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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Fast Women Fast


Early morning, my fingers grope for BlackBerry, as I lay in bed.

I start my day with the messages that I might have missed while I was sleeping. After reading BB messages, I check my emails, then Facebook, Twitter, Internet explorer. By the time I am ready to get up from the bed, I am already enlightened by my friends’ state of mind and what are they thinking, with the world news, with all the latest jokes and the topic of discussions for a day.

Today, everybody is talking about ‘Karwa-Chaud’, a fast that women keep for health and prosperity of their husband. Abstainers are hoping that their spouse will outlive them.

Ah! I am glad that I am responsible only for my self.

So they fast, those women in red, with large round bindi on their forehead, dark green bangles jingled on their hands but, do their hubbies appreciate and treat them well?

Why do u starve, oh women folk? Know it not that it's an old story told? The health of men depends on his vice; your diet has no ropes on his life.

Starve if you must then it could be, to learn the hunger of a child on the street, whose parents brought him thoughtlessly to quench their greed shamelessly.

You could starve on the days when you have bigger waistline, it pains you to see your unhealthy lifeline, just for day you could stop those fatty canap├ęs that you gorge greedily on a whipped cream.

But then, who am I to advocate? Huh?

All day long I see married women celebrating their fast together, visiting temples, listening to stories of woman achievers who have prospered in their love-life, many of them forgetting and forgiving the abuses that are hurled at them every hour of the day.

They all look so much in love.

In the evening, when I go for open-mike poetry performance at the Prithvi theatre, there are more love poems. Love is in the air. Am I missing something?

The woman recites, "I would like to wrap you all over me, feel your breath and touch your glow," and I am enthralled by her emotive desires. I am thinking “How do you feel when he comes home, swinging his butt, fully drunk, do you say "Duh!"

Late night, my friends and I walk on the beach. This is a Juhu Beach - one of the dirtiest beaches of Mumbai, a beach where one would not risk wetting a toe. The moon shines brightly reflecting its silver rays on the water. It’s a low tide. There is no wind. Everywhere, I see the cluster of women sitting in a group around the burning lamps and incense sticks, praying to the moon.

Having survived without food all day, they offer their prayers to the moon; the conclusion of Karva Chauth involves the offering of sanctified water (arghya) to the moon, as it represents Shiva and Parvati, there will be feast to celebrate with their spouse.

Their spouse will be treated like God today.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Book launch of ‘Women Changing India’


Unlike the other events that I have attended, this book launch was unique. Most of the book launches that I have attended are the type where the author, or his chief guest rip opens the book, few passages are read, then there are questions and answers session and finally to buy an autographed copy. Most of the time I pick the book that I don’t really need it but am obliged to buy, I may even add few words of encouragement to the author (if she/he is a friend) and then I am home, dump the book on the shelf of ‘To-be-read-when-I-find-time-or-interest-to-read’.

This was a launch of coffee-table book of photographs and essay by six authors and six photographers. This book attempts to map in words and pictures, some of the changes that are both visible and invisible in the India of today.


The event included exhibition of the blown-up photographs of the content in the book. We (my friend and I) walked around admiring the photographs by Raghu Rai, Martine Franck, Olivia Arthur, Alex Webb, Alessandra Sanguinetti and Patrick Zachmann. There were pictures of women who have made difference in people’s lives, their power radiating behind their teakwood desk. There were glimpse into the lives of women who have been the driving force in uplifting the Indian economy. There were pictures of women in Bollywood world, in corporate world, in banking, some across the villages doing the hard labour and some in taxi-business for women (training and driving school for women), security guards and others covering a broad spectrum of women across various field.


But, like I was saying that this book launch was totally different. There was only one book on display, not for sale, nor any author to autograph it. The weather was quite warm; I was feeling sorry for those foreigners and other corporate people who were dressed in three-piece suit, not really understanding our comfort in cotton clothes. (I was tempted to tell them, when in India , dress like Indians do..ah well) The inauguration was started by lighting of the lamp in the traditional Indian way, followed by speeches by the guests, during which the people in three-piece suits had walked outside for fresh air or to attend to more important phone-calls and had walked inside the Shamiana only after the speeches were done and it was time for yum…snacks and drinks.

This is the first book launch where I have been offered snacks like chicken tikka, fish cutlets, Paneer puffs, veg kababs, cakes, and wide range of drinks and cocktails! It was fun moving around, watching those pictures again and again and munching on those delicious snacks that made their rounds endlessly. When we had our fill, we walked into the auditorium that was playing the looped presentation of those photographs that were displayed outside in the lawns.

It was a lovely evening and I am told that this book will be available in market next month.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Thursday Challenge

Picture clicked in Darjeeling during my recent trip

Linking this photo to Thursday Challenge

Golden is the sunlight reflected on its leaves as it smiles,

Searching for its direction,

Chasing the Sun.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

What a man likes in a woman

My BIL spends most of his evenings with his friends on the terrace, they sit togather, drinking, snacking and chatting.Today since my sister had gone off to a temple for Mata Devi darshan, I went with him to the terrace. I was sitting with his friends, enjoying the cool breeze and just listening to their conversation without taking part in any of their chat.

His friend, a baldy one in late 60s, was talking of his youth when he had to choose a bride for himself , he says...

At a marriagable age, I told my mom very clearly that there are three things that I will expect from the girl whom I marry.

One

She should not be too bony around her neck area, because when I wear her a diamond necklace it should look nice on her neck, if she is too bony then the necklace will look tilted and lop-sided

Two

When she smiles, there should be no gums visible, it looks very ugly then they have smaller teeth and large pink gums staring at you

Three-

She should have etiquettes and must not do funny things with her hands..like scratching unnecessarily, picking her nose or rubbing her face

Hahahaahaha!! What a creep!!!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Wordless Wednesday_ stray dog at teacher's meeting

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Creative beggar


It is always embarrassing for me when the beggar knock on my car window at the signal especially when I am with my friend who is a foreigner. Some of the beggars harass my friends too much when they see their color (too white/too black)


There are many a times when I make up stories (fooling myself more than fooling others) that India is not as poor like it seems and that begging is just another profession which is a bit easier than the rest and that many people would rather beg then seek a proper employment. I always explain to them that beggars have very innovative ideas and sometimes quite hilarious too.

Like the incident that happened today.

No, we were not travelling by car today; I decided to take Lorenzo by auto, since she was highly amused by a three-wheeler that required no seat belts. Haha!

Lorenzo (my friend from Spain) and I were travelling in an auto when our auto-rickshaw stopped at red signal. A young guy with a red cap approached our auto with bunch of flowers in his hand. He removed one flower from the bunch and gave it to Lorenzo saying ‘Good morning, have a nice day”

Highly amused that this guy on the street spoke English, she removed Rs20 and gave to him.

The guy smiled and gave back Rs20 back to her saying that he was no beggar but was giving flowers to people just out of good will.

Lorenzo insisted that he take Rs20 and that it was not as a charity but that she wanted to give him.

The guy smiled and said that if she really wanted to help then she could give him money to buy milk powder for his child.

“Well then, buy milk powder for your child with this Rs20” said Lorenzo pushing the money back into his palm.

“Sorry ma’am.” he said handing Rs20 back to her, “But I cannot get milk powder for Rs20, I need Rs100 to buy the milk powder for my baby.”

Hahahaahaa!!

Talk about begging, this one is a royal beggar! He won’t accept Rs20 because he wants Rs100!!

I was thinking how many people had he fooled this way.

The signal changed to green

“Why don’t you ask you wife to breast feed your child instead” said Lorenzo angrily and snatched the money from his hand as I suppressed my grin.

Monday, 4 October 2010

The games has just begun

Yes, it is true, twenty days ago I wanted to disown Delhi.

I was disgusted with the 'don't care' paan stains screaming on the walls, the leaky roofs of 'chalta hai' attitudes, the filthy smell of corrupted money seeping into its gutters, the blame game, the exposure of truth..

I was embarrassed with the amount of money spend on CWG while we have beggars peeping through our car glass windows at every signal, children running barefoot on the streets behind the vehicles with flowers in their hand hoping that the person will change his mind and stop his car to buy flowers from him. There are not enough schools and hospitals, the city is forever under repairs and the people waste too much time stuck in a traffic jam.

What a shame!!!

The $80 toilet-paper rolls, the $61 soap dispensers, $125 first aid kits, the 30 crores worth of earthen pots, the 9 lacs for rented treadmill? All this in a country where people live on $2 a day? those who built the games? Ace photographer SAMAR JODHA captures the silent testimonials of the workers who have seen the most inhuman face of the CWG  and it is too painful to watch those pictures.

The whole world saw the altheletes' village photos and was disgusted. Dog paws on the mattresses, the filthy bathrooms, water logged venues, danger of mosquito infested marshy areas, the snakes….. how much more ugly can the situation get?

And ohhH! That collapsed bridge!

But still, we forgot all our anger on the day of opening ceremony.

We relished the show on National TV, (that bored us to tears with long interruption of lengthy ads.) We enjoyed and cheered on twitter and on Facebook, congratulating each other and puffing our chest with pride..

Loved that sand painting of Gandhiji’s dandi march, the dancers and the folk heritage

CWG opening ceremony proved that India stands united in art and culture.

Didn’t know there was so much money under the carpet that they could buy that gas balloon!!.  If only there was no corruption and greed, we could be bathing in prosperity. 

The question is 'how will we recover that 70 crores,"???? Will the life of those workers who built that village improve? Will our country be clean ever?

My material comfort lies in vasooli of that money...:)

Friday, 1 October 2010

I am at the receiving end ~ Part 8

My Pillars of strength- My Family and Friends
I am truly blessed


With a family and friends like mine who wouldn’t be?

My family is scattered all over the world but staying in Mumbai has its advantages, I get to meet everybody whenever they travel to India, and the best part is that they are all interested in my activities, proud of my decision to live on my own and are willing to accompany me to the school to meet the Special children for whom I care.

During this Joy of Giving Week I wish to thank my family who has given their financial and the moral support to the Special school on regular basis and have sponsored children for education, transport and other activities, and for the nutrition program.

During this Joy of Giving week I wish to thank –
Gitoo Shafizada, Asgar Shafizada, Neha Shafizada(Lagos), Suresh Moorjani, Meenu Moorjani(Tenerife), Kanchu Shadadpuri, Anil Shadadpuri(Las Palmas)Vinod Mirpuri, JaiKumar Mirpuri, Varsha Mirpuri, Nihalchand Mirpuri, Bindhiya Tekwani(Bangkok), Chandru Mirpuri, Hema Mirpuri, Meenu Sabnani, Dina Sabnani, Kenny Mirpuri, Asha Mirpuri, Roshelle Lachmandas, Dolly Mirpuri, Romesh Mirpuri (HongKong), Rinku Chugani, Aarti Sitaldas, Ram Sitaldas, Karina Sitaldas(Manila), Suresh Shivdasani(Texas), Sunil Mirpuri, Karishma Mirpuri (NewYork), Gina Balani(Curacoa), Kishore Daswani(Rome), Sonu Vaswani(Baroda), Devika Mirpuri, Moti Mirpuri, Kamlu Mansinghani, Suresh Mansinghani, (Poona) Rhea Motwani, Devka Mansukhni, Ram Mansukhani, Rachna Moorjani(Mumbai)

Also my sincere thanks to Mr Niresh Daryanani who has always been my guide and has helped me connect to other families in Tenerife: My sincere thanks to Bharti Bhavnani, Ashok Daryanani, Sr.Domingo, Arthur Kevin, Margaret Linklater, Sr. Franco, Hispano GB, Bhavna and Prakash Vaswani, Pinky and Hanisha, Sajni Daswani and Shenaz, Toni Khemlani and IBYS

Thank you all for your kind support.

My sincere thanks to all my friends who visited my blog during this week and actually read all the parts 1-8 patiently.

Thank you so much.

I am at the receiving end ~ 7


Kitty Parties with a heart

While all of India were twindling their thumbs, waiting for Ayodhya verdict, children at Swami Brahmanand were enjoying a delicious lunch of rice, dhal, vegetable, pickle, curd and Jalebi on30th September 2010. It was the special day, one of those days of  'Joy of Giving Week', and their lunch was sponsored by Lachu Daswani, a member of IWCA (Indian Women’s charity Association of Madrid)

IWCA members regularly sponsors meals for the children on certain memorable days, interacting with me on my BlackBerry or on email, we discuss the menu and the expenses while organizing the lunch. On regular days too, the under nourished children are grouped under nutrition program, where by they are given the portion of milk, biscuit and fruit everyday.

I.W.C.A. is a non-profit organization with over 160 members, borne from the need to help those less fortunate than them. While most of the rich women spend their time in kitty parties, in idle chat or in cards playing groups, the members of IWCA add a newer perspective to their parties.

During my last visit to Madrid, I had met this vibrant group and learnt about the various activities that these ladies perform regularly during their spare time with their mission to reach out to people in need, regardless of their caste and creed. They help by providing for education, basic amenities (food, water, and shelter), medical necessities and operate mainly in Spain and India.

Seven of the members are the sponsors of seven children at school providing school fees, uniform, transport, and other activities, by making a difference into the under-priviledged children's lives..

During this ‘Joy of Giving ' week, I take this opportunity to thank the members of IWCA: Minoo Hathiramani,Anmol Sukhwani Neetu Chugani, Haseen Mahthani, Kamlu Daswani, Ramesh Shamdasani, and members of IWCA, who help bring a smile to the children’s faces by catering to their nutritional and their educational needs

Thank you so much.

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