Keep them safe, PLEASE!

 

Another suicide…a beautiful life gone! A life that hadn’t even bloomed to full adulthood, still unsure and tentative about things around her. Every few days we hear about a student committing suicide reasons that may seem inane to us mean the world to them- love issues, problems coping up with studies, cyber bullying, peer pressure…and then we ask, “but why couldn’t she talk to me about it? I have always told her we are like friends and you can share anything with me. Then why?”

These are dangerous times. We face a problem of plenty- too much information, excessive dependency on gadgets, too many social media platforms and undue amount of peer pressure on children! The little amount of time that our children spend with us ( I say little as most of their time is spent in school or with friends on phone or in other classes), we try and become their ‘friends’ so that they  share their day  with us and we can feel connected to them! We teach them ‘good values’ indirectly, trying not to be too preachy and guiding them ever so subtly about the kind of company they should keep (subtly, for they will not hear a word against their friends).We attempt to keep up with them by listening to their music, even if it seems like cacophony to us and the shows they enjoy, another step to our deep bonding with them.

This makes me wonder, do we fear our kids? Are we ridden with fears that come announced, of shadows and darkness that may tail our children? When they show disinterest in academics, we quickly pacify them, ‘it’s ok as long as you just pass. No pressure on you!’ Despite perhaps our reservations, we talk about sex, boyfriends and making out. We act cool and try to guide them in our own ways, ‘hey! I should know when you kiss the first time, do share, I am your friend, right?’, all the time keeping our fingers crossed! We of course teach them good from the bad, right from the wrong, constantly reminding them we are there for them always, should they need us. At least I tell my daughters, “no matter how wrong you go, no matter to what extent, never fear to share with me.”, hoping they don’t understand my desperation to keep them safe and protect them.

I am a tensed and worried mother today. I thought motherhood had its challenges but This I don’t know if I am ready for, this fear that has wrenched its way into my heart. Are my daughters and all the children out there safe?

 

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Leave those posts alone!

We need to relax. Really! Every comment, picture, story shared on social media need not be scrutinized with microscopic precision. Of course, anything on public platform is for public consumption but should we really tear apart every little thing that comes to us?

A seemingly innocuous picture shared by Amitabh Bachchan on ‘Pink’ movie celebration has taken the so called social media/feminist pundits by storm. How dare he post the picture without any woman when it’s about women? Oh yes! That’s sacrilege! But isn’t it a good thing that we have men getting together to celebrate a movie on women and their issues? Why make such a noise?

Some post on social media just to garner eye balls or for their five minutes of fame. Sitting on our moral high chairs, glued to our mobile screens and laptops, we are snared by the trap and within no time, there’s   a proverbial storm in a tea cup. Celebrities know how to remain in limelight: talk about your ex just before your release, create hoopla about uncovering a scam and then do nothing, talk about their imaginary struggles while shooting a movie, reveal astonishing secrets about themselves or their colleagues or just make a negative comment about a current, boiling issue and there you are – famous in a matter of nano seconds! It’s that simple!

Enjoy the stories, laugh at the incongruity of the words, wonder at their scheming, overactive imagination and move on! And let’s learn to give them benefit of doubt too sometimes. Remember , it’s a race- to be seen and heard first and not every bit that is posted has deep thoughts and philosophy attached to it! So calm your nerves and just sit back and enjoy the show

 

 

Sensor the rest

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I looked around the tiny 4 feet by 4 feet space, no, there was no tissue roll, so I rummaged through my purse. Nothing there either, not even a shred of paper. What choice did I have? So as I put my foot up to flush, I nearly slipped on the wet floor and my leg cramped. I cringed with pain, so much for the effort of trying not to come directly in contact with the flush valve. Even though I failed in my first attempt to flush, I remained undeterred. Like a superwoman, tolerating my pain born out of my cramp, I tried again and I gave a whoop of delight as I succeeded.

My smile soon gave way to a frown as I walked out of the ‘cramped’ space. Only one out of the two wash basins was in working condition. As I watched the lady gargling and rinsing on the basin, I swear, a little spit splashed on the faucet. She walked out breezily, having powdered her face and pouting for effect leaving me there to worry about finding a solution again to my perennial problem, how do I use the tap without touching the spit smeared faucet !   So my hunt began and luckily for me, I found a lone tissue on the basin area as though it was waiting for me. It was heaven sent! Trust me it was! I picked it up gingerly and used it to open the tap faucet, washed my hands and used the same to shut it off. I didn’t let go of the tissue, not just yet. My hand wet, the modest looking paper helped me open the door, and I exited from the restroom, nearly kissing the paper tissue as I chucked it in the bin.  I dread using public loos but when you have to go, you have to go!

I looked around and felt let down- malls and restaurants have this feel good factor about them- air conditioned, less noisy, best food, luxury brands, people around with friends, lovers, parents  and kids ; everything spells luxury and indulgence with the right frills. But my cramp reminded me what I had been through and it snuffed away all the positivity of being there.   While they charge a premium, why are they so negligent when it comes to the very basic need- clean, spotless restrooms? Wet floors, lack of tissues, dysfunctional dryers, empty soap dispensers! Either you don’t have them at all, but when you do, please, don’t play with our feelings and offer empty promises .  I would think electronic sensor taps and flushes are ideal for such places. They not only help conserve water as they are usually designed with low flow rate, but are extremely hygienic. With touch free taps and flushes, we do not have to get dirty again reusing the same lever or handle and there will be no cross contamination between users through the tap or flush. And in case we worry about phantom flushes (sometimes the sensors are over active and react too often), there are motion sensors that avoid this problem. The sensor here points straight up and all you have to do is wave your hand above the sensor to flush.

This takes care of the hygiene problem and at least I won’t ever have to resort to acrobatics and I can rest my brain in the rest rooms, not having to tackle the life changing issue of how to use the faucet without touching it.

Pop the bitter corn

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I saw her tucking her homemade roll in what looked like a kerchief, sandwiched between a book and her spectacles’ case. Looking around stealthily and finding no curious onlooker, she pushed it in her purse, disguised and supposedly safe from the hostile scrutiny of the security person. Most times we get away with just a cursory glance by those who check our rotis and rolls outside the theaters who make sure we aren’t carrying our phaphdas, bhujia or chocolates but she wasn’t so lucky. So, out came her food which she thought was as fool proof as the money parked in Swiss bank. She looked at me sheepishly, ‘but I don’t have outside food after the sun sets so I have to carry my food’. ‘Tell her that’, I urge her. And she does. The security lady gave a blank stare and sensing the religious undertone, allowed her with a warning, ‘you allow one, you have to allow many. Make sure no one sees you taking a bite into your homemade goody’. A little nod of her head and the lady ahead of me in the queue was free! Free to eat her rolls, free from the burden of spending a bomb for the food that is not of her choice, free from breaking her diet with the junk that’s available in the counters and free to enjoy the movie without staying hungry and breaking religious mores. It was a victory of sorts for her! She passed a triumphant look when she saw me standing morosely at the food counter as I was reading and re reading the menu board, hoping that something healthy and cheap will suddenly pop up!   I asked for chilly cheese toast that was mentioned.

‘Sorry, not there’.

‘Fresh juice?’

‘Not available, no!’

‘There’s cold coffee also on the menu. Surely you have that.’

‘Machine not working’

And then exasperatedly, ‘we have coke, sprite, burger, popcorn and tacos with dip, that’s what we have’, this with a take it or leave it look.

I was hungry and I wanted to munch. I fell in line and so popcorn and coke it was for me. Not crispy, not fluffy and when I complained, he muttered, ‘all are fresh. You can see.  This is what we have.’

As I sat in the movie hall, the plight of the blind woman in the story didn’t move me, the romance between the actors didn’t fill me with passion, and the revenge drama didn’t excite me. Instead my mind was mulling these thoughts as I munched the stale popcorns.

Why can’t there be healthy, fresh food options available in the cinema halls?

Why can’t we have a variety of food options, surely we all love our entertainment without having to worry about what to eat and ‘how’ to eat (keeping in mind the poor taste)?

Why can’t the food expense be within reasonable limits so we aren’t forced to smuggle our own food, sometimes lending to red face embarrassment?

The lights came on; I broke away from my nation building thoughts and walked out of the cinema hall, feeling guilty as I dumped the barely eaten popcorn in the bin!

 

 

Of lice and hurt pride…

Nothing challenges a mother more than the sight of unsightly looking creatures on her child’s beautiful mop. She can only stare in horror as these eeky, teeny weeny creepies dance their merry dance there.  These horrors mock at her, giving her a thumbs down for her lack of vision, in premeditating the attack of the obvious enemies. But this is only at the first sighting. Hurt pride takes over and she gets down to business. Sessions after sessions of fine combing follows. Not an easy task, considering it takes lots of cajoling at first and when that does not work with kids, threats and stern voice follow. ‘You sit with me now else no Doraemon” or “ you think I like doing this but I cannot have my daughter going about with this ugh looking monsters playing havoc in her head” , she hollers.

These sittings do not help much and the problem persists. Mediker, Lycil all are used one after the other. No effect! The nits do not budge, they keep reproducing these fellows. Then long distance calls are made to the Dadi who shares her age old home remedies. These should work. After all, the cures must have been in use for centuries perhaps. Onion juices overnight in hair, camphor with coconut…didnt do much except making the room smelly and the child irritable. Harrowed mother almost gives up but you cannot keep the wounded down for long.

With her reading glasses in place, she scours the internet. Google as always her best friend comes to her rescue. In her hunt for the real cure, she scans through the search pages, reading, assimilating, writing and understanding and finally she heaves a sigh of relief! All reviews and writings point towards a potent concoction..NYDA , available online or in few pharmacies. She waits no further and orders her weapon..Not one but two…ab bach ke kahan jayenge!

When the parcel arrives, with a child like glee and excitement she hugs her nemesis’ doom and waits for her child to arrive from school. Evening comes and the matter is taken to task. The medicine applied thoroughly, leaving not a single hair untouched. Now all she can do is wait and watch.

The next morning, the fine comb shows her what she has been dying to see. As promised, eight hours after application,the lice problem has been taken care of. Nits still remain but have to be taken out manually. NYDA does take care of lice and nits but as with all anti lice treatments, it has to be reused every week for it to be effective.   But at least you don’t see your child scratching her head all the time. Thank You God for NYDA!

Though one benefit of having lice…if you are a loner and enjoy being one, you will always be a loner!