Thursday, 30 May 2013

Wish someone took care of those warning signs timely...!!

Those warning signs were popping their head since long. But nobody took them seriously. Most of the times it was brushed aside by terming it as ‘ladakpan ka josh’!
No one actually remembers when it all started…or maybe it was there since his birth. He was quite young when he hit his sister just because she refused to take his orders. ‘How can she say No to me…I am her brother…she is just a girl!’ a voice inside him thundered. His family members also took his side and punished that girl for bothering her brother. This first warning sign went unnoticed and in a way this incident established his superiority of male gender in his mind.
 As he grew up, complaints came from neighborhood families about his harassing vulgar behavior and obscene gestures towards their daughters. His family members fought with the neighbors defending him. ‘How can they blame our apple of the eye….those girls must be loose in character’, his father shouted. His mother and grandmother confirmed that those girls are a disgrace to society as they wear jeans occasionally. ‘Boys will be boys ..Right’!! Again this warning sign was also never taken care of.
He always witnessed his mother getting beaten up by his father on petty issues. But, no one in his family ever interfered. He grew up learning that women folk need to be taken control of, and if required violence is necessary to make them toe the line.
After few years, he saw a girl whom he proposed after stalking & passing crude comments. He felt he was in love with her. But surprisingly, she seemed not interested in him. ‘How can she say No to me…I am obliging her by showering my love on her…she is just a girl!’ his mind ranted. She needs to learn a lesson. He abducted her with the help of few friends and raped her. ‘Now she would know what a MAN I am’. The girl’s father complained to the local Panchayat. The Panchayat and other villagers were astonished by the shamelessness of that father. ‘He is making a public farce of his daughter’s rape….ladki ki izzat to gayi!!’ the Sarpanch (head of Panchayat) commented. Anyway, they have to take a decision. So, they ordered that girl to get married to that boy (her rapist). ‘She is already impure now...Who would marry her…at least this boy is decent enough to forgive her for complaining against him and marry her!’ Another big warning sign was twisted to act in his favor.
His married life was similar to that of thousands other couples of this country where domestic violence and tolerating it was a part of fulfilling their marriage vows. He even hit his wife the day after their daughter was born. ‘She deserves to be punished because of her faulty womb which produces a girl’. All the family members’ supported him in his barbaric act. By now, his fire of confidence has been fueled enough as he came out of all these incidents unscarred nonchalantly.
Then one winter night, while driving back from his work on the chartered bus, he saw another girl walking with her friend and seeking public transport. ‘Ohh these city girls, how can they walk at this hour of the day out in streets’, He thought while hatching a heinous crime in his mind. ‘She seems to be asking for it….She needs to be taught a lesson!!’  He did not bat an eyelid to commit the odious felony with his bunch of friends by violating that girl’s physical as well as psychological space. The aftermath of this incident was astonishing …at least to the rapists. Whole country came out in the streets to protest against the barbaric act they committed that night. They demanded for his death sentence. He was confused….. 'I never did anything unusual this time, I am the same person who treated female clan in this way throughout my life…then what is new today? Why are they overreacting?’ He pondered behind the prison bars.
Do we still need the moral of this story? This story is though fictitious with strong resemblance to many individuals of our country who are brought up and conditioned to treat the women in this manner. They are a product of rotten mindset which still prays for male child to be born in their family, who still treat female members of family as the B-grade citizen. The moral of the story strongly conveys the fact that ignoring or feigning unawareness to these kinds of warning signs gives birth to socio-psychological criminals who can rob the humanity of its robe.

Ignoring any warning  signs can lead to worse problems

This post is my entry for Indiblogger contest in association with My Healthy Speak Blog

Friday, 17 May 2013

If it has been there those days...!!!

Dadu! You again landed up with a fracture! shriek almost gave another heart attack to the cardiac patients admitted in the adjacent Cardiology ward. I was standing near the hospital bed where my grandfather was lying with a Plaster cast across his right foot.
Oh! These hospital people were missing me…so I had to visit them’ Dadu replied nonchalantly.
So, what’s the current count now? 18 or 19? The sarcasm in my voice was evident.
'This is my 19th fracture, but this is a minor one, only a hair-line crack on my toe' I would not have believed him if I had not known his case-history. He was suffering from acute osteoporosis. Thus, even a small knock or twist resulted fracture of his brittle bones. This deficiency developed in later part of his life and even multiple shots of external calcium supplement didn’t helped to improve the calcium count of his bones. He first broke his bone in the year 1967 when he was still working with Defence Accounts Department of Central Government. That accident changed his whole life. He fell down in a slippery part of his bathroom and broke his left femur bone. Those days, in a small town like Allahabad the medical amenities were too rickety. The government hospitals expressed their inability to procure an orthopedic within stipulated number of days so Dadu has to rush to a private nursing home which claimed of providing orthopedic help to the distressed patients.
That femur fracture required a surgery. However, that hospital very neatly botched up the whole procedure. His bone was wrongly assembled which resulted in shortening of his left foot by 1.5 inches. Yeah…he was never able to walk straight after that! They did couple of rectifying surgeries after this mess but it was futile. Not only that he was crippled for lifetime but few of the nerves of his leg also got affected. Thus the blood supply to that particular limb was also weakened. Not only the hospital messed up the surgical part but they also failed to provide a decent post-surgery support. While his stay in hospital, his family members noticed a small boil on his left ankle. It was brought into the visiting doctor’s notice but they never paid much heed to it. That boil remained there for few months and after that opened up as a wound. However, this was not a simple wound. It refused to get heeled because of lack of blood supply to that part. So, Dadu has to carry that wound on his body which sometimes reduced in size but never heeled completely for rest of his life except once, i.e. next thirty five years!
The only time the wound was completely cured by the help of a bit advanced technology, i.e. skin grafting. A sample of skin was pitched from his thigh muscles (donor area) and placed on the open wound part of his ankle. This procedure was done in early nineties when modern & advanced healthcare facilities have started knocking the door of common man of India.
Modern Day Healthcare has indeed arrived as a boon to the mankind. The advanced medicines & vaccinations, diagnostic tests with the aid of superior machines, Hi-tech surgeries, all these factors has elevated the chances of human race to live a aware, healthy and fit life. Today, whenever I come across any news, article, post about the modern healthcare amenities like this, my heart squirms in pain and helplessness for my grandfather who fought an unyielding battle for three and a half decades. I wish if the present day healthcare infrastructure would have been there to aid him to recoup from a bungled up fracture treatment, the precious thirty five years of his life would have been so different. 

This post is my entry for Indiblogger contest in association with Apollo Hospitals Cutting Edge Medical Care

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Mishti Unplugged - 23 months!!

Fortunately Mishti's fascination with books is still intact and recently she has discovered the fun of scribbling around with pen, pencil, chalk whichever comes handy. Initially I had a hard time explaining her that she is not supposed to write on walls, furniture, bed sheets and all over her body. But, she understood somehow and stopped her drawings on anything other than paper. But, you see the tricky part is not over. She would keep scribbling on books ( mine & her), news paper, any random letter apart from her designated drawing book. 
 I tried explaining her with lots of random reasons to prevent her from doodling on books. I am not sure what actually worked but she has now limited this activity.

One morning she came to me with the book I was reading that time ( Those Pricey Thakur Girls by Anuja Chauhan). I had won this copy in a facebook contest organized by the publishers. She was shouting while rolling her eyes ' Mamma, Kaano Kaano ( she wanted to say 'keno' which means 'why' in Bengali)'. 
I was surprised but then a big smile flashed on my face when I deciphered the reason. Mishti was showing me the first page where the author has given her autograph ( It was an autographed copy sent to the winners of that contest) and was questioning me assuming I had scribbled on that book!!

See, my mother has already found her replica who can assume her authority in her absence!!

We got her hair shaved for the first time a month back. So, whenever anybody mentions her about her hair, she would promptly reply 'Aannkal', 'Zzzuuuuzzuuuu', 'Toffee', 'Thangtu'!!!

This is actually her shortened version of the whole hair cutting procedure. If you are still not able to make it then let me explain. An Uncle( Aannkal) cut her hair with a machine which made sound -Zzzuuuuzzuuuu. After that she was given 'toffee' by him and she said a sweet Thank You ( Thangtu)!! Now you get it!!

She tries her best to recite many nursery rhymes but we are able to make out only a word or so. 'Tinkle Tinkle lili starrrr (Twinkle-Twinkle)', ' Baba Bashir ( Baa Baa Black Sheep)' and 'Hunty Dunty ( Humpty-Dumpty)' are the few which we are able to make out a bit but there are lot many which she performs with full action but alas we are not able make anything out of them. So, the best option is applaud loudly after her every pause!! Also, very funnily, she says 'Theek hai - Okay - Bye' after she finishes reciting any rhyme!!


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Maa ...and few realizations!

‘I am writing a Tribute to Mom in association with

I had always been the pain in the neck for my Maa (mother) in my own ways. It started while she was heavily pregnant with me and I created ruckus inside her womb from 8th month only. She had to brave the labor pain for almost four days before giving birth to her first born - that’s me. Yes…you read it correct, FOUR days in severe pain!! Even after my birth I had to send to neo-natal care immediately as my head was bloated with water and most of the people who were eagerly waiting outside the labor-room thought me to be a still-born baby. I heard my birth story almost billion times from all my family members but somehow was never able to relate with the anxiety and tension surrounded with the whole anecdote. I actually enjoyed being the central character who managed to captivate everyone’s attention. But, it seems that destiny has its own plan and timing for teaching us the lessons of life.
When I underwent labor pain which fortunately lasted for only 3 hours, I shuddered at the mere thought that how must have my Maa had tolerated this acute pain for 96 long hours! My daughter had to be admitted NICU (Nursery-ICU) for 24 hours just after her birth because of the excessive bilirubin count (jaundice). I cried and stayed awake for the whole night. Needless to mention here that how I felt like an ungrateful slime ball who never appreciated her mother.
I had been selfish enough throughout the first twenty-five years of my life when I really took her for granted. I rarely cherished her mundane errands which kept her busy the whole day. I understood their significance when I lived alone in another city for my job. The realization part amplified once I got married and had to handle a household of my own. All those chores which she took care and I thought them as automated ones danced like devil in front of my eyes. I wished secretly so many times to hop into time machine and go back to those days when I didn’t acknowledge her efforts.
Last year when I suffered from a type of temporary Anosmia ( a medical state when you lose the smelling sense) and felt like a handicap person by losing one of the important senses  of my life. I felt so incomplete. Then I realized how difficult it was for her to deal with her hearing problem for so long. She is hearing impaired from one ear since her teenage days. But, she had been all ears for her kids to that extent that I was not even aware of her hearing problem for the first decade of my life.
None of her physical shortcomings created hurdle for her as she learned to deal with outside chores with same zeal as she participated in household work. Now, she takes care of the entire bank, post office related jobs, various bill payments and even filing income tax return. She keeps herself updated with the national & international news by her regular dosage of news paper and TV channels.
Today, life comes to a full circle when my toddler sways her hand and says ‘No’ to her Tiffin while munches happily whatever is there in her daycare friend’s lunch box. I can understand how she had felt when I compared my lunch box with my school mates’ box many times. I had been rude to her, acted so difficult sometimes and now I know that I might have to face the same music few years down the line.
Thus, I am taking this opportunity to say ‘Thank You Maa’ for all what you have given, all what you have restricted, for whatever you have taught, whatever you have instilled in my mind to make me the person what I am today. I now can comprehend what you used to say ‘'having a kid is like letting a part of yourself roam outside your body'’!

Two person in this world who made me understand the real meaning of Motherhood 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Sweet Dreams


Sukanto Ghosh** still remembers those days when he braved the scorching sun while balancing big bags of ready-made garments & Bengali Taant saree on his Vespa scooter. Even after visiting almost 8-10 houses of his acquaintances, barely one or two items were sold and sometimes that too on credit.
"Dada…This Saree is so lovely, I want to wear it on Durgasthami…but errr…you can understand this is pre-Durga Puja month…I would pay the money next month!" But it is a Pre-Durga Puja month for his family as well, Sukanto screamed in his mind. He also needs the additional money to cover the festive expenses which comes as the meager profit of his garment business apart from his limited salary whose major chunk vanishes to pay off the EMI of his Government flat.
I had known him since long as my friend’s father but became familiar with him only after my marriage. However, soon I realized that there is more to his visibly ordinary persona clad in equally ordinary Kurta-pajama most of the times. During last seven years, I have always seen him devoted or in better words submerged neck deep in his work only. Today, his work – his business- his passion has helped him to upgrade his financial strata to the prosperous class of society. But, it had never been like this always. He had seen adverse days of his life. Those days…. which forced him to dream big. He knows how it feels to strangle one’s desires just because the monetary part is not supportive enough. He can never forget the struggle which he and his wife faced to provide a decent upbringing to their kids.
Other than the garment business, he also started creating wall decors made of plaster of Paris. He sold them to cover up the loss incurred in his garment business. But, that also turned out to be a flop show. His wife constantly stood beside him in his struggle. She tried to augment the family income with her singing shows in AIR. Both the partners left no stones unturned to bring that additional money to their family which can afford them the small luxuries of life. He slogged himself in extra shifts in his Telephone set manufacturer company and somehow managed to run those additional small- time side businesses for years.
Sukanto conceived this idea of establishing a food joint/sweet shop in those days when neither his means nor his financial condition actually backed up the plan. It was there as a passionate dream lying in some corner of his mind. He felt too shy to discuss it with anyone else in case they mock him.
While boarding his office bus one day, he noticed that vacant house standing in the corner of the row. After observing for many more days, he knew that this is the place where he can actually shape up his dream venture. But, suddenly he realized that with his depleted savings and pending financial responsibilities, it is idiotic to even think of buying that property.However, he still enquired about the owner of that property. Months passed by but he had no clue how he can initiate his first step towards his dream. Apart from running on the daily grind of life countless thoughts remained clouded in his mind.
"From where can I accumulate the preliminary capital amount to launch this business? I don’t have any ancestral property to sell off! If I start this venture, I have to devote all my time in it…..then what would happen to my job? If I leave my job and this project also follows the fate of the previous businesses, then how can I come out of that failure? I have already completed five decades of my life…in late fifties, isn’t it too late to launch any new business."
Apprehensions, inhibitions, uncertainty flooded his mind all the time. But, more he thought about it, more he was able to relate with his own passion to launch the assignment. He spilled the beans to his wife who heard him patiently. Like always, she promised her support and asked him to keep faith in Almighty. But, even God helps those who helps themselves…Sukanto thought in his mind.
By the beginning of this 21st century, when technology boom engulfed the telecom sector with the launch of mobile phones, he knew that his employers would not be able to keep pace with the changing demand of the market with their redundant thought process and reluctance to lay their hands on manufacturing of mobile phone handsets. Sukanto was able to visualize the downfall of his company.  "This is the time’… his heart yelled…either now or NEVER!" He applied for VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme) in a jiffy. After days of vexing trysts with various valuators ( who evaluated  his present house as well as that property which he wanted to buy), random government officials he somehow managed to sell-off his own house and buy that particular property which topped in his wish list.
Now, the actual field research part boggled his mind. Those who were already established in this business were not ready to divulge any trade secrets with him. "I have to rely on my observing capacity & hunch feeling only…nobody is helping me with any information" Sukanto told his wife. His wife suggested that opening a Sweet shop specializing in Bengali Sweets in this city of North India might act as the USP of their business. Soon, he was able to track down some karigars specialized in making sweets…Bengali sweets.
Within a month he sent out invitation of the launch of his ‘Ghosh Sweets’ to all his relatives, neighbors, friends, critics, enemies. Unsolicited crticism started pouring in to his household.
"Have you lost your mind!...Starting a business at this age(late fifties)!You should have invested the retirement amount appropriately in some mutual funds. The interest amount would have been sufficient for your family.Have you ever thought how you would repay the loan you have taken for your elder son’s studies in case this shop falls flat on its face!!Bengali’s are not shrewd enough to earn profit from a business!!"

I saw him in the inauguration ceremony of his shop.With a serene smile he welcomed all and it seemed that he had determined to thrust the negativity back with his optimistic approach to the life. He was well aware of the huge risk he has taken which has almost bargained his family’s future.But, he was dogged to prove everyone wrong. His wife took over the administration, supervision and quality control part of the shop while he ventured out in the market to acquire raw materials and bulk orders.Almost single-handedly as a unit, both of them worked to establish and join the bits and pieces of their dream which now does not seem as impractical as it appeared few years back.
Now, almost a decade has passed since the establishment was launched. He toiled day & night to develop his business.Being the cynosure of everyone’s eye his successful business now boasts of his relentless hard work. Sukanto Ghosh – my Father-in-law live to the fact that ‘Your dreams come true only when you act to turn them into realities!'

I wish to get my story published in Chicken Soup for the Indian Entrepreneurs Soul in association with

**Name has been changed for privacy reasons