Saturday, 28 March 2020

CORONA CRISIS: A time for analysis

Life was going full on
So high was the speed
that no one had time to
even look at the beautiful dawn!!

The star lit night
and the Moon full bright
                                                 was losing its sheen
before the intoxication of desires
and the conquests of brain and brawn!!

The material rise
and the mirage of size
became the gauge of greatness
and misnomer for divine!!

And see what has come
as the rap on our knuckles?
It has exposed our frailties to light!!

                                          With all our greatness
and with all our might
we have bend on our knees
Before the ‘itsy-bitsy’ CORONA virus
That is not even visible to our sight!

It seems like the time
when Mother Goddess wants
                    to remind us,of our divine treasures 
       and the assets sublime!

The gift of love
in the cache of hearts,
the  hope and happiness
that gives peace
in our minds!
       The knowledge of self
that  is the glue that binds the humanity
into a beautiful world!

And these
 are the immense riches
                                             given to humankind!

Monday, 12 March 2018

‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao par uske pehle beto ko samjhao’(Change your sons' attitude before saving and educating your daughters)

International women’s day, 8th March, is like a cultural festival for women,celebrated world over by women organisations. SWEDWA the branch of AIWC(All India Women’s Conference) celebrated the occasion, this time, in collaboration with its Vasant Gaon chapter named VIBHUTI.
The programme was marked by customary speeches and performances, but the main attraction of the programme was the street play (Nukkad Natak); the artists displaying through performances various forms  of violence/crimes perpetrated against women. The slogan coined by the troupe was worth pondering over ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao par uske pehle beto ko samjhao’.

 Indeed, it seems to be the pertinent  slogan given by  these young, passionate and talented artists of #Sukhman Manch in the present day scenario existing in our country. Despite the efforts and the ambitious schemes for women launched by our government such as; ladli yojna, #beti bachao beti padaho etc there hardly has been  lowering of figures of gruesome cases of rapes, female foeticide, domestic violence  etc.

On this women’s day we need to ponder over the reason for this situation.
And, it was rightly pointed out that it was high time to change the psyche of people to bring about the desirable positive change in our attitude towards the fairer sex.
The genesis of all the crime existing against women is the system of patriarchy, and surprisingly  women are found  to perpetuate this practice against another women, more often than men.
A mother begins the distinction between her son and daughter. There are greater incidences of discord between mothers- in-law with their daughters- in-law than with their fathers- in-law, so on and so forth.

Mother is the first teacher of a child. If the mother teaches her child(son and the daughter) through her words and actions to respect a women, the son will grow up a gentleman and the girl with the self -esteem to have her valued for her qualities and not for her riches or being eye candy for the opposite sex . A confident and considerate, woman can bring about the desired change. But, it requires that women learn to  value their femininity  rather than losing their uniqueness by demanding equality with men. Lets feel proud to be a women, a mother who has power to create! 

Thursday, 9 November 2017

PRICE TAGS FOR THE PRICELESS#kaziranga#nationalpark

Almost trapped within our home in Delhi due to high level of air pollution, we are browsing sites for a decent brand of air purifier that can provide us with the breathable air. It is so ridiculous of us humans that whatever gift nature has given us, we tend to value it only when it is tagged with a price which happens after we overuse/misuse such gifts. We did it for land, then the water and now it is the air! Gosh, what kind of advancement we are pursuing?

Here, I miss our recent visit to Kaziranga National Park, on a Gypsy and Elephant safari, enjoying the wildlife in their natural habitat, not to mention breathing in the fresh and cool air.

First, it was a Forest Gypsy safari that led us through the ways from where water had receded after the flashfloods. The flashfloods left many paths inaccessible but because some of the water had receded we managed to get a comfortable view of the habitat of Rhinos for which the place is famous. Kaziranga National Park is a protected area in the northeast Indian state of Assam. Spread across the floodplains of the Brahmaputra River, its forests, wetlands and grasslands are home to tigers, elephants and the world’s largest population of Indian one-horned rhinoceroses.                                                                           
The Rhinos with their babies, Hog Deers, Wild Buffaloes, Wild Pigs in the  verdure grassland was a rare sight for all of us; the tourists mainly from big cities. The long elephant grass covered  the National Park spread around  1000 square kms with mud path trails, probably created by big animals.The Elephants used for the safari tour were trained and in the employment of Forest department, who earned monthly salary and even pension once retired.

 Kaziranga National Park houses a population of 2000 plus Rhinos out of a total of 2400 Rhinos in India.Rhinos, a species variety from the age of Dinosaurs was almost on the verge of extinction, when wife of Lord Curzon visited Kaziranga in 1905 and observed this fact. Her observation initiated the activism for Rhino protection and the efforts put in by Forest officers of Assam brought up the Rhino population to its present  level. Rhinos are the second-biggest living land mammals after the elephants.
During our Gypsy safari we went to different forest posts hanging in the air with the help of pillars, where forest guards were on duty day and night in a bid to protect the animals from poachers.
Rhinoceros are killed by humans for their horns, which are bought and sold 
in the black market fetching great value in the international market. The Rhino horns are used by some cultures for ornamental or traditional medicinal purposes. The horns are made of keratin, the same type of protein that makes up hair and fingernails.

 Rhinos are an umbrella species. This means their survival or demise directly impacts the survival or demise of other species of mammals, birds, insects, fish and plants. They play a big role in their ecosystem.They also enrich the soil and help plants by spreading seed through their dung.

The Indian rhino is a large, sturdy beast possessing an armour-like skin. The Indian rhinoceros has only one horn which is 20 to 60 centimetres long. The skin of the rhino hangs in folds and plates that offer excellent protection against predators, elastic skin between the plates allows the freedom of movement.

Rhinos, unlike Elephants, appeared in solitary spaces except the mother Rhino with her baby for whom she seemed quite protective too.
For humans who are into poaching of these animals may only consider the high price/money they receive in the international market, but every species in the nature has an unique and important role in maintaining the ecological balance.
Our mindless greed is worsening the condition of our planet every passing day.  The extent of its consequence may deteriorate further, and our future generation would never forgive us for that.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


It was almost a wait of 10 long years after which my second book got launched. A strongly felt thought came to life in the form of my novel ‘In The game of love: one step forward two steps back’, published by Vitasta publishing pvt. ltd. Though it seemed  almost like a repetition of the event 10 years back, that was 4th October 2007, when my 1st book titled ‘Everyday Vegetarian Cooking’, a book on food and Nutrition published by Rupa publication, was launched by Smt Sheila Dixit ji the second launch was interestingly different.
The venue was meticulously arranged by my husband Sandeep, my son Tutu and Mr Ramakant Dwivediji :  the three seminar halls combined into one at India International Centre, saw a heated discussion where the panellists namely; Mr Abhigyan Prakash(Senior journalist NDTV), Dr Dhananjay Singh(United Service Institution), Ms Shamina Shafiq(former member NCW), Dr Roshan Khanijo(JNU),and Mr Amit Shanker(Author of bestseller novels) also handling the role of a moderator, discussed the issue raised in the book.
After launching the book, Smt Sheila Dixit(hon’ble former Delhi Chief minister) beautifully explained how our society prays goddesses like Laxmi(for wealth), Saraswati(for brains) and Durga(for power) but when it comes to actual practice women have to bear the burden of societies mal practices.

The speech was followed by a debate which was efficiently moderated by Mr Amit Shanker, a well known author of bestselling novels.
Excerpts from the debate:
Abhigyan Prakash- Women can prove themselves better than men wherever they are given a level playing field. Women have high tolerance power so they can work towards strengthening their position for a longer duration. And, in the current scenario women have already achieved their position in society; hence it is high time we stop harping on poor women theory. So talking about women empowerment is all farce and is no longer needed.

Dr Dhananjay Singh said that women are performing a very important role, but because the role is not considered significant by our society, it is not given any recognition too. A wife should clearly identify with husband’s position and status.

Ms Shamina Shafiq said that what Mr Abhigyan talked about in respect to status of women does not hold true in case of women living in smaller towns/villages and sub urban areas. She also said that women should get reservation in parliament. Just as a spring hurts after bouncing back if held back for long in suppressed position, women too are giving back to society because they were marginalised by our predecessors.
Dr Roshan said that children learn by example, so the parents have a responsibility to teach their children a spirit of respect for each other in family. The responsibility of household work should be shared by all the members of society.
While each member expressed their point of view the debate was shifting towards a seemingly verbal war between the members speaking from opposite sides for two genders, ie a man and a woman. Its really a matter of concern that the two sections of society i.e a man and a woman, who should complement each other for carrying the society forward are fighting a war amongst themselves. Our idea should be collaboration between partners and not conflict. As such a conflict will lead to a catastrophe that will end this civilization.
The aim of story in the book  is to bring out the importance of a family, and the pain a homemaker takes in nurturing it. 
The book’s central issue is the changing role of women in today’s society. A Man and a woman are the two pillars of a family, each important and indispensable in their own unique way, and both having important roles to play. But, while the man’s role has remained fairly clear and constant, it is the woman’s role which has had to bear the upheavals of time. The gender defined roles are getting diffused, but that diffusion is happening only from one side. Women are moving outside their homes to pursue career, but there has been very little change in the role of a male stereotype.
This transition is taking a toll on all educated women, irrespective of the fact whether they are taking up a career outside or working in their homes as homemakers:
a)  The women taking up a career have to bear double burden of work.

There was an article in the telegraph, UK, published in 2015, that how ‘Do it all’ generation of women are suffering from stress epidemic. Apart from the stress at work, they have to bear additional stress because they are still the primary caretaker of children and are responsible for housework. They also have to face the bias at workplaces. The feeling of guilt for not being able to spend enough time with their children also adds to their trouble.
b) But does that mean that the women who take up the home-care responsibilities are better off?

No, it is not the case either. The homemakers are considered less productive by our society, so much so, that the “home-care work”, or calling it differently …the “unpaid care responsibilities”, doesn't even classify as any work. Hence, despite the fact that a homemaker is breaking her back 24x7 to make the living of her family comfortable, she gets no appreciation for her work. The thankless, unpaid, and unappreciated work makes the life of a homemaker lose its purpose, leading them to face an identity crisis that, in turn, leads to depression.
Prominent counsellor and author of “Why Does He Do That?” L. Bancroft, said, “The scars from mental cruelty can be as deep and long-lasting as wounds from punches or slaps but are often not as obvious.” This observation resonates deeply in India, where the mental well-being of individuals, especially women, is hardly discussed. Studies have also shown that women are more prone to depression because of social conditioning that leads to lower self-worth and confidence.

As per one 2014 report, over 20,000 Indian housewives  took their lives. In the same year, 5,650 farmers also committed suicide. But you can guess which statistics made the headlines. Far too many Indian women struggle daily with depression for multiple reasons; yet, it is little discussed.
My protagonist also undergoes the same situation which makes her question her own decision to sacrifice her career for home.
So, it is a real dilemma for today’s women as to which side of the double-edged sword should they walk?

In my opinion, it is high time that all of us, especially men, should understand the importance of the smallest building block of our society, i.e. family, a home. All our pursuits are directed towards embellishing and enriching our homes where our future generation i.e. our children, grow up.

Hope that the after reading the book my readers take a moment to ponder over the pace at which we are trying to accumulate material wealth at the cost of losing our mental peace and happiness of a strong bond in the family.A change is needed in the mindset of people, and a trend should set in to prioritize people over profits.