Category Archives: Ruminating Ramble

The curse of our times

It was just another weekday evening. The roommate was immersed in her books and I had my headphones plugged in, shutting out the noises of the world outside. Tinie Tempah’s Written in the stars was growing on me when roomie jumped up from her chair with a start and pointed towards the window. A short male figure stood on the other side, his face pasted on to the window and with a clear intention to display his manhood to two hapless inmates in a women’s hostel. My heart skipped a beat and both of us remained frozen on the spot. It was a first time experience for me.  I still feel like kicking myself for not calling the police then. But, at that moment fear gripped me and I knew how far fetched from reality it was to think and react. The first step I took, was to let the hostel in-charge know.  She enlightened me on how the same guy was caught by the police a few months back and let off later.

What surprised me was the nonchalance of the authorities towards this incident. There is nobody to complain to and the only response we get is ” Ningal mind cheyyanda, thaane nirthikollum”. Don’t be bothered about it. He’ll stop it. FOR HOW LONG?

A few weeks later, a girl was literally thrown out of the hostel because she was seen caught talking to a boy. “We cannot handle this kind of behavior”, they claimed. The mother was summoned, the girl was reprimanded and her character assassinated.

Such hypocrites! A woman’s chastity weighs over her safety. Its okay to have a pervert knocking at your window at night but an innocent girl who just happened to speak to a boy is considered a threat to the ‘good name’ of an ‘institution’. Non-sense.

These are just random incidents, a few among the numerous ones I have come across ever since I shifted back to Mallu land 6 months ago. For all the literacy levels we claim to have, it irks me that a society can still remain so narrow-minded. Not to mention the new brigand of moral police who have taken it upon to cleanse the state from all evils. Just how filthy can one’s perception be.

A normal day at work requires me to interact with customers of all ages. Its pathetic when I try to make eye contact and the loser in front of me has eyes only for my body. Just because, I’m a woman.  When I walk towards the bank, I cross paths with a bunch 16-17 yr olds who attend coaching classes for entrance exams. Though I pretend that I haven’t heard them and walk off,  their lewd remarks scare me. These young boys could turn out to be serial rapists in future. When I shared this with another elderly woman ( a senior colleague), the response I got was , ” Nee enthina athu kekkan pone”. Hello Auntie.. since when have we started listening to things that only we want to or we should! I got to hear such unreasonable explanations that question  one’s basic common sense from most people I spoke to about this.

Why is it that any sort of abuse a woman has to face is treated with silence and apathy? In most cases, people frantically search for a loophole to blame the woman under any circumstance.

If a woman is vocal about the injustice she faces, ‘the feminist’ label is pasted. If she expresses a progressive view on what she wants from life, ‘its the evil of women’s liberation and misguided youth of today’. If a woman decides to walk out of a marriage she cannot handle, ‘its her problem that she couldn’t adjust’. If she decides to have a career and make all efforts to go up the ladder ,’ she has her priorities misplaced’. If a woman decides not bring kids into this big bad world, ‘ she is incapable of being a woman’. The accusations are plenty for every step a woman takes against conventions.

Its high time we moved out of the archaic value system, that has been twisted and tested to suit people’s needs. Its a crime to blindly cling on to  conservatism to protect a retarded society. Education and literacy serves no purpose if the society is made regressive.

Why don’t I change the hostel and find a safer place to stay , you may ask?.

I was new to the town and absolutely clueless. Being the Archdiocese and all, the area has a plethora of convent run hostels. But, 95% of them were not ready to take in an employed girl who wouldn’t return from work before 6 p.m. So, why are these hostels run anyways and could somebody explain the logic behind the 6 p.m deadline? Its not like Satan would cross the gates and destroy the sanctity of the place along with me if I returned from work after 6 p.m and they let me in.

The only other option left was to find a house for rent. Now a single unmarried girl comes with a baggage of trouble and juicy details for the entire house owner association in the area. I knocked doors only to have the doors slammed on my face or the nicer people’s nod of regret when I mention I’m all alone. People are apprehensive about giving a girl a safe place to stay. Nevertheless, all ears and eyes and tongues are in action if they see her walking/ traveling alone at nightfall.

Did I say I live in a district with 100% literacy and 200% hypocrisy?

(I do not intend to generalize against the entire mallu clan here. There are genuinely nice people who do respect women and treat them as dignified individuals.  But, a few  bad experiences in the recent past have been building up a volcano of frustration and it had to explode today. Had to vent!)


Crushing it, before it blooms

Years ago when I heard Krishna’s story, I was bewildered. Krishna is one of those people, who throw the harsh realities of life ‘ON YOUR FACE’. One of those incidents which makes you think beyond the insulated cocoon that your life is. Circumstances which makes you thankful for your state of being yet, question why did someone else have to go through this. Krishna was the smart little one who put the NGO into trouble, at the  authoritative hands of the Women’s Commission.

On the day of the rescue, Krishna was kept along with the other boys in the ‘home’ as the authorities easily mistook her for a boy.  At the first look anyone would be misguided into believing that she was a boy, with her clothes, short hair and boy-like mannerisms. It was during the routine medical check-up the next day that the authorities discovered, Krishna was actually a girl.

This little girl, barely aged seven gave her explanations for her mannerisms and appearance as a boy. She even chose a gender-neutral name. Her mother was one of those unfortunate women who had to earn a living, satisfying a Man’s state of perpetual deprivation. Her’s was an accidental birth, she said and I was left dumbstruck. Krishna grew up in a brothel. Having a child, decreased her mother’s market value. As she grew older, the innocence was overshadowed by fear. Krishna was at first puzzled by the attention she got. When Krishna realized it was her nascent femininity which was the cynosure of those lecherous men, when the hugs and kisses made her uncomfortable,  from whatever  little experience of life she’d had she decided to disguise as a boy. All she wanted to do was divert unwanted attention. When her mother died, Krishna ran away and ended up in this city and was rescued along with other street children at the bus-station.

Honestly, at the age of seven I would’ve hardly understood what all this meant. But, at the same tender age, Krishna had to grow up much beyond the number of years of her earthly existence. And I see young girls of the same age around me, living a carefree life, trying to be ‘girly’, barbies and kitchen sets, fancy make-up sets and princess like attitudes.

Krishna loathed being a girl, she hated what made her a ‘girl’. Gruesome hands of people, people who were old enough to be her father or grandfather took undue advantage of this little flower, which was almost nipped in the bud. There are many more like her, who don’t realize something is wrong until a long time. Many live with the guilt, many fail to survive. Life is just unfair!!!

( I saw a similar story about a woman who dressed up like a man for the same reasons in one of the newspaper supplements last week. That triggered this post)

Food, wine and merriment

(Warning:  Directionless post ahead)

“Can I please not come”, My repeated pleas fell on deaf ears as my parents dragged me into the church to attend the baptism of a family friend’s grandchild. All this, after the previous day’s drama of finding a gift for the baby to be baptised. We had absolutely no clue about the age or sex of the baby. Plagued by the theories of socialization which emphasizes on the role of toys in identity building, my parents and me went gift hunting.

Embarrassed by the situation, the mean me disowned them for a while and loitered around the store until a specimen caught my eye. A distraught guy from CET ( don’t ask how I knew he was from CET, I’ve lived close enough to the place, long enough to identify the species) was searching for the perfect gift for his girlfriend. I kept on staring at his antics which left him embarrassed and me suppressing my laughter. The gift was wrapped in red, with a red rose on top and the guy was troubling the sales boy for a red satin ribbon and a red envelope for a greeting card , all this reddish-ness made my jaws drop to the floor. Any self-respecting girlfriend would fling the gift out of the window and dump the boyfriend for his aesthetic sense or the lack of it. Kids these days! Ah, never mind, I’ve seen worse cases of relationship induced gift paranoia. The parents finally got their gift, age- neutral gender-neutral and all that and we headed back home.

Next day, in spite of a head-ache that transpired to a stomach ache and then body-ache, my repeated requests were ignored. Powdered and perfumed, dressed, decked and accessorized I was literally pulled into the church by my parents. Sans, the niceties of it, God bless the family and the baby… ( my parents were relieved to see the gift was appropriate enough for the baby, it was ‘he’ by the way), my intention is to throw some light on the specimen you encounter on such occasions. After the final blessing, while the photographers camera assaulted the baby and family, the valiachayans, achayans and kuttiachayans disappeared into the safe confines of their four-wheelers. Obviously, to lubricate and dissolve their digestive systems which wouldn’t absorb a single morsel of food without the ‘petrol for the achayan’s soul’. Experienced valiyachayans returned steady and stable, the achayans in the making made a strenuous effort to appear stable while the kuttichayans, taking their baby steps into true achayan-hood were still learning to how to booze and not break loose.

Observing them all and making a mental note to avoid crossing paths with the who’s who present in the hall, I waited in the queue for my turn. Before I knew it, I was pushed forward step by step, my plate being loaded in the process. By the time I emerged out of the mob I was struggling to balance the plate and the high heels ( aargh Amma). As my bad luck was kharaab, I ended up right in front of the ‘local babu’ who never spares me from his annoying questions. This achayan conveniently skipped everything that happened in god’s abode above and landed on time for the lunch in the parish hall below.

“Nee maamodisa koodan vannatha?” , he drawled.

“Alla kooli pani kittuonnu nokkan vannatha”, I wanted to retort but a valicha chiri a.k.a a reluctant smile sufficed for the moment, just like smileys help you when you have nothing to say.

I was appalled by the audacity of the number of achayans who sauntered in one by one , their wifeys had to sit through the rituals in the church and busy achayans landed on time to fill their pot bellies. Anyways, whoever had walked in with high hopes of a sumptuous lunch, left with sullen faces. I’m sure even Obama and Osama would’ve struck a deal to finish off the cook, if they had to eat that abominable sorry dish of a mutton stew. When I realized, my body couldn’t take the torture any longer, I left the plate in the bin, balancing it amidst a leaning heap of plates that threatened to crash any second. Dessert looked like gulab jamun and tasted like rubber. Lets not delve into more details about it.

The caterers are the most despicable species in Mallu land these days. Add to it the extravagant people who don’t need a special reason for food, wine and merriment. I was shocked to see  chicken biriyani being served on the 41st day of my uncle’s demise. Food was wasted in tonnes for this baptism too. And there are people who get a heart-attack due to the soaring food inflation these days!

Being the season of weddings and baptisms, I am sure food, wine and merriment left many in dire straits by the end of it. Living epitomes of gluttony who binge and then rush to their docs, the ‘pressured and sugared’ ones who find it difficult to exercise self-control this season… I saw many ruthless daughter-in-laws who looked daggers at  appachans and ammachis foreseeing troubled times ahead.

Gone are those days when cooking food for the next day’s grand occasion was a celebration in itself. Tempos arrived loaded with huge vessels, people thronged the local village market, advance booking would be made at the ‘kula kada’, the pandal would be erected, family members stayed up all night to slice onions and grate coconuts over endless banter and gossip,the ‘dahannakaaaran’ or the ‘local chef’ was a VIP during the season, the plantain leaves had to be cut and cleaned,young men served the food to the guests and end of the day, the excess food was parceled to family members and neighbours. Ok I need to stop taking that trip down memory lane once again!

(PS: Not all Achayans are like that)

Two sides of the road

Every morning as I drag myself to college, I come across these bunch of kids who are on their way to school. Their lively sare an insult to the life-less adults who are enveloped in the monotony of life.

On the other side of the road:

The kids are on their way to school, the enthusiastic faces eagerly waiting to see, what a new day has to offer them. ( I don’t know if kids really think that way these days :D). Lugging their heavy school bags, grandparents, servants or parents would be following them. The kids are clad in neatly pressed uniforms, handkerchiefs pinned to their shirts, shoes shining black and socks sparkling white. The kids wait for their van while the are parents engaged in conversation. The kids are always prim and proper, except for a few tantrums thrown by the youngest of the lot. The arrival of the van leads to a mad melee between elders and kids. Parents shove each other to get their kids into the van first. Sometimes, parents barge into the vans to ensure their kids get space to sit, or sometimes bully motion other kids to shift so that their kids get a window seat. Since the van is a privately operated one, rules and courtesies are comfortably forgotten. Kisses are blown, bye-byes are waved and the elders return to their routine lives. These kids go to the reputed schools of Bangalore, parents spend hefty amounts to provide the best education for their kids and life moves on. These kids are born with a silver spoon in their mouths. I’ve been seeing them  for more than a year now. Having observed them for quite sometime, I wouldn’t be surprised if they grew up into pampered spoilt brats.

Shift focus to my side of the road:

Sometime in June, apart from the regular crowd at the bus-stop, a group of kids aged between 6-12 entered the bus-stop and monopolized all the attention I had reserved for the kids on the opposite side of the road. These kids wore tattered uniforms, walked barefoot, the school bags were shoddy and most of them looked malnourished. The eldest of the group hardly 12 years old, assumed the full responsibility for these kids. The naughty young boys and their acrobatic displays on the railings in the bus-stop attracted everyone’s amused looks. They fought, threw mud on each other, they’d pick up some random metal scraps or papers from the road ( for what use, only they know) and  would be in a disheveled state by the time they reached school. Yet, the same unruly kids can pull your heartstrings when you see seven of them sharing one Marie biscuit. The BMTC buses which go in their school’s direction are always overcrowded. When the buses arrive, the kids look for the senior kid’s approval, as they don’t know how to read the bus number or the names written on the board. Sometimes they make a dash for the wrong bus, to grab space and the senior kid would shout at them and the kids would jump out of the bus.  Few bus drivers, never stopped for these kids and the kids would run behind the bus, mostly to no avail. Many times,  these kids had to travel on the foot board of the buses and my heart skips a beat when the bus goes away. The scene forced me to utter a prayer for these kids’ safety. There is nobody to say bye to these kids, nobody to  blow kisses. There is nobody to fight for these kids. End of the day, they have to fight for their space, their existence and their survival. They are children of the lesser gods only by birth. Their endless chatter and playful antics in those 15 minutes at the bus-stop everyday was enough to cheer me up on an otherwise drab boring working day.

From what I could gather, these kids lived in a slum located somewhere close to our area. Their parents were mostly construction workers. These parents work hard too, to provide whatever education they can, to their kids. But, whether these kids are really interested to go to school or not, I don’t know. I don’t think they really learned anything from school, their inability to read the boards made me think so. Their school is no exception from the  typical government school image portrayed all over. Absentee teachers,  empty classrooms, high dropout rates, unhygienic and terrible conditions… Most of them go maybe, only for the mid-day meals.

Since November, the kids have disappeared. I have no clue about what happened to them. Most probably, the construction workers must have shifted to another place and the kids would be living in dire straits in some other area. I don’t know if they still go to school. Yet, their absence has been disturbing. I don’t know where exactly they lived, I don’t know all their names. Yet, they gave me a reason to stop grumbling about having to go to college. Unlike most of them, lucky ones like us were never deprived of an opportunity.

A huge disparity, spanning across the width of a 60 ft road. Isn’t this the same all over our country? The road to development starts from education, everyone claims. The words ‘Right to Education’ has been making the rounds for a long time now, yet what is the point in giving rights like this, when there are no right means to provide the same.

Yet, I wonder how exactly can we make education accessible and affordable for all?

Interested only in ‘interest’

“Amen”, the audience said in chorus, drew the sign of the cross, murmured the last prayer and made a dash to the exit after the mass on Saturday morning. People who weren’t free from their commitments on Saturdays were the first ones to scoot. You’d witness a mixture of people, kids rushing for tuition classes, uncles and aunties who had to be the first in line at the butcher’s shop, ammachis who were offered a free ride in their kids’ cars for the weekend etc. The only ones who stayed back were people who had nothing else to do on a Saturday morning. Some of them would pray for a little longer, recite the rosary, some of them would go to the statues and photos in the church for a ‘special recommendation’ so that their prayers were answered soon. This also included members of different organizations working under the aegis of the church for the betterment of the society we live in. (At least the annual reports they present says so). Everyone is given a fair chance to be a part of any organization. There is a league for the kids, a movement of the youth, a forum for the mothers and fathers and some other groups named after saints when people felt they didn’t fit into any of the other groups. The St. Anthony’s society included the grandpas and grandmas, retired personnel, the omnipresent members who belonged to every organization etc. Some enthusiastic members would exit fast to grab the front row seats in the meeting for no apparent reason. By the time the oldies limp, hobble and make their way, the meeting would’ve already begun with another prayer and sign of the cross.

It was on one such Saturday that Ammini had come for the meeting, seeking financial help. She needed money to complete the construction of her house. Now, members of the group have burnt their fingers in many cases like this (it’s about money after all) and hence, pounced on her with questions. The number of questions asked and time taken for background check is always proportional to the number of years the group has been in existence. Now, the group members consist of people from all backgrounds. From the Retd.Colonel to the headmaster, from the accountants to the theatre artist, everyone had their share of inquiries. The accountants are considered to be the most inhumane of the lot, even though towards the end of the FY, when accounts are to be settled they are given a royal treatment. They are the ones with the most number of questions too. Ammini gasped for breath as she kept answering the rapid fire round of questions. Applying for a bank loan and the paper work wouldn’t be so tedious, she thought. Finally, the problem was laid for consideration.

Ammini lives with her husband and two kids. The husband cannot stand still until his internal organs are dissolved in alcohol. Ammini is the sole breadwinner, doing menial jobs in the area.Thankfully, both her daughters understood the importance of getting educated and were enrolled for a degree course in the college run by the Church. She had received a loan of 30k from the government for construction of her house. She was directed to approach St.Anthony’s society by a Good Samaritan who preferred to keep a low profile and thus, was instructed not to give out his identity. The accountants who had retired from govt. service raised their objection while others pondered on who the Good Samaritan could be. “Wasn’t that much money enough that many years ago to complete the construction?” they questioned considering themselves to be the keepers of the govt. treasury. The pinch of tax money you see… though the highest tax-payer from the group, nicknamed ‘Blade Chacko’ seemed disinterested. His only interest in life was to live on the interest he extorted.

Discussion ensued and the group concluded that, rather than providing the money for construction, they’d provide for her kids’ education, in the institution run by the Church authorities. Ammini didn’t seem satisfied and so did her handful of supporters which included the highly emotional Katrinammachi, who swore that these people are so heartless. Ammini insisted on getting help in cash than in kind. ‘Blade Chacko’, who normally never spoke up, tried vouching for her. But, majority of the members refused to provide money for the construction. They asked Ammini to wait outside and continued debating. Finally, they reached a decision and called her inside. The President cleared his throat, modulated his diplomatic tone and made the most neutral face he could ever manage to and said, “See Ammini, we can’t give you money to complete the construction. We are ready to provide free education for your kids in the college run by us, but any sort of monetary help can’t be provided at the moment”. If one could translate his words to harsh reality it meant ‘Take it or leave it’.

“Ayyoooo, njan Chackochante palisha engane adachu theerkum (how will I repay the interest I’m due to pay to Chackochan)”, Ammini wailed when she realized there was no way she’d get the money from the society. She then turned to ‘Blade Chacko’ and screamed, “ingeru paranjitta njan ivde vanne. Ende swarnam  ingerde aduthu panayathila. Palisha koduthillenkil ingerenne jeevikkan sammathikkilla( I came here because he asked me to do so. The little gold I have is in his custody. I need to pay him the regular interest or he makes my life a living hell).

‘Blade Chacko’ the so-called Good Samaritan stood frozen to the ground and all eyes remained fixed on him.

This is the story of Blade Chacko who sent a debtor to the church so that the fund made available is paid to him as interest money. The same ‘Blade Chacko’ who is a member of every organization in the church, the one who never misses a Holy Mass, the one who is actively involved in every activity of the church. There is no dearth of such ‘Blade Chackos’ in our part of the world. Last week, the Sunday homily involved a letter from the Bishop on efforts made by the church and allied organizations for serving the poor and downtrodden. But, with members like ‘Blade Chacko’ running the show, how far are these efforts realized? Self-interest and exorbitant rates of interest! *sigh *

(based on a true incident)

What you learn from kids

A few weeks back I was at my cousins’ school for their Annual Sports day. Not that I was too enthufied to attend a sports day. In school, I’d hide behind the crowds so that the teacher wouldn’t pick me to run a race. I was too young to understand that ‘trying is more important than victory’ yet old enough to understand how embarrassing it was to finish at the tail end of a race. The only thing we nonathletic people had to do on sports day was to be the ‘cheering group’ or else the PT display.

Anyways, my cousins have followed my footsteps and thus, the younger one went for her PT display carrying a pack of chips and other snacks. The purpose of my going there was to pick her up from school as the van wouldn’t ply that day. Thus, I went there, awed by the changes in the school, making the right expressions of ‘wow’ and ‘nice’ so that the little ones aren’t offended. Honestly, the school and the expenses remind me of the saying, “kaashu koduthu kadikkana patti vangikkua.” Out of the minimal working days they have 1/4th constitute some or the other celebration and the remaining days the cousins claim,” Today we enjoyed so much in class… nothing to do”. This is the case in a reputed convent run school here which have supermodels and PETA activists to claim in their alumni. The school is doing a good job at molding them too.

I was there feeling like a misfit amidst the various types of mommies and daddies. Kids displayed their athletic skills after which the chief guests and nuns displayed their oratory skills. The poor kids had enough, sitting in the hot sun. They just wanted to get over with it and head back home. Anyways, after waiting for ages, the ‘sports day’ ended after everyone was given a fair chance to display whatever ‘skills’ they possessed.

I was walking along with my cousins and witnessed a scene like this:

A kid (kid 1) was walking with her mother. Her friend came in the opposite direction and the mother of (kid 1) asked the friend (kid 2) the usual questions like ‘hi-how-are-you’

I don’t know what transpired between them but kid 2 continued walking and kid 1 yelled  ‘Have some manners ya. Is this how you speak to elders, at least give my mother a proper response and go’

The mother was embarrassed on the sudden outburst and tried hushing her daughter but I really admired  kid 1′ s guts. She stood up for what she believed was right.

It just reminded me of a similar incident that took place sometime back.

We were talking to the daughter of a so called acquaintance. She is as old as me. She has been here for a couple of months and we ran into each other in a rather unexpected place. Anyways, the daughter was with her friends and she was asking about where we stayed. Amma gave her the name of the location yet, the daughter started arguing with Amma about the name of the place. She was hell bent on making us accept that the name of the place was the one she said. Now who would know better about the name of the place we lived? My mom who has stayed here for 10+ 1 1/2  years or she who came here a few months back.What was the need for her to argue on such a trivial matter and that too in front of her gang of friends. What difference would it make for her? Yes,  sometimes I’m really embarrassed the way my generation behaves!

I wish I had guts like the kid to retort and teach her a lesson. That 7 year old kid had more sense than me. Me, thrice her age didn’t stand up for my mom, just chose to ignore it and gave up. Guess it isn’t so nice to be nice in this world these days.

Service with lips, lipsticks and lights

During the second year of my Undergrad, I was highly inspired and motivated to do my bit for the society, thanks to the subject Sociology and the compulsory credit courses we had to take up to fulfill the requirements for  the award of our degree. Whatever…

Since, Outreach offered maximum credits in minimum time and didn’t involve hours of sitting through painful lectures on weekends, many of us opted for it. I was a highly motivated individual at that time remember? We were sent to BOSCO Mane and those days made me realize how hard it is in reality if you really have to do your bit for the society.

It was during such a phase, in December, I think in commemoration of Human Rights Day, we hostelers were asked to take part in this particular ‘candle light vigil’ organized by some Germany based women’s organization. I don’t even remember the name, it was unheard of till then and unheard of even now, but I remember it rhymed with the word onomatopoeia. We were all asked to wear white for the vigil, which saw many a ‘beg, borrow, steal’ attempts by the ones who wanted to contribute to the well-being of the society.

We had to report at M.G road entrance and the rally was to be held around Cubbon park, the popular venue for any ‘Socially Conscious’ Bangalorean. The organizers distributed some fancy candles and paper cutouts to prevent wax from dripping and burning our hands and spoiling our clothes. After the women had finished air-kissing, hugging and exchanging pleasantries (read the designer for their sari, or where they got their accessories from),  putting on that final dab of lip gloss and a brief talk ‘praising the works of their organization, the walk was inaugurated.

The members of the group could be distinctly identified. The white clad supermodels and the ‘hostelers’ like us who were assembled solely with the purpose of ‘aale koottal’ or rather ‘speak volumes’ of their organization. The chiffon clad, stiletto clamped womenfolk started ooh-aahing within 5 minutes of the commencement of the walk. Each five minute break was followed by camera flashes, posing for the press and short page 3 type interviews.

“We’re here to work for the betterment of the Indian woman, who has been suppressed and tortured for years” a fat aunty started off.

“We want these atrocities against women to stop”, another aunty shoved off the fat one and fought for her camera space.

We proceeded, watching this circus and I was ashamed to have walked into this. All that mattered here was not letting your candles blow off, make sure the photographers clicked the right faces and give page 3 type interviews. I had no clue on how I made a ‘difference for the women in this country’ with that namesake of a walk.

That day when I returned to the hostel I was not a content person. This publicity stunt for the ‘sake of oppressed’ women of the Indian Society on World Human Rights Day, left me disgusted. That, I had been part of another venture ‘where people misuse the names of the downtrodden for the sake of showing off their service’ made me cringe. Every bit of motivation and inspiration drained off with the realization that more than 90% of these pseudo-service-minded-people do it only for recognition. For them it was just another gimmick to have their faces plastered on newspapers and magazines.

After that particular incident, I’ve been very apprehensive about taking part in these vigils and rallies. I do agree there are many out there who do whole-hearted service but, these candle-lights and rallies just don’t make sense anymore. A momentary realization, awareness which lasts for like what maximum few hours, the undying spirit of patriotism that arises only during national holidays or terror strikes… and what purpose does it serve?

A few months back, we had this Seminar in college and there were some leftover unopened biscuit packets. We decided to distribute the packets among ourselves. I was traveling home with a friend. We stopped at the signal at Bhasyam circle and saw the bunch of kids who sell some arbitrary hand-made stuff or sometimes come begging. At that moment, we decided to give away the biscuit packets to those kids and I will never forget the smallest kid of the lot who actually smiled and said a ‘thank you’. That day, I was a content person.

I still remain pessimistic about the services rendered and how people go on harping about being the change with just a few rallies and candle-light gimmicks. Poverty, deprivation, hunger, and illiteracy nobody actually knows the way out of it. This is the truth I realized after the invigorating ‘growth and development’ exam yesterday.

Sustainable development, growth, strategic planning, poverty alleviation, integrated measures, objectives, goals, targets, achievements, income gap, human development, equitable distribution, population- environment- development nexus, welfare, efficiency of allocation, optimal utilization, mobilizing resources, knowledge base, inclusive growth, eradication, universal literacy… and many more. All of it makes me puke. Reminds me of the trash I’ve to churn out for the next exam, Indian Eco… Yes, these are stuff just worth putting down on paper.