Posted in Political

The Hindu Reasoning

Was watching a critically acclaimed/awarded documentary last evening. Time ran out so I had to give up half way through. Its never possible for me to watch any flick at one go. In between will have a 1000 chores and errands to complete even if people may think I am jobless.

Can’t agree or disagree with the picture totally. Its a very heavy subject. Such controversies used to be of great interest to me once upon a time. Nowadays I want only peace at any cost. May be signs of ageing.

But I am clear on one thing. No Hindu is terrorist. Maximum you can blame Hindus for hooliganism. If you have the cheek to call Hindus extremists for sporadic incidents of violence, and if you can go blind on Islamic terrorism that has been bleeding this country for centuries (from historic times) and the cultural mayhem unleashed by foreign-sponsored Christian evangelists/missionaries bent on breaking up India, then you are an intellectually dishonest lot who will never win public sympathy. I shall never have an ear for this kind of flawed philosophy. I have my sympathies for Dabolkar, Pansaar etc., but there the buck stops. These are isolated cases. Justice must be served and the assailants brought to book no doubt. These communists seem to be good men with right ideals. Their idea of universal brotherhood is really the way forward. I totally agree with the injustice of casteism etc. But above all that, India reigns supreme for me and comes first. Some collateral damages here and there. Unavoidable. Do these guys really think that we can create that perfect Utopia where nothing will be out of place one hundred percent. Just who are you kidding.

We Hindus are not aspiring for a Hindu rashtra in America or Australia or Africa or Arabia or Antarctica. India is the birth place for Hindu Dharma and the branching Buddhism. We have every right to strive so as to remain a predominantly Hindu nation to eternity because we are vested with such an onerous responsibility of passing on the Dharmic traditions without a break. Other (follower)s are welcome but when a guest outstays hospitality shown by the hosts, then issues are bound to crop up. The hosts have every right to prove assertive to the guests. How can nationalism be wrong in such a case. You are talking about a nation that has suffered from invader-marauders since the 7th century CE. Is this new self-defence so abhorrent. No society is flawless and we Hindus have our own inherent flaws on which we are working right now.

But I appreciate the sincerity behind the efforts in making of the picture. I only hate the condescending tone on the Hindus. Hindus could be hypocrites and passively aggressive, but at least Hindus give you a stage to speak your mind. I wish this Anand Patwardan or whoever has the guts to produce a similar story on Islamists. Haha you cannot even scribble a cartoon remember!

All these intellectuals today are talking without mostly having NOT lived as a minority in a theocratically islamic state. I have. I do. That’s what it will take for some good sense to rub into you. You are welcome to live in Saudi or Pakistan for 1 year, why even 1 month as a free secular and democratic individual (the way you live and talk in India) and post your reviews. In this one month or so in that Islamic heaven, I dare you to munch a packet of salted peanuts during Ramzan fasting hours in full public view. How about asking muslim women to forego their black veils and speaking on their suppression and rights in their mass media.

Why should justice, equality etc., be only a Hindu’s moral responsibility. All said, I am for social justice always. I am equally concerned about casteism but at the same time I brook no nonsense when it comes to pointing out to islamic terrorism. Or christian conversion mafia. I have been blogging that India’s democracy is incumbent on India’s demography first and foremost. Suvar Irundhaal Thaan Chithiram Ezhudha Mudiyum. Only in Hindu India can you come up with this ‘reason’ or any reason for that matter!

Why such a hue and cry about Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. Why should everyone accept him as father of the nation. I am an admirer of Gandhi as well at the same time. But Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose to me are equally important in Indian history. One man’s terrorist is another man’s martyr. World juggles and champions such converse logics. Why can’t these leftists come to accept that contrary views exist? I am divided on Gandhi at times. Not comfortable about all his decisions. Just who was he to solely represent India. Who was Nehru. Why should these two come to unanimously represent entire India. They probably filled a vacuum, perhaps.

Undoubtedly Mahatma Gandhi spearheaded the Harijan movement that marked a paradigm shift in the way the Hindu society functioned. Gandhi was the influence perhaps for the Dravidian movements at a later stage. Over his role in India’s freedom struggle, I respect Gandhi more for his contribution to social change in Indian society.

However, I am not for this naming and shaming of any particular community. All the upper caste Hindus are in equal measure responsible for the cruel caste prejudice that is prevalent in our midst even today. Some are passively aggressive and rare few take to arms (resorting to hooliganism). Not all the forward castes have been prosperous as well. Quite a number of them have languished in poverty over centuries. The upper castes also bore the brunt of the islamic invasions paying a heavy price. I strongly believe Dharma can take care of itself and establish an equilibrium over time. Balance always gets restored. In Tamil we say, ‘muppadhu varusham vaazhndhavanum illai, muppadhu varusham thaazhndhavanum illai.’ Everything is a cycle. Gene pools go stale for the most forward castes/races in course of time as lethargy and complacency set in. We see this in UK now 😀 Fresh infusion of knowledge in the most backward communities releases locked potential and bright ideas. You see the surge of scheduled castes/tribes sports people etc., in India presently. Africans in athletics, etc.

Changes are happening as we are seeing. It can’t be said that nothing is happening. Groundbreaking transformation is on already. Maximum awareness is there at grassroots level. If anything smart phones etc., quickened the timeframe for awareness and change.

What was established practice for 2000 years cannot be undone in mere 50 to 70 years time. Give some time for the society to mature. We do see seeds of social justice perking up in every quarter. The educated are thinking.

In my personal view though, casteism as of now takes a back seat to classism in India. Casteism is done in. What we have in its place is now classism. Wonder what the leftists have to say on this.

Posted in Welcome to my blog!

When Casteism And Racism Meant Business

Chanced upon this interesting and intriguing argument on casteism and racism prevalent in India and across the world in general, in social media recently. Apparently racism as well as casteism meant economic prosperity to a section of community at the cost of others’ (subjugated). Never thought of it this way until now but then, how come we missed something that was right before our eyes all these years…

Racism in America led to American prosperity with the African blacks brought to the continent as bonded slaves to work their ranches and cotton fields. Cheap labour was also the need of the hour when the great American railway was laid across the country for thousands of miles. It meant, a section of humanity (or was it humanity at all) prospered at the expense of the most vulnerable and gullible.

Same holds true for colonization of most Asian nations and African countries and Latin America by Europeans. Paying bare minimum and extracting maximum became the economic principle for profiteering for which playing the racial card suited best. Substitution of native faiths and belief systems with Abrahamic Christianity and Islam made the colonized develop low self esteem.

India hardly fared better when it came to discrimination among sons of the soil. Whereas the Europeans practised segregation and racism only with the alien they conquered, in India, casteism was thrust upon unsuspecting fellow sons of the soil on basis of birth citing scriptures even as Hindu Dharma remained freewill and not an organized religion. Such a way of life must have only united us more as humans than dividing. I am perplexed that injustice was allowed at all to thrive for millennia. Upper castes hugely benefited by consigning menial and low paying works to the suppressed classes. What are the communities that dwelt in the city center with access to resources such as temple tanks, wells etc., for centuries. There are Agraharas, Vanniya (Baniya) streets, Chetti streets, Mudali streets, etc. typically around any ancient temple (even today). The city/town/village plan was thus devised that the social hierarchy prevailed in the townplanning. Social hierarchy also directly correlated to one’s wealth and landholdings. However the scheduled castes/tribes never were residents of structured city planning in Indian history. Was this not landgrabbing at all, confining the poorest and weakest to the fringes of our civil society. Today we talk of landgrabbing by criminal gangs and vested interestes. Is it really landgrabbing or taking back one’s denied share to prime property. (Here we can find parallels with even reservation in education and government jobs.) Can you find an old mansion that ancestrally belonged to Dalit community in the city center of any of India’s towns or villages or cities. Some hotcake real estate that was in their families for generations like many of us may boast of until today. It has been possible for them to live within city limits only in last 50 years. Bhoodhan movement led by Shri Vinoba Bhave played an effective role in just and equitable redistribution of landholdings to marginal farmers in India’s poorest districts in post-independence era.

Like real estate holdings, education is merely another arena where the privilege of learning was hard fought and won for some communities. Reservation quotas came into force for this reason. But why should that surprise us when even the right to worship had to be legally sanctioned for this lot. The heroes who championed such a noble cause are today character assassinated every single day in our social media, with their good work conveniently brushed under the carpet.

Anyway. Tides are turning. Nature has a way of correcting imbalances with its own checks and readjustments. I am a firm believer in Karma and Dharma. Let not at the same time, asserting and reclaiming one’s rights become justification for vandalization, arson and rowdyism on part of the scheduled communities. Whatever said, one cannot turn back the clock. Frustration and bitterness can well be channelized into beneficial pursuits of development and progress.

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My recommendations:

Twelve year a slave (Hollywood)

Pariyerum Perumal (Tamil)

I respect the way the heroes in these two flicks handled discrimination and injustice and at the same time ensured that they did not get consumed by hate in the process of reclaiming their rights. There is a rare dignity in both of the characters.

Posted in Political

Postal Ballot: Taking Democracy To Next Level

Last evening saw a curious trio walking upto our doors. One was holding an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) model even as a lady in sari overlooked me taking a special interest in my octogenarian MIL standing behind. That aroused my suspicion. The tiny team said they were at our place to conduct a mock demo of EVM voting for my MIL who may not be able to/willing to walk to polling booth to vote in upcoming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. (It is another story that my MIL muttered after they left ‘endha porukkikkum vote poda poradhilla!) Postal ballots for the aged and the infirm so that their votes wouldn’t be going waste. How thoughtful really! A certain political party’s volunteers the three visitors, they finally openly asked my MIL to press the button on their election symbol and carefully elaborated how she must ensure that she didn’t commit a mistake allowing her vote to go to null.

I guess this is a first time exercise in India, taking the ballot box door to door. Frankly only the Vadivel joke flashes to my mind! ‘India vallarasu aayiduchu’ he screams and I felt silly wanting to jump up and down like him thinking how smart our political people have become. Who is this desperate not to let even a single vote go waste!!!

I am raring to walk to my polling booth on April 6th to cast my vote. My son ill-advised me to vote for Kamal Hassan party even if I didn’t seek his opinion. How about me asking him to vote for BJP. Can this gen take it from us. Seriously! Looks like Gennext luvs Kamal! My whole family, I mean the younger lot, hooked on to Kamal. To state the truth, I do think he is good and uncorrupted. I was watching Kamal giving names to newborn babies in his election campaign (in tv news bulletins). I am supposed to hate him! I wouldn’t want to squander my precious vote on his Makkal Needhi Maiyam that will divide the electorate without giving a clear majority to any one.

Colourful political campaigns and election canvassing door to door. My DIL who is American is flabbergasted that they beat drums here and blow trumpets as candidates walk through the streets garlanded by crowds! Apparently that will be courting arrest in the US. But not in India! Here sub chaltha hai! After the drum beat again, my MIL feels like fainting. This noise pollution is not good for younger children and the aged and the sick alike. I didn’t expect this fanfare at least in these times of pandemic. This morning tooo a different group came up to meet my MIL but I asked them where their masks were. They were put off by my question and exchanged awkward looks. ‘We want to talk to the patti in the house’ they insisted. Patti Thattha kkum oru time varum!!

(Officials paid a visit by midday with a big ballot box screened from public view on all sides and handed over a printed sheet to my MIL to mark her postal ballot. Two police constables stood guard as she exercised her franchise upon which the paper was asked to be folded by her, then placed in an envelope and sealed to be dropped into the ballot box. Quite a spectacle. I was expecting an EVM at our doorstep really. Casting of postal ballots got over in my constituency today)

I have always voted for JJ. For the first time in over 20 years we don’t have her in election scene. Feels eerie.. At least ‘kattumaram’ old rascal is also no more thank god! Without the two who were running Tamil Nadu between them from 1989 or even earlier, it is again another first time for Tamil Nadu. Feels strange at least to me.

Btw after this postal ballot of taking EVMs door to door for the super senior citizens, why can’t our government consider installing polling booths in our diplomatic missions abroad. My husband and other NRIs have never had a chance to vote for over two decades. Last Lok sabha elections there were rumours that the Indian expats could exercise their rights to vote in Indian High commissions or embassies in their respective resident countries. Instead of asking for voter’s ID or Aadhar card, the passports of NRIs can be considered our IDs for the voting. I expect our PM Shri Modi ji to seriously consider this option. You will be doing a great service to NRI community ji. This community earns valuable foreign exchange for the nation. The frustration in not having their voting rights exercised and not having a say in the nation’s economic/political affairs is building up agonizingly in the NRI communities. Hopefully our Indian govt will do something in this regard soon. PIO cardholders can be exempted from voting eligibility. Only Indian citizens who are NRIs who hold valid Indian passports may be deemed eligible.

Come to think of that, I was wondering how this can be feasible. NRIs come from nook and corners of India, from all sections of society. How many constituencies could be represented in our foreign missions. In how many countries totally. Indian expats have made even African nations their homes, for instance. In some countries there are multiple geographic locations spread out over thousands of kilometers where the Indian diaspora may be dispersed. Classic case the US. Where to take the voting to exactly. What about the timeframe. All these complexities must have stopped the Indian govt from looking into this matter. However, India has been phenomenally successful in personalizing EVMs for every single constituency in the country without hick-ups. By the same measure, we can arrive at a solution to make the NRI vote count. We have to do something about this! Just a thought.

PS: Proud to have a dear friend serving for years as election officer in Kerala. What a mammoth exercise this is. For state assembly elections, the workload is halved. For Lok sabha elections, this is truly a backbreaking exercise. Starts over 6 months to 1 year in advance with initial preparations and tasks assigned apart from manpower training. So much responsibility and accountability. Not to leave out the security aspect. I recommend the mallu picture ‘unda’ starring Mamooty for the season. Chanceh illa. How seriously India takes our democratic status. You will have an idea with the film.

Posted in Lateral Thinking

When & Where Minimalism Is Way Of Life

In the times of corona pandemic, maximize your spending habits and bills and consumerism for the sake of humanity. Just don’t go selfish and minimize !

Where and when Minimalism is way of life than cultivated, do we even have the need to talk about it.

Asian way of life. Stripped to the bare minimum for existence, mostly up until the turn of the century at least. Forced to change by globalization pressure.

Eating by hands. 99% of Indians have no business with spoons or forks or any other form of cutlery. Imagine my consternation at table etiquette they show you in the ‘Titanic!’

Who is to teach what is culture. Sitting cross-legged on the floor on the straw mat and eating out of banana leaf is my native culture. This is good for your knees. Except for eating with hands, only for writing do we scoop our fingers together for anything. This is a Mudra, a form of Yoga by itself. Up until at least 1993 this was my way of life even if we had had a dining table at home.

We don’t hoard chinas and crystals in our homes in India. Mostly we use stainless steelware now after having grown out of copperware. Copperware is picking up again. In south India especially, even the grandest wedding feasts are still served on BANANA leaves. Eating from banana leaves with your bare hands. Feeding the cattle with the used banana leaves. Drinking water from cups made from palm or lotus leaves. Well, this was our lifestyle just until a few decades earlier. Now even the leaf cups and plates are patented in the west I believe! I can still remember the weddings when kheer always used to be served in leaf cups only. At least banana leaves are still in use.

And then came the ceramic and teflon companies trying to sell their ware for us and we fell for their gimmicks. Most harmful to health, fellow Indians are now going back to traditional cookware such as stoneware, ironware, clayware etc. The minimalism we practised right in our kitchens stood us in good stead until there came foreign interference.

Brushing teeth with neem picks. Until now in India, rural Indians do not use plastic tooth brushes but use neem twigs and have healthy teeth for a lifetime. The MNCs of the west said it was unhealthy and denounced everything native and good for entirely selfish business purposes.

Returning to desi toothpastes packed with cloves and neem oil over the branded Colgate etc these days.

A brief time in Andhra even delighted me with the warm sight of cow being milked in front of my eyes early in the morning. Coffee in that frothing warm milk boiled for first time is heaven. Which Starbucks can offer you such a luxury. Coffee freshest from plantations of India, packed just a few days before. I guess contrary to what outsiders opine, we have a fairly better standard of living in India in true sense. If you discount the sedans and party circuits and aerated drinks and theme parks that is.

We being a certified third world country, still enjoy star comforts (as far as food and clothes are concerned) that we take for granted for which we have to pay through our nose in the west. Farm fresh veggies not much laden with chemicals and sprays – at least not the way they come in other parts of the world. What a stunning range of spices, veggies and greens and pulses and millets. Why should we even restrict ourselves to a singular repeated meal for life. Then what is the purpose of living at all. This is ridiculous and not at all healthy.

Until my 12th year at least, I used only besan (gramflour) instead of chemical soap for bath after soaking in coconut oil (coldpressed and unscented). The west forced the synthetic foaming cosmetics into India calling Indians barbarians. Anything that did not lather and was unscented was declared unhygienic. Going back to organic soaps of India now.

Our kitchens had only coconut oil, gingely oil and groundnut oil and mustard oil, never the sunflower or vegetable oils prescribed and marketed by the western companies. Cold pressed oils good for the heart. We learnt our lessons and are turning back to origins now.

Rice and wheat are staple for us in last 60 to 70 years only. Unpolished native grains and millets and pulses were our original diet. Embracing old ways yet again throwing out the Kelloggs cereals and Quaker oats. India has no place for this junk.

Sleeping on straw mat/mat hewn from coconut leaves on hardfloor did our spines a lot good before the polythene derivative filled foamed mattresses from west came into vogue. In India, even for mattresses we used either coconut coir or silk or cotton fillings for foams. Never the rubber or synthetics. Minimalism is truly this. Sleeping on floor on straw mats with your spine erect like we did in our younger years. All this was accounted cheap in others calculations. The day we changed ourselves for their approval is the day India started plunging into disaster.

Not the least is the Asian habit of using a water faucet in our toilets. From Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia to India, Pakistan and Arab countries, water was what that’s used which these westerners thought was crude and filthy and gloated about the toilet papers and tissues for which they fell and keep felling forests over centuries. I don’t think any Asian country fell for the toilet paper nonsense. You saw the toilet paper fights when corona broke out from places as far as Australia and America.

That brings us to the question of diapers. There weren’t baby diapers available in India until 2000 like the way they do today. We used only cloth handmade napkins or those cottony napkins washable and reusable for newborns. Now the diapers from western companies are flooding the Indian markets. The clean habit of rinsing soiled clothes and drying out the washed ones in the sun was touted as unhygienic and unhealthy, unsafe for babies. Chemical stuffed baby diapers made with synthetic was touted as healthiest choice even if that bruised the babies with nappy rashes. Imagine tons and tons of diapers, tissue papers produced in America and Europe and these guys who cannot give up this literal colossal waste of paper destroying Earth every minute talk big about minimalism.

Who uses dryers in India? Its Americans and Europeans who use dryers and washing machines maximum. These operate at very high degree as also the dishwashers. What about the electricity consumed for these chores that can be easily manually managed. Maximum global warming. How about minimalism here. No wonder these guys are so OBESE!

Asian climatic conditions require us to shower more than once a day. Still we don’t indulge ourselves in bathtubs like those in the west do. Washing clothes and donning fresh clothes every time is not a luxury but a necessity born out of sweaty humid conditions. Which in turn raises demand for cotton clothes which are organic produce, unlike the polythene based nylon or crepe or georgette fabrics which use synthetic yarns as used in the west. Even our textiles have mostly handblock prints, silk weaving is handloom or sometimes part mechanized with more manual participation. The dyes are invariably vegetable dyes such as indigo. And these guys who cannot even have a grasp of others’ ways of life lecture about minimalism on clothes in our wardrobes.

In this country of mine, in villages, men still go topless. The simple single piece dhoti is the preferred male garment. Mahatma Gandhi wore only his loin cloth when he went to meet Churchill. This was the way this nation of mine has been for millennia. Women’s saris are single 5.5 meters of unstitched piece of cloth only. We now add a blouse for decorum that’s all, keeping with times. Up until 1940s, women of India went blouseless only covering their torsos with their saris. Such was our simplest way of life.

Today in foreign media, the sari is ridiculed and distorted as a symbol of racial identity of Hindus. For what reason? Only because in spite of all the gimmicks tried by these guys, women of India refuse to give up sari for cheap skirts and trousers and miniskirts.

Dressing up is such a beautiful feeling in India because we have hundreds of native weaves of yarns from all over the country, with multitude of organic dyed handblocks which print the same ethnic motifs that our ancestors wore with pride over centuries. Tribal arts survive. These arts are kept alive with demand for clothes. Families of artisans feed on the income generated from weaving and dying and handblocking. Cotton farmers can have a decent debt-free life with cotton selling good with a healthy procurement price in the market. It is a cycle really. Unlike the labels you may find in Milan or New York or London or wherever. Clothes are lifelines for millions in India. These are not just clothes. You have to live and travel in this country and look at our textiles to realize what a treasure trove of natural organic fabrics India is. Silk or cotton. It is all natural yarn not manmade or fake or synthetic.

When you do not create demand, what happens to the society. Markets shrink. Production goes down. Labour gets cut. Unemployment ensues and this becomes a vicious cycle of misery.

I do think of going for vegan leather and vegan silks. But there is another theory going on. Leather and silk are still organic even if not ethically appealing to some of us. Vegan leather and vegan silk still use chemical additives which can inflict more harm on environment in the long run.

I think world will be a far better place to live in if we close the Cocacola, Pepsi and Pizza and Starbucks outlets around the world. Maximum damaging to young lives. Forcing themselves into unsuspecting Asian societies and wrecking damage to the health of younger population. Is this what globalization should be about. In that case, let India opt OUT of globalization. Take back this nonsense, we have far better option.

These guys who ridiculed curry must know that it is curry flavoured with natural vegetables and spices only that bestow us Indians with immunity to fight the corona. Maximizing on desi/native food habits and eliminating the western eating habits will go a long way in restoring health across the world.

Is minimalism only about tossing just a few chairs and tables in your living and hanging two suits in your closet. Then what do you with all that money of yours. What is even the need for money. Where is the logic to work and earn a decent living in that case.

You want to have a good life without contributing to any growth prospect around you: is this not hypocrisy. Even in the times of pandemic, the factory worker, the train driver, the advocate, the teacher, the artist, the housepainter and others have to live. Let us allow them to earn a decent living, not cutting back our demands for their goods and services.

Minimalism to me means living close to natural ways, maximizing opportunities that can result in job creation engaging population as responsible citizen and as a healthy shopper. What we can indeed cut is emission of smoke/pollution, wastages to begin with.

Normally against extravagant lavish weddings but on the other side, look at the employment this can generate. How many arts and crafts flourish. Masses still have to survive. Sometimes I buy things I don’t need because I feel that giving business to the roadside hawker can ignite hope in him/her and could go towards feeding a family.

Who I wouldn’t want to give business is to MNCs, MNCs and MNCs.

Small retailers and sellers and cottage industries are the backbone of Indian economy. What we can minimize upon is doling out licence to malls by booting out those like Disney, Ikea etc., out of our country.

Even in the case of transport, the poorest countries use mass or public transport to a large extent even if out of necessity. Can Americans follow suit. West leaves maximum carbon footprint on Mother Earth compared to rest of the world put together. How about some minimalism here. Can these guys contemplate hopping into a train for a change instead of driving out thousands of miles in their luxury sedans.

So many many of our traditional simple native medicinal practices and eating habits and healthy lifestyle have been ridiculed to the extent by the west that many in Asia thought they must switch over to western ways in order to become more ‘civilized.’

Well, some of us just don’t still!

A lot of rethinking is mercifully going on. A lot of things we are unlearning and a lot of things native and original and healthy we are trying to introduce back into our lives.

Of the things we want to be booted out of India, we have christianity topping the list followed by islam! World will truly have peace in that case. Say a big LOUD NO to the Abrahamic culture that is consumerist and capitalist without a thought to nature.

Still, admittedly it is not entirely possible to do away with anything and everything imported. After all even my family is now mixed. There is a lot of interdependency like never before that the possibility of sealing our borders tight about anything just is not feasible. Wherever therefore foreign participation is unavoidable, incorporation of the same is fine. Minimalize imports and maximize exports and local produce consumption.

What we can do for HONEST Minimalism is:

Reduce softcopies if we cannot cut totally.

Use mass/public transport maximum.

Saying NO to Coke/Pepsi/Burger/Pizza culture and opting for native cuisines

Saying NO to fastfoods

Saying No to synthetic fabrics/textiles and clothes there on. Opting for natural fiber.

Use more of handmade products than machine produced

Saying no to paper and plastic plates and switching over to organic options. In India, we have to go back to banana leaf plates totally. If not totally, at least as much as we can.

Cut tissue paper usage. Switch over to water faucets because water is replaceable with next spell of rains. Nature can balance and make good the water circulated, very easily in no time.

Reduce plastic usage

Reduce tools/add-ons/accessessories in everyday life such as spoons, forks, buttons, straws etc.

Saying NO to GM food (again this is impossible in America)

Say no to clothes dryers, electric chimneys.

Maximizing usage of handmade goods/products

Maximizing use of manual labour wherever possible

Minimizing usage of made-in-china factory-line mass production goods

Saying no to food processing/packed foods

Some of us who don’t talk about minimalism still live life minimalistic way that will never make sense to superficial minimalists.

Minimalism is not something we must be talking about during pandemic. At this point of time, we would like to have masses engaged in fruitful productive activity and contributing to national GDP for it is imperative to keep the wheels of our economy well oiled and rolling. There may come a time in a few years when we can think of shrinking our markets, but right now time is hardly perfect for such a frugal practice.

I would say, go out more, shop for things that you may not want just to create a demand. Set the production line rolling and cash registers jingling. This is not the time to preach and hold back. What a selfish philosophy this is.

We have all taken a lot from our nation, from our economy, from our fellow citizens who may be working in any capacity helping us improve the quality of our lives. It is really time to give back now so let’s not tighten our purse strings in the times of corona virus pandemic.

If you can help being a Maximalist, please be one! World and especially India may have use for you.

Posted in Political

Trump Card To Play In Election Games.

Recently I chanced upon a political post in social media that alleged that, a certain Sri Lankan Tamil organization fueled anti-national sentiments in Tamil Nadu joining hands with a Dravidian party (since long). I wouldn’t want to explore the possibility as I am not interested in the outcome for the reason I believe that, the said dravida party could have in fact betrayed any Tamil cause in the long run in Sri Lanka contrary to what is circulated in the media.

In any case, the post reflected poorly on the intelligence and judgment capacity of individuals who are raring to take over the reins of the government in upcoming Assembly elections.

Only one question pops up in my mind. Should the assassination of one prime minister be reason enough to condemn an entire community that is blood related to mainland Tamils.

Secondly, these are not the Rohingyas from Myanmar with no umbilical cord or cultural connect with India. These are our very brethren who did not migrate to the island nation on their own will. Rather these were brought to Lanka and forced to work as bonded estate labour by the British a good century or two ago.

It reminds me of the cruel ‘Bale Kampung’ slogan that used to be raised in Malaysia at the drop of hat during election times. It meant ‘go back home’ to Chinese and Indian migrants who were moved to the south east Asian nation a good three hundred years back by the British occupiers for working the tin mines and rubber estates in the country. It also brings back to memory the American ideology in the past of resettling back the blacks in Africa (sort of ‘passive’ ethnic cleansing?) footing the bills with generous handouts. Good the native Indians do not harbour similar sentiments of sending back ALL SQUATTERS IN AMERICA!

The British left Lanka without awarding equal constitutional privileges to Tamils who had to fight for even for their voting rights once the colonists departed. There reportedly was no mention of the Tamil ethnic race at all in the Independence charter. No legal sanction for a community that had made the island their home for over 200 to 300 years. Overnight rendered illegal immigrants. The Sri Lankan Tamil story is heart-wrenching.

I had a firsthand information from my biological mother who went on excursion with her school wherein she worked, in 1980 to Sri Lanka. After a 10 day tour, she came back with minimal shopping. She had said that the Tamils in Sri Lanka were living in fear. The tourists could not visit Kadhirgamam already as they were stopped from going there. A river of blood had flown therein only weeks earlier. It was my mother’s greatest disappointment, having not visited the Murugan temple in Kadhirgamam.

It was an age when social media was still a very distant dream and even mass media was dysfunctional or erratic mostly. Newspapers ran censored lukewarm columns.

Violence of Sri Lanka thus had reached my home a two to three years before it was mainstream media news with international audience. Mid 80s saw Sri Lanka hog the headlines.

In Sri Lanka in 1980, my mother and her Hindu Tamil women teacher colleagues had to wipe their bindhis and cover their heads for their own security until they boarded their ships sailing back to Madras that was a mere three hours away by sea.

My mother never lived to see Lanka erupt into flames. Back when had she narrated the Sri Lankan horrors told to the visitors by Tamil traders, merchants, restauranteers, drivers etc., we had been shocked and numbed into disbelief. The Tamils were now the estate owners and business entrepreneurs igniting insane jealousy in Singhalese with their hard earned wealth.

We were receiving Sri Lankan tv in our home as well until 1982-83 perhaps. It was called Rupa Vahini and it was a far better channel than our Indian/Desi Door Darshan!

I grew up tuned to Sri Lankan radio that was my granny’s favourite that would keep blaring in my home all the time. ‘Ilangai oli parappu koottu stabanam Thamizh sevai irandu.’ Tell me which Tamil kid born in late ’60s or early ’70s missed this service.

The early ’80s saw the refugees in exodus from Sri Lanka arriving in boatloads accommodated into settlement camps in the state. Our school received quite a few Tamil girls who had fled their homes with empty hands and not even clothes to change.

We had meetings when these girls and parents addressed us, relating to us the genocide that was taking place in the island nation. Today none of us want to return to this point of reality sadly. As for as I was concerned, it was the first time ever that I heard of violence and bloodshed of any sort in my life. Very sheltered and peaceful village like life in Madras. Even Indira Gandhi was around then. Kashmir had not yet gone out of bounds. What an idyllic state of existence we have had until 1980 or so.

My aunt’s school saw a wave of admissions as well. One parent promised to come back with more girls rescued from the island but never returned. The clothes we donated. The food and medicines we garnered. The funds we raised. Didn’t this phase roll on for another 2 to 3 years at least.

All this is forgotten history now.

So easily and how heartlessly and crudely do some of us reduce all this to mere bloodshed and militancy. Is it all about Sri Lankan Tamils.

Can one assassination turn upside down an entirely justified cause of a population. Not denying the spate of violence that the said dreaded organization unleased in the island nation as well as in Tamil Nadu (in sporadic incidents). Still what drove men and women to found such an outfit and arm themselves to teeth. Was it in self-defence or in offence. Answering this one fundamental question can make a significant difference to our line of thought.

Was the supposed organization that was hardcore militant, sole representative of the island Tamil community. Or were these extremists the only voice of the beleaguered Tamils.

What a contorted notion this is and how far fetched can this be from truth.

One cannot hold a community responsible for any individual/organization’s actions or misdeeds. This is a very sick and mischievous ideology aimed at only one thing: shifting blame and scapegoating the gullible. Opportunistic.

The Sri Lankan diaspora is spread all around the world today, uprooted from their soil. And they can never go back to their motherland the way we Indians take our country for granted.

What a literate and intellectual society is this Sri Lankan Tamil community. The hardships they faced molded them into one very strong steely stock that struggle to uphold far better the puritanical Tamil culture over mainland (local) Tamils.

It was India who abetted their quest for a separate homeland in the first place that none of us can deny. But India changed tack conveniently and quickly abandoning the cause that we sponsored, leaving the hapless lot lost in confusion and mess. Any mental revisit to Mandapam years in ’70s?

And now we blame the unfortunate and battered island Tamils for stoking anti-national feelings in Tamil Nad?

Such a thinking can point to only one fact: how irresponsible and callous and shallow and insensitive can some of us become without a thought to larger scheme of things. There is always the full picture. If we get to depths of truth that can reveal things for what they are, we can never be arriving at nonsensical, hasty and irrational judgments.

This is what I fear most. A justified cause flagged for a one-off blunder that cost dear a tormented people. The wrong type would exactly latch on to such a weakness which is their trademark operating style. Trivializing aspirations and dashing hopes.

It is precisely this kind of political clout that I detest. Rash in action and judgment.

For how many more rounds of elections would we have Sri Lankan Tamils to use as our Trump card. Shame.

Hopefully, the Sri Lankan Tamil community live in peace at last wherever they are around the world, enriching lives, nourishing Tamil culture in far more meaningful way than merely by paying lip service.

I knew a family here in Chennai that was divided in most horrific way. Parents in Germany. Mother rented a house here in Tamil Nadu. Two boys. The eldest lost his life in a tragic rail accident while crossing over to his engineering college in Kattan Kolathur. The flights to Sri Lanka were rarest. Almost never. The parents made it a point to return to roots but the kids stayed away sadly. Very scarred at heart with a heightened sense of insecurity, this was one family that escaped murder and pillage, seeking refuge in Tamil Nadu/India overnight.

What language did they speak: Tamil. What is their Dharma? Hindu. Who were their ancestors? Hindu Tamils/Indians. And how quickly we judge anyone.

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Few go back now but those who do are resigned to fate, swallowing pride and coming to terms with second class citizenship, as uneasy truce prevails now in Lanka. It is very painful to contemplate this harsh reality which has become the norm of their lives.

Let the bygones be bygones. Sri Lanka is done and dusted. We don’t know what pushed people to edges. I hope this never happens to any citizen of India even in our worst nightmares. Having to flee our homes in the dark of the night… the very thought can chill our spine…

If you meet Syrians or Palestinians or Sri Lankans or even Egyptians or Pakistanis/Afghans or Africans in life, you will realize what a blessed nation you are born into. Let us leave the Sri Lankans in peace.

I have met a Palestinian woman who did not even hold a valid passport. Instead the men and women from her place possess stamped loose travel papers.

I have heard from a Syrian how he walked to safety through a landmine stretch in single piece.

My tourist guide in Turkey was a Palestinian as well. Not knowing where to go next or where he would be allowed to step in at all.

Older and wiser these days. Everyone has a story to tell. If we are lucky enough not to become statistics like them, we must only be using our good offices to bring cheer to unfortunate lives than making more people miserable.

First of all cultivate LOVE. There is so much hatred all around that I find suffocating.

Posted in Food For Soul

Who will tell their stories.

The way I care for my househelp etc., makes my hubby wonder whether I was born a housemaid in my previous janam. I don’t know about that. But I merely think I can become that voice for those unheard, unseen people that’s all. And where can I share their agonies. Only here in my blog. The way they struggle for their livelihoods, their tough survival conditions and their simple way of life touches me most. The injustice of it all angers me. I honestly feel connected to lower middle class lot, I don’t know why. May be because of my mother who used to take us girls to her school until she was around. Growing up with blind and deaf-mute girls who we got to meet and play with as kids every month and during vacations, watching the girls in running and sack races, lemon and spoon etc., all that must have touched something in my heart. Many of my friends find this empathy of mine unusual. Never felt, the girls in mother’s school were different. The notion of disability never entered my mind for decades because I was used to treating the handicapped as pretty regular from early on in life. Same applied to the poor. My mother got our housemaid, a teenage girl, married a mere few months before she passed away. She footed the entire expense and treated the girl like her own daughter in our presence. No special treatment for us daughterss over our maid who mostly lived with us. We two daughters ate our food or snacks with our maid Kanniamma who was mere few years older than us. That sense of equality probably got deep-rooted in my heart.

Most of all I reckon that those who work as housemaids etc., are there only because of their birth conditions. We only have to do a quick stocktaking to realize the injustice and unfairness of it all. Is anyone from my circle/community working as housemaid? driver? plumber? grave digger? scavenger? How come I and my family have a good birth? How come we have access to finest things in life that we take for granted? How come we are privileged and we assume we are born to this. On our way to here, who did my forefathers suppress. Whose livelihoods and dignity did our ancestors tread upon. At whose expense am I here at all.

These are the exact thoughts that I harbour which makes me go soft to the poorest. Sometimes their ignorance and helplessness can make me cry. Their mere unquestioning of their state, mutely submitting to injustice can depress me.

Reservations etc., can improve lives but the stigma attached to generations of oppressed will take a millennium to clear. Not a favour, we are paying for damages.

If my words can stop even a single soul to pause and reflect, that I shall count as my greatest victory.

I write for my own feelgood factor, not to impress.

Posted in Political

An apathy called Mixopathy.

Updated March 15, 2021

Blogged about this simple village woman Muniamma just a couple of days back. She is no more. For a brief time when there was drought and she couldn’t work her farms for the first time (and ever since), she came looking for job to the city. She was my househelp for a three month period. That’s when I was touched by the hardwork and sincerity of this very poor and unfortunate woman who never knew happiness in her life. Who was born to toil in agricultural fields and keep the kitchen fires burning after sunset. During her residence in the city, she was selling ‘kezhvaragu koozh’ near Harrington road railway signal (when we did not have the subway ready) to make ends meet. She worked in one more house. Never seen her in good clothes. Never heard of her going to the cinemas or beach. (When she came to me she was 50). 65 years of running and running, not pausing to enjoy anything in life. Her dearest motherless granddaughter got married recently. So hopefully she finds the elusive ‘shanthi’ now in her death. In a way, I am relieved her turmoil came to an end. My heart goes out to the this plain and pained rural Indian woman who I believe will never have a rebirth, for lifelong sufferings for no fault of hers. Born into misery. Born into this vicious circle of poverty and tragedy only dictated by the caste prejudice. Shame that we even absolve ourselves of such heartless crimes perpetrated by our ancestors. We do not have to do a penance to achieve any state of nirvana. A reflection on the way the woman lived her life for the family she adored never complaining, accepting her destiny, tells me what mukthi is all about. We do not have to go to any temple to realize some great truths. Good bye friend. You did your job best. There is a lot that today’s gurus can learn from someone like you. May your atma find satgathi. Straight moksha to you. Did you even have time to think about temples or puja or scriptures. How quietly you called the bluff of everything soooo superficial…? When a good soul departs, i don’t feel the loss but I feel touched by the profound goodness that the earth was graced with by this soul. So much of love and innocence and good vibes only…

One more non-descriptive rural poor woman who never mattered. It is as if she never existed. A stat. This callousness of the self-righteous is what angers me more.

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I am just relating a real life effect of mixopathy/alternative medicine on our general janata.

When all was well and world was still a sane and safe place to live in just before the corona struck, a poor village lady of 60+ I learnt had come to the city seeking medical treatment for her ailment. Into her 60s, the farm worker turned restaurant dishwasher had started bleeding again. When I came to know of her plight, I asked her family to take her to KMC hospital for further examination. It was over 10 years since she had had her menopause. Something did not add up and I had my suspicions about the woman’s health conditions. (btw i am not a qualified medico, just a housewife with basic intuitions that mostly never fail me)… A timely intervention could save her life. Her case was not unprecedented and in fact was a very common women’s affliction given her age.

The semi-literate family did not heed by my words even though they took her to government hospital and also to the Children’s hospital in Egmore where there is an obstetrics department. Here they had suggested probable removal of the woman’s womb after a biopsy. All this indicated to cancer of the uterus as I feared. I did not have time to follow up on the case. I knew this woman personally and she was a hardworking labourer all through her life. Not a moment to take respite. Her whole life was miserable working in hot tropical sun and the late evenings were for feeding the family and doing the chores. She had led an embattled life with a alcoholic husband who never went to work. But then I had a flight to catch and I forgot her case soon as I boarded the plane to the other side of the world. I was confident that with right medical assistance on diagnosis at the right time, in maximum three months or so, the woman would be back to normal and fit and healthy.

Three months later when I touched down, I was to hear a different story however. I was told that she had stopped consulting govt hospital and had moved over to Homeopathy/Ayurveda/Siddha. I was shocked to hear of this absurdity. Since when these people started treating cancer patients. Whatever happened to the biopsy and supposed surgery in Cancer hospital. Nothing. Nothing ever happened. The woman was swallowing white colour sugarlike pills in her high diabetic condition as dished out by her homeopath, having returned to work. In the meanwhile, her health woes took a temporary break. The family assured, they knew better and they cared better than an outsider like me. I was aware I was an intruder but the idiocy and stupidity and naivety of the village folks kept worrying and annoying me. Whatever I said fell on deaf ears with no takers including the concerned sick woman.

Within an year the corona came striking as also the woman’s ailment resurfaced. By now, surgeries were suspended in most govt and private hospitals. The only option available was chemotherapy upon biopsy. My fears came true. By now it was stage 3 and the cancer had metastasized. Unavailability of doctors and nursing staff delayed matters. Homeopathy or Siddha or Ayurveda guys expressed their helplessness.

Like wildfire the cancer started spreading and now the poorest of poor woman is suffering the last days of her life, once again forced to take the Kerala Ayurvedic medicine by her kith and kin. After a round of chemotherapy and radiation, the family had opted for mixopathy of their own – which is mostly practised by quacks in India.

As life slowly dims for the good woman who worked so hard for her entire life, I feel such a rage for this mixopathy culture that is killing thousands in our towns and villages for no reason. This atrocity can be allowed to happen in this 21st century only in this country. In this specific case, it is the alternative medicine that is to blame. I am citing this case to show how things are going to go on from here.

A life that was worth saving, a life that could have been easily saved, a life for which we have had resources and time and efforts to save, is now getting lost because of our pathetic ignorance. I can’t believe our government seconds incorrigible mixopathy and has made this fraud or perhaps unverifiable ways of medical treatment legal in this country. This is going to take a heavy toll on our rural population who may be easily gullible to malpractices by quacks.

You switch on the tv. See how many quacks are advertising their wares and the public are falling prey to their false claims of cure.

In any other country, the quack who treated the poor woman wrong in spite of her cancer, would have had his/her (alternate) medical practice licence suspended and thrown behind bars. Not in India. In India, this is perfectly valid and legal and the fraud practitioners or those with inadequate knowledge/experience of alternate medicine can still get away because of provisions under statute that allow and protect their unscientific, unproven practices. (The very concept of alternate medicine is illegal in most countries and can be punishable with a sentence).

Now imagine mixing all this into one formula to brew a medical concoction…

Ayurvedic practitioners are about to perform surgeries under the aegis of qualified surgeons (allopaths) in our governement hospitals very soon. I am not entirely in knowledge of how much of mixing is allowed. Will add details soon. Can you see this madness in any other respectable nation in the world.

Mixopathy will take us back by decades and reverse whatever progress we have achieved where it concerns rural health and development, there are no two opinions on this. Urban lower middle class is going to be dealt a severe blow as well. The crooked elements may get emboldened for all wrong reasons and the security and trust our general janata have reposed in the country’s health care system is to be compromised/breached like never before.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ima-protests-against-mixopathy/article33306544.ece

How far mixopathy is going to affect the private health sector remains speculation. Given the menacing presence of the insurance companies, the mixopathy contribution in star rated hospitals and medical clinics can be minimal, this is my guess.

Bracing for more lowering of standards across the board and general worsening of standard of living in future…

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Unorthodox alternative medicines without the seal of government approval is tolerated in India for generations. In rare cases, this can even work out – like in the case of skin issues such psoriasis, melanin deficiency, bone and joint treatment et., where external application of medicinal herbs can act as cure. Taking Ayurveda/Siddha/Unani/Homeopathy any further than this is going to spell disaster and derail whatever progress we have managed to record in health & wellness in recent decades.

How to undo mixopathy???

Posted in Others

Review: The fabulous lives of Bollywood wives

The best part of any place is the free stuff. Or free access areas. Where you don’t have to pay your way through.

I watched ‘The fabulous lives of Bollywood wives’ only for the Doha part. Stopped with that. Seems total fake to me. Cannot identify with any of these stars or this kind of society. Neelam, of course, I have heard of in my teens. I think she debuted with Govinda? Must be my age. Late marriage and parenthood perhaps.

Doha looks stunning in the Netflix series but the Doha I know in last 15 years is quiet and relaxing and laidback. I have not taken the airtaxi or whatever but have instead been on Dune safari twice in Qatar deserts and once in Dubai. Both are different kinds, no comparison. But the desert safari in Qatar has a much more beautiful landscape. There is a small backwater sea in the terrain that separates the tiny nation from Saudi and we make it right up to this point. Breathtaking backdrop. This must be done in the wonderful winters we have here. Nominal fee. No dramatic ride like in DxB but impressive in its own way. For those interested, there is the buggy ride always and camel safari.

ever tried climbing up a sand dune. not for the faint hearted. this is sealine beach in qatar desert with dune on one side and sea on another. took me and friends one hour to summit the dune. all the time looking out for any speeding dune buggy from knocking us down…

Plus we have great free access museums that are truly a delight to those like me. I am the museum kind of person. There are free access art galleries. I and my husband take daily walks either in parks or through galleries. Have had the once-in-lifetime opportunity of looking up close at Picasso’s originals including his art installations. Very generous of the Qatar government to bring them down for display. Similarly the temporary museums from different nations are the best in the league. One from China is still unforgettable. Art keeps evolving in different media as well. Many especially in India never get it. We outgrow some and we cultivate new forms. That invaluable lesson I learnt in Doha. Savoured M F Hussains original as well including His Hindu God paintings that may not be exhibitable in India. Firsthand. Oman’s only Hindu family Khimji art as well. Just to name a few. All this for free. I would suggest the museum and art galleries circuit first for visiting tourists. If you have an eye for art, you will be lucky to catch up with both contemporary and period art on display here at various galleries. Because of my husband’s interest, I too get drawn to art – mixed media or sculpture or whatever. You feel such a sense of calm looking at these impossible creations. I love the photography exhibitions as well. To create art of mundane stuff is the challenge. India has more artists but not enough display. What most moved me in Doha galleries, have been from the war torn nations of the Middle East. Their artists spoke through their art. Their pain was literally touchable. The suffering and screaming came upto you. I never knew calligraphy could be speak volumes either. Doha enriches our lives in a different way, much different from India. The generosity of the administration/government to give access to public for free of cost anything and everything that may improve the quality of our lives, touches me most. For instance, if you have to declare in the Art section of the Souq that you are an amateur or professional, they supply you with material like painting brushes, colours, canvas, easel etc for free so that you can do there your business without a fee. 9 to 5. You have your own little art corner or painting studio to work at, in the most frequented public place of the city where you need no marketing or publicity. Crowds come to you. I learned what good governance is, here.

As for medical facilities, touchwood all these years we could keep off this department with good health, but I hear this is one great wonderful area of service that even expats benefit from. Many younger ladies from not only India but from other nations working/living in Qatar opt to delivery here for this reason. Five star facility for nothing. We all have our health cards for all-paid medical treatment for whatever. Expats are fortunate to work here.

There are foreign campuses of world class universities from UK and the US. Best international schools.

Shopping, we do in regular malls. I do shopping in small retail businesses as well. From Vasantha Bhavan to Saravana Bhavan to Sangeetha, I have home delivery in Doha as well 😀 Street food means, I can say falafel and falafel sandwich both of which are vegetarian. I love lebanese vegetarian food and also turkish. Hummus, labneh (whey) and of course and the egyptian baba ghanoush. Eggplants, olives and cheese are local delicacies here. I relish the middle eastern vegetarian. So different and not spicy. Olive oil floating. Love the cheese blocks, cheese varieties from the meditterrannean. One chief reason for me to gain weight in Doha. Just can’t resist. Cheese and wholesome dates (not like what you get in India) are my daily snack. Hibiscus tea. I enjoy vegetarian from any part of the world. Pastries! Bread! If you are a nonvegetarian, oh my god, then the sky is the limit for you! If you are the barbeque type guy, well, well. My husband and son enjoyed the Malaysian steamed meat and fish 20 years back. My hubby enjoys the arab done non-veg now as well. Mostly smoked. I love the Arabi sharia rice made with ghee and seasoned with kishmish and their nutty walnutty baklava (dessert). Only in Doha, in north Indian restaurants have I enjoyed live hindi music with food. Sung with them as well as I spooned my food… I long for such restaurants in Chennai with light music. Celebrating food with music! Within a small restaurant I mean. That luxury within confined space is worth whatever the price.

We pass frequently through the (upscale) Lafayette mall but never been there. It is styled like the Louvre of Paris that the show misses to mention, with the glass pyramid and all. I buy my brands from Doha although I would like to say I am not a brand conscious person! We get the best brands at best price during sale (the only time we shop!). M&S is my fave, then Mango, Zara etc. I get my best fit jean only in Doha. After my US visit and Europe visit, I felt that middle eastern shopping is better than shopping in Europe or America. Real value for money. But I am not a cosmetics person so I don’t shop for cosmetics at all. I use only our desi Fair & luvly 75 rupees 😀 Apart from that only the eye pencil and mild lipstick that last 3 years. But other ladies shop for cosmetics as well as perfumes here. However for skin care, I like Bodyshop. The outlets and stuff we have for M&S, Zara, Bodyshop etc., in Doha are much different to what is available across India. Value shopping. Friends opt for Mac or whatever. I have only seen this brand and been with friends here but not so far got it. I miss that kind of shopping seriously here in India. Discounts are real discounts. I think for middle class tourists visiting Doha, these are the highlights that must be projected.

A friend of mine visited Doha and did a whopping shopping of upto 1 lac bucks for herself and daughter in teens. It is worth it. Clothes, cosmetics etc.

Electronics and mobiles may be next in the shopping list.

Gold shopping: i prefer Indian outlets in Doha although once or twice done Arab gold shopping. For those ready, there is always the gold souq. Gold shopping almost always strictly only in middle-east.

That brings us to the souq. Close to my apartment and my most fave haunting place in winters with my hubby. Love walking through the cobblestoned alleys. If you are the hookah guy in chilly winters, this is the place for you. Old world charm recreated. I love the syrian dessert ‘sahlab’ here like our kheer. 10 qr simply out of the world. Plus the roasted chestnuts. Heavenly. I learnt to snack different in Doha! And appreciate others cultures, tastes etc.

My zumba in Doha was also another level. It was kind of less dance and more work-out unlike bollywood influenced Indian zumba. Learnt even bellydancing hahaha. Had an tunisian girl teaching me that! Plus my exposure to broadminded lebanese muslim woman who refused to fast for ramzan taught me the lesson that we must never stereotype people or nations. This woman left soon but she used to tell me how different many of the arabs were. A moroccan girl treated my hair for US tour. Knowing these ladies as an average Indian gave me different perspectives from around the world. Of course there are the filipinos. Never seen a filipino get angry in my life. Born for the hospitality sector! Always happy. As an expat I draw something valuable from each of these guys I meet outside India. This is what shapes me, irrespective of what I write in my blog. I have to specially mention the nepali women, I see them working in the loo of malls. Just the sight of my bindi brought tears to a young girl from Kathmandu. I met once a Bhutanese woman in Bodyshop. I wanted nothing. I was with a friend. But when I asked her if she was Nepali, she said she was Bhutani and that Bhutan luvs India. Just for that i gave her business. She said the sight of salwar kameez or sari excited her so much because she was on her own, away from home. Unmarried and under 30. Interacted with women from entire Indian subcontinent: Paki, Bangla, Srilankan etc. Once you fly out of India, you think of all these women like your sisters as well.

The parks in Doha are amazing. The new one Al Bida crosses over a highway laid with red asphalt to the otherside of the road. From the top we can watch a football ground and speeding cars in the 8 lane highway. Our favourite spot that has knoll to ascend up and descend down for fitness. Aspire park is around a manmade lake. Another favourite of mine. Doha Torch is there. We never dine at expensive restaurants. But the 47th floor 360 degree REAL revolving restaurant on top is our chosen one for wedding anniversary always. We have Zaffron by Sanjiv Kapoor to everything from India.

Doha is truly a middle class budget tourist’s delight. Fits your pocket neatly. Not flashy like Dubai. Very relaxing and laid back.

But it is okay, the series is made for the moneyed who can luxuriate in 7 star hospitality and can have private lounge for jewelry shopping. It is this part of Doha I can never have access to, not that I regret.

I love the boating in the backwaters over the powerboat ride which also I have done.

Happiest to be part of this city and great nation where expats feel securest and most respected. Here is where I rethink a lot.

It annoys me when people comment back in India without having to move their butt an inch in foreign countries.

I wish this small young nation all happiness and prosperity in all eternity. The dignity and calm and quiet and tight lip they maintained through their crisis time wants me to give them a standing ovation. Hats off. you pulled it guys. With a single word, the tensions had the potential to escalate. How they steadied their nerves and chilled and cooled with a maturity rare for Arab nations is profound and historic. Their patience paid off. Not a single complaint or bitching I heard muttered in public. Extremely wise and responsible. I was there when it happened. I don’t want to spell it all in the open here. Even in our personal life we can learn so much from others. A nation teaching an invaluable lesson to its expats here in last few years. Grateful for that. Life changing experience for many of us. I am learning to cultivate patience and control my temper from my second home Qatar.

The series does no justice but gives a peek into areas beyond closed doors for middle class women like me.

Other than that the series is a drab. However I find the girl gang exciting a little because I too go on all girls trip with 3 different gangs: school gang, zumba gang, doha wives gang. Just being on our own as girls is like being a different kinda person. We are with the girls, what we are not in front of our own family! I let my hair down always with my girls online or in person. It relaxes me completely. Brings out the wildest you that you are calmed and at peace having voiced it out. Only with girlfriends this is possible.

That facefilling, facelifting etc.. omg. Clothes, shoes, accessories… looks like sin. As i said, I cannot identify with my own country women – these 4 ladies. Our daughters I mean our kids are also mostly the academic kind with nothing to do with show business. I am dusky, clumsy, poor at accessorizing, dress awkwardly, don’t have class yet I am Indian and most of us Indian expat women in Doha are like me 😀

That Karan Johar joker. Had i known he was the producer, I wouldn’t have even watched it for Doha.

I am quitting right after Doha.

Posted in Political

What is BBC to India. Why are they given such a huge media access in India.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji will you please answer me. Just who are the BBC and why do they continue to have such a huge media presence in India. Will Republic News be given such an official access to everything by the UK government to PRODUCE AND BROADCAST/TELECAST. When there is no equal reciprocation, such a privilege must NOT be accorded to foreign broadcasting corporations. BBC is mainly staffed by Pakis. None of their content is India favouring. BBC Tamil and other regional languages, BBC awards and coverage to Indian sportswomen, BBC this, BBC that… How do you even allow this Prime Minister. More than a dozen mainstream and you tube channels operating in Indian soil covering India every square inch. Are these guys broadcasters or espionage agents. Please put a fullstop to foreign broadcasting corporations taking India for granted. I hate their free access to India in the first place. Just who are they here to award us or certify us or criticize us. Foreign media presence in India is menacing. I have wanted to highlight this to you directly for years now. Just got a timely reminder. Please look into this Prime Minister. Just send them packing. Whatever access Indian news channels get in the UK, accord equally reciprocal broadcasting rights to same no. of UK channels in India. Not an iota more. Time to tick them off.

Posted in Social

Covishield Dose 1 – Done!

Took my first shot of Covishield, the corona vaccine made in India proudly today. Very neatly streamlined procedure. Our ID proof is mandatory as India is taking count of the vaccinated lot. I guess a certificate to the effect will be issued after the second dose to be administered after a gap of 28 days.

My husband called me from abroad to say, India made vaccines are not recognized in Middle East. I said, India exports corona vaccines to dozens of countries worldwide.

Medical studies suggest, India made Covishield (for Astrazeneca/Oxford) may be better than that marketed by the pharma giant Pfizer which is many multiple times more expensive than India vaccines.

Further 100% local India made Covaxin by Bharat Biotech, is reportedly rated the best as it is live vaccine. Hesitancy is therefore for this reason. However, our prime minister Shri Narendra Modi ji bravely opted for desi manufacture Covaxin silencing critics in one stroke.

Looks like the US is coming up with Johnson & Johnson or whatever that it touts to be the best. India is supplying vaccines free to many poor nations. India has also captured a sizeable chunk of world market for covid 19 vaccines. China made corona vaccines may be hardly reliable. (J & J vaccine may be made in India as well, truly mine is the Vaccine capital of the world!)

Countries where Pfizer vaccines are dumped naturally have ruled out India made vaccines coming at fraction of a cost compared to very, very expensive Pfizer vaccine. They have to clear their accumulated heaps first which need cold storage at -70 degree C at a very steep cost. Whereas India made vaccines can be preserved like any other normal vaccine in use so far at 2 to 8 C. Easy transport, storage and administration.

PM Shri Narendra Modi takes Covaxin vaccine, Made-in-India

West will do whatever it can in this price war to thwart India. They are losing in a big way to India here in this pharmaceutical battle.

Blue shade indicates India made Covid 19 vaccine receiving countries

Hats off to PM Shri Narendra Modi ji for making available the local made Covishield as well as Covaxin FREE to Indian public through government hospitals and primary health centers around the nation in such a short span of time. I am talking about 1.3 billion population here. In private hospitals, the vaccine costs a mere Rs.250/- (approx US$ 3/-) Even as war clouds have been threatening nations for decades, what a wonderful peacetime initiative by India doing a quiet, commendable job. Brazil, Canada, Australia, Bangladesh etc are a mere handful of nations that have opted for the Indian manufacture Covid 19 vaccine.

I said NO to Pfizer and opted for India made Covishield. Covaxin is not yet available everywhere. Looking forward to a corona free world in near future… (Pfizer not marketed in India naturally).

Over three hours since I took the jab, so far no symptoms unlike as reported in Pfizer cases. Touchwood!