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Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Call Of The Hawkers

image source

Some of my earliest memories from childhood are waking up to the call from the hawker.

As a child born and brought up in Delhi, I remember the weekdays filled with the shouts of the hawker. What you generally wouldn't go out on a weekday afternoon to buy would come directly to your home, courtesy the hawker.

The shouts each had a ringing quality to it, and they were so distinct in their tone and tune that you could instantly make out what the person was selling, even without actually understanding the words. 

Sadly, on my recent trips to Delhi, I realised that they have been removed from Delhi's streets in the name of security. A city gets its flavour from its streets, from its local variety and speciality. The culture and the life of a city can always be judged best from its streets, not from the glitzy malls that are all just the same, devoid of any soul.

The image above is that of a stainless steel vendor. If you grew up in Delhi, these sights would be pretty normal for you. These women would carry their wares on their heads and roam around the different lanes of Delhi, shouting out in their typical voice 'Ayeeeeee steel waaleeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyy.' They would trade old clothes like sarees, trousers, shirts and the like for these utensils.

I remember these women coming into the courtyard of our homes, or sitting outside the gate on the road, while aunties from the neighbourhood would bring out old clothes and try and get the best bargain. Ma rarely ever got anything. But that was because we wore all our clothes till they were in no condition to give away. The best utensils could be got by trading in sarees. These women were forever trying to look for the best sarees they could lay their hands on. That would decide who would get what - a cooking pan, a pressure cooker, a pot, a kadai or maybe a plate or a glass only.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Help Donate Groceries For The Street Children At Aasara: 17th and 18th May 2014

Hi Friends,

The NGO Aasara in Mumbai, India, works with children from the street, trying to provide them a home, basic education and hygiene and healthy meals.

As you can surely understand, something of this kind needs tremendous support and help. The wonderful people at Aasara don't need your money. All they are asking for is groceries.

The children are in dire need of more groceries that can help feed them and more like them who are left alone to face the world, at railway stations and other areas that pick them up and force them to beg, steal and get into substance abuse.

A little help from you can really make a big difference. 

If you are in Mumbai and would like to share something, here is a list of food items they are really in need of:

Monday, May 12, 2014

You Are A Mommy Now, So Please Forget Yourself!

How many times have I heard that? Let’s just say I lost count.

I am a mommy to two beautiful daughters, they are my world and they are my everything, and most of what I do revolves around how they will react to it or how it will affect them.

Please read that I wrote ‘most’ not ‘all.’

And that is exactly what this post is about. That, being a mommy, how can I have a mind of my own, a choice of my own, or an entity of my own, when I have kids?

Well sorry to break the bubble, but the reality is, even though I am a mommy, I am still a human being. Quite the rocket science kind of a statement, isn’t it? ;-)

Haha. I get it from so many people that it’s not even funny anymore.

There was a time when I actually started to believe that maybe I was being un-mommy like, that maybe I was setting a wrong example for my daughter(s) by being the real me, instead of following the norms and being how a typical Indian mommy should be like. (Yes, apparently, there are many variations on how a mommy should be.)

If you are a mommy in India, and you happen to have a strong personality of your own, chances are, everyone, right from your neighbour to your immediate family to your colleagues and some more can get quite concerned.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Racism In India: Obvious, In Your Face Yet Hush-Hush
image source

If you have read the title of the post correctly, you will know that in this particular post, I will be talking specifically about racism in India. Yes, you heard me right.

Most of the stories you hear about racism work the other way – where Indians are at the receiving end of racist comments and jokes, where we Indians are discriminated against based on the colour of our skin. That is true, I have experienced it myself, a long time back, when I was staying in Germany for work, and was quite nicely stared at. This, in a city as big as Frankfurt, in a hill side beautiful town of Heidelberg and also in the quiet town of Rheinheim. I did face racism there, in the looks I got, in the way people would look at me. In fact, very recently, I also faced this in Hong Kong! The funny part was that I was sure offended, but I also found it quite funny. That’s another story and I will share it again in a different post. Let’s not digress here.

So yes, most of the racism stories that we hear have Indians as the victims.

But trust me, and I know that if you are an Indian who is reading this right now, you know what I am going to say is very true. We Indians are one of the biggest racist people that exist.

You may agree, you may be offended or you may really want to trash me out here – honestly, I don’t care. It is after all my blog and I choose to share the truth, as I have seen it countless times, and of course you have seen it too, or maybe done it too, and are now just trying to be nice and say you don’t know what I mean and how can I say something like this. Come on!

There are many aspects of racism, the most common one being identified is the colour of your skin. The other aspects of racism include your facial features, how you speak, where you come from, your religion and your caste. India has all these aspects of racism to pick from.

Check out any Indian market. The first time anyone who is remotely African walks by, many many eyes will stare. No matter if they are Africans or African-Americans or whatever, almost all shopkeepers turn around and stare. And if that person happens to wear their hair in dreadlocks (which I quite like), then the sniggers and the nudges are even more common.