Thursday, April 30, 2009

About Her

In the March of 2007, on the Woman's Day I set out to write something that was based on my observations and ensuing inferences. I fished it out of my mailbox yesterday and I just hope that it does justice to the protagonist. This I had sent out to all my friends as well. Here it is...

'The day is coming to an end and I am attempting to phrase the words that have been revolving in my mind since a long time now. I still do not know how all this is going to impact you but I shall put them down.

For most of us these will be common everyday sightings - an infant clinging to her mother; a woman clenching the hands of a man who is sprawled on a stretcher waiting to be taken into the hospital; a kid holding his mothers finger and walking the distinguished walk of a believer; and yet another woman returning from work, waiting for the traffic signal to turn green with her scooter laden with groceries and vegetables. You might have had many more sightings of similar nature. For me each of these everyday’s sightings have brought me closer to a belief that there are angels all around us, each one so beautiful inside and so influential in her own simple ways.

By now majority of you would have approached the conclusion that this is definitely about Woman’s Day which falls on the 8th of March i.e. today. Trust me, there’s more to it. What I attempt to question today is, why everyone has to wait for this single day every year to feel and show how important the contribution of “The Angels” has been in shaping the world and more importantly the society. Should it not be a reason to celebrate every time a woman retaliates against an eve teaser? Should it not be a reason to celebrate every time a woman serves a meal for her family and should it not be a reason to celebrate every time a woman fights back at violence?

I firmly believe that a celebration must be in order every time a girl child is born to this world for she is bestowed with the amazing responsibility of becoming another "Angel". Let us celebrate Womanhood everyday for she really deserves it. May the Godness of the Angels descend upon each one us from this day on. God Bless All.'

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2AM, A Bisleri bottle & Birdcrap :)

"I seem to be enjoying the hymning of the mosquitoes tonight. The setting is desolate with a young couple thrown into it. They keep reappearing with an errie periodicity. They are afterall, circling the mighty Shivaji Park. I am thankful to myself for buying that one bottle of Bisleri and with every passing hour it is getting lighter. Parthajeet, a college time buddy is with me and we are having one of those long conversations about life and all the related stuff. I would fall asleep occasionally and then wake up to his blabbering again. On one such occasions I woke up smelling bridcrap on me. (There is an abundance of trees around Shivaji Park and certainly one chick up there liked me a lot). Yet again the Bisleri served its purpose. :) "

By now you would be questioning me as to why I was being such a jerk, out in a public park, in the middle of the night. To clarify, this for me was an opportunity to meet the bicycling folks of Mumbai, who do the monthly Critical Mass Ride. Renny and his folks were doing one of their mid-night rides in the city and were to drop in to Shivaji Park to meet me (I happen to be from the bangalore cycling community & me and nupur, another fellow cyclist started a popular movement called Critical Mass in Bangalore). So they arrived at 2am and then started all the chit chat and stunts on bicycles ;) and all that untill it was time for them to go ahead with their plans for the night. :)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

And meals to go before they sleep ...

'One lazy sunday afternoon while cleaning my closet, I chanced across a bunch of notebooks from my schooldays. I had to gather some courage to open them, for they had things far more important than knowledge...They had the smell of the days gone by and the emotions of an era that had passed me by.' The dust repels you but the urge is sustained. You flip through the pages and your are suddenly overwhelmed. It goes without saying that one of the best ways to remember your past is to go back to your old notebooks. The feeling that you get is unparalleled and at times ... emotional.

Not every one is lucky to have a moment like this. With no or limited access to notebooks, most kids in rural India and informal settlements of urban India, race across their childhood with just a bunch of broken pencils, halftorn books and cracked school slates. A lot has changed since the mid 90's. In September 2004, after the revision of NP-NSPE (National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education) into the currently run Mid Day Meal scheme, government and municipality schools across India did see significant rise in no. of kids. With nutrition as a good motivation for kids to come to school, has the purpose of the education system been defeated ??
With every academic year, teachers in these government institutions face the daunting dask of accommodating more kids. And they do so by compromising on the standards of academic excellence achieved. As a result, a typical 8th standard student of a government school is academically proficient only to compete with a 4th grader from a Public school. The marginally well-to-do and even poorer families are now choosing public schools over government ones. Do we have a take on it or are we just watching ?