Saturday, December 29, 2012

Amanat - A treasure really?

For the past few days I have been reading about Amanat, the Indian girl who was raped brutally and left to die in the streets of Delhi. The people of India gave the government a wake up call this time. Protestors marched the streets of the country and forced the government to sit up and take notice. Last night Amanat breathed her last. She had been battered to the point of death, this was bound to happen.

For days we have been debating this in our household... what can be done to stop this crime. We talked about capital punishment, castration and public humiliation. Nothing seems sufficient. Rape is not the only henious crime either, in general law enforcement in India has become a standing joke!

Protestors crowded the streets of Delhi. Many expressed their anger and anguish yet I have not seen the names or pictures of the perpetrators. Are we protecting their identity? The government promised swift action and the country will move on like we always have. Yet there have been so many other rape incidents in the news this past week. What about the 14 yr old in Ahmedabad or the 18 yr old in Patiala both of whom attempted suicide. The latter died.

I think back to the days I roamed the streets of Bangalore. My friends would laugh at my paranoia, but I never felt safe in the streets. Every time I worked late and returned home at night, the company bus would drop us off at a street corner a mile away from home. We would have to walk across a little hamlet to get home. I always checked who else was working late before I made a decision to work late. I always made sure I had company returning home alone at night. That is the true state of the country. My independence was never complete. Today I sit in another part of the world and worry about my kids getting home safely but thats a story for another day!

A few years back I visited India and travelled to many citites on a sight seeing vacation. I travelled by train a lot, roamed the streets of Delhi and other popular cities. I went devoid of jewellery, my eyes constantly on the look out for trouble. And I found them lurking around every corner. The guy who keeps staring at your breasts, the other guy who walks too close aiming to brush his body against yours. There was this guy who followed me the length of a railway station looking, staring! I turned to glare and he moved back a few inches. I walked towards the police force guarding the station and the man ran away. I later realised this guy was probably a chain snatcher. My mangal sutra went into the afe at home and stayed there for the rest of my trip. This my friends is the true state of India.

We call her Amanat, the name does not roll so easily from my tongue. For we failed to treasure and protect her. We mourn her death and vow to ensure it was not in vain. But we failed as a nation. So what do we do to make sure this does not happen again? I dont claim to know the solution but I do have a few ideas.

Every Indian, man or woman needs to go sign up for a self defence class. Teach your kids the value of humanity and respect. Teach them to stand strong and fight back, teach them to be brave and yet not foolhardy. Be armed and forewarned. It could be a pepper spray, or a taser but it will prove useful. Vote for the right leaders, we dont need puppets and pupeteers, we dont need corrupt politicians, we need visionaries and true leaders. Clean up the country, it is your responsibility and mine.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weilding a gun! Your right or another's threat?

It was another Friday at work. Being the week before Christmas I was decorating my cube to make it look festive. I went to check my email and there was nothing festive about what I read. I sat there miles away from the tragedy but a mom nevertheless. I felt my breath leave my lungs and could feel the sadness engulf me. A colleague looked ashen white and another couldn't get herself to eat food. These people had nothing to do with the tragedy, but they had one thing in common with the people in Newtown. They were moms, parents and they knew what the parents in Newtown were going through.

This weekend as I went about my regular activities there was a shadow cast on it. My thoughts kept going to the parents who had to bury their kid. Who had to deal with losing a child and who had to live with it for the rest of their life. If you are a parent, you went through this too. Today my husband and I talked about how to tell this to our children. How do we prepare them for that crazy guy with a gun. For if it can happen in Newton, in Colorado and in Virginia it can happen anywhere! Many parents are thinking the same things today.

Yet there are those that say gun control is not the answer. There are those who claim an armed teacher could have helped. We call ourselves a civilized society yet we argue that we need to bring a gun to a school in order to take out a maniac? There is a reason we have cops and law enforcement. And to me the point is lost if anyone can pick up a gun and defend himself. So when the kids get caught in cross fire it would be justified? Because someone was trying to save them?

I read an article today about how Australia, Scotland and Finland learnt the hard way. After mass massacres they brought in gun control laws.
Yet we stand here after yet another tragedy, not the first one we have seen in the past few years and talk about the right of wielding a gun? I dont have to make any arguments the facts speak for themselves
Fareed Zakaria of CNN posted recently : "From GPS: The sheer number of guns isn’t an isolated statistic. The data shows the U.S. compares badly on fatalities, too. The U.S has three gun homicides per 100,000 people. That’s four times as many as Switzerland, ten times as many as India, 20 times as many as Australia and England. Whatever you think of gun rights and gun control, the numbers don’t flatter America."
To me it is neither these facts, nor the arguments for and against gun control that sway me. It is the fact that ever day my child goes to school, everyday a loved one goes to a movie theater, or goes to a mall to go shopping I will worry. I will worry because terrorism is not from countries foreign to us, but stems from those within us. Every third person in my city holds a gun. Do I need to ask for mental research or that he put that gun away? I choose the latter!

Put it away. Put your kids ahead of everything else. Gun control!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

ToodleDoo from Tootsie Town!

Its never quiet at Tootsie town. Be it preschool or the Christmas wishlist, the Tootsie style gives us some laughs and the much needed relief in our otherwise mundane life. Oh well, there are days when the relief is all the yelling, screaming and drama. But other days like these, is what makes life as a parent worth its while. For kids do say and do the funniest things!

The latest preschool tale we are being told is still about Nafan (oh yeah thats what the little boy is called, and you dare not correct her!! I do hope the boy's parents dont read this blog though, after lovingly naming their boy they now stand corrected?)

So Nafan was asked by Tootsie
"Whats your name Nafan?"
"Nafan! Whats your name Tootsie" he asks
"Cutie Pie" says the little minx. And you dare not try calling her anything else "Me Cutie Pie" she corrects her mom. Hey little pixie I named you remember?

And then there is the Christmas tale. Cheeky has been getting early Christmas gifts by the hour. Because he claims he doesn't believe in Santa. So now all of a sudden he doesn't need to wait till Christmas to open his gifts? Boy this is getting exhausting! Meanwhile a guilt ridden mom tried to do right by Tootsie who seemed innocently unaware. So mommy asked "Tootsie do you know who Santa is"
"Yes" said Tootsie excitedly.
"Do you know he brings gifts to good kids?" asked Mama
"No Mama, Toys!" says Tootsie emphatically
"Yes toys" says the foolish Mom "What do you want for Christmas Honey?"
"Barney" says Tootsie and immediately bursts into tears "Where is Barney??" she cries.
Boy did I not tell you.. I am slipping in my parenting skills. So mom and Cheeky went online and ordered a Barney Plush toy. Cheeky in a moment of magnanimity (is that even a word?)  offered to buy it for his sister as a Christmas gift. Days later the Barney arrived. Cheeky and Dad could not hold the surprise, so here we were in the 2nd week of December and Tootsie had her first Christmas gift. A Barney singing "I Love you". The smile on her face stopped the protest on my lips. Till she declared in about an hour's time. An hour for which Barney sang I love you, non stop and she danced to his tune. An hour later she held him up and said firmly "That's enough! Go Inside the TV". And she insists that Barney go back inside the TV where she can watch him!
Sigh! We had to sell the plush toy up! Marketing and Advertising has things to learn from our family. So now she hugs the plush and watches Barney on TV!

What about Christmas you ask? Well I have my next gift planned and ordered. And hopefully I will be smart enough to hide it this time! The other day when I arrived with Tootsie at school she took me over to the toy kitchen in her classroom and I was thrilled. I lucked out, Tootsie is going to get her heart's desire. I had to share my joy and told her teacher. She assured me that Tootsie would love it for she spent her days at school at the toy kitchen. And whats more she spent her time multi-tasking while her left shoulder held the phone to her ear! I shared this tale with Cheeky and he said "So does she have a Tootsie clinging to her feet too?". Cheeky has not lost his touch!

He is blogging now.. my little baby is all grown up!