A Crappy Affair

World toilet day
The UN has declared Nov.19th as the world Toilet day.
We have lived and grown up with toilets, of course during our younger days when we travelled we never used public toilets since we were worried about hygiene with the advent of pay toilets those are taken care off too.
The impact of open defection never really struck in, after all at school we were thought that one method of seed dispersion was undigested seeds in the faecal matter.
At the medical school the impact of water borne disease and zoonosis kind of seeped in.
Last year when I went with the Banega Swach Bharat drive of NDTV I realized the greater impact of it, there was a man who wanted toilets constructed because he wife died when she slipped as she went out the fields. Gone were the days people looked at costing, the issue that the public presented was know how, they knew they needed toilets, they wanted the toilets too, the issue was how would the sewage handle it self they did not want it let loose into the fields and rivers as it would cause contamination. The knowledge partners organized by NDTV addressed this fundamental issue.
maybe if a year back somebody told me that the international toilet day was linked with equality, dignity and gender violence and sanitation I would have rolled with laughter. But the exposure a year ago and working with the migrant workers have really opened my eyes to something larger.
I heard stories of villagers who want to send their daughters to school but the fact that there were no toilets and the trees had been cut off to widen the roads made them aware of the desperate need for toilets and trees.
On the flip side were elders who were psychologically comfortable doing their daily rituals in the open environment so they had bowel constriction when they had to use the toilets. Interestingly the resource person suggested roofless toilets and planting of trees, or keeping flower pots.
When we are dealing with the migrant labour and informal work force things take a different turn. In a supermarket or a mall there are staff toilets and toilets for the public, but in a village market, or construction site we have neither.
Some village markets have now come up with pay toilets but construction sites are still open. The workers have nowhere to ease themselves through their 10hrs of working. Neither do they have access to potable water unless they are carrying it.
It is easy to say that India as a nation has no sense of hygiene/dignity/whatever, to a certain extent yes, but if we do not provide the toilets where on earth are the people to go, they have to ease themselves so they will go into the shrubs if they are available or go in the open.
An year back I met a company that dealt with portable toilets, when we asked them why were these not used in places where temporary toilets were required, we were told
• Their initial costing is high
• They were western toilets and Indians were not comfortable using it.
By the way the company has come up with an Indian model this year. The waste was dealt with chemically so there was no odour emitted.
The sanitation maintenance people on the Indian railway have another thing to say. Yes, the train toilets are public places. The Indian railway has recently shifted to bio-cleansing toilet units, they put up signage’s to tell people not to throw their diapers, the sanitary towels and tissues down the toilet , yet people do so, particularly in the first class section which is supposed to occupied by the more educated aware citizens as opposed to the plebiscites of the sleeper class.
The international toilet day would be a great point to start an awareness drive, and toilet training—yes I use it deliberately because we need to learn how to use a public toilet, keep it clean and conserve resources.
https://wordpress.com/posts/parwatisingari.wordpress.com?s=NDTV
https://parwatisingari.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/sanitation-for-the-roadside-worker/
http://www.un.org/en/events/toiletday/
http://www.lifestyletodaynews.com/green-living/a-visit-to-one-of-the-weirdest-museums-in-the-world-the-toilet-museum/

Beauty Academy

lipstick 3About 15yrs back I decided to write  for a Goan magazine, the editor, looked at me I have always been an woman of substance, sari clad, a neat chignon at my nape, not to mention the nose ring and the bindi, she was quite skeptic until opened my mouth. She did wonder if I could handle English.

Lets be frank at the moment I was brand housewife. Whether we like it or not we do create a brand image, our dressing, a speaking manner everything adds to this and our non-verbal presentation of ourselves comes a lot from how comfortable we are with ourselves.

Today I am a different person, but the journey was Pygmalion. I had to understand myself, as a brand I was I realized versatility and was blessed by the power of and. I was uncomfortable with the loss of hair thanks to the crab, I was uncomfortable with my scars thanks to the surgery, in short I was uncomfortable with myself.

The journey began with accepting myself it was about being authentic, who am I and what do I really want, my accomplishments, my passions, that understanding had to now be translated into my persona. this included the way I dressed, from sloppy I don’t care I had to translate to I am comfortable, yet I mean business. I mean business subtly meant I respect myself so do not abuse my skill or time. Of course my designer friend helped me translate this into my clothing.

The journey of final branding includes hairstyle, mild use of cosmetics. I find calling it make up a little ridiculous because make up about creating illusions.

This emerging awareness of personal branding along with rapid growth of the visual industry like movies, theater, advertisement has created the need for new set of skill sets, people who facilitate the development of these skill sets, as the profession of beauty and make up.

Being a beauty and make up professional is a space where one gets to exercise great creativity along with helping people accept themselves. To me it is a lot like dentistry that is it is an art and skill. As a profession it must be as challenging as dentistry I mean meeting new people, learning their challenges, then helping them over come it.  one would need to constantly learn, innovate and experiment. The industry has begun to demand trained, qualified and certified professionals.lipstick 1

If we were to look at beauty and make up as a profession then we are talking about hair styling, makeup artistry, nail artistry, beautician, theater and screen make up, bridal make up foot-care so on and so forth.

Of course putting together and choosing is no doubt a challenge. So here is what Harion Tyagi the director of BeauPal.com suggests, that instead of just rushing into the industry, choose your stream of choice, develop your expertise then choose a reputed academy or institute to go ahead. To make things easy www.BeauPal.com offers a great platform. The aim here is provide education that is global standard yet affordable.

lipstick 2IL&FS institute of skills beauty and Makeup situated in New Delhi seems a good option they offer certification after hands on comprehensive training from international trainers. The course options are beautician, hairstylist, bridal make up artist.

The institute is located in Okhla Industrial estate of Delhi. After the training, the options of finding employment or opening your own independent venture is available. The arena of beauty and make up sets, cinema makeup, fashion and stage shows are all open.

What the course helps an individual to acquire skills and dexterity that empowers them to enrich peoples life by using their creativity to help people look and feel good.

For more check  https://www.beaupal.com/en/center/ilfs-institute-of-skills-beauty-makeup-academy/index.htm

images courtesy google images.

Attitude Levied

citizen journalist
image courtsey internet

It is that time of the year, when my father was alive he would ask me to sign a sheet and I would do so, never bothering to know more.

Over the past five years of self healing, I learnt lot of things, the last year has been about learning to handle my belief about money. a

As i read about the invite to pledge to share, the prompt talks about citizen responsibility… which is what I shared in my blog it is  like a marketing piece that colgate or pepsodent would dole out, somehow it does not allow the reader to engage and take responsibility, of contribution.

Yes, I am citizen and citizenship carries responsibilities I know that, yet I have deferred filing it to the last minute. That I realize is because somehow money is something we are not comfortable dealing with we look at money as evil, when we are financially comfortable we tend to be apologetic about it. the only way out was to go into my fear and confront my greed, my weakness, my neediness, and the way out was through my mind by choosing my thoughts.

The minute I said I can’t afford it, my brain shut down my brain, it didn’t have time to think anymore beside it also brought up certain amount of sadness a helplessness that lead to despondency and often depression. But,”How can I afford it?” opened up the brain, forced me to think and search for answers. It also opened possibilities, excitement and dreams and created a stronger mind, and dynamic spirit. At the point the money hits our hands, we have the power to determine our financial future and we never know true freedom until you achieve financial freedom.

Then it came to taxes my attitude I was in total denial, like most social beliefs we imbibe, the attitude was taxes was the way the government swindled people, the past two days, I have just put myself into filing my taxes, the process was not only empowering, it gave me a sense of financial well being.  A random musing of where should the tax money really go,  https://parwatisingari.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/tad-taxing/  changed my attitude, when the taxes are paid I feel empowered.  Maybe if we visualized the tax flowing into various utility projects we will look at our taxes as investment instead of something that is being stolen from us.income tax

It is the universal law, whenever we feel short or in need of something, if we give what we want first, it will come back in buckets. That is true for money, a smile, love, friendship. I know it is often the last thing we may want to do, but it worked for me. I just trust that the principle of reciprocity is true and I give what I want.

I have pledged to pay my tax, for it is my investment towards making my own life comfortable. I have also pledged to be financially organized for that is empowering. The https://tax.hrblock.in/diy/?utm_source=aff1060&utm_medium=email&utm_term=&utm_content=&utm_campaign=2#/layout/income/salary is hugely helpful.

Please include the line, “I’m taking the #TaxPledge to file IT returns with the easy Income Tax efiling option from H&R Block at BlogAdda.

The Jhulelal Temple

Lal meri, pat rakhiyo bhana jhulelaalan

Is one of my favourite songs, and when I did ask someone they told me it was a Sufi song. Religious scholars always said Jhulelal was Krishna; their justification was Jhulelal was the son of MataDevki.

My own learning from the various articles published by the Sindhology study group said that the Hindu Sindhi’s believed he was the incarnation of Varuna the Lord of waters. Now this is really interesting as Varuna is part of the Vedic triad, also Sindhi’s are seafarers.  I am sharing an article from the scroll that has quite adequate information on Jhulelal for us to begin a journey. http://scroll.in/article/801677/jhulelal-or-zinda-pir-of-river-saints-fish-and-flows-of-the-indus

julelala (2)
prayer at the temple

When In Jamnagar, I saw for the first time a shrine dedicated to Jhulelal, there was the slogan written in Guajarati and Urdu. It was interesting to observe, that the older wall paintings, were of Jhulelal, who looked like a Persian Guru Nanak, and a picture of MataDevki like a river goddess. But there were also newer pictures of calendar art version of Lakshmi and Krishna.

The ritual in the shrine was also very different from the Brahmanical ones, there was incense laden dhoop and low nasal Sufi like chants it was soothing.

What interested me the iconography and the slogan Jeko chawundo Jhule Lal Tehnija Theenda Bera Paar (جيڪو چوندو جهولي لال ، تَنهن جا ٿيندا ٻيڙا پار)’ meaning whoever says Jhule Lal his/her ship will reach the shores

The fish, the lotus, the wisdom represented by an old man, the fish the symbol of plenty and nourishment coming from the sea, the lotus the symbol of abundance that floats on water, Sindhi the travellers, the craftsmen, the tradesmen who sailed the waters of Sindhu. Please note this is what the iconography told me, I have not yet researched this, but crossing the seas safely to reach the shores is the practical need of every sailor, though we can give it metaphysical intonation.

julelala (1)

Someday I guess I shall find answers to these questions and newer questions will arise.

http://www.sindhology.org/ for those who are interested in knowing more.

Tad Taxing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5dJVvimajA

It’s that time of the year when taxes have to paid. Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success.

The air around paying taxes is like paying extortion money actually for quite a while I called it legitimate extortion.  I believed that the government like a highway man, says to a man, “Your money or your life…” the government does not indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the road side and holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets, but the rubbery is none the less a robbery on that account and it is far more dastardly and shameful. The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim on your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefits. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber.. furthermore having taken your money, he leaves you as you wish him to do. He does not persist on following you on the road, against your will, assuming to be your rightful sovereign on account of the protection he affords you.

Most of us either evade, or don’t bother paying, and if we do bother paying we don’t really take onus of where it is spent.

Since I belong to form 16A category I shall not do the indignant act.

Lets give this a thought why do we pay taxes?

Very simplistically put the money we [pay as taxes  goes into paying salaries of government workers, it helps to support common resources such as the police and fire-fighters. Tax money helps to ensures that our roads are safe and well-maintained. The taxes fund public libraries and parks. Education is also funded by these taxes.

The way pay taxes

  • For those who receive a pay check tax is deducted at source. This is known as TDS…I know its tedious.
  • When we buy things we pay sales taxes which are a percentage of the cost of the item charged by the store.
  • When we own property we pay property taxes.

Paying of taxes is a civic duty, and the Indian Revenue System or the Income Tax department can penalize a person for not doing so.

Taxes have been part of the society for time immemorial. Currently taxation in India occurs under these circumstances,

  • Salaries,
  • House properties
  • Professional
  • Capital gains
  • Other sources.

For me to understand the basic things like why taxes? How much am I taxed and why am I taxed for the politician’s gains? These are queries probably most of us deal with.

If we could pay our taxes at our panchayat, ensuring that 75% is retained for the development of the panchayat, people may pay their taxes more diligently, without trying to evade, after all it would mean, I am paying for my locality to have better facilities and the money does not go to create endless double roads with no restrooms or pedestrian consideration, nor will it go to some ladli Lakshmi who drives to her12th grade class on a Activa….

For god’s sake even tax payers have rights.

 

I’m taking the #TaxPledge to file IT returns with the easy Income Tax efiling option from H&R Block at BlogAdda.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5dJVvimajA

Salute the Slytherin.

snakeOn World Snake Day…

“Slytherin!” shouted the sorting hat. The boy was not happy to be joining the table, of silver serpents though it could his stepping glory to being invincible. —JKRowlings Harry Potter series.

Snakes, are mysterious, terrifying, ambassadors of vice, propagators of victory they are beautiful and scary and an important link in biodiversity.

This reptile is honoured on 16th July through The World Snake Day. Though the origin is obscure, given our fascination for snakes it is legit that we give it a day and honour it.

It is celebrated both in the virtual and real world. Snake lovers rejoice in their common fascination. This was launched in 1967 at a Texas snake farm and debuted into the pop culture in 1970 through a song by the famous rock band the Ramones. Its tourist appeal has gradually grown and has become a must stop destination for road trips in this region.

NGO’s involved with snakes, environment, biodiversity capitalize on this dedication to create awareness programs about snakes for the general public. The snake day contributes to the conservation of this misrepresented reptile. Snakes are found everywhere except Antarctica. About 1/4th the world snake population is venomous and they would rather stay away from human contact.

Despite of being glamorized for snake charmers, and as a snake-territory India is home for four venous snake species.

Snakes are part of every mystic cult and religion. Snakes play an important role in the ecosystem by controlling rodents and pests. For a while there was a fad of having an exotic snake as a pet, but this leads to the species becoming endangered or being introduced to a new area by mistake causes an upset in the ecological balance.

The snake day could be a great time to introduce people to dealing with snakes and snake bites. India has four snake parks, the best being the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park at Katraj Pune. Where 22 species of snakes, including Indian Rock Python, King Cobra and Russell’s viper. There are about 150 snakes in the park. The Park conducts awareness programs during Nagpanchami to stop the ill treatment of snakes.

The Parassinikkadavu Snake Park at Kannur is a snake researcher’s paradise and is 2kms off the NH17, this park houses, the spectacled cobra, King Cobra, Krait, Pit Vipers, and Python. The park conducts live show where trained experts play and interact with snake so that various myths about the snakes can be eradicated. It has been proposed to start the snake venom laboratory here, to cater to research.

The Guindy National Park houses the Guindy snake park. It has a collection of snake species such as King Cobra, Pythons and Vipers. It was formerly known as the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.

The Bannerghatta Snake Park 21km away from Bangalore, houses the crocodile park, the Butterfly Park and the Snake park. For those who are not comfortable with snakes the Bannegatta Snake Park also has elephant rides and other adventure activities.snake2

The snake day dedication is about honouring diversity, for diversity is the survival factor for the community itself. A community of hundred million species can survive anything short of global catastrophe, within that hundred million will be thousands, that could survive a global temperature drop of twenty degree – which would be lot more devastating than it sounds. Within that hundred million will be thousands that could survive a global rise of twenty degree. But a community of hundred species or a thousand species has almost no survival value at all.

images courtesy Google Images.

World population Day

world population dayWorld population

The UN has dedicated July 11th as the day to create awareness and combat the population issue. The campaign of the World Population Day every year increases the knowledge and skills of the people worldwide towards their reproductive health and family planning.

The governing council of UN aims to pay attention towards the reproductive health problems of the community, as it is the leading cause of mortality in pregnant  women worldwide.  About 1.8 billion youngsters enter their reproductive years each year and it is necessary to call attention towards the primary part of the reproductive health.

Through this dedication, people are encouraged to take part in the event to know about population issues like importance of family towards the increasing gender equality, maternal and baby health, poverty, human rights, right to health, sexual education, use of contraceptives and safety measures like condoms, reproductive health, adolescent and pregnancy, girl child education child marriage, sexually transmitted infections and many other sexuality related issues, including sexually transmitted diseases.

The world population day is celebrated internationally by organizing variety of activities and events to draw attention to the issues through seminars, discussions, educational competitions, information sessions, debates, press releases etc.

The theme for 2016 is investing in the teenage girls.pounding masala

Teenage girls around the world enormous challenges, many communities or parents consider them ready for marriage and motherhood. Many are forced out school, damaging their future prospects, even those in schools do not really have much information about their health, human rights and reproductive rights, this leaves them vulnerable to illness, injury and exploitation. These challenges are more in marginalized girls such as members of the ethnic minorities or those living in poverty or remote areas.

Empowering the Teenage girl would essentially improves the quality of the society.  When a girl receives 7-8 yrs of education, she marries four years later and has fewer children.  Studies in 72 countries show that increase in girl child literacy is directly proportional to the fall In the HIV rates. There is also fall in child marriage rates. Infant mortality reduces when the mother is educated.

Investing the girl child would mean she becomes an economic contributor. Women who have control over their own income tend to have fewer children. Fertility rates are inversely related to the national income growth. Girls and young women having fewer children means a bigger change in the per capita income, higher savings and more rapid growth.


woman violenceThe ten point agenda created by UN to empower girls to end poverty:

  1. Create a global girl index. And score where girls’ best and worst of in the world, this ranking index would depend on the adolescent fertility, percentage of girls married before 15-18 HIV/AIDS prevalence, education completion rates and labour participation.
  2. Count girls, by registering every birth the likelihood of exploitation of the girl child reduces.
  3. Track and report annually on the progress of adolescent girls – what level and kinds of investments are being and is it having an impact.
  4. Incremental funding especially for adolescent girls, — particularly how private foundations can address the needs of girls.
  5. Invest girls education so that they can be prepared for formal sector jobs
  6. Fight HIV/AIDS implement strategies target to adolescent girls to prevent HIV, create girl specific funds within the global fund to fight aids, tuberculosis and malaria to build capacity of countries to implement a girl specific strategy and place gender and girl experts in country.
  7. Sexual and reproductive health services and information design and fund reproductive and sexual health services for adolescent girls that are accessible, comprehensive, confidential and non-judgemental. Ensure services and materials provide information in local language and target at-risk specific strategy to lower rates of adolescent maternal mortality and related conditions such as fistula.
  8. Economic empowerment develop internships, training opportunities and lessons in financial literacy to ease girls transition from school to work, provide incentives to companies that implement these programs, develop codes of conduct that encourage training employment and empowerments of young women in the workplace, support smaller business partners to undertake cost benefit analyses of employing young women in on=traditional jobs.
  9. Leverage your sphere of influence to deliver count gilrs and invest in girls, engage partners, write and speak about girls, convince the private sector to develop training programs, support transitions, from school to work and develop policies against discrimination, press, governments to adopt policies that prepare and protect girls and pass and enforce laws addressing violence, discrimination, education, identification, health etc.woman power
  10. Engage young people directly, engage youth in advocating on behalf of girls, engage girls in educating leaders about their lives in pressing for appropriate laws and policies and designing services and outreach.

Having shared this, as my commitment to advocacy, I am not actively participating in this campaign since i do not really agree with a lot of the agenda. The indigenous and ethnic parameters are absolutely not taken into account. When it is then the statistics change.

 

A Xocolatl-Ode

chocolate 1
The chocolate country

There are some days, that deserve to be drowned at birth and everyone sent back to bed with a hot brandy a box of chocolates and warm energetic companion, today is definitely one of those days, for today is the International chocolate day, an observance that occurs globally every year. Celebration includes consumption of chocolate; it is believed that this year marks the 466th year since chocolate was introduced to Europe.

Lets face it, all that one needs is love, of course a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt, or to be precise goes a long way.

chocolate 2
food of Gods

Sometime back, I was at Starbucks, awaiting a friend, I was enjoying a chocolately cafe mocha, when I remembered reading somewhere, that to drink a mocha is to gulp down the entire history of the New World, from the Spanish exploration of Aztec Cacao, and the Dutch invention of the chemical process for making cocoa on down to the capitalist empire of Hershey, and the lifestyle marketing of Starbucks, the modern mocha is a bittersweet concoction of imperialism, genocide, invention and consumerism served with whipped cream on top.

There was a time when good behaviour or eating your breakfast on time followed with a bribe of chocolate, but today, breakfast is chocolate, we could begin the day with chocolate and end it with hot chocolate. A social scientist conducted an experiment where he showed a picture of chocolate cake with chocolate cake written on it, and asked the viewers to immediate word association. Majority of Americans came up with guilt, while Frenchmen came up with celebration.

The official name of chocolate is Theobroma cacao and Theobroma actually means food for the Gods. This flowering plant from the mallow family Malvaceae contains roughly 20 species of small understory trees native to the rain forests of central and south America.

chocolate 4
Quetzalcoatl- the wisdom God who gave the world chocolate

The history of chocolate begins in Mesoamerica, where fermented beverages made from chocolate existed right back in 1900 B.C..  The Mayans began harvesting chocolate in 900AD. The word chocolate comes from the Mayan word Xocolatl which translates to bitter water, which a was liquid made from cocoa beans, chilli pepper and water, the Mayans did not use sugar as there was no sugar in central America. This liquid was poured from one cup to the other  until a frothy foam appeared on the top.

these seeds were believed to be the gift of Quetzalcoatl the God of wisdom and the seeds were considered so valuable they were used as currency.

The exchange rate was

4 beans= 1 pumpkin.

10 beans = a rabbit, it could also get you a lady to stay overnight.

The xocolatl pronounced as show-co-la-til is made by removing the cocoa beans from the pod, fermenting it, and drying it. This is then roasted on a griddle until done, it then shelled and the seeds are ground to a fine paste. The paste is mixed with water, chilli peppers and cornmeal the resulting concoction is poured back and forth until frothy foam develops on top. This is then served in finely decorated earthen ware.

Xocolatl was the frothy drink of its day, like coffee today, and it would available all over the place, it was popular because of its healing properties. Cacao has great nutritional value, a lot of protein which strengthens a person and without sugar it is not fattening.

chocolate 3
xocolatl

When the Aztecs conquered the Mayans the Mayans had to pay tribute to the Aztecs with cocoa so that they would always have the cocoa, cocoa soon became the force of the Aztec economy.

Chocolates symbolizes as does no other food luxury, comfort, sensuality gratification and love.

How chocolates help the tough going https://parwatisingari.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/serio-non-serius/

Here is my favourite chocolate dish — https://parwatisingari.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/theobroma/

Here is a favourite movie of mine that revolves round chocolate https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolat_(2000_film)