The saga of sanitary waste-2: OF DONKEYS AND ONE WOMAN’S PERIODS

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In the age of sanitary pads and other easier options, it’s difficult to fully comprehend the agony suffered by the women of older generations during periods. One can ascribe any number of religious and cultural significance to the taboos that pushed women into menstrual huts, it goes without saying that they were (still are, in many parts of India) subjected to unspeakable inconvenience, pain and humiliation.

India is a land of narratives. And the narratives built upon the “crimson flow” are many. Although menstruation is a natural, cyclical and biological occurring, the experience varies with each woman. Each one can tell a different story.

Here’s a moving account on a woman’s periods, her “ritual” dips and the donkeys (yes!) as seen from the eyes of a young, innocent boy. Although using cloth pads is now being looked at as sustainable menstruation as it does not leave behind non-biodegradable waste, I thought of including this post in the sanitary waste series for the simple reason that it offers a rare male perspective on a subject that even women hesitate to discuss openly.

Thanks to N JAYARAM for sharing this beautiful blogpost with you all. I am sure you will find yourself immersed in this short story just as I did.

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May Day tribute: 15,000 waste-pickers save Rs 84 crore for BBMP every year

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Yes, it’s true.

In all probability, this number might be an understatement as there maybe be more than 15,000 waste-pickers in the City going about their work every day—building new hopes and sometimes little habitats and hoping that one day, they will live to live and not to repent having lived a life of drudgery amidst a sea of sheer callousness.

A study conducted by Hasiru Dala, Jain University, Bangalore and Solid Waste Management Round Table in 2012 analysed the data of 4,175 registered waste-pickers aged between less-than-20 and above-60. What came to light was a number that this hapless lot could hardly accommodate within the realm of its imagination: 4,175 of them save Rs 23 crore annually. When extrapolated, 15,000 of them collectively keep Rs 84 crore safe in BBMP’s treasury. Continue reading

On Earth Day, let’s celebrate our homespun eco-champion

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When my mother sat down to hem in the frayed ends of a handloom blanket, it took almost two hours for her arthritic fingers to cut off the extra threads gently and hem the ends in with near-perfect stitches. As she folded the blanket and placed it back in the cupboard, she said: “Handloom blankets are more comfortable than those useless (synthetic) ones. Why do you waste thousand of rupees for those you can’t even wash and reuse for long?” Continue reading

Everybody loves a good flood

The torrential rains battering Shimoga district have had parts of Hampi and surrounding towns and villages submerged. The Tungabhadra is in full flow. So is the suffering of the poor. It brought back the bitter memories of covering the 2009 North Karnataka floods. For those interested in reading first-hand field reports, here’s a series I wrote for ‘India Together’.

Cooking must go on even in this messed-up, roofless kitchen in Hiresindhogi of Koppal district.

Cooking must go on even in this messed-up, roofless kitchen in Hiresindhogi of Koppal district.

When all hell breaks loose, make merry.

This is exactly what some flood victims in Koppal district resorted to once they were distributed compensation for partially damaged houses—not because it was plenty, but too paltry to be put to good use. In the worst-hit Hachcholli of Bellary district, many poor people hit arrack shops or gambled away the relief fund. Paradoxically, amid its ruins stands a wine shop—all intact. Continue reading

Pains of parenting amidst Vibgyor School rape incident & the like

Pic source: TOI

Pic source: TOI

So, it began all over again this morning. A “how to keep yourself safe from marauding rapists” session with my little girl.

I cannot define what the crime is in the four-letter word, no definitive answer to “why are you telling me this?” one-liners, can’t answer all her “whys?” each time I hold a ‘good touch and bad touch’ session, and cannot suppress the gut-wrenching pain when she starts giggling each time I tell her where strangers are not supposed to touch her. Continue reading

Katra gangrape & murder: Open defecation is only the proscenium. Gory scenes are on the backstage.

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The recent gangrape and ‘murder’ of two teenage Dalit girls in Katra in Uttar Pradesh allegedly by upper caste men spews out multiple questions. To attribute the entire tragedy to open defecation alone would mean refusing to see the issue in its eye. Stubborn patriarchy, dehumanising caste system, honour killing of innocent victims (the hush-hush allegation amongst the villagers who think there couldn’t have been a better end to the girls’ lives) and everything else that finds it normal to let half of its human race out to defecate…

What a magnificent desolation India has turned itself into! Continue reading