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.

The touch

twins1When BlogAdda gave us the prompt on the touch being different I did a story that was with me for a while. But I did ponder over touch.  Touch is one of the five senses the sparsha. That is it is primal communication pathway, a non-verbal communication. Sometimes it can be very reassuring sometimes it can be painful. But it definitely communicates something.

Touching is a normal daily occurrence especially when you are surrounded by people. It is possible because humans are programmed to connect and interact. The hard cling touch could mean anything from fear to hanging on to dear life.

The message from the touch is translated by the body just like it translates a verbal or a visual communication. The context plays an important role in the perception of the communication. I just thought let me list what I can…. hopefully I will get some inputs from the rest of you.bullying

  • A pat on the back – support, approval, showing sympathy, an act of comfort or an expression of sympathy.
  • A hug could be a greeting, an request for intimacy or a gesture that denotes comfort.
  • Gripping of the arm could be fear of external forces, a request to stay put, or a way to acquire security and guidance.
  • Rubbing the arm, could be a signal for more physical closeness, wanting to be warmer, showing sympathy or might request complacency from the receiver.
  • Hitting apart from obvious aggression, and anger it can also express surprise, fear and panic.
  • Squeezing hug is a need for closeness, need for intimacy fear a request for protection and comfort,
  • Pushing could be a playful, or it could be disgust.betty
  • Arm over shoulder could be protectiveness, affection or familiarity.
  • Hand on both shoulders, could be persistence, wanting to convince someone, trying intimidate, and if this accompanied by shaking then it alludes anger.
  • Forehead to forehead express love, affection and a plea for closeness
  • Cheek to cheek also exhibits closeness or a need for it. Sometimes it can be threatening too.
  • Hands on face, affection
  • Rubbing the palm is a way of expressing comfort or to get the attention or even to calm the other down.
  • Clasping the arm on one hand could be asking for support, it could also render support and guidance.
  • Touching the hair is declaring familiarity or a need to be closer.
  • Resting the head on the shoulder, again proclaims familiarity and comfort and wanting to be closer it is also asking for affection.
  • Rubbing the thigh of course is an request intimacy, it can also be a sign of comfort when intimacy already exists.bear hug
  • Holding hands is a plea for closeness, guidance, a need for security, solidification of friendship, a pact, reaching out to connect and sometimes re-assurance.

These are what I could broadly put together, and these are not sacrosanct, the actual interpretation would depend on the person’s experiences, it is also depends on the current state of the relationship. No matter what someone’s motive is knowing what precedes the thought can really help. Touch is also a great clutch for someone who is challenged by verbal communication.

“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey.

At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.”
― Vera NazarianThe Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

images courtesy google images.

Women Journalists of Kashmir.

hijabiWomen Journalists of Kashmir.

Sameer Yasir is a favourite writer of mine, and I like the way he thinks, this time round he shared the emerging women journalists of Kashmir. Here were some things that struck a chord.

Emerging young women of Kashmir, something has changed in the valley, women are opting to be journalist in a turbulent valley. They are talking about, moving beyond talking causalities to look back on devastation, that seem to be call of the Kashmiri women journalists. Though conventionally women are allotted women centric roles, it is an interesting observation that the women have to keep fighting since a dead person is son, brother , husband to someone, and their war is on.

The challenges are unannounced curfews, encounters and killings, Shahana Butt, a reporter since the age of 21 says that Kashmiri women were never bound to gender specific roles.

We take separate washrooms for granted. Yet Greater Kashmir didn’t take women staff because they did not have that facility.

I am ashamed that I do not know but I have to ask, who are half widows?


The author can be reached on Twitter @Adnan__Bhat


Sunset at Dona Paula

Dona Paula,

The iconic destination at Goa.  I prefer going there in the morning when there is no influx of tourists, touts or tiresome stall owners.

dona paula (3)
Odxel View

But my daughter had her college friends over from outside state and of course Dona Paula for the tourist is in the evening.

dona paula (4)
Vasco View

The romantic folklore goes on from a lovelorn Dona Paula who turned to stone waiting for her love to many more. But historically the place is a dedication to Paula Amral Antonio de Souto Major, the daughter of the Portuguese viceroy of Jaffnapatnam in SriLankan. She was married to Dom Antonio Souto Major, which was an affluent family. She was a woman of charity and did a lot for the villagers, when she died on Dec.16th 1682 the villagers renamed the village of Oddavell in her honour.

dona paula (7)
When the Wind meets up with Zuari-Mandovi and the Sea

There is myth of Dona Paula who is entombed in the Cabo Chapel at the Governor’s chapel emerges from the moonlit waves wearing only a pearl necklace, this seem to entice lot of tourists.

dona paula (5)
The iconic Dona Paula

Currently for the domestic tourist, Dona Paula is the place where Ek Dujekeliye, and Singham were shot. In addition to be a part of the Bollywood travel sites of Goa, Dona Paul is a p;lace where migratory Dolphins can be sighted. Dona Paula also offers water sports like boating and water scooter riding.

garabage– gifts from the tourists

Ethical Will-passing on values

legacyLong ago I had written a blog on Ethical will, an ethical will.

An Ethical will (Hebrew: “Zava’ah”) is a document designed to pass ethical values from one generation to the next. Rabbis and Jewish laypeople have continued to write ethical wills during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

I had found the entire concept very intriguing. I cannot find the blog all the same will share what I remember of the concept, I actually did create one I cannot find that either, maybe my values have changed, or my ethics have taken a beating or I have simply lost will. Any way

There could be no better opportunity to share something really beautiful. This is quite similar to a spiritual autobiography or memoirs, but its intent is what sets it apart. Since the purpose of this is to pass on the wisdom and love to the future generation.  It kind of includes family history, cultural and spiritual values, blessings and expression of love, pride, hopes and dreams for children and grandchildren. Since it deals with life-lessons there could be requests for forgiveness, or regrets over decisions,what ever the right thinks is relevant to the person he is handing the legacy to. Since it has very little to do with its heavily regulated cousin the last will and testament, it is called a legacy letter or a spiritual letter.

It is the simplest form to share your values, beliefs, life lessons, love and forgiveness, this is actually a 3,500 legacy though lesser known. Its construction has no rigidity to it. it does not require a lawyer, what makes it interesting is that it puts down what is important to the narrator, the historic legacy, the legacy of learning , family secrets recipes, hidden skeletons what ever.

There are people who write these down as letters to be handed down to their children during the key events of their lives. I remember my father handing me one during my graduation.

If you would like to try your hand at it, a simple way of doing it is take a blank sheet and put down things like

  • Is there a particular success you have that you want to share with your descendents?
  • Any failures and the lesson learnt from it.
  • Any regrets in life.
  • Any tradition or value you want to see is continued in the family.

The indian tradition of Mahalaya asks the names of three generations of family members since the brahmanical culture is patriarchal we are stuck with that lineage while the rest of the genetic contributors are forgotten. It might be a great idea to put in the names of all the eight great grandparents. In this era of dysfunctional society, tracing family lineage has become a profession.

Since the ethical will is inspired by the need to communicate a personal story or a  journey one is free to walk the path. Like when my Aunt Eileen passed away she left a book, with hand indian recipes hand written by my grandmother. When my grandmother passed away we found neat folders of letters my brother and I had written to her,her observations and comments regarding that.  A recipe to create a hydroponic garden.indispire

What I am saying it is okay to include anything, family photographs, recipes, items of clothing, other objects with great personal but not necessarily commercial value. it is also a great place to share the intentions of bequeaths made in the legal will, so that there would be less confusion and bad feelings.

So when you think it is the right time in your life, sit down think of what you would like to pass on to the future generation, this could be an ongoing experiment. Put in your significant moments and just flow.

Night Flight To Arpora

“Where are you from”


“Oh! Lucky you, its so much of fun, I have been to the Night Market.”

I give my sheepish smile; well I can’t let people know that I have never been there.

saturday night market (1)
Tea Vendor

For the past 5yrs we have been planning to go this absolutely to do place on every tourist agenda. The Arpora night market happens every Saturday during the tourist season. And make shift shanties are put around the a lake space. There are make-shift parking slots, with different parking area for taxi’s and private cars. As the place has been spruced up since  our last visit we decided to ask help, can you beat it, we could not find a Konkani speaking Goan for nearly 15mnts through Calungute, the place is infested with Hindi speaking Cowbelters!!

saturday night market (2)

The central Nevus of the market is the eating area which serves all sorts of food, even an apology for vegetarian food.  With the central band playing.

It was quite interesting to see the stalls and the wares they were vending, the handicrafts, and teas of different flavours. Clothes, crystals, the mehendi applier, the metal works.  Books on popular Indian philosophy dominated by Kama sutra. The stalls came in cyclic layout.

saturday night market (3)

The stall owners who are vending their wares strive hard to keep the air of the Rudyard Kipling’s India, with kids in tow, who hand around sleeping in the stall places,  their clothing carefully crafted to recreate the visual of rural India, Sari’s draped in North Indian styles or women clad in traditional Lambani outfits. The stall owners are astute enough to gauge the customer and choose the language to speak in.

saturday night market (5)
Quilts and Bedsheets Rajasthan

The tourist themselves, clad in clothes that reeks of I am tourist to Goa, loud brash Delhi-ites, drunken slobs from Bangalore, a few foreigners here and there, interestingly the metal artifacts and books stalls are dominated by the foreigners like the prayer equipment stalls.

saturday night market (7)
Bollywood Inspired

We spent an hour doing usual things done at Ajmal Khan Road Delhi that bargaining and not buying, neither the handcraft, nor the food, was Goan. It was like entering Sarojini Market in Delhi the only difference being the Russian speaking vendors are not Sardars.

Just a request domestic tourists coming to Goa, Goa is a state, where people live just like in any other state, we are peace loving and like our quiet, can you kindly respect us?

saturday night market (4)
The Russian speaking Rajasthani.


fashion for Plus size and Age

yourstory (1)


The Queen of England has turned ninety.  Can you imagine her getting ready for a ball?

The designer comes, flips open the lap-top, while the queen peers with her, the image consultant in tow,

“Summer wear” X—clothes emerged.

“Formal wear” the catalogue now becomes X-a

“Occasion specific” (x-a)-b

“Age appropriate”{(x-a)-b}-c

And the exact dress emerges, the fashionistas label it Xuberance suddenly you see every size- zero Twiggy Ann modelling it.

What if, the queen were to say, “its summer,” get me Sew-n-Sue from downtown and ask the sew-n-Sue to sew her a chintz spaghetti strapped calf length dress, gets the Jane Marple’s stylish to crop her hair, and walks down to the party with psychedelic floaters, sounds bizarre right? But somewhere, it appears that women over 45 are not reckoned with, if I were a designer that is the precise group I would design for,

But guess what, it is as if the world of Fashion has decided that women over forty need be dressed. Neither the models nor the stores have anything worthwhile. The shop assistants are rude and tend to shame you.

#made of great (12)

It has been a huge challenge, turning fifty, then I suddenly thrust into what everyone calls menopause earlier than my body planned. A change in career, my kids left home. It is like another woman suddenly emerged from the closet

Walk down to the clothes store, the shop assistant smirks, and then guides you to a shelf where the clothes are frumpy, wear a shabby dress and people will remember the dress, be impeccably dressed and people will remember the woman.

Mood Mama

What was really scary I can understand what Rip Van Winkle or Sleeping Beauty felt, you wake into a world, where everything breaks down, that says, oh! At this age this and this age that,  I don’t really see why there should be a point where everyone decides you’re too old, I’m not old, and until I decide I’m too old I’ll never be too old!

There was a time when I laughed at the vanity of women of thirty or forty who used night creams, and whitened their skin with lead, but now I know these salves are not  disguises for old crones who wish to look young, but they are only a mask we wear so that we can at least for a while recognize ourselves.

The art attack look

It’s not easy to grow up into a woman, we are always taught, almost bombarded with ideals of what we should be at every age in our lives, “this is what you should wear at twenty,” “this is what you should act at the age of twenty-five” “this is what you should be doing when you are seventeen.”

Amidst all these voices that bark all these orders and act of these ideals for girls if you notice there is a lack in the voice of assurance. There is no comfort or assurance; I want to be able to say that there are four things admirable for a woman to be at any age! Whether you are forty or forty-four or nineteen it’s wonderful to be elegant, it’s always fashionable to have grace, it’s always glamorous to be brave and it’s always important to own a delectable perfume!! Wearing a beautiful fragrance is style at any age!!

Professional look

Style is knowing who you are and what you want to and not give a damn. I don’t see why I should stop wearing what I like, and reminds me of who I am, just because I turn a certain age. I like coco Chanel simply because she understand, the importance of giving woman comfortable clothes that would flow with her body, a woman is closet to being naked when she is well-dressed.

It is summer, the heat is unbearable, and my wardrobe has nothing for the woman who I am today.  The woman who I am demands clothing that is comfortable, vibrant, and elegant. Something that will help me handles the heat without looking a defeated lost frump

with the hope that there is someone out there who realize that the market of style and fashion for the +somethings in age and size is larger than the market for the Young Twiggy Ann  Let me head to www.shoppersstop.com.

Brands of Shoppers Stop: • Haute Curry • Elliza Donatein • Stop • Life • Kashish • Vettorio Fratini

Exclusive Brands:• Rocky Star Femina Flaunt

Mobile appiOS:https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/shoppers-stop/id1047171444?mt=8

Mobile app Android:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=shoppersstop.shoppersstop&hl=en

In anticipation