And the Most Farcical Awards are…

Couple of days ago, I was browsing through the NDTV website when I came across something called the ‘GR8 Women’s Achievers  Awards’. These were new to me but apparently Kelvinator has given them for the last 2 years. I was browsing through the photos of the event to see who got the awards….some inspirational stories maybe?…stories of women who achieved something against all odds…who contributed positively to our society…?NO! But who do I end up seeing…Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Bhagyashree (yup..the one from Maine Pyar Kiya), Diya Mirza (she’s every where these days), Yuktha Mookhey, Aarti Chabria, Zarine Khan etc in their beautiful sarees showing off their blouses and some in their skimpy clothes showing off their well-toned abs and yea..how can I forget….Shabana Azmi..she’s all things feminist isn’t she?

I was so disappointed…there was no one who I could admire, who actually contributed something to our society. Did Kelvinator conviniently ignore people like Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, the founder of Prajwala and many other women who are aplenty in our country? Do GR8 Women Achievers all have to be bollywood starlets? Dr Sunitha Krishnan, the founder of an NGO called Prajwala, who was gang raped at a young age fought back her horrors to become a psychiatrist and help children who are severely abused and sometimes sold and trafficked. Isn’t she inspirational to other women? Isn’t she deserving of this award?

What exactly have the bollywood startlets achieved may I ask? Most of them were models before they became actors or progeny of stars. They get paid crap load of money for their work…live in posh homes, drive extremely comfortable cars and dress in designer labels. For me, a GR8 Achiever is someone like Dr. Sunitha Krishnan…who is ACTUALLY doing something good for our society against all odds.

She is the only one I can think of now but this doesn’t mean there is no other woman in our country who is helping another. I am sure you will find one in every street corner. Such awards should carry some value…give it to people who really deserve them, to encourage them, to motivate them, to recognise their efforts and to show to the world what they do so that their organisations/NGO’s get the much-needed support. It doesn’t matter if you don’t give these awards to actors, they will still be fine…they won’t be missing out on anything. Who will it be next yr? Katrina, Kareena, Deepika etc?

Shame On You Kelvinator and the GR8 Women’s Achievers Awards panel!

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A Post and a New Avtar

I know I know…I said I was back…and then I vanished 😀 But I just couldn’t get myself to write…there wasn’t much going on or anything except for me being lazy…but hey…I’ve seen some wonderful things happening during my break from blogging…and one of them being Barack Obama winning the US elections. How wonderful is that? I do not expect him to bring any drastic changes to the world (and neither do I live in the US) but just the fact that a black man (or a mixed race man) could make it to the White House sounds exciting. History turns full circle and makes us believe that if you have the will, anything’s possible. 

If I am not wrong…it’s been a year since I started this blog. It survived for 365 days which is shocking 😉 I’ve never dedicated myself to anything for so long. Even though I ditched my blog for some other stuff in life, it always managed to pull me back…and mostly because of the lovely comments people leave. Keep ’em coming!!

Life’s changed for the good after moving. Made some wonderful friends, social life’s fantastic, fantastic restraus nearby, great sights but weather as always has been crap!!!! Nevertheless, I am trying to see the positives in life…and I shall continue to do so 😀

I’ve updated my photoblog too…do take a look 🙂

Ciao 🙂

A Woman Among Warlords

…..a Woman Among Warlords follows the campaign of a woman running in Afghanistan’s first democratic parliament election in more than 30 years. 27 year-old Malalai Joya, one of the country’s most famous (and controversial) women since 2003 challenged the power of warlords in national politics. Forced to live in hiding and surrounded by armed guards, Joya conducts her parliamentary campaign in the remote desert province of Farah, the heart of poverty in Afghanistan. Despite death threats and assassination attempts, Joya continues to meet with clan leaders, opium kings, and adolescent girls pressured to marry older men. Six years after a U.S.-led coalition overthrew the Taliban, WIDE ANGLE provides unique insight into the politics and culture of a nation almost ruined by war, still ruled by fear, but desperate for change. A Woman Among Warlords is the television version of the celebrated documentary Enemies of Happiness, a film by Danish director Eva Mulvad……

Pic Courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/graphics

I watched this documentary on More4 couple of days ago and had been wanting to write about it. We came back after watching Mongol. It was 11 PM…our bedtime. I still had some last minute stuff to sort out when I switched on the tv. I put a reminder for this particular show and was glad I didn’t miss it. The documentary finished at 12.20 AM and both of us were wide awake and S usually dozes off by 10.

There were tears rolling down my eyes. We watched the documentary in awe of the woman, Malalai Joya. Often, we are not grateful for what we have and who we are and this documentary makes us realise just how blessed we are.

It’s true…when the going gets tough…only the tough get going and Malalai Joya is a fine example of this. She is all of 29 and dreams of a better future for her country. In a male-dominated society, she is fearless, strong and out-spoken. She is the voice of thousands of Afghani women who lead a life if desperation…in search of justice and hope. Inspite of innumerable death threats…she still fights for her and the rights of other Afghani women and children. 

I RECOMMEND EVERYONE TO WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY. NOT JUST WOMEN. IT’S AN INSPIRATIONAL STORY FOR ALL.

Whey I say Law is in the hands of the Rich and Powerful

Why sometimes I am ashamed to called be an Indian. Please read the article here. And remember, this case is in the NEWS…there are hundreds that aren’t.

The woman was first robbed of her dignity by a couple of men and then again and again by our legal system….by the people who were supposed to protect her. The progress our country makes is worthless unless we learn to protect and respect our women.

Why Women?!

I wanted to update my blog with a couple of recipes…but since my head muddled up thinking about the recent event in Birmingham….I wanted to write the hell out about the psychological mess I am undergoing!

I was speaking with my mom when she told me more about the news…of how the guy after killing Jyothirmayee, self-inflicted injuries to avoid any doubts of his involvement in the murder. I was asking S why a girl would want a relationship with a psycho as himself in the first place. Probably she did not know he’d turn out to be like this. Not her fault. Now that she is gone…it is her family who have been punished for life. How can a human being be so selfish that he/she can think only about himself/herself and is ready to ruin anything that comes in his/her way?

Why didn’t God give the same strength to women to protect themselves as He/She gave to a man? Why is it that a woman is always molested or raped…? Why is it that a woman has to listen to vulgar talk while walking on the road inspite of wearing a shalwar kameez? Why is it that a woman is disfigured, tortured and sometimes killed if she doesn’t accept a man’s advances/demand for love or lust? Why is she tortured and murdered if she does not pay dowry to her husband and her family…..and the most sorrowful fate of all: she is killed even before she is born!

Be it Ayesha’s murder case which has now taken a political turn or the gruesome murder of a 10th class student Mendu Lakshmi who was all of 15 yrs old by her 19 year old neighbour all because she did not accept his advances, a woman undergoes pain that is unimaginable. If we dig history…thousands of such cases will come up…most of them still in courts after tens of years. In a country like India, where law is in the hands of the rich and powerful….middle-class families have to see generations of their off-spring perish before a verdict is reached!

My thoughts stop here….SHE IS THE BEARER OF ALL, YET SHE SUFFERS THE MOST!

Pic Courtesy: Cornell.edu

8 Things About Me You Didn’t Know :)

Thanks Liju for tagging me on this one 🙂 I love writing about myself. So when I was reading Homemaker’s blog about some of the things she likes…I decided to write one for myself and that is when Liju tagged me:)

I am doing this whilst watching Law and Order – Criminal Intent. So if you find some irrelevant stuff…please ignore! 😀

Here goes,

Eight things I am passionate about

  1. Travelling
  2. Photography
  3. Movies
  4. Music & Dance (Since they go together)
  5. History
  6. Books
  7. Social Work (Children and Women)
  8. and most importantly My Family!

Eight things I want to do before I die

  1. Skydiving. I am an Acrophobic.…so me going Skydiving is a BIG DEAL!
  2. Learn to ride a Bicycle and graduate to riding a Bike. I know. You guys might think I am pathetic…not knowing how to ride a bicycle? I fell once while riding on a slope and I haven’t given it a try since….and I was 10 yrs old then. The same goes for Swimming. So basically, I want to try and accomplish all the things I am scared of and overcome my fear
  3. Involve myself in the upliftment of abused, destitute and vulnerable Children and Women…not just by writing cheques but my including in person with the various NGO’s working for them at grassroot level. God Willing, one day, I will set up one of my own
  4. Travel the whole world…from the Americas to Australia…From Iceland to South Africa. To keep it simple….wherever there is Oxygen and Water 🙂
  5. Go on a tour of India. Discover the various temples, mosques, churches and many other religious places my country is the birth place of…the wonderful beaches, the ancient architechture, the ghat sections, the sanctuaries…everything!!!
  6. Get a body like Deepika Padukone 😀
  7. Watch my country ruled by politicians who have B**** to say NO to the West. Indian public who will treat everyone equally and a Governemt which will not divide us on the basis of Caste and Religion. Upliftment of the scores of people who still live under the poverty line and see the Capital Punishment being implemented on convicted Rapists and Paedophiles (This list will go on…so I will stop here until the next person tags me on this 🙂
  8. Last but not the least..work in the NHS. It’s been long avoiding me…but before I leave this country, I’d want to work….even for a month…and say ‘Mission Accomplished’!

Eight things I say often

  1. Mentlaa (as in Mental’aa’)
  2. This is called S*** with a Cherry on Top 😀
  3. Waste Fellow
  4. Chaaaa…..Nijanganaaa
  5. Antha Scene Ledu
  6. Over actionoddu (as in Over Action Vaddu)
  7. Bore Koduthundiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii 😦
  8. and the classic South Indian expression – Ayyayyoooooo  (my all time fav) 😀

Eight Two books I have read recently

  1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  2. Days That Changed the World by Hywel Williams

Eight songs I could listen to over and over

Eight’s a little difficult…’cuz I got loadzzzz of them…but I will try and reduce it to eight with a mix of Hindi, Telugu and English Songs

Eight things that attract me to my friends

I can think of one…for the rest….you’ll have to ask them 😀

  1. My ability to continuously blabber…..sense and nonsense!

Njoy!!!

Save the Childhood

November 14th, the birthday of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru 0r Chacha Nehru as he is fondly called is celebrated as Children’s Day in India. As a child, celebrating Children’s Day meant distributing chocolates amongst students and teachers. It never once crossed my mind what it meant to children who were less previliged than I was. I was happy because my friends were happy..every kid I knew was safe…so really…I didn’t bother.

Living abroad for the last 6 years has taught me many things. It’s changed my personality and the way I see things. Now that I live in a ‘developed’ country where its citizens are taken care of with utmost sincerity, I started to wonder why my country could not be the same. Why it could not take care of the most vulnerable. Is it because our country was raped over and over again and was robbed of all our wealth…or is it our attitude of turning a blind eye to what’s happening around us?

image borrowed from indiadialy.com

 //en.epochtimes.com/news_images/2006-10-11-india-child.jpg

During my last visit to India, I had been to this restaurant in Hyderabad. A family with 4 kids had come to enjoy a night out at the same restaurant. The family was accompanied by a 13 or14 yr old girl…who’s job was to look after the other 4 kids…one of whom was barely a months old baby. I quickly asked my parents if it was illegal to do so. I wanted to call the cops and let them know what was happening but something stopped me. I was scared. I feared repercussions but even today I curse myself for not doing anything about it. I feel so useless.

I could not take my eyes off the little girl who had to carry the baby around while the family sat and ate to their hearts content. This incident happened when THE ABOLITION OF CHILD LABOUR BILL, 2006 was introduced…when there was NEWS splashed all across media that people employing under-age kids could face imprisonment…and here I see a family least bothered about what could happen to them if caught. 

picture borrowed from http://members.tripod.com/sadashivan_nair/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/ragpicker.jpg

The problem lies within us. Not all of us employ kids…but when we see something like this happening…we tend to ignore and move on because we are scared.

India has the largest number of Child Labour in the world…estimated ranging from 70 million to 114 million. They are forced to do a variety of things…from falling prey to paedophiles…to becoming members of a highly organised begging groups where they are forced to work on streets for upto 16 hrs a day…from domestic servants who are physically and mentally abused…to stone cutters or toiling for hours together for retail giants like GAP.

But how do we stop this from happening. Yes, children are made to work…their precious childhood is robbed but if they are sent to Govt. schools…are the facilities good enough for them to survive. It has been shown many a times that the facilities  provided for children at a governement school are pathetic…stale food…no books…no teachers just to name a few. Also will their parents allow them to study when they could make 200 bucks a day? Is there a way out of all this? All the furore about India being the next economic super power…but are the most vulnerable reaping any benefits out of this new found weath. When I visit Hyderabad…I see these huge buildings coming up in every corner…but at the same bend…I see kids begging and seraching for food in garbage disposal tanks.

I am not saying all this should change overnight…or not least in the next 10 years. But what I am saying is that change starts at home…yours and mine. Refuse to accept tea served by a child at your local tea store…refuse to accept your take away food to be delivered by a kid…refuse to accept your street and your apartment complex to be cleaned by a kid…I am sure such small things will be invaluable in brining positive change to the society we live in. Lets not leave everything to the government and the politicians.

You can start by helping and actively supporting oragnisations like Bachpan Bachao Andolan or Save the Childhood Foundation just to name a few.

Every child deserves a beautiful childhood. You and were lucky enough to get it…so why shoudn’t the rest? Let us try and make this possible in our own little way.

//www.nrityanjali.org/images/child_labour.jpg