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 Big Bully.

#spread the word#TataZicaMarathon,#Impact

The word Bully has diverse meaning like a blustering browbeating person especially someone who is habitually cruel to others particularly some weak. It could also mean a hired ruffian. Interestingly the word began meaning as brother, friend, sweetheart.

Bullying can be a simple one on one to more complexes, with a bully having one or more lieutenants. Bullying at schools, family, workplace, home and neighbourhoods.  This bullying patterns and behaviour depends on whether the most influential male in the bullies’ life would approve of the bullying behaviour or not.

Bullies behave the way they do because

  • They direct their frustrations, hurt, anger and difficulty with environment at home or school on someone who will not hit back.
  • To feel cool or popular, in charge particularly if the person lacks attention from friends, parents or teachers.
  • Sometimes, kids see others getting their way by pushing or intimidating others, they learn that it is the best shot at survival.
  • Bad value systems at home,
  • Watching violent movies tends to arouse the violent streak in people, and they try them out on people who appear smaller or weaker than them.

What is the victimology or what makes a person susceptible to bullying.—bullies tend to pick people who they think they can get away bullying. The ratio of being bullied is one in four in most   countries. Some major triggers seem to be

  • People who appear smaller or weaker.
  • Physical appearance,… too thin, tall, short, fat whatever.
  • Skin colour.
  • People who challenged or have physical variations like defective eyes, style of walking, speech whatever, sometimes it is something as mundane as a name.
  • People who are short tempered are a great catch for bullies, since it is easier set them off.
  • Loners or people who are very shy are often butts of bullying for awkward social experiences are brought up and the person is made to relive it.

Bulling can be Physical, Emotional, or verbal. These days bullying is also cyber.images

By and large the tendency is to brush off bullying as part of growing up, fun, peer bonding etc. but the impact of it can be long drawn. It affects both the predator and the victim.

The victim lands up losing interest in school, they might even suffer physical and mental injuries. Depression, anxiety, anxiety, sleep disorder, turning into loners and generally looses interest in activity there are also incidences where victims have been pushed to committing suicide and this has been labelled as Bullicide.

The kids who bully tend to have violent behaviour as well. Alcohol, drug abuse seems to follow through adolescence and adulthood.  Fights, vandalism dropping out of school, promiscuous behaviour and they are also vulnerable to sexual abuse and sexually transmitted infections.

bullyingMany bullies become abusive towards their spouses and children

the semi-annual event International Stand Up to Bullying day is to take a visible public stance against bullying. This event takes place in schools, workplaces, organization. This happens on the on the last Fridays of November and the Last Friday of February.

This is an event that has been happening since February 2008 students and staff take a stand against Bullying by signing and wearing a special pink pledge shirt.

<p>This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on <a href=”https://www.indiblogger.in”>IndiBlogger</a&gt; for the launch of the <a href=”http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/tata-zica-social-center&#8221; target=”_blank”>#Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors</a>. You can  apply for a <a href=”http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/tata-zica&#8221; target=”_blank”>test drive of the hatchback Zica</a> today.</p>

#Fantstico (7)

No Laughing Matter


#LoveAndLaughter activity.

“I am going to the crown hotel”  my husband said,”This damn thing is a pain to take out” he continued to mutter, and suddenly both of us burst out laughing. The conversation sounds incoherent right.

Well this came from an old conversation where we built a dective story as we watched one of those jasoos serials, we had created a scenario were a jealous wife follows her husband to the crown hotel, dresses up as a waitress and poisons the girlfriend with a rare poison. On the face of it is a mundane story and nothing really funny about it, but everytime someone says crown hotel it brings to that moment of fun that we experienced together without worrying about judgements.

Actually laughter is the physiological response to humor and is combination of two parts, a set of gestures and the production of sound.  When we laugh the brain get us to do both the these activities simultantous. If we dain to laugh heartily then the arm, leg and truck muscles get involved too.

The encyclopedia Britannica describes laughter as rhythmic, vocalized, expiratory involuntary action. It involves 15 facial muscles. Fifteen facial muscles contract and stimulation of the zygomaticus major muscle occurs.  The epiglotiss gets into action, making us gasp as the air intake occurs irregularly. The vibrating vocal cords release sounds that range from giggles to guffaw. The sonic structure of laughter reveals human laughter consists of variations on a basic form that consists of short vowel like notes repeated every 210 milliseconds. Laughter can be ha-ha-ha variety or the ho-ho-ho kind but not a mixture of both. Humans have a dector that respons to laughter by triggering other neural circuits in the brain, this in turn generates more laughter. This makes laughter contagious.

Humour researcher Peter Derks calls laughter response a really quick, automatic type of behaviour, and how quickly our brain recognizes the incongruity that lies at the heart of most humour and attaches an abstract meaning to it determines whether we laugh.

Philosopher John Morreall believes that the first human laughter must been a gesture of shared relief at the passing of danger. Since the relaxation that results from a bout of laughter inhibits the biological fight or flight response laughter may indicate trust in one’s companions. Laughter occurs when people are comfortable with one another when they feel open and free and more the laughter, greater is the bonding in the group. The connect between bonding and laughter could be another reason of laughter being contagious, which is a common desire not be singled out from the group.

Shubha Vilas in book the Stolen Hope which is a part of the Ramayana the game of life series (https://kitabikida.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/ramakatha-and-upakatha-from-game-of-life/)  gives an interesting insight on humour.

Humour during ones own failure is the sign of acceptance

Humor during another’s failure is the sign of arrogance

Humour at ones own pain is tolerance

Humour at another’s pain is insensitivity.

“This post is a part of #LoveAndLaughter activity at BlogAdda in association with Caratlane.”

PS: note I strongly object to the use of the word Better Half, in a marriage both the partners are equal.


image courtesy google

Nobody knows that I…

She didn’t even want to complete the sentence. After all the best way to keep a secret is to keep it even from your own self. But the truth was she was a nonperson, a shadow, a ghost. She was not really sure that she was a whole person ever… she realized it now, and she was not sure where the damage began.

It struck her only when she toying with the mask, she turned round and asked Vittal,

“Do you think you wear a mask?”

“I’m wearing on right now” Vittal smiled softly. “We both are.”

“It’s a sad thought.”

“Yes” he said, “But sometimes I wonder about the alternative. Imagine if we had no secrets, no respite from the truth. What if everything was laid bear the moment we introduced ourselves?

“Secrets and lies, Vittal aren’t they like the cancer of the soul? They eat away what is good and leave and leave only destruction behind.”

“Don’t you when strangers and friends come to call straighten the cushions, kick the books under the bed and put away the laptop that you were pounding on? How many of us want any of us to see us as we really are? Isn’t the mirror hostile enough?”

She looked, at him again; he had the look of a person who was just going to hand in the punch line…

“And when at last you find someone to who whom you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter – they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you for so long.”

She looked at him as he walked away, yes; secrets were of two kinds, one that you want to keep and the other that you dare not let out.   It was transformation time, to dress up, wear the mask and go to the party. Somewhere she took pleasure in her transformations, she looked quiet and consistent, but few knew how many women were trapped in her.

The perfume she realized was first created to keep people from knowing the stench of foul and offensive odors.. Species and bold flavourings were created to keep people from recognizing the taste of putrid and rotting meat.. What about music she wondered what was it created? May be to drown the voices of others, or the voices within ourselves…she didn’t want to know.

She knew she had two lives, one, open seen and known by all who cared to know, full of relative truth and of relative false hood exactly like the lives of her friends and acquaintances, and another life running its course in secret. And through some strange perhaps accidental conjunction of circumstances everything that was essential, of interest and of value to her, everything in which she was sincere and did not deceive herself, everything that made the kernel of her life was hidden from other people.


Nobody knew she had secrets, some guessed that there were spaces, gaps where answers should be, where someone should have sat, where someone used to be. A name that is never uttered, or maybe uttered once and never again…

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.


Doppelganger Week

savia veigas 2
Savia Vegas image courtesy Google.

#Fun #Fantastic.

Last September I was at Mumbai airport, when someone hailed me, I stopped and looked back. A middle aged gentle man walked up to to me and said, ”Hi Savia” this is not the first time. At the Publishing Next conference, a charming lady walks up to me gives me this very I am right or wrong look, and then beams, with the smile of victory, she had a solved a puzzled, ”Hi Savia.”

This happens so very often, that I feel like walking around with a board at every literary meeting that says, ”Not Savia.” Not that I mind being mistaken for Savia, after all she is my alter ego, she is very beautiful both in her appearance and the way she carries herself. I take it as a compliment when someone mistakes me for her. But poor Savia…thankful, I am not that much of a celebrity that people would hail her mistaking her for me. it could be the round face, greying temples and the handloom sarees I don’t know.savia veigas 1

Savia Viegas is a writer, artist and academic living in Carmona Goa. Her novels and exhibitions include Museum Thru Indian Eyes—a photographic exhibition at NCPA sponsored by USEFI held in March 2005. Her debut Novel Tales From The Attic was published in March 2007,in December 2009 her solo exhibition of paintings was held. Her second novel, Let Me Tell You About Quinta was published by Penguin India in 2011. Her illustrated fiction work Abha Nama and Eddi And Diddi was published in November2012. Her second solo show entitled Mementos was exhibited in 2014

savia veigas 3
Image courtesy Google.

Bob Patel started this whole thing of the Doppelganger Week, because his friends told him that he looked like Tom Sellick. You can find more about this on FB’s   Doppelganger Week page.

It starts on the first week of February on a Sunday, and ends on Saturday. Essentially it is a internet meme-game where users change their social networking websites change their profile pictures to celebrities, athletes, historic figure or friends with whom they share appearance traits.

Doppelganger is literally double goer in German., it appears both in fiction and folklore, it is portrayed as paranormal phenomenon, or a look-alike, or a double of a living person. In some traditions meeting your doppelganger is a harbinger of bad luck, in other traditions and stories they recognize your double goer as an evil twin.

I first came across this word in an Agatha Christie novel “At The Bertram’s Hotel” it is part of Miss Marple mystery.  Since then the word has fascinated me, but gave me little scope for use in conversation.

“Your “look-alike” may be the result of one of the various possible futures happening simultaneously!”
― Vishwanath S J

#made of great (12)
with the TataZica 

Though there is only one day, change your profile picture to someone famous who you have been told you look like. After you have done it, update your profile with your twin or switched at birth photo then cut and paste this to your profile status It could be anyone, a celebrity star, athlete, artist, your friend. To share it on the Facebook Doppelganger Week Page it might require approval by Facebook.

<p>This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on <a href=”https://www.indiblogger.in”>IndiBlogger</a&gt; for the launch of the <a href=”http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/tata-zica-social-center&#8221; target=”_blank”>#Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors</a>. You can  apply for a <a href=”http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/tata-zica&#8221; target=”_blank”>test drive of the hatchback Zica</a> today.</p>


Image courtesy Google



It has been a fantasy.. That I had a twin who was my caretaker, friend, philosopher and guide. She was something like super brain and super girl rolled in one.  I would only inspire her, with “My twin go” war cry.

A quiet Saturday evening I am at Carasid, at I sat at my usual corner table. It was my artists date, it was also the time for socializing. Last evening I was immersed in my sketch book like I normally am. On the next table was bunch of young girls, were confident, bubbly bits of conversation that drifted was intelligent nothing to do with movies or make up.

A  bunch of tourists, with their loud manners, terrible English and  obscene Hindi entered, just as decided to wrap up before being drowned by the crowd, I saw a person zooming, for moment I was taken aback, she looked so familiar.

I realized she looked the image I reflected in the mirror, on the days I felt extremely ugly, clumsy and intellectually challenged. In other words she looked me.

Now that was intriguing.

I got on my bike and drove her direction. I lost track of her.

twins 2
Image courtesy Google

Last week end I was back at Carasid, this time I kept a watch for her, and there she was, zipping past, strangely she owned the Harley Davidson a bike I had dreamt of before the doctor banned me. I followed her right to the book store she entered. To ensure I did meet her, I double parked.

She was furious, at being double parked, she tried to spot who did that, and presto she spots me, she was so much like me, I could tell she saw it too. The eyes went from split one of anger to wide open one of astonishment.  She must have wondered how many imposters do I have.

Suddenly it struck to me, all those greetings and polite conversations; they were for her, not me. did every one, do the mistake? Who is the right one, and who is the imposter, it was uncanny.

I do agree in moments of soliloquy I’ve said, this phrase so many times, it has become reassuring mantra instead of actual words: Mytwingo” if I did have a twin we would have been born in the mid sixties when twins were rather rare, a bit of magic involved of course, twins were like, the cousins of unicorns or siblings of elves. I would imagine, tapping my shadow and evoking Chayya like the Indian goddess Sanjana did. We would have telepathy, and she would be the one person in the entire world I would totally be myself with. I would not need to explain my actions to her, I would not need to clarify. I would not doubt, I would not worry.

indispireBut none of that happened, here she was standing right in front of me, and I realize that she is my long lost twin… the impact of that realization came in with a bang, and excruciating pain… in the next few minutes, the paramedics came picked me up that brought me to my senses I had bumped right into a parked Harley-Davidson, owned by a woman who looked remotely like me.

Coming to think of it “Look alikes” may be the result of one of the various possible futures happening simultaneously.

Lighter Moments

#LoveAndLaughter activity…

It was dinner at Dr.Tripati’s place with Dr.Chayya and his wife.

“How are you guys going” Dr.Tripati asked us when it was time for us to leave.

“By bike” replied my husband

“One or two” asked Dr.Tripati

“One” replied my husband. That was when Dr.Tripati entered the conversation, “How are you going doctor” he enquired of me.

“With him’ answered Dr.Tripati on my behalf.

“Do you live close by?” was Mr.Chayya’s question he was mildly curious, now Mr.Chayya has known me for 5years and known my husband for a bit longer,

I was all set to retort, when my husband replied, ”Yes Mr.Chayya, we live close by, actually in the same house.”

“oh! Same house is it”   he repeated suddenly it struck him, he turned to me and said, ””Why”

“we live in the same house.”

‘Oh! Are you related,’

“Yes, Mr.Chayya, legally related… my the order of the court.” corrected my husband. The look on Mr.Chayya’s face was priceless,

This was top of the mind lighter situation.

Though I never realized it, it is rather difficult to remember the lighter moments of our lives. I think that does it, I am going to gift myself a dictionary this year,  so that I can look up fun, I’m not sure I know what it means anymore.

It might also be a great idea to take hands on workshop on expressing our enjoyment, thats when laughter manifests does it not?

On an academic note laughter is not the same as humour. Laughter is a physiological response to humour. Laughter consists of two parts, a set of gestures and the production of sound. When we laugh, the brain pressures us to conduct both those activities simultaneously.  When we laugh heartily changes occur in many parts of our body, in the trunk muscles, in the limbs both upper and lower.

Encyclopaedia Britannica actually describes this a rhythmic, vocalized, expiratory and involuntary actions which in common parlance is called laughter. It involves roughly about 15 facial muscles, like the   Zygomatic Major, and the respiratory system is tackled by the epiglottis, there is regular intake of air that makes us gasp. There are times when tear ducts are activated while the mouth is opening and closing and struggling oxygen intake continues. The face becomes moist and often red.

The intensity of this could vary from sedate giggles to boisterous guffaws.

The existence of this is of course very important for a relationship. Yet it is rather strange that we tend not to bookmark these or dwell on these moments we tend to dwell on moments of pain, disappoint instead. Its more than just pleasurable activity.. When people laugh together they tend to talk and touch more and to make eye contact more frequent.

Maybe it is time to keep a laughter journal, like gratitude journal and note about the things that made us smile, laugh and giggle during the day. After all the uninhibited laughter, the self conscious giggle and the gentle smile they are moments that uplift us.

“This post is a part of #LoveAndLaughter activity at BlogAdda in association with Caratlane.”

Epiphany of a Gypsy.


Sometimes things pop up in the most unexpected way. I like to think that it does appear when the time or rather we are in the right frame to accept that information and convert it to knowledge. When I wrote myself, I kept calling myself a gypsy meandering on a mythical journey in search of the mystic Shambala or utopia. Shambala was more spiritual while Utopias sounds more political.

It popped into my space, it sounded cool and did not conform I liked the feel of it, gypsies were after all nomads, enchanting song, rare beauty and clever tricks. The concept of the wild wanderess ensnared my soul and led me, through an interesting journey where you will find me now. But last evening I saw myself for the first time.

It was as if the universe just had to bang it on to my face. The first part of the message was “my about me,” the entire day the word cartography and cartomancy kept flitting in and out of my mind and sometimes on the tip of my tongue.

It is as if the universe was saying, you meandered for a reason, it is your karma, you didn’t understand it all the while, nor do you understand it right way, you will in the future as of now you just need to recognize, that you are a cartographer.

A cartographer  a person who makes maps. Maps.. Uncharted territory the universe replied. A map does not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning, it forms bridges between here and there between disparate ideas that we did not were previously connected. There are parts of our lives that we don’t understand, in the language of the cartographer these places are called sleeping beauties. They were there within every one.

Like geographic maps, there are life maps too. And neither of the map making is a precise art. People do tend to start with good intentions and then get so carried away with spouting whales, monsters, waves and other twiddle bits of cartographic ornaments, that they often forget to put in the boring mountains and river in at all.

I realized I do see the maps in crypts of the minds, and many times they say something to me. this is not as strange or exotic as it sounds, nor is it something unheard of, before maps the world was limitless. It was the maps that gave it shape and made it seem like territory, something that could be possessed, not just laid waste and plundered. Maps mde places on the edges of the imagination graspable and placable.

When there are no maps,

I go by dark ways, unclean ways. if such a map existed it would be beyond price. Nameless cult would battle in the low places of the earth for such a price. Dreams would starve themselves in endless visions seeking its location.  Like I mentioned before, maps do not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning, it forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we did not know were previously connected … and I was the cartographer.

A labyrinth may be a symbolic journey.. but it is a map we can really walk on, blurring the difference between map and the world. I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think  have ended where I needed to be.

Thanks Universe for driving the realization home


p>This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on <a href=”https://www.indiblogger.in”>IndiBlogger</a&gt; for the launch of the <a href=”http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/tata-zica-social-center&#8221; target=”_blank”>#Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors</a>. You can  apply for a <a href=”http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/tata-zica&#8221; target=”_blank”>test drive of the hatchback Zica</a> today.</p>

#Fantstico (7)