Together

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Together their dreams took beautiful course, as he heard wails of a child buzzing out from the maternity ward. This time, it was finally a girl..

It’s funny how a having a girl child in India still raises many eyebrows among those gossiping grannies. I remember few relatives of mine from older generations, coming up to me and saying, “oh..never mind. She’s a first child after all. Second will definitely be a boy”. I swear if they weren’t relatives from my husband’s side, I would have punched their nose hard. Why were they feeling sorry for me when I was on cloud nine instead? I was happy. I felt wonderful. Period. I didn’t want ANYBODY questioning my happiness and my life ahead based on my child’s sex.

For a country with second highest population growth and a whooping 74.04% literacy rate, India is still miles behind. May God bless the mentality of those relatives and may there be more and more girls proving themselves.

On that note, what kind of response would you give when a person sympathizes with you because apparently, you gave born to a girl child?

Top 5 tips to survive in India

Namastey. Heading to India? Learn these 5 tips by heart:

  1. Never ask for directions from a group of people. You’ll be bombarded with atleast 3 ways to reach your destination, simultaneously, which will only make things more confusing. Target an individual, ask him how to reach the place. If he seems confident enough, go with it.
  2. If you happen to have a weak digestive system, never eat anything on the street, however tempting it might be.
  3. Never start a conversation with any girl, unless its really an emergency. Talk to any girl more than its necessary, and you might be charged for eve teasing. 
  4. No PDA. Public display of affection, even if its just embracing may come off as sex.
  5. If you’re a good bargainer, you’re in for a treat. If he says 1000, offer only 500.

( Ps. I may not be an expert in the field. But growing up in Thailand and moving back to India, has given me enough experience to warn you all off. )

Use me, please.

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One thing that always manages to tick me off everytime i step out of my house is the garbage. Having been brought up in Thailand has made my eyes vunerable when it comes to the dirt and garbage i see all over India. Sometimes its so bad, that i imagine if astronauts were to see India from space, they would see less of the land and more of the garbage piles reaching as high as mount everest.

Since i was kid, i had always been taught to throw rubbish in the dustbin or keep it in your hand if one wasn’t in sight. And that is what me and my brother always did obeyingly. I had always felt that i’d have a thousand stranger’s eyes accusing me if I’d have thrown even a toffee wrapper on the clean roads and streets. But now that I’m in india, and i see garbage floating and flying every where around me, i can hear that pepsi can which was once searching for the trash bin in my hand, now screaming to let it be free. What difference would it make anyway, my brain says along. On a street full of whatnot, why would that can of pepsi make any difference? As i let my grip loosen, my childhood upbringing’s consciousness comes in the way. Afterall, If every Indian starts thinking like this, then that astronaut will certainly not see that small amount of clear land left in India.

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Mental festival brawl

The other day i recieved a whatsapp message from my bestfriend in bangkok. “Happy mothers day, kriti”, it read. Now an advantage of being bestfriends with someone for 15 years is you can skip all of those ‘hey its been long!’ Or ‘i miss you bff’ or even ‘xoxo’. So instead of an obligatory ‘thank you darling’ reply to her, i immediately ask her if its an international mothers day or a thai one. 

One of the perks of being a third culture kid is that we’re accustomed to celebrating most of these significant days in a rather confused state. First, there’s this blues of not having to joyously celebrate those events of your native place just like the natives would. On the other hand that same mystified guilt feeling of celebrating something you honestly are a foreigner to. 

I was a little fazed when she replied back saying, “oh, its a thai one, but i just felt like wishing you”. I felt as if she was wishing me a happy birthday when it was really my husband’s birthday – 3 days later. I felt lost and i couldnt relate to it. Perhaps if i was still in Thailand, i would have picked up some flowers for my mother on the way home from university. Perhaps if it was an international mothers day, i would have delightedly thanked my bestfriend for thinking about me on the day before preparing  something special for my mother in law. But it wasnt any of the two. Before the conversation could go any further, i was adrift in a place between a territory i could have belonged to and a soil i should belong to.

I remember celebrating Diwali (one of the most religious festivals in India), and how i wouldnt even feel like skipping a single day of school  just for the sake of it. There were my cousins back here celebrating their 3 day holiday, while there was my brother and myself not really knowing what it’s like to burn crackers (because thats what they do). 

Then came Holi, which we played with some cheap powder in the bathroom or balcony because our whole house was cloaked with a dark blue carpet that refuses to let go of any stain.

Then  arrived Rakhi, where i would sit in front of my brother and tie that tiny chiny band like thing on his wrist, not knowing why. Who cared? As long as i got my gifts. 

Now that i’m finally settled in India, i miss Songkran festival (like tomatina in spain-only with water and not tomatoes… Thank God!). But if i would tell any of my relatives here what fun that is, they would be clueless. They hardly ever heard the word. Imagine, out of no where, i start throwing chilled water on strangers here in India. I would be sued. Well, maybe not sued. They dont believe in that kind of revenge here. Instead swear a couple of those ***** words at me; stare at me for few seconds to get the idea across that they are very, very angry; shake their head two or three times in digust to further make sure i feel guilty; and then pass me by thinking i might have been a refugee from the mental hospital across the street.

Clearly, it feels as messy as it sounds. Its not easy being raised in two different countries. After a massive mental brawl, these festivals had always left me feeling dazed and tired. These celebrations, whether Indian or Thai, strongly refuses to belong to me. But i still need to console them to let me through. That mental persuasion wears me down. And oh by the way, When in Rome, do as Romans do. 

Six children per family is not too much in Siruguppa

Family planning in siruguppa

Why family planning is still one of the eight UN millennium goals is not a mystery. When one goes to villages like Siruguppa in northern Karnataka, it is not unusual to find families with 5 children and more.

We are living in 2012 – a generation which encourages family planning and free access to contraceptives. But even with this practice, if one is to see a village lacking family planning, it’s time to take matters in hand.

Family Planning is not just about having more than 2 or 3 children; it’s also about having children they can afford to bring up in a proper environment. It’s about transmission of HIV and other sexual diseases. It’s about reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. It’s about eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. It’s also about achieving universal primary education and promoting gender equality. It’s about much more because one factor overlaps another when talk about family planning is on.

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