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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Life begins at 50

50plus is the age when your children are no more kids and flown away from your nest, its an age when you do what you like to do and don’t care what people will think, its an age when your happiness matters the most.

With many years of experience, you become hard nut to break; you have already seen the outcome of bad moves from your own experiences as well as that of peers and it is the age when you begin to have faith in yourself.

Gone are those days when women were just home makers, lived under servitude of family’s happiness and had no life of their own. They lived in a box, catered to family needs because ‘Children and husband came first’ Social group was mainly kitty parties/card sessions or a visit to spiritual meetings. Hobbies included stitching clothes for their children, knitting for grandchildren and if they were more creative, they would explore some culinary experiences like cooking a better food or baking a cake. Even if they chose a career, it was always teachers or bank clerks that was adjustable to her timings at home with her family. At age of 50 she looked old and drained, stressed and tired.

But now things have changed. Women are gradually learning to respect themselves and want to do something that gives them opportunities to rediscover themselves.

This week I was at 50youngconference  and was happy to meet the most inspiring ladies from different walks of life.

Anita Gurnani, is the most dynamic woman with pleasant personality. At 57, she has ventured on a new project of bringing enterprising 50 plus women under one umbrella to explore new horizons and facets of life, growing and evolving in the process. When she called me to be a part of this project, I was hesitant at first, mainly because I do not like to admit that I am approaching towards that ‘oldies’ group. It is difficult to come to the terms that I am aging and is no longer that energetic and bubbly 20s-30s youngster although mind refuses to grow up. It has the same emotions of enjoying every moment, same childishness, same curiosity of discovering something new. What actually hinder are the health issues and physical limitations. The idea of joining 50young did not appeal to me. But after seeing the vibrant spirit of Anita, I decided to learn more about it and agreed to attend the conference at Bandra.

At conference, I met women from different walks of life and they were so very inspiring.

Varshaben Vijay Mehta didn’t walk alone towards the dais for panel discussion, one young girl held her hand while she walked. She is able to utilize only 5% of her vision, but still at 57 years old, she runs a business of household and hygiene products and boasts of a large clientele including enterprises and consumers.

Surjit Kaur, entrepreneur and dance enthusiast is 65, but if you were not told her age, you would never guess. She is the member of the dance group at ‘Terence Lewis Academy’ where the oldest member is 88years old. It was entertaining to watch the group of these ladies shaking to the Bollywood number of ‘Lungi Dance’ 

Woman finds happiness when she is able to do what she loves. Children and grand children are her best supporters and very proud of her.

There were about hundred women in the room, and most of them successful and proud. Being it the first ever conference, selected women with their success stories were invited and the experiences were very enriching.

For most of them, life began at 50, when the demands of family slowed down, and women began to appreciate their ‘Me’ time and utilize it to seek happiness to its fullest. It's the age not to retire but to retry.

With a proper support group, many more women will find true worth of themselves. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Equal Street In the Suburbs of Mumbai

Since November 2014, Equal Street became alive every Sunday morning with kids and their parents in free expression of art, music and song.

It was the early morning event where traffic was diverted to other routes to give the street back to the public.

In the present scenario, there is really no room to walk, with traffic blaring its loud beeps and footpath with broken slabs. The society compound, too have no room to play like we had during our growing up days. Children spent their major part of their time on computer games or attending private classes. Come summer, and summer camps mushroom all over the city, giving children less time to think independently and be engrossed in more organized games in their peer groups.

I remember, my childhood was spent in building compound playing all kinds of games. We invented our own games, we had our own rules, Everyday there was a new game and the choice was endless. Remember, the hopscotch? We drew blocks on the ground and played with pebbles. It didn’t cost us much to play group games with friends. When we got tired playing in the hot sun, we came indoors to play Carom, Chess, Monopoly and other board games.

‘Equal Street’ had created such opportunity to revive our childhood and introduce this games culture to our children. With traffic out of way, the streets converted into large compound with ample space to spread our creativity. Children learnt many street games like hop on blocks, seven tiles. There were no rules to follow when they played badminton, or cricket or football. Also indoor games like Carom and Chess were brought out on #EqualStreet to encourage people and arouse interest.

Then there were many who walked or cycle down the lane. It was interesting to see youngster bring out their fancy bikes and do some stunts. Many of the children have even learnt to cycle during this summer.

For those who did not want to run or jog behind their children, they preferred to teach their kids for some joys of art. The road became a free canvas where creativity found an outlet. The children helped themselves with colored chalks and created amazing art.

Then some formed groups and performed dance while other preferred to do Yoga, Tai chi and other forms of exercises. At different junction we saw different set of people involved in different kind of activity. There was room for every age to find his medium of entertainment.

With traffic out of way, the smooth tar road was pleasure to play...

Summer comes to end so does the activities on suburbs roads from #Bandra to #Santacruz..

Like I had mentioned in my earlier post at my other Blog Post on Mumbai that

In an attempt to help reclaim streets for people, EMBARQ India has initiated “Equal Streets – A Citizens’ Movement” with the help of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and Mumbai Traffic Police, and with support from the Times of India Group.

It was fun while it lasted...and everybody had their share of fun

Friday, 15 May 2015

Hospital Blues

Patients normally get admitted in those hospitals where their doctor recommends. Five star doctors will send you to the most commercialized hospitals where the treatment could give you one more heart attack especially if you are not covered under health insurance.

Such hospitals are more like hotels where you can stay comfortably. There are good facilities for visitors too, a beautiful cafeteria, a large luxurious lobby and even a beautiful garden. Rooms are large and spacious with flat screen TV and a comfortable bed for the visitor.

Then there are hospitals for middle-class people that might offer very good treatment but their services plunge.

There used to be time when patients were given fresh set of clothes everyday during their stay at hospital but not anymore. Nowadays the hospital clothes are given to patients only few hours before they go to operation theatre and one more day after that. Rest of the stay one is expected to wear their house clothes. That’s because of cost cutting, so although the hospital bills escalate, there is poor service.

All hospitals expect the patients to bring their family/friends to look after them. The hospital staff is responsible only for doing their rounds into the wards, recommending the medications and reporting the progress to the resident doctor. Relatives have to buy the medicines, take care of the patient and be there with the patient 24/7. This becomes very difficult because family and friends have their own things to do, in his fast pace life, not many have time to nurse the sick. Therefore you either appoint a private nurse or get your own maid.

The patient is encourage to vacate the room as soon as possible to make beds available for the new patient. Most of the hospitals rooms are occupied and one has to book rooms in advance.

The general wards are in worse conditions where you will find some people even sleeping on the floor. One bathroom shared by eight patients and their family/friends. Sometimes the hospitals may not have proper water supply too.

Class division is very wide. While the rich enjoy the comfort and luxury, the poor suffer under unhealthy circumstance. Pain is common to both but the treatment and care varies from person to person.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Respect For Mother

"Shut up Mom, you talk too much, all day you are just repeating the same things over and over again giving me such a headache" I looked at him, wanting to tell him to be gentle but was too stunned. "Don't listen to her, she has no pause button" he snapped. 

How could anybody talk to their mother in such a tone? I got up and came to sit next to her, squeezed her bony fingers. Her light grey eyes glistened, tears filled her eyes "I need to rest" she said as she got up slowly and limped to her room.

Thank God there are special days like Mother's day when every person speaks fondly about their mom…My timeline was full of love expressions….Lovely messages of how they love their mother but are not able to express on daily basis. The beautiful selflies with their mother. 

Today was the day to offer gratitude to mothers to whom they are rude many times……

I wish people showed kindness at all times….24/7 on all 365 days

Friday, 8 May 2015

Pavement Dwellers In Mumbai

At the end of my lane in Bandra, a large family lives on the footpath. It’s a joint family that includes couples, senior members, children and even a dog. They also have a large mosquito net that is spread at night to protect the young ones from mosquito bite from the gutters below them. During the day, the clothes are washed (don’t know that from where they get water to wash the clothes and themselves) but the clothes are dried across cloth-line that connects lamppost and a tree. Some evenings, food is cooked in large vessels on open fire burning wood and twigs. There is no shelter though. They have been living like this since last few years but nobody is able to vacate them…not even police..

But if some drunk driver bangs into them, they will make sure that he is beaten to death. Whenever there are accidents, big group of people gather and try to take the law into their own hands. That is the reason why there are more hit-and-run cases. I am not sympathizing with drunk drivers but I think footpath dwellers should not be allowed and Police should take full responsibility of ousting them off streets…but some of the policemen are so corrupt that they will take bribes from street dwellers/hawkers to turn their attention elsewhere…Sometimes the action is taken when one complains, and they (footpath dwellers) disappear but after few days they are back.

The plight of pavement dwellers has highlighted after twelve years now that Mr. Salman Khan has been punished with prison term for 5years for drunk driving and driving over the sleeping people killing one and injuring four. During the last twelve years, the pavement dwellers have increased ten fold with police and BMC collecting their bribes for turning a blind eye. Citizens complain of dirt, disease, hooligans, drug peddling and discomfort but they are powerless.

People have no idea as to how they can help keep the city clean. There are many NGOs in Mumbai who have taken up the task of educating their children and teaching them some skills. They even provide them food and stationary but they cannot give them shelter nor are they able to relocate them.

But why should NGOs take the full responsibility? Government should be responsible for relocating them. I am sure they are paid well. The BMC is the richest civic body in India with annual budget of over Rs40000crores, most of which never spent but stored away in huge fixed deposits. When are they going to use those fixed deposits?

There is enough money to relocate the pavement dwellers to proper shelters. System has to be improved. It is often observed that when people are provided shelter, they rent out their house and are back on streets. There should be some law to prevent such thing from happening. Every ward has their responsibility therefore a cooperator should be aware of every citizen in his area and he should be held accountable for all the activities in his area.

Also the school and the colleges in the area should be given the responsibility of checking that the environment in their area is kept clean. Students can be held responsible for checking that street bins are kept clean, lamp posts have proper lighting, supervise the person in charge of cleanliness, check that footpaths are in good condition with no broken tiles, manholes are properly covered and they should plant and adopt more trees. There should be a civic project in their syllabus that gives them a brownie point for the social responsibility carried out effectively.

One person cannot bring the change. Unity can. Quality of life is our birthright but we have to put in effort too. A sense of responsibility has to be inculcated from early childhood. We can live comfortably in a clean society. Everybody can.

"I shall seize the fate by its throat....

"I shall seize the fate by its throat....
"I shall seize the fate by its throat....It shall certainly not bend nor crush me completely"

Out of Box


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