…And this boy gets his books back!

Did he go to school or not? This was the question which kept hitting my mind for last 24 hours.

With a bated breath, I was waiting for my maid. Finally she came and she was without her kid.

Immediately, without wait,  I asked her if she has taken him to school for admission, and she nodded her head saying yes.

Believe me, the stress on my face converted into smile!

She said that she too was happy to send her kid to school.

But the pain she shared was quite sad.

She and her husband were daily wagers and used to work in the fields in Bengal village.

Even after toiling hard for 12 hours, they got Rs 300 daily. But when there was no work, they didn’t get any money. With a responsibility to raise three kids, they were forced to migrate.

As their relatives were in Jaipur, they too came here, but now are struggling in dearth of any work.

They money they had brought with them has been exhausted and now this poor lady is working from morning to evening to make the two ends meet.

Surprisingly, she wasn’t knowing that the primary education is free for kids.

I was a little surprised.

Don’t you think these beneficiary schemes for poor need a broader and wider promotion to ensure it reaches to the right audience?

I feel that all beneficiaries schemes for poor need a mass level promotion. The target audience still seem unaware of these schemes.

Like this female wasn’t knowing that primary education comes free of cost. There may be many other females like her who are scared to send their wards to schools thinking of expenses.

Are the concerned authorities listening?

This kid leaves his books & holds broom to help his mom

He is eight! A very innocent kid! Never makes an eye contact! But is very diligent in his work. So engaged is he in his job, that he never looks left or right while performing his duty.

He, along with his mother, two sisters and father, has shifted to Jaipur from Bengal in search of work. While his father is still looking for job, his mother has started doing household work in many houses. Sisters are being looked upon by father at his place.

Since last two days, this kid was coming with his mother to my place for work.  He simply walked with her while she was cleaning the house and doing other work. I didn’t bother because my work was being done perfectly.

The third day, he was alone, without his mother. The only thing he uttered me was maaa aa rahi hai. I was in kitchen so I just nodded my head. By the time I went out from the kitchen, he had already cleaned two of the rooms.

The rooms were immaculately clean.

But then, I stopped him and asked why is he doing this work.

“Maa ki madaad kar raha hoon, woh pados mein bartan dho rahi hai.”

(I am helping my mother who is washing utensils in the neighbour’s house)

Oh my God! My heart was melted…so much that I wanted to hug this kid. His eyes were telling the tale of his innocence and helplessness. I was speechless.

By then, his mother came.

My emotions came out in the form of anger and I asked her the reason for bringing this kid along with her. I also asked her why is he not sent to school.

“We have just come from Bengal and there is no work for us. His father is looking for some kind of work. Once he gets it, I will start sending him to school. Till then, he has offered to help me,“ she informed.

As I am busy from morning to afternoon, who will go for his admission? she further added.

“Please send him to school. I don’t want him to accompany you in any house,” I had to be clear to her in a little tough voice as I was feeling low within.

Yesterday, this boy didn’t come with her. She informed me that his father has taken him to school. I was glad, excited and anxious if all goes well!

Today, I am still sitting and waiting…for the result, if this kid has got enrolled in school.

Why our scriptures kept females next to animals and illiterates?

When the going gets tough, tough gets going…

So true! Fighting challenges, I recalled my mom’s advice to read Sundar Kand from Ramayana.

Every Saturday, I make a schedule to sit and read it, but, believe me, every time, I get struck on the lines where females are kept next to animals, drum, illiterates and lower caste people. Each time I read it, I think what might have triggered the brain cells of Saint Tulsidas to keep women next to such class beings.

If our religious scriptures, which are read in every household, are giving this kind of status to female folk, imagine the reason why females are still awaiting the right kind of respect from their family members. The lines which are disturbing me are as following: 

Dhor, Gunwar, Kshudra, Pashu, Naari

Saakal tadna ke adhekari

I won’t get into the detailed meaning of these lines, but yes, what upsets me is the reason why we, our class, is there.

Why till date, none of the females did ever raise a question on these lines? Should we stand as mute spectators and continue chanting these lines because it has been done since years? Or should we stand up and ask the authorities to get these lines erased as it’s more like giving disrespect to the women class, who, in today’s time, run shoulder-to-shoulder with men.

Shouldn’t we be allowed to stand different, shouldn’t we be enjoying a higher privilege? Shouldn’t we be put on a higher echelon for we are the creators, the house-runners and the ones who know how to make sacrifice to make things better? Then why are we kept next to illiterates and animals?

Lot many thoughts; confusion, anger, a feeling of suppression and aggression are on top of my mind while writing this blog.

I am unable to find out why women class has to be kept with illiterates, animals, lower class and a drum. This part of Ramayana was written in 15th century. Was the situation of female folks so bad that they had to be described in this way.

Accepted that females were not given their due rights in 15th century, but what NOW?

Why are females still reading these lines? Don’t you think that we should stand up and uplift our own status because none of the other sections of the society will fight for us.

A half told story of a Kashmiri driver!

  1. We want peace in valley, but our plight remains painful
  2. We have got saffron, we have got almonds, we have got apples, we have got tourism; we could be the most bubbling economy if we are allowed to be on our own
  3. No Madam, our girls can study, go to college, cook at home, but they can’t go to places like movie halls or restaurants.

Today when I switched on the TV, my heart went out against all those who are turning paradise into ruins, the once described heaven, it seems, has turned into hell.

Sitting inside my house, I was forced to think whether all Kashmiris are triggering this violence or it’s just a chunk of people who are getting into violent mode.

Then, I suddenly remembered one of our drivers who had shared his free, frank opinion about Kashmir during our recent trip to Srinagar.

It was my seventh month of pregnancy when I had the urge to explore paradise on earth. And we went to this paradise.

This driver had a concern to drive carefully knowing I was expecting. He was there with us for three days and believe me, these three days kept me giving shock waves ,as and when he kept sharing his thoughts with my family.

He was very clear to share with us the fact that they ( according to him all Kashmiris) want independence, independence both from India and Pak.

He was candid enough to spill out that Pak just wants to cash in on the situation which we will never let it do.

He also had an intelligent reply in store. “We have got saffron, we have got almonds, we have got apples, we have got tourism; we could be the most roaring DSC01713.JPGeconomy if we are allowed to be on our own,” he said when asked about his concern for his state.

Aren’t there any theatres, movie halls? I asked when he was taking us to Lal Chowk.

“Madam, there were eight movie halls in Srinagar and they all are burnt and damaged.”

“In Islam, girls are not allowed to go to restaurants, movie halls, pubs etc. We don’t follow the culture you people follow in India.” He was going on, may be he got an inquisitive female in his cab after years.

“Don’t you think you should come out of such thinking in modern era?” I asked him.

“No Madam, our girls can study, go to college, cook at home, but they can’t go to ‘such’ places.”

By this time, my head was aching. May be, there was too much pressure there…after listening to his views.

We cancelled off our Shikara ride as I was in no mood.

I asked him if he can come the next day a little early to take us to Gulmarg and we will go for shikara ride in the evening. He was very much ok with the idea.

However, heavy snowfall started by 10 pm which continued all through the night. Roads were blocked, and hence he couldn’t turn up the next day. But his call came expressing his disability to reach our hotel as the weather was extremely harsh.

Meanwhile, we kept ourselves packed in our rooms. There was no electricity. And the views of this driver were bumping in my head.

“If these are the views of Kashmiris, what’s going to be the fate of this state?” was my only question.

One day passed. Snowfall continued and our flight was cancelled.

A day later, he called up again, “Sirji sorry, aapko ghuma nahi saka. Mere baton ko dil pe mat lena.”

And my husband said “ok”.

I was wandering if I could get some more viewpoints, but, the story was half told or may be fully told…which I am still trying to understand.

And may be the plight of government remains the same…they too are still trying to understand the plight of so-called ‘Kashmiris’.

Poverty pays them in royal Amer Fort!

IMG-20160706-WA0013Poverty prospering and thriving in the once royal corridors of Amer Fort! Surprised..! Isn’t it? But then, it is true!

During my recent visit to Amer, I could see poverty glancing through the royal jharokhas (windows) of Amer Fort!

While taking steps to reach on top of the fort, there was this little girl, must be 8-10 years, chasing each and every tourist, to get some money.

In her endeavour to approach me, she caught my skirt and asked me, “Didi, do ek ya do rupey) (give me a rupee or two). I was surprised and I stared at her. Then because of some reasons, I started talking to her. I asked her if she was well-versed with the art of counting and she expressed her inability. She replied in denial when was asked about her school and education. And our conversation continued…

“What will you do with this money?” I asked.

“Will give it to my parents,” she replied.

“What will they do with this money?” was my next question.

“They will bring rice, aata(flour) and vegetables,” she replied with innocent eyes.

I gave a five rupee coin to her and her eyes were shining bright. On seeing this girl getting a Rs five coin, other kids, who too belonged to the ‘have not’ world, came running.

IMG-20160706-WA0012

A boy, elder to this girl, was confident enough to come to me and say, “Didi hum sab baant lenge.”

Rs five and you all will distribute? I asked.

He was really confident. “I know counting and he started counting. I always take the money and distribute.”

Survival of fittest was evident here too.

He snatched the money and the entire group of children surrounded him.

But this entire incident forced me to think are we really on the path of development? Are we really serious for child education? If yes, why these kids are not stopped when they beg daily. Why they are not enrolled to school?

Are the NGOs listening? How can we let our future beg in front of foreign tourists? Need some answers but am clueless…Any suggestions? Is another Slumdog Millionaire in the making?