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behaviour, Cheating#courage#determination# single women, child labour, poverty, new education, education, Explotation, iggnorence, kindness, parenting, responsiblity of parenting, teaching, underprivileged, violence

LET US STOP THIS EXPLOITATION

girl 1

 

Divya was a new teacher who joined our school at the beginning of that academic year. She had earlier worked in Nagpur and along with the transfer of her husband’s job she moved to Mumbai and was selected as a maths &science teacher in our school.  She was allotted one of the backward divisions for teaching mathematics.  It is an irony that most of the children who are backward in studies were also from a poor background.  Many of them lived in shanties where the electricity used to be disturbed most of the nights and the children were not able to study in the night or they had serious water problems and the children were required to sit late to fill water in the house.  Coupled with so many domestic problems these children had to fight a battle every day to study and make their life better and to get the education.

There was a girl Seema in this class.  Her father was working as an electrician and one day he died in an accident while working. The corporation did give his family a handsome compensation but the relations of her father cheated the uneducated mother and took away a bulk of the amount.  Thus Seema’s mother was struggling for very existence by working as a cook in some houses but still, she managed to send her child to school. Seema, after helping her mother for the cooking and washing, was very weak in health and was also exhausted by the time she came to school. Naturally, she was very average in studies and was always in the borderline.

One day Divya talked to me in her free time. She said, “Madam, I am very worried about Seema.  Poverty, lack of a supporting male member at home, uneducated mother, these are all potent combination  which can easily  destroy the future of the girl.”

I was rather surprised. I said, “ Divya why are so worried?. For so many years we had seen such children coming from very poor families and having only mothers supporting them. But the girls had done well in past. These girls know their responsibility and in by the time the final examination is around they put in more hard work and they all pass by the end of the year”

Divya said,“ Madam, I was reminded of a girl Aruna in my Nagpur school and the dangerous situation she was trapped into,  just because of the same circumstances”  As both of us had a free period I settled down to hear her story and she started.

She said, “The school I worked was a corporation school and mostly had children coming from the nearby slum.  Most of the children were very weak in studies and we used to give them extra classes to help them to catch up with the regular classes.  There was a girl Aruna in my class.  One day her mother came to school and told me that she had lost her husband recently in an accident,  and she was working very hard to manage for the books etc for Aruna. I told her that I will take care of Aruna and pay some extra attention to her in the class and she will be alright.  Days rolled by and we had finished the first term.  Aruna had scored the lowest marks in mathematics.  We had a teacher’s meeting and we were discussing a project for the possibility to coach the very weak student.  But somehow this did not materialize as all the teacher had already too many extra activities such as preparing children for elocution, science, maths and such competitive examination etc.

As I was wondering about how to manage the situation for Aruna, I  noticed a sudden change in Aruna.  She started wearing some types of flashy trinkets in ears and flashy jingling bangles.  Her face looked a bit too much made up for the school. Then she started remaining absent. First two days, then next two days I brushed off.  But when she was absent for the third sequence I pulled her up and asked her for the reason for her absence. Aruna was a bit shaken up and she said “Madam, my grandmother lives alone in a house close to the school. Many times when she is sick, I go to her house to help her” I told her strictly, “Aruna. You are in X the standard and your attendance is very important for forwarding your application form for the Board.  If you remain absent so many time,  I am afraid I cannot help you and you would miss the year”

I asked some other girls who stayed close to the Aruna’s grandmother’s house to give a message to the Grandmother. Next day the grandmother came to school. What she told me with tears flowing from her eyes was too shocking.  She said “ I was not bothered when my daughter in law went into the cheap flush trade after my son died. But she is now trying to force my grand- daughter also into the trade.   So the poor girl runs away from home and takes shelter in my house.  What can I do? How can I stop my daughter in law?”

Now I did not know how much she says is the truth. Hence I told Aruna to get her mother to school.  When she came I said, “Aruna is missing too many classes.  She is already poor in studies and added to that the bad attendance will force us to hold up her form, from appearing for the board examination”

This is one type of false threat,  we give to all parents when their wards are frequent absentees or there are other in discipline problems.  Without fail, all the parent will buckle down under this threat and will definitely improve their children’s behavior.

But Aruna’s mother gave me the shock of my life with her answer. She was neither a humble, nervous mother I  had met some time back.   She was all dressed up now in a flashy way and she said a rude arrogant voice,  “  Madam not only you,  even the Principal of the school cannot stop my daughter from appearing for the examination. I am dead sure of it. So don’t give me this empty threat”

Swallowing hard my pride and the shock I said, ” How are you so sure? I am her class teacher who is supposed to certify her attendance and the Principal is the authority to forward her application form for the examination.  I hope you know that, don’t you? Then how can  you say that we cannot stop her application?”

She said in the same arrogant manner, “ You teachers or your school cannot do anything.  Because I am giving tuition to my daughter from Mr. XXXX,  who you know is a management committee member.  He is more powerful and he will see that not only my daughter gives the exams  but also she passes the SSC. He has contacts you know!”

As I stood with open mouth she walked away.  Though I was in the school for past three years I was little aware of any details about the management member. Later I approached a senior teacher and asked her about the Mr. XXX.

She looked a bit surprized and said, “Divya, why are you asking about that dirty dog?” Then she further told me that he was now an X management person. He was about 68 years old and was a widower. He used to trap the poor girls in the name of free maths tuition in his house and abuse them. The girls compelled by their need to pass the examination used to keep their mouth shut. But one day one of the parents discovered the truth and the news exploded.  The management immediately threw him out. So now he was not at all connected to the management anymore.

I remembered what Aruna’s  grandmother told me. I remembered all that sudden flashy dressing pattern of Aruna. I understood that old fellow had fooled Aruna’s mother and lured her in sending Aruna for maths tuition. Her life was in danger.

After an urgent meeting with the Principal, we contacted an NGO who worked for the Women and Child Welfare.  This member along with police visited both Aruna’s mother and the ill-famed man and gave them the threat of arrest. Aruna’s mother agreed to keep her in her Grandmother’s house till the board examination was over.  One of our retired Lady teachers agreed to give a special coaching to Aruna in her Grandmother’s house.

Aruna’s mother was given a clerical job in one of the NGO’s  who also gave some councilling for her.   Aruna passed the examination and life changed for both the mother and daughter.  Later we heard Aruna went for some technical school and later got employed there.”After finishing the story Divya said, “Madam  can you now understand my fears.”

I somehow convinced that in our school such things can never happen and even the single uneducated mothers are world wise, and they take care of their daughters.  But though I talked to her very convincingly the fear now got transferred from her mind to mine and started haunting me. I started watching all the girls very carefully to see if there is some change in their behaviour pattern etc.  As and when possible gave some general advice to the backward division children that we teachers are their best friends and they can always approach us as and when they have some problem. One by one I called the poor mothers and talked very friendly to them encouraging them to approach us for any help needed. Days rolled by and as usual all those girls from the very poor families passed the SSC with good marks in their first attempt.  The haunting fear slowly disappeared from my mind.

But as a teacher, many time I wish the educational institution could do something more to these struggling children beyond their usual teaching. The school building remains vacant in the night. If a project is implemented with some retired senior teacher volunteers, the school could be opened for these poor children for studying in the night up to 12 in the night.  The children will have electricity, fan and more than that a peaceful atmosphere.  The retired teachers can supervise that discipline is maintained.  How many poor children can benefit from this? Hope someday such dreams will be realized.

 

 

behaviour, death, grief, health, iggnorence, kindness, love, Organdonation#awareness#saving lives, sharing and caring, teaching

When the truth strikes!

 

As Ram Sastri watched through the round window of the special ICU,  the emergency critical patient’s ICU, his most loving grandson  Yoges’s figure started dimming from his sight. He wiped his overflowing tears from his eyes with his wrinkled hands and looked again. Just yesterday evening this boy hugged him tight and went out to get his favourite sweets on his motorbike. Now his almost lifeless body lay there in the bed, connected to a mesh of monitors around. His life was now only the sound of the beeping of the ventilators.

 

A nurse came from the back side and said in a soft voice,” Please Uncle go and sit, you had been standing for hours near the window.  God will save your grandson. Please go and sit”.  Reluctantly he walked back to his chair near the wall. The eerie silence of the long deserted corridor seemed to echo the approaching dark shadows of death. He saw his son Mayur and doctor coming out of a room on the other end of the corridor. They were far away for Sasthri to hear any of their whispered conversation. But the silhouette of both of them, the doctor’s sort of shrugging his shoulders, and his son’s stooping, shivering shoulders explained everything to him. The doctor walked away and Mayur sat down there itself on a chair. Sasthri knew he was too afraid of coming near him to report what the doctor told him just now.

As the uncontrolled tears, once again welled in his eyes it was not only just the pain of the accident victim of his grandson but more of a guilt which was swallowing him alive. Exactly three month’s back he was in the same hospital in front of the same  ICU where his wife Sudha was on ventilators, brain dead after a stroke. His son Mayur was pleading with him for his permission. There was a ten-year-old boy who urgently needed a heart transplant in the ICU. Mayur was begging Sasthri that he if he could allow Sudha’s heart be donated to that boy. He repeatedly begged his father that his mother was dead except for the ventilator, but all her organs were fine and the donation of her organ could save eight lives. Two blind people could get their eyes, two can get a kidney, her heart and liver can save two more and her skin can save four or five burn victims fighting in the deathbed.

He said, “Papa this is the greatest gift we can give to the society.  Mother’s soul will also be so pleased if we donate her organs which are now just going to be sacrificed in the last pyre” Sasthri who was a Guru of Sath-Sang angrily retorted, “I had lived with her for 65 years. It is my duty to give her an honourable farewell by cremating her with all religious rites. How can I agree that a part of her body still to be left in this world of Maya? Are you not ashamed of asking me that your dead mother’s body is cut into pieces and parts taken away? You lived inside that body for ten months and you want to shame that body of your loving mother?”

A million times begging, from his son and the doctors, failed to make an impact on him to change his decision. Just when they were taking charge of Sudha’s body the young mother of the ten-year-old boy was also collecting their son’s body, and even that did not affect Sasthri at that time

Now his hardly fifteen-year-old Grandson is in need of an urgent liver transplant, The road accident has totally punctured his liver. Sastri was 85 years old and was still living.  But he cannot give his liver to the boy. If someone is not stubborn like him and is generous than his grandson can get the donation of lungs for him. If he was not stupid the other day he could have saved 8  lives when Sudha died. May be God is punishing him for his insensitivity and today he is the one who is begging for a donation.

Suddenly there was a commotion as a new was patient was wheeled in from the causality room. As the attendants rushed in pushing the stretcher, he saw vaguely a blood soaked image of a person.  Behind the stretcher came a handful of relations of the victim.   They all stopped as the operation theatre door closed on them.  Slowly one by one they all moved to the chairs around him. Forgetting momentarily his sorrow he looked at them. There were some elderly people, and an older lady from that was crying uncontrollably while others tried to pacify her. But one very young lady sat among them totally silent, just staring at the wall.

Mayur came to him and took him aside. He gave him a cup of Tea and said,” Papa, just drink this. You cannot starve yourself for a long time. Doctors are trying, telephoning all over India. We may get a donor” Sasthri took the tea and looked at the face of his son. Mayur turned his face away from his father to avoid his eyes. Sasthri understood. There was absolutely no hope now. May be they have to wait now only to collect the body.

Sasthri went to the wash room. After five minutes when he came out Mayur was waiting for him at the entrance. Expecting the worst he looked at him.  But Mayur face was bright now and he was breathless as he said, “Papa, God has helped us. We got a donation of the liver. I am going to sign the papers for the operation. I came here only just to inform.   You please wait here” As Sasthri stood unbelievably he ran through the long corridor in a hurry.

Sasthri could not still believe.  How did his grandson get a liver so fast? Who was the kindest person in the world who donated it? Is this a miracle?  He closed his eyes and started praying.  Suddenly a group of about ten doctors came rushing into the operation theatre where a patient was taken in some twenty minutes back. The old lady waiting there now fainted and others started reviving her. Sasthri noticed that the young lady who was sitting there was not there now. Who was she and why did she disappear?  From the old lady’s reaction, it was clear that the patient who was taken inside is no more. But,  that young lady?   After about five minutes that young lady came out of the operation theatre and sat quietly again. The elderly went to her and hugging her started crying again. The young lady hugged the old lady but her eyes were still dry.

The large group of doctors now came out carrying many rectangular ice boxes with them.  One by one they all stood near the young lady and whispered something softly to her and then left in a hurry.  Sasthri waited quietly and so did the group in front of him. No one talked a  and a dead silence enveloped all of them. Only the senior lady kept wiping her tears still.  Two hours passed.

 

Mayur came running his face relaxed. Sasthri could understand from his face that the operation was successful.

He just nodded his head to Sasthri but without stopping near him he crossed him and walked over to the group seated there. As Sasthri got up half guessing Mayur walked to the young lady. He stood there for a fraction of a second. As the lady lifted her eyes with a question mark he suddenly dropped himself full length near her feet as a “ Sashtanka Namaskar. He held both her feet with his hands and cried repeatedly saying “ How will I ever thank you, Madam. How will I ever…….:” As Sasthri looked stunted, the other male members waiting with her got up and gently pulled Mayur up. As Mayur got up and stood, his hands still folded, the lady who was so quit for so much time whispered,” It is OK, I can at least live the rest of my life thinking a part of my husband is alive somewhere” For the first time her eyes welled with tears.  Sasjthri now walked to her and folded his hand and said” Beata I am too old to touch your feet. Let God bless you with peace of mind  for  your greatest  gesture”

Both Mayur and his father now walked to the other operation theatre and sat waiting for doctor’s permission to see their child. Mayur spoke in trembling voice, “ Papa  Doctors told me that the lady is married just six months back and her husband met with an accident. He was declared brain death. This lady had donated all his organs and by this time they are transported to different pairs of India for the needy one. That lady is just Goddess.”

One month latter Sastri was doing his Upanyas as usual. Once he finished his usual preaching he aid “ Before you people come forward to the donation box I  want to tell you that the greatest donation you can give To God is your organ donation. Pledge your organs and after death also you will be giving life to the living once. Who knows one of us may be tomorrow the person begging for a donation. So instead of putting money in the donation box fill up the organ donation form and that will be a million rupee worth and surely you will get all the God’s blessings”  The entire group of people started forming a queue in front of the organ donation forms piled on a table.

 

This Story is dedicated to all those angels who had kindly pledged or donated their loving one’s organs. Please pledge your organs—-  The greatest form of gift— Give life to the living ones.       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

behaviour, Cheating#courage#determination# single women, descipline, education, grief, health, kindness, love, parenting, responsiblity of parenting, teaching

Mama will you help me please?

_garment 1

 

 

Supriya looked at the wall clock for the hundredth time. It was only 5 AM.   The hands of the clock seemed almost frozen, not at all moving. She once again checked her small carry bag.  Just three sets of dress, her medicine pouch and her Bank pass book and her chequebook.  The pass book showed a pitiable amount of Rs Bungalow   5,500/- She closed her eyes and tried to concentrate on her deep breathing.

The clock started striking. 6 AM. She got up. Picking up her bag she quickly came out of her room and opening the main door she came out of her castle like Bungalow.   As she reached the main gate the security got up and looked behind her half wondering why was she walking.

He said, “Madam, car? Shall I wake up the driver?”  She dismissed him with a wave of her hand and walked out.  As the Security still stood confused, she hailed an auto passing by and got inside.  The security stood with an open mouth that his madam was going out so early, with a bag and that too without a car.

The auto travelled for about twenty minutes and entered  Dharavi, Mumbai’s largest slum, and moved through the congested twisting small lanes. Reaching her destination she stopped the auto. With bag in hand, she reached one of the brick construction house and rang the bell.   Muthu, clad in a lungi, opened the door and seeing Supriya he stood too stunned – his face a mixed feeling of surprise and worry and he blabbered, “Madam, You are here in this morning hour. If you had called me…”

Before he struggled to finish his sentence Supriya said,” Muthu, is it not better that I come inside and answer all your questions?”’

Muthu hurriedly opened the door full and stretching his hand out, took her bag from her hand and said,” Please come in Madam, after all this house is all your blessings only “

He pulled a chair and wiped it with the towel on his shoulder. His two daughters studying on a corner table got up hurriedly and looked bewildered at the unknown, too sophisticated looking visitor of their house.

Though they had not seen Supriya earlier, they were smart to understand from their father’s gesture, that the lady must be their father’s X boss.  By this time hearing, all commotion Meenu came out of the kitchen and seeing Supriya she almost shrieked, “Madam! Oh God! You had come to our house! So much of an honour for us” Saying she reached Supriya in two steps and buckling down touched her feet with both her hands.

Supriya smiled at the girls and very casually started a conversation with them asking about what they were studying etc. Within five minutes Meenu bought a cup of steaming coffee for Supriya and hand it to her and said, “Please Madam.  Drink this. In case you want to relax for some time please relax in this cot” She switched on the ceiling fan.

 

Supriya took the coffee. It tasted wonderful.  Was it really the taste of coffee or is because of the warmth with which this family welcomed her? She could not actually decide. Till now neither Muthu nor Meenu asked her anything about the reason for her coming to their house so early in the morning.   The girls resumed their studies.

Supriya looked at Muthu and asked, “So what do you do nowadays? Are you working as a driver for someone else?’ Muthu answered,“No madam, I drive an auto now. I made the payment in installments and now the auto is mine. Meenu works in the nearby Milk booth and together we are able to manage the house”

The house was small but well kept. Muthu was the family driver for Supriya for past thirty years till the death of her husband Srikanth, three years ago. Srikanth once came to know that Muthu’s house was badly leaking during monsoon and he personally constructed this solid brick house for his driver fifteen years back.  Luckily just like for all his factory employees, he had maintained a provident fund account for Muthu also. Three years back her son Mukesh took over the father’s business he promptly removed Muthu from his service. The PF helped Muthu to carry on his life.

 

Supriya relaxed in the cot as there was nothing else to do till the shops open. As she closed her eyes her past life flashed through her mind. She and her husband started a garment business from the scratch and soon due to the honest effort of Srikanth the factory grew into a large one. Their only son was studying in the US and he dreamed of his son joining his business on his return. But before he came back Srikanth had a massive heart attack and died. Soon after the rituals were over Mukesh frankly told his mother that he was not interested in the garment industry and he wanted to open his own software business. His living partner, an American lady joined the family. All the old servants and drivers etc were removed from the service and a new set of men were appointed.

 

Soon one day Mukesh took her signatures in all the documents for selling of the garment factory as maximum shares of the company was in her name. Supriya was too depressed with her husband’s death and did not give any opinion on her son’s decision and signed all the documents.  She hardly knew what business her son was doing and how was he managing it all. Just three days back she got the shock of her life when Mukesh told her that he had sold the house and they all should now go to Bangalore as he decided to open his company there.  She understood that while getting all documents of the company signed by her Mukesh had cheated her by taking her signature of the Bungalow also which was in her name, without her knowledge.  She started thinking seriously and after two days decided that she will not live with her son anymore. That is why she was here today morning.

 

As she woke up she found Meenu waiting for her with morning breakfast. The small family ate the simple breakfast together happily. It was nine ‘o’ clock. Supriya asked Muthu to take her to an ATM and withdrew   RS 4000/ from her account. She took the elder daughter Arpita to the  Chembur market, lined with small shops and with her help bought some dress materials and accessories like ribbons, decorative lace etc. The girl was very smart and she bargained well with the shop keepers and got the materials at reduced rates. They came back home.

 

Supriya had presented a tailoring machine to Meenu long time back.  She designed a dozen small baby dresses on newspaper and then cut the clothes for stitching.  She was surprised at her own potential, that after 30 years gap she had still not forgotten her skill.   Menu sat at the machine and by evening they could complete a dozen tiny dresses for boys and girls.  The girls did the finer finishing job.  They bought boxes and packed them neatly in the boxes.  The night they offered the cot to her and the girls slept on the floor near the cot.

Next day morning taking Arpita with her Supriya went to the Mall where a lot of children’s dress shops were there. She approached the manager of one shop and gave four sets of the sample dress.  She told him that she was starting a small scale industry for the slum women and the manager should try selling these dresses as sample pieces. She repeated the procedure on three more shops.For the next two days, they worked in the same way on- stop till ten in the night. As Meenu was working as a tailor for the neighbouring ladies for quite some years, she was a big help in both cutting and stitching. Now they had made about fifty dresses.

 

Supriya went to the mall next day with her new dresses, and to her surprise, the Manager welcomed her with a broad smile. He said, “Madam I sold each piece for Rs500/ instead of your quoted price of Rs 250/ But they were sold out like hot cakes.  Many had placed orders. Please get me more numbers of these dresses” The Manger also offered a token amount as advance payment.

 

Days started flying and Supriya’s Baby dress stared booming like a small scale industry.  As orders increased day and night her working area increased to a neighbouring shed and women working for her increased to twenty in number.Tirelessly she co-coordinated the work. Women who did not have the skill of tailoring were used for the final finishing jobs of stitching button and ironing and packing the finished product.

 

After three months she met her old bank manager.  Remembering the crores of rupees her company had done with the bank, he sanctioned a heavy loan for her. She had now registered her garment industry as Women’s Industry and registered it under the name, “SRI garments”

 

By three years her SRI garment grew big enough to own a three story building of their  own.  She had all modern computerized embroidery designing machines and had a staff of five hundred women working in various departments.  On the ground floor of the factory besides her small office, she made a made a tiny one-bed room kitchen for her as her living quarters.  The factory worked till ten in the night and she paid her staff very well and give them all the benefit of PF, insurance coverage, and a special educational allowance for the children of her employees.  She hired young MBA girls under which a staff of twenty young girls worked as office staff, managing the purchase, export, marketing and everything.

Arpita who had completed her B.Com worked as PA for Supriya while her younger sister was sent to MBA studies. Meenu worked as a supervisor in the tailoring department. Muthu worked as stores in charge. The office owned three tempos now for their transporting facilities.

 

It was another day, another fresh morning in the factory.  Supriya was standing in front of her husband Srikanth’s photograph in her office, as usual before starting her day.  He seemed to be smiling at her.  She heard his inner voice, “Supriya, what you are doing now is the best.  You had turned the life of hundreds of women to a better standard. That is better than relaxing in your own bungalow and enjoying. Is it not? With all  this potential why you should be at home?”  She shook her head at her own imagination.  She sat on her chair.

 

Arpita knocked and came in and said,” Madam, there is a gentleman by name Mukesh to see you. He says he knows you well “

 

For one moment Supriya’s heart stopped beating. Her own son,  whom she brought up with all the care in the world, because he was born so late in their life. She had never ever raised her voice at him and gave everything he wanted. Even when he was not doing very well in education, she never was strict to him. And, it was this son who cheated her and for the past three years never bothered to find out where she was! If only he had asked her the house,  she would have happily given him that without hesitation. But he did not”

Arpita waiting asked in a confused voice, “Madam.  Could you see him or I will ask him to come some other time ?”
Supriya said,’ Arpita, send him inside and bring in two cups of coffee”

Mukesh entered. He stood staring at his mother. Supriya smiled and said “Come in Mukesh. Good to see you after so many days? How are you? How is your business?”

 

Mukesh came in and sat in a chair. He managed to talk, “ Mama how are you doing?”

The coffee came. Supriya signaled Arpita to stay in the cabin itself. She picked up the coffee with her own hands and handing it to Mukesh said, “Mukesh,  Your father had taught me good lessons of life. Together we had faced so many hardships. Those lessons had helped me.  As you can see I am doing fine here”

 

Mukesh gulped the coffee and said, “Mama,  I am so sorry for what all I had done. I should have continued father’s business.  The software company had gone into a total loss. I am totally broke now Mama”

 

Supriya noticed that his fair complexion had darkened showing his struggle and he looked much more aged than what he was.  She said in a soft voice, “ I am really very sorry for you dear. Don’t lose heart”

 

Mukesh swallowed and said, “Mama I had come for your help. You will help me, Mama?”

Supriya was quite for one moment looking at him steadily. Then she said, “Of course Mukesh, your father had taught me that we should help every person who is in trouble as much as possible. And till today I am following that.  So,  why not for you?”

 

Mukesh face lit up.  He said, “Yes Mama I know I can always bank on you.  So you will give me a cheque to start my business again?”

 

Supriya leaned slightly and opening her right side drawer of the table pushed her hand inside.  As she brought her hand out Mukesh eagerly looked for the chequebook. Bur, she brought out a pair of brand new keys and kept it on the table.

A confused Mukesh asked, “What is this key you are offering me, Mama?”

Supriya said calmly, “Mukesh, this is the key of the new Tempo we had purchased. We need a driver to drive that for delivering our goods to the shops.  I pay forty thousand rupees to my drivers along with benefits of insurance and PF. I am sure you will be happy to pick up the job”

As Mukesh looked stunned she got up and said calmly, “I have to go for an office meeting. If you do not want the job it is OK. Please do drop in as and when you are free. Take care, my son”

 

She walked out, her body erect her head held high as Arpita politely held the door open for her. Mukesh stared at his 74-year-old  mother- A   lady of courage and determination.

Arpita following her boss understood that Mukesh was her son. She said hesitantly” Madam” Supriya turned and smiled at her PA.  She said, “Arpita I am not being harsh. Mukesh is yet to learn from his failures. He had not learnt the meaning of hard work or honesty. When he realizes these I am sure he will come back for the Tempo key.   Till then let us find another driver”  Arpita stared at her boss too shocked to speak.

 

 

education

Are we serious about this?

organ-donation-in-indiaA short time ago some religious ceremonies were performed in our house. When the function was over one of our young boys asked the Purohit about some doubts on the ‘Shraddha ceremony’, the annual ceremony offered to the departed souls. As the conversations progressed I was shocked by some of the remarks made by the so-called Purohit. He said, “Our entire body is given to us by God and different elements from nature give us different organs. So after our death, it is the duty of the living relatives to give back those organs to the elements in nature by cremating the body. The so-called Organ donation is a huge Sin. How can anyone donate something when it does not belong to them at all?”

I nearly went mad listening to this statement. But unfortunately, I had to refrain from answering him because it was a religious ceremony and arguing or advising was improper in that situation. But later I did fume to that young boy giving vent to all my suppressed anger on a wrong statement. I asked him, “Rajesh, someone should have asked that Purohit that if that Purohit’s kidney collapses tomorrow, will he refuse a donation because it is sin to take someone’s organ and choose to die instead? Or if his son requires a heart transplant will he still say taking donated organ is a sin?”

But later this statement made me realise the fact that even today none of us had taken this thought of organ donation seriously at all. In spite of all our education and awareness of health issue, we still do not think about the lives we can possibly save at the time of our death, by our organ donation. Once we are dead, our body is going to be burnt or buried and no one is going to preserve it or love it. So if something is going to be burnt or going to be allowed to decay, why not use the organs which can save some living humans?

Mostly whenever the death strikes a family, the close relatives don’t like their loved one’s body to be cut open for the donation sake, and it is a bit difficult for them to accept. But instead, they should think that even after death, their loved ones are going to be alive in this world, as part of someone’s body.Then think of all that happiness you are giving to the entire family of that recipient, who had lost all their hopes.

If all the cine stars who endorse beauty creams could spend some time for the wellness of the common man by endorsing and explaining the importance of the organ donation, there will be definitely a world of change. All those Religious Guru’s who preach day after day, about the Karma and Rebirth should also spread the message that the greatest charity a man can do even after his death, is an organ donation. Doctors in the hospital could also talk to the relatives about the organ donation if the patient is critical. Of course, this will be a very delicate subject to talk but many times the relatives will definitely agree. There should be councillors in each hospital who can counsel people coming from rural and illiterate background about the greatness of organ donation.

Now, what about the politicians? In fact, in future, we should vote only for those candidates who first pledge all their organs for donation. After all, they want to serve the country and what other way is better than the organ donation?

The irony of this organ donation is that,  only when we are the ones who is suffering and is in dire need of some one’s donated organ, only then we would really feel the actual pain and agony and the dire need for this donation. It is not that only the brain dead people who can donate organs. There is still a lack of awareness about this. Even after normal death, some of the body parts can be removed within one or two hours—the time it takes for the hospital authorities to hand over the body.

It is not only the heart or liver or kidney that can be donated. As shown in the chart above many other tissues like the bones, the skin, valves etc could also be donated. The bone could help young people who lose their limbs in accidents can be helped with the bones. The skin is as major help for skin grafting for the people who suffer from burn injuries.

Friends please share this article with your friends and help in spreading awareness and let us save lives. Let us give the ailing ones a chance to live!.

education

I miss you all

My dear friends, for so many days, you friends,   from around the world gave me so much support. Since my ill health, I did not post any article for quite some time. But now when I have come back, 2016-02-26 16.36.43(1) I don’t find any of my friends here. Please, come back and read my posts. my heart beats only for you all

with love

Laxmi natraj

 

 

education

Drip….Drip….. it is leaking!!

The everyday newspaper has at least, one  news of a question paper leak. Starting from the high-level Army recruitment Examination to SSC, HSC board examination, degree papers — you name it all. Every paper is already out and is now available in the “What up” of everyone’s cell phone long before the examination halls gets the paper.

It is not shocking or surprising. Our country has a large population of people who had mastered the technique of stealing the question paper from the printing house and also they are very skilled in the modern technique of communication from computer to cell phone to blue-tooth.  There is an equally large number of so called ‘students’, who never attended the classes and enjoyed themselves during the college days, who are ready to pay any amount to get the question paper. So it is the new flourishing business, a market of demand and supply and easy profit.

Besides the question paper leaking, there is the next stage of mass copying. In some places in North India, the answers are dictated through the window and the invigilators can do nothing.  Now with the latest technology, a student writing the examination may have a tiny microchip hidden inside his hair dictating the answers –( Courtesy of the movie-   Munna  Bhai MBBS)! The authority can prevent how much of this?   Shall we install Video cameras in the examination Hall?  Or shall we post Gun wielding policemen?   Everything is Impossible just because of our large population, who take the exams and a lot of men who have a brilliant criminal brain.

 

There are two possible solutions.  The bulk portion of all examinations question papers should be made of objective type. If a little serious thought is put into this it is not an impossible task.  Say in a B.Com paper which is mostly subjective with problems of calling for mathematical computations give the student four options of answers. He has to work the problem if he has to give the answer. As a first step convert  75% of the syllabus into the objective type of questions where the student still has to work out his answers. Then the second step is to feed the computer with a large number of questions to prepare a question bank.  Just ten minutes before the actual examination the print out of the question papers could be taken out. The computer will select an assorted question by permutation combination method from the question bank questions. Now every question paper will be different but all chapters justified and balanced.   So no copying is possible. This method will also save the great pressure of carrying the question papers to different centers in the choking traffic with two policemen.  Only those students who pass these examinations with more that 60% marks can appear for the second level of written short papers of one hour for each subject. Since the objectives answer sheets can be corrected with the computer, teacher’s burden of correcting the written papers and errors in correction will also be minimized.

 

The second alternative is if some system demands only fully written papers like the language papers, then about thirty numbers of question papers are to be prepared by the professors covering properly all the segments of the subject. Then these questions have to be fed into the computer according to the topics.  The final question paper, in this case, will also be the choice of the computer which will make a question paper choosing the required number of questions,  balancing the topics. In this case, again the question paper for each person will be difficult.  To solve the difficulty of the teachers in correcting different papers the question papers can be classified   A, B, C etc. After collecting the answer papers from different centers it will be sorted out according to the alphabet and repack so that the correcting teachers will get only one type question paper and its s answer books. This will also take care of some centers getting very high marks and some more failures and an average correction will prevail.

If the Education ministry and people working in the Examination divisions and the allied section put their heads together then the solution is not difficult or impossible.

Trying to buy the leaked question paper or copying in the examination are the reflections of cheating mentality and we should not allow the younger generation to become pray for it.

 

 

 

 

 

education

The pass word

bandage-man

As I climbed the last step in the Dadar Station the clock showed the time 07.00 PM.  I am late by three minutes today. My Andheri fast will enter the station at 07.03 PM sharp.  I have just three minutes to cover the long over the bridge, get down on the platform 5 and board.  I started running, pushing my way through the overflowing humanity.  Two minutes and I had reached the first steps of the stairs when I saw the Andheri fast entering the platform. Oh, God!  The train is early today. I have to catch it.  I now ran madly, jumped two steps at a time, reached the end of the stairs and just when I touched the platform, the train had started moving.

I now ran madly like an Olympic sprinter running for gold.  I reached the moving train and running along with it, caught hold of the vertical bar and then I swung myself in and was inside.  I felt so good. Every day, catching the train at any cost had become my obsession.  I looked around. People were stuffed in the compartment like bees on a honeycomb.  But surprisingly today I did not feel any of those being crushed out of breath feeling.

Suddenly the train screeched to a halt. Everyone peeped out of the train and there was a big outcry.”Someone has fallen off the train” People jumped out,  curious to see the accident. I also pushed through them and jumped out.

That man was on the platform, his face and head drenched in blood. Sympathy words poured from everyone’s mouth. I looked at the man again. Strangely there was something very familiar about him. Someone reached the man and turned his body to see the face. “Oh God No” It was my own body! my dead body in front of my eyes! How is it possible? I am very much standing here. I shook a man by his shoulder. But my hand was not touching anything. I looked at my hand. There was no hand, no leg, No Body. OH God! I am dead and now me, myself is a body less ghost. I was sort of floating in the air.

I screamed loud, “Oh God, this is not justice, Oh God where are you?” I felt a soft cloud  surrounding  around me,  and a velvet voice whispered,” Yes my son, what is your problem?”, I turned around to see the source of the voice.

There was no one. I said, “Oh God how can you do this. I am just 34 yrs. And I am dead” The voice answered with a half-suppressed laughter, “So what?  People can die anytime. Did anyone tell you that you will live till  hundred?” I said “Oh God, I am so young. What will my wife and my one-year-old twins do, all alone in this world? How will they survive?” There was a soft laughter as the voice answered, “They will survive just like the hundreds of women who lose their husbands young. She will learn to live”

My mind raced through all of my finance positions. Bank account, Mutual funds, insurance and everything“ Oh God! Everything is password protected and my wife Madura does not know my password. I  jealously kept it hidden. Now, what will I do? Had I known that I will die so young I would have given her all the papers. Oh God! yesterday the bonus cheque of 5lakhs, I hid it among my old books so that I can surprise her by getting her a gift? Now after my death she might even throw away all my books and the cheque with that. I imagined my wife with a torn sari begging on the streets with my twin kids on her lap. I screamed “ Oh God please, please give me a chance just for only once… let me go and tell my wife all my passwords”  There was no answer now. I wanted to scream but no voice came out of my throat. But then I remembered that I don’t have as a body to have a throat!

I imagined my wife with a torn sari begging on the streets with my twin kids on her lap. I screamed “ Oh God please, please give me a chance just for only once… let me go and tell my wife all my passwords”  There was no answer now. I wanted to scream but no voice came out of my throat. But then I remembered that I don’t have as a body then how can I have a throat!

I felt a warm soft hand on my forehead. Finally, God is taking some pity on me. Now I heard very faintly the murmur of voices.  Are there many more ghost around me? But then, how to see them? I tried to open my eyes involuntarily forgetting that I don’t have a body for the eyes. But for the first time felt my eyes were hard like rocks.

Now the voices were becoming louder and I could open my eyes a fraction. I saw green dress all around me and one was looking very close. I heard the green ghost calling, “Karan,   Karan,  can you hear me?” My eyes opened further and the misty images became sharper.  I could now recognise the doctor with a green scrub coat and mask hanging on his neck and the other green ghosts were also doctors. Are they all doctor ghost? He repeated again, ” Karan can you recognise me? I am your surgeon” I tried to nod my head but could not move. No noise came out of my mouth.

The doctor said, “He is coming to consciousness. Call his wife in”  As I stared wide-eyed trying to gauge the situation and the reality that I am alive and is in the hospital, I saw Madura coming near me. I could see her face was all swollen and tear-stained. She just kept staring at me without talking anything. The doctor was saying “Madam, your husband is a real lucky person, and he had actually come out of the jaw of death. Lucky,  that he fell on the platform instead of the gap between the train and platform.

I tried to speak. Seeing my moving lip movement doctor told Madura, “ Maybe he wants to say something to you”

Madura leant closer to me and said, “Yes Karan, tell me” With a great effort I managed to say, “ The password. is….”

Before I finish she stared at me for a moment and her expression turned into a shocked one,  as she turned to doctors and half screamed “ Doctor, look at Karan, I think the accident had affected his brain. He is blabbering something” The doctors rushed to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

education

A hundred diyas flickered

diyas

Revathi was holding the landline and was almost begging. “Sridhar, you promised that you will positively come for Diwali. For past three years, you had not come to India at all. You know how much preparation I was……”

Her son Sridhar calling from the US cut her sentence, and said,” But Amma, why can’t you just understand my problems. You are just repeating your lines. My children want to go to African Safari on this vacation and I cannot say no to them you know. Ok Ma, take care. Will talk later” She still held the dead receiver and buckling down she sat and started crying, Her husband Ramesh, watching her with sympathy came to her and took the receiver from her hand and placed it back.

He said, “Revathi how many time I am telling you not to build these castles in the air! By begging do you think he is going to come running to you? He is a grown up adult. Let him do what he wants. You had lived four years without seeing him. Let it be one more year. That is all!”

He turned inside and called the housemaid. When she came he asked her to bring a glass of water. Then giving that water to her he said with kindness,” Revathi you are attending Vedanta classes is it not? Don’t wish for things you cannot get. Be happy with what you are destined for”

Revathi looked at the kind face of her husband. She understood that if she cries he will feel hurt. Why punish him for some one’s mistake. She gulped her tears and said in a fake cheerful voice, “Good you reminded me of the Vedanta class. Last time I had borrowed Sita’s book and I had to return it” She got up and flashing a forced smile walked away.

That evening she sat on the porch and thought about Sridhar. Her only son! Who once wanted her all the time, for his every action. All his exams, she had throughout the night to give him company. How much he cried when he had to go to the US! Then slowly his interval of calling home lengthened and then his annual visit started dwindling. Revathi knew well that she should control her emotions and give away this unwanted craving. But it is not so easy for a mother’s heart.

The whole world was celebrating Diwali and there were lights everywhere. Her maid came and asked, “Madam shall I put some Diyas on the porch?”She answered with indifference, “If you feel like, then light some”

As the maid lighted about a dozen Diyas, she got up from the porch and started walking on the driveway. A large garland of crackers was burst by the neighbouring bungalow people. She shut her ears. As the cracker noise died, she saw that some burning pieces had fallen inside their garden. She walked to them and squashed them with her slippers. As she was about to turn she saw two little slum girls of age around six and four picking up the unburnt crackers from the rubbish. She wanted to stop them from getting hurt by some smouldering crackers and she called the girls. They turned back and looked shocked. The elder one said,   “ Auntie we are only picking up from the floor”  The fear, the innocence of those children stirred something in her heart. She said, “You come here. Don’t worry. I am not going to scold you” The girls held each other’s hand tight as if for support and holding their torn dress with another hand came near the gate.

Revathi said, “You two go home and tell all your friends living in your slum to come to my house, tomorrow evening for a Diwali party. I will give a lot of crackers for you to burst.” The girls blinked unbelievingly and said,” Really Aunty? You will give us crackers?”

She said, “Yes. I will give a lot of crackers” The two ran back madly screaming something. Revathi came inside. As she was giving her cook instruction the maid came and informed that there were two ladies from the slum and they had come to see her. As she reached the porch, the two women said hesitantly,” Maaji our children are saying that you are going to give some party for our slum children tomorrow. Is that really true or our children are bluffing?”

Revathi smiled and said, “Your children are telling the truth. Tomorrow brings all the slum children at about 5 PM. We will have a party”.  Both the ladies faces bloomed and they folded their hands and said, “Namaste Madam. We will get the kids tomorrow”

Ramesh was watching all this while reading his evening paper. Revathi suddenly seemed to have got a new lease of life. Ramesh owned a readymade garment factory. She telephoned the manager of the company and ordered him to get four cartons of new dresses for the children, from the age group of three to ten years. Then she called the driver and told him to get two big cartons of crackers as first thing in the morning. Ramesh now folded his paper and said,” Revathi I should also do some work for the celebration. How about ordering sweets and other dishes for the children?”

Both of them feverishly discussed the arrangements for the party. The next day the whole house was decorated.  Office staff members were called to help the party. At 5 sharp, children wearing their best dresses came in bunches. Revathi called all of them in the garden and there was so much fun and noise as the children happily played in the lawn and swing.

The maid came and told the children, “Since today is a big Diwali day, all of you first light the Diya’s for Madam’s house. Then we will have the party.

With the help of staff members, children lighted hundreds of Diyas. They filled all the compound wall and entire porch, every inch of the house with glowing Diya.

The children were then given sweets and the gift of a new dress. Latter together they burst crackers for an hour and thanking  Revathi went back home.

crackersparty1

Revathi stood in the centre of her garden and looked at the hundreds of diyas which flickered in her house, diyas after three long years. Ramesh watched her happiness with a smile.

She turned to husband and said, “I finally discovered my life. Hereafter there will be always laughter and happiness in my house.

hy-ouple

The slum children started coming every day in the evening and played to their heart content in Revathi garden. The grown up schooling girls from the slums, who attended morning school,  came and sat in the car garage in the afternoon for studying.  Revathi has vacated one of the garages for this purpose and had renovated the garage with lights and fans for the girls to study. Her life now became busy as she planned every day new things for the needy poor people.

Sridhar called one day and Ramesh picked up the phone. He said, “Anytime I call you say  Amma is busy. Why Papa? What is doing all the time?”

Ramesh looked through the window at his wife Revathi playing with a toddler from the slum happily and said,” She had found a new job for herself. She will call you as and when she is free. Please take care Sridhar and call some other time“

With a smile on his lips, he closed the line without disturbing Revathi’s happiness.

education

The greasy hands

tv-anchor

TV anchor  Ritu was busy checking the script given to her by her crew. Her cell phone jingled. Ved had sent an SMS to her, saying that he would be picking her up at 5 PM sharp. As she read the SMS a gentle smile bloomed into her lips.  Earlier her mother had almost given up her dreams of getting Ritu married till Ved came. Ritu’s expectations about the groom were so high, that no one was fitting into the frame. She not only wanted a highly educated, cultured man but also have a good taste of music, a voracious reader etc. To her mother’s relief, luckily they found Ved fitting into the picture.

The evening traffic was unexpectedly very heavy and Ved was struggling to drive. Ritu was getting worried that they were going to be late for her favourite Sitar recital.  Finally, the car had to stop as there was an accident in the front, and all the traffic was coming to a grinding halt. Cursing under the breath Ved tried to reverse the car when Ritu peeping out of the window saw her neighbour school girl  Minu standing in the crowd.

She said, “Ved my neighbour’s kid is there. Let me check what is wrong” With her heart in her mouth she was already out of the car when Ved pulled her hand and said,” Ritu, If it is an accident it will be a police case. Let us not get involved in that. Someone will help them. I don’t want to miss the music” Suddenly anger bubbled into her head and she hissed,” Ved leave my hand just now” Within seconds she rushed towards the crying girl.

The girl Minu came running to her and said,” Didi, see my brother Arvind. A car boy-accidentovershooting the signal hit him. My Papa, Mama is also not at home” Ritu hugged her and comforting her said, ” Don’t worry we will take Aravind to hospital” As she stood  worrying  what to do next, looking at the boy on the road, with a bleeding leg, one man with a dirty creased shirt moved closer to them and said, “ Minu  the taxi had come. Let us go to the hospital”

As the public helped the bleeding boy into the car, Ritu and Minu got into the back seat with the boy while that man got into the front seat. As the taxi started moving he took his cell phone and dialled a hospital number and told them to that he was bringing in an accident victim.

He turned to Ritu and said, “My name is Hari. In this traffic, Ambulance will take a lot of time to come. So I called the taxi. Since Mehta hospital is close by, we will take Aravind there” Ritu was comforting the girl while the boy Aravind seemed to be in a  state of shock and almost remained quite.

Reaching the hospital, the waiting staff wheeled Aravind into the causality room.  Ritu now dialled the number of the parents of Minu who were on their way back from Sridi and informed them gently about Arvind.Only then she remembered,  that the money is to be paid for admission.  But when she went to the reception she was told that the advance deposit was already paid by the Uncle of the boy, and the balance they can pay later.

All this time Ritu was thinking that Hari was someone known to Minu. But she was surprised when Minu told her that he just happened to come there when the crowd gathered and she did not know him at all. The doctor came out and said, “Aravind is fine now. There are only external injury and a minor fracture.  But boy’s Uncle Harish bringing the boy in time to hospital, and then donating the blood made a lot of difference to save the life of the boy“

Both Ritu and Minu stared at each other. He had called himself the uncle! Taking direction from a nurse for the blood donation room, they rushed to see Harish, but he had already left.

After a week Menu’s brother, Aravind came home, and the whole society was praising Ritu for her timely help when heart in heart she thought that actual credit belonged to  Harish.  But why should a man wear such a crushed shirt? Somehow the crushed shirt refused to leave her memory. After five days there was a phone call from Ved. She thought he was going to apologise. But he said very briefly, “Ritu I think we have to call off the marriage. We are almost  a world apart in the way we think”

Two months rolled by. One day when Ritu was in the car with her friend Meghan their car stopped on the way. Meghan said,” Luckily, our mechanic garage is nearby. I will call him” As she made a call on her cell phone and got out of the car, Ritu opened her book and started reading. She heard some voices but never paid any attention. Finally, Meghan got into the car. She heard a voice,”  Madam, please send the car tomorrow for service. I will look into the problem” The voice sounded familiar and before she could see the person the car moved away.

Meghan said,” My mechanic Hari is a very good man and is too polished for a mechanic. His father was first servicing our car and now he is doing the job”Ritu remembered the dirty wrinkled shirt. So Harish is a mechanic. A man, who has to repair cars for his bread, took an unknown child to the hospital and paid the admission fees from his pocket and vanished quietly before someone thanked him!.

Next day evening she took a taxi to that spot. Getting down she found the Garage. As she hesitantly walked into the garage a mechanic looked up and said, “Yes, Madam, What is the problem with your car?” As she blinked and looked around Harish came from the back side and said:” Yes Madam, Where is your car?”

She looked at him and said, “I don’t have a car, I came to see you” Harish just stared at her. There was no recognition in his eyes. With a surprised expression, he asked, “Me, for what Madam?”She said hesitantly, “Two months back near Dadar Circle a boy Aravind was run over by a car and…” Now a smile came in his face and he said, “Oh yes, now I remember. You are that girl’s Didi. Right? How is the boy now?”

As she looked around he said, “Please come to my office” She walked behind him to car-repairreach a small cubicle with a table. He pulled a chair and she sat down.

Harish said, “Now tell me, Madam. Why did you come all the way looking for me?” Ritu looked at him, the wrinkled, greasy shirt and said” “ the First question is why did you pay the money that day? The second question is why you ran away from there”

Harish laughed and said, “I did not know that I would be court-martialed for this. Generally when accidents happen sometimes people won’t have enough cash or credit card,  to pay for the admission.  Secondly, if I hang around many time people come thanking me and sometimes they try to give me cash etc for my help. So to avoid all that embarrassment I vanish ones my job is over”

Ritu was now taken aback. She said, “The way you say,  “That when accident happens etc,  looks as if our case was not the first one you attended”

Harish laughed sheepishly and said, “Yes I had attended some six or seven.  I had given my number to most of the constables and they call me when accident happen around here”

Ritu still blinked. Hari on his own said, “When I was in my final year of automobile engineering, my father met with an accident. The accident did not kill him. But he was on the road for four hours, and he died of bleeding.  I dropped out of college and took over his garage. As much as possible I tried to save the accident victims. I don’t want another person to die for lack of help” There was dead silence as both sat in silence.

Ritu was tossing in the bed for a long time that night. She was ashamed of her own pride and the importance she attached to status, education, career etc. Ved had everything, but he lacked a human heart, the kindness which is the essence of life. Hari was always with a greasy hand, but he had a heart which was filled with kindness and sympathy for all unknown persons.

One day Ritu asked about   Hari to her mother. Her mother said, ” Ritu when we think of compatibility in marriage we look for the highly educated person because we all have an age old belief that education will make a person cultured. Culture is not just opening the car door for a lady or waiting for the lady to sit first.  Culture is when you don’t hurt another person’s feeling and be always kind in heart. Finally,  the  warmth and kindness for each other is the only factor which works in long run in marriage”

After two months when the famous TV anchor Ritu married a car mechanic she was the topic of gossip everywhere. It is difficult for the world to understand, anything beyond the word, “the Status”

 

 

 

 

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