Posted in Women & Family

Face Of The Bharathiya Naari

Style or Substance?

I am sick of the so-called feminists who are trying to beautify even acid-attack victims with brush and paint. Why should rich and spoilt chicks continue to represent Indian women.

I downloaded this picture from the Facebook page ‘People’s Archive of Rural India.’

This is a farmer woman from Vellore district in Tamil Nadu. Has any feminist group that makes it its mission to fight just for women’s rights featured a face of this dignity and pride ever. Shame on you ladies!

These are women who do NOT conform to the kind of womanhood you seem to associate with or project – the face of millions who are India’s daughters who will not probably adorn your pages.

Thanks to the archives, I get to see some real and beautiful women of India than the fake plastic ones. Aditi Rao Hyderi, Priyanka Chopra, Neeta Gupta, Sushmita Sen – I never saw/do not see anything common as a Bharathiya Nari, with any of these women. TOTAL DISCONNECT. You are more a feminist in India if you are an unwed mother who will not reveal who fathered your kid or if you have had your nude picture published in the media. Or if you are a bollywood star braving the men in celluloid screens who will make headlines with startling statements and outlandish views. Or if you are a no-substance Page 3 celebrity whose sole credentials could be the socialite parties which you cannot do without. Or if you are in (and out of) live-in relationship(s). Or if you take out banners and placards in Left rallies but would later step into a beauty salon to take care of the ‘tan’ you got with it.

For women to think of themselves at par with men, first you have to come out of this ‘beauty’ obsession. ‘Beauty’ is a relative term. It has to be earned rather than be inherited by gene or cosmetics. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I dare the feminists to share a face like I have posted here. So brimming with happiness, contentment, completeness and pride.

The beautiful face of the Bharathiya Naari. #Respect with an R capital.

Posted in Political

When Law Needs To Take A Walk: Medical Termination Of Pregnancy After 20 Weeks

(this is an old blog post of mine, dusted and brought to life because this escapes our government and court attention that it very much merits)


This illogical legal standing is the reason we have a baby born in our friends’ family that is mentally and physically retarded (no way I shall use the word ‘challenged’ ; is this really a challenge? what kind of challenge is this?) and immobile in bed for last seven years. Not in kindergarten with other kids, not running about playing mischiefs and breaking things. Just in his same baby cot, same room, same home, same town. The baby is the reason for marital friction between his parents, cause for terrible grief for his entire family. Add to it the huge medical bill every month plus physiotherapy charges and frequent hospitalization expenses. The medical cover hardly proves sufficient.

The little one’s mother is suspected to have caught a viral throat infection in her pregnancy (which she cannot recall – CMV virus as postnatal tests later revealed) By her 6th month in second term, it was still established via routine ultrasound scan that the baby’s brain as well as physical growth had stopped forthwith.That is valid ground for medical termination of pregnancy but it was past 20 weeks under Indian statute. The parents wanted to go for an abortion. Since law was against it, hospitals refused. The girl in her twenties was forced to continue with her pregnancy against her will without an ounce of happiness. They waited in desperation for the birth of the first child in family after nearly 30 years – in the third generation – knowing what was to come. So sad…

Now hopefully Government of India, the Supreme court everyone one is ought to be happy. Yes, in larger interests of the nation, the girl went ahead with her pregnancy, delivered an unhealthy boy, and is now trapped in a tragic situation, caring for her little son for over 7 years. So what, justice is served after all. Law was adhered to, to the last letter. The baby is fed (only soya milk nothing else) through a tube that is inserted into his nostril sometimes and if when his condition worsens (as it does every now and then), through a tube inserted directly into his stomach. How nightmarish life is for the little one since his day one! Can’t be more painful and torturous. How long will he live is a question mark. Can you imagine situation like this: wherefrom parents to grandparents everyone is praying and waiting for the baby to die?

The emotional and physical toll the sick baby is taking on his father and mother as well as on others is enormous. Life turned upside down for them just like that. They were only newly married happy couple. Young and throbbing with life.  Ambitious. My heart goes out to the innocent little bundle of profound sadness – who needn’t have to be, but for some obstinate laws we have here in India that do more harm than good. The disillusioned young parents have totally lost interest in life. Both are successful IT professionals. But after the boy’s birth, the mother had to give up her job. After what happened with the first born, the young couple do not even want to try for a second baby.

Are you happy India? Are you happy Judges that justice is served? That Law is upheld? You killed no son of India. You saved his life. For what purpose? To our government and perhaps the justice system, this is a mere collateral damage to pay when it comes to upholding law, from preventing misuse of the statute. But what medical expertise do our legal experts boast of, to rule on exigency cases like these?

Why cannot there be case to case exceptions where a judge can decide suo motto on the issue in medical situations like this one. These are special cases that need to take into account expert opinion and have to be judged on humanitarian ground. When we have family courts for divorces in India, why cannot we have a similar system for civil medical suits?

India’s Supreme court has NO time to hear sensitive, critical issues like these that may mean life and death to citizens: our judges will decide on fellow Indians’ precious lives at their leisure. Whether it is about medical termination of foetus after 20 weeks or Jallikattu matter pending for years before Supreme court, you will have to wait. How can one ever repose faith in an institution where the welfare of citizens seems to be of least consequence. Vacate the vacation, if you have to. Timing is precious and sacrosanct in these cases. The purpose of Law and Judiciary is to serve citizens JUSTICE. Not to deny or delay justice to the needy and desperate. Justice delayed is justice denied. It is understandable that the mother’s life and health are more of a concern. Still, unilateral ruling without taking into consideration case specifics will serve no purpose. It is time, our stone age statutes are revisited and Draconian ones like the abortion laws are repealed and/or amended/revised/restructured on expert opinion.

Rise in birthrate of abnormal children with birth defects (congenital or otherwise) is a big loss to not only the concerned parents/family but also to Indian nation. A healthy population means a healthy nation. And now, we have increased number of such births in India (and in entire world) (reasons being use of pesticides/fertilizers/pollution whatever). Prevention of these undesirable births does not make one cruel or heartless. Just ask the parents.

Finally, what is the purpose of ultrasound scans or other advanced tests carried out with amniotic fluid in the womb? It is to rule out anomalies in the foetus that these tests are recommended right upto the trimester term, why even 24 hours before delivery.  If you cannot amend the law, why go for them? Not to mention they are expensive.


Posted in Food For Soul

The Hindu Custom Of Feeding The Crow First

I grew up in a family where we fed the crows early in the morning the first morsel of food, after offering it to Mother Goddess Annapurna (Anna in Sanskrit means food), the one in charge of food grains, fertility and abundance department, with a small Sanskrit shloka (prayer). In deed, She is an avatar/another form of Mother Goddess Shakthi or Parvathi. As She is our benevolent Mother who feeds us in our hunger, we offer Her food everyday. The vigraha (idol) is placed in a copper or silver bowl of raw rice in our Puja (altar) at home.

There is no Hindu festival or worship without offering food to God first. It could be kheer or sweetened rice or fruits or whatever or it could even be meat as in some tribal and rural communities. Whatever, we each offer our Gods, what we can afford. This is whether we have an Annapurna deity installed in our Puja or not. Some may not have the Annapurna.

After the Aarthi is performed, we assume that the Gods and Goddesses have consumed our offering. Later we offer a portion of the offering to the crows who we consider our ‘pitrus’ (deceased parents and grandparents and in-laws in the family). It is only after such a ritual is complete, we can touch our food to eat.

Even today through length and breadth of India, this custom is strictly observed – atleast on auspicious days if not possible on working days. Observing the custom is a must especially during such days as Amavasya (new moon) etc., and during religious ceremonies. in south India, even today this is practised religiously literally.

Even so, the Christians and Muslims in India (even if they are converts) have the habit of mocking this tradition that has been in our practice for thousands of years observed from the times of our ancestors.

My friend quoted the Sringeri Mutt seer and gave me this explanation on the Hindu custom of offering food to our Gods, often ridiculed by muslims and christians who ask us whether any God can eat our food really. (Never mind their gods call for bloody sacrifice by way of brutal killing of hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep and turkeys to feed the gluttons that they are).

The seer answered the question to a muslim man who was asking him the rationale behind the offering of food to Hindu Gods.

The seer said, ‘when you read a book, you imbibe its substance. But do the letters in the book disappear and get into your system? Does the subject in the book by way of printed matter vanish once you have it by heart? Yet you know, the essence of the book is in you now. But the book still stays printed and has not gone blank. You have taken matter from the book, the book has given you something, yet the book has not become empty or blank.

Similarly, when we Hindus offer food to our Gods, the food is eaten by the Gods with love and blessings, but the food still remains for us bhakths (devotees) to later consume. Like the substance of the book you read that is ingested by you, our Lord and His Missus savour and relish our food. Yet the food remains in the banana leaf (normally we offer food for Gods in banana leaf at least in the south. we may also offer food to Gods in silverware or goldware (if you can afford even if the God may not ask for it!)) physically for the whole world to see. But in his/her heart a Hindu knows, believes and acknowledges with gratitude that the Gods have accepted the offering.

The muslim man was shaken by the explanation, I believe.

Every Hindu custom and belief is strongly rooted in logic and reasoning and immense faith. Do not let others get away with their ignorance and rude comments. Hinduism does not promote or encourage terrorism or nepotism or subjugation of women to inferior position like others do. Only Sanathana Dharma lists the order of priority thus: Matha, Pitha, Guru and Deivam (mother, father, teacher and god). Which faith will consign itself to lowest level of priority as ours does. Which is why I am a Hindu. No other fake or imported belief system in the world can come out with such a profound truth and insight as this.

Be proudly a Hindu!

Posted in Food Porn

The Storm In Your Tea Cup: Calm it with Karuppatti

Karupatti Vellam (aka Pana Vellam in Tamil) (Palm Jaggery) (Palm Gur) – the world’s best and finest natural sweetener

Note: This is not the ‘Brown Sugar’ you may find in Departmental Stores. Brown sugar is also essentially cane sugar, only raw with a hint of caramel.

Palm Jaggery is used in lieu of Sugar in southern districts of Ramanathapuram and Kanyakumari of Tamil Nad, as a tradition. This is Jaggery from Palm trees that grow in abundance in south India. Karuppatti/Palm jaggery is not from sugarcane like the regular white sugar we use in our coffee/tea/sweets or even the regular organic jaggery we derive from sugarcane.

Once upon a time in India, before the British arrived, most Indians especially Hindus used only the Karuppatti (Palm) jaggery or regular jaggery from sugarcane produced by organic process, never the poisonous and caloried white sugar. With the commercial interest high in sugar from sugarcane that was processed mechanically in tonnes, we slowly switched over to white sugar in our morning coffee and toffee and mithais moving away from jaggery/palm jaggery. One more thing, the finely refined white sugar was also easy to use. I got a taste for the palm jaggery as a pre-teen at a neighbour’s place which is an interesting story. My granny continued to make sweets at home mostly using cane jaggery as much as possible. However the laddus and halwas and other sweets were loaded with plain sugar only. The sweets that were using jaggery as base/binding agent/sweetener were fast disappearing. But it is heartening to know that, the jaggery or gur based natural sweets are once again back at least in south India in a big way, as health awareness kicks in.

My flashback about palm jaggery is interesting.

I had my first exposure to karuppatti or palm jaggery when I was a 7 or 8 year old kid. One of our neighbours used to be a ‘Naadaar’ family from the southernmost parts of the state – from Ramanathapuram district. Business-minded, they got all their workers from their hometown/native villages for least wages in the stainless steel & copper utensil shop they owned. (As a matter of fact, they still own this family business and stay put in the same old now-remodeled house). For this ‘Nadar’ community, respect and honour are the most cherished values. Today Nadars are very successful entrepreneurs not only in Tamil Nad but have spread their wings around the world. They are into everything you can think of: steelware/kitchenware (primarily), silk garments/textiles/electronics/restaurant business. Of course Shiv Nadar of HCL, who can forget.

What is charming about them is, this one community never lets go of their precious ancient customs and traditions. Karupatti was one such a dear thing to them.

In my neighbour/friend’s house, there would be this huge copper pot perpetually warming up on the coals. (The family did use LPG fuel in the kitchen but when it came to workers who were limited to the ‘thaazhvaaram’ (outer courtyard) of their house, it was simmering coals. A series of copper tumblers would lie in a plate besides the pot. The pot held the ‘karupatti vellam’ coffee – fresh coffee brewed (mine is a coffee growing state as well as tea so we get it all extremely fresh than other importing nations) with milk sweetened with ‘Karupatti Vellam’ or the Palm Jaggery.

Whenever we kids went to their place to play, we were offered drinks but I always opted for this karupatti vella coffee. It could be sometimes over-sweet but it tasted so different from what we brewed at home. So very refreshingly different.

In the evenings likewise, there would sit a pot of ‘karupatti vella tea’ in the coals in their small yard.

Coffee and Tea were in unlimited supply.  The workers could have their fill as much as they wanted. And we friends too.

Even today if and whenever I visit them (when I go to Mylapore) I ask them for ‘karupatti vella coffee’ and they exclaim, ‘you remember, you haven’t changed!’ The truth is, neither have they!

Some health benefits of Palm Jaggery/Karuppatti/Palm gur:

  • rich in minerals like iron
  • energy booster
  • relieves constipation
  • heals migraine
  • good for digestion
  • relieves common ailments such as dry cough and cold
  • active cleanser of intestines
  • helps in weightloss as it scores low on calorie county
  • suitable for all seasons winter or sommer
  • ideal and in fact best  and natural sugar substitute for diabetics

Sugar substitutes such as the Aspartame and Saccharine available countertop in the market are nothing but synthetic chemicals with adverse side effects. Direct sugar is a lot better as you know at least what you are dealing with.

So what should be our order of preference when it comes to choosing the sweetener for our cup of chai.