Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Will her hope be fulfilled????

Last night I chatted with a friend of mine. He casually mentioned how he visited a friend’s mother. This friend (let me call him Mahesh) of his died a couple of years back. I was really moved when I learnt that the mother’s eyes filled up with tears when it was time for them to leave. It was that thought that disturbed me. A mother who is still undergoing the pain of her son’s loss is very sad.

I have only heard about this Mahesh and have seen his profile and his picture in Orkut. Though Mahesh is a stranger to me, there is something common in us. So I have a kind of bond with Mahesh.

I couldn’t sleep last night as my thoughts kept wandering from one incident to another that took place in my life. And in course of time I had woven a string of thoughts.....the good ones and the bad ones. It moved from my childhood to my parents’ incompatibility to my rebellious teenage days to my adulthood to death of my close friend, to Mahesh then to my father’s bankruptcy to the separation of my family members and to my lost brother and finally to my own Mum.

I was just wondering how painful it is for mothers to accept the death of their children. It is even more painful to lose contact with their children. When a parent loses a child due to an accident or a suicide it is very shocking. It may take years for them to come over that fact. It is even more painful to see mothers going into a depression or ending up with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Why is that I keep thinking about Mahesh? Well Mahesh and my friend Farid (name changed) died on 15th March. One was a suicide and the other an accident. One died 2 years back while the other twenty two years back. The mother of one is still living in her son’s memory while the other died of Alzheimer’s disease. There is only one relief….both of them knew that their children were never going to come back.

My mother is living her life thinking about her first born son with whom everyone lost contacts. Nobody knows anything about him and even if they do they are not willing to let the family know in which condition he is in. My brother left India to join my father in 1983. He was a drug addict and he went beyond Mum’s control. Mum thought it was best for him to be with Dad. He went abroad and became worse. Things went totally out of control. All that he needed was money and he did anything for it. That is my brother!!!!

Since 1985 nobody knows what has happened to him. No relatives of mine have seen him. We haven’t seen him since 1983. Though we visited there we had no idea about his whereabouts. Every time one of us goes abroad, Mum begs us

“Mole/ mone, Saleem mone kurichu onnu aneshikanne” [daughter/son, please enquire about Saleem].
Mum will keep contacting us if we came to know about his whereabouts. When we return we can see the disappointment on Mum’s face. My Mum’s condition is even worse than that of Mahesh’s or Farid’s mothers. They know/knew that their children will never return. Here a mother waits eagerly for her son’s return. She keeps aside a property with the hope that he will come back some day. I know for sure that my brother is never going to return. He has lost all human feelings and he is into some kind of trap. We can never tell Mum about it. We always avoid the topic of my brother but Mum comes up with the topic every now and then. The saddest part is Mum always keeps saying,

“Njan marikunnathinu mumpu eniku Saleem mone ne onu kannan pattumo?” [“Will I ever be able to see my son Saleem at least before I die?”]

I have no answer to this question of Mum. I cannot tell her the truth. Truth is very disturbing and it is better not to disturb her mind. Mum goes into bouts of depression when someone asks her about my brother. I don’t think I could have felt sad if I heard that my brother died. Then there is nothing to look forward to. Here I am letting my old parents live with a false hope that he will come back some day. I really don’t know if that will ever happen.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Christmas tide is back and there is no feeling of Christmas yet. I find everything becoming monotonous. As the years roll by the excitement and wait for Christmas has faded.

The earliest Christmas I remember is my Christmas abroad. There was a big Christmas tree and with full of decorations. We children were given duties like arranging the Christmas tree, hanging ornaments, golden stars, silver stars, teeny weeny Santa Claus’, lights and a whole lot of decorations on the doors and windows. I can remember Christmas cards of various hues and sizes. As I grew up a bit more my attraction was towards the people who came for carols. They came at night with musical instruments and sang wonderful carols. I admired the ‘Big White Santa Claus’ and his choir.

I loved Christmas for new clothes. It was a great pleasure to wear new clothes for mass. The midnight mass was elaborate and it took a very long time. Though I was physically in the church my mind could be on the cake and wine that was awaiting us or on the new clothes of my friends.

Another attraction about Christmas was all the wonderful goodies at Mum’s ‘godown’ (We called it a ‘godown’ because there were so many varieties of cakes, biscuits and other eatables.) The food was never kept outside. It was always under Mum’s control. The special food was also an attraction. Dad used to get so many gift baskets and gift hampers. A grand party would be thrown out for his friends. (We children got gifts from all those who attended the party. It would be toys or books or big slabs of chocolates.)It was mainly booze parties and many would be finally sleeping on our beds until they woke up with hangovers.
There was an instance when one of Dad’s friends was so drunk that he went into the wash and fell there sleeping. My brothers and I peeped at regular intervals and we enjoyed the scene like watching a monkey inside a cage.

By the time we came to India things changed. Christmas became a small time affair. The carols were sung in different pitches and tones (Singers were tone deaf). It was mostly Malayalam hymns that they sang. The Santa Claus was pathetic. He was a true symbol of poverty. The malnourished Santa with a plastic mask and a red night dress, red cap, with a worn out bathroom slippers happily danced. As he dances to the tunes his stomach wobbled. The Santa here didn’t have gloves or shoes. The dark hands and dirty feet were not at all appealing.

Parties too became a small time affair. I enjoyed baking with my Mum. I was always ready to help her in icing the cooking and cakes. I used to love (I no longer do) licking the vessels for all the leftovers of icing and cake batter.

Things changed slowly. Each one of us left home, first for our studies and later for employment and to settle with our families. The old charm of Christmas is not there now. It is many years since I attended a mass. I am not particular about new clothes. It is many years since I bought a new dress for Christmas. I used to bake cakes and cookies but I no longer do it. This time I did not even buy Christmas cards for my immediate relatives or my close friends. I really cannot understand why I have become so indifferent and keep myself blocked from other people. I know I can send e card but does e cards give you the same kind of feeling that you get when you see the handwriting of the person you love????? Never!!!!!.....Nothing can replace that feeling!!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How I stripped Koonan

After a long time I went to visit my parents this afternoon. While having lunch, my parents were telling my daughter about my 'heroic deeds' in my younger days. One incident that I really found funny was one which took place in my grandmother’s house. Though I quite forgot about it came back fresh to my mind.How could I forget that commotion that was created for my unwanted curiosity???

This took place much before I started school. I must have been three or four years. It was a time when we had come to India for our vacations [my brothers were studying then]. My grandmother had servants and they were all from two families who lived behind her house. There was one particular child called “Koonan” who must have been four or five years older to me. He was always dressed up like a girl. He wore a lungi and had a bindhi on his forehead. He always wore earrings made of silver foil from cigarette packets. He wore glass bangles and chains. I was treated with so much respect and I somehow had a fascination for this queer child. I was fond of his bangles and chains. He would play with me and at times would do odd jobs for my grandmother. I always thought he was a girl.

I kept asking Mum, my grandma and relatives if he was a girl and they kept telling me that he was a boy. Since my knowledge in Malayalam was just very limited I did not know “Koonan” was a masculine gender. I thought that it was the name of that friend of mine. I never believed them when they told me that he was a boy. So I asked him if he was a girl. He blushed and bent his head very girl-like. So I decided to find it out myself.

One day he came home and called me to go out and play with him. Again I raised my doubt. He just smiled at me. I went near him and pulled off his lungi and found that he was a boy. The lungi was in my hand and I heard a shout from my grandma,

“Xinaaaaa entha ee kanikunne?”

“Ammachiii Koonan boy aaaaa” I replied like Archimedes discovery of the law of flotation

My grandma was not at all happy at my discovery instead she scolded me for pulling off his lungi. She was furious and pinched me hard. She took the lungi from my hand and gave it to the already running Koonan. Mum chided me for doing that and she said it was wrong to pull off another person’s dress. My grandma kept grumbling for days together.

When I think of it now I guess my curiosity knew no bounds. I think my grandmother must have been angry to find her grandchild trying to molest a boy. She must have heard only about males molesting females. She had found her granddaughter to be different.

I asked mum if she had any idea what this boy was doing and mum said he was running a teashop in his wife’s place. Anyway that was my first and last [I hope] stripping!!!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

John and his ways

The other day in class I told my students the attitude of the present generation. I casually mentioned that the basic manners of how to behave in class were to be taught in the lower classes. Immediately a boy said,

“Ellaveryum kollanam teacher.” [Everyone should be killed, teacher.]

“Ayyo angane kollanayirunnu enkil nammal arum kanillayirunu allo,” [If everyone were to be killed then none of us should have been alive.] I replied but felt very disturbed.

John was a son of a goonda who was famous for making country bombs. He was called “Bomb Nelson”. He was a criminal and had killed many people. The local politicians used Nelson for their selfish purposes. One day Nelson was attacked by a rival group. They did not kill him. Instead they amputated his right hand and left leg and left him to suffer the rest of his life. Nelson survived the ordeal but committed suicide after a couple of years.

I noticed John the second day in class as the teachers were hotly discussing about a son of a thug. They painted a very bad picture about him. The next day in class I asked students their names and found out who John was. He was a thin boy with a long face with forlorn look. He was dusky. He was very quiet in class.

I started teaching and he listened very attentively in class. The subject I teach has mathematical calculations. John was always first to show me his book after working out the problems correctly.[He is good at mental calculations and doesn't have a calculator] His eyes beamed when I wrote “very good” in his note book. At times if I forgot he would beg,

“Oru very good thaa teacheree.” {Please give me a very good, teacher]

And when I write that he would give me a very gratifying smile. I somehow liked John. The other teachers had problems with him. Every time they complained I would justify him. I spoke to him and he said that his mother worked as a maid in one of the Arab countries. He was living with his aunt. I did not ask him about his father but he said that his father committed suicide. His main problem was that people looked at him as a goonda’s son and I could understand the ordeal he was going through. This was in the first year.

John is now a second year student and he has changed. A boy who was always one of the toppers in my subject started failing for it. After the first unit test I was very disappointed to correct his answer script. I asked what his problem was and he said he did not have a textbook. I gave him a book. In the second unit test he failed again. I started noticing that he was becoming noisy in class and was not paying attention. I had to keep calling his name every now and then. I feel sorry for John. He is an intelligent boy but has got in some kind of bad company. His eyes have the anger towards the world who scorns him. Certain days he would be very quiet and on certain days he would be noisy. He keeps bunking classes.

I do not know if he is going to turn out like his father. His statement that everyone has to be killed and the vengeance he has towards the world was very clear from his face and tone. Does he think that his parents should have killed him as a boy????? Or does he hate the world that scorns him???? I am not sure how to deal with John but I really want to save him from his present ways so that he’ll study and get some kind of employment and leave this city for good..

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hippocratic Oath and Doctors

This evening the Asianet News had aired their investigation on doctors’ private practice. The doctors of various Medical Colleges in Kerala are engaged in private practice even though they are banned from it. While watching the news two incidents came to mind. One was a bitter experience and the other a good one.

The first incident was that my mother had to undergo. My Mum used to get severe stomach pains. She was under the treatment of a doctor in a private hospital. Every time she suffered from pain she would be admitted and be there for a week. She would be discharged and the next month she gets admitted again. Once she got a very bad pain that she had to be rushed to the hospital in the late hours at night. Her doctor was not there and it was a junior doctor who attended her at the casualty. She was a very young doctor. She examined Mum and said,

“Ammakku hernia aanu. Oru surgery vendi varum.” [“Mother, you are suffering from hernia. You need a surgery”]

For so many months mum wasn’t told what she was suffering from and we were kept ignorant of that fact. I advised mum to seek a second opinion from some other doctor before she decided on surgery.

Mum went to Medical College in Trivandrum and she met a doctor there. As my mum is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis she always uses a walking stick. The doctor told mum that she needed a surgery and she had to get admitted the next time she got a pain. Then he wanted to know if her children were in the US as she was carrying a walking stick (as though nobody else carries one?????).

After two weeks again she had another bout of pain and she was admitted to the Medical College Hospital casualty. The condition of the casualty was deplorable. The cot on which she was lying was ”physically handicapped”. Above that she had to share her bed with another patient. (My Mum’s “cleanliness” was all gone in no time.)I could see the sign of irritation and disgust on mum's face. I spent a sleepless night sitting on a chair with mosquito bites and screams and wails of patients and by standers. Next morning I managed to get a room for her in the deluxe pay ward. Her doctor came, examined her and told her that she needed the surgery as soon as possible. She had to get herself scanned. After all the results the doctor never came back. It was the house surgeons who came to examine her. She was there for over two weeks. One sweeper informed us that we had to pay a bribe and only then Mum would be operated upon.

I asked her how much should I pay and her reply was,

“Athu oru 20 roopa enkilum kodukanam.” (You will have to pay at least Rs 20).

Here Rs. 20 meant Rs. 20,000. It seems we should go to the doctor’s house and give him the money. She also added that only if we gave the money would he come and examine her again.

I asked mum what was her opinion was. She totally disagreed and told me that I had to inform the vigilance if I was intending to pay him the bribe. Believe me, for one month she lay in the hospital without a surgery. Finally she was operated upon without paying a bribe. She was the last patient to be operated that day.

After the operation she was in the post operative ward. The post operative ward was filthy. There were two buckets under mum’s bed with some kind of dirt. A cat and its kittens freely roamed around the post operative ward. I can understand why people get infection in the government hospitals. It is best not to talk about the toilets there. Every time I wanted to use the toilet I would go to our room.

Two days later another we realized that her hernia was still there. A house surgeon gave me a pathetic look when I informed him about that. Anyway mum was discharged from the hospital after 42 days’ stay. My first reaction was to sue the doctor for his irresponsibility. Then I thought he would operate her again and her life would be at risk. A year later she had to undergo another surgery for hernia and two other surgeries in another hospital and had to shell out more than a hundred thousand of rupees.

The next incident….. My father was admitted to Medical College Hospital for an emergency surgery. He was suffering from ulcer which went undiagnosed for years. His health was already failing and the surgery was an urgent one. His diabetes was very high and he couldn’t be operated upon. Dad is a person who cannot control his diet. Even during his stay in the hospital he would go out to the hotels to eat without the hospital staff seeing him. As his operation was delaying my aunt (Dad’s sister) told mum that the doctors were delaying the operation on purpose for bribe. Mum believing her went with some money to the doctor’s house. The doctor fired Mum. He said that there was no use in paying him a bribe because he wouldn’t operate a patient when he was not fit for it. Mum said that she was ashamed at the way the doctor scolded her. Anyway she learnt a lesson that doctors were not to be bribed. Guess that is why she did not want to pay a bribe for her own operation!!!

These two incidents came to mind. There are a very few good doctors with ethics while a vast majority of them are unethical. The doctors take the Hippocratic oath

“I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement:
To consider dear to me, as my parents, him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and, if necessary, to share my goods with him; To look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art.
I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.
I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.
But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts.
I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art.
In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves.
All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal.
If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot.” [Coutesy Wikipedia ]
How many doctors truly follow the oath they have taken at the time of convocation??? A good doctor is a person who has a true passion for his profession. When money and other worldly goods becomes their top priority, it is quite natural for them to forget their ethics. Haven’t we come across doctors who prescribe medicines of certain companies????? Haven’t we heard about doctors who send their patients for scans and other tests unnecessarily????? If that doctor who operated mum had the slightest ethic he couldn’t have cut open mum’s stomach if he did not have any intention of removing her hernia. I know hernia recurs even if it is operated upon but recurrence in a couple of days is strange!!! My mum could afford to pay the bribe but can all the people who goes to the hospital afford to pay a big sum like this????? I have seen the rudeness meted out to patients by this hospital at their maternity wards. I beg you doctors to be more humane with your patients. Money is not the ultimate end. The love shown by patients, the respect that they give and the gratitude that they show you brings much more happiness than what money can buy!!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Deshadaanakikkal Karayarilla

A few weeks back I watched an old Malayalam movie, “Deshadaanakikkal Karayarilla.” [The translation in English….”Migratory birds never cry”…..I hope it is not like salt mango tree].

The story is about two girls, Sally and Nimmy, fed up with the strict rules of their boarding school and a teacher of theirs. The teacher accompanies them for a trip and these two girls run away at the end of the trip. They live in a different town disguised and finally commit suicide. In the movie Shari played the role of Sally. She is a very bold and naughty girl. Nimmy is played by Karthika who is naughty but a bit timid.

This movie took me back to my schooldays where I was thoroughly fed up with the strict school rules. I would compare myself with Sally. I could not tolerate any injustice meted out at me. There was one particular instance where I planned to run away from school. I was always harassed in school. For mistakes I did, for mistakes I didn’t do, for mistakes other people did I was punished. This is no exaggeration. It was the plain truth and it was very disturbing.

I will never say that I was angelic….no…not even good according to my Principal, teachers and my boarding mistress. I agree that I was naughty…. but was I all that bad as my teachers thought???? No, I never was.

I was tall and big for my age. I had a look of arrogance (which is no fault of mine…Blame it on my genes). My Mum taught to keep my head erect and to look into people’s eyes. I made sure that I followed that teaching of Mum. When ever I spoke to someone or when someone spoke to me I made sure that I kept eye contact. People mistook it for boldness… especially my teachers. They always felt that I walked with my nose up in the air (again blame it on my genes).

The only fault that I can find with myself is that I pull up a “big” face if someone tells me what I don’t like. Then I can back answer them. I always try to prove myself, if I am right.

Now coming to that particular instance….

We always had two assemblies every day. One was in the morning and another in the afternoon. The afternoon assembly was a boring affair. Students had to assemble at the playground sing a hymn, say a short prayer and then disperse. We had to form lines and go to class in silence. That particular day a friend of mine, Meera was talking to me while we were going to classes. There were school reps who would stand at regular intervals to “mind” us.
Suddenly one of the reps shouted,
“Meera, stand out.”
“I am sextemly sorry yaar,” Meera giggled
The rep was fuming.
“She is sextremly sorry,” I gave a broad grin at the rep.
“You two girls come out,” screamed the rep.

We were taken to the staff room. We were charged with using abusive language at the rep. Though it was Meera who started it she was absolved of the crime (as she looking down like a poor soul!!!). I was punished (for looking straight into the eyes of the teacher). I was made to stand in front of the office room. I cannot tell you the humiliation I went through. The Principal wanted to throw me out of the school. That nun told me that she was going to inform my parents. She did not want me in school.

“This girl has that ‘phoren” influence in her,” barked that nun and she continued, “you will spoil the other girls also.”

I stood there like a pillar. I felt insulted. The girl who started it was in class while I was standing there like a criminal. My ego wouldn’t let me cry. Though I was weeping inside, my posture was that of arrogance. Informing my parents was something that I just didn’t want. I did not want to humiliate them and that too for a word that was not there in the dictionary. The only solution was to run away from school. Then there was another option…to commit suicide. It was not easy to commit suicide in a boarding full of students everywhere. I cried the whole night under my bed sheet. I wanted to run away. All that I had was around Rs.200. I decided to take two or three dresses in my school bag. I would wear my uniform and go out of the boarding. Then I would change my dress once I am out of the gate. I was not sure as to where to go.

Suddenly I thought of my parents and my friend. What would they do without me??? I was in dire straits. Finally I decided that I was going to face it all by myself. Worse come worst I would be dismissed. I was ready for it.

Next morning I went to school and was made to stand again in front of the office. That nun was saying a whole lot of things and I was standing there like a deaf criminal. Finally I was allowed to sit in class. The nun must have known that it was not easy to punish a boarder like that.

I think of this incident quite often. What was the mistake I did??? Why did the Principal and teachers make so much fuss over a word that was not there even in an encyclopedia? Did the word “sex” make them fume???? Why is that I alone was punished when there was Meera too?????

May be that is how I developed a hatred toward the nuns and priests. They are in an ‘Utopian’ world and they are the people with the seven deadly sins…. wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony!!!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

At the Confessional

This evening I was surfing the internet and found an interesting piece of article. It was how to make a good confession.

To my non catholic readers…. Confession is a process where a catholic goes to a priest and tells him about the sins committed by him/her. It is a belief that Catholics should confess at least once a year. So the Catholics have to examine their conscience to see if they have committed any mortal sins or venial sins. The examination of conscience goes like this…..”

1. Have I ever failed to confess a serious sin or disguised it? [Only if I go for confession can I say this]
2. Have I been guilty of irreverence for this sacrament by failing to examine my conscience carefully? [I think till date I must have made less than 5 confessions. So I have never made a good confession]
3. Have I failed to perform the penance given me by the confessor or disobeyed any of his directions? [Always!!!]
4. Have I neglected the Easter duty of receiving Holy Communion or failed to confess my sins within a year? [It is years since I went to a confessional]
5. Have I any HABITS of serious sin to confess first (impurity, drunkenness, etc.)?
6. Have God and the pursuit of sanctity in Christ been the goal of my life? Have I denied my faith?
7. Have I placed my trust in false teachings or substitutes for God?
8. Did I despair of God's mercy?
9. Have I avoided the profane use of God's name in my speech?
10. Have I broken a solemn vow or promise?
11. Have I honored every Sunday by avoiding unnecessary work, celebrating the Mass (also holydays)?
12. Was I inattentive at, or unnecessarily late for Mass, or did I leave early?
13. Have I neglected prayer for a long time?
14. Have I shown Christ like respect to parents, spouse, and family members, legitimate authorities?
15. Have I been attentive to the religious education and formation of my children?
16. Have I cared for the bodily health and safety of myself and all others?
17. Did I abuse drugs or alcohol?
18. Have I supported in any way abortion, "mercy killing," or suicide?
19. Was I impatient, angry, envious, proud, jealous, revengeful, and lazy?
20. Have I forgiven others?
21. Have I been just in my responsibilities to employer and employees?
22. Have I discriminated against others because of race or other reasons?
23. Have I been chaste in thought and word?
24. Have I used sex only within marriage and while open to procreating life?
25. Have I given myself sexual gratification?
26. Did I deliberately look at impure TV, pictures, reading?
27. Have I stolen anything from another, from my employer, from government? If so, am I ready to repay it?
28. Did I rashly gamble, depriving my family of necessities?
29. Have I spoken ill of any other person?
30. Have I always told the truth?
31. Have I kept secrets and confidences?
32. Have I permitted sexual thoughts about someone to whom I am not married?
33. Have I desired what belongs to other people?
34. Have I wished ill on another?
35. Have I been faithful to sacramental living (Holy Communion and Penance)?
36. Have I helped make my parish community stronger and holier? Have I contributed to the support of the Church?
37. Have I done penance by abstaining and fasting on obligatory days?
38. Have I fasted before receiving communion?
39. Have I been mindful of the poor?
40. Do I accept God's will for me?”
[Courtesy: Internet. I was very lazy to type the entire thing. Being lazy is a sin according to the Catholic beliefs]
If one is to examine ones conscience this way, everything that a person does is a sin. There are certain things which are crazy and some thrash. For example take the 9th one…. “Have I avoided the profane use of God's name in my speech?” I have heard charismatic priests use the name of the God in vain. Every time they forget what they have to say, they yell their lungs out, “Praise the LORD, Alleluiah.” I don’t think others do as much as these priests.
Now take the 12th one….” Was I inattentive at, or unnecessarily late for Mass, or did I leave early?” How long can you expect a person to be attentive during mass? It is during mass that people update the latest news of the parish. It could be gossips, or politics or the boasting of parents about their children’s education. Isn’t it so monotonous to watch the same old boring face of the priest with his mono-syllable voice and his constant yawning at the altar week after week??? No human being can fully concentrate on the one and a half hour mass.
The seventeenth one says….” Did I abuse drugs or alcohol?”

According to the gospel of St. John ,

"Chapter 2

1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." 4 (And) Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come."5 His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you." 6 Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus told them, "Fill the jars with water." So they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, "Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter." So they took it. 9 And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, "Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now."

It is clearly given that wine was served during the wedding at Cana. Drinking excessive of wine does intoxicate a man or woman. If wine could be consumed, then how come it is a sin? Remember Jesus made wine and served it to people. Which is a greater sin…. to make wine or to consume it???

The 30th test of conscience is….” Have I always told the truth?”…Truth is disturbing. One is never to say disturbing truths. Truth may be beautiful, but all truths are not beautiful. How can, not being truthful be a sin?
As I was going through each and every examination of conscience I felt that the entire human race were sinners. When we ordinary people committed small crimes, the nuns and priests committed heinous crimes. (Remember Sr. Abhaya’s murder by two priests and a nun, Jolly murder case by a Protestant priest and Sr. Jesme’s revelations in her book “Amen”)

Why should people confess to sinners? I strongly oppose to that idea. Confession was man-made. No where has Jesus asked his people to confess to a priest. To repent for one’s sins he or she doesn’t have to resort to the crude ways of confessing to a priest. I guess I became rebellious to the practices of the church because of my close association with nuns and priests from my childhood itself. I have seen the in and out of them. So when they preach religion to you or when they ask you to go for confession, it is quite natural to retaliate.

There was a practice in the boarding that the Catholic boarders had to go for confession irrespective of whether one wanted it or not. I being a rebel never liked confessing. I did not like telling a priest of the sins I committed. I always thought that I did not need a mediator to tell my sins to God and ask for his forgiveness. That particular Saturday, our boarding mistress, a Goan nun wanted me to go for confession.

We were asked to wait at the chapel. That nun asked us to pray to God and to examine our conscience. I was their busy watching my friends pray. They were all pious, closing their eyes and praying. I was watching each one going to the priest to confess. My turn was coming. I did not want to confess. Raising my voice against the injustice meant my expulsion from the boarding. The priest was taking a very long time for each student. The queue was moving at a snail pace. It was Sandra’s turn, and then it was my turn to go to that priest. Sandra came back from the confessional and now my turn had come.
I went and knelt down at the confessional.
“Bless me father for I have sinned……Errrh…I don’t remember when my last confession was.”
A pregnant silence prevailed. The priest looked and me and said,

“My cchi….lddd…( a sigh and then silence)…The devil is with you.”

My face beamed. The priest had said the truth.

“Ya, I am kneeling near a devil itself,” thought I.

The priest breaking his silence asked,

“Why didn’t you go for confession all these years?”

Very politely and humbly I whispered,

“I believe in telling God straight, Father.”

Now the priest glanced at me and looking straight into my face( It was then I noticed he had a couple of days old beard with a teeny- weenie nose and eyes ready to pop out from his sockets) said,

“The precepts of the church say that you should confess to a priest at least once a year.”

Was he harsh in his tone??? Still not fearing I looked right into his eyes (While teaching us “The Ballad of East and West” by Rudyard Kipling, Mini teacher had told us that if two people are looking at each other, the person who lowered his eyes first was a coward.). I wanted to prove that I was not a coward.

“Ohhh, that is all man- made, father. Did God ever give the precepts of the church???”

There was another minute of silence. Did he want to give me a tight slap or at least scratch my face for being irritating??? I guess he wanted to do so as he did not have an answer to give me.

He then asked me where my parents were, what they were doing, what my siblings were doing and so on. And then he asked,

“Why did you come for confession, my child, when you don’t believe in it?”

I couldn’t tolerate the priest calling me a “child” when I was already a teenager.

“Sr. Monica forced me to come for confession,” pat came my reply.

“You don’t have to confess if you don’t believe in it,” the priest deeply sighed

I stood up, looked at him and gave him my sweetest smile…. the smile of triumphant Caesar. I had my way out. While I was beginning to leave the priest asked,

“Are you into any kind of affair?”

I shook my head in a very confusing manner. It was left to the priest to make his own guess. What a question to ask a teenager!!!!!!

I gave the priest another smile and walked out of the confessional.

I think I enlightened the priest. He was making the process of confessions go faster. I think he told the boarding mistress not to compel the students to go for confessions. After that we were never forced to make our confession.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My First Poem

This happened when I was a very little girl. I may have 6 or 7 years old then. I remember that it was a rainy day and I was looking out of the door. I was watching the rains falling on a red rose. My eyes were fixed to that flower. I felt that the rose was in deep pain as it was bending so low with the weight of the raindrops on it. I felt the rose would feel the pain. I had earlier seen that a kind of fluid came out when I used to pluck roses. For me it was the blood of the rose plant. I thought I was very cruel to hurt the plant.

This thought kept coming to my mind. I sat near the door and wrote a little poem with my limited vocabulary. It was a little poem on the pain of the plant and flower. I very happily showed the poem my Mum. She read it and laughed and so did my brothers and an uncle of mine. They teased me so much that I went to the toilet and cried. (My ego couldn’t let me cry in front of them.) They kept teasing me over the years and still do tease me when the topic of authors or poets come up.

I cannot tell you the extent of my humiliation I went through. I wanted to run and bury my head in the sand and die there. I did not want to face any of the people who read the poem. I thought I had written something bad. I decided never to write again. At times thoughts came to my mind and I did put it in writing but I made sure that no one read it. I used to write it in my personal diaries which were always under lock and key.

I always think that it was very wrong on my mother’s part to laugh at that little poem of mine. Did she ever think of the trauma that I went through???? Did I ever have the talent to write or was it nipped off at the very bud stage itself???? I don’t know…..

Till date I have never given the link of my blog to any of my siblings or to my family or to any person who knows me personally. That hurt that was inflicted on me hasn’t healed so far. Every time I think of it tears well up in my eyes. There are certain things in one’s life which can never be forgotten how ever hard you try to forget. The humiliation and hurt that I got from my first poem will remain in my mind as long as I live.

Monday, September 27, 2010

This is life

I am disturbed ever since morning. From the time I opened my eyes I was in a disturbed state of mind. I some how managed to dress up and go to work. As I wasn’t keeping well I decided I would use the public transport. I boarded a KSRTC bus from my place but to my bad luck I couldn’t find a place to rest my bottom. I was standing trying to balance myself on speeding bus along the potholed roads. I was swaying forward and backward and occasionally towards my right and left and every time I changed position my heavy bag was hitting a woman who was sitting on a seat. With my left hand clutching to a seat and my right hand on the handrail, at the slightest jerk of the bus, my bag oscillated at a speed twice to that of the jerk.

I did not realize that my bag was being a nuisance to the lady until I heard her grumble,

“Oru 50 kilo yumayi angi kayarikolum….manushayare minakeduthan. Bag angu mati pidikke.” [“will get in with a 50 kilogramme bag to trouble people. Keep that bag away”]

There was no use charging at the already ‘angry bull’. Silence is golden thought I. I made sure that the bag was never to hit the lady again. It was then I noticed the lady sitting on that seat. She looked as though she was in her early sixties – a dark woman very shabbily dressed. She was wearing a deep purple blouse and a off-white mundu had already turned light brown due to the absence of washing. She had a piece of the set covering her head. Her arms, wrist and fingers were also covered with that piece of cloth. She was a poverty stricken woman and that was very clear from her physical appearance.

I started giving her occasional looks. It was then I realized that she was a leper. She fingers were just stubs. She had red patches near her fingers. I felt a chill going down my spine. My entire body was numb. I could feel the blood draining out of my face. I cannot explain the feelings that went through my mind. I felt my head reeling. I had touched the place where she had touched. My bag was falling on her. My chest was feeling heavy. Was I choking or was there a blank out????? I am not sure. I moved out from that place and stood in another place. I did not look at her again. I somehow reached my work place and washed all the areas that were exposed.

I felt giddy the whole day. I had a very bad headache and wanted to vomit. I couldn’t concentrate on what I was doing. I took a half day leave and got back home. I did not have my lunch as nothing went down my throat. Her fingers and the red patches were coming to my mind.

I realized that I was a very rude person. I show my love and sympathy to animals, How come when it came to a human being I reacted this way????? I realized that I was a hypocrite. I cannot practice what I preach. This is life!!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

There is a time for everything

These are my favourite lines

To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and
a time to die;
a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up
that which is planted;

A time to kill, and
a time to heal;
a time to break down, and
a time to build up;

A time to weep, and
a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and
a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and
a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and
a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and
a time to lose;
a time to keep, and
a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and
a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and
a time to speak;

A time to love, and
a time to hate;
a time of war; and
a time of peace.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The 5th of September

Today is September 5th…..Teachers’ Day. My students gave me a little bouquet and a card yesterday. Though I accepted it and thanked my students, I pondered for a while…. Am I really fit for this job? This was a profession which I thought that I would never go into. I was totally unfocused and never knew which profession to follow even after my Post Graduation. I had an array of professions in front of me. Not knowing what to do and listening to my husband’s ‘valuable advice’ I came into this profession. I keep cursing myself for coming into this because I was and am never a good teacher. If given an opportunity I would be ready to leave this and choose another profession or opt for voluntary retirement. Wrapping the five and a half meter cloth and standing in front of students is such a boring affair. In order to teach for an hour one has to prepare at least for two hours. If I have a doubt I’ll have to search it in the net. I have to keep myself updated. Though I love doing this, I hate to stand in front of students to teach.

Before coming into teaching I had at least a dozen of other ambitions. I can remember going to the hospital quite often when I was a little girl. I would open my mouth in awe at the nurses. Their spotless, crisp white blouse, their white knee length skirt, their knee length stockings, white shoes and the nurses’ cap attracted me to no end. I have had a fascination for good clothes and an ego to hurt all those who hurt me in thoughts, words or deeds. I liked their cheerful disposition. I was scared of injections. I wanted to wear their dress and “poke” everyone who irritated me. This was my very first ambition. For three years I wanted to be a nurse.

My next ambition was to be a bus conductor. Oh God!!!! How I loved it!!!!! I loved the tickets of various hues, their small leather bag under their armpit and the steel whistle of the conductor. I made it a point to collect these tickets from the road side when ever I went out alone. I would carefully collected it from the roadside as I walked along. By the time I finished walking a kilometer I would have had at least around 20-25 tickets. I never dared to show it to my Mum or to my siblings as they were ‘sneakers’ and my Mum totally discouraged my picking up waste materials from the roadside. I would pretend to be a conductor when I was alone by issuing tickets to my dolls. I would blow the red whistle at regular intervals. I remember my brother telling me that only men could become conductors and I told him that I would at least marry a bus conductor when I became big.

I don’t know when I lost my interest in conductors. My ambition was transformed from a conductor to a district collector. I thought it was an easy profession and that I would qualify the civil service examination with the ease of passing the second standard!!!!

By the time I had reached my 9th standard I wanted to be a hair dresser. I thought that was the best profession to follow. I would assume myself to be the hair stylist and using a pair of scissors from the dissection box I would go on cutting in the air. I cannot explain the joy I received from it. I still remember the day when my ICSE results were announced…. The headmistress asked me what I was planning to do and I confidently said that I wanted to become a hair dresser. She was shocked. She said I had to do my degree before I thought of becoming one. I lost that interest when Mum told me that it was such a “dirty” profession as I would have to wax other peoples’ legs and armpits. With that, my dreams of becoming a hair dresser disappeared into the thin air.

Then the lawyer profession attracted me. As I mentioned earlier I was always fascinated by good clothes. The court dress - the black robe, their white frilled collar and every thing in them attracted me. I imagined myself of becoming a lawyer and then becoming a judge. I also pictured myself in the wig and the gavel in my hand calling out “order, order”, sitting in front of the blindfolded Lady Justice with a scale and a sword. I have only seen lawyers near the Vanchiyoor court. I continued this dream until I completed my Pre-degree. I wanted to go for Law and so did my friend. My Mum strongly protested against my idea of joining the Law College.

The explanation she gave me was
“Ninte koottu shari alla. Pokan pattilla.” (“Your friends are not good. You cannot go.”)
No amount of tears would move her. I tried my tears, my threatening that I would discontinue my studies and everything possible. Nothing made my Mum soft. I tried arguing with her and she said that it would be difficult for me to deal with clients as I had a language problem. She asked me take up English Literature for my degree as it had a good scope. I refused to listen to her and took up a subject in which I had no interest just to irritate her. I lost all interest in my studies. I joined college politics. I contested in college union elections and this led to my downward trend in my studies. I would justify my declining interest in studies by saying that to end up in someone’s kitchen I did not need a B.A degree.

By the time I completed my BA I developed a liking for MBA. I joined Brillance College in Chennai (then Madras) for CAT entrance coaching. I was aiming IIMs but did not even qualify for the MBA course at Cochin University. My fat hopes of sitting in a revolving chair with my own PA and bossing over people were dashed. I had to join for my PG at a very reputed institution in Trivandrum. Most of my classmates were rank holders from other universities. I detested going to college as I couldn’t get along with those brainy people with very little human feelings. They were obsessed with books and marks whereas I was more interested in enjoying life. When life became miserable I stopped going to college. I was more like a Mahabali in college. If Mahabali visited his people once a year, I visited my college a bit more frequently…twice a month.

By the time I was doing my PG, I completely lost interest in my studies due to personal reasons. I just wanted a job. I was willing to do any job. All that I wanted was enough money to buy two packets of Maggi Noodles everyday. I never thought about the expenses I would have to incur when I lived alone. I dreamt of taking a flat on rent in Bangalore and living alone with no one to disturb me. I just wanted Rs.500 for my expenses every month. I was willing to do any work from a receptionist to a sales girl. I realized these were only dreams which would never materialize. As soon as my PG examinations were over I got married and that was the end of my dreams of living alone and eating Maggi noodles.

It was only after my marriage that I even thought of the teaching profession. Every one told me that it was a noble profession and that a teacher got a lot of respect from the society. Finally I did my B.Ed and became a teacher. Only after I became a teacher I realized that it was not at all an easy profession to follow. A teacher has to take a lot of care of one’s behaviour, dressing, in dealing with people and a whole lot of other things. I started hating the profession. With my ‘no care’ attitude it was difficult for me to face my students. I had to sacrifice my midis, frocks, jeans and pants. I had to keep wearing a sari day after day, month after month and year after year. Even at home I have to be careful about my dress code. A teacher is likely to bump into a student even when he/she is in town or out of station. I have had a number of occasions where I felt very awkward when I met my old students.

A couple of years back I went to Veegaland. I was confident that I would not bump into any of my students. I was in the wave pool happily playing in the water. While coming out of the water I saw someone smiling at me. I couldn’t recognize him. He walked up to me and looked at me from top to bottom and said,
“Good evening teacher” and then continued,
“Xina teacher ale?” (“Are you Xina teacher?”)

The call “teacher” made me shudder. Is he my student? I am standing there wearing a lycra tights and a t-shirt completely drenched in water.

“Athe.”….Then looking at him puzzled, I asked “Ara? Manasilayillelo.” (“Yes.” “I cannot recognize you”)

He told me his name and I immediately recognized him. He was an old student of mine. It seems he is a teacher and has brought his students for a trip to the amusement park. Not even in my wildest dream did I imagine to meet someone I knew in a distant place. That was and is still a big problem of being into the teaching profession and the biggest problem is everywhere you will find someone who knows you. I have lost my privacy. I have lost my freedom. I have lost my patience.

This morning an old student of mine rang me up to wish me. He makes it a point to call me and wish me on my birthday, on Teachers’ day, on Christmas, Onam and Easter. He also rings up to get my blessings before he does something. How did I influence him? Was I a guide to him? Or did I inspire him? Or did I discipline him? I don’t think I ever did any of these things to him.

I took a resolution this morning that I should try to love this profession, instead of brooding. Let me see if I can love my students, guide and inspire them. I guess I will be able to do it. Let us wait and see.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lessons in Life

"I've learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.

I've learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don't care back.

I've learned that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

I've learned that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

I've learned that it's not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.

I've learned that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you'd better know something.

I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to the best others can do but to the best you can do.

I've learned that it's not what happens to people that's important. It's what they do about it.

I've learned that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I've learned that no matter how thin you slice it, there are always two sides.

I've learned that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I've learned that it's a lot easier to react than it is to think.

I've learned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I've learned that you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I've learned that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I've learned that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I've learned that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I've learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I've learned that learning to forgive takes practice.

I've learned that there are people who love you dearly, but just don't know how to show it.

I've learned that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I've learned that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I've learned that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I've learned that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I've learned that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I've learned that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I've learned that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.

I've learned that your family won't always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren't related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren't biological.

I've learned that no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I've learned that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I've learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I've learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I've learned that sometimes when my friends fight, I'm forced to choose sides even when I don't want to.

I've learned that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.

I've learned that sometimes you have to put the individual ahead of their actions.

I've learned that we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I've learned that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I've learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I've learned that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.

I've learned that there are many ways of falling and staying in love.

I've learned that no matter the consequences, those who are honest with themselves get farther in life.

I've learned that no matter how many friends you have, if you are their pillar you will feel lonely and lost at the times you need them most.

I've learned that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I've learned that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I've learned that writing, as well as talking, can ease emotional pains.

I've learned that the paradigm we live in is not all that is offered to us.

I've learned that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.
I've learned that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon.

I've learned that although the word "love" can have many different meaning, it loses value when overly used.

I've learned that it's hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people's feelings and standing up for what you believe.

I’ve leaned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may
be the last time you see them.

I’ve have learned that the people we care about most in life are sometimes
taken from you too soon."

These quotes are something that is really meaningful in my life

Friday, August 20, 2010

May her soul rest in peace.

Paskaria, fondly called Pakku, was our servant for a pretty long period. She was an elderly lady with jet black hair, a long face with a beak- like nose and squint eyes. She had wrinkled skin with warts - big and small all over her face. Her mouth was out of proportion. She had a wide mouth tilted to her left side. Her lower lip protruded out and tilted to the right side. In all she looked more like a witch rather than a human being and little kids were scared of her. She was slightly eccentric. She would talk to herself, laugh unnecessarily to herself. But one was never to ask her age as she was 50years old for over 10 years!!!

Pakku was mainly employed for outside work. As our courtyard was quite big and had full of trees, it had to be swept daily. This was the main work of Pakku. Another work that she had was to pound rice daily. Even that was a difficult job. Raw rice had to be washed and soaked in water for at least four to five hours before it was pounded. On a pounding stone she would use a wooden pole with metal base on both sides. Pakku performed the task dexterously. She would then heat the rice powder and keep stirring until the fragrance spread all over the house.

Pakku was never allowed into the dining area. Though she entered the kitchen, she was not allowed to cook. I think she knew how to cook but somehow she was never allowed to do so. At times she could be seen peeling onions for the cook. The main reason was that she was very unhygienic. She had to be forced to bathe. Her clothes were always dirty. Though she washed her clothes it was were always stained and never looked clean. She always wore the old clothes that her daughter gave her. All the new clothes that we gave her went to her daughter. She had the habit of sleeping with a broom [used to remind me of the witches with broomsticks]

Our Pakku had the habit of flicking things. She would take all the things that her daughter needed. It could be washing powder or soap, or rice or things of daily needs. But she never took anything costly with her. Once I lost a gold chain. I had put it in my skirt’s pocket not realizing that there was a hole in it. I had lost hopes of finding it. The next day Pakku came with the chain and said it was lying with the onions. I felt so grateful to her. It was then I realized that she took things because of abject poverty. She just didn’t want to see her daughter and grand children starve.

Pakku was an unmarried mother (grandmother too). Her daughter was an illegitimate child of Pakku’s brother-in-law. It is heard that the brother-in-aw had many illegitimate children from many women. Pakku adored the father of her child. She held him in high esteem since he was a soldier in the Indian Army. It was a general saying that soldiers, policemen and drivers had wives wherever they worked. So true to the old saying this man lived. When asked about this man Pakku would blush and evade all questions. At times she would just smile.

Pakku was a fifth standard dropout. She used to keep reciting the poems that she had learnt in school (from her Malayala Padavaali). She knew a little bit of English but the words she understood were all wrong. She had the habit of eavesdropping and would reply to our conversation. At times she would laugh unnecessarily at our English conversations.

One incident that keeps coming to my mind is her laughing at our conversation. At lunch time we were discussing about kidney. We heard her burst out laughing. When asked why she was laughing she said,
“Eniku ariyam kidney entha enu.” [I know what a kidney is]

When asked her she started blushing. We knew she had something else in mind. We kept asking her. She came with the most absurd answer. According to her a kidney was where babies were made. We laughed our hearts out that day. Even when we tried to make her understand she couldn’t agree. She thought we were teasing her. Poor soul!!!

She was a very loving lady and she liked children very much. But most of the kids in the family were scared of her witch-like looks. Mothers would tell their children that those who misbehaved were Pakku’s children. My daughter got along with Pakku well. She would go and sit on Pakku’s lap and listen to her stories when she was a very little girl.

She left our house when she became too old. Still she could be seen going for mass, talking and giggling to herself. Once I met her and she told me that she a twig had hit her eye and she was blinded. Then I heard she was bed ridden. She died due to old age four years back. I still miss her giggles, her ‘interpretations’ to English words and her pounded rice powder. May Pakku’s soul rest in peace.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Varied Uses of a Hair Dryer

The first time I used a hair dryer was when I was in Class VII. It was a big orange one with temperature regulations made by Philips. My Dad had brought it from abroad and it was not a common thing those days to have hair dryers at home. My Dad told me that I had to use it regularly after a shower to style my hair. He was very fond of my “Bruce Lee cut.” Even I was proud of that style and really enjoyed boys calling me Bruce Lee (I thought that I looked like Bruce Lee. It was later I realized that he was not one bit handsome to me).

I think I must have used that hair dryer less than a month as I read an article in the Women’s Era that it was not good for one’s hair. With that I stopped using it. My brother used it regularly and still uses one.

In course of time I got married. There was no hair dryer in my husband’s house. Though I was not particularly interested in that, I longed for one. At last I managed to get one. Again I used it rarely. I have to tell you that my husband uses it regularly to dry everything possible except his hair.

The uses of hair dryer are varied in my house. It serves the purpose of a heater. When my husband has a pain on his neck he uses the ‘hair dryer’ over that region and claims that his pain has vanished (like the Amrutanjan ad…”poyi pochee”).

He suffers from acute sinusitis. When his sinus is giving him trouble, again he takes out the hair dryer and holds it to his face and says he is feeling relieved. Again it is the same “poyi pochee” stuff. (But the next day he goes to the doctor and gets antibiotics to get the actual relieve.)

When the microwave oven gives problems again his ‘hair dryer’ comes out. He claims it is the moisture and humidity that is corroding the connection and he has his hair dryer magic on the microwave. The microwave oven starts functioning only after the service engineer overhauls it. This is the same with the case of the television or any electronic and electrical gadgets. My husband is very obsessed with this hair dryer.

Before I conclude….one more instance

I get severe sprains on my knees. Recently I sprained my right knee. I was writhing in pain. My husband came out with his ‘magic dryer’ and held it close to my knee. When I protested he said that it was good my body had to get heated up especially my leg. I was screaming out in pain and he would not relent to my protests. When my daughter strongly protested seeing me cry he applied Volini on my knees and again he brought out the hair dryer. If I were in a position to move I would have flung the hair dryer out of the house.

I keep teasing him about his obsession for the hair dryer. I tell him that Philips India should hire him in their research wing to do research on their hair dryers. He says that I am ignorant of things. Yeah…maybe he is right. After all he has a doctorate in Physics while I am just a Post graduate in an Arts subject who knows nothing about hair dryers!!!!!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Daylight Robbery by the 'Brides of God'

This is about a prestigious college in Trivandrum which is managed by the ‘brides of God’. It was just last week that I went there again for my daughter’s admission. (I studied there for two years twenty five years ago.) I had to go there seven days in less than a month. The first time it was to drop my daughter’s application. The second time to look at the merit list published, then three days to meet the Principal and finally two days for the admission.

There were quite a few things that I noticed about this college.

1. It is a Herculean task to meet the Principal who is in a ‘safe deposit locker’. I quite don’t understand why she needs so much security. (may be for that nasty behaviour of hers.) A person can meet her only after entering three doors!!!! I realized it was much easier to meet Barack Obama or Queen Elizabeth or at least Prathiba Patel, our President. If you plan to meet the Principal one should be sure that you have enough casual leaves because she and her caucus will make sure that you go there for three days befor you meet her. That is the joy of making other people wait and enjoy real sadistic pleasure out of that!!!

2. Beware of the Principal. She is worse than a chameleon. She is in camouflage. She can be very sweet at one time and the next time you can see the devil in her.

3. Go there in your best ‘modern’ attire. (The dirtier your jeans, the more privileged u become!!) If not, you will be treated like dirt.

4. Never dare to question their misdoings. If you do, you become a communist.

5. Even if you talk to the college authorities in the most polite way and if it point out any mistake of theirs be sure that they will spread nasty tales about you.

6. Marks are secondary here. It is the weight of one’s parents’ purse that is more important.

7. At times of admission this place becomes an auction house. Christie’s auction house and Sotheby’s auction house will hold their heads down in shame if they see the auctioning going on in this college. There is no open bidding. Brown envelopes are given to the parents. You write your ward’s name and the amount you give on the envelope. By counting the notes they decide what your child will learn. If the amount is not up to their expectations the envelope will be returned back and you are out of the auction

8. The authorities make sure that parents’ know the auctioning rates. They have a non teaching staff’s husband who tells people to pay half a lakh of rupees to ensure their seats.

I met so many parents from not so well-to-do families putting bundles of Rs.500 notes into envelopes. I feel it is total injustice to take such huge amount for an UG seat. There were many poor people who looked helpless and stood there imploring in front of God’s brides. They stood there emotionless. They have neither human feelings nor compassion. (Remember the saying, money makes the devil dance.) All that they care for is fat purses, NRI students and the cream of the society to study in that college.

I wonder why no student’s organizations like the SFI or KSU or any other organization is protesting against the daylight robbery of the ‘brides of God’. Or are they the Devils’ disciples?????

Sunday, May 30, 2010

People at a wedding

This afternoon I attended a wedding reception of my colleague’s daughter. I reached the hall early. As the bride and the groom hadn’t reached I waited outside the hall. I sat on one of the chairs there. Though it was drizzling outside the humidity was high and I was sweating. I was watching the people as I kept fanning myself. There were just half a dozen of men and the rest were women.
The women sat in groups. The women were all decked up like Christmas trees – fully adorned. They all wore heavy Kanchipuram saris. Some had zari while others wore fancy saris with beads, sequins and embroidered ones. I sat a little far from the women crowd as I didn’t know anyone there. I felt like a fish out of water.

The women looked at me and started whispering to each other and occasionally glancing at me. I wore a chikan work (Lucknowi) salwar. Though I paid a few thousands for that, I guess it did not suit their crowd. Over that I do not have the habit of wearing ornaments – be it platinum, or gold or silver or those fancy ones. So I stood out in that crowd. They were busy trying to find out who I was. They were happily talking in Malayalam thinking that I couldn’t understand their language. (Thanks to my alien look). I overheard a lady guessing that I belonged to the Pentecost community. That was their wild guess and I did not go to correct them. I didn’t have to prove to them about my caste and community.

There was another group who sat there exhibiting their ornaments. I saw four heads together admiring an enormous gold bangle on the ‘thin arm’ of a puny lady. The bangle was studded with red and white stones and she was wearing a green sari!!!! It was just not going with her sari. Then the attention was changed to another lady’s earring and so it continued one after the other. It later turned to their saris and in course of time it was about their husbands and children. One boasted on how her child secured all A+ grades for her HSC examination. There were oohs and haaas from all the ladies. Then the discussion was turned to how someone’s kid scored a high rank in the engineering entrance examinations. Again the ooohs and haaas could be heard. There were occasional glances at me. I gave them a totally disinterested look though I was watching each and everyone keenly.

There was yet another group who looked sophisticated. They were sitting there with their noses up in the air and trying to find fault with the arrangement of the reception. The caterers had already started serving the welcome drink. An elderly lady with short coloured hair thought it was very unhygienic to keep the drink opened as all the guests hadn’t arrived yet. She waved her hands as if to show her long nails with red nail polish, and told the guests who came late not to drink it. Was she playing a ‘Good Samaritan’????!!!!!

By then one of my colleague had arrived and we together went and had the welcome drink. The ‘Good Samaritan’ gave me a disgusted look. I gave her a ‘u mind ur own business’ look. She made sure not to look at me again. I was exchanging pleasantries with my friend in Malayalam. Soon other friends of mine joined us. The lady who had guessed that I was a Pentecost gave me a sheepish grin. She understood that my looks had deceived her.

Soon the bride and groom arrived and the halls were opened. As soon as the door opened there was a mad rush to grab a seat for the first sitting itself. All the sophisticated ladies too could be seen running for their seats. (Wonder where their manners and sophistication disappeared???!!!!) My friends and myself (there were five of us) found a place near a family- a father, mother and a little boy of maybe four or five years and three other people. Even before the toast was hosted the people seated on our table quaffed off the wined and gulped down the cake. The chicken fry, salad, sweet chutney, and fruits were covered with cling foil. As soon as the briyani was kept on the table the grabbed the spoon and started serving big helpings. (Even then the toast hadn’t begun at the stage)

Five of us waited for toast to be hosted. Only after the toast we started with cake and wine. By then the people finished their first helping and started with their second. (It was even more disgusting to see the people use their right hand covered with the briyani and raita to take their next helping!!!) It was the first time I saw people eat so heartily at a wedding. By the time we started our first helping a few were having their third!!!! Their capacity is really great!!!! Luckily the food was being served in plenty that we did not have to starve.

After the wedding while I was going back home I thought about the Indian weddings. (I was using the public transport so my imaginations were free to run wild). Indian wedding were a place of pomp and splendour. Be it rich or poor, the weddings are always a grand function even if one has to borrow money. It was also a social gathering where people updated their knowledge of other people and were ready to pass the already spiced news to other gossipers. Why do people go to weddings like Christmas trees? People should at least have a sense of colour while using clothes and ornaments and should make sure if it suits them or not. Last but not the least people should follow the basic table manners. Nobody is happy to touch a spoon with others leftovers on it!! I personally feel that weddings should be a function limited to a very small crowd and it should be very simple. Though I am of this opinion I really don’t know if I’ll be able to follow this when it comes to my daughter’s marriage. It is easy to preach but difficult to practice, right???

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Are we Indians poor?

This is a question I often ask myself? I have always felt that people from other countries look down on us. They are not willing to accept that India has the necessary manpower and resources to become a prosperous country. They still consider us poor and underdeveloped.

I had an experience when I visited Malaysia a few years back. My family – my husband, daughter and myself were there. We were put up at a place called Petaling Jaya near KL. As many of my relatives lived in different parts of Malaysia I made it a point to visit the elderly aunts of mine. An aunt of mine stayed at Johor Baru. It was an overnight journey from KL to JB. Johor was mainly an estate region. I reached there on a Father’s Day. There was a get together of the parishioners of Johor at my aunt’s place. The morning we reached there, she was busy preparing food for the celebration. She told us that we were their special guests and my husband had to take part in the celebrations as he was a father too.

By evening the guests started arriving one by one. Most of them were Chinese and Malays. There were just a couple of Indian families too. As it was a party, I dressed up in a party wear - a laced frock and wore a gold belt around my waist. People kept coming and we were introduced to their guests. Finally the priest arrived. He was a Chinese. When he heard that we were from India, his eyes popped out of his sockets and exclaimed…

“You don’t look poor!!!” (How could I look poor when I had excess flesh all over my body??!!!)

“Who told you that we are poor, father?” I asked without showing my irritation

“I thought Indians were poor,” he replied, still in disbelief.

I told him that all Indians were not poor. There were poor Indians as well as well to do Indians. He was also surprised to find us talk in English. I was thoroughly irritated. Did he think that we Indians were barbarians? Or did he think that we knew only our regional language just like how the Chinese did? I argued with him. I made sure it did not become a heated one as I did not want to embarrass my aunt and spoil the occasion.

Finally the priest said, “You don’t look like an Indian.”
I did not argue with him over that because this was some thing that I have been hearing ever since I can remember (I don’t know from where I got my alien look). Many people mistake me for a Malay or at least they think that I am of a ‘hybrid variety’.

That visit really made my opened. Why were we always being targeted? In every country there are well-to-do people as well as poor people? Are there not poor people in China? Are there not poor people in USA, or in England or in any other developed country? Poverty is a relative term and the degree of poverty varies from country to country. Why did the priest think that all Indians were poor? Why did the people of Malaysia think that Indians did not know English? The very thought was disturbing.

In most of the foreign magazines and in flight magazines one can find the dirty side of India. The pictures published are the ones taken from the interior most villages in India. It can be a girl who has not bathed for days or a snake charmer’s picture or the dhobi washing the clothes, or a tribal woman in all those multi-coloured bangles and head dress. You might remember how a foreigner was caught photographing all the dirt found on the road sides. Why did he do so? Is it because there are no good places in Kerala that he had to photograph the waste strewn all over? No wonder people believe that we are poor people from a poor country.

The Indians who migrated to Malaysia in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s are still of the opinion that India is very backward. Most of the Indians went there to work in plantations, married Indian brides and settled there. They had big families and it was not possible for them to come to India due to financial problems. Their idea about India is still the undeveloped India of the 50’s!!! They are still in their 1950’s!!!! They have painted a very bad picture of India to their children. Their children still believe that India is undeveloped with bullock carts on roads and people ate rice in the morning, afternoons and evenings. The children also believed that no foreign brands of food items or any other stuff were available in India.

A cousin of mine visited us a couple of years back. She is living in Canada and is married to a German. It was her first visit to India. She had born and brought up in Malaysia and then migrated to Canada. As she did not know India, she brought her mother along with her. The picture the mother gave her about India was a very bad one. This cousin of mine came with two very big suitcases for her short stay of ten days.

The first morning she bought out a packet of Quaker oats and said that she had the habit of having oats in the morning. I asked her as to why she had brought that packet; she replied that she thought we wouldn’t have oats at home. She brought biscuits, potato wafers and a whole lot of eatables. I was thoroughly irritated but did not say a word. After all she was my guest. (It is better not to have such guests!!!) She wouldn’t drink the water from our place. She felt the water in India had e-coli germs in it. She bought a carton of mineral water for her use. (Lucky that she did not bring that too from Canada) Poor soul doesn’t know that the mineral water was the most unsafe thing to drink!!!!

Two days after she arrived I had to do a bit of shopping. This cousin came along with me to the Spencer’s at Spencer junction. She went around looking from rack to rack and she was surprised to find everything that she had brought available in India. She started scrutinizing the prices, then converting it to dollars. She then exclaimed,

“The prices are the same here and in Canada.”

I just kept mum. She came home and told my aunt,

“Mum, you get everything here. You were the one who told me that nothing was available in India.”

I understood who the culprit was. Then this cousin told me the instructions my aunt had given her before she came to India were many. My aunt told her that people in India never wore knee length dresses. So she was supposed to bring knee length dresses, shorts or Bermudas. She had to wear loose fitting tops. She had to wear gold and so went the list. When was shocked to find me wearing Bermudas and knee length frocks. She then understood what her mother had told her was all crap. This aunt who left India in the 1950’s hasn’t changed her mindset. She was not aware of the changes that have taken place in India. Or was she not willing to accept the changes that took place in India? The feeling that these Malaysians (All people living there from different origins) have is that we are all very poor and we go there in seek of some favour. They never realize that we are living in a much better position here.

Before I conclude, let me tell you another experience. This happened just a few years ago. My husband had to attend a conference in Japan. So my daughter and I stayed with my co-brother at Singapore. My mother-in-law rang me up asked me to visit a few relatives of my husband. Very frankly I don’t like visiting relatives because of their snobbish attitude and the way they look down on relatives who come from India. When my husband got back from Japan I passed him the information my mother-in-law had asked me to. Finally we decided to go to one aunt’s place and one of my husband’s friends took us there. We went there and it was a cousin of my husband who opened the door. He said that his mother was bathing. He made us sit there and he wouldn’t talk to us. He was keeping aloof from us. Though we tried talking he looked very uncomfortable. He just wouldn’t talk to us. He spoke to that friend of ours. It was then that friend said that my husband had just returned from Japan after a conference. Suddenly this guy’s eyes opened wide and started talking to my husband. My husband told him that he had a doctorate in Astrophysics and that he was continuing his work in that field. I was really irritated. Until then he looked down upon us and now he was talking so freely. It seems he was a secondary teacher. I asked him which subject he taught in school and he replied Physics and Chemistry.

“So…. do u have post graduate degree in Physics …..or in Chemistry?” I asked

“No, I don’t have a post graduate degree” he replied feeling a bit awarkard

“How can you teach in a secondary section without a post graduation?”

He told me he taught up to Class X and a degree was sufficient. He really felt belittled. I really wanted him to feel belittled. I know it was very wrong on my part to do that but I just wanted him to know that we were much more superior to them. I just wanted them to know that we did not want any favours from them. I also wanted them to know that we were in no way inferior to them and that we held respectable positions in India.

Indians should realize that they are in no way inferior to the rest of the world. We Indians have the potential to become world’s no 1 economy if politics and religion doesn’t play a role in hampering the developments and the mindset of the people.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gender Inequality

Gender inequality has always been a problem in India and this has been growing over time. India has an unfavourable sex ratio toward women. The “God’s own country” boasts of economic indicators which are equal to that of developed countries. Kerala is the only state in India which has a favourable sex ratio for women. People have a feeling that the women in Kerala hold a respectable position. It is a very wrong picture. Let me start with my own experience.

The time I conceived, many people asked me if I wanted a baby boy or a baby girl. Without hesitation I could say that I wanted a baby girl. My sisters -in-law had seven boys. So it was quite natural for my in laws to wish for a girl. Personally I preferred a baby girl to a baby boy. People told me that boys were better as the parents didn’t have to save anything for the future. I used to get irritated with their nasty comments. I used to tell these people I didn’t mind a boy or a girl. All that I wanted was a healthy baby.

I delivered to a baby girl. She was the eldest grandchild to my parents and the only girl in my husband’s family. All of us rejoiced at her birth. When our driver knew about it he was so disappointed. His face looked as though some mishap had happened to him. He couldn’t accept the fact that our eldest child was a girl.

“Ayyo saare oru penn kutty vendayirunu” ( Ayyo, Sir u should have never had a baby girl) (Did he think that we creators could decide the sex of the baby?)

My husband tried making him understand that we were very happy but still it did not seem to penetrate into his thick skull. Again I felt the uneasiness of gender inequality.

Whenever I stayed with my grandma I have felt the inequality that she had shown me and my other female cousins. As my grandmother did not have any brothers, she held men in very high esteem. Probably she lived in a male dominant society. I remember how she would stand besides my grandfather while he was having his food. The males were served first and only then the women of the house would eat. Men had all the major chunk of what was cooked and we girls had the leftovers. I would strongly protest against her discriminating policies. According to my grandma, men were the people who went out to work. So they needed nutritious food. Boys had to grow up and they will have to work. So even they needed nutritious food. Girls didn’t have to work. So they didn’t need much food. My first experience of discrimination was from my grandmother’s house.

Since of late I have been hearing about the discrimination experienced by various women – at least the people who are working with me. I met an old classmate of mine. She is teaching in a government school in the higher secondary section while her husband teaches in the UP section of a government school. She has two daughters. She has been facing problems since the day she got a job in the higher secondary. The problem may be due to the inferiority complex of her husband. He doesn’t allow her to keep a maid. She is expected to do all the household chores. It seems he doesn’t eat anything that is kept in the refrigerator. So she is forced to cook everyday. To add to her woes her mother-in-law keeps nagging her that she doesn’t have a son. The saddest part is that she is not keeping well. She has great difficulty in walking. It seems she becomes breathless when she walks and has a heavy feeling in her chest. She hasn’t been to the doctor yet. I asked her if I would take her to the hospital and her reply disturbed me

“Angerku enne venda. Pine Xina ku entha?” and then she added, “avarku oru cashu kodukathe jolikarriye avashayam. Enikku anel cash tharendello.” (He doesn’t need me. Then why are u bothered, Xina? He needs an unpaid maid. He doesn’t have to pay me)

I tried to make her understand that she had two daughters and that a mother was essential in their growing phase. She refuses to understand that. All that she wants is to die as soon as possible and escape from her miseries.

This is just an incident that is happening in the modern world.

Now coming ro the the attitude of men. I don’t mean all men, but most of the men.. In Kerala with a high female population, it is difficult for parents to get a suitable groom for their daughters. So parents are willing to pay a very high dowry. It was at that time that the pre-degree was de-linked from colleges and the higher secondary came into being. Many new appointments were made and parents found prospective grooms for their daughters. Very heavy dowry was demanded by parents of the boys. The reason was simple. The males paid huge amounts as donation to covet the job. So it was quite natural to demand for that amount from the bride’s parents. (I have heard a relative of ours saying that she spent 9 lakhs on her son’s education. I am not sure if she kept an account from the time her son joined school. So she expected a dowry much more than that. Lucky she did not keep an account of the cost of food he ate and the medicines he consumed!!!) The irony of it is that most of the brides were higher secondary teachers too. Didn’t they pay the same amount to acquire the job? Then why should her parents pay a dowry for an equally qualified and employed boy? Be it in the education sector or in any other sector this is the case. One of my co-worker’s daughters is getting married next month. She is an engineer and is a techie. She is getting married to another engineer techie. Her parents are giving her a dowry worth around 60 lakhs!!! According to the Economic Theory, when demand is more than supply, the price increases (maybe that is why the dowry rates are sky rocketing). In spite of taking a very high dowry these men expect an obliging wife who can slog like a maid and who can dance to his whims and fancies without uttering a word!!! When you pay for something, it means you are buying that thing. So when the bride pays a huge dowry it means that the parents are buying the groom. Then why should the bride dance to her husband's tune???

What is the status of woman today? Is it enough to guarantee her 33% of the Lok Sabha seats and 30% seats (this is not guaranteed) in the KSRTC buses?

It is very disturbing to read articles about the inhuman treatment meted by women in the newspapers. Last Sunday, in The Hindu there were articles about the ill treatment of girls. In that it was said that in some remote village, an infant was dipped in hot water by a midwife with an aim to kill it!!! The infant was admitted to the hospital with severe burn. The fault of the infant was that she was the second daughter of a couple. Imagine the cruelty of the midwife!!!! Did she forget that she was a girl once upon a time?

There was another article in The Indian Express an article about Sunanda Pushakar by Paul Zachariah. When I read the article by Mr. Zachariah, I felt that at least there was a man (with some common sense) to support a woman who has been in a much debated controversy. What was the mistake she did? Is it because she worked for a company to bring the IPL team to Kerala? In “India Today”, there was an article which said that she hails from a very wealthy family. More over she is working in Dubai. There are a very good number of Indians who work there. No NRI goes abroad to do service free of cost. The main aim of any NRI is to make money. That is exactly what Ms. Pushkar did. Then about her connection with Mr. Tharoor… it is purely a personal affair and one doesn’t have to make a hue and cry over that. Ms. Pushkar is an adult and she has the right to decide what is good for her. Entire India needn’t run behind her to see what she is up to. I don’t find anything wrong in her even if she is having an affair with Mr. Tharoor. I will call her a brave woman because most of the Indians whether a man or a woman is masked. They preach about morality and practices immorality. I feel that 99% of the Indians are hypocrites. Just because she is a woman people can wag their tongues and damage her reputation.

Will the mindset of people ever change? The mindset of women is changing and I guess that has been attributed to the causes of increasing divorce rates in Kerala as well as in India. Will there be gender equality in India at least in the near future?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Children of a Lesser God

I am a higher secondary teacher who has been working in the department for many years now. From day one we teachers have been facing a number of problems. Governments came, governments went, but our problems are here to remain

The High school teachers were the cream of the school until we went there. Immediately there arose a clash between HSAs and HSSTs. There were a lot of allegations against us. I am one person who underwent such torments. Rumours spread out about most of the teachers. It’s very normal among people to react when someone is appointed superior to them. But this clash has been continuing over a decade.

The school teachers work five days a week and so does the college teachers. Why are only the higher secondary teachers working 6 days a week? According to school teachers,
“Kai niraye cash medukukayalle? Pine joli cheythal entha?”
I agree that we do get a decent salary but what about the college teachers? Are they not being paid three times our salary? How come they are free on Saturdays and Sundays? They are free because they have to prepare. And they are university staffs who come under the UGC. That is their explanation. Don’t we have to prepare for the following week? Are we not teaching the same Pre-degree which were once taught in colleges? The only difference is that it was Pre-degree then and now it is higher secondary.

My immediate provocation to write this article is that we have been forced to go for valuation of answer scripts. The Centralized valuation camp where I go, five subjects are being valued there. It is a school with just a little over 500 students. This school is in the heart of the city. Believe me, there are no fans in this school. In the room where I sit there are seven groups of teachers. Each group has five assistants and a chief. So in all, we are forty two teachers in a room with barely any place to sit. It is so congested that all of us are soaked in sweat by afternoon. To add fuel to this, most of the days there is no water in the toilets. Teachers from Trivandrum district come here for valuation. How long does the authority expect teachers to work without going to the toilet? Majority of us reach by 9:30am in the morning. All of a sudden news spreads that there is no water to wash our hands and to go to the toilets. Is it not violation of human rights? As far as I know, the atmosphere should be conducive to work. There are many teachers who are elderly and asking them to work in such an atmosphere is atrocious.

The worst of all is that there is a step motherly treatment towards the teachers going for valuation. Answer scripts are issued only after 9:30 am. The next set is issued after 1:30pm. The camp coordinator takes back the afternoon set only after 4:30pm. The reason they give is that the Joint Director has given them strict instruction that the teachers should leave the camp only after 4:30pm. What does he gain by keeping us there for all these hours? Does he think that he is doing us something great favour by calling us for valuation? Never!!!! He is just torturing us and I think he gets a sadistic pleasure in keeping us in that miserable place. Please remember there are teachers who have to catch the trains to reach their hometowns in the evening.

We are sacrificing our summer vacations for valuation. You may argue that this work that we are doing can be surrendered and we that we get an additional income. Let me tell you frankly, many teachers are not interested in cash. We prefer holidays. This is the only time that we get to spend with our family. Even that has been grabbed away from us. Don’t we teachers need holidays? It has been made compulsory for us teachers to attend the CV camp. If not, a memo will wait us when we go back to school. Valuation for certain subjects go beyond May 15. By the time valuation is over, we teachers are forced to go for vacation class. In short teachers are being denied their summer holidays.

Are we children of a lesser God? Or are we slaves who are expected to slog the whole year?

After all the hard work we do, memos are kept ready for the slightest mistake. Memos are given to teachers, who don’t attend the valuation camp. Memos are given to teachers who have attended the camp but for a slight mistake that they commit. It is simply not possible to give 100% attention in the work we do in such an atmosphere.

You, leaders of the teachers’ union please unite and protest against the atrocities on us.