Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fight against extinction!

Some of our fellow creatures are facing extinction from the face of the Earth...

Save the Tiger!

Save the Polar Bear!

Save the Leopard!

Save the girl child!!!

She needs all your help to survive the battle of extinction. Spare a moment to pledge for her. Log on to www.laadli.org or SMS LAADLI to 575758. Please lend her a helping hand!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Save Her... please!

Let her play.
Let her read her book.

Let her hold on to your hand.
For you may not see her ever again…
Female foeticide is wiping out the girl child at an alarming rate.
Your opinion matters.
Take a stand.
Log onto http://www.laadli.org/ or SMS LAADLI to 575758.
Save the girl child.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Playing the Mother's role...

I must write about a small incident that happened at work today. We had gathered to have lunch, when a senior colleague of mine started talking about her son. She told us that her son had been showing symptoms of behavioural problems at school. His teacher had reported that he had suddenly started doing certain things which were quite unlike him and had indicated that he probably needed more tending to.

My colleague said that ever since she had been feeling extremely guilty and was thinking about quitting. On second thoughts, she wanted to be working as well, probably be engaged with something light, for a couple of hours on the weekdays, that would afford her more time with her son.

I have been thinking ever since that such is a mother – who would not think twice before quitting an extremely well paying job to be with her child. But do we respect her for this decision? Do we ever understand what a great sacrifice it is? Instead we take these things for granted and come up with something like “it’s not a sacrifice – she’s just doing what a mother should do!”

We have gotten so used to taking the contribution of women in our lives for granted that sometimes they just cease to be individuals. They are more of a prototype whose fate it is to suffer certain things. What would the world be like, if tomorrow, women stop prioritizing their duties and family? Well, maybe we’ll get to see such a world soon – not because women will stop being selfless, but because there will be no women left!!

Female foeticide is killing off the girl child in millions! Join the march to stop this cruel practice. Log on to http://www.laadli.org/ or SMS LAADLI to 575758 and take the pledge!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pictures speak a thousand words

I was browsing the internet for pictures yesterday when I found these.

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you see this?

How about this one?

And this one?

What if you were given a knife in your hands and asked to kill one of them?
Did that shock you? It shouldn’t actually, considering that every year a million female foetuses are killed.
It’s time you take the decision – let’s all join together to stop female foeticide. Log on to http://www.laadli.org/ or SMS LAADLI to 575758 and take the pledge!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Proud father of twin daughters!

Roger Federer is the father of twin girls and he is proud. "This is the best day of our lives", is what his reaction was after the birth of the twins. It felt so wonderful when I read his reaction early yesterday morning over my daily cup of coffee. And this reaction to be coming from a man who is now acknowledged as the greatest tennis player ever, felt even more special. I’ve always felt that the birth of a child is the greatest feeling that a person can ever have and Federer’s reaction only reinstates my belief… love, faith and goodness are still not lost. Let’s all join in to repeat after the late MJ… “Heal the world, make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race…”

Speak up! It's the only way we can make a difference.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Yet another act of cowardice...

New and more shameful atrocities on women never seem to stop. Little did I know, when I was writing the entry yesterday, that I would be coming back to discuss another act of perversion today. All of you must have by now read, heard or seen the incident of a woman being molested in full public glare in Patna.

The most disturbing and shameful part of the incident for me was the silent crowd, which stood there witnessing the whole incident. Did no one feel that the act was wrong in every possible way and that it needed to be stopped? Whatever the woman might have been by profession (in this case, she was a prostitute if sources are to be believed), no one has the right to publicly molest a fellow human being like that!

Standing quietly as a spectator and not raising a voice is equally pathetic and reprehensible as doing the act itself. We live in a civil society, which is defined as a collection of human beings living together and abiding by certain laws, norms and conditions which may be written or unwritten. Which law in a civil society gives a person the right to strip another fellow being of her dignity?

Is this what men consider as “mardangi”? Is there someway in which men can be rescued from this trap of an exaggerated notion of manliness, where they think that just because they are men they can do as they will with women?

Do you feel the same way as me? Please raise your voice and take a stand against these acts of gross injustice. Please join me in my march.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Do men need help?

There is a growing feeling among the urban working woman that she is coming under the ‘male glare’ increasingly. The situation should have improved with the increasing number of laws being passed in favour of women and the growing number of organizations coming up, calling out loud for women’s rights. But a closer look would reveal a very different picture.

While we feel that a growing number of legislations and women’s rights organizations would make us safer, we don’t realize that the sudden splurge in these activities indicates at something darker. The number of atrocities on women being reported is on a steady rise, not to forget the numerous incidents of violence that happen everyday, but don’t get reported.

It probably also reveals a lopsided attitude that men have towards women. Their notion of a woman is still guided by and confined to medieval parameters. The woman is still probably a piece of property, who is passed on from one man to another. And anyone who dares to defy this notion makes herself available to the public censure. Men feel they have the right to grope such a woman visually and physically.

Laws in the country should not only empower women but also look to rescue men trapped in a medieval mindset. The current scenario is pushing them further into the defensive, whereby they would tend to reciprocate with increased violence.

Take a step forward; click http://www.laadli.org/ or SMS LAADLI to 575758 to pledge against female foeticide. Remember, you’re just a click away from making an impact.

Looking forward to your comments all my freinds and visitors!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Contrasted fate of the Girl Child on TV - which would you choose?

Looking into the portrayal of women in television in recent times led me into considering two daily soaps – 1) Mitwa – Phool Kamal Ke and 2) Sabki Laadli Bebo. The two soaps have a contrasted approach to the girl child.

Mitwa – Phool Kamal Ke depicts the story of a family in UP, where rigid caste system and traditions are practiced – and humanity is secondary. The story is of Sargam who gets married to one of the sons of the Choudhry family. The family abhors a girl child and all women in the household have to undergo a prenatal sex detection test to ensure that only male children are born and all female foetuses are aborted, irrespective of the feelings of the mother. Sargam finds out during the sex determination test of her foetus that she is carrying a female child. She lies to the family members about the sex of her unborn child and decides to keep the girl child.

Sabki Laadli Bebo on the other hand tells the story of a family that craves for a daughter, and finally gets a girl child after three sons. Everyone calls her Bebo, and being the only girl child in the family, she is heavily pampered and protected by her parents and three brothers. Her family tries finding her a suitable groom when she comes of marriageable age, but can’t find anyone who would love her as much as she is loved in the family.
Both are social realities - but it is up to you to choose which one you would have. Be humane - stop female foeticide. Log on to log on to http://www.laadli.org/ or sms LAADLI to 575758 to pledge your support.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I came across this very interesting ad today. Just take a look at this:

We all know that Indira Gandhi was probably the strongest Prime Minister that India has had, and she was a woman. She is still referred to as the “only man” that the cabinet had then. Could you think of any man as a replacement for her?

Stop sex selection. It’s a crime against humanity. Log on to log on to http://www.laadli.org/ or sms LAADLI to 575758 to pledge your support.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Will you let this happen to your unborn baby angel?

I caught a quick repeat show of Ice Age yesterday, this time of course with a special friend! I just had to share the “Peaches” experience with him… and he loved her as well! Now I’m sitting at my work desk, writing this entry in the 1st breather that I’ve been able to catch. I just came across a couple of ads which hit me even in the midst of the “Peaches” euphoria – everyday phenomena that we often seem to take as a way of life.

Are girls always to be confined to the typical roles that society has meted out to them? Why should Sita be doing the chores while Ram enjoys a hearty meal?

Why should education be a prerogative of the male child? Why can’t the name read “Aarti” instead of “Akash”?

Look at the tilt in balance. Does it bother you as a thinking individual?
Killing the unborn female foetus is tilting the balance further still…. The foetus that you are destroying today could be your source of strength tomorrow. All she needs is just a chance.
Refrain from female foeticide and stop others around you! Believe it or not… you vote counts. Take that step and log on to log on to http://www.laadli.org/ or sms LAADLI to 575758 to pledge your support.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The cutest girl in town – ‘Peaches’!

I’m back in Mumbai and I can’t tell you enough how great it feels. I went out with a couple of friends and we headed for the theatres. I wanted to watch something nice and cute, so we decided on Ice Age 3. And I came out of the hall smiling from ear to ear! It was such good fun and to have great friends to share it with – just made my day.

All the characters were cuutee – but I just can’t get over ‘Peaches’! She’s the cutest baby girl around and her parents are so proud of her. Peaches – you rock baby!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Killing the female foetus – the worst form of gender discrimination

The last couple of weeks have been grueling. I have always loved travelling and meeting people, but I never thought that meeting people would open up such a dark side of the society. Just take a look at these facts –
Repeated abortion adversely affects the sexual and reproductive health of the women.
Sex selection and subsequent abortions adversely impact the mental health of women. They are laden with guilt for inability to produce a son. And it is none other than their family members who force this sense of guilt upon them.
Reducing number of girls, increases dependence on men
Shortage of women escalates incidents of:
– forced abduction, kidnap of girls
– trafficking for marriage
– sex slavery, flesh trade
– forced polyandry (Panchali system, Modern Draupadis)
– swap marriages (Aata -Saata)
– sexual violence
Sex selection is a medical ethics/ malpractice issue. Speak up against it. Log on to log on to www.laadli.org or sms LAADLI to 575758 to pledge your support.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Give the girl child a chance... she's just as precious!

I am touring some of the remotest villages in Maharashtra and further south for my assignment. Yesterday, I had taken appointments with a couple of doctors at the village dispensaries and also hoped to meet up with the mobile health care people touring these parts. The doctors had all promised cooperation and most importantly, facts. Everything seemed to be going as per the schedule and I was sure that I would be able to finish everything that I intended to do by the end of the day, until I went for my second appointment.

I was asked to wait outside for a while by the doctor, as she was attending a patient. I waited for around 20 minutes when I saw the woman leave, escorted by the doctor, as she was howling. I was not sure what to do, so I waited for sometime longer. The doctor spoke to the lady for another couple of minutes and when she returned, I saw her face was flushed. She called me in.

Before I could ask what was wrong, she started talking, very angrily, almost shouting. The story shocked me. The woman, who had just left, has a nine month old baby girl. She had suffered from severe malnutrition during her first pregnancy and she was just 18. The doctor had asked her not to try for a child for the next two years for it could affect her very adversely.

Since no one at her in-laws was happy at the birth of a girl child, they had forced her to get pregnant a second time, inspite of the severe, even fatal consequences. And now they wanted her to go through a gender determination test for the foetus, so that they could abort it, if it was a female child. At this, she had pleaded for reason from her husband and in-laws. But all of it had fallen to deaf ears. She had been threatened that if she didn’t go through the test and delivered a female child again, she would be abandoned with her two girls and her husband would remarry.

I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say and just kept staring at the doctor. I was too shocked to get back to work and my whole schedule went for a toss. The world that I see out here is so different from where I come that I sometimes don’t know how to cope with it. I urge all you people out there, spare 2 minutes of your time and vote for stricter laws against female foeticide. Log on to log on to www.laadli.org or sms LAADLI to 575758 to pledge your support. Be human and give the unborn girl child a chance!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pledge against female foeticide, make Laadli a success!

The vicious business of sex determination for a foetus is rampant – and not just in rural India. The practice is widespread among numerous so called well to do, educated families. Just take a look at these figures:

• 27 lac crimes related to illegal sex determination every year
• Cases registered all over India = 454
• Convictions only 10!

It’s shameful to be a thinking and feeling human being and sit there doing nothing. It just takes 5 minutes… take the initiative and stop female foeticide. I’m rooting for the cause on Facebook. Look for Sukanya Sharma and join my cause Me against Female Foeticide. Pledge against sex selection. SMS LAADLI to 575758. Log on to www.laadli.org

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Have a heart…save the female foetus!

I thought I’d be back again in a couple of days but, I just felt impelled to write this. As I dig into the facts and figures, the real picture appears and it is shocking! Here’re some of the facts that I’ve come across:

Affluent & educated states: low sex ratios – for every 1000 boys the girls in: Gujarat-878 / Delhi-865 / Mumbai-898
35,000 registered sex determination clinics
27 lac crimes related to illegal sex determination every year
Sex selection most likely when the first two children are girls

I really feel we need to take a stand against this. I’m going to use my account in Facebook to invite all of you out there to join the fight against female foeticide. Please have a heart, pledge against female foeticide!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Discovering myself through Laadli…

Laadli… This word has come to signify different phases of my life over the years. At home I was the “Ghar ki Laadli” – loved and pampered by everyone around. I’ve always been the “Laadli” at my workplace too, most of the times, as I have been the youngest one around. And now here’s “Laadli” – fighting the case against female foeticide, something that has come to occupy a place very close to my heart.

All my research on female foeticide over the past couple of weeks have been so disturbing… and then with me seeing this video… the whole picture of about women as seen by the society has suddenly become so warped for me. And the more I see this video, the stronger the discomfort gets.
All those who really care, please take a look at the video and speak up against it. We really need to understand the true picture and change things from what they are now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nKwWl9Sn6w

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I’ve been keeping really busy over the past week. Today’s a little light and so I thought I’d update my blog. I’ve been researching the issue of female foeticide lately and the more I look at the real figures, the more disturbing the picture gets.

There are several places in rural India where the figures for the girl child are dwindling at an alarming rate. Female foeticide is rampant for social and economic reasons. The girl child is viewed as a burden for the family and the male child is given preference in every aspect. It is completely repulsing to see this.

On one of my many trips for covering the female foeticide story, I came across Laadli. Laadli is an organization fighting the cause of saving the female child. It’s launched this nationwide campaign against female foeticide. It was really reassuring to see the people working for the campaign. I interacted with quite a few of them and they seemed to genuinely believe in the cause. It is so important to believe in what one does, for only then can they pass on that zeal and conviction to the others around. I’ve believed in my instincts all my life and something in me tells that this campaign is going to be really successful. This is one cause that I hold very close to my heart and let’s see how I can help Laadli in my own small way to get those million signatures that it’s aiming for.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hi again, just back from work after a very long day. I’m typing away with just the night lamp on and my dinner plate by my laptop. Called my parents first thing on my way to my apartment – it’s very important to me. I actually start my day with a call from them and always call once I’ve reached home at night. Even when I’m doing night shifts, I call to wish good night. To say the truth, I don’t think I would ever stop doing that.

Btw, something interesting came up at work today. My boss told me that there’s this feature on female foeticide that needs to be done which would include a lot of traveling in different parts of rural India, and I’ve been chosen for it! I have worked on a few assignments related to women's rights before, but it's been mostly based on feedback and surveys of working women in the various metropolitan cities. But this is so different and I'm really looking forward to it.

I love traveling and ever since I’ve moved, I haven’t had much of a chance to use my camera. It’s one gadget that I’m prodigiously proud of. My brother gifted it to me the last time he came home on a holiday. It’s a digiSLR and I’m aching to make good use of it. This trip's going to do just that.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My blog, my space

Hi there… to everyone who chances to go through this page. Everyone’s blogging nowadays and to some it’s become quite clich├ęd and boring. But I quite like it - like an old t-shirt that's boring, but you cannot throw it away for the life of it. Blogs are your space, where you get to be yourself without people necessarily getting all judgmental about you. You agree? This is probably because the ideas expressed in a blog don’t get associated with a known face. Many people shy away from being themselves just because they have an image to live up to. And blogs do away with this image factor.

Writing this blog was quite a ‘spur of the moment’ thing. I’m sitting alone after a tiring Sunday afternoon of trying to ‘settle down’ in my newly rented 1 room apartment. And I just had this urge to connect to people who I’ve never met, total strangers, who might have been busy all afternoon doing something quite similar to what I have been doing.

I am, to use a very hackneyed expression, very much your girl next door. I’ve just moved to Mumbai a couple of months back with a new job and am still trying to fit in. Must tell you, it’s a sea change from how life is at Dehradun – that’s my hometown. It’s not that I don’t have friends out here, but living alone is quite a deal! Thank god, atleast I have a job in a media house that keeps me insanely busy. It really works to keep boredom away:) Anyway, will chat up later – someone’s just rung the doorbell!