Tag Archives: Maharashtra

Single Woman In A Village

malathy in a village

By Malathy Madathilezham 

This is the first time I am living on my own in a remote little place in Maharashtra (actually not as remote as some of the other places my travels have taken me.. but yet). This is my first job after graduating from Tata Institute of Social Sciences this March.

All my life I have been travelling. “I have studied in 14 different schools!” is something you will hear me say as part of my introduction. Yeah I know its a bit corny but yet. But all the traveling and living has been in a sheltered and protected manner and largely very comfortable. The culture and way of living mostly urban. I have never experienced rural life until very recently during the course of my two year study and the training that I received in my organisation. I have read enough and more but experiencing it shows how different life in ‘Bharat’ is from that in ‘India’. Even more so being a woman…

No, I am not going on a tirade against gender discrimination here… don’t worry. Just a few points on what I constantly find myself thinking about.

I am really privileged. Yes, I am. My birth has guaranteed me certain success in life even if I am mediocre in my performance. Unless off course I am really stupid or have real bad luck!! I cannot imagine being born a woman in one of these villages. Off course then I would simply be blissful in my ignorance and thankful about whatever I have.

(Lack of) Information is power. This is the game people play here. It is not that there are not enough government schemes, or opportunities to help people. But there is no smooth flow of the information regarding these to those who need it. Illiteracy is not the only reason here. A few people have the monopoly over the access to this information and they try their best to keep that monopoly.

The slow pace of life. Its really slow. In addition, the more you make someone wait, the more important you are. This is the culture here. Getting used to it takes time.

A single woman living (so far) away from her parents and native is a shock for many. “ Even boys will not be so daring!” was a quip by a Gram Sevika when I told her that I am from Kerala. Everyone is curious to know what I am doing here. To add to that curiosity is the fact that I have really short hair right now. So then dealing with the number of questions that a random shopkeeper, autowala or tai on the road can sometimes be simply frustrating! There are days that I don’t feel like going out to avoid this!

I love to cook!! I never thought I would say this but it is true! Yeah am not so organised or planned as my mother but yet I realise that I actually look forward to cooking something different and tasty everyday .

Well that is it for now… Looking forward to more learning and understanding the rural reality…

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Exploring Goa – XIV – Hippie Days Are Here Again

Kartik explores the northernmost stretch of Goa’s beaches, and brings to you the pleasure and joy of finding Keri, the last Goan beach, before Maharashtra tourism welcomes you!

-10

For all the beaches that I have explored in Goa, I have never come across a flat beach, that is protected by mountains on the left, and has the tallest trees chaperoning the curvy art forms of the waves all day. If you happen to see this sublime sight of the colours of twilight punctuated by art forms in wood above the soil, you’ve made it to Keri.

Keri can be reached down a mountain trek from the sweet water lake beach. If you happen to get lost in the path to take, keep your eyes on dogs that make the daily trek between the beaches in search of food. In exchange for a couple of biscuits, you could have yourself ‘chauffer navigated’ up the mountain. We invested our faith in the dog, and it helped when we reached the other end of paradise.

You could also chose the scenic 12 km ride from Arambol to Kerim, over undulating slopes as the roads curve into the forest, while the trees block radiowaves from mobile towers. You first encounter the Keri Ferry, and as your curve to the left you’d reach the Keri beach, overlooking the Ajooba temple. If you do manage to shake of the scare of a lonely night drive, you would do the bike ride well past midnight on a full moon night, and nothing can quite beat this experience.

If you recently watched the Bollywood flick ‘Go Goa Gone’, this beach features in a couple of places in the movie.

Gogoagonekeri1

GoGoaGoneKeri2

Keep a lookout for the trek to Kerim in the next part.

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911 vs 100: A Realistic Review

dial 100

By Ankit Chandra

Yes. I plan to compare the two numbers. There are many factors to look at, and I will try to sum them up as precisely as possible…

Ask any American, or watch enough Hollywood movies and you will see that 911 is something that Americans use very frequently, for things as small as sticking your hand to something very embarrassing (in American Pie) to something much bigger as in Die Hard… But you get the picture… as soon as there is any situation of any kind and severity, 911 is one of the first things they will think of. Efficiency of this system is so good that you are almost assured a response in minutes wherever you are in the country. There is proper research done while making roads, to ensure that any part of a city is reachable in 2-10 minutes from the nearest Police patrol (my ex roommate was working for a firm that did this research)

100 on the other hand usually has a fleeting reference in the heads of Indians. Should something go wrong, the first set of people we think about are our neighbors, or friends. In some cases, we probably don’t even want to get involved with the police. Like Hollywood in previous case, if you watch enough Bollywood movies, you will see that people do not usually want the police to get involved, or the police any how comes only when the hero has beaten the crap out of the villain, despite the absence of police. What I imply from this is that police is at least considered inept, or inconsiderate, or untrustworthy.

But if I think deeper about this, the differences don’t just stay as mere facts and jokes as above… They begin to show the vast difference that exists between the two countries.

To implement a system like 911, a few basic things are needed. First it needs to be such a dependable system that time and again, anywhere, anyhow, should there be an emergency, some help should be able to reach the victim. It is only then that a person will trust this 3 digit number so much to remember, and call, this number when their life is in danger. In addition, this number should be able to give you the warmth that you would have no inhibitions in trusting them for any situation of any sort. Third, the versatility of this number should be such that this number can handle any kind and severity of situation.

These are just a few components that go into making this system work. Any person in Process Management would tell you that this calls for operational efficiency, and that too of a very high standard, because it deals with lives of people. Implementing this, even in a small society of 200 apartments is such a huge pain. I can tell you this by my experience in getting an electrician to fix a power cut in my apartment in Delhi.

Now imagine implementing this at the level of a nation. One of the world’s biggest nations by land size and population. But this has been implemented here in the US. And everytime I think of this system, and dare to compare it to 100, I first get awestruck, and then get upset.

Why can’t India implement a system like that? What’s stopping us? Don’t we deserve to have such a system to help us lead a better life? Must our loved ones die waiting for help to arrive? Or worse still. die waiting because the PM is visiting the Hospital?

It needs will which is easy to say, but much more difficult to implement. It is also dependent on how strongly people ask for this, and make this (instead of speaking Marathi in Maharashtra) a political issue. And that comes from social awareness. That is VERY different from education, which is again VERY different from literacy… A nation of 1 billion, with most people not even knowing the significance/value of such a system is where we lack the point. And I think the most critical role here is to be played by the middle class in India. I belong to it, and by having studied in US now, I know what we lack. There are many more middle class students who have been lucky enough to see and understand the difference between the two systems. Now that we are ‘aware’ we must pass this on, and strive to make everyone aware of this.

It is only when people are aware of this that leaders will rise, and take this issue further, and even take it on to them to implement this. And then we will have someone to vote for. Then we could also look at appointment of competent officers in implementing this system, and much more importantly, sustaining it.

The best way to resolve our issues is to move bottom up. And for that we need to be aware…

  • ReThink911 (careandwashingofthebrain.blogspot.com)