Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Very Sound Rules

Very sound rules which apply to everyone!

  • - Individuals
  • - Parents
  • - Employers
  • - Employees
  • - Politicians
  • - Civilians
  • - Rich
  • - Poor
  • - Everyone!

psst...although Abe is referring to men and brotherhoods only, its for the gals too ;P

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Okay people, please breathe a HUGE sigh of relief with me.

1 - 2 - 3 - NOW!


That's good.

Now I will tell you why you are so relieved.

We were having this nice lazy Saturday afternoon. I came back from some mundane household shopping to find two envelopes lying on my side of the bed. The hubby had sorted out the mail and left my junk for me to deal with. I had a short exchange with him about how he should dispose of such garbage for me. And then I get down to business.

One was from the DMV. I knew why they were writing to me, my car registration is due in a couple months. Groaann...more money leaving my little piggy bank. Leave it alone. We'll deal with it later.

The second one had just a return address on it. No name, no clue where it was from. I weighed it, felt it, seemed like something from some credit card company. Damn these spammers. Using up so much paper that I am simply going to throw out. Maybe I should just throw it out. Why bother opening it. Grumble, grumble, groan, groan, rip it open, jaw drop!

It is........


Green Card!

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Sushi Lunch

This is what I did today :)

My Japanese Lunch (Please click on the link to see goooood pictures)

I posted just the good stuff on the photo-blog. Unfortunately, there was not-so-good stuff too. Like this "thing" that my friend ordered:

I have cropped the picture, the original had his shocked face, looking very very suspiciously at what was served to him. I cannot even begin to describe how hard it was for the poor guy to eat this. We kept asking him to order something else, it was painful for us to even watch him!

Other than this...what else have I been up to....hmm...lets see...

I am reading a really great book on writing. Yes, reading about writing. I learnt so much from it, that I want to edit ALL my blog posts and make them more fun!

I am back on my exercise routine! I started on Monday, felt great for the first few hours after, I did exercise everyday, but was DEAD for one whole week. Darn, its hard!!! On the other hand, I am glad I didn't quit after the first day!

I am thinking about starting a series of posts on my blog. About things I like to do. A few ideas:

- Social causes: Feature one cause/organization per week. I loved writing about Project WHY, and would like to do more posts like that.
- Fashion: Well, I like to look at new trends and stuff, but not sure if I have anything to contribute. So maybe not.
- Cooking: Again, I like to cook (finally!!!), but I am not at a stage where I can give tips or create new recipes. I guess I could put up links to my favorite dishes? Favorite ingredients? Hmmm...I think I will explore this some more.
- Writing: This is a direct result of the book I am reading! It makes me want to write! How cool is that!

What would YOU like out of this list? I am not promising that I will go with the vote, but I want to know what is more interesting to most people.

It is funny how this post came about! I had only intended to put up the pictures of the Japanese lunch. And look what it led to! All I am doing is typing out my thoughts exactly as they are forming in my head. Is this what writing is all about?

Ok, full stop!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


We had recently moved to Pune, and my mother had hired Alkabai as our maid.
I didn't pay much attention to her at the time, but now when I think about her, the mental picture that comes up in my mind is that of a beautiful, tall woman, impeccably dressed in a clean saree, neatly combed hair, a friendly smile on her lips. She was very efficient in her work, and soft spoken and caring in manner. The very picture of a happy, content person.

This picture got tainted the fateful day when her husband knocked on our door. He was dead-drunk in the middle of the day, looking for Alkabai. My mother said she was not there, and warned him never to come back to our house. He stood there asking for Alkabai's salary,
saying he was her husband, and needs the money. My mother simply asked him to go away and shut the door. He hung around peeking in through the windows for some time, then left cursing everyone, from Alkabai to my mother and anyone else that he could think of.

Alkabai was hiding somewhere in the house all this time, shedding silent tears.
"यह तो रोज का है, माजी. रोज पिके आता है, पैसे मांगता है. पैसे नहीं दिए तो मुझे मारता है. आज देखो मेरे पीछे पीछे यहाँ तक आ गया, और आपको परेशान कर रहा है", she said when asked what this was about. My mother did not know what to say to her.

A few days later, I walked out of our compound and saw the guy, unconscious on the ground with a rock by his bleeding head. People were gathered around him, and someone said that Alkabai finally got fed up and smashed his head.

Anytime I hear the words "Domestic Violence", Alkabai's face magically appears before me.

This was 17 years ago. I used to think that this happens only to uneducated, poor people. How wrong I was! Domestic Violence (DV) plagues each and every strata of our society and our world. It is the most rampant crime, and also the most under-reported one.

Why would anyone want to beat someone up?? Especially when they are family?
The answer is simple. Control! Domination! Insecurity! And it is easier to get away when it is family, because people do tend to keep such dirty laundry under wraps. Women are taught to be "resilient" and "silently bear" everything for the family's sake.

How did this ever become acceptable! Isn't it violation of basic human rights?
The main reason this is acceptable is because of the way our society is structured. Even I have been brought up to believe that "We live in a male-dominated society. If you learn to accept that, then you will be happy".

I did not think to object to this when I was 17. Thankfully, I have grown up, and now know better than that.There are a couple of key points in this statement that make me bristle today.

The first one is that of domination. Why anyone should dominate or control another is beyond me.
The second one is that acceptance of this domination is the key to being happy. This is the exact opposite of the truth! How can anyone ever be happy if they are being suppressed! Accept it? How??? And why?

Unfortunately, this statement sums up what most girls grow up believing and continue to believe.

I wonder why Alkabai didn't dump her husband before things got to the point they did.
Society is to blame again!
A single/divorced woman is looked upon with scorn. She might even fall prey to other lecherous men if she dumped this one.
She might have been afraid that he might come after her with renewed anger and force.
She might have been brain washed into believing that she deserved to be beaten up!
Maybe she just got used to it, and didn't realize that this is wrong and life can be different!
Maybe she had no support system, no one to turn to. So she just continued to be with the abusive partner thinking that "something is better than nothing"
Maybe she did not know that she COULD do something, that she COULD report to the police!

The effects of DV are deep and far-reaching. Not only does it affect the woman, but also any children in the household. Boys may grow up believing that it is okay to hurt someone, to control someone through violence. Girls may grow up with very slow self-esteem and also believe
that they deserve to be abused. And the cycle just does not end!

So what can we do to prevent DV?
As far as I know, most of us tend to ignore these matters thinking that it is the personal affair of the people involved. It is not for us to interfere. Truth is, DV is a crime. And crime is no one's personal matter. This crime needs to be dealt with just like any other. I agree, it is difficult to decide when it is time for outsiders to intervene since relationships are sensitive issues.

Yet, there ARE a few things that we can do.

If you see anyone being abused, stop them! Interfere, say something completely irrelevant, say nothing, anything that you can think of at the time, just do something to stop the chain of negative thoughts in the perpetrators mind.

If you know of someone who is routinely being abused, but is not doing anything about it, offer help. Let them know that you are there to support them in case they decide to take action. Make them aware of the laws that protect them against DV. Make them aware that there is life beyond their relationship!

Lastly, I think, it is critical to educate children in school about domestic violence. They should know what actions qualify as DV, and what laws exist for protection against them. If this is taught to them at a young age, I am confident they will grow up to build lasting and loving relationships!

It is time for everyone, regardless of cast, creed, sex, religion, every single person on earth to live with pride and dignity! Let's take the steps necessary to eradicate this monster!

Happy Women's Day!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bell Bajao!

March 8th is International Women's Day. Think about what this means, and how you would like to celebrate it.

Yesterday I had sent an email to some of my closest girls (sorry, guys, the email specifically asked me to pick precisely 12 women :) who have in some way touched my life, made it better, helped me be a better person. I bet all my recipients loved it!

I now urge you to include more women in this circle! Not just 12! Not just the ones you know and those who have helped you. But those whom YOU can help.

How? By joining the campaign against Domestic Violence.

In fact, keeping in mind the recent events in Mangalore and Bangalore, not just Domestic Violence, but any kind of violence against women.

Those of you in India may already have heard of the "Bell Bajao" campaign. What is different about this campaign is that it urges MEN to take a stand against domestic violence.
It asks us to do just one simple thing. Intervene when you see abuse, some times that is all it takes! I read an interview of Boman Irani's on the Bell Bajao website, and the gist of what he said, intervention can be very powerful. Just interrupt them, look them in the eye, say something completely irrelevant, say nothing, anything that you can think of at the time, do whatever, but do it. Interrupt! It works!

Of course there are other things that need to be done as well. But this is a start!

So lets spread the word, increase awareness, and fight this beast once and for all!

I would love to see a post about this on your blogs on March 8th. I will definitely do the same.
Am specially looking forward to posts from the guys here :)

You can find more details about it at their website:

Even if you are not a blogger, there is a LOT you can do! The website has lots of resources that you can use to bring about change in your community.

Here is some history and more information about International Women's Day

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy Birthday :)

My blog turned a year old ... about 2 minutes ago :)

It has been a great one year with all the wonderful friends I have made here. Am not going to put names, for fear of missing anyone. The number of new friends is HUGE! You know who you are :)

It is amazing that I have met people matching my wavelength who call me Maasi (aunty), Didi (elder sister), friend and those that I myself call Didi and Uncle. And yet, I can totally "relate" to everyone. All gender and age gaps disappeared here. Everyone is simply a close friend!

My friends are architects, writers, home-makers, psychologists, photographers, students, environmentalists, activists, poets, armymen, film-makers, doctors and a whole array of professionals that I would never have interacted with without the blog world!

The other amazing thing is how much more aware I am of the world around me. How much I myself have grown because of my interactions with you all.


Thanks SOO much :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Where do you draw the line?

WARNING: This is another one of those molehills that is about to become a mountain!

An acquaintance of mine moved here from India about 6 months ago. So far, he has proved to be quite irresponsible and insensitive to other people's time. I won't go into details, but lets just say that I (and the hubby too) have done a LOT of running around on his behalf.

So the latest is this... I got a call this morning saying that he is not in town this week, and won't be back in time to pay his rent, which is due tomorrow. So would I go pay it. I said sure, no problem. I asked him to email me the details (what is the amount, who do I write the check to, what apartment number do I put in, etc) and I will go and pay it.

Its the end of the day today, and I have not yet received any information.

So what's the vote people, should I write/call and remind him to give me the necessary info, or should I let it pass, have him pay the penalty?

Like I said, its not that big a deal, but how long do you cover for someone, and how old do you need to be before you stop expecting spoon-feeding (The dude has a 3 year old kid, btw!)

Edited to add: He did email late last night...claiming that he had too much work to write to me earlier. Sigh...some people! I wonder whether he saw this post!!!