Category Archives: Education

Eve Teasing? Are You Kidding Me?

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By Malathy Madathilezham

Frankly,I take offence to this term eve teasing.. Wikipedia describes this term as a euphemism used in India and Pakistan for sexual harassment or molestation of women by men in public… According to me it just makes light of the inexcusable, immoral and lecherous actions of filthy cowardly men who do not leave an opportunity to humiliate women.

Personally, I myself have undergone and have seen such shameful instances and am proud to say that I have stood up against the insensitive and disrespectful perpetrator(s) of such actions. But more often than not, the woman/girl is ‘advised’ to keep her mouth shut and tolerate such disrespectful actions. What is that prevent women from raising voice against sexual harassment in public? Why are we silent witnesses to the lady standing beside us in a bus or walking on a busy market street getting violated?

Its rampant in India, this kind of public sexual harassment. And sadly, most of us feel that the woman is equally responsible.’ The lady in question is judged on her dress, her mannerisms etc if she dares to raise her voice against the pervert who pinches, fondles, or uses sexually flavored filthy language! The people nearby are more interested in seeing the ‘tamasha’ than intervene and put the perp to task. The sneers, the comments embarrass the lady to no end. Yes there are laws, but more than laws, the attitude of the society, men and women, towards such acts need to be changed.. the term eve teasing should be done away with…

Walking down a street, travelling on a bus, or even partying with friends, the one thought that is always there in the back… How do I prevent myself from being subjected to public sexual harassment? Thus special effort is taken to dodge the hands and legs, dress and act ‘properly’, etc etc but does it spoil the fun or not! So does being a an average woman mean that I need to behave a certain way to avoid being targeted… No!The fact is that, however you behave, dress and wherever you are, whatever time it is… you are at greater risk of being violated just because you happen to be born as a female.

Am I not a free citizen of this country? Why does being a woman make me less free? Why do I have to tolerate the nonsense of the perverted men who want to assert their non existent superiority or sexuality?

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Safety Of Women And Self Defense

BE-SAFE

By Malathy Madathilezham 

We are all living in this illusion of safety. That a woman can be attacked and assaulted in the ladies compartment of a train is totally appalling. It shows us the lack of security and safety in our cities. Delhi, even though it is the capital of India, is somewhere I would not want to live in and neither would my parents encourage. Just the  incidents that actually get reported would discourage any woman to go live on her own in the city. But this is closer to home!On 28th January 2011, there was this report in the newspaper claiming that Kochi is safe for women. I sarcastically had retorted that this is because women here do not step out after 7 pm!

If anything this recent tragedy that cut short the life of Soumya only points to the glaring issues that need to be addressed regarding the safety and security of women. The fact that this happened in the Ladies compartment of a train, is ironic and makes us question the kind of security provided.  This struck me as my parents always asked me to avoid sitting in the ladies compartment unless there are a good number of co – passengers. According to them the ladies compartment in the most dangerous one!

Lot of hue and cry is being raised over this incident now. Citizens are agitated and indignant. The politicians are making statements and counter statements.A lot of promises are being made. The media is also giving a lot of hype. But what will change actually remains to be seen. Once this story becomes ‘stale’, will the issue of the freedom of a woman to travel, to even get out of the house at any time of the day remain an important issue? Will the women in Kerala stand up and raise their voice against any kind of exploitation or harassment  faced by them almost on a daily basis? Or will they accuse each other of being the instigating these attacks? I now remember the public signature campaign that our college students’ council against the harassment faced by women while travelling in buses and otherwise. It had generated a mass response from both the local media and the public and a lot of changes were definitely brought about. But even those were short lived and not consistent.

Who is to blame for these kind of attacks on the dignity and safety of women?

The lax attitude of the government?

The society in which such perverted characters are molded?

Ourselves?

How can such attacks be prevented? How can we make our cities safer for women? Multiple responsibilities fall on multiple people.

Let us first talk about ourselves before anyone else.

So how do we ensure our safety, security and keep our dignity? The easiest and most obvious is not to travel alone after a certain time.  But that would only encourage these hoodlums to attack the women who have no other choice but to travel by night. And what if you are attacked when at home or somewhere else?

I have written down some thoughts, which came to my mind

  • Learn some self-defense techniques! It will also boost your confidence.
  • Be alert and aware of people and your surroundings (this is applicable whether it is day or night)
  • Stay with the crowd. Especially at night do not move around deserted areas.
  • Avoid speaking on the mobile phone or do anything which can make u seem distracted.
  • Use a barrier or distance to make an attack difficult. Thus lock your doors!
  • Always carry something, which is easily and quickly accessible to use as a weapon. An umbrella (especially the kalan kuda)! A Pen, a safety pin and don’t hesitate to use it if required!
  • Do not hesitate to scream, shout in case you are being targeted whether overtly or covertly i.e attract attention.
  • If attacked, act quickly and decisively. How to escape or how to fight and incapacitate the attacker needs to be decided keeping in mind the surroundings and the situation.
  • Use your strongest weapons against the weakest targets of the attacker. The eyes, throat,  and groin are the primary targets while the abdomen and face are the secondary targets. Your strong weapons are the bottom of your feet, elbows, hammer fists and palm heels.
  • Stand up for any other woman being harassed or attacked. You also could be in a similar situation!
  • Please do approach the authorities. Do not hesitate to file a complaint. The perverted offenders should not be allowed to move around scot-free.
  • Share your experiences and tips on how to prevent such attacks with other women. Educate them.

These are not in any way an exhaustive list on how to prevent attacks and how to defend/protect yourself. But I hope it has given you some information and insight. If we act meek and submissive the chances of being targeted will only increase and at the same time reckless and reactive action is also not advised. Common sense, confidence and alertness are key to preventing attacks/ harassment and defending yourself.

What the government and railway authorities will or won’t do, we cannot be sure of. But that should not stop us from protecting our loved ones or ourselves.

Seven Girls In Junior World Cup Hockey Squad Are Anaemic: Michael Nobbs

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By Soumitra Bose

Ex-Aussie Olympian identifies flaws in India’s hockey system but says with scientific approach and immaculate talent spotting, the former world champions can regain the golden days.

Michael Nobbs quietly flew out of Delhi in the wee hours on Thursday before telling sports.ndtv.comthat at least seven girls in the junior India squad that won a historic World Cup bronze in Monchengladbach, Germany last Sunday were suffering from anaemia

In an exclusive chat, Nobbs congratulated the junior girls for winning India’s first World Cup medal but cautioned against a general “burnout” due to a lack of scientific and long-term diet plan in the coaching system. “I have two teenaged daughters and they are part of an Australian system that not only takes care about their skills but their health as well. India have to adopt such an approach or else, these girls from rural India would be lost forever,” said Nobbs.

“The welfare of India’s hockey has always been topmost in my mind. I am not trying to point fingers at anyone, I am just trying to say that India can do much better with proper scientific training and approach”, Nobbs said. Anaemia is a medical condition indicating iron deficiency in the body leading to tiredness and lethargy.
“It’s a very common among girls and in India it is acute. How do you expect the girls to match the healthier and stronger European girls in a world competition? Considering this, the bronze (India beat England) has been a brilliant achievement. It’s nice to give cash awards, but there is a lot to do with these kids,” said Nobbs.

The veteran coach said anaemia can be controlled with proper scientific diet and monitoring. “I was surprised to meet a dietician in SAI, Bangalore who has been working for the last 40 years without having done anything noteworthy,” Nobbs said, adding the government was simply wasting its resources.

Nobbs said India had the potential to make it big in world hockey with a scientific approach and careful talent spotting. Unlike most foreign coaches who leave on an extremely bitter note, Nobbs said he would be happy to return to India, but wasn’t sure if he would like a second innings as chief national coach. (Also read: Rani Rampal: A cart-puller’s daughter who stormed world of hockey)
The 59-year-old Australian, who resigned last month on health grounds, is flying to Perth to seek medical advice for hyper-tension before travelling to Hobart to meet his 15-year-old daughter, a hockey prodigy. Nobbs’ elder daughter is an international figure skater.

Nobbs left with mixed feelings on Indian hockey. While his deteriorating health condition – fluctuating blood pressure and hemorrhoids – forced him to stand down as national coach, the genial Australian was unhappy with several issues that threw a spanner in his work.

“I was getting cranky at small issues which I would normally overlook. I think my health was also refusing to side with me. In Holland during the world league, I thought I would die, I passed out twice and was sometimes seeing 44 players on the pitch” said Nobbs. (Suggested read: Ministry to now fund customised training for 50 sportspersons)

“I couldn’t have carried on like this and with a few things not going the way I was wanting, I think resigning was the best option. I surely wasn’t sacked. The media reported without checking the facts but that’s expected when you are doing a high-pressure, high-profile job,” said Nobbs.

Nobbs didn’t elaborate on the “few” things that irritated him but selection matters and the way players without credibility were picked to attend national camps clearly angered him. “I surely don’t want to work for Hockey India again but India have the potential to match any country in the world. It’s oozing with talent and there is no dearth in resources. I have seen this with my own eyes and there is a lot of work to be done,” he said. (Also read: Sports Minister unimpressed with CWG, Asian Games progress)

Nobbs said Hockey India’s secretary-general Narinder Batra was a man with a mission. “He surely is eager and putting in a lot of effort and money in Indian hockey. He surely is demanding and why not? But he won’t be able to do things alone. For example, if the national selectors are watching just eight games and picking talent for a national, Indian hockey is going nowhere. You are doing injustice to a great kid because his team lost in the first round,” the Australian Olympian said.

Nobbs has presented a vision statement to the Sports Authority of India, a much maligned body in India. The Aussie, on the contrary, says SAI has a big role to play and can turn things around in the country. “My understanding of SAI is that it has to be the driver. If SAI is funding Indian sport, it has the right to ask questions. That’s not happening. National federations must be answerable to SAI and I can tell you there are honest men in SAI with lot of vision,” said Nobbs.

The Australian said India badly needed a Sports Bill. “It will raise accountability. There are just too many people in the establishment who have taken things for granted. And the national bodies have to be wary about ex-players who act like advisors. The game is much more scientific now. You have to accept change to keep pace with the world,” said Nobbs.

The Aussie said the pressure will now be on Roelant Oltmans, Hockey India’s High Performance Manager, who will double up as coach in the Asia Cup in Malaysia later this month. “Roelant is a man with proven caliber. He will learn a lot in Indian hockey as I have learnt in my two years here. It won’t be easy for him but I wish him all the luck,” Nobbs said. (Related: Oltmans congratulates junior women team)

India must win the Asia Cup from August 24-September 1 in Ipoh to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in The Hague. India missed a World Cup berth after a poor show in the Hockey World League in Rotterdam recently. Only the Asia Cup winners gain a direct entry to the world championship. (Suggested read: Dhanraj Pillay says foreign coaches not the solution for team)

“India normally play well against Asian teams. We should be able to beat Malaysia, Pakistan and Korea to make the World Cup,” said Nobbs, who of course added that India are not at full strength. According to him, the absence of Shivendra Singh, Sandeep Singh (both dropped); S.V. Sunil and Danish Mujtaba (both injured) will be felt.

Real Beauty: Perceptions Differ

beauty and perceptions

By Malathy Madathilezham

One of the definitions of the word Beauty (as given by Merriam- Webster) is the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit. Thus it is related to our senses, our mind and our spirit. This means that real beauty would be different for different people. This is quite obvious when we observe physical concepts of beauty differ in different cultures, races, countries etc. These concepts change with time. Another aspect of this definition of beauty is that these are qualities, which are not necessarily the visual qualities. So anything can be beautiful; music, fragrance, the inherent or developed qualities of a human being.

Let me restrict myself to human beings. In the present scenario, everyone wants to ‘look’ beautiful! A lot of importance is being given to superficial and external beauty. Scientists are coming out with the measurements/ratios of ‘perfect’ or ‘real’ beauty. Plastic surgeons are using these measurements to make people look beautiful. In addition we have the various creams, serums that are supposed to make us look beautiful and then the gyms and fitness clubs. The cosmetics and fashion industry is thriving on the aspirations of millions to match the concepts of beauty that is being ‘sold’ to them through various media. Thus a lot of economic activity is being driven by the ‘want’ to look beautiful. Mine and your want..

But what about ‘feeling’ beautiful? That feeling which does not necessarily come out of how we look. This sense of feeling beautiful depends on our emotional well being, our happiness and human qualities of kindness, empathy and the like. The kind of lifestyle we lead nowadays with all its tensions, pressures is not exactly helping us feel good about ourselves. We lament about the lack of everything but do nothing about improving our situation. We want to look good and beautiful to others, hide our real self beneath this veneer of ‘Beauty’. But how long would this last… thus we have rising problems of depression, burnouts etc. The pressure on us to match up to the ideals of beauty, success, happiness is too much to handle and makes us forget true happiness, our true beauty and ourselves. The external image that we present to others is but a distortion of what we truly are… In the glam and glitter of the world around us, we lose sense of real beauty… and join the rat race of looking beautiful rather than being beautiful.

For me real beauty is within each of us. To discover that beauty within us and within others is truly a gift. Of course, a good dress, or haircut, or a bright nail polish does make me happy but it can only do so much to add to my self-confidence and self-image. What I am, how beautiful I truly am depends on my actions, my thoughts that are again relative and need not be the same for you. Basically there is nothing real… it’s all an illusion… and my illusion differs from yours!! I believe everybody is beautiful in his or her own unique way. So why don’t you sit down and think about what does being beautiful mean to you?

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part 5

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By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

A new day dawns bright and it’s the first day of my second trimester. First thought – One down, two to go!!!

Over the course of the next 4 weeks, it’s amazing to watch your little peanut grow from the size of your clenched fist to the size of an orange to the length of your palm. Wow really?!? Great delights do come in small packages!

As the little one prepares for a great debut appearance (in a couple of months, that is) and life outside your womb, it’s always interesting to hear and read what the baby is doing inside you (a li’l too early to feel the baby jig as it wiggles its newly formed toes and fingers). Towards the end of this month, Mother Nature teaches the baby to suck its little fingers. Hold on baby orange – it’s mittens for your hands when you’re out!

And finally the BUMP appears. You can no longer pass it off as a stomach after a heavy lunch!

To add to this, the woes of my mother who can’t get her forty winks, thanks to the nocturnal nasal symphony (performed by me, of course! In simple English, it’s snoring). She says it reminds her of an induction motor running. Boy, that can be really disturbing.

Not that I’m a weight watcher; but to see the numbers creep up every time you stand on the scales can be depressing. Sigh, one has to pile up the pounds to support the baby inside you. In my case, according to my BMI, it’s close to 25 pounds. Goodness gracious me! But Vidya Balan – I love you! Thanks to you and definitely Dirty Picture, curvy is in! I’m definitely embracing my new-found curves!!! A high protein diet with the necessary carbs, and not to forget, the goodness from buckets of ice creams – yummy! What’s going on?!? Blame it on pregnancy cravings!

As your wardrobe makes way for new clothes (read: maternity clothes), it’s scary, at first to imagine your cupboard to be filled with ghastly tent-like muumuus to hide your expectant shape. The dread is replaced by excitement when you visit a maternity shop. Today, maternity clothes are very fashionable and practical to wear. I love it!

Though the little one is far from ready to make a personal appearance, it’s really nice to know for sure there’s actually someone in there.

Until next time, goodbye folks!

 

Disclaimer: As much as the above experiences are my own, I have definitely referred to my pregnancy bible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and other pregnancy blogs easily available on Google for certain details and reasoning.

 

 

 

Remembering The Radical Romantic On His 221st Birthday – Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Regarded as one of the finest lyric poets of the English-speaking world, Percy Bysshe Shelley was born on August 4, 1792 in Sussex, England. Immensely radical in his works and political as well as social, Shelley unfortunately did not receive much recognition during his lifetime. His worth as a genius as a poet came along only after his death. Shelley became such a strong influence on the next generation of poets and writers, so much so that he was great admired by the like of Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Robert Browning and Thomas Hardy. 

Shelley’s literary compositions exemplify both extremes of Romanticism – joyous ecstasy and brooding despair. The major themes of Shelley’s works comprised – interchange with nature, pursuit of ideal love, rebellion against authority, visionary imagination and the untamed spirit always in search of freedom. 

Though Shelley’s themes exude certain similar hues with his contemporaries, nonetheless, he has left behind certain peculiarities on the literary movement of Romanticism. Pursuit of the idea and the creation of powerful symbols are idiosyncratic to Shelley’s works. His compositions like Ozymandus, Ode to Intellectual BeautyPrometheus Unbound and Ode to the West Wind are not only intellectual feasts but also a delight to the visual imaginations. 

It goes without saying that Shelley’s radical ides embodied in his literary compositions, still remains as a challenge to us to achieve our extreme potentials. 

London Underground Explained By A Londoner

By Disha Shah

Each city has its own lifeline and for London it is its connectivity through underground trains. Every morning, a Londoner gets up and checks the tube update to plan a smooth journey to his/ her destination.

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London Underground Logo

London Underground was formed in 1985 and today it’s a major business with three million passenger journeys made every day, serving 275 stations and over 408kms. It has 13 major tube lines covering the whole of London.

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London Underground train

The transport for London website (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/) provides a journey planner where one just needs to provide the intended start and finish destination and the planner provides you with all information, such as time to reach station from home, which tube line to take, around what time, where to change trains, if required, time to reach the destination from the end station, total journey time, any planned closures, etc.

Journey Planner

                                    Journey Planner

The tube connects every part of the city to each other and it’s very convenient even for tourists. There are multiple ticketing options as well as day passes available to choose from. I would recommend just buy an oyster and top it up with single fare or day pass or weekly or monthly pass. Oyster is accepted on bus journeys so it has added advantage. The balance along-with the deposit os refunded back whenever one desires.

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Oyster card

There is a lot to learn from 150 years old transport system which breaks at times however never stops!