Fundraising for Rural PreSchool – #FundAhamBhumika

One of the greatest joys I’ve known as a parent is my son returning home from preschool and reciting the rhymes he learnt in that cute voice. Of course, he did this only at times when he thought my attention was elsewhere – he would blush a furious red and clam up with a shy smile every time I looked at him, so I learnt to pretend to ignore him as he sang, just so he wouldn’t stop!

I am sure a lot of parents can relate to this. After all, watching our kids learn and grow is a matter of borrowed pride for most of us!

But what about the children who don’t have the opportunities to learn? Or the ones that lose it because their school ran out of funds? It does not seem right, but that is what may happen to a rural preschool run by Aham Bhumika.

This preschool is in a village called Borda, Kolar Road, Bhopal, India. They have about 40 students, who belong to the underprivileged category. Their parents are daily wage workers, and most are illiterate. The school needs about INR 14000 every month. They are welcoming all contributions from individuals to keep the school running. Any amount is fine to help them continue their good work.

Below are the bank account details of Aham Bhumika if you wish to contribute:
(All donations are tax exempted under Section 80-G of Income Tax of India)

Online bank transfer/cheque payments can be done using following information:

A/c name: Aham Bhumika Swayam Sevi Sanstha
Savings Account No.: 2073101015874
IFSC Code: CNRB0002073
Bank: Canara Bank
Branch: Maharana Pratap Nagar, Bhopal

Also send them an email at ahambhumika@gmail.com with the following information: Your name, Address, Donation amount, PAN Number, and Contact number.

If you wish, you could also buy these amazing hand painted shoes (ranging from INR 999 to INR 1499) or paintings from their website, or make other suitable donations as listed here.

I also request my fellow bloggers to share a post of their own, so that together we can reach more people. Please share the post on social media (use the hashtag #FundAhamBhumika to share. You may use images from their Facebook or Twitter pages in your post). You may also add it to the linky given on this page.

Fund crunch must not be the reason that denies education to these wonderful kids.

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*Images from their blog post.

 

 

The Reader-Reviewer Tussle

Rain and a Book

Image source: monologuedb.com Image source: monologuedb.com

It was in college, when at the end of my tether, that I decided I have strong opinions on books and the world should hear them, whether they liked it or not. There was just one problem – I had not read as many books as I thought I had. Sure, almost definitely more than what my peer group had, but nearly not enough to do what I had in mind – which was this: a new bookstore had opened in the town where my college is located; I decided to get a job there as “an opinion giver” or “an advice giver.” The idea, of course, was to boss people around and tell them what I thought was good for them in terms of literature. Sounded great in my head, except for some minor roadblocks, that included the fact that my lectures concluded at 4 pm, and the hostel…

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Take Back The Memory, by Augustine Sam

Rain and a Book

Take Back The Memory, by Augustine Sam was a book I was supposed to review a long time ago, but msreesha-divakaran-rain-and-book-take-back-memory-augustine-samy laptop crashed, and if you’ve been following my other blog, you know I lost all my files, my WIPs (sob!) and a load of other stuff when that happened. Yeah, sad, I know, but what can you do, it’s irretrievable apparently. Anyway, on with the review.

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Summary: Paige Lyman is a psychiatrist who becomes, you could say, unhinged after her husband’s sudden death. Her daughter insists that she meet a doctor. She reveals to the psychiatrist (a colleague of hers in the medical world) that she grew up in Kenya and was in love with a boy named Bill, who left her to become a priest. She turns vengeful, and seeks revenge by seducing other priests.

What is good about this book is the level of detail –…

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Child Safety In Schools: An Online Event

Some topics are difficult to discuss. When it becomes difficult to talk about it, we meaninglessly shout about it. There are debates of right and wrong, there are sides chosen. But some things should not be so convoluted – there is no debate about right and wrong. It is wrong, it is unjust, period. We have been hearing of too many instances of rape, assault, harassment lately. For every girl who reports it, five others try to silence her stating she was lying or whatever she is claiming is “impossible and impractical.” That it was her own fault. That she was wearing the wrong clothes. I could go on, but here’s the gist: People would go to any lengths to prove a rape survivor (I am using the term “survivor” and not “victim,” as I learned from Robert Uttaro’s book) is lying but will not do shit about what they know is the truth.

But what about children? Are they dressed inappropriately? Are they inviting improper attention? Are they asking for it? Are they to be “taught a lesson for not doing their homework”? How do you dismiss those cases? What words do you use when defending those perverts? How does that lie easy on your conscience?

The worst part of this is how many of such incidents are being reported from schools. Schools! If they do not feel safe there, then we are seriously failing in terms of child safety. Most children don’t even know what is happening to them, but will remain scarred for life. What did a five year old do to deserve it? Again, I could ask you about how you let your conscience rest? If the stats are anything to go by, then 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys get molested. How comfortable are you knowing that at any time there could be a perverted pedophile in your child’s vicinity. I am a parent, and frankly, this terrifies me. I know it terrifies my husband. I know it terrifies each one of you out there who is a parent.

Yet, I don’t feel qualified enough to speak about it, to educate my child about it. It leaves me feeling helpless, knowing the stats yet wondering how do I help prevent it. If any of you feel the same way, perhaps I should inform you of this event on Facebook that might help us. It will be live streamed on the 22nd of Sept and it is being hosted by Happy Parenting.

Like I said in the beginning, some topics are difficult to discuss, but discuss them we must. May this session help all of us.

 

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PS: Just in case you were wondering, this is not a promotional post.

 

Linguistically Biased: Does The Average Indian Hate Indian Regional Languages?

Have you ever been to Europe? Visited any of those countries in that part of the globe? Do you ever plan to? You know what is one of the first things you will do when you plan that trip? Let me tell you – you’ll pick up one of those books with titles like “Everyday French Phrases for The Monsieur in You” or “Don’t be a Fremde – Know your German.” Then you’ll annoy the crap out of your friends, and call them Senor and Senorita just cos Spain, bitchezzzz!

But what happens when you get placed in an IT company in say, Bangalore. After you’re done gushing about that pay package that can buy you your ticket to Europe, your next statement is going to be (and tell me I am lying), “Oh but SOUTH! Such Telugu, much Madraasi.”

Seriously, what now?

Not only that, you come in armed on a high horse that leads you to believe you are better than the rest of them. It just makes me wonder, that there are just so many languages in this country but no one, not a single person thinks any language apart from their own is good enough for anything. Not good enough to say “Show Off.” Why then do you make that titanic effort when you go abroad? Those languages are completely alien and require more time and patience to learn. Yet you do it. Are you worried about offending them by not speaking their language? But when you do it to your own countrymen, you think it’s fine? Isn’t there a flaw in the logic?

The whole country is mixing, more so than before. The borders that divide us are on maps, why are they extending to our minds? Why the double standard when it comes to what a “hot” language is versus what a “weird” language is. What you call weird is someone’s mother tongue. It’s different from yours, but it’s not “weird.” They have words for love and family just like yours does, and you know what else they have a word for? Resentment.

Resentment breeds resentment, discontent breeds discontent. Racism breeds racism. Recently, someone reported an incident where an auto driver in Maharashtra asked a lady to get down because she did not speak Marathi. That attitude does not fix anything, it only makes matters worse, because whatever his reasons, he came out looking like a villain in this scene. But where do you think lies the root of that attitude? To him, it is still his mother tongue, and he may have heard outsiders (not the lady in question necessarily) boasting about how “they never bothered to learn the language”  or he may have heard them crack jokes about how they can’t distinguish between that and other languages. To him, it is a personal insult. Sure, he will keep it bottled up for sometime. And sure, the lady did not deserve to be kicked out. But if you had guests in your house, and they repeatedly talked about how good their house and furniture is while yours is just meh in comparison, you’re gonna be polite only for so long. Then you lash out at whichever guests dare to come, from wherever. Tricky business, guests tarnishing the good name of your hospitality, isn’t it? One bad apple spoils the name of the whole bunch, eh?

You can’t stop the country or the world from growing smaller, from erasing their boundaries. In fact, it is necessary that the people move about and mix – you cannot live in a box. But when you live in a place, you either adapt or leave – hurling abuse is not cool. Just. Not. Cool. You cannot give a stink eye to their restaurants any more than you would want anyone to give a stink eye to your music. You may not be able to learn the language, but a little effort isn’t gonna bite your ass. What if Assam was in Europe? Wouldn’t you learn Assamese? Hell, you’ll serenade your girlfriend with Assamese songs till she goes, “*deep breaths* Talk regional to me!”!

No one is born a racist. Racism is taught. It is not difficult to not teach racism, just keep away the toxicity. Why would anyone want to teach negativity to their kids? Why do Indians take pride in bashing someone because they belong to a different part of the country? Parents taught you the people from the neighbourhood a few blocks down are not worth talking to? Cool. Reject the damn job offer! Or come over and see if you can take your mind out of that iron box it’s trapped in. Whatever. Just quit whining, hello, it isn’t difficult! And above all – respect.

Respect

As Important As The Dance Itself [#FridayLessons]

This week has been – there’s been a loud buzzing in my brain and apart from inspiring a scary story, that incessant buzzing has blocked out everything else. Also why I was a little late in posting my Creative Wednesday post for this week. Also why I didn’t learn anything significant this week except for a teensy thing which I knew any way.

So my creative juices were feeling rather like a rope left to dry in the sun, and I had been struggling to get my thoughts right when the poem The Nostalgia For Happiness struck my mind. It was inspired by a movie poster I had seen. I wanted a nice picture to go with the poem, but I did not want to use the same movie poster. 
Once inspiration strikes, the words battle out whatever bees and buzzes are blocking your head and you can’t rest until you’ve written them down. That’s what I did, and in record time! But the picture was a challenge. I tried all kinds of Image search keywords but despite coming up with the pose I was looking for, none of the images were – umm, what I was looking for. [Excuse me, there’s noise in the head; I can’t think
For some time I could not figure out why I was not satisfied with the many results Google was politely serving me as I rudely hit key after key. Add to that, the fact that the internet was sluggish at the time. When the internet is slow, I become such an unfocused person that I start reading the labels at the back of lotion bottles, or the status lines my contacts have put up on Whatsapp.
Then it hit me.
None of the dancers had expressions. I mean, some looked haughtily at their partners, the others looked like they were dancing with their siblings or cousins! There was neither fire nor love nor despair nor ecstasy in their eyes or faces as there should have been – they were dancing after all!
So the brief lessons I learnt are these:
  1. I take longer to find the perfect picture to add to a blog post than I do writing it!
  2. Buzzing in the head is no reason to not write. Write anyway. Edit/delete later, but you cannot make up for lost time.
  3. I have lost the ability to function without internet – need to fix this immediately!
  4. And most importantly, when you dance, your expression matters as much as (if not more than) the dance itself.
See what I mean. Look at Ralph. Image from favim.com, The English Patient (not the movie that inspired the poem).