tear the world apart, I’m so frustrated…moods

Disclaimer: Views expressed in the tag are particularly pointed at certain people around me. I am sure you do pop-in here to enquire about my dire-straits (you wished!)… I hope you get the message at least from this…
And people who don’t know me… This blog is something like my personal diary.

The rules are simple – you just need to list 5 categories of people whom you hate and why.

1. Stupid or rather silly girls…despo’s should be a better word.

Though this statement slanders my own species, I can’t help it. Few of them come across as really desperate girls. Trust me, I found many characters like this…they give their hearts out ( the brain goes as a free offer), blabber about how beautiful it is when you are in love, things go wrong after sometime..then it’s the mending a broken heart phase till they fall for another eye-candy.
They just can’t get their priorities right! I strongly feel girls like this are an insult to womanhood. I hold a strong contempt against girls who choose to end their lives for the sake of a failed relationship. Who is more important? A random guy you know for a few years or months OR your parents who have been with you throughout?

2. People who can’t think beyond “I-me-myself”

A life worth living, only for yourself is totally meaningless. I can’t stand people who live in total oblivion as if nothing else matters but, them. Human nature has selfishness inherent in it, but when it crosses limits, it annoys me. I wouldn’t ask people to be saintly and all that, but even when it comes to your immediate significant others, friends, neighbours… some amount of concern would make things much better.

3. People who make me feel the relation I share with them is an obligation… be it friendship, an acquaintance or familial ties. I think that states the obvious and no explanations are required here.

4. People who take advantage of my submissiveness or silence. Some people think they can trample upon me like a door-mat and have their way. I think I myself am to blame for this situation , but I really hate people who know this and take me for granted. I’ve experienced this more at the hands of close friends and relatives who know that, I can’t say a NO to them.

5. The blame-gamers

It is always easy to blame others. Even though you realize you’re wrong, you’re in a desperate attempt to find the smallest of reasons, where you can pass on the blame to others… But, how long will you lie to yourself or your conscience?

Take this up when you’re in a really bad mood! It helps… cheers.