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Friday, 30 November 2007

Live-in maid has AIDS

My cousin tells me that her maid has AIDS and I am shocked. ‘So what do you plan to do?’ I ask her and she says that she is in dilemma because she is undecided. It is the question of humanity versus responsibility towards her family Her maid was not well for some time, so she took her to the doctor, who suggested that she take some rest and then told her in confidence that her maid has AIDS. She consulted several of her friends and most of them (including me) advised her to fire the maid immediately. We are afraid that she might cut herself during cooking and may pass on her virus. It is a different thing when we were living alone, but with a responsibility towards family and children, it is difficult to take any risk. That was my first impression. On a second thought, is it right to fire the maid just because she has the disease that we cannot handle? What if she were a close family member instead? Would we toss her into the streets and stone her? Would we burn everything in the house that she touched? And what happens to her? Wouldn’t she squirm from rejection and shame, with fear crippling her psychologically and leading her to an immature death? Choosing to support the maid after termination of her job may be a better option but it may not work very well for everybody, it is only a matter of choice. When we allow social pressures to make our choice than we do it out of guilt, or sacrifice without realizing the cost to ourselves or to our loved ones, eventually it drains us completely; emotionally and physically. On doing a little research and debate, I realized that I am really misinformed about this disease. First of all, there's a distinction between being HIV positive and having full-blown AIDS. By the time it morphs into AIDS, the person may not be well enough to handle that kind of job and might require evaluation then. The most common ways to contract AIDS is through unprotected sex and drug use (sharing needles). Nowadays people with HIV Positive can live for years with good medication and proper healthcare and that can easily extend to 10-20 years before her daily life is compromised. HIV virus isn't transmitted through normal physical touch, kissing, sharing the same toilet or eating from the same plate. It is transferred through blood, through sexual contact, or by sharing needles and breastfeeding. If we fired all HIV Positive people they would die of starvation rather than the virus! In the world we live in, we have an obligation to be educated on the basic facts of HIV, as it is a fact of life. On this day “World AIDS Day’ December 1st, let us be educated and not be afraid of this disease because ignorance emits fears, and fears are contagious. HIV can be avoided if we are careful. It is important to practice safe sex. It is important to make sure of use of a single, disposable needle in doctor’s clinic. It is important to make sure that we don’t have HIV before donating blood. With proper education about its prevention and medications, we can avoid the panic reactions and discrimination and choose a better options to live the life of dignity and happiness. Sincere thanks to the members of ‘Comfortable in my own shell’ to Pallavi Bhattacharya, Shannon Hill, Nina Choudhari, Madhumita Chakraborty, James Smith, Jack Huber and Kathy B. Thank you for sharing your views.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Just some thoughts….Celebrate life!

My mom would always tell me, never destroy your own slum by trying to match it with your neighbor’s chalet…..when we start comparing ourselves with others, we will either feel superior or we will feel inferior, both the feelings have distress as end product. So what is our best bet on keeping ourselves happy? Many times, I meet people who delve in the past. They will keeping boring you to tears, relating their long, curvy episodes of their good/bad times, I think that it is not good to live in the past, nor think too much about the future, it is better to live the present and enjoy each moment as it comes. Past and future, both are just a dream state, just some fantasy islands, where we have no part to play and no control whatsoever, it is a phase where we play scarcity and abundance game and build up a wall of expectations and desires. In the game of scarcity, we compare ourselves with our rich folks and envy their good fortune and wonder why we are not so lucky to enjoy like them, possess as much jewelry, or maybe more than them, envy their children, their wealth, their possessions, where as in the game of abundance, we gloat on our accomplishments and build a huge ego, avoiding our less fortunate friends, always afraid that they might steal our possession. We gather an audience to sympathizes with us, and agree with us. When the audience fades, and then comes a big blow of disappointment, knocking us on our knees to reality and leaving behind the ashes of our bruised ego. It is no use focusing on scarcity and feeling sorry for ourselves, nor is it healthy gloating in abundance. It is better to focus on making the present peaceful, whatever it is, accept it as it is, and celebrate every day of our life.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Are single people really desperate or weirdo’s?

I don’t think so…they are the most envied crowd nowadays…they are envied for their independence and their courage…… It is better to be single than to be in stressful or abusive relationship, the romance of marriage is short lived, it lasts longer in hollywood and bollywood movie clips, but reality is different, we see the cream on the top of the cup, but the course granules are there at the base, if you can stir those granules with minimum of ripples, you need to be extra careful. It is better not to waste time, and worry about finding a mate, if he comes along, fine! you can hold on, or else, there are zillion of things to hang on……Have you seen a baby smile? Have you seen a plant blooming into a delicate flower? the beautiful sea across the world, and if we go deep within us, we see the enchanted world within. Why do we worry if our best friend is getting married? Let her get married, Wish her happiness. Let the whole world be married, it matters not…..but there is a saying that goes like ‘When God created world He created one man for every woman’, so, if you find wrong one, he will break off eventually and you will be still searching for the right one and if you don’t find your soul mate, then he is not married too… may be you will meet him some day…one day….up in the ether world…grin* I think every body has a purpose in life and if we look hard enough, we see the purpose of our own life. We need to introspect. Everybody excel in at least one field, it is good to discover our own talent and work from there. Some people spend too much time feeling sorry for themselves and looking desperately for a spouse.. They are afraid that they might remain single all their lives if the age runs out…but they do not realize that in hurry they might make a wrong choice. Some people keep changing partners, they get married and then divorce and marry again.. What are they getting at? If they were not meant to be married so be it,, It is better to analyze what our real purpose in life is. Maybe there is some one out there who will need us more than a careless spouse. If only they could wait patiently, something good will eventually happen. It always does.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Celebrate Bandra starts with a ......Bang!

One more (third) edition of Celebrate Bandra commenced on November 17th 2007 and the festival was started with much vigor. There were people in thousands, all on the streets, waiting in the hot sun, for the parade to pass. People, young and old, stood on the streets to watch the carnival parade of Bandra-ites that was flagged off from St. Andrew’s school grounds and wound its way to the end of Carter road. It was a visual spectacle with people dressed in most obscure attire, dancing to the loud music, with marching bands, cheerleaders, school children, stilt walkers, mobile floats, skaters, bikers and cyclist. The parade took nearly three hours to reach the amphitheatre, and then there was a stage show with preview of dances and their performances of each group that included classical singing, classical dances to dancing to the Bollywood tracks that will be showcased over the next seventeen days. The star of the show was the chief guest Amir khan, who lit the lamp and released the souvenirs. For next seventeen day, Bandra will be dressed with lights and festivities, with the intention of bringing all the people together in the spirit of community with a festive theme of ‘Harking back to heritage’

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Attitude Stinks!

This week there was Sindhi art festival at National College, Bandra that was organized by ‘Nu Sindhu Art Academy’. It was the 8th Grand Sindhi Drama Festival. On Friday, 16th November, there was a play called .Rang Rangeela Pyar Ja”, a lovable socio comedy On Saturday, 17th November, there was “Changh Mangh 420, a comedy about two comedians And on Sunday, 18th November, there was a play called Tension-Tension, dhammal comedy. On Saturday, the Sindhi play was to start at about 7:30 and it was coinciding with ‘Celebrate Bandra’ Carnival Parade and the Inauguration function. I wanted to attend both. I went early to National College to investigate about the play before I could decide which one to attend. Since there was nobody around, I went back-stage to find out about the program and the entrance. The Asranis were busy giving the final touches to the stage. I peeped in and said. “Is Niroo in?” A man in late fifty’s came forward. “Yes? What can I do for you?” “Oh. I was wondering about this drama, what time will it commence?” “Come back later, it is too early.” “I will be interested. I could write about your play in our magazine ‘Beyond Sindh’” I said, just to start a conversation. “Beyond Sindh? We don’t encourage these things, you know. I am giving you pass, but we don’t believe in giving out the invitations like that” he said as he reached inside and came back with a pass. I was taken by surprise. I had not even asked for a free pass. He glared at me and said “You better show me what you write before you print anything about me.” “Actually, we have already been featured in this magazine” said his son, as he came forward to show me some Xerox pages of the article featuring ‘The Asranis, (Born to cheer through theatre)’ in the souvenir. “Oh, You are Asranis?” I was surprised by his rude attitude. I was feeling like a beggar, taking a free pass. Why would I want his approval before publishing anything? “Er! If I write anything, it will be approved by the editor of my magazine.” I said “But still, you have to show me what you write about the play” he said as I turned to leave. Outside, I found one more person selling tickets. “How much is the cost of the ticket?” I asked the man. “Rupees fifty” he said “Rupees fifty only?” All this fuss over fifty rupees? I couldn’t sell my soul for fifty rupees! I took three hundred and sixty degrees turn, walked back to the back-stage and returned the free-pass back to Asranis. I decided to buy a ticket. Unfortunately, my mood had changed. The “Celebrate Bandra” inauguration function was more interesting and could be enjoyed with dignity.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

What I like about Mumbai

is that if you are not in mood of cooking you can always eat outside, and if you are alone, you can stand at any street corner and eat. There are hawkers almost everywhere. This sandwich man is savior on the days when my maid does not come and especially on those days when I am too lazy to cook. He stands with his portable stall that has all the ingredients for making a tasty sandwich, bread, butter, chutney, tomatoes, cucumber, beet, onion, boiled potato. He makes a sandwich that costs only rupees ten and two sandwiches can suffice because it is quite filling, with so many veggies, we ought to be full. A drink also no problem. At rupees twenty he squeezes out a fresh glass of juice. Voila! A healthy, filling lunch is just under rupees forty. It is not even one US dollar or one Euro! Where in the world will you find such affordable lunch? Sluurrp!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

I am angry with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Is this some kind of joke? Eh?

“Oh! You must be some important person to get the movie ticket for the first Saturday, Lucky you!” Said my cousin when I had announced that I was going to watch Sawariaya.. Lucky me? I wish she knew how much I had suffered. Within half an hour, I was staring at the ‘Exit’ board. Watching a film at home is much better, we can change channels any time, but in a theatre, you are tied with the strings of commitment to the companions who have paid for this torture to test our degree of tolerance. I was wondering whether I was watching some play with dreary, monotonous props and rain, snow, rain but no day-break. I longed for sunshine, for colors and for emotions. Dostoevsky’s short story ‘White nights’ may sound interesting with splendid backers like Hollywood giant Columbia/Sony and the dream cast, but it failed to grasp my attention. I watched the movie with my hand on my cheek, waiting for some meat in the plot. Ranbir Raj (Ranbir Kapoor) is a young musician in a very artistic city. Always zestful towards life he is the lead singer in RK Bar. He has no money but has a will to spread joy with his music. The story is narrated by the local prostitute Gulab (Rani Mukherjee), who befriends Raj and gets him to stay at an old lady’s (Zohra Sehgal) place. One fine day he comes across Sakina (Sonam Kapoor) who is on the lookout for something. Mysterious in nature, Sakina is all that Raj yearns for. Using his genuine boyish charms he makes friends with Sakina but his wonderful world comes crashing down when she reveals to him about her lover (Salman Khan) who promised to come back to her after a year’s time. Raj is shattered but at the same time doubts the credentials of her lover. Tears, laughter, dancing, what were they getting at? Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Is this some kind of joke? At one point I thought lover was a figment of imagination of Sakina and at other time I wondered if she is under some kind of depression and is roaming in the middle of night in black clothes and looking for a lover who is so mysterious. Ranbir has potential. He is good actor, looks cute and dances well. Sonam Kapoor failed to stir any emotions. Salman Khan is totally wasted in the ten minute appearance. Rani Mukerji is first-rate . Zohra Segal is superb, Was there something in that movie that was supposed to be interesting but has escaped my vision? I am still confused.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

If the supermarket is on 4th floor and there is a cross fire with the management, who suffers?

I like shopping-under-one-roof and therefore prefer to go to malls and super stores for shopping. In Bandra we have only one supermarket called Magnet, which is on linking road. There are many mini supermarkets spread all over Bandra, but this particular one has everything under one roof and is bigger one, spread over third and fourth floor, and it is my weekly spot for shopping for grocery and sundry articles. Making a mental note of what I proposed to buy, I waited in line to take a lift to third floor. But the management of the Crystal Mall had banned the market over some grumpy issues and had prohibited the use of lift and escalator leading to the store. The lift and the escalators were available only up till 2nd floor. That would mean using the stairs, the only way to enter the market and then buying only the minimum since lift is not available for carrying the heavy trolleys. This kind of punishment is quite severe. I wanted to retrace my steps and go on to another market but that would be too much hassle. The superstore was losing sales. Their loss will reflect on the employees and on consumers. Magnet is a popular superstore and on weekends, the cash box is continuously ringing. But hitting below the belt is the common punishment in India. We see people going on strike regularly. Doctors, bus employees, banks, everybody takes their turn to hijack the city. It is normally done during the peak season when the consumers are likely to suffer. Instead of punishing the consumers and employees, it is better that the indifference can be settled in a different way in which only the disputed party suffer. One way around this is to provide better or cheaper service - at the management's expense, to the consumers. Like for example in the year 1968, Lisbon bus and train workers gave free rides to all passengers to protest a denial of wage increases. Conductors and drivers arrived for work as usual, but the conductors did not pick up their money satchels. Needless to say, public support was solidly behind these take-no-fare strikers. However, there were many like me, who had climbed up to 4th floor and shopped, but shopped carefully to buy only as much as it was possible to carry it downstairs without a lift. In India, consumers always come last. Bosses rule the land and consumers, the losers; bear the heavy cross on their shoulders, silently

Monday, 5 November 2007

My new painting in acrylic

This is my new painting in acrylic paints which I completed in October 2007. Normally I do painting in oils but I wanted to try in acrylic paints which have more bright colors. A thing I liked about this painting was that I completed in just two weeks. Normally, oil painting would take me more than two months to complete this kind of painting. I am invited for a house warming party and this painting will make an ideal gift to decorate their house and I will be able to admire it only when I visit them. I would love to keep it in my house but have no room to store too many paintings.

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