This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Women End up Being
Ascent of the
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
Develop a Sense of
Dr. Kiran Bedi
Let the World Catch Up With You
CEO (Global Operations) : Nischinta Editor-in-Chief : Swati Amar Deputy Editor : Namrata Amarnath Associate Editor : Valsala Menon Head, Graphics & Design : Ashwini Raje .Bhonsle Editor Art & Culture: Malini Shankar Production Executive : B.Sabitha Marketing Coordination: Sivakumar Editor, TeenMag: Kirthi Gita Jayakumar Social Media Exe & Assoc Editor, TeenMag Alexandreena Sneha Radhish Advertising & Mktg: R.Ravichandran Prashant Kirthivasan Circulation: Jaganathan, James Expert Panel: Karti Chidambaram Padmashri Dr.V.Mohan Mallika Badrinath Brinda Jayaraman Dr. Priya Selvaraj Vijaya Chamundeeswari Usha Subramaniam Chitra Mahesh Writer’s Panel: Nischinta (New York) Namrata (Jodhpur) Gayatri T.Rao (Mumbai) Chandrika Radhakrishnan (Bengaluru) Priyanka Sakhamuru ( Hyderabad) Prof. N.Natarajan Padmini Natarajan Kanchana Rao Kirthi Gita Jayakumar Jinal Patel (Pune) Niranjana Hariharanandan (Pune) Geeta Canpadee (China) Radha Chandrasekar (Singapore) Kshitij ( London) Aarti Kamat (Kolkata) Anuradha Ganeshan (Bengaluru) G V Ashok Murthy (Bengaluru) Rishi Wadhwa, Mumbai Bhagya L. Ayyavoo, Chennai Jayalakshmi Saroj, New Delhi
spite of the financial meltdown in 2008-09 and the more recent economic slowdown, the US remains a hot destination for South Asians, whose immigration into the country has risen nearly 10 percent over the last decade. And Indians make up about 90 percent of this influx. So, we decided that reporting on changes in job trends among Indian women, against a framework steeped in gender and ethnicity barriers would be relevant and inspiring. Indian women, who are increasingly choosing to stray off the beaten path of medicine, engineering or IT, are competing with their Caucasian counterparts for management leadership positions or jobs in the media or airline industries, which continue to be dominated by White males, according to a study conducted by a team of researchers from Purdue University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Indian women based in the US find it equally challenging to match their salaries with those of Indian men who hold similar positions in near-identical jobs. According to the US census bureau, less than 20 percent of Indian women net an annual income of more than $60,000, compared to more than 40 percent of men who do. However, nearly 40 percent of Indian women earn less than $13,000 as against 20 percent of men. Rather than feeling victimized in such a landscape, many Indian women who reside abroad are embarking on innovative entrepreneurial ventures that not only allow them to apply their skills and talents in a global knowledge economy but also serve societies and create jobs and opportunities for millions of qualified professionals who are either dissatisfied with topnotch corporate jobs or searching for work and waylaid by mainstream recruiters. Although the US is floundering to create more jobs to harness the skills and talents of the unemployed, here’s a silver lining in the cloud:The country is extending a conducive business environment for women who wish to go the entrepreneur’s way. In addition to training and mentorship programs aimed at helping women business owners manage their enterprises, the US government aims to award at least 5 percent of all business contracts to female-owned establishments. Another popular trend is a growing volume of social impact investments among venture capitalists, who are keener on identifying and investing in sustainable social enterprises. Furthermore, international development
Eve’s Times Group
Volume 7 Issue 7 for the month of March 2013. Price Rs. 50/Reg Off : # 18/1 2nd Cross Street Dr.RadhakrishnanNagar, Tiruvanmiyur,Ch 41 E Mail: email@example.com Ph: 91 44 24526739/ 91 44 24521813 Printed by K. Elumalai at Sakthi Scanners (P) Ltd., No 7 Dams Road, Chindadripet, Ch 600 002 Published by Smt. Kamala Balachandran On behalf of Eve’s Times Group. Editor-in-Chief Lata Amarnath.All rights reserved Reproduction in any form is prohibited Eve’s Times Group does not take the responsibility for returning unsolicited publication material.All views expressed in the articles are those of the authors.
kingpins like the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation are making private sector investment climate reforms high on their priority list to help small businesses grow the world over. Even if finding investors for your enterprise is a daunting task, online and social media outlets are stepping in to offer new ways of raising money through avenues like crowd-funding, viral marketing, customer building and fundraising across digital communities and stakeholder forums. In the US, women own half of all small businesses, which contribute more than 50 percent to the country’s national income. And a fresh crop of Indian-born or Indian-origin women entrepreneurs is taking corporate America by the horns with an undying passion that will inspire millions of women worldwide. These evolving trendsetters include Ranjini Poddar, cofounder and president of New Jersey-based Artech information systems, Chanda Zaveri, founder-owner of skin care companies, Actiogen and Skin Healix, Sonu Ratra, president of Akraya Inc., a California-based staffing and project management enterprise, Priti Parikh, president of Sweta Systems, which is an Arizona-based technology firm, and Anjali Ramakumaran, CEO of Ampcus Inc., a Virginiabased business and technology consultancy. Chanda Zaveri’s story is especially poignant. At the age of 17, she fled from her home in Calcutta and arrived in the US in
1984 to escape from an arranged marriage. Over the years, she has emerged as one of the world’s leading molecular biologists, with her companies, Skin Healix and Actiogen grossing a combined annual turnover of $150 million (INR 800 crore). Over the past decade, Ranjini Poddar’s Artech Information Systems, which was founded in 1992, has seen an encouraging growth trajectory, which has brought forth more than more than 6000 employees and over $225 million in revenues from IT consulting, project outsourcing and workforce solutions. Success stories like these will encourage millions of Indian women to move heaven and earth to follow their hearts and share their knowledge, experiences and talents with a global citizenry. On that note, standing up for who you are, and thinking of pioneering ways to contribute to the world with your ideas and visions will go a long way in promoting sustainable economic and human development at a time when the world needs it. Nischinta CEO Global Operations
Ascent of Indian Women
9|Creating an equitable society Kiran Mazumdar 11|Everybody should develop a sense of responsibility Kiran bedi 14|Women end up being victims Sharmila Tagore 17|Unheard voices Mallika Sarabhai
Mirror -Women who vanquished fate
37|Destiny by choice 39|The inspiring duo 41|Beyond adversity 42|Aiming high
Acid Victims- The Burning Truth!
58|Corroded! 60|Atrocities continue unabated. 69|CITIZEN’S VOICE 73|Dawn for the Indian woman Brinda Jayaraman 76|Many facets of the Indian woman
34|She dared! - On Usha Rani
We recommend that readers make proper enquiries and seek appropriate advice before remitting money, incurring any expenditure, acting on any medical recommendations or entering into any commitment in relation to any advertisement published herein. Eve’s Times will not vouch for any claims made by the advertisers of products and services. The Printer, Publisher, Editor and Owner of Eve’s Times shall not be held liable for any consequences , in the event such claims are not honoured by the advertisers.
Department of Media Sciences College of Engineering Guindy . Anna University,Chennai-25.
“A NATIONAL LEVEL MEDIA FEST”
SCREENING SHORT FILM ANIMATION FILM AD FILM
ONLINE EVENTS POSTER DESIGNING CAPTCHA Z-AXIS
DEBATE VJ HUNT SELL-A-WAY
ONE LAKH ES WORTH P R I Z
Contact:9944459575, 9566028114. www.gatewayfest.com
about good move and distinguishes
Your Voice is our Inspiration
Live in Relationships
Under Indian Law
What’s normal about being different?
Gen next’s opinion on relationships today
A compendium of Information for those interested in studying abroad
What is the recipe for Vikas Khanna’s success?
Letters to the editor
of life. Unfortunately many useful man-hours of learning and earning are being lost as youngsters revel in unwanted and transient pleasures of life. Much later in life they would realize their folly, but it would be too late. It is important for the media to spread awareness about this.
February issue of Eve’s Times dealt with the issue of Relationships in a very mature and effective manner. All nuances of the present day interactions have been dealt with and the focus on the youngsters gave a glimpse into the whys of relationships with candour. I am a person who, while being modern in my thinking and action, have still not attuned myself to the current fad of temporary or time pass relationships and feel that youngsters should behave responsibly with the liberty and unconditional love their parents give them. Instead of wasting time emulating western countries, Indians, being endowed with much intelligence and talent, should focus on achieving some useful goals during their most productive years
your magazine from other publications. The laws dealing with live-in relationships, polygamy, love and marriage were quite informative. The views of youngsters on livein relationships were diverse and made interesting read. I also loved the way unisex relationships were handled. A unique perspective indeed!
Mohit Mane, Mumbai
Soaring to the Skies
Your Feb issue was Fab! For students like us, it is indeed a wealth of information about studying abroad. The entire range of articles giving information about different universities, courses, financial aids, visa formalities and countries is indeed very
G. Manoharan, Chennai
comprehensive and will help students like us who are looking at global education seriously. You have almost convinced some of us to take up a course in China, something which we had never considered. My friends and I once again thank Eve’s Times for the detailed information on studying abroad.
Priya, Tara, Rajesh, Sridhar and Manju, Legal Aspects of Live-in students from Chennai
I would like to appreciate the wealth of legal awareness that is being created by Eve’s Times, which no other magazine offers. This is a very
ASCENT OF THE INDIAN
al Wom n
D en’s ay
Creating an Equitable Society is Possible
the wake of the recent crimes against women, Eve’s Times decided to get the view of the woman who has done our country proud globally by establishing an Industrial Empire in a challenging field. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has proved her mettle in a world of inequality and in an industry which was never considered a woman’s forte. Here’s what Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairman & Managing Director of Biocon Limited and one of the world’s 100 most powerful women (2012, according to Forbes Magazine) has to say: What do you think of the recent upheavals happening in the country with regard to the way women are being treated- The One Billion Rising campaign for example? Aren’t we being idealists in thinking that such campaigns actually awaken humanity to not commit such crimes or does everything depend on one’s upbringing and the laws that we have for crimes against women?
Point taken. However, what according to you are/could be the reasons for a woman in our country to be treated like an object of desire, to be treated disrespectfully and exploited physically, psychologically, financially and sexually? A patriarchal society could also mean a society of men protective about their women and not necessarily a society of men who think they can call anything a woman does provocative to impel heinous crimes. How, in your opinion, can we bring about a change?
part of my journey. However, I did face gender barriers in availing of bank finance and even recruiting people. Today, there still exists an unfair gender bias towards business women. However, I do believe that women are capable of succeeding against the odds. How would you suggest women confront challenges that arise from being a woman and work toward success?
KMS: Through initiatives that enable women to play a role in the economic mainstream.
Through job quotas for women in the unskilled sectors. Through skilling programs for self-employment. Through leadership development programs for women managers. Through education for women. Through equal pay mandates. We need to see more women in politics, the judicial and legal systems, in the police and the armed forces.
You have created a corporate empire on your own strengths. Looking back, do you believe that the male mindset towards women ever acted as a hurdle in the way of the establishment, progress and success of your enterprise? Putting it differently, do you believe that had you been a man, your path would have been easier?
Just focus on succeeding and it is then possible to overcome even the most insurmountable challenges.
Do you believe that the plight of the Indian woman and the mindset of every Indian male towards the women around would ever change?
society needs sensitization and campaigns that remind us that women’s issues are important and that safety of women is a big concern in our country. I do believe that for far too long, civil society has turned a blind eye to the ills and wrong doings within our communities. We have become a lawless country because we have ignored this growing malaise. Dowry deaths happen across all strata of our society, so what “upbringing” are we talking about? The so called educated people have no respect or regard for women. Even judges have a gender bias so don’t you think women need to be supported through various forums?
KMS: Yes. The younger generation is far more accepting of women as their equals than my generation. Education and sensitization will bring about change.
That was very insightful, Mrs. Shaw. Thank you for taking time out for the interview. One does hope that one sees many more women stand up with conviction and a society which steadily sensitizes itself to treat all its members as equals in every sphere.
KMS: Not in my case as I was a pioneer and had no male competitors in the early
March 2013 9
station. It is not a sensitive service; it is very mechanical. To change the scenario we have to change the culture of policing which means culture towards public service.”
Dr. Kiran Bedi
“Our police do not have sensitivity at the police
Everybody Should Develop a Sense of Responsibility
is the first and highest ranking woman of Indian Police Service. She has been globally acknowledged for her innovative, humanitarian and courageous approach in policing and social service. And she has been and continues to be the darling of the media ever since her outstanding performance in handling tough assignments ranging from New Delhi traffic postings to the present day fight against corruption as a retired IPS officer. A woman with much clarity and understanding of self, family, social and political life, we are proud to present Dr. Kiran Bedi, who shares her candid and bold views with Eve’s Times.
What qualities do you believe, define you as a woman?
‘The consciousness’. I am a very conscious woman whether I am at work or at home or I do my task as a conscientious citizen. I define myself as a conscious woman and it is my strength. That is why I remain very sensitive to anything and so I am very much self-driven. Being conscious is being self-driven.
Coming from a family of four girls, do you think your upbringing has played a major role in shaping your character as a woman?
Given today’s ambience in the country, in the background of the global awareness about the status of Indian woman ( or the lack of it!) do you believe more women in the police force will make a difference?
Absolutely, it is the foundation. It is a very pure and strong foundation. It had no adulteration in it. It is made up of purity and sacrifice.
Yes, more women with sound and sports background and with the right attitude will make a difference. It is not the question of women but it is the question of attitude and willingness to work and willingness to serve (that matters most in the police force).
Do you think women have been and are being treated with respect by the police personnel in our country?
What are your views about the Justice Verma Report and the ordinance that followed?
upbringing, schooling, and nutrition. The Indian woman is denied equal opportunities.
It must be implemented in totality.
It is very superficial. Women are not fully integrated into the service in our country.
What do you think should be done to change the mindset?
Do you think that when a woman goes to a police station with a complaint, she is being attended to, her complaint is lodged promptly and the police extend their support and help to her?
Do you believe the ordinance is fair and covers all aspects with respect to crime against women? What do you think are the flaws? What do you think are the positives?
No, it is only one part of it. It is a very small part of it. Justice Verma panel has to recommend electoral reforms, police reforms, judicial reforms and legal reforms. The ordinance is only one part of it. But it is a step in the right direction.
Women should have parents like mine who gave all opportunities ,not just equal opportunity. They should have parents like mine who provided and enabled all opportunities and that too of the highest quality. What are your views about even political leaders disclosing their prejudices and gender biases against women openly without any qualms?
Most of the experiences of women who go to the police station are unsavoury. Why is this so?
Our police do not have sensitivity at the police station. It is not a sensitive service; it is very mechanical. To change the scenario we have to change the culture of policing which means culture towards public service.
Why do you think there has been an increase in crime against women in our country, despite the fact that there has been progress in several quarters?
Because the standards of upbringing , schooling, education, law enforcement and punishment are poor.
They are a backward class. When they say that, they are becoming a backward class. They are backward in their thinking. They need reeducation. To change this scenario we need better parents, better teachers and better law enforcers and justice system.
What are your views about rape of women in police custody/ by police officers? What punishment do you think must be given to such police personnel?
What are your views about the Indian woman’s status in India?
What are your views about the change in the political scenario in India?
It is secondary and weak.
That would be the most criminal and most shameful act. Nothing could be more shameful than that. The punishment for those criminals should be to be hanged till death.
Do you believe that the Indian woman has been constrained in several aspects due to a patriarchal set up?
The voter must make the voting conditional to develop. If every voter votes responsible and elects leaders of honesty and integrity, it will lead to the overall development of the country.
Most of them are denied opportunities at all levels like
It is convenient for political parties to keep the masses perpetual ignorance,
March 2013 11
poverty and prevent the rise of the thinking class such that unworthy and avaricious people can make it as leaders. Given that the values of our country have been eroded badly, how can any group of people even aspire to offer a viable alternative to the people to be elected and bring about a change in the present pathetic political scenario? Do you believe we can ever bring about a change? Yes, we can. When the critical mass of urban and rural is developed. When we have a critical mass of well educated people, it will drive the change. What qualities should women develop to ensure that they can think and act freely, elicit respect and lead productive and useful lives?
Do what is right. What you think it is right but not what you want. Define your definition of “what is right” and answer your own conscience
common crimes committed by women? What are the most prominent reasons for crime by women? Do women criminals change after imprisonment ? They are mostly crimes of passion and crimes of theft and committed more out of poverty and ignorance. And all of them are reformable with some reforms or programs of reform.
Number One with a Bullet
We have read a lot about the tough times you had during your childhood and how you rose above various difficult circumstances to establish yourself as a successful and India’s first woman police officer. What gave you the motivation to surge forward? What is your advice to women who languish in similar circumstances?
What are views about punishment?
It should be available for two acts- for the actions against the state and for the brutality of crimes against women. Any instance during your career when you had to handle a difficult crime? How did you handle it?
Self confidence and self esteem.
What are your views about young Indians?
You must know what you want. You must have the clarity of purpose in life. You must know what life is meant for each one of us. It will help you to achieve more. I realized that early in life and here I am today.
They must grow up with a sense of responsibility. Many crimes are being Q. committed due to the rise in the culture of ‘relationships’ which has made inroads in our country during the past decade. Murder, suicide, acid attacks, honor killings are all fallouts of this new trend of ‘relationships’. What are your views about ‘relationships’?What would your advice be to the daughters of India in this regard? Always answer your conscience.
How supportive has your family been in your endeavours?
All through my life, especially with my three district charges which are DIG Range Mizoram, and my two district police assignments in which I dealt with lots of difficult crime situations on a daily basis. The most memorable crime you have solved that gave you immense satisfaction?
It’s been hundred and ten percent out of hundred. What do you think Q. impelled you to take up social causes during your career and afterwards? My sensitivity towards justice. Having held responsibilities as in charge of prisonswhat are your views about women criminals? What are
I did everything with satisfaction. For me every crime needs attention and I resolved each one to my satisfaction. Finally- a message to young girls and Indian women in general. I would like to say “Have a responsible behaviour with optimum utilization of resources.” Joseph Aloysius
Women End up Being Victims all the Time
Photo Credit: Jack
harmila Tagore stands testimony to the intrinsic strengths of the Indian Woman who, when the doors of opportunities are opened by her own effort, surges forward circumventing any obstacle that may come her way and evolves into the person she dreams to be. For those who have had the interest to keep track of her journey in the Indian cinema and afterward, the transformation of the petite and innocent girl child of the globally renowned filmmaker late Satyajit Ray’s Bengali film, ‘Apur Sansar’, in 1959 to the Chairperson of the Censor Board and now the socially concerned citizen of a country in transition is remarkable. Sharmila has left several footprints in the sands of time that have snared an eternal niche for her in the world of cinema. Thousands of young men’s heart went wild watching the mischievous, dimpled smile of the young lass in ‘Kashmir ki Kali’. Millions of film lovers wept with her as she beseeched to God to spare the life of her son in ‘Aradhana’, immortalizing the pristine, unconditional love of the Indian mother and her inherent nature of supreme sacrifice. Sharmila’s dimpled charm and her histrionics have left an indelible imprint in the annals of Indian cinema. During a tete-a-tete with Sharmila Tagore when she visited Chennai for a panel discussion, Malini Shankar explores hitherto uncharted territories. Excerpts:
Once a film receives a censor board certification, it should be allowed to be screened. Banning is absolutely not the answer. And yes, the decision of CBFC is final and binding.
You are also active in many social issues and problems in the country and are involved with an NGO. What do you intend to achieve and how do you measure your contribution to such causes? (One’s) Contribution cannot be measured or quantified. I just play my role and each activity is an experience for me.There are so many social organizations which are actively involved in social causes and improvement is seen gradually in the section for which they work. I work for that kind of improvement in the society which can be felt and seen. They cannot be measured or quantified or I do not do them for name sake or fame etc.
We understand that you had visited a rape victim in Jaipur. You have also been quoted as being against Death penalty for the rape-accused. What do you think would be the right punitive measure in instances like the Delhi Gang rape? I am personally against death penalty. This has not worked in South American countries where rape cases are the largest in number. In southern states of America where death penalty exists the crime rate is the highest; so it is not really a deterrent. Rigorous imprisonment for entire life is a better way of punishing somebody. I personally feel that a life imprisonment without parole could be the best punishment. Only in the rarest of rare cases death punishment should be given. I see a positive approach in Justice Verma report. The team has not succumbed to passion and has desisted from recommending death penalty, which stems from the belief that the state must establish an ethical standard of public morality and cannot take somebody’s life. However, Sharmila also felt the report was silent on issues like the three-month trial period demanded by women rights groups. She expressed concern about the Suryanelli case and felt the minister Kurien should resign on his own till he is proved innocent and comes out clean. Why is this not happening? She queried.
We congratulate you on your Padma Award and Life Time Achievement Award at the Jaipur Lit festival. What do literary festivals mean to you since you seem to be participating in a number of such events of late? Literary festivals are platforms for exchange of ideas.They rise above cultural and regional issues and bring together ideas and creativity from different authors. Also one gets to meet eminent writers and poets from different parts of the country. I had also released a book on my late husband Pataudi at the Jaipur Festival and at the Kolkota Festival.
In the wake of the Viswaroopam fracas , as the former Chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification, what are your views on the ban of the film? According to the Indian Cinematograph Act, is the decision of the CBFC final and binding on all stakeholders?
Do you think Bengal is still the cultural capital of India? The south feels they have been neglected despite their rich culture. Some Padma awardees feel justice has not been done. What are your views on that? Though you say honour cannot be demanded- but one does feel deserving cases have been sidelined for whatever reasons. We have to rise above all these issues of regionalism, recognition etc. Every region in the country has its own culture and it is to be cherished. Awards may come when they have to come. I don’t think Bengal is the cultural capital (of India). The South is also admired for many qualities- mainly discipline, intellectual pursuits - you have great mathematicians and also art, literature, music and dance- schools like Kalakshetra etc. It is ok. You havemade yourself heard by crying for awards. But one must divert attention and contribute to more meaningful issues like upliftment of the society such as basic needs like food, electricity, shelter and education for the needy and the poor.
Well times and values have changed. I have myself seen four-year olds using profanities. Who is to be blamed? Why is Bollywood seen as a culprit for everything? What about the media in general, TV, Internet etc? What about the roles of parent and teachers in shaping children and giving them good values? Real culture and behavior starts at home and the values taught by our own people. If we believe in our tradition and culture then it is our moral responsibility to inculcate them in our children and hope for a better change. I have seen parents encouraging their daughter to dance to obscene filmy numbers myself so who is to be blamed? Also why are women blamed for everything? What about men? They are responsible for most of the crimes in the society and they seem to get away with it. Women end up being victims all the time.
Coming from the illustrious family of Tagores and being involved in several activities, do you intend writing a book someday- penning down your varied experiences as an actor, chairperson of CBFC , a mother of famous children , wife of a celebrity cricketer ( A Royal one at that )? Yes, I do hope to write a book some day as I am getting old. My grandmother was five years old when she got married and she gave birth at 12. Today times are different but my grandchildren and coming generations should know and it should be some kind of an archive for them to see and feel the kind of life we have lived. I would also like to set the record straight on many issues. This can be done only through penning down my side of the experience and views.
Some perceive that your sophistication, creativity and distinct style of acting have stemmed from your lineage and experience – your launch into filmdom by none other than Satyajit Ray, the Tagore lineage and grooming. You don’t see that kind of cultural orientation, and grooming from being thorough-bred, commitment and dedication or the extent of toil in today’s bandwagon of actors, for that matter, even in your children or daughter-in-law. What do you think are the reasons for this? Don’t you feel you should leave that as a legacy to your children’s generation? No. I have no answer for this question. Each one is different in his/her own way. There is no rubber stamp. My children/ generation are mature enough to learn from life and evolve themselves as good and true citizens.
Though you have given your views on present day Bollywood films, what do you think can be done so that today’s youth can develop interest in Indian culture?
rominent among the vociferous voices that are heard in the corridors of the Parliament, various forums across the country, theatres, visual media and every possible vehicle of communication is that of Mallika Sarabhai, the most popular among Indian mavericks and promoters of social change. That in a nutshell sums up all that Mallika has been and is. It is not fair to pigeonhole her as a woman, a performing artiste and a theatre personality, an actor, a publisher or a politician. She is all that and much more.
In recent times Mallika became renowned for her candidature in March 2009 against the BJP’s L K Advani for the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat, as an independent. Though she lost the elections she described her candidature as a Satyagraha against the politics of hatred. Her theatre production, ‘Unsuni’ is a hard hitting play which brings out all that is wrong in our political and social set up. She is striving to transform “Ahmedabad Rising’ her creative endeavour as a vehicle of social change. For the uninformed, Mallika Sarabhai is the daughter of India’s great scientist Vikram Sarabhai and eminent danseuse Mrinalini Sarabhai.
Eve’s Times is privileged to carry an interview with Mallika Sarabhai, bringing out her voice loud and clear in its clamour for the much needed social change in our country. Over to Mallika Sarabhai:
Through your play ‘Unsuni’, you seem to be impelled to convey certain messages to the society. Hailing from a privileged family, how much have you been impacted by the ‘horrors of the lives of the less fortunate in India’? I come from a family that has always not only been impacted but has worked towards making a difference. Whether it was my great aunt starting the first textile labour union, Majoor Mahajan, in the 1915 era, or my aunt Mridula starting Jyoti Sangh the first women’s safe house in the 30s. I was brought up being concerned and pushed to action.
You have entered the political arena during the last elections. What motivated you to take such a decision? What difference did you want to make? To show that one can be clean and effective and not get sucked in by the venality of the surroundings and systems. And deliver to the last person what she deserves and rightfully demands.
Do you believe the masses in India live a life of dignity? If your answer is no, what do you think is the prime reason(s) behind this state of affairs? The lack of true concern for the last person’s well being or dignity on the part of politicians and rulers of all kinds. If our people were truly empowered we would chase away the charlatans and looters who rule and run this country.
How do you think we can create a political system where responsible men and women of integrity, commitment and passion are elected to be the representatives of our people in the Parliament given that our elections have created a culture of freebies to woo the masses? Do you think this is possible? We first must become people like that and then demand it of others. If we want to continue cheating and getting ahead and then expect them to behave differently, that is not possible. And we must have a system that forthwith strips those with proven illegal wealth and those who break any law.
Why do you think in a country that has a rich cultural heritage and exemplary values, there are numerous instances of human rights transgressions? We may have once had “rich values” but today we are driven by greed, self promotion, fear and hatred. That is what globalization and the equating of wealth with happiness have done to us. Our leaders build our fears and insecurities by telling us that anyone different – in belief, colour caste – is out to get us unless we get them first. It’s a frog eats frog world that they have created and we have bought into.
What are your views about the current political scenario in our country where scams involving several crores are being unraveled almost regularly? And the involvement of the Armed Forces too? I think we are in a sorrier state than in our entire history
Do you believe that Indian women are ‘starved of life’? How and why?
Indian women do not really have a life. We live scripts created for us by others. Family maryada, caste, culture, patriarchy determine what we do, who we are, how diminished a life we accept. We don’t even think we have the right to “be” let alone have our own dreams or the right to walk fearlessly as an Indian citizen or a citizen of the world.
Given the huge outcry by young women and men in the aftermath of the Delhi Gang Rape, do you believe that the pathetic status of the Indian woman has now come out in the open? What are your views about the clamor for a change in the mindset of the society toward women? How is this possible? I think the Justice Verma committee report is excellent and we must push it to be accepted if we want to see change. We also need a huge education campaign to change misogynist mindsets across the board, and we at Ahmedabad Rising are setting out to do just that with a long term plan, and partnerships with educational institutions. The Ordinance that the government is trying to put through misses many marks and won’t do at all.
Changing the Social Mindset is Imperative
Woman should stop being submissive and show by her actions that her thinking and actions are justified! Unless she stands up for herself, she cannot command respect from her male counterparts.
udha Ragunathan, musician par excellence, needs no introduction. Despite her hectic schedule, the reigning queen of Carnatic Music and a conscientious citizen that she is, Sudha did not hesitate to speak at length on the various issues that assail contemporary India, in the throes of a huge transformation.
How do you react to what is happening to Indian women all over the country?
Injustice and abuse of women have been continuing for years and decades, but only now, have we succeeded in creating awareness worldwide about the issue. After the Delhi gang rape and the acid burn attacks, now people are rising up in protest against abuse of women. That is to be appreciated. At least now, there is a sea change happening. I am sure attitudes will change and there will be a positive impact all around.
What can be done to change the
deep rooted bias against women prevailing in the society? Deep rooted bias, understandably has to be changed, it has to be uprooted right from its very foundations. It is all a question of attitude. Men should be broadminded enough to accept women as partners and equals. Women have proven to be successful in all spectrums of life. Men need to tune their minds to accept the fact that the women in their lives should not only be given equal status, but they also need to remind themselves from time to time, that women too are human! So why then do we need to have gender bias? We are in fact stronger emotionally, and we are well able to withstand a lot of pressure and stress. Attitude shifts need to take place and men ought to retune themselves.
it will definitely take a while. It won’t happen overnight. But we are well on our way to being accorded our rightful place in the society, and we have started to command respect from everyone. Women are not looked down upon these days, they have started realizing that we are stronger, even physically and emotionally too we are more stable. We women too have evolved. Nowadays we have understood that we must maintain our health; health is wealth and in the long run, a healthy lady stands to gain by being strong and stable enough to bond the family together.
What do you think should be our approach to ensure the value of human rights and respect toward all human beings, especially women, children, differentlyabled and weaker sections change for the better? Self esteem is the answer. Self esteem is most important to ensure respect from all. Husbands take it for granted that a wife can be admonished and can be made to dance to his beck and call. It should be established that women should be given due respect in front of everyone. No one has the right to physically or verbally abuse anyone. In order to command respect, primarily a woman should be able to command respect. That happens only when she learns to respect herself. Women should stop being submissive and show by her actions that her thinking and actions are justified! Unless she stands up for herself, she cannot command respect from her male counterparts.
As mothers, we too strive to get our girl children well educated, and creating awareness in them regarding the atrocities happening in the society and teaching them to be alert. More importantly, we women command respect when we teach our kids to be helpful when they see atrocity happening around them. Instead of shunning or shutting out happenings around the world, teach your girls to voice out their protests and encourage them to lend a helping hand when required. Women are no longer meek. We are in the stage of a metamorphosis.
How can we reinvent values and create a synergy between those and the new global values of today?
Do you believe culturally and socially Indian women are accorded a respectful place in the society?
Synergy can be created by being open minded. We need to synergize our cultural values to what the world has to offer. When this bonding happens, something constructive and creative can be worked out and change for the good will happen. Our youngsters are so much into relationship issues these days. The flip side is, we need to tell them frankly that we need to be stronger, and have our own boundaries. The young need to think whether getting in and out of relationships is good for them.
In developed nations, women are granted immense freedom and respect. But in developing countries like India, we have been growing under the umbrella of subservience and subjugation, when it comes to women. To remove that ideology and stigma from the minds of people,
But we need to grant it to them, children these days are wiser. With the advent of the internet and the social media, they do not need their parents to advise them. Children are definitely more mature, well read and self sufficient these days. When it comes to synergy of values, they just need to form their own values and decide what is best for them in the long run.
hand to other women on our own, to make a difference. Each one of us must wake up to the fact that we have a personal responsibility to help other families and others who are prone to being abused. There are several ranks and modes of exploitation- gang rape and acid throwing are just two of them. Even women in good families are exploited. We need to put across the message loud and clear that women are in no way need to be submissive . We do respect men. So too they should respect us.
What would be your counsel to other women on how to protect their dignity, respect and remain free of exploitation?
I don’t believe that a person’s dressing style should spark off exploitation of any kind. Dressing with decorum is a question of individual perception .We do not have any right to comment or impose on others. We can prevent exploitation by having a say through our own body language, the way we project ourselves to others. It is the totality of you that spells ‘you’. Every woman should make self respect and self esteem their top priority. Study well, get into good jobs, carve out a career for yourselves, and be economically independent. This is the step by step process to proving to yourself what you are, and automatically you will draw respect from society. There are umpteen ways in which you can get exploited. We just need to be always aware and ever alert. When you suspect that someone is making advances at you, make it very clear through your demeanor that you are not up to playing games.
Do you believe that women should come together to voice their views against aggression and crime?
Yes we do need to come together to voice our protest against aggression and exploitation. But that doesn’t stop exploitation at all. Expression in unity will create awareness , and while each of us should pitch in , I personally feel that each one of us can do something responsibly in our own unique way to fight against aggression. Not only women but men too are also awakening to the fact that not only our families should be made secure , but we need to extend a helping
FROM ALAPPUZHA TO AGNI
gainst the background of a pure cerulean sky, the missile soared high. Agni IV was successfully flight tested on 15 November 2011, from the Interim Test Range at Wheeler Island, Odisha. The next launch on 19 September was also a success.” The sophisticated nuclear – capable strategic missile with a strike range of about 4000 km was lighter in weight than earlier versions and had two stages of solid propulsion. The pay load with re-entry shield can withstand more than 3000 degree Celsius,” the country’s vital Defense Research and Development Organization sources said. The print media, television, radio and the internet flashed the news that the Project Director of Agni IV was a woman. She is referred to as the “Agni Putri,” and “India’s Missile Woman.” The woman who has successfully broken gender barriers in the male dominated strategic weapons and nuclear capable ballistic missile programme is Tessy Thomas. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh stated in the Indian Science Congress that Thomas
is an example of ‘a woman making her mark in a traditionally male bastion and decisively breaking the glass ceiling’. I watched Tessy Thomas on the television receiving the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year 2012 Award. She was dressed in a silk sari, her curly hair adding fullness to her face, with a ready smile. She looked half shy and half embarrassed with all the praise. She repeated again, as she had earlier in all her interviews, that the success and credit was not hers alone. “It is a total team effort.” Strangely, I had met Tessy Thomas 20 years ago, in 1993, at the International Women’s Day celebration at DRDL. (Defense Research & Development Laboratory). The women scientists and women employees had organized it for the first time. Tessy was on stage welcoming the gathering. She didn’t look like a spectacled, serious looking scientist with a string bag on her shoulders. She was full of energy. She had a ready smile and the twinkle in her eyes compelled you to watch her. She was fully in control of the event.
Tessy was born in Alappuzha (Alleppey) in Kerala in 1963. It is often called the ‘Venice of the East.” It is a town with pristine backwaters and coconut palm lined water ways. It has a relaxed, laid back feel to it. Tessy’s father was an accountant and her mother a home maker. She has five siblings, four sisters and a brother. Tessy has always had unstinted support from them. Her early education was at St Joseph’s Girls High School in Alappuzha and she did her B Tech in Electrical Engineering from Government Engineering College at Trichur followed by ME from DIAT,(Defense Institute of Armament Technology, Pune )and MBA from IGNOU. She is now pursuing her Ph D in Missile Guidance! I spoke to Tessy Thomas and her responses were spontaneous. Excerpts:
and that she had faced no gender bias in DRDO. Yet, I couldn’t resist asking her the question.
Is there any discrimination at workplace?
No, science has no gender. You need to improve your worth by putting in effort to learn and execute the job assigned. Defense R & D (Research and Development) is a knowledgebased field where knowledge is shared without any bias.
Many women do a tight –rope walk between home and career. Women scientists of DRDO are no exception. How do you balance a career, home and motherhood? It is really tough and one needs to balance it. I am a totally prepared person to deal with each day.
Why did you decide to join DRDO?
From my childhood I was fascinated byscience and mathematics. I had an opportunity to visit Thumba Rocket Launching Station, which lit an inner spark in me for taking up science subjects and I developed an interest in the field of science.
On 19 April, 2012 India test fired for the first time its strategic missile, the 5000 km Agni V missile to join the super club that includes US, Russia and China.
Tessy was selected to do her ME by DRDO and her missile saga began then. I knew that Tessy had met her future husband, Commodore Saroj Kumar Patel, at Pune while pursuing her ME. The Defense Institute of Armament Technology is located in a beautiful campus of 500 acres in the hills of Girinagar near Khadakvasala Lake and the Institute is a premier centre of excellence for training in highly specialized technologies. It was meant for the three defense forces and scientists working in defense organizations. Many romances blossomed in Girinagar and ended in marriage.
What is your contribution to AGNI PROJECT?
I contributed in fields such as Guidance, Control, Inertial Navigation, Trajectory Simulation and Mission design. I was Associate Project Director (Mission) of Agni I, II, III systems; I am currently leading a major project- AGNI IV as the Project Director for a state-of-the-art system with many new technologies for the first time. It was successfully flight-tested on 15 November, 2011 and 19 Sep, 2012. I was also the Project Director (Mission) for the long range Agni V system which was successfully flight tested on 19 April, 2012.
How did your ME at DIAT help?
Name a woman inspired you.
I got to do ME in Guided Missiles from DIAT, Pune and was rightly posted to DRDL. From then on it was a career of great inspiration, opportunity and scientific support from all my superiors and colleagues.
Madame Marie Curie and her efforts for innovation.
Before you became the Project Director of Agni IV, what were your earlier projects?
As Director of Agni IV, Tessy leads a team of 400 scientists, the majority of whom are male. She has repeatedly told the press that she was willing to take on challenges and learn from experience
I joined Inertial Navigation group as ScientistB in 1988. I have been associated with Agni programme right from its developmental flights. I have designed the guidance used in all Agni
missiles. An energy management guidance scheme was designed and developed for the first time in the country.
One last open-ended question- name the greatest influence in your life.
I remembered that Tessy had to leave her son, Tejas behind, though he was sick and had to take his Board examinations. Agni III had failed in July, 2006, when it suddenly went out of control. Tessy was under pressure. But she took it in her stride and said it was a ‘great learning experience.’ Tejas, a true son of a scientist mother and a father who is a naval officer, told the interviewer, “I have no complaints. She had to do her duty to the nation and in fact she managed to be there whenever I required her.” Tessy told me that Tejas has completed his BE in Electronics and Communication at Vellore Institute of Technology and has joined Ford.
DRDO has influenced my life. I have been with the DRDO for the past 27 years. I have had moments of agony and ecstasy; days of frustration and days of joy and satisfaction in fulfilling missions. Growing up with DRDO has given me many opportunities where my thought process has completely changed and given me courage to handle any kind of problems. There was passion and intensity in what she said.
The most precious moment of your life…, complete it please.
Becoming a mother was the most precious moment of my life.
Tessy has won many awards and accolades. She was conferred the Agni Self-Reliance Award in 2001. She was given the Lal Bahadur Shastri Award by President Pranab Mukherjee in 2012 for her outstanding contribution to making India self-reliant in the field of missile technology. He said, “Through her dynamism, she has made the country proud and self-reliant in the sphere of security.” Tessy works more than twelve hours a day, even on Sundays. Her mission hasn’t ended. Her team would be working till the ICBMs can be given to the Defense forces. There’s more work to be done in Multiple Independent targetable re-entry vehicle and indigenous war head that would go on to the missile. According to her, our country wants the missile programme only as a ‘deterrent.’ She doesn’t discuss international politics but only talks about Agni, that too with the permission of DRDO. Her simplicity and charm was what impressed me in 1993. Two decades later, she is still the same modest person with a ready smile and a strong determination to make India self-reliant as she knows that no nation will give us the know-how of any vital technology. We have to depend on ourselves. Tessy Thomas has balanced her role as a wife, mother and a scientist, who is dedicated to her job. She serves as a role model and an inspiration for all young women who want to become scientists and achieve their dreams and at the same time have their feet planted firmly in both the worlds successfully.
Tessy had to run the home, supervise her son’s studies and shoulder tremendous responsibilities at work. Her husband Commodore Saroj Kumar Patel, being a naval officer, was posted at Mumbai and was not always around.
What kind of support did you get from your husband?
I got 100% support from my husband and son. He was aware of my job schedule and the type of work and responsibilities I am entrusted with. I had full encouragement from my family.
Does she ever relax, I wonder. Yes she does. She watches Saas-Bahu soap opera on television and reads mostly scientific journals. Her regret is that she finds no time to exercise or play a game of badminton. It was time to wind up the interview.
What are your future plans?
Working for the development of technologies for future Agni variants.
What’s your message to women scientists of this country?
WORK while you are at work and BE HOME while you are at home.
Renting a Womb without a Voice
I get ready to get into the womb of matters regarding the current hot topic in assisted reproduction, I am transported back to the year 1994 when India’s first surrogate birth took place at our centre in Chennai.
T h e story is that of S a g e Nidhruva and his pregnant wife Vedhika, who take refuge in the temple owing to their belief that her long years of infertility were cured by her devotion to the goddess. During her afternoon slumber she fails to acknowledge the presence of the Sage Urdhvapada who comes begging for alms. In his temper he curses the fetus to be aborted. The helpless Vedhika then prays to the goddess who appears before her and slips the abortus into a pot till it attains full form life as her male child. In the latter, which is one of natural surrogacy, Sarah, wife of Abraham (forerunners of the Jews) asks her husband to go unto Hagar (forerunner of Arabs) their maidservant to beget them a child. This was a common practice but the process of natural surrogacy entailed problems even back then because the surrogate was related to the baby, and in the absence of any abiding force she would often contest for parental rights. Even in Biblical times, there have been issues regarding child custody. There are two types of
The couple hailing from Andhra Pradesh became proud parents of a baby boy delivered by their surrogate who was the wife’s own cousin sister. They opted for surrogacy because the biological mother had blocked fallopian tubes which led to repeated attempts at ART that failed. It was a case of Altruistic surrogacy. No hue and cry. No questions asked, considering Chennai was still at its conservative best. In fact, contrary to expectations, the attempt was lauded and the doctor who had created South India’s first test-tube baby found herself on the cover of a popular magazine. Today, 17 years later, India is hailed as the surrogate capital of the world. What makes our country pervious to renting wombs with ease in the same passion with which it embroils in controversies of ageold practices women are subjected to? The concept of surrogacy traces its roots both in Hinduism and Christianity. In the former, we are reminded of the historical temple of Garba Rakshambigai situated near Thanjavur, a culturally rich province in southern India.
surrogacy namely the natural and gestational. In the former the surrogate mother is the biological one while in the latter the surrogate bears the biological conceptus of the parents seeking help. In both types it could be altruistic or with a monetary gain. Conditions Where Surrogacy is Advocated
Hypoplastic uterus not responding to hormone replacement therapy Repeated second trimester miscarriages due to an incompetent OS Perimenopause with poor implantation site not amenable to hormones
Congenital absence of uterus: Mullerian agenesis (MRKH- Syndrome) Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus): due to an excessive bleeding post birth or due to a debilitating uterine pathology such as cancer Multiple Uterine fibroids - Inoperable owing to previous attempted surgeries and recurrence Pelvic cancers Severe Adenomyosis inoperable with previous failed attempts in IVF cycles
Busy career Cosmetic/aesthetic reasons Single parenting Owing to the intricacies in legal issues and emotional investment the indications for undertaking help from potential surrogates need to be highlighted. They can be divided as Absolute and Relative indications. Of all these indications, social reasons are of trivial importance. It is almost like risking another woman’s life for no absolute reason. There is only a fine line between how much a surrogate is aware about the whole situation and her compensation that she is looking forward to. It’s almost as if, the more you offer the less she may want to know about risks. As much as one would like to believe that majority should be altruistic, there are not many financially stable women who would enter into a surrogacy deal and that it’s almost always only for a monetary benefit.
Repeated miscarriages Repeated failures in IVF cycles owing to poor implantation site Women with certain medical conditions making pregnancy life threatening namely, severe cardiac or respiratory disease , renal disease, active lupus erythematosus, unstable diabetes Congenital abnormalities of the uterus (As seen in DES(diethylstilbestrol) exposure, Asherman’s syndrome) Uterus with multiple fibroids and / or severe adenomyosis Genetic diseases like Autosomal dominant Huntington’s chorea, X-linked disordersHemophilia A&B, Autosomal Recessive Thalassaemia
Who can Rent a Womb?
Who is the ideal surrogate? Laws aside, these days, a woman’s age is hardly a criterion to be worried about unless she is opting to use her own eggs. We literally have grandmothers delivering babies. However, when we search for options we
March 2013 25
are looking at someone who is physically fit to take on the challenge. The surrogate is stringently checked as per guidelines with blood tests and a complete physical examination. A medical history comprising of her previous obstetric career, number and mode of births, health conditions during the previous pregnancies are all noted. She would also need to explain reasons for her current need to undertake risks and volunteer for surrogacy. Who would co sign as her witness or guardian in the mandatory consent forms? Several proofs are obtained with regards to marital status, spouse, births and residence. Once the surrogate has cleared all tests and is introduced to the couple to settle the monetary compensation, her life changes. However, she is in true confinement only during the preparation of the IVF programme and is given full freedom until she presents herself at the clinic on day 2/3 of menses in the treatment cycle. It is not necessary she should abstain from sex until the treatment cycle, provided the partner is also cleared the basic blood tests and local infections. However, post embryo transfer; it is completely a period of abstinence until the pregnancy test. If negative, she is advised accordingly and if positive again her life changes. Even if it is a monetary deal, compassion and sacrifice is the other trait a surrogate must possess. I find this varies among different classes of people in this country and of course across nations. The more the woman is aware and with better education, she has more probabilities to get emotionally attached to the child, especially if she is the egg donor as well. We have refrained from using surrogates as the egg donors for the same couple. The surrogate feels better and so do the couple. The economically weaker sections who are partly educated or uneducated but are socially aware are the willing surrogates in our country. They do it entirely for monetary purposes as they find themselves saddled with an incapable householder who is either squandering away money well earned or is in deep debts.
In such cases problems could arise if the couple has not taken care of all legal angles pertaining to monetary compensation and made clauses clear. When inadequately screened they are likely to give trouble, often seeking more than they had agreed upon. In such situations you often find that the woman is a pawn, of whom the spouse or the family members take undue advantage. Our country, being the surrogate capital of the world, seems to be doing a benevolent gesture but, on the other hand we also need to look into rehabilitating minds and creating awareness than merely renting wombs without a voice. In all probability, surrogacy in our country is less complicated where acquiring women or performing procedures on them is concerned, as the legal system as well as the published national ART guidelines still strive for unanimity and precision in establishing firm laws. Continued in the next issue........
Comprehensive Preventive Healthcare Program
Agada Diabetes Care No.8, Dr. Nair Road, T. Nagar,Chennai -600017, India Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com Ph: 91-44-3013 3721
My husband is very proud of me. I take writing very seriously and I keep informing them of the word count I have completed each day. This helps to keep me focused and on target.”
ith an impish smile playing on her lips, laughter and gaiety abounding in her voice, Preeti comes across as a very normal person, full of fun to be with and a person any one would love to befriend. That best spells Preeti Shenoy for you and those of you who are hooked on to her books would agree that she deserves her rightful place as a bestselling writer. The ease with which she draws and portrays her characters gives us a glimpse into the observant writer that she is, and it is amazing how deftly she weaves her stories and novels around true life experiences. “ I guess every writer does that- I love observing people- recently while I was in Chennai airport, I had a whale of a time observing the characters unfolding before me- oh my, I could incorporate a lot of those characters into my books,” Preeti says with a twinkle in her eye. “My dad’s sudden demise affected me badly. It was he who got me hooked on to the magical world of books, we were very close and his
passing away was the turning point in my life. To tide over my grief, I took to blogging and to this day, I do. Gradually I started writing for other publications like The New Indian Express, Times of India, the Reader’s Digest and various other magazines. Then I ventured on to penning down novels and here I am. Thanks to God, all my books till date have been best sellers.” Preeti’s novel, ‘Life is what you make it’ emerged on as one of the top selling books of 2011; ‘Tea for two and a piece of cake’ was ranked among the top five best selling Indian fiction of 2012. ‘34 Bubble gums and candies’ is yet another book penned by her. ‘The Secret Wish list’ is her latest book. “It’s all about friendship, love and doing what you believe in, as opposed to what others expect of you,” explains Preeti, “Most of my readers are men and do you believe this? After reading my book ‘The Secret Wish list’, I receive a lot of mails and letters from men. A young man read the book and went back home to his mom to ask about her wonderful wish list! He wanted to make each of them come true for her. I felt
immensely touched by his gesture.” Preeti has also made her way into the Forbes India celebrity Long List- not a tiny achievement that, hats off to you! Preeti is not only a well read and acclaimed writer, she is highly talented and creative and her creativity finds expression in art, specifically pencil portraits, paper quilling and mixed media paintings. She also loves photography, traveling, blogging and giving talks. This pretty and multi talented lady is also a very doting and caring mom. You can follow her on the blog www. justamotheroftwo.blogspot.in. Every day, Preeti devotes four to six hours to writing. “Writing requires dedication and commitment and I would prefer some peace and quiet while writing. I usually write after my kids have left for school, or after they have retired to bed. I draw massive strength and inspiration from my dad, even though he is no more. I write from real life incidents mostly.” Preeti is a voracious reader herself and loves reading both fiction and nonfiction alike. When it comes to nonfiction, she veers towards philosophy, and some of her favorites are Brian Weiss, Deepak Chopra and a whole lot more. “By nine years of age, I had read ‘Iam Ok – You’re Ok,” states Preeti. Her family is very proud of her achievements. “My husband is very proud of me. I take writing very seriously and I keep informing them of the word count I have completed each day. This helps to keep me focused and on target.” On the unfortunate incidents in the country and the injustice meted out to women she says, “It will be a while before a sea change in thinking and attitudes happen, but I am positive that there will be immense changes in future. I don’t think women have to dress differently in order to not attract undue or unwanted attention. It’s all in the
attitude of men. That has to undergo a change. But I would advise women to take precautions like ensuring not to travel in unknown cabs at night.” Does she feel that the print media and books are going out of vogue? “Not at all, on the contrary, of late there is a burgeoning interest in lit fests, I myself have attended and spoken a t quite a lot of them.” Preeti’s f o r advise to all- Do something yourselves each day. Most of us women stay focused on looking after just our children and family, without paying heed to what we would like to do. Devote some time each day to doing
something you would love to do. Live life to the fullest. That’s very important. You never know what might happen the next moment. And also, hold on to a friend who makes you laugh,” Preeti laughs gaily while she says that. Wise words of wisdom, Preeti. Looking forward to great works of fiction from your end!
“A MOTHER LIKE NO OTHER”
Pearl H. Mohankumar
ehind every successful man is a woman”. Many people often wonder how much such a woman has contributed to the man’s success but the woman whose contribution is deemed immeasurable by everyone alike is truly a great woman. The woman behind Sarath Babu’s success is a strong, wise and hard working mother who is also his inspiration. The rags-to-riches story of a boy from a slum in Chennai graduating in the top management institute in India moved many hearts and inspired many young lives. The founder and CEO of Food King Catering Services has his mother at the crux of his story. Deepa Ramani, 25 years ago had five kids and nobody to turn to for her financial support. With only a meager salary of one rupee per day to start with, she worked three jobs to support her kids and their education. Now she is the proud mother of successful entrepreneurs. Sarath Babu gives all the credit to his mother for his success. “From being just a poor kid from the slums, I could take my life to a whole new level only because of my mother’s hard work, dedication, determination and commitment towards our future, and much more than that it is because of her sacrifice,” he says. His mother sacrificed
most of the pleasures and luxuries in life for the education of her kids. She did not buy flowers to adorn her head and she didn’t buy a new sari for herself but instead spent that money on her children’s education. She made a wise investment and that has paid much greater dividends than what she had hoped or expected. “Looking at her from the perspective of an outsider, I am really amazed by her conviction and confidence,” says the Food King. Deepa is the happiest person now. Her joy is beyond words when she talks about her children because they have honoured her sacrifices through their success. This small built woman exhibits boldness and confidence. Most people she has come in contact with know her as a unique woman. She tells every struggling woman to be brave and support her family with courage. Sarath Babu says that the incident which greatly affected his life took place when he was in 7th standard. He saw that his mother had nothing for dinner but only a glass of water. This made him decide he should study well and support her. For the first time in life, he had a goal. For a school kid with humble beginnings, the path to highly renowned colleges was paved by the
thirst for recognition in life. His identity was not the food he ate or the clothes he wore but he could gain recognition only by studying well. So he studied well with a new goal in mind. His mother never sought the help of any relative or friend but supported the children single handedly. She has lived debt free all her life, never having to ask people for money. Her children also pitched in with their contributions. During holidays, Sarath Babu would earn by binding books and his sister would draw and sell her pictures for ten rupees. Deepa believes that self-help is the best help and tells people not to expect anything from anybody. In Madipakkam, they lived in a place where no one had heard of premier institutes like BITS and IIM. He didn’t know what field he should go into or which college he should choose. He was in the dark concerning where he should go after finishing school but still studied well anyway. Till standard 10 he had to study with a kerosene lamp because there was no electricity in their house. He says, “My mother’s hard work would be meaningless if I did not study well. She sacrificed everything only for our education so I studied well to make her happy.” Sarath Babu made sure that he worked equally hard on his studies to give a worthy reward for his mother’s struggle. Deepa told her children only an education would redeem them from all their difficulties. She sold idlis in the morning, prepared noon meals in a government school and was an anganwadi worker in the evenings. Throughout her struggle, her only aim was to support her children’s studies. Sarath Babu advises parents to put their effort in a focused manner and support their children in whatever they want to do. He doesn’t believe in pressurizing them or giving them materialistic luxuries that are not a necessity. His mother is his biggest role model and hence he wants every parent to motivate their kids because they are a great influence in their children’s lives. Many people visit their home to meet this successful entrepreneur and his mother. She is also invited by many colleges, companies and organizations as a guest. She is one proud mother as the world appreciates her and gives her the due credit. Speaking about the recent stories of women being abused in several parts of the country,
Sarath Babu says we must think about our mother before abusing women. “Because every man is born of a woman, derived from her flesh and blood, we should be thankful to her and treat every woman with the same respect,” is what he has to tell the men in our country. Sarath Babu promotes a lot of women entrepreneurs in business, young women entrepreneurs and women graduates from the slums. He meets many mothers who think their son or daughter is not doing well and encourages them not to give up. He guides these children in their career and in life. Deepa believes that every home has to be well for the society to develop. She has sincerely built a home that is now of benefit to the society as well. Deepa Ramani brings out the essence of a woman since she embodies the fighting spirit that every woman has. She represents something that most men fail to see in a woman - the proof that a woman is truly behind a successful man, another woman and the society as a whole.
Sarath Babu with mom
Why We Need to Stand Up For the Fairer Sex
a day and age where women are facing hostility from men from all walks of life, here is a gentleman who makes it a priority to appreciate the women in his life and women in general. Noel Swaranjit Sen, former DGP of Andhra Pradesh believes strongly that blessings come from the fairer sex. “I view women as the true vessels of Almighty God. At every stage in my life there was always a girl or a woman who has brought about a positive influence for me,” he says with feeling.
stars. It brought me out of my shell and I was determined to improve myself physically,” adds the former army man. At college he met his future wife who wanted him to join the army. “My wife came from an army background and she would marry only an army man. She also prompted me to aim for the medal of honour. Her encouragement helped me come out as the topper of my batch,” he grins and says. The next phase came when his daughter was very young and really ill. “In the army we are not allowed to take our family members in the front seat of the vehicle. But my daughter was seriously unwell and she was with my wife in the front. A colonel saw us and questioned me. I gave him a piece of my mind. That was the day I really grew up,” reminisces the ex DGP .
makes the family more humane. A family is incomplete without a girl,” says the retired super-cop. A professional to the core, Sen feels that women who are abused by their husbands need to get away from that violence. “Once a man hits his wife, there are chances that he will do it again. Women must complain at the very first instance and should not stay with abusive men,” he adds. When asked how martial arts will help ladies protect themselves, he says that the regular run of self defence will not help them much. “They need to learn specific moves like poking the eyes or hitting in the knees which will create more impact,” he says. More importantly for someone who tackled Naxals during his career, this police officer believes that any man who tries to impose himself on a woman is a coward. “Men are also insensitive to the needs of women. I have seen in many schools where the requirements of girls are not met. Their requirements are different and have to be taken care of,” he emphasises.
He launches back into nostalgia when the very first instance occurred way back in school. “I was in the 10th standard and a very pretty girl used to sit next to me. One day a boy tried to tease her and I confronted him. He hit me and that was the first time I saw
Sen had joined the army after college and then cleared the Civil Services Exam to become an IPS officer in AP cadre. He received both the Sword of Honour and the Gold Medal when he graduated from training. He was DGP But it isn’t as if he has surrendered from 31 December 2004 – everything into the hands of women. He stressed that in a 31 December 2006.
Why the switch in his career? “First,” he says, “I felt that I needed the freedom to use my insightful and intellectual side more. Secondly, I confess that my mother-in-law influenced me,” he says with a sheepish smile. The reasons why Sen believes so much in women is simply because they are sensitive, fair minded and tender in nature. “Among all creations, God has made the human female more beautiful than the male. In other species the male is better looking than the female. Secondly by respecting women, one can get determination, encouragement and positive motivation,” he adds. He is also of the opinion that a family is complete with a daughter. “A daughter brings softness and
family, both the husband and wife had a separate role to play and certain lines should not be crossed. He vehemently opposes women participating in violent sports. “Women who take part in wrestling or boxing lose their feminity which is not the order of nature,” he says firmly. Of all the women in the world, Sen says that the Indian woman is the best because all the positive qualities are found in her. What’s more is that most women do not contribute to the family because they are subjugated. “There is fun, not in getting a woman by overpowering her, buying her or deceiving her, but in winning her over,” he smiles as he winds up this talk.
Women who vanquished fate
Kirthi Gita Jayakumar
first thing that strikes you about Usha Rani is her fortitude. Determination and grit have been her religion, and courage, her god. When she speaks to me on the phone, I am almost sure that she had been a cheerful person before things went gravely wrong. But as she takes me through her story, I see that she has a catena of things that can weigh her down emotionally. But being cheerful is a choice she made, a choice over lamentation, a choice made out of bravery and resilience. Though more known for having taken down her husband when he tried molesting their daughter, Usha Rani’s story goes deeper into the past. A heady mix of abuse, psychological and economical deprivation and harassment for dowry, her story is not one to be forgotten in the annals of print media, whatsoever. A young Usha was married off in 1990 to Jothibasu, the son of a businessman in Madurai. As if on cue, Pandora’s Box was suddenly opened in her life. From being the apple of her eye of her parents, life spiralled downwards into a state of turmoil. Welcoming the bride into the house, her father-in-law started off on the right foot by promising that he would take care of his daughter-in-law, and even set aside a portion of their business in her name. “My father-in-law started off at first saying that he saw me as a daughter, and wanted all the profits of a new business that he opened in my husband’s and my name, to be solely for us. But within a couple of months of our marriage, when the business began succeeding, he sent us out and told us that we had to live separately.” Not one to be beaten, Usha fought back. “When my husband and I were driven out, we began our own line of business, competing against them. In one year, our business of selling appalaams began to do well and it was around that time that my first daughter was born.” After about five years of marriage, the charm of
motherhood held an ocean of promise for Usha. The birth of her child was her own birth as a mother. Well in advance of the time to celebrate the arrival of a new life, she went to the place where her own life began – her mother’s house. While jubilation marked that household, cunning and crafty brainwashing marked the one she had just left. “In my absence, my father-in-law approached my husband. He told him that since we had a daughter now, my husband and I couldn’t afford to stay separately. My father-inlaw brainwashed my husband to believe that he wouldn’t be able to buy my daughter the jewellery she would need for her future. My husband believed him.” Acting on his belief and what in hindsight appeared to be his action hinging on sheer folly, he transferred all the wealth that he and she had amassed with their hard work. “He wrote off all that we had, in his mother’s name. He shared all details of everything we had done – right down to the details of every license we secured.” Usha reasoned about her husband’s decision, wondering if he was just doing it in the promise of a better future for his wife and daughter. But what came next erased every justification she came up with for her husband’s conduct. “I had delivered a girl – but my husband and in-laws never wanted a girl. To them, a boy was the only child they needed. They decided they would not let me into the house, and even threatened me with rude claims that they would find someone else for him to marry. For six long months, I was forbidden entry into their house, so I spent my time in my parents’ home. When wagging tongues began spreading gossip about the family, their reputation was at stake, so they took me in again.” To the outside world, Usha explains, everything appeared fine. But her married-home turned out to be the most rotten apple on the inside. Usha began to suffer a life of astute deprivation, where for the most basic necessities, she was
given nothing unless she “earned” it. “I was not allowed the luxury of money for anything – whether for food or medicines, both for me, and my baby. If I needed money, I had to work. And if I needed more than what they gave me, I was expected to work that much more.” Her in-laws and husband spared no time in harassing Usha, tormenting her for birthing a daughter and not a son. “They were caustic, absolutely caustic. They would say that they didn’t want a girl, but wanted a boy. They said that my daughter had a faulty horoscope. My husband and in-laws were very abusive.” Usha had a strong support system in her parents. But her in-laws saw in that bond, a huge threat to their continued ways of abusing their daughterin-law. Cunningly, they began exploiting the closeness Usha shared with her parents, making demands for dowry. “My father-in-law had begun making demands on me to transfer all the property that I had in my name, and all the property that my mother had in her name.I refused stoutly, fighting for my rights. They beat me up, but I didn’t give in.” Beaten and verbally abused and chastised, Usha’s days were spent in a blur of physical pain and mental trauma. But the tiny shoot of resilience broke through the concrete surface of hardship nevertheless, giving her courage to fight back. Usha realized that this situation of near-bonded labour was because her husband had placed her in it in the first place. She learned of how her in-laws had extorted them of all her husband’s and her earnings and property. “I raised my voice against it. My father-in-law threatened my husband and me with all kinds of abuses – but I stood firm. The next thing we knew, we were thrown out of the house, bag and baggage, with a baby in tow. My father-in-law declared that we were dead to him, and that he had nothing to do with us.” Beaten once again by life, finding her on the streets, Usha only firmed her resolve to fight back with perseverance. “My husband and I began our own business of manufacturing and selling appalaams under a new name – Butterfly. We carried on in this strain for a few years. I was blessed with two more daughters. With time, I had to put them in a boarding school so that they enjoyed quality education.” Usha had a loving relationship with her daughters, a bond that continues even today. At one point, her in-laws were bent on separating them from
her, too. “When both my older daughters were in middle school, without our knowledge, my father-in-law had taken them out of the hostel and school. He took them to his house, kept them there, and refused to let them out. He and my mother-in-law attempted to brainwash them, telling them to give up studying and to marry their daughter’s sons instead.” When Usha found out that her girls were no longer in school, and that their grandfather had pulled them out, she went straight to the police. “A Superintendent of Police was sympathetic to my cause. He conducted an inquiry, and then got the girls out. The headmistress of their school made it a point to care further for their safety and security, and ensured that they studied under her watchful eye. I am grateful that she did that – because it was only with her support that the girls completed school.” With an abusive husband harassing her all the time, Usha filed many complaints with the police against him. Each time, he would make a promise in the police station, saying that he would never harass her again, and that he would mend his ways. But they were promises written on water. “We went back to live with my in-laws at one point. They never stopped trying to pry my daughters away from me. One day, when we were in that house, my daughter saw my father-in-law taking all my jewellery out of the boxes, and leaving the boxes empty inside my cupboard. She asked him why he did that. Instead of answering her or realizing his mistake, he attempted to brainwash her again. He told her that if she agreed to marry her cousin, he would give her all the jewellery.” Usha thinks back, sharply underlining the fact that these were the people that didn’t want her daughter when she was born. In 2007, her husband’s abusive ways became too much to bear. “I divorced him that year. But he didn’t stay away from me. He convinced me to get back in 2011. I did, because I wanted to give my daughters a future that would be secure. When I went back, his usual behaviour reared its head, and he was misbehaving again. I decided to leave, and take my daughters along.” Usha was earnest in her aspirations for her daughters. The stigma of growing up fatherless was too heavy a price to pay for them – and for no fault of theirs. But the accommodation of Jothibasu again in their lives came with a price of its own. Though she came away again, he wasn’t done harassing her. “On February 9, 2012, he
came to the house I was in, and assaulted me. Not stopping with that, he attempted to molest my 19-year-old daughter! I was furious, so I intervened and tried to shove him to protect her. Blind with rage and fury, he picked up a cricket bat that was lying nearby and just beat me with it. I did the first thing that came to mind – and snatched the bat, and smashed him. He collapsed on the floor and died on the spot.” Her husband’s thoughtless assault and attempt at molesting her daughter stirred the tigress in Usha. Fury like nothing before rose, for her daughter was sacred – a sanctimonious product of their marriage. How could he even so much as dare to think of doing such a horrific thing to her? But what she had done had wound up killing him – would that mean she would be locked away in a prison for life? “I didn’t think about myself then at all. It didn’t matter to me what the police thought of me. They came in and arrested me. As I climbed into the van, my thoughts were with my children. My two daughters who were with me, and my third – who was writing her board exam that day – I sent up a silent prayer asking God to give them the courage and the fortitude to bear the ordeal, and prayed that life for them would only get better. But what happened next was a gift that God himself gave me.” Usha was a mother first, and a mother before everything else. It didn’t matter to her what happened to her – her children and their safety was the most significant thing for her. In such instances, the Indian Penal Code, 1860 comes into play. A case is made either of murder, or culpable homicide not amounting to murder. For the uninitiated, a crime of murder needs proof of both the act and the intention to commit the act. A crime of culpable homicide, though, is just the act, bereft of the intention. The Penal Code also lists out defences that a person can rely on when accused of murder, and depending on the genuineness of the defence so presented, they may or may not be punished. What happened to Usha was unprecedented in its own way – in terms of expediency and the sympathy to her cause. “The police conducted an inquiry and took down witness accounts from everyone around. The Superintendent of Police who was there that day saw how much I had suffered. Just overnight, he released me. I was given the benefit under Section 100 of the Indian Penal Code, a provision for self-defence, where I was released for having killed my husband only to defend myself and the modesty of my daughter.”
Section 100 is a provision that allows a person the benefit of acquittal if an act was committed in self-defence, and in defence of another person, when a threat looms large. But the acquittal did not signal the end of her troubles. “My father-in-law filed a petition saying that I had premeditated the murder, and assailed my character saying that I had illicit affairs with many men and that the same affairs were the reason behind the “murder”. When the petition went up before the Ex-Collector, he sought to forward the case to the CB-CID, but the petition seeking the recommendation was dismissed.” People reacted both ways to Usha’s story. “Sometimes, people have questioned its veracity by demanding to know how I claim that a father would do such a thing to his own daughter. To them, I say, please don’t judge a story without knowing both sides. Still others have been there with their quiet support. To them, I have my gratitude to offer. People have likened me to Kannagi – well, of course, hell has no fury like a woman scorned – but I always tell them that every house has a Kannagi of its own, fighting battles without a moment’s rest.” Having come thus far, Usha looks back at life with a prayer on her lips. She tells me that it has only been on prayers that she and her daughters have survived. “Today, I am proud to say that I’ve raised my three girls without borrowing even a paisa from anyone. My eldest daughter, as we speak, is returning home with a copy of her appointment letter for a job she begins with, on February 1, 2013. My second daughter is doing her B. Sc., and is a gold medallist. My youngest one is now pursuing commerce in the hopes of taking up Chartered Accountancy. I struggle with having to pay for her hostel fees, but my earnest prayers are with my girls. I hope for a brighter future for the three of them. I want to tell you a lot more, but the case is still sub judice, so I am forced to stop short of sharing a lot more.” As my conversation with Usha draws down to a close, I thank her for sharing her story with me, and I tell her that I am lost for words. “Just keep me and my daughters in your prayers, Kirthi,” she tells me. “I have one more daughter now. Kirthi.” I finish the call with a lump in my throat.
Women who vanquished fate
DESTINY BY CHOICE
Preman is undoubtedly the personification of courage. With a beguiling smile and a warm word for everyone, Uma charms her way into our hearts. She is the epitome of persistence and sheer will power, and it would undoubtedly do many of us good to emulate her. Santhi Medical Information Center is a charitable institution founded by Uma Preman on 24 August 1997, in Guruvayur, Trichur District,Kerala. This is an exclusive research center for all those seeking medical information, treatment and financial assistance for treating crippling or life threatening diseases. “Santhi Medical Information Center is a dream project that I shared with my husband, Preman Thaikkad. I lost him when I was just 27 years old. He succumbed to premature death because of delayed and improper diagnosis and treatment. I realized then the importance of right medical information and proper treatment at the right time to safeguard lives.” Uma goes all out to serve humanity and her compassion for all even prompted her to donate her kidney to a young man by the name Salil, on 28 July 1999. “Salil was in desperate need of a transplant. I never thought twice about donating one of my kidneys,”
Santhi (peace) Medical Information Centre, a charitable institution founded by Mrs. Uma Preman on Aug 24th 1997 in Guruvayur, Trichur district, Kerala, is a resource centre for those who seek medical information, treatment and financial assistance for crippling or life- threatening ailments.
affirms Uma. Salil, in deep gratitude, continues to help out at the Santhi Medical Information Center. The center is managed solely by Uma with just four staff and over 60 acclaimed medical practitioners who have come forward to work voluntarily. “I have a lot of well wishers and volunteers to help us out,” smiles Uma. Santhi Free and Subsidized Dialysis Centers operate out of Trichur, Palakkad, Wayanad, Chalakudy, Kothamangalam and Kunnamkulam. “We also have free dialysis units at Perumbadappa and also two mobile dialysis units that are well equipped in Thenkasi Government Hospital and also at Thirunelveli Medical College; here we also have 45 dialysis machines running for the under privileged with well equipped nephrologists, 58 full time staff and technicians.”
Uma’s contribution to humanity and to the society at large, when detailed will easily run into several pages. She has facilitated kidney transplants for over 640 patients, heart surgeries for an astounding number of 20, 500 patients, 1, 50, 000 dialysis has been carried out in ten years at varied districts of Kerala. She also provides medical information for more than a hundred people daily, via phone, e mail or letter. These are just a few of her varied projects. “Kidney disease is on the rise in Kerala. I am trying to do my level best to create awareness regarding the same. Actors Radhika and Sharat Kumar are our good will ambassadors,” beams Uma, “Prevention of the disease is more important than the cure. Diabetes coupled with hypertension brings on kidney failure. My sole aim is
to eradicate lifestyle related kidney diseases for good. In Kerala, women go on extensive special diets and ‘treatment’ after pregnancy and they simply gorge on extra food which inevitably leads to obesity. This again, triggers a host of ailments in its wake, right from diabetes to hypertension. It is vital to take care of oneself right from the start instead of waiting for symptoms to surface,” explains Uma. “Let me give you a tip now, to watch out for. If you observe your urine being frothy, it is a sure indication of the presence of albumin that is a predecessor of diabetes. Every six months, you need to get yourself tested for diabetes,” asserts Uma, “I try my best to create awareness in schools and colleges about lifestyle diseases.” Amazingly enough, Uma has studied only up to her 12th. Born and brought up in a tiny village Chintamaniputhur,near Coimbatore, she reminisces fondly on her teacher’s advise, “I was educated in an ordinary government school and right from breakfast to lunch and books, the school used to provide us. My teacher always used to stress on the fact that we need to give back to the society what we have taken from it. I am now able to help around 50 lakh people. Even though my organization has a liability of 40 lakhs, I know that I will tide over it in due course.” Every month, Uma’s expenses in running the show amounts to over 15 lakh. “The Chittilapilly Trust gives me one lakh every month and the Manappuram Gold Loan people give me Rs. 25,000 every month. I am able to run the show thanks to several good people who come
forward to help me out. My electricity bill itself goes up to R. 3 lakh. Doctors have to be paid, transport needs to be arranged for them and the list goes on.” Uma was rightfully awarded the CNN IBN Real Hero Award. “I was so happy and elated to be able to receive the award in the presence of an august gathering of eminent people like Sachin Tendulkar and Ambani,” she says. Uma keeps herself constantly updated on all medical information available and hence is well able to advise people on where to go and whom to approach in case of medical emergencies. “Women have always been at risk in the country. I lost my husband when I was just 27 years of age and I have worked very hard to bring this organization to its current status. Once, I had to take delivery of some dialysis machines from the Customs Office at Kochi. The officer on duty there tried to make passes at me stating that since I have been widowed so young, he would take care of my biological needs! I retorted as to who was taking care of his wife’s biological needs when he is at Kochi and his wife was at Banglore. He was very angry and shot back that I was talking too much. I countered by stating that if he could make statements like that, I too can afford to retort similarly.
strive to spread the message both by word of mouth and also through my mobile labs that are equipped to test for diabetes. World Health Organization will support me in my venture; but the Kerala Government is not keen on funding such projects.” Uma Preman opines that the sexual offences on the rise are directly linked to changes in food habits. She warns that the free rice being circulated is actually harmful and detrimental to health and can end up affecting the eyes and kidneys. Uma‘s counsel to the women of today, “Women are strong. I do not understand why we women undervalue ourselves. I have observed and understood my weaknesses and strong points and have put my strengths to good use. My weakness has always been that when people come to me for help, I give fully of myself to help them and end up hurting myself. Knowing that, nowadays I listen to them but consciously take decisions using my head. Even when our girls are exploited at home, we try to hush it up. Little wonder then that we continue to be abused. Women need to react; men are the weaker sex. Women should feel self motivated. It is our responsibility to protect ourselves. Then alone would we be able to command respect.” In parting, Uma smiles and quips, “Love and respect yourselves. Give more importance to yourselves. Only then would the world learn to look up and respect you”. Her wise words born of experience continue to ring in my ears.
“Nimirndha nadaiyil nerkonda parvai,” that is what the great poet Bharati has advised uswalk tall and proud, look straight, focused on your vision. My vision and goal for the period 2013-2015 is to eradicate lifestyle related kidney diseases for good. I
Women who vanquished fate
THE INSPIRING DUO
Niranjhenaa has bagged several awards and accolades. At the tender age of ten, Lions Club, South India honored her with the title “Mayakkural Mazhalai.”
ikhila and her daughter N.Niranjhenaa are a unique duo. For the simple reason that both mom and daughter are highly talented and more so because, Nikhila is a single mom and has brought up Niranjhenaa all alone, facing life’s myriad struggles singlehandedly. In the process, both mom and daughter have evolved as better human beings, well able to handle life situations with immense calm and fortitude. In this space, Nikhila shares her life experiences with Eves Times. “As a child, I used to observe my friends mugging up lessons blindly. While I was not bad at academics and managed to score eighty percent in my examinations, my mind was more attuned to creative stuff. I used to love dancing, painting and everything creative. While all parents force their children to go in for medicine or engineering after school, I was very firm when I told them that I want to go in for catering. I wanted to learn dress making as well. I joined the Tharamani Catering College; since I used to love painting
and making flower bouquets, I used to do this whenever I got time, saved money from this to pay for my dress making lessons and spared expenses for my parents. I enrolled for tailoring and cosmetology classes. Around this time, I realized that catering was not the right career to pursue. I was dissatisfied with cosmetology also, since I had started believing that beauty is not just skin deep but goes far beyond that. Hence, I enrolled for classes in panchakarma, magneto therapy and aromatherapy. Yet again, I felt that something was missing. After all these courses, I had started realizing that the beauty of a person goes much deeper and is more connected to mind and soul than any physical attribute. At this point of time, I got introduced to reiki, flower therapy, pyramid therapy and redisthesia. Redisthesia is all about connecting with angels; you receive answers to all problems directly from the cosmic power. Finally, I have realized that this is my forte. Even in my practice of aromatherapy, redisthesia plays a vital role. While working with my clients, redisthesia helps me in choosing the
correct aromatic oil to distress them,” Nikhila enumerates. “I realize that we are nothing. For a few years, I was in Pondicherry and practicing there. Recently, I have shifted back to Vettuvangini; near Nilankarai. I am a single parent and I am trying to do my best for my daughter N.Niranjhenaa. Not only do I practice my reiki and redisthesia but I also freelance for photo shoots and plan out theme weddings,” she smiles. After a brief introduction, Niranjhenaa spoke about her passion with enthusiasmventriloquism. It was very evident from the start that both mom and daughter just adored each other. For a 13 year old, Niranjhenaa came across as a very calm and composed, level headed person, mature and wise beyond her years. “I was studying at Aditya Vidyashram at Pondicherry. The teachers and the faculty there motivated me a lot and I owe it to them big time for my success as a ventriloquist. When I was just three years old, my parents discovered that I was good at ventriloquism. Even from such a young age, I used to accompany my dad on stage shows. By six years, I was proficient enough to perform on my own. I owe it to my mom for all the support and encouragement she provides me. Mom concentrates on the script while I work on the mime. In my ventriloquism shows, I have deftly incorporated mime, shadow play, magic skating, western dance, bharatnatyam and singing too,” explains Niranjhenaa. Currently, Niranjhenaa is a seventh standard student of Nellai Nadar Matriculation High School at Nilankarai, Chennai. What would Niranjhenaa like to pursue as her career once she is grown up? “I want to perform ventriloquism and also be a practitioner of naturopathy. My aim in life is to travel widely all over the world and make people laugh. Currently, I do five shows in a month. Right now I perform only in Tamil Nadu but with time, I will branch out to other places and states,” she explains. Every day, diligently, Niranjhenaa practices meditation and does her voice training practices. “Only then can I throw my voice to the puppet correctly. I have two puppets and I have named them Angelina and Lampelina,” beams Niranjhenaa
Except for social studies, the little girl loves all her subjects. Not only is she an expert at ventriloquism, she is quite adept at cooking too. A favorite dish which she loves experimenting with is pasta. “She is a very creative cook,” opines Nikhila, “I have taught her reiki meditation which helps her immensely in balancing her mind.” Niranjhenaa has bagged several awards and accolades. At the tender age of ten, Lions Club, South India honored her with the title “Mayakkural Mazhalai.” In the year 2011, the Pondicherry Kalai Arangam (art association) awarded her the Mazhalayar Kalai Thilakam. In the year 2012, she was again awarded the title of “Mayakkural arasi”. In Chinnalampati, they are constructing an idol for the Goddess of Tamil; at Puduvai, the Sabha nayakkar and education minister honored her with the title Mazhalayar Kalai Thilakam. Niranjhenaa commenced with Bharatnatyam practices at the age of 7. In 2012 January, she performed her arangetram in front of the august audience of the Chief Minister of Pondicherry Mr. Rangaswamy. Her guru Rajamanickam Pillai is a senior most exponent in the art. Niranjhenaa is also the youngest ventriloquist in the country. “I owe a lot to the faculty, Principal and the teachers of Aditya Vidyashram in Pondicherry for motivating her and continuing to keep her inspired .While we were shifting to Chennai, they assured us that whenever my daughter needed a stage to perform a trial show, we could always count on this school. Most schools encourage only sports but when it comes to any performing art, there is very little encouragement given. But at Aditya Vidyashram, they gave my daughter unstinted support and motivation. ‘Our doors are always open to Niranjhenaa,’ they continue to support us,” Nikhila and Niranjhenaa remember with gratitude. Niranjhenaa is one of the nominees for the Thamizhan Award to be given away by the Channel Puthiya Thalamurai. We at Eves Times jointly wish both Nikhila and Niranjhenaa the very best in all their ventures and here’s hoping that little Niranjhenaa scales great heights in ventriloquism.
ike mom, like daughter. Both are acclaimed dancers. Now, what makes them unique? The mother, Vanitha Vairahalli is her daughter Sutheekshna’s inspiration and guru. And how are Vanitha and Sutheekshna different from any other guru-shishya? Therein lies the answer. Sutheekshna was born without a foot and a palm. But, this has only spurred Sutheekshna to move beyond adversity and strive to make her dreams come to fruition. Vanitha spared nothing to truly inspire Sutheekshna to achieve great heights as a dancer. “Sutheekshna started to learn dance at the tender age of four. Since I was a Bharatanatyam dancer myself, I noticed that my daughter definitely displayed a natural inclination towards dance and music,” Vanitha explains. Based at Chicago, Vanitha Vairahalli has been teaching Bharatanatyam in the US now for more than eighteen years. An accomplished dancer, Vanitha takes great pride and joy in imparting her skill and expertise to both her daughters and students. “I have two daughters, Sutheekshna and Sathvika, aged 19 and 12 respectively. Both of them are very much into dancing and music. Sutheekshna, right from age four, used to display unusual talent. She used to recite M.S.Subbalakshmi’s Namaramayanam at such a tender age, with utmost clarity and precision,” Vanitha says. Sutheekshna’s father Madhavan too is musically inclined. Being a software professional with Oracle, Madhavan devotes his spare time to practicing Carnatic and light music. Sutheekshna Vairahalli is currently pursuing her undergraduate program at Illinois University in Chicago. “I want to major in Biology and English, but no matter what, I would continue to pursue both dance and music,”quips Sutheekshna. “My daughter is deeply passionate about all that she does and pursues her passion with utmost sincerity and dedication,” affirms Vanitha. Sutheekshna agrees, “Yes, it goes without saying that dance and music have always been a part of my life. While at hostel, it is a little difficult to practice dance; but I make sure that I compensate for it amply during the weekends by practicing for long hours at home.”
Women who vanquished fate
Every summer without fail, Sutheekshna and family come down to India, the main agenda being to learn dance under the able tutelage of Guru Sri Sankara Narayanan. “I perform a lot. This margazhi season I had four music concerts and four dance recitals. I pursue them both with utmost sincerity and passion. It is always fun to have something going on all the time,” Sutheekshna smiles. “Apart from my mom, who has always been my teacher, I have had a few other gurus. For instance, I learnt varnam from Ms. Gayatri Balagurunadhan.” On asked whether she would be interested in improving and devising her own style in Bharatanatyam, she opines, “Not at the moment. My aim is to dance my way through life and strive to be a beacon of hope and inspiration to many. I aspire to motivate and inspire several people to focus and never give up on their dreams, through my dance and my life,” says Sutheekshna with a charming smile that lights up the ambience.
Women who vanquished fate
estitution and poverty could deter Prema Jayakumar from dreaming big and now this auto rickshaw driver’s daughter is set to live her dream, having topped the all India Chartered Accountancy (CA) examination. Prema, 24, is on cloud nine after having secured the first rank in the examination conducted by the prestigious Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in November 2012. “It’s my lifetime achievement. For me the key to success is hard work,” she explained with a smile when asked about how she felt about having topped the examination, one of the toughest in the country. Petite and modest, Prema, who earned Rs 6,000 a month during her article ship at the Chartered Accountancy firm Kishore Seth & Company, credited her father Jayakumar Perumal and homemaker mother Lingammal for her astounding success. “It would not have been possible without their support and blessings. My parents always motivated me. I would now want my parents, who have done so much for me, to live a life of comfort,” she says. “I am proud of my parents who never allowed money to come in the way of my academic pursuit and that of my brother Dhanraj’s “ she said . Along with her parents and brother, she lives in a tiny asbestos-roofed dwelling at S B Khan Chawl in suburban Malad. Incidentally, Dhanraj too has completed CA alongside his sister. “Now I want my father, who
It’s my lifetime achievement. For me the key to success is hard work,” she explained with a smile when asked about how she felt about having topped the examination, one of the toughest in the country.
has worked so hard for us to realize our dreams, to take some much needed rest,” says Prema, a graduate from Nagindas Khandwala College. “Until I completed my graduation, I had a part time job. I worked as a receptionist in a clinic. My brother too was working while studying. He had a job in a call center.” It was solely on the advice of one of her professors that she decided to pursue chartered accountancy.
“Bahut khush hoon, aur kya kahoon (I am very happy, what more can I say),” says Lingammal, in a voice brimming with pride at her children’s amazing achievement. “We used to study together, taking up one subject, finishing it thoroughly before moving on to the next,” Prema details her pattern of study. Both Dhanraj and Prema used to diligently attend coaching classes as well. Prema is a little taken aback by all the media attention she has been getting. “I have had no time for myself to celebrate my achievement with my family. I am running around attending one function after another. Right now if you ask me what my future plans are, I just know that I want to get myself placed in a very good position in a good firm. I am a little humbled by all this. During my school days, I had no idea of achieving anything. It is solely due to the direction and inspiration given to me by my professors at college and also to the love and support of my parents that I have come this far in life.” The Tamil Nadu Government has awarded her ten lakhs as prize money for her great academic performance. The Union Home Minister G.K.Vasan has granted her a sum of five lakhs and the Governor of Maharashtra awarded her one lakh. Along with millions in the country, we at Eve’s times take pride in Prema’s astounding success and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
The family, hailing originally from Villupuram ( Periyakolliyur) in Chennai is settled in Mumbai and Jayakumar has been driving the auto rickshaw for close to two decades now to support his family of four.
It was the happiest day for the family when the results were announced as both Prema and her younger brother Dhanraj, 22, cleared the ICAI test. Prema secured an impressive 607 marks out of 800 in the challenging examination. The siblings had registered themselves together with ICAI. She had shown her academic potential earlier too when she scored 90 per cent marks in her Third Year B Com examination, finishing second at Mumbai University. Dhanraj, who beams proudly states, ,”My sister is my hero, the source of my inspiration.”
Fresh Face of Chennai
Colouring & Streaks
March 2013 43
Photo creditsFrench Collection
Tips for hair
Women have become so highly educated that nothing should surprise them except happy marriage.
A TOAST TO OUR WOMEN
time’s come for the world to remember the most beautiful, useful, productive, intelligent and talented species in the universe- Women! This month’s going to be one full of stories about myriad known and unknown women, extolling their contributions and generally trying to pamper them…. The media fad… so to say. They always need a few hypes round the year so that they can fill up page and pages of print matter! Does it all boil down to only filling up pages or are we genuinely concerned about the challenges women have to encounter and handle effectively so that their families and friends can be happy? I for one am a Real Womanist--- this is far too different from MCP or Feminism. I believe that society needs to understand women and acknowledge their contributions. The authorities need to take steps to mitigate the sufferings of the poor girl child who is also the housekeeper and is deprived of education and even a decent meal in several humble homes in the villages and slums in the urban areas! Women and children need to be liberated from back-breaking and ceaseless labour for which they get a pittance. Women must be freed from the clutches of alcoholic husbands, tormenting mothers- in – law and lecherous men at work places. Let women feel safe at their homes, on the streets, at workplaces and anywhere else without the fear of being molested, raped and physically abused. Now that the poor status of the Indian woman has come to light globally, what are we going to celebrate? Women need to be treated as human beings first. This is not to say that they must be pampered once a year and then forgotten till yet another International Women’s Day surfaces. To make the day more meaningful and close to our hearts, as women, we can do something…. Make a difference in the lives of many innocent, poor girls who need to be helped out from the confines of their humble homes. Let the fortunate among us take on the responsibility of dispelling the ignorance that has already led to worse crimes against the women of our country. The Indian women rank among the most sacrificing and compassionate humans on earth. As youth, let us take up a little activity along with our pursuits and try to do something for our unfortunate sisters. For e.g., we can begin by teaching poor girls living in the vicinity of our homes. We can help poor little school girls with their grammar, math and science. We must also motivate our domestic help and other indigent people we come across in our lives to educate their daughters and treat them on par with their sons. Girls and boys in schools and colleges can also collect funds... like it is done in the US… and donate to organizations that educate the girl child. Every cultural event in colleges and schools can donate some amount for this cause. In some schools in the US children go around with piggy banks and request people to put in their small change for a social cause. I am sure we can also do this, especially during our national festivals and occasions like International Women’s Day. We can also help little girls by buying them uniforms and books, by setting apart a small portion of our pocket money, (we can cut down on expenses on recharge cards and fast foods). I am sure many of us would not mind sacrificing a pizza if it can help light up the life of a little girl. In our own small way, we can think of ideas to help unfortunate little girls languishing in darkness and hunger. On this International Women’s Day, let us all take a pledge to help the Girl Child. We would indeed like to see our contemporaries as educated and balanced individuals in the future, don’t we? And finally, let us all bring our voices together and create a loud clamor against violence and aggression against Indian women. Happy Women’s Day!
Namrata Amarnath, Deputy Editor
ollowing closely on the heels of the Delhi gang-rape incident was a horrific video that featured a young boy belting out inhuman jokes raping an unconscious girl – who he terms, was dead. This girl was 16, and had been gang-raped – the case resulting in the charges of rape and kidnapping against two local star football players. He then goes on to talk about urinating on the girl, comparing her to dead celebrities. The other young men in the basement are laughing at his jokes. The video is a sordid example of the obfuscation of “macho-bravado” and a sense of “aggressive masculinity” with a proclivity for deviant sexual violence. To those that profess and continue to harbour such a mindset, rape is funny. To those that even show signs of such a tendency, rape is a tool to assert dominance over women. A winning moment Relating much of this to the Indian scenario, we as a country don’t seem to have people that are different. Just proving that right was Asaram Bapu, a person seen as a spiritual guru by many in the country, who claimed that had the Delhi girl called her rapists brothers, and had begged them to leave her alone, while chanting mantras repetitively, she would not have suffered. Abhijit Mukherjee, the Indian President’s son, decided that the women who fought for the cause in the protest rallies in Delhi were painted and dented. Botsa Satyanarayana, the Chief of the Congress in Andhra Pradesh, thought he had sense when he said “Just because India got freedom at midnight, is it necessary for women to move on the streets at midnight?” Mohan Bhagwat of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh claimed that such incidents don’t happen in Bharat, but in India – ‘the globalized Bharat that is Kirthi Jayakumar winning corrupted by the west.’ Kailash Vijayvargiya, of the BJP in Madhya the Presidential Service Pradesh, said that women must maintain their maryada (Hindi Award from the U.S. which translates to mean morality), or face the consequences. These words reflect not anomalies in society – but the general ethos that prevails. These words show a terrible truth: that it is the men who think it is okay to joke about rape, that it is the men who think it is okay to judge a woman on her looks, that it is okay to verbally abuse and deride a woman. And that is precisely the reason that crimes like rape and other instances of sexualized violence continue unabated. Of course, patriarchy plays a role here, for it is male dominance that is sought to be asserted. That said, it is important and relevant that every man knows and understands that the utterance of profanities and abusing a woman verbally, or deriding her, or deciding that she is of a certain kind because she dresses a certain way, is ALSO violence. Verbal violence is as disastrous as physical violence, and humanity should understand that – irrespective of the genders. Continuously taking pot-shots at a woman’s appearance without giving credit where it is due, and always, always subjecting a woman to scrutiny based on how she dresses, how she looks, how her hair is done or how her face appears – is also a manifestation of the violent tendencies towards women. And it is violence. Plain and simple. The men that indulge in such crimes are as guilty as the ones that commit rape, because it is their mentality that a woman can be treated at their whims and fancy that allows rape culture to prevail. It only asserts a social setting where it is ‘normal’ to abuse and objectify a woman sexually. This is what needs changing if we want to see a world where women are equal. So let’s take one step here: the first step: where we pledge to be respectful to our women, whoever they may be – whether our co-workers or family, friends, or subordinates. Respect them from your heart. And see the change that will seize the country.
From Kirthi’s Desk
Respect Your Country Women
FRESH FACE FRESH FACE
OF CHENNAI OF CHENNAI
shwini Sridhar was representing Chennai at the Clean & Clear Fresh Face 2012 pageant held in Mumbai on 26 January 2013. The Fresh Face contest is a talent hunt held in all the major colleges in the cities of India. A grand finale with the best 11 college-going youngsters the country will be crowned. Ashwini Sridhar, pursuing final year B.A. Sociology at MOP Vaishnav College for Women, Chennai is among the eleven winners. She chose humanities with great passion. She is also a dancer and is trained in music and the veena. Ashwini credits her college with encouraging her and granting the opportunity to take part in the pageant. When the Fresh Face team came to their college, Ashwini emerged the winner and went on to the semi-finals round.
that was her forte. The finals in Chennai had four rounds including an introduction round, ramp walk, performance and Q &A round. Ashwini Sridhar emerged the winner from Chennai and represented the city at the Grand Finale held on 26 January in Mumbai. She was mighty thrilled to receive a certificate from the acclaimed dancer, director and actor Prabhu Deva. In just a span of a few months her life has turned out to be an exciting journey. The competition has opened opportunities galore in the field of modeling.
Happy and excited about the semi-finals from which 18 participants would be shortlisted for the finals; she toiled, especially with dance because
Though she did not emerge the winner in Mumbai, Ashwini feels that Fresh Face has been a major turning point for her. She received a lot of publicity and got recognition. A dynamic young girl of multifarious talent, Ashwini Sridhar suggests that collegiates should take part in inter and intra college activities. “You never know what lies ahead. It may just be a turning point for you. And don’t wait for anyone to tell you what you are best at. Just go out and conquer the world,” she says.
Xxtra Attention Xxtrawith inspiring fashion Attention
with inspiring fashion
PLUS SIZE CLOTHING FOR MEN & WOMEN PLUS SIZE CLOTHING FOR MEN & WOMEN
F – 122, PHASE 2, SPENCER PLAZA, CHENNAI – 600 002. F – 122, PHASE 2, SPENCER PLAZA, CHENNAI – 600 002. TEL: 28492448\9 MOB: 9677005841 \9841087865 TEL: 28492448\9 MOB: 9677005841 \9841087865
ALSO AVAILABLE AT: Ahmedabad • Bangalore • Delhi • Hyderabad • Jaipur • Lucknow • Panchkula Customer Care No.: 9810266364 VE’S IMES March 2013 47 ALSO AVAILABLE AT: Ahmedabad • Bangalore • Delhi • Hyderabad • Jaipur • Lucknow • Panchkula Customer Care No.: 9810266364
elebrities, Sportsmen, singers, DJ’s ….. are in the grip of a fever spread across the globe. Head phones and ear buds have become a bit of a status symbol and a definite style statement in recent months, Head phones were big when I was a kid, then they got smaller, now the big boomers are back in fashion. Personal headphones used to be small and discreet but today the big headphone is the most sought after, despite the high costs. The head phones come in all kinds of funky colors and cool patterns, and bring music to your ears in the coolest way possible. Some of these large head phones are for old fashioned music listening, others for gaming. Either way, they look great. Young boys and girls are seen most often with their trendy colored head phone hanging around their neck when they aren’t listening to music ; but , they are constantly plugged into their iPods or mobile phones; playing music of their choice with the unique feature of each head phone varying for different headphones. Tips to buy good headphones Do not buy head phones based on the color or style; there has to be a mix of quality and they should fit your ears. Buy head phones from a good, branded company as they take care of your ears and are specially designed for their comfort. Check for good clarity because over-exposure to music can lead to severe headaches. Do not buy too low priced headphones as they are not tested and the material may not be good. Research in the internet to know more about head phones and what type of head phones you want. Unbranded head phones can cause harm to the device plugged into like iPod, iPad, cell phones, and MP3 players and are less durable over time
Do educate teenagers on safe use of the head phone, because they can lead to deafness.
Woods n Plywoods Burma Teakwood African Teakwood Kongwood Padakwood Hardwood Decorative wood Silver Oak runner Film Face Shuttering Plywood and types of branded Plywoods and Laminates
Abhishek Lohia @ 9940614072
Dealers in all types of Woods n Plywoods
#83,Sydenhams Road,Periamet,Chennai-600 003 Phone: 044 25354400, 42174500 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
March 2013 49
EVE’S TIMESEVE’ MES ST E’S TI
Novem 201 ber 50 ` 2
is ou ur Voice
Your Voice is our Inspiration
Janua ry 20
urs o Flavo
Ambika Kameshwar & RASA
Padma Shri Gayatri Shankaran’s musical journey
The New Sound of Music- Pathbreaking Agam
GET YOUR COPY NOW
re n ag TeetipMDating Cultu ul le M
it to be hat is Den: W ? Men’s dian Man for entre the In
d C ent PAGE 76 ance , Adv anagem A Newtes M Diabe sVoice NLU n’ Citize pe in91 E ng Ra Gangalore PAG Ba
I Dance Therefore I Am – Shiamak Davar INDIA O UTRA
The Undefeatable Trio- How three brave citizens
Breaking BarriersAmar Jyoti Delhi
turned around darkness
Genie at your Service- New Year Fantasies by celebs
& BECOME A PRIVILIGED MEMBER OF EVE’S TIMES EXCLUSIVE CLUB
View the archives online @ www.evestimesonline.com
Voice of the Citizens
Yes! I would like to subscribe to Eve’s Times
Name: ......................................................... ..................................................................... ...................................................................... Address: ..................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... Post Code: ................................................. Phone no: ................................................... E-Mail: ........................................................
Subscription Details for: One Year
Two Years Five Years I agree to pay the amount ........................ (Amount in Words ........................................ By Cheque DD Cash
Three Years Rs.1800/-
Cheque/DD should be in favour of Clairvoyance Media(P) Ltd, payable at Chennai, India. Bank........................... Branch.................. Cheque No..................... Date...................... DD No...............................Date.....................
Your Voice is our Inspiration
Clairvoyance Media(P)Ltd “Exotica” 24/51, 7A,Venkatnarayana Road, T.Nagar, Chennai-600 017. p: 044 4391 6699 f: 044 4391 6688
High Blood Pressure, the theme for
World Health Day 2013 on 7 April
How healthy are you and your family? Equip yourself with the knowledge of High Blood Pressure, the theme for World Health Day 2013 on 7 April. The silent but dangerous affliction is striking even the young today. We bring to you a comprehensive handbook of how to prevent, manage and deal with Blood Pressure. Time to take control of your health in your hands. The smart reader of Eve’s Times does just that!
What’s your plan for this summer? Get to know about activities you can do, places you can visit and a lot more. Bring the zing back to your life…. Once you have done away with the rigors of exams and work. Summer entertainment, family and friends get-togethers, hobbies, recipes and beginning yet another Indian New Year on a positive note… Don’t let the ensuing summer sap your energy. Be prepared to face the austere summer this season….. summer recipes, body and health care… ideas galore! The power of the human mind – Human interest stories about how some extraordinary people circumvented inconceivably constraining circumstances and emerged as outstanding examples of men and women with indomitable strength of character and distinguishing human qualities.
And of course the regulars from our experts on health, fitness, beauty, star chefs, counseling and the ever popular Teen Mag with a lot of spunk and spice!
Tips for hair
coloring and streaks
aking good care of your hair after you have colored it is very important as your hair usually loses out on protein and texture during the process. Here are some tips on how to prepare your hair before and after coloring it by a hair consultant from Naturals beauty salon, Chennai:
Use a shampoo that is meant for color treated hair. Such shampoos do not strip away the natural moisture from your hair. Use a weekly hair mask to prevent the hair color from fading. Oil, wash and condition your hair at least twice a week so that it remains clean and the hair does not get overly dry. Do not blow dry your hair using the hot setting. Use the cool setting instead or try to dry it naturally if possible. Colored hair tends to be more brittle and soft, which is why you should not comb it when it is wet. Remove the tangles slowly with your fingers or use a wide-toothed comb. Take care of your colored hair; it will take great care of your looks in turn.
Get a trim so that your hair is more manageable and the worst of your split ends are out such that it will give your tips a smooth look after coloring. Try to use herbal product and say no to chemical process for at least 2-3 weeks before you color your hair. Undergo a deep conditioning treatment a few days before you color your hair. After you shampoo your hair, wait for about two days so that the natural oils in your scalp coat your hair. This will give you better color and shine.
Taking good care of colored hair will help you maintain the color for a longer time and also add healthy shine and texture to your hair.
Jest For Laughs
est J 4 Laughs
Q: Why are politicians proof of reincarnation? A: You just can’t get that screwed up in one lifetime.
Two guys show up in Heaven at the same time. The first guy says he froze to death, and the second guy tells him that he died of a heart attack. “How did that happen?” asks the first guy. “Well, I came home and thought I heard my wife with another man. But when I searched the house, I couldn’t find anybody. I was so stricken with remorse for wrongly accusing my wife of infidelity, I had a heart attack and died on the spot.” “Geez,” says the first guy. “If you’d opened the fridge, we’d both be alive right now.”
MY DOG DON’T BITE
COMPUTER: Please wait A hound dog lays in the yard and an old man in overalls sits on the porch. while a wizard installs this program. “Excuse me, sir, but does your dog bite?” a jogger asks. ME: There’s a wizard in The old man looks over his newspaper and replies, “Nope.” my computer? Sweet! As soon as the jogger enters the yard, the dog begins snarling and growling, and then attacks the jogger’s legs. As the jogger flails around in the yard, he yells, “I thought you said your dog didn’t bite!” The old man mutters, “Ain’t my dog.”
FUNNY ONE LINERS
The recipe said “Set the oven to 180 degrees,” so I did, but now I can’t open it because the door faces the wall. The kids text me “plz” Because it’s shorter than “please”. I text back “no” because it’s shorter than “yes”. The best thing about telepathy is...I know, right? Sometimes the first step to forgiveness is understanding the other person is a complete idiot. The condensed history of a divorce: I do. Ado. Adieu. I could snap at any moment. Seriously, with either hand. There may be no “i” in “team,” but there are three in “narcissistic.” As I watched the dog chasing his tail, I thought “Dogs are easily amused.” Then I realized I was watching the dog chase his tail.
THE BURNING TRUTH
The greatest tragedy of mankind is that one half of the population is not considered as humans worth a life- women who have made the greatest and most inconceivable sacrifices, turned history around with their fortitude, unconditional and matchless love, compassion and who if treated with respect and dignity can be instrumental in transforming the world into a better one that will thrive on love , understanding and respect for human life.
here is no dearth of news reports on sordid events of such a kind. Violence against women seems to be an unabashed, untrammelled occurrence – whether in the form of rape, or in the form of acid attacks. One wonders what this illconceived notion of patriarchy is, that a woman’s face is so easily treated as the equivalent of a tiled bathroom floor. As if it is not bad enough that a woman has to be put on the spot for the way she looks, men think they can alter the way she looks for reasons best known to them, by defacing them. Acid attacks are fairly common occurrences in India – (not that this is intended to be a statement in the light of one speaking about pizza chains being common) – statistics reveal that it is one of the biggest factors that has caused India’s position in the fourth place among the world’s most dangerous places to be a woman. Acid attacks are often carried out as hate or vengeful crimes where a woman who has rejected the advances of a man might be the one at the receiving end of the attack, or sometimes, as dowry crimes and assaults as part of domestic violence.
damage that is felt ultimately depends on the concentration of the acid itself, and the amount of time that lapses before the acid is thoroughly washed off with water, or neutralized with a neutralizing agent. The moment acid touches skin, it corrodes the skin, the layer of fat beneath the skin, and if it is not stopped by neutralization or washing off, the acid can corrode the bone. A consulting medical practitioner in a hospital in Chennai, explains under conditions of anonymity, “Acid attacks are the worst of all forms of attack. If it is a stab wound or a bludgeoned wound, it is easy to let the patient come back to full health, or at least very close to full health. But for acid victims, it isn’t easy. One is that because sometimes damage is so heavy that it goes beyond redemption. Two, where damage is still capable of being reversed, the process of plastic surgery is simply frightfully expensive, and not every hospital has the facilities such survivors need.” When on the face, acids may destroy the physical features, eroding the eyes, lips, nose and even ears. Depending on how much acid falls on the body and face, the damage can range anywhere from corrosion of features and skin, to even death after a protracted battle. When the victim survives the attack, life isn’t easy. Right from physical challenges that need surgical intervention to be set right to psycho-social rehabilitation, there are plenty of hurdles in a survivor’s path. The practitioner explains, “Often, the suffering of the
What happens in an acid attack?
Acids are corrosive substances. The moment they meet skin, they begin to corrode it, burning it into an acrid lump of flesh. The severity of
KIrthi Gita Jayakumar
“Girl succumbs to injuries from acid attacks” “24-year-old critical after acid attack” “Girl commits suicide after acid attack”
survivor is doubled. As doctors, individually, we do our best to save a patient who comes into our care. But sometimes, there is a bigger system in play, and a lot of doctors step back the moment they know that a person is a victim of a criminal case. Moreover, nearly all these victims that come to the government hospital are not in a position to afford legal help, nor are they in a position to call the shots with the medical aid they need.” A twinge of regret passes the face of the practitioner, and you can clearly see that the practitioner is at war with the voice of their conscience.
towards such victims. There are instances where the police have refused to register cases, though the victims have been attacked on multiple occasions,” explains the practitioner. On many occasions, these women are found running from pillar to post, as they simply don’t get enough medical attention. A young nurse took a moment to explain, “I have seen one or two instances. I know that they don’t easily admit such cases – it is a criminal matter and then it becomes a big incident where the doctors and the hospitals don’t want to get involved. The one that is left to suffer is ultimately the victim. I asked once, of my seniors, about why this is so – because the one who suffers should be given the help she needs immediately. But they silenced me and asked me what I hoped to be – a salaried employee or a jobless revolutionary.” No prizes for guessing what she chose. How do you defend yourself against an acid attack? Though an acid attack is not very much that one can defend themselves against – especially seeing as how much damage a few drops can cause. Nevertheless, here are a few pointers you could do well to know about. Stay away from desolate areas: Though an attacker isn’t necessarily bothered about the whereabouts if he has decided to attack, be sure to keep to a crowded place where you are not already vulnerable by location, to an attack. Wear more clothes: Use a jacket to cover your arms, and cover your face, whether with a dupatta or a scarf, or even a hoodie. Clothes cannot completely protect you, yes, but it is one level between the acid and your face that you can peel off quickly if you’re good with your reflexes. Use sunglasses. Throw style out of the window and get yourself fairly huge sun glasses. The bigger they are the better sheath of protection they offer for your eyes. Remember, if the acid falls directly on your eyes, it can wind up costing you a lifetime of vision. Use books and files. Make sure to carry a book or a file – a fairly thick one at that – in your hands. The moment you apprehend a possible attack, you can swing it to cover your face and minimize the damage. Use a self-driven mode of transport as much as you can, rather than walking or public transport, if you can help it.
Most commonly available acids that are used to attack victims are hydrochloric, sulphuric, or nitric acid, which quickly burns through flesh and bone. Consequently, there is need for attention to the damage caused by the corrosive agents that these acids are. A plastic surgeon in a leading hospital in Mumbai explains, “Immediately, or at least as soon as possible, the acid needs to be washed off. If it is not washed off immediately, the acid remains corrosive. The deeper it penetrates, the more damage it can cause in the form of skeletal, muscular or flesh damage, and even cause organ failure. So delay has to absolutely be ruled out.” What follows next, says the medical practitioner in Chennai, “The dead skin must be removed immediately. If it is not removed within four or five days of the attack, the new skin may grow and wind up being the cause of further facial deformities. Where there is burned skin tissue around joint areas, it must be removed to facilitate movement.” Skin may grow back in some areas, such as over eyelids or nostrils of victims. But, if the dead skin or burned skin is not removed, lumps may form. “Severe pain and disabilities need to be averted. For this, acid burn victims need many surgeries and plenty of therapy at each stage to ensure that scarred tissue remains elastic and does not harm the other parts of the body that are fit.” The plastic surgeon explains.
Criminalising the victim
A lot has been said and done about how the country is furious about a lack of attention to the cause of violence against women. Most blame the security sector – the police and the legal wing – for its inaction. “There is often a lot of apathy
Atrocity Continues Unabated!
espite all the demonstrations and ordinances being passed, debates and arguments galore in the media, atrocities against women continue to rule the roost. Less than two weeks after the death of acid attack victim, J Vinodhini, another young woman, J Vidya, 21, who was attacked in a similar manner in suburban Adambakkam, in Chennai, succumbed to her injuries after battling for life over the past 25 days. She died at the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital after complications. Doctors treating Vidya said she suffered from septicemia , and died after it resulted in her organs not functioning properly. On February 12, Vinothini, an engineer from Karaikal, had died at a private hospital in Chennai, following a three-month battle after a similar attack. January 30 was a fateful day for Vidya portending a worse disaster. While she was working alone in an internet browsing centre where she was working, Vijaya Bhaskar attacked her with a bottle of acid because she had turned down his marriage proposal. He was a catering staff in an IT company. Vidya turned her face away. Enraged, Vijaya Bhaskar pushed her down and she fell on the floor where the acid had spilled. Her screams brought the neighbours who apprehended the culprit. Vidya suffered 34 per cent fourth degree burns, considered critical. Creams were used to treat her burns while she was given nutrient substances
like plasma and antibiotics to help heal the wounds, after which a skin graft was to be done at a later stage, doctors said. “This was a stage where a patient would be prone to bacterial infection. It is a known complication, as she was in the third week of her treatment. It needn’t be because of external conditions but could also be attributed to poor intake, though she was on IV,” Dr Jaganmohan, Professor and Head of the Department, Burns and Plastic Surgery, KMCH, Chennai opined. The infection had resulted in sepsis, a condition where the body responds severely to bacteria or other germs, affecting the internal organs. In Vidya’s case, the sepsis resulted in her liver and kidney becoming less functional and, in the final stage, doctors said her lungs were infected too, leading to breathing problems. Vidya’s family donated her corneas to Sankara Nethralaya. Vidya had lost her father when she was seven years old. Her mother Saraswathi works as a domestic help. Vidya had been contributing Rs 4,000/- to the family kitty working in the internet centre. Vidya’s family members blame poor hospital hygiene for her death. The post mortem was conducted after much delay. Incensed by the apathy of the hospital authorities, the family refused to take possession of the body until government official spoke to them. “They have not responded to our appeal aired through media. In the case of the Delhi victim,
the girl was taken to Singapore for treatment. Even in the case of Vinodhini, a Minister called on her. Nobody has come to our aid,” said a relative.
the lives of young women who are exposed to such hazards.
What does Sunitha Krishna, clinical “My eyes are damaged I cannot see anything psychological say about the trauma and the now. My face feels torn. “ These were probably psychological implications of the acid burn the few last words of Vinodhini, the acid attack victims?
victim who succumbed to her injuries recently. “ Acid attacks have appeared across the world in relatively recent times as modern technology makes large quantities of concentrated acids cheap and readily available. Acid attacks, or “acid throwing”, have been declared a genderspecific crime, as at least 80% of the victims are women. The effects of acid attack are drastic if the victim survives .Acid burns through eyes, skin tissue and bone. Most often, victims are left blind and with permanent scar tissue. Psychological scars are even worse. Acute depression, anxiety and shame would be part of the emotional aftermath. Many times, they are ostracized by family and society and the victims are most often held responsible for getting attacked! It will take years to counsel them and extricate them from the trauma.” Says Shubha Srikanth , mother of a teenager, ‘I am truly shocked. Such things never happened when we were at school or college. Nowadays I feel so tensed up whenever my daughter goes out and my mind is never at rest until she returns home. After reading about these unfortunate acid burn victims, I seem to be getting a spate of nightmares. I wake up in cold sweat; unless the government comes out with stringent measures, none of us women and girls in the country are safe. NEVER!”
Vinodhini, a B.Tech graduate had been employed in a private company in Chennai and lived in a working women’s hostel in Saidapet. Her father, Jayapal, is a watchman in a private school in Karaikal. The assailant, Suresh, alias Appu, was a family acquaintance. Suresh was a construction labourer who had befriended Jayapal and over a period of time had also loaned him money. On November 14, Vinodhini was walking with her father to the Karaikal bus terminus after visiting her parents for Deepavali. Before she could board a bus to Chennai, Suresh accosted them and threw nitric acid at her. Vinodhini and her father Jayapal suffered injuries. After the attack, she was rushed to a private hospital in Karaikal, where first aid was administered. She was then referred to JIPMER, Puducherry. On November 15, she was transferred to the Government Kilpauk Hospital, Chennai, which has a burns ward that specialises in treating acid attack victims. But the injuries were extensive, with her nose, eyes and ears, suffering irreversible damage. She was later shifted to a private hospital after Dr. Jayaraman, the doctor treating her retired from KMC. For several weeks doctors continued dressing her wounds and waited for the acid reaction to subside so that they could assess the damage. But within a week it became apparent that she had lost sight in both eyes. Later she succumbed to the complications that arose from the grievous assault. Doctors at the hospital said she had suffered a cardiac arrest. Plastic surgeon V. Jayaraman, who was treating her since the attack said, “We twice tried to revive her heart. We also gave her blood. But the protein levels were low as she did not have enough nourishment.” The lives of two young women were snuffed out due to brutality and criminal intent on the part of young men who could have contributed to the society productively. It is time we did something about such heinous activities indulged by unscrupulous young men and also safeguarded
STEPS TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT TO REGULATE ACID SAL
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalitha has offered assurance that her government would table draft legislation in the Budget Session of the Assembly to control and regulate the sale of acid. She has also promised to introduce draft legislation in the Budget session that is strictly aimed at curbing acid attacks by imposing a control regime and strict regulation on the sale and purchase of acid. The government is also planning to keep a tab on people stocking and selling acid. Shopkeepers will also be required to collect details of people purchasing acid. The legislation is also likely to criminalize unlicensed sale of acid. The government is planning to conduct awareness campaigns against acid attacks.
The Suryanelli Lesson
Prof N Natarajan
he era of powerful women in the modern world commenced with Sirimao Bhandaranaike becoming Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in 1960. She ruled that country intermittently for nearly 20 years. Indira Gandhi became PM in 1966 and had an uninterrupted innings of 11 years followed by another 4 years plus from 1980 until her assassination. Golda Meir was PM of Israel from 1969 to 1974, while Margaret Thatcher was PM of Great Britain from 1979 to 1990. Benazir Bhutto was PM of Pakistan; Sheikh Hasina was PM of Bangla Desh for 5 years till 2001 and is now again the PM since 2009. Angela Merkel continues to be the Chancellor of Germany since 2005. All these women have shown tremendous leadership qualities, bold temperaments and great political acumen that can be said to be easily on par with their male counterparts. Apart from the women on the list given above, there have been some 35 other women
who have been heads of Government in many smaller countries. In India there has been a woman President, Leader of the Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition and Speaker of Lok Sabha. Presently there are two Chief Ministers of major states. The Central coalition Government, now into its second innings, is being managed by the Chairperson Sonia Gandhi for the last 9 years. Similarly in the last 50 years, women have shown great leadership qualities in bureaucracy, businesses, medical and legal professions. In male bastions like the defence sector and space research, women have recorded outstanding achievements. They are extremely competitive and combative, matching men step for step. Women in the later part of the 20th century and in the first decades of the 21st century have much to be proud of. The ascendance of women in the whole world, including India, should fill women with euphoria and confidence. In a way this seemed to be the mood until recently. H o w e v e r, o n e disturbing factor in the
ascension of women to positions of power is that there has been a singular lack of contribution made by any of them to elevate the status or security of other women in society. This has been best demonstrated particularly in the last 3 months or so by the shocking revelations, especially in India, of the indignity that women are exposed to behind the closed doors of their homes as well in public at their work places and on the roads. It also shows that unless women come out in the open about their problems, men will continue to take them for granted. Women can draw some consolation from the
1996. The points of this case are as bad if not worse than the recent case of Delhi Brave-heart. The case was all but forgotten after the Kerala High Court in 2006 had shockingly acquitted 35 accused persons in the ‘affair’. However the Kerala Government had appealed against the High Court judgement. The appeal went into the back burner. The case took a dramatic turn when on January 31, 2013 the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice A K Patnaik ordered the Kerala High Court to look at its own order of mass acquittal in 2006. It is also reported that the rape victim has sent a letter seeking to implicate Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha P J. . Kurien in the case. Let us look at this case in some detail: The prosecution had alleged that in a conspiracy in January 1996, a poor 16 year old village girl child from Suryanelli, Kerala was enticed, threatened and persuaded to run away from her school hostel by a bus conductor with whom she had fallen in love. He blackmailed her with a photo album and threatened her that he would make nude films with her photos if she informed her parents about the trip. She went away with him and on the trip, he got off the bus. Usha, the second accused was travelling in the same bus and offered help to the girl. However, she betrayed her by handing her over to A d voca te Dharmarajan, the prime accused in the case. He raped in a lodge.
recent massive protest against the handling of the case of Nirbhaya, the rape case in Delhi. Indian women demonstrated in one big uprising all over the nation and managed to eventually move the insensitive ruling establishment to constitute the Verma Committee, though it was only a temporary, desperate response. A Verma Committee member himself has had to publicize the fact that the government had failed to act on another rape case involving a Delhi policeman, the graphic details of which were available in the Committee’s report. An embarrassed Government came up with a weak and unconvincing response showing that the ruling party was ‘wearing the glass bangles’ as people in the North graphically describe it. Now the Suryanelli village in Idukki District, Kerala has suddenly come into prominence, for the wrong reasons. The Suryanelli Rape Case is currently in the news. Its details had sent shock waves when it was first exposed in
Then Usha and Dharmarajan offered her to several men. She was sexually harassed and assaulted continuously for 40 days by 42 men in
1996, transporting her from place to place across Kerala. The accused allegedly included some influential politicians, well-known businessmen and well-placed individuals. The name of P J Kurien, a prominent Congress politician and currently Chairman of Rajya Sabha was also mentioned by the victim although his name was not in the final charge sheet. The participation of a woman and an advocate in the heinous crime as well as its duration made the crime far worse than the Delhi case. The girl was terrorised, held in coercive confinement and injected with drugs to prevent her escape. Finally when she fell seriously ill she was released from captivity and was threatened with dire consequences if she opened her mouth about what had happened to her. The reported happenings shocked Kerala, but the injustice to the victim did not end. The girl’s family was socially ostracized. She had to give up her education. The family was pressurised not to register a case. Influential persons involved in the case tried to scuttle the probe. In the name of identifying the culprits, the police paraded the girl all over the State along with the accused. Wherever they stopped, the public jeered and abused her. Spicy reports in the press only added to her woes. She faced threats to her life. In the 1996 Assembly elections, the Opposition Left Democratic Front made the incident a major campaign issue, quoted the prominent ruling party politician P J Kurien’s alleged role in the case and came into power defeating the Congress rule. However, they too soft-pedalled the case. Three years later, in 1999, under public pressure the government set up the State’s first-ever Special Court to try a case of sexual assault. The inquiry was conducted by a team led by Inspector-General of Police Sibi Mathew to bring the culprits to book. However, the omission of Kurien’s name has now become a serious bone of contention. Three of the witnesses who had come to Kurien’s rescue by supporting his alibi and facilitated the deletion of his name from the charge sheet have now retracted from their earlier statements. Congress supported him and in fact pilloried the victim. After all the new developments in the case, his fate as Dy.
Chairman of Rajya Sabha hangs in the balance. On 6 September 2000 the Special Court awarded stiff punishments to 35 accused including 3 women. Of these, 8 men and 1 woman were sentenced to 13 years’ Rigorous Imprisonment— for conspiracy, abduction, illegal detention, rape and gang rape. The prime accused, Advocate Dharmarajan was absconding when the main case was being tried. In 2002 the court finally tried and sentenced him to Rigorous Life imprisonment, terming the advocate Dharmarajan’s crimes as rarest of rare offences and describing him as a hardened criminal. In 2006, the Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justice K A Abdul Gafoor and Justice R Basant overturned the verdict of the Special Court by substantially diluting the punishment of Dharmarajan and acquitting 35 others. In a judgment that sounds shocking now, and has been rejected by the Apex court in February 2013, the high Court bench said that there was inadequate evidence for abduction, conspiracy, selling of the girl, rape and gang rape. It also found Dharmarajan guilty of a lesser crime related to the sex trade (procuring and selling a minor for purposes of prostitution). Accordingly, his sentence was reduced to five years. The prosecutor had pleaded that that in spite of severe infection in her vagina, Dharmarajan and many others had raped the girl; in fact a few of them raped her more than twice. According to the girl, during those days her condition was precarious and she had acute pain in her back and hips. The evidence given by the doctor who examined the girl after her coming back home was crucial for the prosecution. The doctor had reported: “Vaginal examination was painful, vulva was oedematous. There was infection. There was purulent foul smelling discharge. She would have suffered severe pain during the sexual act if it had continued as stated by her during the period of infection.” The judges however opined that ‘to rape a girl with such ailments, pain and infected vagina may be humanly impossible, as contended by the appellants, except with a roaring cry from
the victim…PW3 (the girl) has no case that she had even wept during the alleged rapes…no resistance mark was found on her body (as per doctor’s testimony)’. The learned judges also observed she had never tried to escape, though she got many opportunities and that she could not be considered an unwilling partner to the intercourse. They felt that absence of consent had not been satisfactorily proved and asserted that the girl stated unwillingness really as an excuse to save her face in the family for her 40 day long absence from home. The judges noted that as there was no resistance from her part, so that those who approached her could discern that she was not willing for intercourse. The Division Bench also did not seem to have appreciated the girl’s deposition before the trial court. The girl had deposed before the trial court “I was terrified. They had threatened to kill me… They threatened to kill my parents too. I was frightened. Even now I am frightened that they would kill me. They used to tie my hands behind me and pour liquor into my mouth and give me drugs before taking me to various places. They continuously harassed me. I was tired… damn tired. When they go out they used to lock the rooms from outside…I appealed to all those who came to take me home. I told them who I was, where I came from, and whereabouts of my parents. But nobody helped me…whenever I resisted they tortured me.” The victim had all along consistently accused P J Kurien as one of her tormentors. The complainant had alleged that Kurien had raped her at the Kumily Guest house in Idukki. Kurien was discharged by Kerala High Court on April 4, 2007 for lack of evidence. Supreme Court of India too had dismissed a petition filed by Kerala Government challenging the High Court’s acquittal of P J Kurien. Now after the new turn of events since Supreme Court’s judgement, there are fresh allegations that Kurien may have been bailed out by the police by arranging a dubious alibi. Incidentally after his reduced sentencing by the High Court in 2006 Dharmarajan had come out on bail and absconded. He has just been rearrested. He has now retracted his earlier statement and says that he personally took
Kurien to the victim. Terming the High Court judgement a perfect example for the gender insensitivity of the judiciary, various women’s organisations and human right groups have formed a common platform to protest against the verdict. “Taking into account the increasing incidents of sexual harassment and violence against women, the High Court’s verdict is a real let down,” pointed out K Ajitha, a prominent activist and president of Anweshi, a women’s counselling centre in Kozhikkode. Kerala Sthree Vedi, an umbrella organisation of women’s groups in Kerala, had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict. They have funded this case and provided moral support to the victim and her family. Many parts of the High Court judgement came in for sharp criticism by the legal profession and women activists. Some of them are cited below. The judges ignored the legal precedence in the case of medical and corroboratory evidences. The judgment was overpowered by a preconceived notion about the character of the victim. It’s highly objectionable that the court has not even taken into account the basic facts such as the fact that absence of resistance does not mean willingness to have sex. When the girl was terrorised and forced to undergo sex, how could it be taken as consent? The High Court verdict might have a negative influence on the fate of a dozen sex racket cases pending with various courts in the state. Judges did not even state the reasons for overturning the Trial Court judgment. The judges relied on the girl’s past behaviour. “When we read the evidence of the PW3, we have to be cognisant of her psyche - her mental make-up. Her past conduct and behaviour have to be borne in mind.” The judges cited an incident cited by the counsel of the accused in which the girl had “squandered” Rs 450 entrusted to her by her father for remitting hostel fees and also
an incident in which she pledged her ornaments without telling her parents. “She was not a normal innocent girl of that age. The peculiarity in her personality must realistically be borne in mind. The evidence of her age with such a conduct certainly has to be viewed seriously and with caution. A court cannot meekly swallow her version.” The trial court verdict definitely had a positive impact on the psyche of the public in general and women in particular. The High Court verdict might encourage sex rackets in the state. The girl, now 32, is a peon in a government office in Idukki district. She was given the job on compassionate grounds in 2000 by the then LDF government. But the UDF Congress Government, which came to power in February 2012 found a new method of harassing the victim. They arrested her in connection with an alleged financial irregularity case, charging her with multiple financial irregularities worth Rs 2,26,000 while working in the Sales Tax Department, Changanassery in 2010. She was placed under suspension and given a ‘punishment’ transfer to Kottayam where she is now employed. She was produced before a court which remanded her to judicial custody. Fortunately the Apex Court has reverted the Suryanelli rape case to the Kerala High Court, albeit after a lapse of 7 years. Hence the last word on it has not yet been pronounced. If this case is pursued to its logical end and the law catches up with mighty bigwigs, perhaps that will be the best tribute to Delhi’s Brave-heart. But for Nirbhaya’s tragedy and the mass reaction to it, even the Apex court may have taken more time to take up the Suryanelli case. Women have to stay on guard. They cannot afford to relax in a patriarchal, male dominated society. It is not only about India. It is about the whole world as evidenced by the phenomenal uprising of women—One Billion Rising—on Thursday February 14 2013 with events all around the globe making that day, a day of action and dancing to protest against violence against women and girls. Women must also remember that powerful
women or men in high places have not helped their cause in the past, nor will they, in future. Politicians too are only fair weather friends. Only continual protests, unity and massive demonstration of women power will help. Will women respond to the challenge in their own interest?
the outset, I embark on the task of presenting an opinion of the Justice Verma Committee and the Presidential ordinance on criminal law reforms, a task which is particularly overwhelming given the nature of these documents themselves and of course, the reputation of their authors. The Justice Verma Committee report alone being 644 pages long, its discussion does not permit brevity and I seek the reader’s indulgence in advance before embarking on this task. Any attempt to evolve policy on this sensitive area of law around sexual offenses needs to come from the perspective that sexual offences are essentially a crime of power, control and sadism, which factors operate either alternatively or cumulatively in any given case of a sexual crime. Sexual offences are disturbing not because they are an explosion of a perpetrator’s lust, but because they represent a potent concoction of violence, power and control manifesting itself through forced sexual intercourse, the ultimate purpose of which is to undermine a victim’s human existence, notwithstanding the gender of the victim. Sexual offenders represent danger not because, to put it colloquially, “they cannot keep it within their pants” but because they represent the degenerate lot who continuously and systematically fail to recognize victims as humans having human rights. Having said that, the problems in combating sexual offences
are many and complex. The substantial laws of the country, which in the context of sexual offences can be termed as those that define offences and prescribe punishment for the same were not up to date, no doubt, but they are not what fundamentally define the constraints which our system faces. After all vaginal rape came within the purview of the erstwhile Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (“IPC” for short) and all other forms of penetrative sexual assaults fell within the purview of the erstwhile Section 377 of the IPC. Additionally, sexual harassment and non-penetrative sexual assaults could still be tried within the purview of the erstwhile Section 354 of the IPC although this provision was largely toothless and ensured nothing more than a hard slap on the wrist. But when these substantive law deficiencies are placed in the context of ineffective investigative and prosecuting machineries, the resulting havoc it played on victims is well known. In this background, the Justice Verma Committee report as well as the Presidential ordinance proved to be a half complete journey towards a strong legislative framework for combating crimes against women. At the outset, the Justice Verma Committee report proves to be an exceptionally strong and clear statement against the existing cultures that accommodate and permit sexual offences against women. For the first time in the nation’s history, the liberal voices that called for human rights as opposed to chivalry, to be recognized as the basis for women rights were lent credence by
advisors to the state machinery and therefore by the state machinery itself. Even those pro victim judicial pronouncements that referred to rape being deplorable because it “inflicted deathless shame” upon victims were rightly criticized on the ground that victims need not feel shame, but rather the perpetrators and those who discriminate against victims deserve to feel shame. If the values advocated in the Justice Verma Committee report are reflected by our population at large, perhaps we will see the light of the day when women need not feel vulnerable anymore. Of particular interest is the committee advocating the concept of “Sexual Assault Crisis Centres” or centres, hosted in hospitals that provide medical and psychotherapeutic intervention in cases of sexual offences. These centres, analogous to rape crisis centres in the American jurisdiction, played a significant role in the fight against sexual offences. Enfold Proactive Health Trust at Bangalore runs similar centres for victims of child sexual abuse called “Collaborative Child Response Units” which is doing some very important work in the field of assessing and treating cases of Child Sexual Abuse. Additionally, after the Law Commission and the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the Naz Foundation Judgement, the Justice Verma Committee once again mooted the idea to consolidate the erstwhile Section 375 and Section 377 into one law defining penetrative sexual assault envisaging non-consensual oral, anal or vaginal penetration as offences. Police reforms were
recommended to ensure better handling of investigations around sexual offences and the Committee vociferously called for the “two finger” test to be done away with during medical examination of victims. In all the Justice Verma Committee report provided sanctity to existent calls for reforms and the discussion of the law around this school of thought was simply exceptional. Many were disappointed by the Committee not recommending the death penalty or chemical castration. I, perhaps share the disappointment on the failure to call for the death penalty. It is not uncommon to see that, many women who are victims of sexual offences refrain from pressing charges dueto the fear that the perpetrator will be out on bail or alternatively finish his prison term, with vengeance on his mind. However on the point of chemical castration, I must defend the Committee’s call. Once sexual offences are recognized as acts calculated to undermine the victim’s human existence, potency of the perpetrator or the lack of it is immaterial. Perpetrators who are impotent are known to indulge in greater degree of violence. Therefore chemical castration may serve little if not no purpose. The Presidential Ordinance, on the other hand, has its ups and downs. On one hand finally it recognizes stalking, voyeurism, acid attacks, non-penetrative sexual assault, sexual harassment (until now referred to as “eve teasing”), etc. as offences of particularly serious nature. However, while the ordinance does substitute rape
with Penetrative Sexual assault, none the less, for reasons best known to the law makers, marital rape remains unaddressed. Once again when it is accepted that women’s sexual freedom is sacrosanct to their existence as humans with human rights, how does it matter if the offence occurs at home and at the hands of a spouse or outside at the hands of a stranger. In fact data suggests most rapes are committed by those within trusted social circles. The exception to this offense of penetrative sexual assault, i.e., sexual intercourse with one’s own wife envisaged in the ordinance is indicative of the lawmakers’ incomplete understanding of the dynamics of sexual offences. I must place one last critique on record. The Justice Verma Committee as well as the Ordinance largely ignore the one glaring deficiency in our system, the prosecution. The prosecutors in our nation are overworked, undercompensated and often times the results of this situation are perceived as wilful deficiencies of a corrupt system. Additionally, sexual assault being an assertion of the perpetrator’s power leaves the victim with enduring sense of helplessness. In the ensuing trial, the accused chooses his own advocate (who is better motivated and has optimum work load), is provided with a copy of the charge sheet and evidences and has to his benefit, a wide variety of constitutional safeguards in the form of Article 20 and Article 22 of the Indian Constitution. The victim on the other hand is merely a complainant witness who has no say or control in the manner in which the prosecution is
conducted, so much so that she is not even provided with a copy of the charge sheet. Although there exists the concept of special public prosecutors even today, invoking their involvement is a complicated process and their participation is more the exception than the rule. Every case of sexual offense regardless of how high profile or low profile the victim or the crime is deserves focused and specialized attention from its prosecutors. The need for a prosecutor’s intervention is not just at the commencement of the trial, but at the very inception of the investigation when the crime is brought to light. To expect existing prosecutors and police officials, with their exceptionally stressful schedules to provide this level of involvement is neither fair nor practicable. Under the premise, the prevailing sense of helplessness and trauma is further aggravated, a situation that could be remedied by enlarging the scope of watching advocates under Section 301 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Essentially this provision presently permits a private pleader to assist the prosecution by seeking the leave of the court, although the role of such private pleaders is confined only to that of a background assistant who can at the end of the trial submit written arguments. He is neither allowed to lead evidence or make submissions during trial. By enlarging the scope of involvement for such watching advocates, the focused attention previously referred could be achieved with minimal financial burdens to the state. The concerns of adversarial
atmospheres prevailing if the victim’s private attorney were to prosecute the accused are largely ill conceived for the presence of the judge serves to balance that and under normal circumstances, no conviction can occur unless supported by facts backed by evidence. Alternatively, existing Non-Governmental Organizations working in this field can recommend or nominate a panel of advocates. Victims at least ought to be able to choose an attorney from this list and such attorneys can either prosecute pro bono or be compensated by the state depending upon what is more appropriate. This will not only relieve the prosecutors from the huge burdens that they face every day, but will also provide a say to the victims in trials. In the long run, the abysmally low conviction rates would be set right without infringing on the human rights of the accused. This may not be an ideal solution, but when existing state of affairs have not brought a solution, perhaps it is time for radical out of the box approach to resolving this facet of criminal law enforcement. In conclusion, we have moved forward in the road towards preventing and correcting crimes against women in the form of the aforementioned report and ordinances. But the journey is anything but complete. Critical areas remain unaddressed such as how should family courts treat applications for visitation rights from fathers accused of sexually abusing their own children? Will the existing norm of bail being the rule and prison being the exception continue? Should we seek prosecution of juvenile offenders as adults in cases of particularly heinous offenses, a highly controversial question already answered in the positive in jurisdictions like USA? From the attitude of people to the policies of the state, there continues to be remarkable scope for improvements and revamping measures. However, each day
spent not achieving this potential, there is a woman out there who is falling prey to a deplorable human rights violation. The need is, one, for state authorities to recognize the spirit of the reforms in the existing ordinance and work towards implementing the same and two, for the parliament to take cognizance of what remains to be done and facilitate the patchwork in its next session. For those of us not elected to the seat of power, it is time to mobilize resources and put pressure on policy makers, for the fight has just begun and it is far from over.
ustice Verma and his group have drawn up a set of reforms that if implemented, will successfully protect women’s rights in every form – right from the right to dignity to the freedom and right of privacy of a victim of sexual assault. Women’s movements in India have a long history. In 1882, Tarabai Shinde brought forth a vociferous fight in defence of the honour of her sisters in India. She protested against patriarchy and the parochial caste system way back in a day and age when society knew patriarchy as the norm and nothing less. From then on, there have been plenty of struggles for women’s rights – whether against patriarchy, child marriage or sexual violence. Today, India’s women are oppressed, the grimmest reminder of this being the near-daily news item on rape, sexual harassment, foeticide or child marriage. Women in India have had next to nil safety: whether on the streets, or in public transport, in their own homes or workplaces. Incomprehensible levels of brutality have always thrived in conduct towards women. Female infants have been throttled and thrown in dustbins. Women have been beaten and burned in the name of dowry. Wartime or peacetime are just backdrops that only differ in the scale and magnitude of the crimes – while the crimes themselves subsist in all their brutal harshness in both situations. Against this backdrop, the Justice J S Verma report is a breath of fresh air that holds plenty of promise. If implemented, the triumph of women’s movements in India can move beyond paper – which is where it remains right now. For starters, the committee’s report has gone beyond just the letter of criminal law. The committee has taken pains to evaluate the constitutional framework that needs to be amended to accommodate penal provisions, while also studying the political ethos that must subsist, on which the parameters of nondiscrimination on grounds of sex should be based. Instead of viewing it as just a crime falling under penal law, the report has redefined the nature of the crime by mandating that it is necessary for the government to consider preventing the crime as a constitutional objection. To do this, the Preamble to the Constitution has been relied on as a tool of interpretation that enables the perusal of every clause as inherently serving the cause of justice for women. The report makes the case then, for the amendment of not only criminal laws, but also a series of allied reforms in electoral laws (by mandating that those accused/ convicted in a case of sexual violence against women cannot contest an election unless acquitted by the court), policing and criminal laws (by suggesting complete security sector overhaul and sensitization) and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (to handle the issue of sexual violence on a warfront).
And then the report reiterates the decision of the Delhi High Court in the Naaz Foundation Case, explaining that sex under Article 15 (which makes the cause for equality) is also inclusive of sexual orientation. Therefore, it notes, everyone, irrespective of sex and sexual orientation, have the right to dignity and protection against sexual assault. On the way women are treated post assault, the committee has expressed some very valid points that feminist movements and activist statements in the country professed. To quote from the report, “…women have been looped into a vicious cycle of shame and honour as a consequence of which they have been attended with an inherent disability to report crimes of sexual offences against them.” As it stands now, an archaic legal instrument drafted in 1860, forms the major part of the body of criminal law in India. Rape is defined in a rather parochial manner, while the only other form of sexual assault the Penal Code refers to is termed ambiguously as “outraging the modesty of a woman”. Consequently, the slip between the cup and lip has led to many crimes – marital rape, sexual violence, molestation among myriads of others - being unnoticed, and unattended. Considering these glaring issues, the committee has recommended a re-evaluation of the definition, the alteration of the extremities to accommodate offences of sexual assault that include non-consensual and non-penetrative sexual acts, besides also dismantling marriage or intimate relationship as an exception to rape. Wartime, as mentioned above, only witnesses an amplification of the numbers. In Kashmir, Gujarat and North East India, there have been plenty of conflicts, making these regions thriving hotbeds of sexual violence. Brutal assaults by militia, armed forces, police officers and non-state actors have ravaged women, unleashing disastrous consequences on the fabric of societal living in those regions. The committee has, making specific note of these issues, made the case for the amendment of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, specifically Section 6, demanding the removal of the mandatory prerequisite of prior sanction for prosecution if an individual is accused of sexual assault.
A Step toward Safeguarding Indian Women
Kirthi Gita Jayakumar
Justice for Indian Women-
A Long Way Away
Manasa Ram Raj, Student, School of Law, Christ University: Is “seek for justice” going the right way? The report by Justice Verma has accused the government of failure in governance. On a deeper level, it is evident that the recommendations are ineffective in practical terms. Simply by mentioning the years of imprisonment for people who act against the law is no-where going to stop the rapist from attaining what they desire. A vital aspect which could have been included in the report could revolve in getting information on rape cases which are not otherwise brought to light. Such punishments are only for those who are caught off their offences, are there ways out to those victims whose voices are not heard and eventually lead a life of shame? On a long term solution, it is essential to look at changing the mind-set of the people in accepting women the way they are and in respecting them in all their decisions in life. By shifting blame on women in motivating men to indulge in rape is absolute no excuse because they are dressed short. Every woman is entitled to her rights and liberty and no man has a say in it what so ever. All these points should have been considered in the report and the non-mention of it is a clear indicator in trying to put off the public cry in this matter. By trying to amend the existing provisions and pin pointing the work of the Judiciary or the Police force it will not lead to the path of securing every woman’s right. Urmila Pullat, Bangalore I think the report has restored our faith in the hope for change. For me, the most important thing was the emphasis on minor sexual harassment incidents. Naina Kapur, Advocate and Equality Consultant Overall I think it is a remarkable report which covers the entire canvas of women’s experience of sexual violence. And it does so through an Equality lens. When you do that, accountability extends itself to a range of players such as the state, the medical community, the police, education and even the Finance ministry which needs to make adequate allocation of funds to implement a law. The GOI has been seized of sexual violence since 1983 when the first set of amendments happened and then ratified CEDAW in 1993. For the next 30 years it fell asleep and did nothing. Yet in 30 days, the Verma Commission created a paradigm shift for women....and they did it through an equal and inclusive process. Just when you think mediocrity rules, excellence surfaces when you needed it most. Of course there are some recommendations which I don’t necessarily support. One is the recommendation for setting up Employment Tribunals to replace the Internal Complaints Committee mandated under Vishaka. The failure of government to implement Vishaka cannot translate into setting up another judicial body- the very thing which along with law enforcement has failed women and workplace sexual harassment. In my view, the goal has to be to be consistent with the rest of the report which calls for Government to uphold Constitutional Equality. In that context, Government has to be compelled to implement Vishaka in letter and spirit. Women want redressal at the workplace and workplaces need to account for that. The last thing we need is to be sent back to a courtroom which has been consistently hostile to women’s experience of sexual violations including sexual harassment. Shayantini Ghoshal, Advocate, Calcutta This is a positive step – but can fast become a relic if left confined to paper. Consistent implementation and a sense of responsibility to ensure that it is implemented in an acceptable manner will be necessary, and once implemented, there will be an additional obligation to ensure accountability for every instance of flawed conduct in the process. The ball is now in the legislature’s court to make the changes before it shifts to the executive’s court, to implement the slew of changes. Before everything, though, there needs to be unconditional commitment from the government – an undertaking that they will do the needful when it comes to implementing the suggested body of reforms.
A REVOLUTION IN THE MAKING
ne Billion Rising (OBR) is a global campaign by women, for women. The movement calls for an end to violence, and for justice and gender equality.
On February 14, 2013, a one-day event was held, a call for one billion women around the world to join together to dance in a show of collective strength. The event was held on the 15th anniversary of the V-Day movement. The word “billion” refers the statistic that one in three women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime, or about one billion.
One billion women violated is an atrocity. “When we started V-Day 14 years ago, we had the outrageous idea that we could end violence against women,” said Ensler. “One Billion Rising is an appreciation, amplification and an escalation. When One Billion bodies rise and dance on 14 February 2013, we will join in solidarity, purpose and energy and shake the world into a new consciousness. Dancing insists we take up space. It has no set direction but we go there together. It’s dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive. It breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere at anytime with anyone and everyone. It’s free. No corporation can control it. It joins us and pushes us to go further. It’s contagious and it spreads quickly. It’s of the body. It’s transcendent.”
On September 20, 2012, people from 160 countries had signed up to take part in the campaign. On February 14, 2013, the rally was held in more than 190 countries.
The campaign was initiated by playwright and activist Eve Ensler (known for her play The Vagina Monologues), and her organization V-Day. The campaign was in part inspired by the Todd Akin ‘legitimate rape’ and pregnancy comment controversy. Ensler, shocked at Akin’s statement, wrote an open letter in response.
On 14 February 2013, V-Day’s 15th anniversary, activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities and women and men across the world joined to STRIKE, DANCE, and RISE, coming together to express their outrage, and demand an end to violence against women and girls.
Around 5,000 organizations have joined the campaign, which has also been aided or endorsed by religious ministers, movement builders, actors Rosario Dawson, Robert Redford, and Stella Creasy, British Labour Co-operative politician.
But the truth is, violence is tragically one of the ways women around the world are united – regardless of our age, nationality, race, religion, class or culture, our very existence as women in the world is dangerous. We may speak different languages, have different belief systems and face different and intersecting oppressions, but physical and sexual violence against women is sadly universal.
ONE BILLION RISING is a short film by Eve Ensler and South African filmmaker Tony Stroebel.
One in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. This powerful three minute film reminds us how violence against women appears worldwide in the everyday lives of women, from Afghanistan to Australia, the United States to Peru, South Africa to Great Britain.
The facts are astounding. Most of that violence comes at the hands of intimate partners, or someone a woman knows. And not all women are equally susceptible to violence. Factors like lower levels of education and income, maltreatment as a child and living in an environment where gender inequity is the norm, all increase a woman’s likelihood of experiencing violence in her life.
In many places, including the United States, transgender women, lesbian women and women of color are disproportionately targeted. In the United States, a woman is beaten by her partner every 15 seconds. In Egypt, 35% of women report being physically abused at least once in
their marriages; 35% of Turkish women have experienced marital rape. In South Africa, 165 women report being raped every day, many of them targeted because they are perceived to be lesbians or gender non-conforming and the rape is “corrective”; and the number who report their assaults to police are likely a fraction of victims.
can’t cover or how we can or can’t reproduce or what our families should look like.
Gang rape is apparently a male bonding experience from Steubenville to New Delhi. Victims of violence are little kids to old ladies; other vulnerable women and girls, like those with disabilities or dependent on a care-taker, are also more likely to be assaulted.
It’s our bodies that are blamed for the harm that comes to us, when we’re told that we were hurt because we’re too tempting, too sexual, too ugly, too loud, too easy, too feminine, too manly, and too vulnerable. It’s our bodies that too often feel like the enemy, when our own self-worth is worn down by cultural myths that we’re too fat, too dark, too poor, too awkward, too shy, too sexy, too female, too masculine, too strong, too weak, too big, and too little.
first step. The next steps must be more localized and specific. Women may be bound together by the violence we collectively face, but the roots of that violence and its solutions are as diverse as we are.
That, too, is the power in One Billion Rising: highlighting a shared problem can encourage the sharing of solutions alongside the recognition that a wildly varied world means varied experiences and requires varied strategies. There’s not just room for growth; there’s a demand for it.
How precisely to end that violence is a difficult matter, and one for which there is no single answer. Solutions must be multifaceted, vary depending on context, culture, history and legal codes. There’s no silver bullet or magic wand, and what works in Ohio will be different than what works in Oman. But the one universal shift must be in the status of women. We must be equal citizens. We must have a full range of legal, social, cultural, economic and political rights. We must be safe in our homes, on our streets and in our own bodies.
And so it’s with our bodies that we should act. When our bodies have been politicized, targeted and defined for us, there’s power in the simple enjoyment of that body. When women are supposed to be small and inoffensive, taking up public space is a radical act. It’s unladylike. Dance, OBR reminds us, is both free and freeing.
So be it the gang rape of a girl who became a victim for simply being unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or the incident of acid thrown on a girl in Chennai for a reason as simple and plain as refusing advances of so called love, a revolution like One Billion Rising and others must happen. But whether or not it will bring about the necessary and lasting change is the billion dollar question.
The basic necessity that so many women lack – being safe in our own bodies – is what finally made the OBR call to dance. It’s our bodies that are violated. It’s our bodies that are politicized and subjected to laws about what we can or
Will dance save the world? Of course not. And it certainly won’t end violence against women. But any worldwide movement that focuses on the appalling levels of violence that women face and crafts a national day of action to push back against that violence is fine with me.
Creating mass disruption to force people across the globe to consider violence against women and girls won’t solve our problems, but it is a good
Dawn for the Indian Woman
“O Lord Why have you not given woman the right to conquer her destiny? Why does she have to wait head bowed, By the roadside, Waiting with tired patience, Hoping for a miracle in the morrow?” These were the questions rightfully raised by the famous poet, Rabindranath Tagore, in anticipation of a dawn for a woman. Wouldn’t women of this century wish to witness his dream come true? In contrast to our wishes, the social scenario regarding the status of women is depressing and the injustice done to women of all age groups is highlighted in the visual and print media everyday violence, rape, sexual abuse, eve teasing, cheating, murder and so on. Aggression/ violence is the most reported crime against women today which was not brought to light to this extent in the past. Aggression/ violence refers to any act of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, or the threat of such abuse, inflicted against a woman by a person intimately connected to her, family relation or a social contact. It is disturbing to observe that internationally, one in three women have been beaten, coerced into sex or abused in their lifetime by a member of her own family (Heise et al. 1999). The subordinate status of women has been time and again reinforced in history and this has its root in the
If a woman is subjugated to a violent treatment, she could develop a serious condition called “verbal abuse syndrome”. Even though verbal abuse syndrome is not a mental disorder or an illness, it could damage the mental and physical health of the victim who is abused continuously.
Brinda Jayaraman, Family Therapist
socio-cultural set up of the society.
The need for gender equality Women of the 21st century have moved away from the historical image and this tough journey has left them with multiple challenges. A contemporary woman would not fit into the stereotypical image of a woman because, she now has to accomplish the dual roles in the family and in her career. Women today have proven beyond doubt that they are equal to men in all aspects and hence demand equal status in the society. It is heartening to observe that in recent times, women have become aware of their rights and are collectively slogging to establish their identity in the society.
changes in victim’s personality, feelings of self pity, worthlessness, isolation and of loneliness, high strung nature, seeking support from alcohol/ drugs, going on a shopping spree to feel good and inability to be productive. The victim may end up physically, mentally and emotionally wrecked, depressed even suicidal. She surely needs professional help. The abuser has a need to have power and control over the victim to feel good about himself, as his self esteem would be low or he could feel insecure in the relationship. The perpetrator may regret after behaving aggressively; but it would be repeated. Invariably, it is the victim who usually seeks professional help, as the abuser blames the abused for provoking him. When they both fall into the cyclic pattern of behaviour, the victim finds it difficult to break the cycle. Professional guidance is aimed at improving her coping skills, so that she faces situations courageously. Empowering her would involve three steps: 1. To break the cyclic pattern without announcing it explicitly. 2. To build up her self esteem concentrating on her strengths and to learn to ignore the verbal put downs that are whirled on her usually. 3. To avoid two extremes which she was doing all along-either fight or become submissive and to be assertive and quietly pursue her goals. She could be guided to voluntary organizations that extend support to the victims, fight for their rights legally, if necessary. In India, we have been discussing about the principle of gender equality for the past two centuries. We saw a succession of women’s movements, first around burning social issues like sati, widow remarriage and women’s education, and then around gender equality in the Fundamental Rights Resolution of the Indian Congress in 1931. But as Mahatma Gandhiji stated, “Subjugation and exploitation of women is a product of men’s interested teachings and woman’s acceptance of them.” Tagore’s dream would become a reality only if every woman stands up for her rights, breaking the shackles of the past. It is the collective responsibility of our gender to keep moving towards a new generation of men and women, who would work together to build a healthier society. The light is visible at the end of the tunnel.
Why have incidences of aggression and crime against women gone up? With the transition in societal structure, undesirable changes have also infiltrated. While progress in technology and prosperity are the positives to be appreciated, deterioration in our value systems could not be arrested. Materialistic and hedonistic values have taken over moral and altruistic values. This shift in beliefs along with the promiscuous nature of the contemporary society, has given room for illicit relationships causing many criminal activities against women. The gradual elevation in the status of women, according to me, might have caused some insecurity in men who have been enjoying a superior status for centuries. If a woman poses a threat to a man, he would naturally want to have control over her to retain his superiority. Consequent violent treatment to show masculine power would obviously set in; it is not uncommon to see women in the family showing aggression on a member of the same gender to prove their might.
How does this affect the psyche of the woman who is the victim? If a woman is subjugated to a violent treatment, she could develop a serious condition called “verbal abuse syndrome”. Even though verbal abuse syndrome is not a mental disorder or an illness, it could damage the mental and physical health of the victim who is abused continuously. Allowing manipulation by the perpetrator helplessly would only enable him to continue the same abusive behaviour. Some characteristics of the victims of verbal abuse syndrome could be- low self-esteem because of nonstop put downs by the perpetrator, futile attempts to please the perpetrator to the extent of impacting
A Special Feature
Many Facets of the Indian Woman
Rishi Wadhwa Are we in a ‘Woman’s World’? On the face of it, it seems that in last few decades’ the situation of women in the country has improved dramatically. There has been a spurt of legal measures like DV Act, laws against sexual harassment, dowry, sex selective abortion etc, legislative measures like panchayat reservations etc. Women have become much more visible in the corporate and urban workforce and many services and sectors that had hitherto been closed to them are now hiring women. Yet while a step in the right direction, these measures are yet to show results. How would you portray the situation of women in India as evolved over years? There’s a mixed response vis-à-vis the role and evolution of women – as one sees more and more women head out to work, become top ranking professionals and even lead diplomatic brigades as well as social change, there is a belief that things are on the mend. At the same time, each time one feels unsafe walking on the roads in India, hears archaic statements coming from politicians and panchayat heads and the horrendous rape incident, then one looks around and feels that it’s a long way to go for the Indian women considered as the ‘second sex’. It has always been so debatable whether we have really managed to loosen the stronghold of patriarchy, the entrenched practice of subordination of women. But we can surely say with reasonable sense of certainty that things have changed for the better in many fields, many places for some women. Women have worked hard to make these changes happen. Starting with voting rights, right to work and equal pay, it has been a march of grit and perseverance. We are honoured to bring to you a few remarkable women who have made their mark in the world of business, entrepreneurship and medicine who speak about the changing status of women in Indian society, the challenges they faced because of their gender, their thoughts
on the seemingly daunting task of balancing personal and professional lives, and, finally, their words of wisdom for all of us! RISHI WADHWA gets to you true stories of dedicated, hardworking woman who made it big in their respectively fields.
Corporate lawyer A qualified corporate lawyer from National Law University, Jodhpur and a management graduate from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, Sagarika has over 25 national and international publications to her name. Sagarika belongs to the new age thinkers who have picked up the pen to change the society around. Her motto is to bring change,”one book at a time”. She loves to call herself a nation builder and is a strong supporter of youth, being actively involved in politics and nation building affairs. Talking about how women have evolved over the years, she says “We are in turbulent times now. I believe we are confused. We want change but are not ready with all support systems to bring about the transformation. Having said that, awareness has increased, we are talking more about the atrocities which in the past we termed as ‘acceptable’ and would sweep under the carpet. However, when it comes to statistics we are still in a pit. The glass ceiling in the corporate domain is way too dominant. There’s still the perception that a mother cannot handle both her job and kid, while it is taken for granted when it comes to the father.” Being a lawyer herself, she has seen extremes of being a woman. For her gender had been an issue especially by one of her bosses who was a woman herself. “I did my graduate studies in
a premier law university where my gender was never a criterion for anything. However, the life I lead before was different. My first boss, despite being a lady herself was very badly biased. She actually reinforced my belief that women can be our own worst enemy. She threatened me about demotion because I refused to quit smoking as per her wishes. She saw me as a threat and thus tried everything to make my life a living hell. I had to lose out on a good appraisal to win my fight for a transfer to another department. My perseverance and the fact that is stood my ground with the firm belief that I was right made me win. Till date she stands for me as the example of a lady I don’t ever want myself to become.” Talking about the priorities in professional and personal life she very simple explained, “When in my personal life, I am respected for my profession and my work is valued, my family will fall around that routine and I will be able to find a rhythm. However, the moment rearing a baby or serving hot dinner becomes my “duty” there starts the clash. Once we take out gender-defined roles from the personal life, we can truly find the work life balance. I speak from personal experience and thus no blank noise this.
the same time they are also managing their homes. And the outlook toward women working in India has changed as our society today readily accepts a working girl and in fact encourages her independent nature.” So how does one balance her personal and professional life? “Personal and professional growth go hand in hand and one is incomplete without the other. If one just thinks about professional growth at the cost of personal life, then there is nothing but a robotic career life that remains. Instead as a woman, I prefer finding the right balance between my personal and professional life and growth. As I grow in my career, my family too encourages me and is proud of my growth and as long as the growth doesn’t have a negative cost, it works in favor of both parts of my life. “
Meghna Ghai-Puri (33)
President, Whistling Woods International Instrumental in shaping the foundation of Whistling Woods International from its inception, Meghna Ghai- Puri now heads the operational aspects of the world class institute, managing a team of well over 150 professionals & faculty. In 2010, on International Women’s Day, the Award for Excellence in Media Education was conferred on Ghai-Puri, by the Young Environmentalists Programme Trust. She was also chosen as a ‘Rising Star among South Asian Women Executives in Media and Entertainment’ on the occasion of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA), in April 2010. Talking about the change Urban India is going through she said, “Change is Important. Change is necessary. Change is inevitable. It is up to us to see the positives of any changing society and instill those values in our children, hence investing in the future of our country. With respect to the majority of India, which consists of rural India, we do have a long way to go, even though, I strongly believe things are moving forward in favour of women positively. Urban India has seen immense growth
Independent celebrity PR Brought up in the States, Dolly (26) shifted to India three years ago after getting married. Dolly who had an undergraduate degree from NYU in Communication Studies and an MBA from Rutgers University, decided to go down the entrepreneurship lane instead of taking up a job. Today Dolly’s company, Brand N Buzz handles PR for many well known television actors and has been growing ever since it started in 2010. Talking about the evolvement of Indian women Dolly said, “Indian women over time are becoming more independent. Today they are seen in various fields from science to entertainment but at
in the number of working women and women leaders. This is an extremely healthy sign and will only lead to a better and brighter future.” A strong believer in herself she personally feels that profession and personal life both deserve their due importance, “ I have full respect for working women who decide not to start a family and at the same time, immensely admire those women who are stay at home as moms or homemakers. That is their decision and I respect them for that. After having kids however, I decided to continue with my career as President of Whistling Woods. At the same time I am a mother of two and believe strongly that my children need my love and attention most as they are growing up. Both my kids have accompanied me to work and still do. I feel it is great exposure for them to grow up seeing your parents work and also come in contact with people all the time. At the same time I have the luxury of being able to spend time with them.”
give more importance to their profession. “It is tough to differentiate between the personal and the professional but to be fair, I would honestly give more importance to my professional growth because where I see myself standing today is only because of my professional ethics and hard work and due to this automatically my personal growth has always taken a curve for the better.”
Surbhi Tanga, Architectural historian
and designer Surbhi (31) is extremely passionate about design and its theoretical realms within India. A graduate from CEPT University, Ahmedabad and Masters in History, Theory and Criticism from Architectural Association, London, Surbhi continues to work on various research and conservation based projects. She is the Director at Designemporia.in, a place for people who understand and appreciate art in its diverse forms, be it in the field of fashion or lifestyle. It is where design connoisseurs go for shopping. She feels that in the last 30 years, more urban women are becoming independent and focusing on their careers. They are pursuing higher education and giving equal importance to family as well as career. “Most importantly, they are contributing financially to their households and making investments. From my experience, I feel that we women are also getting unconditional support from our husbands, parents, in-laws in pursuing our dreams - which probably was not the case a few years back,” says Surbhi. Although she did not face any gender bias at work or at home, it was some social elements that played the spoil sport in her life, “I have got equal treatment, whether at home or at work. But yes, due to some social / cultural norms I had to fight a few battles and even make compromises. Security issues have been the most difficult ones
Pratibha Naik, Culinary executive
Presently working as a Culinary Executive at Courtyard by Marriott’, Chennai, Pratibha started her career as a Sushi Chef, in a very male dominant society. “I had to face many challenges and I had to prove myself many times over and over again. It wasn’t very tough to do this but I knew that I had to perform my duties as a Chef beyond my potential to ensure that I kept growing steadily in this field. When I use the term “growing” what I mean to say is it’s not just about overcoming or winning over a situation, but performing consistently; slowly and steadily one can easily reach the peak of her career.” As an urban Indian she is more than happy to embrace the westernization that we Indians have imbibed. “I wholeheartedly encourage and support, modern India to go full steam ahead and be there to encourage the next generation and for a bright shining India.” Pratibha is one strong headed woman we met, who very firmly says that like men, women should also
to tackle, because of which I had to make a few compromises on my independence.”
Shivali Bhammer, Artist
Born and bred in London’s posh Knightsbridge and married to a high net-worth investment banker, Shivali’s life could have been any other fairy tale. At 25, this artist has achieved it all. From a successful career, degree in economics and philosophy and a blossoming marriage and personal relations, she is definitely living life in her own rhythm. Shivali took to singing devotional music, in a contemporary pop avatar, and her journey has catapulted into her releasing a 2nd album titled Urban Temple. She is the classic example that if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can achieve it all. Her first album - The Bhajan Project made it to the Itunes top 10 international chart which itself is a huge achievement for an artist, let alone one that creates spiritual music. Although born and brought up abroad she makes some very true comments about the situation of woman in India and how it has evolved over the years, “India is a country which traditionally praises and pays homage to the feminine energy and power. Centuries of invasions have lead to an influence of outside cultures which did not traditionally have the same respect for women. I think it is extremely sad and I don’t feel enough is done to support women. It is pathetic that you go to a place like Kolkata and you see Durga and Devi mandirs everywhere and then you see on the other hand in India women being continuously raped or killed. Of course, there are many wonderful women within India who have inspired people, who do achieve the greatest of things and for this they deserve merit and should be supported. I praise women who have managed to have such a wonderful standing in society and offer back to India without any inhibitions and restraints.” So did she face any
professional turbulence? “Not really, gender has never been an issue. However being a singer traditionally males do always get a lot more fans and attention. I have overcome it by just accepting it and realising that everything works in cycles and changes, and this too shall change in time.”
Divita Kanoria, Entrepreneur
Divita Kanoria (43), who founded Tatha, in the year 1998, had come long way to create a brand which firmly stands on her belief that beauty deserves tenderness of nature but not the harshness of chemicals. Smitten by healing powers of essential oils, natural oils and aromas, she started learning about them in details under Dr. Buck’s guidance. Are Indian women going through a huge change of thought and environment? Are they westernizing? “I think we are losing our identity and culture. We are trying to copy the west whereas westerners treasure the rich heritage and culture of India. By falling into the western mind trap we get confused as to who we really are, as we don’t want to remain Indians at heart but fail too in the western mindset. Our values get lost and our children are also raised up as confused and irrational individuals.” What are her priorities? “For me a balance of both is important because both my profession and family are equally important. But personal growth sometimes takes my priority as for me reading, meditation and evolving myself spiritually is extremely important.” Fitness and Bollywood Dancer & Choreographer Remma Sarin has international experience and training in the Fitness Industry in the US and in South East Asia (including Australia). She has conceptualized and launched her ‘BOLLYFIT’ Dance Program, which is a fusion of scintillating
and sophisticated Bollywood and fitness dance moves, which are carefully synchronized to popular Bollywood music. Portraying a modern Indian woman, who is in the forefront and successful in her field she says, “The situation of Indian women has certainly evolved progressively and positively over the years. In every sphere, whether it is business, fashion, showbiz, technology, media industry, women are at par today with the women in the West. The Indian woman today is self-confident, successful and articulate which means and is in the forefront in both, the national and international arena.” Was gender a major challenge in an industry which is still a ‘man’s world’? “Being a woman, one has to keep asserting her place and showcasing talent, and yet be cautious to make right decisions at the right time! Men have a much easier time in the showbiz world due to the gender advantage.” “As a modern woman in the showbiz world, I actually strive to strike equilibrium between my personal and professional growth, as both are equally important to keep one in a stable healthy frame of mind, correct decision making and career progression. Personal growth always complements professional growth and success, so one can’t ignore either one if you want to shine as a winner in the industry!” she says with confidence and élan.
her entrepreneurial abilities were showcased at a very young age when she set up two successful businesses. She says India cannot be spoken as one homogenous country when it comes to the topic of ‘women’. “I will only comment on the India that we see in the metros, and that has definitely changed for the better and it is amazing to see more and more women becoming independent and self-sufficient.” Women have stepped ahead with modern society and have become more self-confident. They have the vitality and persistence to keep learning, building networks and nurturing others. The strengths of our gender only makes us better listeners and hence leaders. “As a woman, I believe in balancing the act and I don’t just think this should be something restricted to women only. I encourage all men in our organization as well to seek this balance. In today’s fast paced environment, it is absolutely essential for us all to have a balance between our personal and professional life,” adds Modi.
Brand building and PR Mehak (28) has a sound a background in Media studies and an active Journalism career of about 8 years. She left the field to move into Holistic Brand Building and Public Relations and started her own company Blue Apple Image Consultants Pvt. Ltd. From Hospitality to Talent and specialization in managing and brand building for equestrian sports, her company has grown manifold. According to her, women have surely evolved over the years, “Part of the evolution has to come from society, but an equal responsibility lies with the women to stand up for their beliefs, their careers and their choices since they are bogged down by the stereotypes
Tabassum Modi, Entrepreneur
Tabassum Modi is a highly experienced woman in the business of educational events and entertainment. Enriched with over a decade of expertise in these domains, she has been one of the driving forces which have helped EduMedia expand into new and innovative concepts that blend media with the field of education. She is a first generation entrepreneur and
and voices of society. Responsibility also lies with other women to support such women, rather than typecast them as ‘fast’ or ‘too modern’.”
which is understandable given the current social scenario but which nonetheless can curtail your performance and effectiveness. “Don’t go alone, don’t be late, let someone else go as it’s not safe for a woman.” But honestly, the discrimination that I have experienced has been more to do with age than gender. The general attitude especially in the government sector is that what can a jeans clad 25 year old know and do.” Debating why only a woman has to juggle with terms such as professional and personal life, she says, “Would you ask a guy what he gives more importance to as a man? There is an underlying perception in our society that a man will give importance to professional life and a woman to her personal life. This is not just expected but even approved. The ideal woman is one who places family over everything else. Yet, we don’t expect that of the ideal man. Why? I think the key, for both men and women, is to find the right balance.”
“A professional vacuum would leave me unsettled in life, and a personal imbalance dilutes the fruit and fun of professional growth. It is a conscious effort to ensure that the majority of the work-force within Blue Apple is women, to encourage the growth of serious professionals within the media and related industries framework,” says a wise Mehak.
Gunjan Veda, Corporate woman
A woman and a girl set out to see India, lugging along the baggage of their pasts, on a journey towards understanding the country. From the abandoned tea estates of Jalpaiguri to the crowded by lanes of Varanasi, from the pristine forests of the Andamans to the seething valley of Manipur, from the scattered habitations of Ladakh to the flooded villages of Barmer – these are the roads less traveled. She is Gunjan Veda (32), the CEO of INDIAreads.com, an author and also exmember of planning commission. She has never faced any bias of being a woman, “no one has ever denied me a job or withheld a promotion because I am a woman. But yes, questions and eyebrows have been raised. The underlying sense of she’s a woman, we’ll humour her. And also a tendency towards protectiveness
Jayashree Todkar, Doctor (40) ,
To Jayashree’s credit, at a very early age she has treated more than 25000 patients and continues her research and treatment in advanced laparoscopic surgeries, Bariatric surgeries, Trauma, Hernia surgeries and metabolic surgery for T2DM! Very often Dr. Todkar, 40, participates in various national and international c o n f e r e n c e s , live operation demonstrations and events on laparoscopic and bariatric treatment and also very frequently manages video and print publications on the status and advancement of the subject! Being a doctor is never so easy, so what challenges did she face as a medical professional just because she was a woman? “In the process of becoming a doctor, I never
witnessed gender bias. In the field of surgery where male supremacy is most prevalent, the efficacy and stamina of lady surgeon were questioned frequently. Being a lady surgeon I had to prove myself in front of our male colleagues. The way I used to receive a treatment I realized that ,it is not only the surgical community but people who are not associated with the medical field are also under a wrong impression on large scale that all female staff working in the hospital are nurses and only males are doctors. People would think I am a nurse and my assistant is a doctor until they realized the reality.” On a positive note she says, “Fortunately this scenario gradually changed. Even while taking major projects or tasks the efficacy would be questioned earlier. Gaining confidence used to be an achievement every time initially.” Women always remained a soul of the family. With the help of education and advancement in technology, they have crossed many horizons by grabbing new opportunities and exploring them. We may
observe that women share the same platform and at times are a step ahead where male predominance is clearly visible, so how did Dr Todkar balance professional and personal life? “Emotional and spiritual growth has supported me throughout in making me accept challenges positively. I believe we are subjected to stress or strain just up to the level which we can really tackle well. At times situations make us understand the span of our capacity to tackle. They may be surprisingly much more than what we imagine. Of course family is a big support in this endeavour and we need to reciprocate the same support for all our family members.” Eve’s Times salutes these women and all the women out there who have scaled great heights either in their professions or homes or at both places on the basis of their sheer will power, mental strength and capabilities. We wish a Happy Women’s Day to every Indian and Global Woman without whom the world can never go on!
FORM IV Statement about ownership and other particulars about EVE’S TIMES: 1.Place of Publication : Chennai 2. Periodicity of its Publication : Monthly 3.Printer’s Name : K.Elumalai Nationality : Indian Address : No. 7 Dams Road Chindadripet Chennai -600 002 4.Publisher’s Name: Kamala Balachandran Nationality : Indian Address : No. 138, 5th Main Road, A.G’s Staff Colony Velachery Chennai 42 5.Editor’s Name : Smt. Lata Amarnath Nationality : Indian Address : No. 18/1 Second Cross Street, Dr.Radhakrishnan Nagar Thiruvanmiyur Chennai 41 6. Names and addresses of individuals who own the newspaper and partners or shareholders holding more than one per cent of the total capital : Eve’s Times Group, No. 18/1 Second Cross Street, Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai 41. I, Smt Kamala Balachandran, hereby declare that the particulars given above are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Smt. Kamala Balachandran Publisher
Date: 1 March 2013
Bring Medical Practitioners Together For Human Good
Gayatri T Rao
Dr Sunita Dube, the founder Chairperson of Medscapeindia, is a pioneer in establishing a unique and first of its kind nonprofit organization where it brings all the medical specialty bodies and organizations together on a common platform to inculcate a culture of holistic and fair healthcare system in the country.
is the only doctor from India, who has initiated through her organization, the MedscapeIndia, the importance of legible handwriting awareness among doctor to prevent wrong administration of medicine which in some instances may wreak havoc on a patient’s life. She is also a campaigner against female foeticide. She has been most vocal about health care and women-related concerns. Dr Sunita Dube, the founder Chairperson of Medscapeindia, is a pioneer in establishing a unique and first of its kind nonprofit organization where it brings all the medical specialty bodies and organizations together on a common platform to inculcate a culture of holistic and fair healthcare system in the country.
their patients.” Since the inception of MedscapeIndia she has accomplished her different objectives. She has conducted various surveys to find out issues impacting the healthcare system in India. Such experiences empowered her to work towards the root causes of problems in healthcare among all stakeholders. Establishing healthcare infrastructure in remote areas is her main priority through MedscapeIndia community. She is also helping out urban and rural marginalized patients with regular medical camps. Dr. Dube has been awarded the Maharashtra Gaurav 2009 Award, Uttar Pradesh Ratna in 2008, Karmveer Purshkar in 2010, Women Achiever Award in 2010, 2011 and 2012 in a row and Pride of Nation in 2012; for the work she has done in the field of medicine and as a social activist/entrepreneur. Dr. Dube established MedscapeIndia with a vision to retain it as an ethical and efficient body in Healthcare Sector. And she has achieved the following: Achieve the standardization in duties and principles of medical practice in all fields of Medicine. Protect the rights of the doctors as well its patients. Highlight the social responsibilities of medical fraternity and motivate them to work towards various issues. Today, her work has made her one of the most respectable doctors and visionary. Dr. Dube is dedicated to stand for women’s issues, which also includes save the girl child campaign, women rights, women empowerment etc. She has been instrumental in crusading against the most heinous and most diabolic female feticide by not only sensitizing the medical community but also addressing the root cause of gender discrimination embedded in the social strata by adopting several girls and empowering them through quality education and better health awareness. She is currently running a hospital in Allahabad for neonates and with her father she runs two intermediate college and degree colleges which is more focused on women’s education. She has also taken up the cause of HIV, a subject the society which is riddled with lack of awareness.
Dr. Dube, also the Director of Aryans Group of Hospitals, has started an effort to provide basic healthcare and education to marginalized people of society through Aryan Medical and Educational Trust. She realized a few things and spoke out about them, after the research conducted by MedscapeIndia. She says, “I concluded from our research that the requirement and provision of healthcare services have massive infrastructure issues, which affect the functioning of basic essential healthcare system in the country. I found that there is a complete lack of proper and clear communication between the doctor and patients.”
In response to the research, Dr. Dube proposed to the Government “I suggested to them that they integrate SMART DOCS in MBBS curriculum, which will improve communication skill and better patient psychology management. I realized that various traditional and medical branches like Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Yoga and Allopathy were not an integral part of healthcare system. Allopathy is currently ruling over other branches of medicine, the same way cricket rules over other sports in the country. I believe that doctors understand the problems of the other medical professional but need a platform where they can stand for one another beyond the branch and specialization especially during crisis. It is important for doctors to regularly interact amongst themselves at all levels to discuss issues pertaining to themselves and the society and also share their knowledge about new medical developments, facilities with
LEAPS AND BOUNDS
I believe that dance can break any barrier and bring people together. One of my biggest passions is Dance Theater; using dance movements and varied genres of global music, we intend to narrate a tale through our performances.”
ubbling with energy and enthusiasm, and an infectious smile, Aparna Nagesh, a performing arts entrepreneur, talks animatedly about all her projects. Interestingly, her energy and enthusiasm is contagious and we perk up as she starts speaking.
Aparna is sharing with us at Eves times, her innate passion for dancing. As she continues, she has us all enthralled and rearing to get up and literally “dance” to her tunes. Yes, you got it right. Aparna is the brain behind Showstoppers Inc., an arts promotion and entertainment brand that works towards promoting the performing arts and movement concepts in schools, colleges and corporates. This young lady is a versatile dancer, a professional herself with over 15 years of training, teaching and performance experience. She has trained widely in varied dance styles, right from jazz, ballet, hip hop, modern and contemporary. Aparna has also completed an intensive dance and vocal technique course at Broadway Dance Center, New York, with a certificate of excellence, in 2010. She also teaches movement therapy at the Lotus Foundation School for autistic children.
For Aparna, the sky is the limit and she plans on of a girl through life; right from conception, how expanding her horizons by delving deep into the she navigates the different relationships in her world of music, video, choreography and dance life, how she fights back against the system and theater productions. “I like all styles of dance. It moves forward fearlessly through life. “Fear is all started off with my keen interest in jazz and what is programmed into our lives,” opines hip hop. When global instructors in dance used Aparna. to come down, I used to observe their technique. I love the ballet; the technique involved in jazz “Leap is choreographed using global dance and ballet is similar. And in hip hop, there is fusion and includes influences of various styles dance, movement, culture, everything. When such as street jazz, jazz funk, lyrical jazz, I went abroad to train at the Broadway Dance experimental movement and various other global Center in New York, it changed the way I dance forms. Music featured in the show will be perceived dancing. Over the span of time I spent by contemporary artistes such as Jon Bon Jovi, there, I discovered that I had my own unique Eminem, Nine Inch Nails, Imogen Harp and so vocabulary. I love the flamingo, the salsa, samba on, interspersed with independent fusion music. While the first half will and I love fusing them all depict various stages in the together. Global dance fusion journey of life, the second is my forte,” smiles Aparna I have also conceived half will represent shades of disarmingly. love,” Aparna explains. of the LEAD Project. After a brief stint of working Aparna is literally brimming with John Britto’s dance LEAD stands for with ideas and wants school, Aparna decided to conceptualize and venture out on her own and leadership, enthusiasm, to choreograph more dance experiment , and hence she attitude, discipline. theater productions. went on to set up her own arts “Movement vocabulary is promotion and entertainment Aparna Nagesh so unique; it’s like a finger brand- Showstoppers Inc. print. Never the same; no “Highkicks is Chennai’s first movement is ever the same. and only girls’ ensemble The saddest part is that conceptualized, created and choreographed people nowadays forget to move.” by me. Here, in this ensemble, there are eight spirited young women who have trained in Keeping this aspect in mind, Aparna has ventured various global dance styles such as lyrical jazz, forth with a couple of other projects. The Move Latin jazz and more, and these are well presented Project is essentially a movement based creative in modern contemporary format. Highkicks aims workshop to promote more physicality. It involves to be a dance group that is highly versatile with a series of creative movement based workshops to facilitate life skills, self expression and crisis power packed performances.” management among teens and young adults. Just as Aparna is, Highkicks too is brimming with energy and overflowing with innovative ideas This young lady is mind bogglingly creative and galore and strives to explore and take dance to a her self expression transcends all barriers. She totally different dimension altogether. “I believe has also established the Move Place, a onethat dance can break any barrier and bring of-its kind performance art center in the heart people together. One of my biggest passions of Chennai with both studio space for learning is Dance Theater; using dance movements and various performance art forms as well as having varied genres of global music, we intend to an intimate performance space with an attached café and dance wear store. narrate a tale through our performances.” Highkicks, for Aparna and her all women ensemble, is not just a dance troupe, but is like being a part of a family, one which continues to grow, bond, discover and leap to greater heights. That brings the focus on to Leap- a dance theater presentation by Highkicks that details the journey Aparna also conducts a unique internship training program for school and college students in all aspects of stage production and execution. The interns are assured of a hands-on experience in producing events and learning all stages of stage production with industry experts.
She has something for everyone – “I have also conceived of the LEAD Project. LEAD stands for leadership, enthusiasm, attitude, discipline. This is for youngsters, a unique leadership training program using dance and movement based activities along with public speaking and communication skills. Youngsters have a lot of potential but lack direction. I identify with them totally because they are now at a place where I was, not too long ago! I want to help them by giving their lives a semblance of direction and leadership training.” “Dance helps to boost confidence and build strength. I want to bring in dance as a serious course of study.” A compassionate soul herself, Aparna feels deeply for the kids and teenagers who reside in slums or hail from underprivileged backgrounds. “I have conceived a unique dance and movement training program for kids in the age group of 7 to 17. I have named it the Whee! Dance. I believe strongly that every good deed comes back to you with a reward in store. It never goes unacknowledged.” We are left breathless and speechless by the number of projects this highly energetic lady takes on day in and out. She laughs gaily and replies, “Sleep when you are dead! I regale in doing what comes to me naturally. I do not want life to be routine and monotonous. I do have my “time outs”. I take time out to relax, do my own thing, I don’t believe that if you sit meditatively or pondering on something for a few minutes, it’s tantamount to time wasted; not at all. You are recharging your batteries, you need that space. I do go out to have lunch with friends, catch up with family, and unwind listening to music, watch movies and so on.” Aparna looks upon her mom Chitra Nagesh as her strong pillar of support. “My mom was a single parent and she brought us up on her own. I lost my dad Major Nagesh when I was four years old, and my mom was just 28 years of age. We lost him in a freak road accident. Mom was a teacher and she braved all the ups and downs of life on her own. I believe firmly in the strength of the human mind and I learnt it all from mom.’ Aparna has a sister Priya, who too is extremely active at several ventures, right from being a yoga therapist to taking on several soil projects. “I want more people to take up dance seriously.
Chennai is still a lot conservative when it comes to taking up dance as a serious career option. I want to create a sea change here before venturing into unexplored terrains elsewhere in the country. Having trained in Kathak too I am truly fascinated by its footwork which is very similar to that of flamingo”. It has been a truly wonderful experience being able to have a brief yet enlivening chat with Aparna. She leaves us feeling energized and immensely enthused. May all her projects and future ventures grow by LEAPs and bounds and may she continue to inspire and LEAD.
Concierge Service to your Rescue
Gayatri T Rao Kumud stepped in the role of SuperSeva CEO in October 2006. After taking over she has revamped the technology platform responsible for the service delivery of SuperSeva by integrating corporate service agents.”
today’s world, everybody is hardpressed for time. For homemakers and working women, it is a huge challenge to accomplish simple tasks such as paying bills, depositing cheques in banks, purchasing postal stamps, paying school fees and other such huge routine tasks that eat away into their precious time. Though the online medium has stepped in to the rescue, we are still not able to do away with personal visits to execute certain tasks. Kumud Sharma launched concierge services to help families handle such regular tasks. How many times has one lamented about paucity of time for doing personal activities? Simple tasks have become challenges; one has to shelve travel plans, due to a delay in booking and one has to miss movies due to the serpentine queues at cinema theatres. Balancing one’s personal and professional lives is a trapeze act today, with commitments overlapping; deadlines and due dates clashing with one another. This is where people like Kumud come in. Even employers are constantly using her help for handling errands at the office. To keep valuable workers engaged in more productive activities, employers are constantly upgrading and outsourcing services for handling small errands at their office. Kumud’s SuperSeva, is one such concierge services provider and serves individual and corporate clients. This has been upheld as a welcome change in a society starved of one-stop solution. For many, the concierge program is an ultimate solution, which helps and saves their time and energy. SuperSeva is the flagship product of
SuperSeva Services Pvt. Ltd, headquartered in Bangalore. Founded in June 2000, the company is promoted by Srishti Software Applications Private Limited to enhance productivity by restoring work-life balance. SuperSeva uses the power of the Internet as a vehicle to make one’s life easier-by delivering the ultimate in e-convenience. SuperSeva.com is an online personal assistant dedicated to taking care of one’s personal errands, giving you more free time, fewer headaches and fewer worries.
According to Kumud, her husband was aware of the hectic life of an IT professional, since he was already running one. He knew that IT professional hardly had time for their personal lives, due to professional commitments. IT saw a down-turn and the idea was born that they should have a business independent of IT fluctuations. Thus SuperSeva was born. Kumud stepped in the role of SuperSeva CEO in October 2006. After taking over she has revamped the technology platform responsible for the service delivery of SuperSeva by integrating corporate service agents, end users, corporate decision makers, back office and external partners of SuperSeva. She ensures that proper people and processes are put in place along with a great technology platform so that there can be continued service delivery excellence with the high growth that SuperSeva is witnessing.
Prior to joining SuperSeva she was taking care of many corporate functions in Srishti Software as VP- Corporate affairs and before that she had worked as a system analyst in a German company for a few years. Under her leadership, SuperSeva has registered 100% growth rate on year to year basis. SuperSeva has expanded from 4 to 18 cities and she has handpicked city managers and groomed them to act as profit centers along the way. Kumud is a B.Tech. (Electronic and Communication Engineering) from BIT, Sindri and has done a one-year executive Management program from Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore. She has taken advantage of her education and experience in developing her company into a major national player in the field. That gave her great visibility and the ability to scale-up quickly in her chosen field. She claims, “Without IT if we manage a service like this manually, we would not have been able to cater to so many clients at the same time.”
the same, but the quantum has gone up. If we bag an order of 5 crores, we need the working capital two months ahead because the payment will come after three months. Since the amount has increased, we have to arrange this regularly and that is a challenge. Ours is a self-funded enterprise. We have not taken any external funding from Venture Capital sources. We have our plans for raising funds in place. Most of the time, our bankers are always there to help us. They give us a good over draft and the challenge is met with easily.”
Initially, having been brought with a middle class value system, Kumud had problems tackling household chores like cooking. She would feel guilty when she would have to travel to other cities on business leaving her home and children unattended. Having a supportive husband, she has been able to accomplish a lot in the business. Personally, she says that she has good resident maids to take care of her home, while she is away. Professionally, she says that she would want financial support system in the first place. She says, “Secondly, you need to have the second level ready, if you want to scale up rapidly. We have the second and the third levels ready in our company.”
Initial Problems and Their Solutions
Kumud took over when SuperSeva was 5 years old. She talks about the challenges she faced when her company was taking baby steps. She recalls, “Resource management – finding the right person, for the right job and getting that job done has been a challenge. Particularly more challenging is handling operations in the other cities. How we remotely manage, control and deliver the quality that we had promised to our customers has indeed been a continuous challenge. For this we got our company ISO 9001:2008 certified.” Kumud adds, “ We have also been taking the opinions of people we have on our advisory board. We are interested to know what the best marketing practice is. We would also like to know what the other service outfits like ours are doing. Above all it is our own gut-feeling.”
Kumud says that when they were giving concierge services only, clients would come and ask for other services, too. Thus slowly, they started diversifying into other non-core support services like HR, admin/facility, legal and finance and enterprise event management. HR involves employee concierge services, employee engagement services. Admin/facility deals with managed front office services, facility management services, mailroom and travel desk management and other support services. Legal and financial services consist of stamp paper and franking services, procurement solutions, tax and accounting support, etc. They support an online ticket platform, corporate event management and individual party planning among other services.
Current Problems and their Solutions
Kumud insists that there are always problems, while growing and scaling up. She says, “But these are ‘good-to-have’ or positive problems. There were same challenges, which were present, may be 5 years before. Earlier we had the challenge of managing 20 lakhs capital. Now we have to manage a capital of 3 crores. The challenges are
Stick Figures to Tickle Your Bones
veryone knows what a stick figure is. This simple line drawing is a young lady’s favourite pastime. Ramya Sriram draws life into stick figures and how. What started as doodling in college has now developed into comic strips as well as an attractive range of merchandise. The idle doodles and caricatures of friends back in college proved to be so popular that she was noticed by a Mumbai based magazine. Says Ramya, “In 2010, the magazine came across my work and asked me to contribute comic strips. From there I went on to do customized stuff for people.” Since then there was no looking back. Why stick figures? “For one, they are really simple. Unlike super-hero stuff, you don’t have to follow a thousand things at once,” is Ramya’s answer. The artwork though pretty straightforward, is highly expressive and taken from real life experiences. One can easily relate to her drawings, which is one of the reasons why her work is so popular. Luckily for her, she says there has been only positive feedback till now. Her website – thetap.in showcases all her work and one can even have a look at the merchandise. Ramya attributes a majority of her success to Comic Con 2012 at Bangalore. Comic Con is a platform to boost the comics industry and Ramya decided to rent a stall to showcase her work. Tshirts, cloth bags, coasters adorned with funky stick figures and similar minimalistic artwork were almost sold out on the first
day of the event. When asked what triggered this response, she says that it was basically surprise and interest. “The other comics were all superhero based and very detailed. My work was totally different. Curiosity got the better of the crowd when they saw my simple work,” adds Ramya. Since then Ramya has provided several graphics for Krishi Gram Vikas Kendra – a Ranchi based NGO. She has also done book cover illustrations, corporate cards, business cards etc. Wedding cards are also a part of her repertoire. Sensing surprise she says, “I got a lot of requests for customized wedding cards. The clients tell me their story and I depict them on the cards.” The wedding cards are nothing like the traditional designs and are printed on material of the client’s choice. The only thing that is non-commercial in her entire collection of work is her comic strips, which she draws when she just ‘feels like it’. A full time assistant editor of a publishing house, she draws during her free time. “My job gives me a lot of flexibility. I am back home before seven in the evening and I have the liberty to finish my projects in the late evenings or on weekends. I usually take 2 to 3 orders at a time. Also my day job has helped me fund the launching of my venture. Talking of future plans, she wishes to expand her merchandise. Will there be more stick figures or would she move on to something extra-ordinary, I ask. “My life has been extraordinary, so I would like to stick to something ordinary. Now that I have found my niche and since the returns have been as good as my efforts, I would say that there will be more of stick figures!”
What’s New in the Market?
Ingenious and charismatic jewellery designer with an impeccable eye for detail, Musskan Agarwaal crafts each piece to appeal to fashion aficionados. Musskan’s work reflects the magnificence of God. Each of her collections consists of individually handcrafted and limited edition pieces and is an assortment of Tanjore malas, bracelets, ear rings or neckpieces be it in polki, semi precious and precious stones, pearls, emeralds, sapphires, topaz or rubies. For Musskan, jewellery designing is not work but living her passion and she likes it that way. Her designs are urban and youthful, yet they
have a compelling allure of old-world charm. Her jewellery depicts deities from various mythological stories which are gorgeous, serene images through use of thoughtful gemstones. Her collections have a lot of Indian earthiness endorsing her connection with culture and religion. The one feature that sets her designs apart is the miniatures of Tanjore paintings that are incorporated in her neckpieces. It is her commitment to create quality pieces that provoke thought, incite inquiry and tempt playfulness with a clear vision and philosophy for her brand - to become every woman’s choice. Apart from passion for jewellery, Musskan Agarwaal is also an avid reader of fictional novels, loves photography and going on a shopping spree; though she thoroughly enjoys the process of jewellery making from concept to completion. She likes to push boundaries of her creativity to adorn women with her glam creations.
Cooking up a Record
outh Indian Specialty Restaurant , ‘Malgudi’ and its Unit Chef Malgudi Kavitha created a new record in the Limca Book of Records through a nonstop cooking solo marathon for 30 hours on 31 October 2012 to 1November 2012.
1.30 hrs.of nonstop cooking solo marathon 2.Close to 1000 South Indian specialty recipes. 3.Breaking the previous record – time frame, quantity & weight wise, vegetarian / non vegetarian dishes.
Malgudi Kavitha hails from Vriddhachalam, Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu and completed Food Production and Hotel Management studies from Tamil Nadu University and MMA College, Chennai. She loves her work and devotes all her time to her passion, organization and guests. Managing a kitchen in a hotel is indeed demanding but Kavitha has no complaints. She has oodles of patience and is committed to deliver on time. She is the Unit Chef of Savera Hotel in Chennai. As a chef of Malgudi, the name got latched on to her first name, giving her an exclusive identity. The record for ‘the longest solo cooking marathon’ was held by Chef Damodaran from Chennai. He prepared 617 dishes staying at the stove continuously for 24 hours, 30 minutes and 12 seconds. Kavitha aspired to break the record. Her executive director, Nina Reddy was a pillar of support. “She had a lot of trust and faith in me and believed that it was something I could achieve. This was a really a morale booster for me. I also had my unit who worked along with me and without whom achieving a record in the Limca book would have never happened. It took 4 years of preparation time wherein we planned and prepared for the marathon. All the formalities where completed and I was gearing up for the big day,” she recounts. Right from members who would be assisting her during the marathon to what the menu would be and the ingredients to be used, everything was planned. The masalas used were hand pound while keeping in mind the rules and regulations of Limca Book of Records. She also had to consider her physical and mental fitness to carry forward the marathon.
Total Number of Dishes Number of dishes Vegetarian Dishes Number of dishes Non-Vegetarian Dishes Number of dishes Cooked Food Weight Grams (453Kilogram) Preparation Time seconds (1800 Minutes) Taken Break Time only Break Time Bonus credit Minutes Total Cooking Time Record Made Time 20 Minutes : : : : : : : : : 1550 1318 232 452831 108000 2 Hours 3 Hours 20 32 Hours 35 Hours
For Kavitha, it was a dream comes true. She had always believed that one should have an initiative to do something for the organization they work. “There should be someone who notices you, appreciates and encourages you to move forward in the organization you work for. “ I clearly give credit for my success to my organization and to Nina Reddy, our Executive Director who noticed my potential and guided me throughout,” says Kavitha. During the marathon, a cyclone had hit Chennai. There was a strong breeze, rain and Kavitha almost decided to give up the marathon. But she was goaded by her ED, unit team, friends and well wishers to continue with her mission, which she executed without a hitch! “It was the best day of my life when my name was chosen for the Limca book of records. I had other Limca book of record holders from Chennai like RJ Dena, Chef Damodaran and well-wishers like Suhasini Maniratnam and over 2000 guests celebrating my success,” says Kavitha recalling her moment of success with great happiness.
Kavitha’s family comprises of her parents, three older sisters, three younger sisters, three younger brothers and herself. Kavitha is at work all the time putting in nearly twenty hours a day, spending only her weekly day off with her family. “My ED is very understanding and supportive. It is important for the organization to observe the potential of their employees and try to mould them so that they deliver their best to the organization. I am blessed to be where I am today. Yes, I do face challenges but I am a woman of strong beliefs, ready to learn new things that are challenging with a positive attitude and courage to handle any situation that may arise,” she discloses. Kavitha’s parting counsel to her sisters who aspire to make it big in life is, “I strongly believe that to achieve success one need not do different things; in fact, one has to do things differently. Be a self-motivated person with a positive attitude who enjoys working in a challenging environment; and let nothing come between you and your dream; come what may.”
Malgudi Nadan Kozhi curry
Chef Malgudi Kavitha
Chicken Onion 1 kg 400 g
Cut the chicken into medium sized pieces and marinate it Green Chilli 20 g with a little chilli powder and salt for a while. Take the first Ginger 20 g and second extract of coconut Chilli powder 2 tsp milk. Heat kadai, add coconut oil and sauté sliced onions, Coriander powder 3 tsp green chilli, ginger, garlic and curry leaves. Then add chilli Chicken masala powder2 tsp powder, coriander powder, Curry leaves 2g turmeric powder and chicken masala powder. Put the Coconut oil 150 ml chicken pieces in the kadai till Coconut milk 1.5 litre it is half done. Add the second extract of coconut milk and get Salt to taste it cooked gently in slow fire. Finally add the first extract of Turmeric Powder 1 pinch coconut milk and serve hot.
Chef Malgudi Kavitha
Dealing the Right Card
amta Sharma, a Chennai based Tarot Card reader shares her experience in this unique field of expertise. A combination of numbers, astrology and horoscope; her passion and love for astrology and psychology make her who she is today.
“I was inclined towards astrology while I was studying. I loved reading books on sun signs, zodiac, and numerology and tried to relate my reading to people around. I used to always try my predictions on friends and family members. I used to cross check if my predictions came true. Astonishingly enough, I was never wrong! There is a thin line between psychology and astrology,” says Mamta. After completing her studies, as luck would have it, she got married to an astrologer. Her husband gave her more insight into the study of astrology and horoscope reading. He helped fill the missing links even as Mamta kept learning and practising every day. On the suggestion of her husband to take up a related profession Mamta saw opportunity in an advertisement in newspaper in 1997 for tarot card learning. The couple attended the programme. Consistent practice on herself, friends and family and extensive reading of tarot cards, psychology and astrology gave her the confidence to take up tarot card reading as a serious profession. The boom in technology, especially the Internet helped. Her friend Roshini, an astrologer, offered to share her clinic with Mamta to practise tarot card reading. Though not a certified practitioner, her predictions prove her mettle. Mamta has framed a 7- course structure which is certified with the American Tarot Association. Mamta keeps updating the syllabus constantly. A practical assessment is done too. She picks her student by her cards. Even if a student is very passionate and the cards do not allow, she doesn’t take them in. Mamta believes that the cards speak to her. “I have 5 students who have passed out. I have students who are living outside Chennai and still pursuing the course. I charge Rs 10,000/- for every level,” she enumerates. “It is a responsibility on yourself and you have to remember that you are playing with people’s emotions. Sometimes your prediction may be wrong; but it disappoints the person as his query or problem is real; a situation he is facing or foreseeing. I once gave a wrong prediction (the only case so far) where I was asked questions continuously and the client saw no results. Later I tried to find reasons as to why this may have occurred and found that I got exhausted answering too many questions and so I have set a guideline of 3 questions for accurate prediction,” says Mamta. According to her general predictions are different from personal predictions. Yes, reading what your sun sign says in the newspaper or internet every morning may seem correct or comforting to you but they are definitely different. Apart from personal consultation Mamta also answers questions over the phone. She concludes on an introspective note, “Always remember that an astrologer can be wrong but astrology can never be wrong.”
Dieting – A Sensible Approach
enerally, women are very cautious about their figures.... but wait wait..., it is only till they tie the knot...and for reasons best known to them, they keep growing horizontally... and don’t even realise about it. They keep adding pounds over the years and suddenly wisdom dawns on them that they have to get back to shape thanks to media, heroines, family, friends and of course those sexy leggings. Sounds silly that people gain weight over the years but would like to shed them in a few weeks or days still? People indulge in concoctions of lime with honey, lauki juice, slimming foods, meal-replacement foods and not to forget the free advice from every person on earth, who proclaim that they have a magic solution to your weighty issues. But all this is a futile exercise
and only adds to your woes. This is realised only after one goes through them. I wish more sense prevails and people rather make an attempt at understanding things in the right perspective from the right people, so that weight management and thereby good health becomes an easy task. There are a lot of myths about diets for weight loss and diet for good health. One should primarily enrich oneself with some basic nutrition knowledge which is easily attainable at the click of a button or still by engaging with a professional diet consultant. Sound nutrition knowledge can help one in not only health maintenance but also in breaking myths surrounding diet. Health cannot be achieved through capsules and health concoctions. Only a balanced diet, which has got the right proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fat along with the additional vitamins, minerals and non-nutrients like fibre and water can be the solution to the nutritional problems of the society. There is no nutritional disease or disorder that cannot be prevented by diet. We are what we eat and food is our medicine. Believe in this maxim and there you are on the road to good health. The earlier decade was that of infectious diseases now it is age of lifestyle disorders. Wrong eating patterns, bad food habits, westernization of foods, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, bakery foods , highly salted foods, sugary foods have all become part of our daily diet and hence this sad state of health. The solution to most of our diseases is hidden in a wellbalanced diet. The magic is there in the Indian food pyramid. Let us not ape either the west or the east as far as food is concerned. We have an Indian genetic code
and let us adhere to foods which are grown in this part of the world. Maintaining ideal body weight should be the primarily goal of each one of us. For, excess body weight can lay the foundation for diseases and disorders to set in later. Hence, for a healthy lifestyle, maintaining ideal body weight is of utmost importance. We tend to gain weight because of aging, inactivity, laziness, wrong foods habits, wrong posture, and a faulty lifestyle. After the age of 25 the basal metabolic rate is down by about 10%, and with every passing year there is a further drop of about 3.3%. So, when 10% of your calories are not being utilised by the body, the unspent calories get converted to fat. So what should we do? Start dedicating time for exercise, which would burn those extra calories away. Any form of cardio- exercise cycling, walking, jogging, skipping, dancing, swimming for at least 20- 30 minutes a day is required to burn those unspent calories. Stretching and strengthening of muscles is yet another necessity. When the muscles are active, you tend to burn more calories and there is even less chance of injuries, aches and pains. Muscles can be tools to burn some calories. Sitting comfortably and an erect posture will help in spending some calories. At the end of the day you don’t end up saving the calories ingested. Battle against bulges cannot be combated through exercise alone; you need to watch your diet also. There are no miracle foods for weight-loss. Currently, the word dieting conjures up images of two idlis, one phulka, soups, salads, steamed vegetables, all fruit diet, slimming powders, meal replacement tins etc, etc. Believe me there are no short-cuts or magic potions to weight loss. The fat needs to be burnt through exercise and exercise alone. Poor eating habits are another cause for worry. Eating too little is as bad as eating too much. Remember when you eat less than what the body actually requires, the metabolism becomes even more sluggish and you are exposing yourself to deficiency diseases, beware! Healthy eating habits have to be inculcated routinely. Your are the best Dietician for yourself... forget about those measures and cups, eat till you feel satisfied, and always ensure that you concentrate on what you eat. Also, see that you chew your food properly. Never stuff food into your stomach like how you fuel your car. Listen to your mind and eat sensibly as far as portion sizes are concerned. There are days when you feel like eating more, and sometimes less, look out for those signals and fulfil those needs accordingly. Enjoy food, and don’t look at it as your
enemy. But of course there are certain rules to be followed. Stick on to traditional food which has the best combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, let your everyday cooking be simple but yet a balanced one. Avoid frequent intakes of saturated foods. Never use processed foods and ready to eat foods, which lack in nutrients and are very high in either salts or sugars. Moreover, processing destroys the natural nutrient present in the food. Though these foods are enhanced with synthetic nutrients the absorption and assimilation of synthetic nutrients is less. Avoid bakery foods which have the three bad whites called sugar, white flour and butter. Refined carbohydrates is another bad food, but can be consumed when one is sick. Imported fruits are another cause for concern, for they are nothing but a cocktail of chemicals, waxes and preservatives which can do more harm than deliver the goodness they are supposed to deliver. Eating fruits and vegetables which are locally grown, those which are seasonal is the best way to ensure good health. Yet, another cause for worry is the fact that people never eat on time. Delayed food intake is as bad as not eating at all. For an active metabolism, one needs to adhere to proper time schedules. Three major meals interspersed with two smaller ones would be ideal, in the current lifestyle of ours. Let your last meal be simple and early too, so that you do not end up with unused /unspent calories. Water, a non-nutrient is another important entity in our daily diet. It not only helps in washing toxins away, but also helps in transporting the all important nutrients throughout the body. Our body temperature is maintained and of course the viscosity of the blood too. There is no ideal limit for water intake. Drink as much as you can. Ideally we should ensure that we take at least 6-8 glasses per day and nothing less. Water can be taken as and when the need arises. Women need not worry about calcium and mineral supplements provided they take a balanced diet with a combination of cereals, pulses, variety of vegetables, colourful fruits, nuts seeds and dry fruits. Your daily diet should have them all. Your secret to good health is there in the food pyramid, follow the pyramid and do not become one. Approach food with reverence and prudence. After all, you are what you eat. It is the AK 47 for your body’s defence mechanism, a stress buster and the reason for your life. Boost your metabolism and of course your mood too. Enjoy healthy food.
Salt ‘n’ Pepper korner
Photo Credit : Chammu
How do we wash mushrooms? Bhagya
Do not keep washing mushrooms as they absorb water. Take a bowl of water, add a pinch of lemon juice and wash mushrooms very quickly. Dab with a kitchen towel to dry them. When you cook them, do not boil mushrooms for a long time. Also, do not add too much water to them while cooking. Mushrooms are very good for health since they are rich in protein, and have anti cancer agents too.
quality wheat. While cooking them, take a big vessel, fill with plenty of water, drop in a little oil and a pinch of salt.When it starts boiling, then add the pasta. When it is well cooked, it will split in two. Add vegetables to the pasta only when the pasta has cooled down.
The name “Mallika Badrinath” is familiar to most homemakers in South India. Till 1988, she too was a homemaker ; now she is an internationally acknowledged culinary expert, with an eager audience latching on to every word she has to say about food and cooking in her television shows. Her books are sold like hot cakes across the world. She is a symbol of women achievers of India. Hers is a success story that has been an inspiration to many women.
How can we make multi grain atta at home? Savithri Gopalakrishnan
You need to take pure wheat flour- 80 percent and other grains that have been pounded and ground well- 20 percent.. You can take any grains of your choice- Bengal gram, soya and so on.
Why is it necessary to buy pasta that is branded? Savitha
When you go in for branded varieties of pasta, you can be assured that they use good
Make your kitchen experience exciting using Mallika Badrinath’s wise counsel. Mallika has recipes for everyone; even bachelors and children can turn out a delectable meal using her guidance. So go ahead with your kitchen queries and prepare healthy, tasty meals with the help of the Cuisine Queen of South India.
n Smile Easy R ecipes
festival of colors is here and we get to you some really colourful and traditional dishes that you could make at home this Holi. For all those who wish to enjoy the festival mood with your friends with some exciting Mocktails and Cocktails, we won’t disappoint you either. We get to you three completely different varieties that you could make at home and enjoy with family and friends this festive season.
Salt to taste
acman Dumplings (Veg) from yochinacafe, Saket, Delhi by Chef Chua Kek Eng (Joe) Master Chef, Yo! China Café.
Ingredients (for inner
Water Chestnut -50 gm Broccoli - 200 gm Carrot - 100 gm Pokchoi (English Vegetable) 100 gm
All the ingredients are mixed in the given sequence as mentioned above. After this it is blanched (semi- boiled) to give it a crispy feel. Then sauté (fry) the mixture and add potato starch. The finishing is done by sesame oil. For the outer skin of dimsum, make dough using potato starch flour and wheat flour. Cut the dough into small balls and roll it into the shape of pacman filled with a portion of the mixture. Now to steam the dimsums, boil water in a large vessel and float a small bowl inside the boiling water with the dimsums. Close the lid and let it steam for at least 10 minutes.
MSG - 10-15 gm White pepper powder - 1-2 gm Sesame Oil - 2 tea spoon Potato Starch - 25 gm
Potato Starch - 100 gm Wheat Starch - 200 gm For Color Orange - We are using Beetroot juice in the dough. Green - Natural green food color in the dough.
The Modern Pacman Dumpling (Veg)
n Smile Easy R ecipes
Naariyal and Kaju Gujiya
The traditional Gujiya Platter from Rang De Basanti Dhaba by Chef Vishal Saxena, chef Trainer- Rang De Basanti Dhaba.
n Smile Easy R ecipes
Maida- 400 gms Ghee- 75 gms (for Greasing) Dalda or Ghee to Fry A Gujiya Mould - Readily available in the market
Mawa/Khoya (Grated Roasted) - 250 gms, and Desiccated Coconut- 200 gms Cashew nuts Chopped- 25 gms Almonds Chopped- 25 gms Raisins- 25 gms Nutmeg- A pinch Elaichi Powder- 2 gms Powdered Sugar- 400gms
Sieve the flour and rub ghee through it with soft hands knead into stiff dough with the help of a little water. Cover with a wet cloth and keep aside.
Mash up the khoya and add the desiccated coconut, cashew, almonds, raisins and elaichi and nutmeg powders. Mix the ingredients well in a bowl. Set aside a part of the powdered sugar for the sugar syrup and add the rest to the mixture. With well oiled hands, divide the dough into small balls and roll them out into small puris or circular discs. Grease the Gujiya Mould, place the puris on the mould and press gently. Add the stuffing in the hollow of the mould, apply little water on the edges and close the mould tightly. Remove the excess dough from the edges of the mould and take out the Gujiya. Prepare all in the same manner. Heat sufficient oil in a deep karahi or pan and deep fry the Gujiyas until golden brown. Dip it in the sugar syrup. Take them out and drain excess syrup.
For the filling
n Smile Easy R ecipes
Garnish with chopped pistachios and almonds to finish.
Gur and Til Gujiya
Mawa/Khoya (Grated Roasted) - 100 gms Raisins- 40 gms Elaichi Powder- 3 gms Powdered sugar- 400gms and seeds and grate the Jaggery (Gur). Mix together.
Maida- 400 gms Ghee- 75 gms (for Greasing) Dalda or Ghee to Fry A Gujiya Mould
For the filling:
Mash up the khoya, add the jiggery – sesame mix, raisins and elaichi. Mix the ingredients well in a bowl. Add the sugar to the mixture and mix well. With well oiled hands, divide the dough into small balls and roll them out into small puris or circular discs. Grease the Gujiya Mould, place the puris
Jaggery (Gur) – 250gms White Sesame Seeds (Til) – 100gms
Sieve the flour and rub ghee through it with soft hands, knead into stiff dough with the help of a little water if required. Cover with a wet cloth and keep aside. Lightly toast the sesame
on the mould and press gently. Add the stuffing in the hollow of the mould, apply little water on the edges and close the mould tightly. Remove the excess dough from the edges of the mould and take out the Gujiya. Prepare all in the same manner. Heat sufficient oil in a deep karahi or pan and keep Fry the Gujiyas until golden brown. Garnish with some toasted sesame seeds.
Smile Easy R ecipes
Cook HOLI SPECIAL COCKTAILS RECIPES n
Tequila Thandai Cocktail
Tequila gold 45 ml White rum 15 ml Almond milk 60 ml Pineapple juice 60 ml Coconut milk 15 ml Chopped almond and pista 10 grams
Shake almond milk with coconut milk and transfer into a long glass Add pine apple juice over the drink Top up with tequila and rum Garnish with chopped almond, pista and saffron
Vodka 30 ml Tia Maria 15 ml Blue Curacao, strawberry crush, khus syrup, each 5 ml 7up to top
n Smile Easy R ecipes
Build two syrups by layers and add 7up by half glass Make two layers with blue Curacao and Tia Maria in a short glass Drop the short glass in the long glass and fill with crushed ice and top up with vodka to make different colours in one drink.
Q. jeet Gaye!”
“Hum jeet Gaye! Hum
That was the winning roar of the captain of Ranchi Rhinos – the team that won the inaugural Hero Hockey India League (IPLstyle hockey league). Moritz Fuerste is better known as a 2-time Olympic gold medalist. The 28-year-old German field hockey player was bought for $75,000 US Dollars to lead the Rhinos and he did that in style. The Rhinos upset favorites Delhi Wave riders in the final in front of a capacity home crowd at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi on February 10.
“See my Hindi is good. Hum jeet Gaye! Nas Nas Mein hockey”
Fuerste made the most of his month-long stay in India – won the title, took home the highest prize money, made a lot of friends and picked up the local language too. We caught up with the German for an exclusive chat.
How to pronounce your name? try it
Mo-itz Fuh-stuh, please (laughs)
On being crowned 2013 Hockey India League (HIL) champions
Beating Delhi the way we did in the final was great, especially after being 1-0 down till the end of the 3rd quarter. We came back well and it was an amazing victory.
Q. Indian youngsters who impressed the most
Yeah obviously the Indian guys surprised us a lot. Birendra (Lakra), Manpreet (Singh) and Mandeep (Singh), who scored a lot of goals. Those guys played a very very good tournament. internationals Q. 6 differentRhinos in Ranchi It’s very exciting to play in a team with guys that you chase in the field throughout the year. So, this is a great experience. It was very difficult at the beginning to find the right mixture of players. But I enjoyed a lot.
It’s amazing. If you saw the games…throughout the tournament, in every game the crowd is so enthusiastic. It is so much fun to play here. In comparison to all the other stadiums, it’s just different. We’re enjoying that very much.
guess. Favorite jersey number 21, always been 21. When I was 6, I was late at training… by then the boys had picked up their numbers. The last number I was keen to play in was 21. I never changed it. What’s the color of your eyes? I think it’s blue. It might be blue, but I never look into my own eyes. You got to tell me. Favorite color My favorite color…I am just struggling to get the English word for it. I think it’s ‘Purple’. Purple is called ‘lila’ in German. How many goals did you score in HHIL? I’m very disappointed, it’s just one. Highest scorer in your team? Mandeep ‘Fatiboy’ Singh. He’s too thin, so we call him ‘Fatiboy’. Any superstitions field? on the
Success in Hockey Leagues is not new to Fuerste. He, in fact, has guided German club, the Uhlenhorster Hockey Club in Hamburg to 3 back-toback titles in the Euro Hockey League. But he believes this success in HIL has already got the folks back home talking about hockey in a way they never did before.
Q. What does HIL hold for the future?
In any way it’s going to be a great benefit for our sport. India’s presence all over the world is impressive. In my home country in Germany, usually no one cares about hockey. But they do now at least. That is quite important. Especially the youngsters will learn a lot from those experienced in the League. And they usually don’t get to play with a lot of international players throughout the year. So that’s a big benefit for all Indian youngsters. For us, it is just widening the horizon. It is a great cultural experience as well. I’m really happy to have experienced something like this. I don’t think I would have experienced something like this in my life. So I am very grateful. I enjoyed it a lot.
Q. Bonding in team
Luckily the bonding works quite well without any kind of language. So, we’re just talking to each other through gestures and stuff like that. Everyone is trying his best to speak in English. But obviously, it’s not very easy for everyone. We are just having a good time. We enjoy the company of each other. We enjoy Ranchi and our hotel there which makes it much more comfortable. But during the games and in important meetings that we have, our assistant coach Baljit (Singh Saini) works more as a translator from time to time and also some of the players who speak very good English translate it to Hindi and that’s how it works. On Ranchi’s passion for
No I am not (superstitious). They work for some people because they make you believe you do everything right to achieve your goals. But I stopped believing in that.
Your favorite sport Basketball. I couldn’t make it… because I’m too small for it, I
The craziest thing you have ever done? The craziest thing I’ve ever done is probably signing for this League. I’m not saying it’s a bad one, but I’m just saying it was crazy.
TEMPLE ART FORMS OF KERALA
ere’s a brief glimpse into the different and varied art forms, especially the temple art forms of Kerala. Not many people are aware of these art forms and hence they are on the verge of dying out. Thanks to the Ernakulam Shiva temple authorities and the sponsors, these art forms were performed by exponents in each of these fields and they succeeded in enthralling and educating the masses.
Thiri uzhichil is part of the Sarpam thullal ritual connected with the worship of the Serpent God. This is the most spectacular part of the ritual, done to please the god of fire, and the one performing literally plays with fire; he takes a stick tied with cotton and this is dipped in oil, and lit up. Using this, the person literally swipes this all over his body, in a massaging ritual. Hence the name thiri uzhichil. Next was Theyyam which is a beautiful art form of North Kerala. It is in fact a mix of ritual, vocal, instrumental music, dance, painting, sculpture and literature. It is a very divine art and gives importance to the worship of heroes and spirits. There is a divine splendor associated with Theyyam. The word “theyyam’ means God and is usually performed in non temple surroundings like kavu,sacred grooves and ancestral homes.The performers are usually men.Theyyams are of different types such as Bhagavathy theyyams,Manushika theyyam, Purana theyyam and Saiva Vaishnava theyyam to name a few. We had the unique chance of seeing Kathivanoor veeran on stage that day. He depicts a local hero, a warrior who married a girl of his choice and who later on was killed in battle in a most unscrupulous way. People worship him as a hero .The performance was spectacular. The Pallival, a group performance by the Komarams of Kodungallur temple followed .The group had one lady and all the rest of the men were attired in red sarees and decked up with jewels; each had a sword with them. The dance was extremely rhythmic and energetic. The mulam chenda melam was really worth listening to. Mulam chenda is a bamboo drum; a local tribal musical instrument of the Wynad region. In olden days this was used for repelling birds from the rice fields. Needless to say, the group gave a splendid performance. What attracted the small kids most was the famous Poikkal kuthirai dancers. These dancers were dancing on stilts attached to their feet. All the little ones at the venue enjoyed and had a good time with the friendly dancers’ .Some even had a joy ride with them. These kind of performances help children connect to their roots and instill wonder and pride in the greatness of their heritage.
Ernakulam Shiva temple utsava 2013 had a very interesting and unique program this year .There was a show on ritualistic temple art forms which was very interesting and educative for the modern generation. Such programs which illuminate our rich culture and past are very welcome these days and they are very useful for the young to dive deep into our roots. Some of the art forms that we enjoyed were Karingali Nrittam, Poi kal kuthirai dance, Poothan and thira, Alami kali, Thiri uzhichil,Theyyam,Mulam chenda melam, Pallival,to name a few in addition to some wonderful folk songs . Karingali nrittam is a Kerala folk dance form and it was very colorful and transported us all to a bygone era. Then came the troop of Poothan and thira.It is a ritualistic art form that heralds in a” pooram” or temple festival. It is popular in Palakkad and Malappuram districts of Kerala. Performed by laymen, “Poothanum thirayum” is called so after its two protagonists who are evocative of the innumerable village deities. Their costumes with large headdresses of peacock feathers and masks, long tresses are all enough to leave a lasting impression in the minds of the young. “Alami kali” of Kasarkode is a good example of brotherhood among Muslims and Hindus. Hindus and Muslims join in this art form which is performed both within the mosques and also outside .Performers visit the houses and this Alami kali with its really soothing music is supposed to be a cure – all for all diseases , mainly because of its positive vibrations ,and is also believed to bring in peace and harmony to the country. The dance however with its good music and rhythmic movements is a real visual treat. ‘Lele momo, lele momo, lele momo, le Lu…. They dance round in circles singing to this unique and catchy strain of music.
Renaissance of Literature
hennai was the venue for an enlightening literary festival, Lit for Life 2013 which showcased the spirit of a true festival. The well organised fest at MuthaVenkataSubba Hall was a melting pot of ideas, an open forum for a range of issues, and a celebration of the best of Indian writing in English. A scrutiny by two intellectuals — both unrelenting in their search for the truth was curated by Gopalkrishna Gandhi in an opening show.My Dear Bapu,was excellently read out by Rahul Bose and Yog Japee The exchange of letters between Bapu and Gandhi, debated among other things issues such as religion, science, untouchability, fasting and the role of khadi.
Photo Credit: Jack
Malini Shankar Rahul Bose (playing Gandhi) and Yog Japee (playing Rajaji) evoked laughter, awe and tears. Unfortunately, the truth may not always be pleasant to hear, as we saw again in a session titled South of the Vindhyas: Stories from the Southern States with Vaidehi Rao, Sarah Aboobacker and Benyamin moderated by Anupama Raju. When Aboobacker first wrote about Muslim women, they were not attending school. “Now they are. But fundamentalism has pushed Muslim women back,” she said. Benyamin exposed the realities of his world, that of expatriates in the Middle East. Many of them colour the truth of their families in India. “Ninety per cent are leading a pathetic life,” Benyamin said. He hoped that by reading his
stories, people would understand that they do in fact “have a choice, a country that they can go back to,” unlike many displaced people who do not have a home due to political turmoil. The truth is often unsettling, as we heard in the readings by Meena Kandasamy, Jeet Thayil and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra in Rhyme and Reason: The Power of Poetry. The truth makes your teeth tingle and your cheeks burn, as Kandasamy told us, in a poem titled “Cunning Stunt” that the vagina by any other name is the same and scoffed at the term yoni, a spiritual euphemism in a land where the worship of the woman ended outside the temple. Nilanjana Roy summed it best during the session with Jerry Pinto in Fiction First: Writing a Stunning Debut Novel. “Before you tell your story with honesty you have to learn to choose honest work.” Pinto reflected on the process of producing the best work: “.” Mayank Austen Soofi attempted to break stereotypes about sex workers in his book; He had spent times in Delhi’s notorious GB Road. Nobody Can Love You More. He wanted to bring out ‘the ordinariness of these people who live in an extraordinary world’. They’re so normal, so boring, as bitchy and as nasty as any one of us, he observed. Soofi and Meenal Baghel, author of Death in Mumbai, talked to Ranvir Shah about reporting the finer details to capture truth in non-fiction. Exactly two months to the day after the gang rape in Delhi, Kalpana Sharma queried the moderator of ‘No Country for Women’ about the incident. The panel comprised of Kalpana Kannabiran, Nilanjana Roy and Rahul Bose. “There is no way that the law will speak for us if the reality within which the law is operating is unchanged,” said Rahul Bose. A woman in the audience rightly asked, “ Why do we ask our daughters to sit properly, wear a dupatta and inform us where they’re going? Should women treat their daughters differently?” A contrast was Shriya Saran’s stance on the objectification of Bollywood women, bothering several in the audience during Kingdom of Dreams moderated by Jerry Pinto. “If you don’t do the role, it will go to someone else. It is, unfortunately, about money,” she said. Decision about dance sequences happened on the fly on a movie set and actresses had to be flexible. Sharmila Tagore, the other speaker, agreed. Both women felt that though some important
movies were made with the woman protagonist as the lead character, films mostly projected educated, modern women as vamps or those who degraded culture. Even today, the woman is added to a movie only as a source of glamour. Said Shriya, “ We need to witness a sea of change in the attitude of people toward women. Only then can we look forward to the portrayal of women protagonists as strong characters in the cinema.” Sharmila Tagore felt that the foray of women directors will bring about a change in the way women are projected in movies. She recalled the golden years of the fifties when actors like Fearless Nadira or Devika Rani held their own in films. The 1970s also saw movies like Arth, Bhoomika etc. centering on women. Sharmila Tagore said that the film fraternity views the Censor Board as a scissor happy team that mercilessly cut films at their whims and fancies. But that is not really the case. CBFC, of which she had been the Chairman, carried out its responsibility with diligence and that the board’s decision is final and binding. She felt that regulations are important and also impressed upon the need for regulation for Television serials and programmes. The Food court was enticing with hot filter coffee, good debates and food at nominal rates. The ‘lit crazed’ Chennaites were seen hobnobbing with writers and students from the world of media and journalism. The Khatta Dhokla and chaat corner added spice to the delectable fare at the food court. The books displayed by publisher Harper Collins were a tad too expensive for me to contemplate purchase. Ideally, a book love like me would have cared to a few low priced editions! The Lit for Life 2013 took me on a journey through art, craft and heart. As I packed to leave along with my sister, my mind juggled the nuggets I gleaned from the festival about transitions, voices, beginnings, endings and those infinite moments in our daily lives that light up our path towards the universal truth. As a token of the memorable moments spent here, I wrote out my wish on a card and handed out by the organisers to be hung on the Wish Tree at the venue!
Shades of Grey
Chandrika R Krishnan
“Good morning ladies! It is International Women’s Day tomorrow and we have come a long way.” Thus, Nita started amidst thunderous applause. The auditorium was packed with dignitaries, the press and successful women many of whom were a name to reckon with in their chosen fields. “I remember my grandmother who knew nothing besides keeping the home fires burning. We now have an independent career unrelated to the men in our lives, ” she thundered, “We have successfully forayed our way into what could once be considered a man’s domain. We are the example of shining India.” Nita was a star model in the international arena despite hailing from a much middle class background. She was the “face” for the new Indian woman. “We are now liberated from shackles that bound us for centuries. The need to be at the beck and call of men is passé. We are no longer inferior…..” Nita was interrupted by a flurry of activity at the far end of the auditorium. All heads turned to take in a bedraggled woman obviously badly hurt, which was seen as blood seeping through the rough bandage she had around her head. She could not have gained entry to the event venue, if not for her companions who were wellknown activists for women’s rights. “What liberation are we talking about ladies and gentlemen? Let’s hear the story of this young woman of twenty two and already a mother of three children,” one of them thundered. Despite not having a mike to speak into, her voice carried far and wide into the auditorium for there was a hushed silence. “She was hit by her drunken husband with a pressure cooker lid just because the food was not to his liking. She is a maid working in various households cleaning dirty dishes and clothes just to keep the home fires burning. And what does she get in return? Verbal and physical abuse?” That’s behind the scenes for you!” The other activist had her share of attention of the media as she managed to get herself a mike to be heard. The organizers of the meet were clearly not happy. This was not what they had wanted to showcase to the world on International Women’s Day. The poor woman was totally confused and looked disoriented amidst all the glitter. Moreover, her head was hurting and she wanted to go home to her children. They would be waiting for food. She had been screaming at her husband after the fight, as was her wont, when she found herself being bundled by these women into a car and taken to some doctor who gave her some medicine and sutured the wound for her. She likened these women to the monstrous vehicle that often grazed their huts to the ground after giving them suitable time to salvage their paltry possessions. She was a worried woman. All hell would break lose if her husband came back to find that food was not ready or she wasn’t available for her wifely duties. A camera was thrust onto her face and was she bombarded by questions from all sides. “How often does your husband beat you?” “How much do you earn every day?” “Does your husband bring another woman every night?” “Please take me back to my house.” She begged, “My man would get very upset if he knew all this. Please I am all right.” “Don’t you have any shame? Why should a woman put up with all this nonsense?” screamed the woman who had accompanied her. The poor woman was totally perplexed. “They are men,” She said simply. “We know no other life.”
Shanthi Dinakar “No, no not that one. I want the mustard sari with the brown border.” Ramesh pulled down the sari tiredly. He surreptitiously looked at his watch. It was almost eight p.m. Closing time. The owner, however, had given strict instructions not to hustle a customer. No closing the shop until the last customer had bought a sari and left. “ Please take down the peacock green sari with the shocking pink border.” Ramesh obliged and groaned inwardly. This lady had no idea of what colour she really wanted. He had shown her at least forty Conjeeveram saris and she had still not made up her mind. He had a resigned feeling that he was going to be late again tonight. Just as he pulled down another couple of saris, the lady suddenly made up her mind and chose a beige coloured sari with a violet border. The bill was made and the lady paid the money and taking the sari with great glee left the shop. Ramesh hurriedly picked up his lunch bag, took a quick swig of tepid water and hurried to the bus stand. There were scores of shops on Pondy Bazaar in T.Nagar, Chennai. Between 8p.m. and 9 p.m. hundreds of employees crawled out of the shops and vend their way to the bus stops. When his bus came and stopped twenty metres beyond the bus stop Ramesh ran with other commuters and scrambled up the steps. All the seats were taken and most of the commuters stood hanging on to the worn plastic straps. Ramesh could have gone in too but he preferred to stand on the footboard. He loved the wind in his face as the bus picked up speed. Besides he had another reason for standing on the step. Two bus stops ahead a young woman would get into the bus. The bus would be already full by then and she would have no other choice but to stand on the footboard. Ramesh had found out that her name was Sushila. She was tall for a
Tamilian girl - almost 5.5” or 5.6”. She was also wheatish in colour, which was rare as well. Ramesh took the opportunity, whenever the bus swayed, to brush against her. He knew Sushila hated it. Her face suffused with anger but she could do nothing, as the bus was overcrowded. Sushila usually got off at Anna Nagar and Ramesh went on to Padi. He lived in a small oneroom tenement in a squalid lane with his wife Rani. Her name was Rani ( which meant queen) but she was a pauper in every other way - no looks, no money and no talent. But she was a devoted wife who lovingly cooked terrible meals for him. That night Sushila got on to the bus and stood on the footboard as usual. Ramesh gave her a sly, salacious grin. Sushila scowled and looked the other way. Ramesh noticed that Sushila’s cotton sari was crushed and the jasmine flowers in her thick, coconut-oiled plait had wilted and smelt rancid. The bus swayed as it took a turn and Ramesh rubbed his hips against Sushila’s waist. He jerked his arm as though accidentally, against her soft breast. Sushila cursed under her breath. Ramesh was enjoying himself hugely. Sushila on the other hand had had a rough day at the office. Her boss had been in a foul mood regarding a missing letter and had thrown several files around the room. The last thing she wanted now was to be eve-teased. She prayed silently that the harassment should stop. The bus was on the straight Nelson Manickam Road and it picked up speed. It happened in a flash. One moment Ramesh was leering at Sushila and the next moment he had dashed against a roadside temple that had encroached on the pavement. Ramesh was thrown up in the air and came to rest on the spikes of the low temple wall, which pierced him fatally.
Photo Credit: Vikram Raj
an interactive talk show on the subject “World over, Indians stand first in achieving their goals as
alim Mohammad Salegh should not indulge in blame culture. Rather, Educational Trust organized we need to be focused and keep qualifying
ourselves. As long as you stay focused and multi talented, you will have no dearth of opportunities.
Dr. Jafer Ali presided over the talk show. After a brief speech, the floor was thrown open for students to voice their views and opinions and to ask questions of him. Dr. Jafer Ali has over 30 years of corporate experience in all facets of human resource management in varied industries including cement, textiles, automobiles, heavy engineering and much more. Currently, Dr. Jafer Ali renders strategic HR /educational consultancy to corporates, NGOs and educational institutions. Dr. Jafer Ali is a multi faceted personality and is also recipient of the National Award for his book titled “Trade Unions” from the Ministry of HRD, New Delhi. Here are the excerpts from the interactive session.
Why is India still not fully developed?
We are in a race with China. While our strength is development with democracy, China surges on without democracy. We have missed industrialisation but now is the right time to refocus and achieve. It is still a naked truth that one-third of our people are illiterate and go to bed without food. We need education coupled with awareness. Even though our nation has a lot of debts to repay, we have the capacity to repay; we are rich in terms of human resources and intellect.
Why are we denied recognition?
Recognition and motivation are internal. Motivation should come from within yourselves. Only if you are self motivated can you see the light. How can we make the best use of time?
Why do you think we Indians excel in all aspects everywhere?
It is primarily because of our intellect. People outside India believe in our intellect more than we do. All over the world Indians are preferred over any other nationality because we are intellectually advanced and hard working. Boundaries abound only in the minds of the people. Leading the self is leadership. Despite our intellectual capabilities, why don’t people from other countries employ Indians willingly? The problem is not with the other countries. We
Time can never be saved, carried forward or deducted; good time management is self management in relation to time. Building the gap between ‘what I am ‘ and ‘what I want to be’ is effective time management.
The association of computer applications of College of Engineering Guindy, Anna University organized “NIRAL 2013”, a two day nation-wide technical symposium. Over 700 students participated from various colleges in and around Chennai. The event was inaugurated by the Dean of CEG, Dr. M. Sekar on 25 February 2013. The second year students of the MCA division organized this event. They conducted fifteen events that tested various skills of the students. A creative event called “Funky Junk”, challenged the students to create art out of electronic hardware waste. ‘Smart Sellers’, required a team of students to market a product innovatively. Students from the University of Madras secured top honours in this category with their out of the box thinking. There were other technical competitions like quiz, ethical hacking, web designing and paper presentations. Gaming buffs and multimedia experts also had a chance to showcase their talents in technology. The organizers were delighted with the response from the students as the event turned out to be grand success. “This year we had an amazing set of people who were very creative in a limited time. The response was mind blowing,” says Sameera, one of the organizers. The organizing team was greatly encouraged and now they have higher hopes for the next edition. Amaresh who conducted the gaming events says, “There was a thrilling finish in the computer gaming competition. So next year we are planning to introduce motion sensor games from PS3 and Xbox.” The students who participated were also enthusiastic and wanted to come back the next year as well. Apart from competing with their peers, the participants were also treated to dance and light music show at the end of the day. The event concluded on the 26 February. Dr. Narayanaswamy, the Additional Controller of Examinations handed out the certificates to the winners during the valedictory function. Dr. K. Kulothungan, President of NIRAL 2013 and Dr. S. Senthil Kumar, Treasurer presided over the ceremony. Short films made by the first year students were also played at the valedictory.
Sonal Chauhan makes her singing debut…
Sonal Chauhan debuts as singer with her forthcoming Eros International & Next Gen Films’ psychological thriller 3G. Sonal has lent her voice to the melodious song ‘Kaise Bataoon’. Taking her passion for music one step further ,Sonal sung this song with KK which has been released online. Music director Mithoon has composed this romantic track very beautifully which is soothing to the ear and manages to leave a mark with listeners wanting more. Sonal has always been affectionate of singing and its nothing less than ‘dream come true’ for her. Talking about her experience says Sonal Chauhan, “One day I got a call from the producer asking me
to reach a music studio. When I was told I had to sing, I was skeptical as I am not trained in it. They however insisted and when I recorded, they liked it. I have been a big KK fan and it was a great experience singing with him.” Adds actor turned singer Sonal, “The director and producer of the film knew my liking for singing but I never thought I would end up doing that for the film!” Adds producer Viki Rajani, “I have heard from director Shantanu that during the shooting of the movie the whole crew went for karaoke; at that time everyone realized that Sonal has a very good voice. As soon as I came to know about this I asked her to come to the studio immediately. After the recording we were so surprised and happy with her hidden talent. We tried several voices but felt that Sonal’s voice suits best with the song and it benefited the movie also. I am sure it will be a chartbuster song.” Produced by Next Gen Films and Presented by Eros International , the psychological thriller starring Neil Nitin Mukesh and Sonal Chauhan is scheduled to release on 15 March 2013.
Delhi Highway brings the Chandi Chowk of Delhi to Namma Chennai
Jinal Patel Delhi Highway, a pure vegetarian restaurant brings you the aroma and taste of authentic Mughal, Punjabi Cuisine along with the experience of mouth-watering Delhi Street food. Situated in Casa Major Road, the restaurant has over 50 varieties of parathas, Kebabs, Tikka and much more. When the Mughal Dynasty ruled over the capital for centuries, they influenced the food and food habits of the region and also introduced Tandoor. The Mughalai food is known worldwide for its richness. It is famous for the exotic use of spices, dried fruit and nuts. The Mughals did everything in style and splendour. its magical aroma of spices grilled in hot coal Tandoor unleashes true North Indian flavours . Specialized in Mughalai food, the chef hand picks the right mixture of spices and grills them at the right temperature in Tandoor. The additional taste brought in by Tandoor coal is a royal treat to your taste buds. The kitchen offers spicy, tangy, irresistible food, desserts and much more. The menu offers a balanced mixture of Delhi, Mughal and Punjabi choices for the customers at affordable prices. The final sweet touch to the meal is the extensive dessert section which is spread from Falooda , Jalebi, Gulab jamun and much more. There is a special chat counter serving all the popular chat items for all who want to enjoy the street food experience. The chefs are all expects in their delicacy and would serve nothing but the best to their customers. Enjoy this Spicy, Tangy Delhi Street Food Experience with your family and friends
by Shruti KaulSachdeva
French Connection French Connection
Spring/ Summer 13 Womens/Mens wear Collection
pring/Summer 13 at French Connection is
light, feminine and chic.
The collection features strong Fifties influences.Fifties style shirt dresses and dirndl skirts accentuate the waist for a ladylike shape and feature large scale blooms in pale blue hues.Elegant party dresses are saturated in sequins, recontextualising familiar shapes like the bandage dress, while subtle sequins adorn simple separated giving a soft and feminine touch to daytime dressing. For SS13, French Connection re-introduces classic American male styling, mixing British influence into the timeless trends of military, Ivy League and surfing cultures. Washed out denims have been distressed and cargo shorts and chinos have been recoloured to create an overall clean, simple Spring look. Soft washed shirtings, brighter colours and bold stripes stay true to the collection’s inspiration, whilst cosmopolitan influences rework patterned tees and tailored shirts. FCUK is more relaxed with a mix of washed, laundered, worn and vintage pieces. All merchandise is available at French Connection stores across India.
rishuli as a brand is a glorious mix of cultures and modernity in the field of footwear.Inspiration behind the collection comes from different parts of India and the shoes exhibit a creative fusion of Indian handicrafts & motifs with western silhouettes. Artistically created, it consists of wedges, stilettos and platforms in pure silks, satin, brocade and leather. The color palette consists of bright hues such as shades of blue and pink as well as black, silver and golden with interesting details such as prints, spikes and embroidery. Each pair is hand cut, carefully applied by craftsmen and has a story to tell. Beaded beauties: If one is going to make an investment, why not invest in an innate beauty. Traditional beadwork certainly fulfils this satisfaction.Hand worked with different colour beads , these shoes cannot go unnoticed. Hand Painted wedges: Bright and rich colours, cultural motifs and delicate hand painted chinars describe these shoes best .
When Flying is a necessity
“A combination of factors like economic boom, increased foreign tourist arrival, increased purchasing power of people, and poor air connectivity of smaller cities has motivated the establishment of Aviation division. The motivation for INDRA AIR PRIVATE LIMITED proposed air service has been outlined here”. INDRA AIR PRIVATE LIMITED is designed to meet your special needs without being encumbered by air carrier schedules. We arrange charter services to meet different contingencies like corporate meetings, health emergencies, holiday trips ,geophysical resource survey, law enforcement , aerial advertisement, film shooting ,flower and leaflet dropping ,package tours and overnight getaways. Today, INDRA AIR PRIVATE LIMITED’S primary corporate objective is to achieve the proper balance of performance, safety, functionality, reliability, and affordability in a family of light helicopters.
Head Office No.5, Alsa Regency,165, Eldams Road,Alwarpet, Chennai – 600 018. Ph.No. : 044 4232 8808 Fax No. : 044 4232 8807 Mobile : +9187544 98181 Email: email@example.com Airport Office Old Airport (Near Madras Flying Club),Meenambakkam, Chennai – 600 027. Telefax : 044 2256 0860 Mobile : +91 90030 20061 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Taking the Bull by the Horns
entire world agrees that something must be done about the dire straits Indian women are in today, even as crimes and aggression against women continue unabatedly and unabashedly. Women activists and organizations have perked up and have now begun to actively and overtly support women’s causes such as these. I for one believe that while a humungous effort must be made in all quarters to bring about a massive mindset overhaul in the deeply entrenched chauvinistic attitude toward women, we must also launch
other women. “Swati, frankly speaking, I abhor women bosses,’ said a young woman executive. Her grouse was that the boss favoured men subordinates and was very harsh toward other women subordinates, colleagues and bosses. “You know, women never understand another woman’s problems,” she went on, “Even if you have a genuine family issue or are unwell, my boss tells me, ‘I will not allow any women-specific family issues as excuse. We as women should not expose ourselves as weak individuals to the organization. Moreover, when you are getting equal pay like any other male colleague why are you coming out with gender related excuses?’ I ask you, if your son is sick and in bed, does our society ever allow a father to attend to the child? Even if it does, the child asks for the mother first. If a woman does not understand the problems of another woman how can you expect a man to understand? When it is the question of a child, it is the woman who bears and nurtures the child and the society should stand by her, and definitely a woman should. When we talk about being equal to a male colleague, does it mean all women should decide not to bear children? Then what will happen to the society?” she burst out. A group of interns in our organization confessed that in their college, it was the girls who often let them down, complained to the teaching staff about other girls and were involved in ‘politics’. “Ma’am, just so that they can be in the good books of our lecs, some girls go to the extent of conjuring up wild rumours about other girls,” complained an innocent looking journo intern. “ Another worrisome issue in our college is a little embarrassing to discuss ma’am,” began yet another intern with suspense,” the major issue in many co-ed institutions is ‘boyfriend’ fights,” she said haltering and then continued with a worried expression, “ Ma’am! Girls fight over boys! Imagine how important the boy must feel!
into serious introspection and look at ourselves dispassionately. As a writer and a media person I have had countless interactions with women and have often encountered inconvenient questions from
And for what? Eventually, the boy will ditch both the girls and go off to another! Can’t the girls for once stay united, especially when it comes to boyfriends? I am sure no man ever deserves attention from two women at the same time, nobody is that great ma’am!” A studious looking intern, often taunted by others for being a ‘nerd’ piped in caustically, “ In our college, our lady lec is openly partial towards men students, gives them more marks and keeps barking at all girls!” My close friend had a rude shock a few years ago. There was this girl who she was helping to deal with an abusive husband and an even more abusive boss, a man. Tormented and not able to withstand the pressure, the girl was seeking succor from my friend in their office. My friend of course went to her rescue at the drop of a hat, took the brunt of girl’s work related outcomes and saw to it that she was not exposed to the abusive boss in office. She also started encouraging the girl and spread the world around about her skills, bringing adulation and recognition for the poor girl. Things were fine and the girl seemed to move to better times, feeling comfortable at office and even patching up with the boss. One day, suddenly, an innocuous remark by my friend resulted in the girl blowing her fuse and throwing a huge tantrum. The girl promptly went to the boss and reported about the friend! My friend asks me,” I don’t understand women! They take so much abuse from men but cannot tolerate a genuine advice from a woman! This is because, tragically many women do not know what it is to be respected and when the respect comes forth, and they don’t know how to handle it. In the process they end up hurting their well-wishers and supporters and get back to square one. Women are themselves sometimes responsible for the quagmire they are in. I feel, deep inside, women unwittingly invite disrespect and abuse by others due to their emotional instability and low self esteem. If they cannot help themselves nor allow others to help them, however will they come out of their sorry predicament?” These are just a few instances, but the country as well as the world is replete with such skewed interpersonal interactions that impact women. Instead of languishing in misery, low self esteem and putting up with a society that heaps indignities and untold sufferings on women, it is high time women put up a united front, stood up for one another and developed what should be ‘ sisterhood’. If you observe interactions among men, even if a man betrays his friend or hurts
him, they bury their hatchet and move ahead as though nothing happened. Why not pick up this quality of men? It is high time women learned to conquer the J Factor. Time was when envy was justified because women had to depend on other men in their families and looked at more fortunate women who received better physical amenities and support, with jealousy. Today, when women are financially and cognitively independent, the J factor becomes redundant. Women should give up the habit of looking at others, comparing themselves and their plight with those of the others and feeling miserable. Learned, educated and working women should set exemplary example by behaving responsibly in their workplaces, reining in their emotions and letting the intellect take control. If women bring emotions into play in their workplaces, not only will it reflect them in bad light but it will also seem to justify what the men taunt about women, ‘home is where you belong.’ The time has come when women need to speak about the change of mindset among women and sisterhood. If women stay united, they can move mountains. Then crimes against women will soon be vanquished by women themselves. The mantra is ‘Sisterhood’. We need to work towards promoting and implementing Sisterhood.
a Wide Range of products for your Pet. to Maintain and Groom your Pet. our Panel of Experts,Veterinarians and Consultants HELP you.
An organization of pet lovers for pet lovers!
Choose from our complete range of branded , high quality food products, special treats, food supplements, accessories, cosmetics, confiners, equipments and specialized products. We deal with: Royal canin, Eukanuba, Pedigree, Whiskas, Canobits from Pfizer,Science diet, Droals,Me-o,Taiyo fish & turtle food ,Sun seed for hamsters, guinea pigs, Prestige premium for birds. We also distribute a range of products such as Pookie Snacks, Buxaway Mosquito Repellent, Gel insect Repellent, Starpett Silver Nano Dry Shampoo.
#64/1,” W” Block,3rd Street, Anna Nagar,Chennai-600040 Ph: +91 98407 66880 email@example.com www.petmartchennai.com
Registrar of Newspapers for India Registration Number TNENG/2005/16719
Date of Publication: 14th of Every Month Regn. No: TN/ CC (S) Dn 354/ 11-13 March 2013
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.