Sunday, 22 December 2013

Mum's knitting

So much has changed within our lifespan, that the magnanimity of the changes are difficult to fathom, most of the time.
Winter reminds me of all the knitting my mother did. It was something she liked doing, but has had to give up due to ill health. She usually had two to three ongoing knitting projects at a time, each winter.

She had a plain "seedha ulta" knitting, that she would ask me to get when somebody came home for a social visit and she had to pay attention to the person in front of her, or when she was watching television.

Then, there was one which had intricate designs, either with multiple colours of wool or had a pattern which had been painstakingly learnt, from one of the foreign books on knitting, or from one of the issues of "Woman and Home". This demanded mum's total attention, hence could not be tackled when watching television or when talking to people.

And usually there used to be one which was of intermediate level of difficulty which mum could carry on knitting, when making us do home work, or sitting with dad as he read the newspaper.

We all (mum, dad, brothers and me) wore beautiful sweaters, which would be admired and  be looked at by aunties in the neighbourhood, relatives, teachers (of my brothers' boarding school) and strangers, alike.

But we were not the only beneficiaries. Nearly everyone in the extended family had been gifted a hand knitted sweater from bhabhi, chhotima, aunty, krishna or whatever they addressed my mother as.

I will never forget how my colleagues responded when I told them, that the striking black cardigan, I was wearing, with a green border and red flowers set in it, had been knitted by my mother. This was when I was doing my post graduation in Safdarjung Hospital and mum was Head of the Department.

There were wide eyed exclamations of "What? Really? I have never even held a knitting needle,….etc. etc" They then explained to me that other mums making beautiful sweaters was easy to digest but Head of the Department making them…..noooo! It was giving everyone a complex!

Creating something is always very satisfying. The loving positive energy which went into creating the sweaters, was I am sure carried forth to the people receiving the gifts. Sometimes the wool was provided and mum just did the knitting. Either way, it helped knit us all together as a family.

There was always recycling, redoing of sweaters to be done, washing, wrapping and untangling of wool to help mum with and other accidents like the dog playing with or getting entangled in yarns of multicoloured wool or the wool coming out of the washing machine matted into one great mass resembling sadhu's locks or an adult sweater shrinking into one for the baby. The latter two problems were majorly because of an obsession for "pure" wool and not the synthetic brand called "cashmillon", in those days.

 Having said that, I must admit  sweaters which stand delicate washes without becoming hairy and getting deformed are harder to find in today's age of throw and buy. We are a consumerist society, which doesn't hold on to much. Everything finds its way to the landfill. Earlier, even saris which were given away, ended up being curtains and quilt covers after being recycled, just as the cotton ones were stitched together for baby mattresses or mats and would even end up as sanitary towels before being actually thrown away.

I can't knit a sweater for my children but am hoping I will be find time, energy and brain to do it for my grandchildren.

Mum's grandchildren wore her sweaters as babies and little children but soon outgrew the fashion and the need. My daughter still wears one knitted by my mum.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Why are you like this?

"Why are you like this?," is an Indianism, but I know that I say it too often for my own good and the good of those who I say it to, and more worryingly; I think it- at least three times the number of times I say it.

I am sure I am not the only mother who knows it is wrong, yet tends to compare her children, their habits, their reactions, their achievements, their qualities and their failures. There is a lot of childrearing one learns from experience and hence some of it is inevitable and benefits the younger child but most of the time, comparison is destructive.

Hence I found Shivaniji's explanation about what determines people's behaviour, quite enlightening.

It seems our values and behaviours are influenced by five things,

1) Values or sanskars we receive from our parents or family. Yes, children of couch potatoes don't usually end up running marathons and sons and daughters of champions usually do pursue a sporting activity.

2) Values which we imbibe from our environment, which includes the country we live in, the culture we are exposed to, the school we go to, the political situation our country may be caught in i.e, war, famine, disease.

This can be a powerful influence and it could be, about how you have seen the women being treated at home or in society or it could be  about your attitude to work. The fervour with which you try to protect the sanctity of your weekends, for instance.

 My son when I ask him to make a routine for himself, usually starts out by putting TV times first, the work then slots in around that- don't know if it is parental or environmental influence!

3) Values which have been with you as a result of your karma in previous births. It seems we all know the age of our physical costumes i.e our bodies, yet we don't know how old our souls are and all that the soul has experienced in previous births, is ingrained like grooves on a CD.

Parents are well advised to remember that their children are not a clean slate, for them to start writing on. They already have an underlying operating system, on which one tries to run one's programs. So again the soul, depending on its experiences of different parents and cultures, may be a quiet, introverted person, who finds it difficult to lie about his age to watch a movie or  somebody who has a lot to say and thinks nothing of adjusting the truth to suit the occasion.

It reminds me of someone describing his two daughters to me. One shops at Oxford street, wears designer clothes, wants luxury in her daily life... whereas the younger one gets a doggy bag packed if something is left behind after they have eaten out in a restaurant, takes the train even if it costs the earth to reduce her carbon foot print, shops for clothes and shoes only when necessary and when they are on SALE and hence in his opinion the two daughters are poles apart.

Even identical twins who have the same genes and environments have different personalities. (Incidentally I read a very interesting story of a Catholic American white man who tried hard to find another plausible reason for his two year old recounting the horrors of the second world war, yet all his research based on what his son was saying, led him to find out that his son had been a fighter pilot in his previous birth, who was killed in combat. The two year old gave the leads about the type of aircraft, who the enemies were, the names of friends etc)

4) Values which you develop through your own will power.

These are by far the most powerful, because they can erase the influences of family, environment and those from previous births.

So guys, there is no excuse- just because nobody in my family has ever run a marathon, doesn't mean I couldn't have and indeed one can see numerous examples of how people have broken through barriers and comfort zones to create something of value for themselves and for the next generation.

5) The original qualities of the soul before it embarked on its journey, before the CD got scratched from the various experiences of births, deaths and rebirths.

This is the default state, something we all are looking for- happiness, peace, power, purity!

The soul is originally happy, therefore doesn't need a glass of Smirnoff Ice to feel happy, certainly does not need a Lamborgini or a mansion and also no particular person can make the soul happy, because it originally is....though sometimes people and situations can assist in helping to find our original state.

The soul does not get angry or irritated, it is at peace, in spite of people and situations which we perceive as able to provoke anger or irritation. We have a perfect picture in our minds which we are forever trying to complete as per our specifications, not realising it is He who is filling in the colours, we just need to stand by and enjoy the revelations.

However the soul never feels victimised and always feels powerful enough to know its original true nature and is able to program the mind, body and intellect to act accordingly.

I have a job trying to keep calm and maintain peace when dealing with my children, so it helps to know there is only so much I can do but more importantly I am always aware of the fact that all the experiences are getting recorded in their brains. The younger the person, more soul conscious and thus more receptive to all influences.

We realise now how the most important formative and foundation laying influences of our life have been when we were young, impressionable, pure and easily moulded!


PDA-Public display of affection, in India???

After having read about the harems maintained by English officers along with the Mughal noblemen and emperors, I am beginning to have my own theories about why Islam is the second most popular religion in the world,

But the surprise comment came from a sixteen year old- "polygamy would be good for us, the women."

She went on to elaborate that women are always hard to get, but if more than one could lay claim to the superior gene pool, like it happens in the animal kingdom, we women would be more sought after!

I did not try contradict her statement, don't know whether I was dumbfounded or worried or both.

But in actual fact celebrities are targeted by many, however that's true about both men and women. I wonder what would have happened if David Beckham, Brad Pitt (lets not talk about Clooney, he doesn't even have one) and the like, had a harem of wives. Would Angelina Jolie and Posh be happy being one of many or would they too have a male harem?

Talking about Mughals and harems, I wonder how many of us have actually visited the Safdarjung Tomb (the Mughal Emperor's Prime Minister in late eighteenth century). Even though it is a very prominent landmark on Delhi's roads and we have all crossed it, I bet nobody except a few mad people like me have set foot in it.

I don't remember who amongst us three brave and foolish girls' mad idea it was, but somehow one fine evening we landed at the Safdarjung Tomb's entrance. I was driving, so I asked the rest to get down while I parked. As I was parking, we all noticed strange looks coming our way.

We had been to the neighbouring restaurant, Khatir, apparently owned by Shahrukh Khan, amongst other glamorous pads in we did not think much of foraying into the entrance of the imposing monument in the neighbourhood.

We have regretted it ever since. As we went in, the enclosed gardens looked very green and the monument indeed very well maintained and clean, yet as we started walking around we saw the love birds behind the bushes.

This was a good two decades back, don't know what the situation is today but on that day the place was full of couples "making out" if you know what I mean!

We soon realised why all at the gate, had been giving us odd looks. We felt so uncomfortable, the place was so silent and deserted, yet so crowded and full of activity of a hushed taboo kind that we rushed out as fast as we could.

Since then I have travelled abroad and probably seen much worse, yet the heavy, fear and guilt ridden atmosphere on that evening inside the tomb- I will never forget!

We still seemed to be in the Salim Anarkali age, where love is punished; when it should be celebrated irrespective of all the man made and perceived differences between us homo sapiens, or is it just a case lack of affordable housing? I have never known!


Monday, 28 October 2013

Technogadgets take over the human race

"Marriage makes life so interesting," one of our friends remarked, as he was getting ready to leave after a boisterous, eating, drinking, joking get together at our place. I wondered what was coming, as he is one witty person and a life of all parties.

He proceeded to elaborate that it is such a unique relation- it inspires the maximum number of jokes. Indeed a good part of the evening had been dedicated to two people alternately reading out forwards from their smart phones, 90% of these forwarded jokes were pro men...........Grrrrrrrrr.

I had to intervene to say, that reading out from phones was a strict no no.....not just because most of the forwarded stuff had at some point, been forwarded to me but simply because the infringement of technology on human interactions has taken epic proportions. I have to admit, I am guilty too, my children have often remarked on my addiction to facebook and the phone/laptop screen.

However, I have decided to start my crusade against the overwhelming impact of technology on everyday human communication.

My dad often used to say- "If you want to speak to your mum, its best you go out of the house and call her on the house phone from a phone booth"

Today, I too feel, it is easier to get my husband's attention if I am speaking to him on the phone or on one of the apps, which allows you to video chat. In person, there is too much competition from all the various gadgets in the house, be it the smartphone or the television.

The apple TV has ensured everything from songs, inspirational videos, speeches and photographs; are all available to watch, on demand, on the television screen or better still; projected on the wall if you have a projector, complete with the surround sound home theatre system, which accentuates every sound from rifle shots to music beats, and makes me wonder whether deafness is a cause or effect of the sound pollution I am being exposed to.

Latest in the run up to the gadget supremacy over human race, has been my son communicating with me through Google translate on the iPad. He has developed sores in his mouth and tongue and is finding it painful to speak, hence he types it on Google translate English to English and I hear a well groomed crisp adult voice say in a perfect British accent-"I love you mummy" or "If I mutate into a cat, will I still have a human brain?" This was after I voiced my worries on hearing him mewing his demands to me rather than speak out in words.

Kids are the worst hit, I agree, they suddenly look bereft, unable to cope and seem not to know what to do with themselves when you take away the screens, which breathe life into them, i.e smartphone, iPad, laptop and television.

But my 72 year old mum is no better. She said the other day- "Can you ring me tomorrow, sometime, I need to talk to you about something?" A bit concerned, I said, "why don't you tell me now?"

"Oh no," she said, "I cant speak now, Balika Vadhu is coming" So much for an international call! She is retired and not so well, yet finding time to talk to her in her busy schedule of serials is not easy.

Why even in the hospital, in meetings and handovers, people are on their phones or if they aren't already, we usually find something that we need to google or check the college guideline for and hence the swanky phones come out of the pockets and hand bags for a perfectly legitimate and valid reason!

Technology is here to stay, but we need to draw a line- The other day my son was admonished for playing on his phone during a puja havan ceremony and rightly so...........phones should not start ringing during a consultation, when you are spending precious evening time with family during weekdays and they should certainly not be used as joke books in a party!

Mobile phones and television has ensured we don't feel the need to know our neighbours or make small talk with people on the bus, train....yet we all seem to have 200+ friends on Facebook, a lot of them we wouldn't recognise, if they crossed us on the street or happened to be on the same train, sitting next to us, until we updated our status- "at King's Cross, tube station!"

God forbid!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Wah Taj!

Greater Noida, being in Uttar Pradesh, has had its fortunes linked to two leaders, who alternately came to power, to start, stop and stall various projects depending on the affiliations of the people funding them. Mayawati and the Yadavs- the father son duo.

We took the Taj Expressway, which now has big pictures of the Yadavs on its ramparts, to visit the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri.

We started early morning on the deserted 180 km stretch which cost 500 rupees at the toll gate, to reach the Taj Mahal, just as the sun was beginning to rain fire.

But nothing, absolutely nothing can dilute the awe, the beauty, the inspiration and the glow you feel when you are in presence of the magnificent symmetrical structure which speaks of the heights of accomplishment in aesthetics, art and science in that century.

We were taken from the gates in a camel cart and were ambushed by a young guide with a very fraud looking identity card with extravagant guidance fees printed on it. On the way to the North Gate, we were taken to a Government emporium, which was selling products made by the inmates of Agra Prison.

There were saris made of fibre from banana and bamboo trees, extracted after letting them decompose in water. These saris don't need starch or ironing and would become softer if washed in cold water and stiffer if washed in hot water, or so the salesmen, the guides and camel cart drivers claimed.

There was a chemically impregnated bedcover, which would ward off mosquitoes in a 10-20 feet radius.

There were light quilts and traditional leather slippers.

It seems a lot of men lost their jobs when a factory had to be closed down due to environmental concerns of the Taj Mahal being damaged due to the fumes being emitted. These men have been rehabilitated by allowing them to run camel carts, horse carts and battery operated cars to ferry tourists from the road to the actual Taj enclosure.

The guide told us interesting stories about why there were 22 domes on the gate? To mark the number of years spent in building the Taj Mahal and other little details like how many wives were buried around the favourite one, the monument which used to receive royal guests in the past, how the great lady died in 14th childbirth etc.etc.  Everything helped feel part of the history being witnessed by us.

The guide also took interesting photographs from predestined spots, like the ones which made it look like the kids were touching the top of the dome of Taj Mahal with their outstretched hands or the one which put us all in a family portrait through one of the "jharokhas". In spite of the heat, it was all  very interesting for the kids and me.

Thank God for our posh guide, we did not have to take off our shoes to see the replica tomb stones with inlay work, he very resourcefully, fished out  shoe covers from his pocket. He even bribed an employee to show us the resplendent coloured stones in the inlay work under torchlight, a sight which is available on another paid tour in the night, according to him. The actual tombstones in the basement were not open to the public.

We then were directed towards what used to be the worker's quarters. These are shops now selling various pieces of art, inlay work on marble (table tops, wall plates, showpieces) along with other souvenirs like Taj Mahal replicas, key rings and "petha", traditional sweets of Agra (My children were allowed to taste pineapple, orange etc flavoured ones). We admired the work, bargained and bought a few gifts and a set of beautiful multicoloured coasters and then feeling quite pleased with the successful diminution of the rupees in my purse, we proceeded to Fatehpur Sikri.

Fatehpur Sikri had authentic guides from the Archeological Survey of India, who recreated the persona of Akbar the great, his commitment to secular thought as he with his nine jewels created Deen-e-ilahi, the religion which took in all the good points from all the religions,  the multi religious harem he had and the Rajasthani architectural influence in Jodha Bai's twin summer and winter palaces.

There was an artificial water body (which used to contain rose water) in the middle of the Fort at the top, which had a staged quadrangle in the centre, where Tansen sang to Akbar, who would be sitting high on a throne. Unlighted lamps around the quadrangle would light up when Tansen rendered his Rag Deepak.

An interesting story told was that Akbar was very short and hence had constructed the entrance to his court such that if he entered with his entourage, he could walk in straight but his men would have to bow their heads. We also saw his bedroom where there was a drainage system to ensure rosewater circulated constantly at the bottom, while he slept at the top.

Justice was meted out in a very simple manner, in those were thrown at the elephant's feet and if he deemed fit, he would trample you or let you go.

Salim Chisti's dargah, the saint whose blessing resulted in Salim i.e Jahangir's birth is where people believe heart's desires are fulfilled. We paid our respects and asked for solace.

God only knows if the stories are true but they were indeed entertaining. The way from the Taj Mahal to Fatehpur Sikri had not been straightforward and not surprisingly we could not find our way back to the expressway.

We were soon being tossed and jolted on big craters of UP roads from Agra up until nearly Mathura when we were able to get on to the expressway. The taxi driver got numerous mouthfuls from me for not getting explicit instructions from all the drivers collected at Fatehpur Sikri to ensure we got to the expressway at Agra and seeing our enthusiasm at spotting two beautiful peacocks in the fields, as we braced ourselves for each of the big ditches on the roads....joked that we should pay him extra for showing them to us.

I had an argument with his boss before paying him extra for the unnecessary kilometres he had driven and the wear and tear his Tata Indigo had had to face.....All in all it was a hugely educational, entertaining and eventful trip. The Mughals are definitely more interesting than the British, be it the hatred of Aurangzeb, who imprisoned his dad and ensured he stayed alive by looking at Taj Mahal's reflection or the greatness of Akbar, Shah Jahan's love or Birbal's wit....the stuff which stories, books and movies are made of!  

Monday, 17 June 2013

Amair ki ladki- Amair's girl

I have been planning to take my children for a visit my village, but so far have not been successful in planning the trip. My mum says with pride that I am Amair's girl, when she is wanting to praise my industriousness.

My village or my father's village is in Vaishali district, but the nearest town is Hajipur. This makes it Ganga paar or the other side of Ganges. My mum is from Gaya and listening to my nani and dadi, I gathered that there is an intense rivalry between people from this side and the other side of Ganges, both accusing the other of less grey matter amongst other things.

When I was little, I remember the key word was "steamer", I am not sure whether these water borne passenger vessels still exist on the river Ganges. They must have, like the steam engine, run with coal as fuel...I am guessing, because they hooted like a steam train and bellowed dark fumes as well.

The Mahatma Gandhi Setu over the river Ganges, was non existent at the time and therefore after we arrived in Patna, we would have to wait either for the "steamer" and then in later years, the "launch", which in turn, was some sort of motor boat. Both these used to have fixed times, steamer took in many more people but did not depart everyday where as the launch accommodated less passengers and ran an afternoon trip each day.

Another advantage of this motor launch was that it was able to take us right to the village. As far as I remember, we were able to make our way from the clayey sandy river shore where the launch dropped us, on foot to the house. While near the river Ganga, the expanse of the river and the fertile fields alongside, stretched green and bright, till the eyes could see but as we walked towards home, the village was towered by fruit trees, mango and banana. Banana plantations are quite crowded and because they constantly need water, they are also very muddy to cross, but tall mango trees have lots of shaded peaceful space under them.

It would be usual for my mother to cover her head by the time we reached the temple and as we approached the mango trees. Because we would usually meet a few elders sitting on charpoys, under the big mango trees, chatting, playing cards or simply just guarding the crop- the ripe mangoes.

Greetings would include touching of feet and introductions which would usually end in exclamations about how much bigger we kids looked.

The house itself has four approaches from the four directions. Ours is the Poorab dura (East dwar or door). The house at the time, we had counted with our cousins was home to a good 50-100 residents depending on what time of the year it was. There were rows of vegetables growing right outside the entrance and there were also corn fields. Our homes in the towns would usually have a surplus of potato chips (ready to fry), mango pickle of at least two types, dried raw mango powder or aamchoor, aam-papad, honey etc. which was our way of enjoying the produce of the land in the village.

It was good to see where it all came from. Now there is an additional house, which I have yet to see which has been constructed, but earlier on the big sloping roof house was rectangular in shape with a quadrangular courtyard in the middle, which is where we would usually sleep in our mosquito tents propped up with crisscrossing bamboos on a jute rope or woven textile charpoy. Hand fans made of palm leaves were very handy on days when there was no wind.The house, distempered with cowdung and mud solution on both walls and floors, looked exceptionally neat. However, we would always hear stories of snakes and scorpions being found at inopportune times under the bed or over head hanging from the roof or on the beams.

The most entertaining and much awaited event for me used to be a bath or shower in the village home. Right outside the entrance is a tube well, where we would usually wash our feet before we got into the house. One could choose to have a shower with water from the tube well, which is wonderfully cold and nice on a hot summer's day, but the entrance usually had the men lounging on chowkis, enjoying a siesta, a chat or the newspaper.

The next option was having it at the courtyard well, in open air, some distance away from where the food was being cooked on a fire made of wood. If we wanted some more fun, we would go to the "machine". This was a motored tube well which was used to water the banana and other crops. The pipe my guestimate is, had a diameter of 15 cm, and spouted out a thick stream of water at great pressure. This was the most popular place for us kids to have a shower, and out in the fields usually there were very few elders around to watch over us.

Then of course there was "Gangaji" as the river is referred to, in the village. We would need to be accompanied to the riverside where we could splash around in the shallows and watch as people used the red silt as soap and shampoo for washing their body and hair.

I wonder if that was the better thing to do, rather than pollute the river with soap. I don't think I bothered with anything. A sari held around, served as a temporary tent for getting out of wet clothes and getting into dry ones.

All this was bound to make us hungry and we were provided with buckets of mangoes soaked in water, which we proceeded to demolish one by one. Strangely nobody knows about cutting and sharing mangoes in Amair. After all when our cousins invited us, they said "Come to Amair to eat mangoes" "Aam khane aana". That invitation has been oft repeated, wonder when I will be able to do justice to it.

Now for many years, since the bridge was built over the Ganga, the village is accessible anytime of the day or night, if you have a vehicle; but even with public transport it is much easier that the steamer and launch days. There are regular buses up to a certain point and then taxis and autos take you to the doorstep.

The capital Patna, being accessible has changed a lot of things in the village. One hopes it increases aspirations, fires ambition and encourages the younger generation to get out of the village and find out different things to do or do the same things differently.

Girls seem to be doing better than the boys which is no different from the national statistics....but they are also given free bicycles to go to school when they reach the age of 14. This has seen high school enrolment of girls triple in four years in Bihar. High schools being fewer and far away had a high drop out rate for girls, which has been stemmed by this initiative and is being rolled out to other states.

Infrastructure and most of all political will can transform lives and in turn statistics. Here is wishing I will get to visit my village, soon.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Empowerment and suicides

Talking to the car mechanic gave me an idea of how the patient coming to a doctor's clinic or emergency room must feel like.

If I can feel so ignorant about a car, which is man made; surely the human body is much more of a complex creation of nature.

It was like this guy was telling me- "we need to take the kidneys out as they need a wash and the liver, thanks to the wine on weekends does look like it is not going to last your next health check up... so be prepared to have that replaced and the heart....well it doesn't help that your body is so heavy and the fact that you run it so little...." I just had to agree to whatever he was telling me because I have no clue whatsoever, about how a bloody car works. Needless to say every health check for the car runs into hundreds of pounds subtracted from my bank account.

Sadly not all human organs are so easily replaced. Today I read a facebook post about Jiah Khan's suicide and the fact that his ex boyfriend being arrested for abetting suicide was just unfair and gives women a chance to blackmail men into commitment.

All this macho talk about- "women should be strong" "Relationships are not the be all and end all of one's existence" "Parents should have given her better values so that she did not get herself in this situation" etc etc is all very well but the fact remains that for a young beautiful girl with so much potential, to be driven to take her own life, she must have been in a very sad and horrible state of mind. She must have needed help which wasn't forthcoming in our society and she could not bring herself to ask for that help.

Just around the same time we heard of suicides amongst celebrities and celebrity children, I happened to see a young beautiful and pregnant girl who was crying and saying things like- "I want my baby to be safe" "It has taken me a long time to ask for help" "I have been searching the net for ways to kill myself"

I don't often feel like this, but while talking to this desperate girl, I actually felt like bursting into tears myself. To put things in perspective suicide is amongst the top 4 causes of maternal death in UK and has recently become the leading cause of death in women aged 15-49 in India. Second is childbirth, earlier it used to be at the top.

I asked this girl if it would help if we admitted her into hospital and she said-"I can't change my brain, it doesn't matter where I am and who I am with"

When we started reading psychiatry in medical school, we realised that there was such a thin line between the normal and abnormal. We had all encountered people who were Obsessive compulsive neurotics, the uncle who checked the garage door lock at least 3 times after turning away from it, the aunty who was getting an allergy to soap, from washing hands all the time...etc etc.

But significantly mental illnesses are just like physical illnesses. You don't say, your mum should have brought you up better to ensure you never had a heart attack. Yes, had you not been overweight, inactive, alcoholic and smoker (i.e. had not had a brake fail or a broken windscreen), there was lesser likelihood of meeting with an accident/ heart attack but yet having everything in perfect working order, doesn't guarantee anything.

Similarly, being born wanted, having loving parents; who along with loving you, loved one another, having a good education, having friends etc etc must shield us from mental illnesses which have more of an environmental causation but yet there are a host of illnesses which are genetic, endogenous and are not brought on by circumstances and depression leading on to suicidal thoughts is one of them.

Laws in India reflect the fact that suicides amongst women have been found to have a strong association with domestic violence. Dowry deaths and deaths from fires were many times staged as suicides. But now men are considered guilty unless proven otherwise. I have known married women with children on long term prescribed medication for depression,  where husbands were arrested and considered guilty when the woman decided to kill herself. Collateral damage from the laws meant to empower women.

Yes we need to enrol ourselves and our children into daily inbuilt art of living classes, where we live healthily, have a healthy balance of love, togetherness, friendship, companionship, tolerance and self reliance but mental illnesses have long been neglected. The result is that going to a shrink carries a stigma. There isn't the level of awareness or infrastructure to help people when they need help but don't know who to turn to.

Kiran Bedi used to write a column where she used to ask the question whether the education system in India is failing the young women, who after having worked for and completed post graduate degrees still consider their lives a failure if their spouse decides to reject them.

Empowerment is a big word, difficult to understand and much more difficult to achieve with or without laws and in laws.

So long!


Monday, 13 May 2013

The innocent cauliflower

Looking at the innocent cauliflower in the supermarket takes me down the memory lane.

The schools in Asansol did not have a school bus of their own. Children came by private cars or students from the collieries came in Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) buses. We unfortunately, were a class apart, we were a bunch of kids mostly children of doctors, nurses, radiographers and technicians who worked in the Central Hospital Kalla. Kalla was a good few kilometres away from the city and had nothing else to call its own, except the hospital and a remote village.

The vehicle earmarked for us, schoolchildren, was a big military style lorry, with a very worn out canvas covering the metal framework at the back where we all climbed in. The good thing was that the driver and his assistant sat in the protected cubicle in front, leaving us all girls and boys from neighbouring schools to do as we liked around the back.

The way the canvas rested on the metal framework, it would after a night of rains, in its numerous depressions collect puddles of water. There were many holes in the canvas and the boys would strategically poke one of these depressions from under the surface of the canvas, from inside the lorry, to enable the water to drain into one of the holes inside the lorry and it would invariably result in a screaming girl shaking her shirt to get rid of the unexpected stream of water down her back, which would amuse the boys no end.

Apart from that, it was a very comfortable and airy journey for all of us. It was open at the front and the back so protected very little from the elements. But the lorry broke down very regularly and once its brakes failed. We found out after we reached home to crying hugging parents, that had we not been stopped by crashing into the oncoming vehicle, we would have been hurtled over the precarious rusty iron bridge which was one way and was built few hundred feet above the rocky bed of a river.

Anyway, when this lorry was not in working order, the ambulance would have to make two trips but better still when the ambulance broke down, we would be packed into a Mahindra jeep which would in turn make three trips.

Naturally everybody wanted to get into the jeep, so little children were first packed inside systematically, the older boy had his throne marked, he sat on the bonnet, on the opposite side of the driver. One young hero who used to sing in those days the hit song from Yaraana- "Tere jaisa yaar kahan..." would hang out of the jeep while standing on the the step, holding on to the side. I would try to get the best seat which was sitting on the spare wheel which was attached to the rear door, with torso and head outside the jeep, enjoying the breeze. If that seat was taken the girls would stand on the back step hanging on with one foot inside. Worries about a flying skirt would mean one hand on the iron rods of the jeep frame and one pulling the skirt in place.

Being able to drive now myself, I wonder how Hussain chacha, as the driver was called lovingly by all of us, could see anything except a tunnel view in front of him. Mother used to say he had an alcohol problem, but we never noticed anything except a half empty bottle in the glove compartment. We loved him. He was not as strict as the lorry driver and used to be so much fun.

In winters when there would be vegetable venders walking on the roads, with baskets full of neatly stacked hill shaped mounds of cauliflowers, he would slow the jeep down, go really close and those of us hanging out of the jeep, standing on the steps, would outstretch their arms and steal a cauliflower for Hussain chacha (May God Bless him!). Sometimes we were able to get the top one and sometimes we toppled the basket and an infuriated farmer/vender would then throw stones at us.(girls being at the back were more likely to get hit)

My father used to travel out of Kalla each day and could have easily dropped us, my brother and I to the school, but he never ever offered. Health and safety??? Well!!! He was such a worrier, I am sure he must have worried about his daughter hanging out of a jeep driven by somebody who had an alcohol problem but I guess it would not have been fair on the rest of the children, whose parents did not have the means and who needed an education as much as us.

Needless to say, I think about it now as a parent but back then it was a lot of fun. Kalla was a close knit community where everybody knew everybody and my dad would always stop the car and give a lift to anybody waiting at the bus stop towards Kalla, who looked vaguely familiar and wanted to go to Kalla.

My love for Bengal, Bangla and Bengalis stems from my stay there, where I watched Jatras, Baul gaans and enjoyed the four day long festivities of Durga Puja (my best memories being of the aarti competitions, I can smell the dhoop and hear the sounds as I write this).  I attended the weddings, where brides were dressed in Rajnigandha flower tiaras and sandalwood paste face decorations, where friends and family lovingly served food, one course at a time. The tomato chutney, the roshogullas, the luchi and the fish....yuuuummmyy.

Ofcourse not everything was traditional, even in those days. There was the orchestra which belted out popular Bollywood and Bangla numbers and there was the open air cinema.

We would all make our way to the ground with modhas, chairs etc. Vendors selling peanuts would collect as well and then we waited for the sound of the train, which was supposedly bringing in the "Boi" followed by the sound of the guys shrieking jubilantly on the two wheeler. Then the reels would be loaded and we would watch, enraptured, on the white screen.

I couldn't have imagined then that there would be 24 hour cinema channels on television. I wonder if we are the generation who has seen the most change, or maybe the more rapid change is yet to come.
Change is inevitable, but values are important.
Hope these values will stand the test of time!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Diversity multiculturalism or lack of integration

Some time back, a few of us Asian families organised an Indian Mela, to raise funds for a charity which works in the field of wildlife conservation, and which is organising an expedition for our daughters.

None of us had done this kind of thing before and it was a great experience for the girls who created posters and tickets, kept the accounts, went on door to door trips around the neighbourhood and the High Street to sell tickets and to get sponsorships for auction and raffle prizes, respectively.

On the day, they dressed traditionally, in half sarees, did tika and aarti to welcome people and performed Bharatnatyam.

Our major clientele was the neighbourhood and the hospital. They came and gorged on the food, all authentic home made stuff except for ice cream, which was served with GITS Gulabjamun. They also danced to Bollywood, bought Indian trinkets and shawls and pronounced it a success. We partied on the leftover food, patted ourselves on the back and discussed organising similar events in future for hospital attached charities.

We believe that our children should be proud of their culture, should know where they come from and the values we stand for. We often discuss the fact that NRI kids seem much more in touch with their culture as there is an exoticism attached to it and parents seem to encourage it. But is clinging on to our indigenousness likely to cause a problem for our children, will it impact their ability to integrate and assimilate into the British society?

As a doctor one hears about the areas dominated by ethnic minorities, where women don't access health services, face language as well as cultural barriers and in turn put themselves at risk due to all these factors. These are places where people have not moved on...So if they left India or Bangladesh in 1960, they have maintained a community and family which behaves like India or Bangladesh in the sixties, not taking into account the fact that their children are growing up in 21st century Britain and even if they were growing up back home, times have changed back home in our countries of origin in a major way too.

As a people, we Indians should be used to the slogan "Unity in diversity". But every state of the Indian Union has a different language, cuisine, dress and culture which the people of the state are quite rightly proud of and it results in phenomenon, which people from outside India find difficult to understand.

In Norfolk, a county in the tiny island of  Great Britain itself, we have a Malayali Association, a Sikh association with their very own Gurudwara and of course numerous smaller social groups of Gujaratis, Tamils, North Indians, Bengalis...We celebrate our own and get together for many others depending on many factors including religious alignments.

So it is often fun to watch people get defensive brickbats from wronged communities in response to posts on Facebook which are hilarious impersonations of how a Malayali or Bengali or Bihari person's accent would sound or some other not so politically correct jokes.

Of course politicians in India would like us to remain divided. But English being so important for employment, Internet, Satellite TV and acceptance & popularity of inter state marriages have all meant that more and more regional languages, traditions and cultures are losing their sheen.

Whether good or bad, with so much immigration within countries and out of countries, multiculturalism and integration is inevitable. It is important for us to maintain a balance between being true to our culture while being able to adopt the new.

Indians have always been lauded for doing this quite well in the countries they have immigrated to. As a result they contribute to the British economy while not being a burden, unlike some other ethnic minorities. But they are also known to live in tight knit communities, who tend to socialise and marry amongst themselves.

I wish my son would speak better Hindi or that my daughter would not be excluded from being able to enjoy the wonderful works of Premchand or Amrita Pritam, but.....

There are other things to worry about- I still have to deal with dates, late nights, clubbing and God knows what else!!!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Sheryl Sandberg's talk

Sheryl Sandberg's talk

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


A school time friend's seventy six year old mother had been a victim of substandard care in one of the top corporate hospitals in Mumbai. She had had a fall with significant injuries when she had actually gone there for a minor planned procedure on her foot.

I cringed as I read this on the Facebook. I had recently attended a meeting in my hospital about such "SUIs", serious untoward incidents. Sadly, they happen everywhere.

There was an outburst of comments from friends all over the world. While some were sympathetic and wished and prayed for a speedy recovery, a lot of them were angry comments advising my friend to complain or take the legal route. I had expected this. (Serves me right for constantly berating other professions like administrators, on Facebook). At some point an outburst against my fraternity was going to happen.

When I decided to become a doctor, it was considered a respectable and noble profession but now if people around you in a party or in the train (in India) find out you are a doctor, you get to hear the worst horror stories of a disillusioned, suffering yet helpless populace, struggling against a society which treats Healthcare as a money making proposal.

When I heard about my friend's mum's predicament, I remembered our experience when my mother was admitted to a private hospital (in the Central Government Health Scheme panel), with fractures involving her back bone.

My brother, a plastic surgeon had given strict instructions, nobody, and he meant nobody was to move mother unless he was around. I now understand fully why he was so careful. He did not expect the staff to be aware of what multiple fractures in the spine meant, how one wrong move would impact mother's condition, present and future. Unfortunately he was right, most of the staff were clueless.

Today when I attend all the various training sessions which have been identified as mandatory for all the staff , we joke about how tedious they are and in spite of all the training, we don't completely avoid errors in the system. Manual handling, fire, infection control and medicines management are a few of the sessions which all staff have to do. But at least doing training sessions brings about awareness of the standard operating procedures and that minimises risks.

When my mother and my father in law fell ill, I realised how difficult it is to get accurate unbiased advice which one can trust, in the mayhem of private providers of healthcare in the city of Delhi. This was when there were so many doctors in the family and amongst friends.

Healthcare Costs are spiralling everywhere. It impacts in different ways. In America the cost of improved drugs, devices and treatment and better diagnostics along with more litigation, pushes up Health Insurance costs.

In UK, where the National Health Service is state funded, it has led to a tier of middle and more senior management whose job should have been to facilitate safety and quality in health care but has led to the opposite, while trying to drive down costs.

The  Francis enquiry into excessive deaths in one of the hospitals in NHS is now asking for a change in culture, a culture of openness, where staff and doctors are able to voice their concerns without being bullied for whistle blowing.

One is always suspicious of pharma companies' marketing budgets, which allow for multiple travels abroad for prescribing doctors in India and the cuts which diagnostic laboratories and imaging facilities have on offer for referring doctors.

When Aamir Khan brought this up in Satyamev Jayate, the doctors were up in arms. But in my view, the profession needs to introspect. It is because we have not been able to regulate ourselves, because our regulators and institutions are not working for the people, we are seeing a host of others joining in the feast, controlling and pushing up costs. Spiralling costs will lead to increased expectations, more litigation and mistrust in the profession.

The basic duty of care is something we should hold ourselves accountable for, morally and ethically before we think about the fact that we are legally accountable.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Are you my friend? Oh yes you are.

"You are like a teenager," my sixteen year old daughter said, "what do you keep doing on the phone?"

My daughter had been down with flu and between soluble paracetamol, orange flavoured Neurofen, steam inhalations and conversations about the ever looming GCSEs, we had had some time together talking mostly about her worries over grades and how much work she would have to catch up on.

She seemed more worried about my affinity to my smart phone, then. Tired after waking a few times during the night and worrying about her, I had no energy to do all the things I had planned to during my March end annual leave.

All I seemed to have energy for, even after my eyes were stinging, was Facebook. I tried explaining this sudden interest to daughter dear. I had been part of groups of the schools I had attended for while now but this new group I had been added to was different!

I am one of those lucky people who went to an all girls school till year 10 and went to an all girls Medical School, probably the only one in the world. A group for my all girls missionary school, existed as I am sure groups would have existed for the contemporary boys missionary school too, there wasn't much happening out there. Much like the neighbourhood cafe where there is a steady stream of visitors, but nothing as exciting and tantalising as the night club.

But now I am part of this day and night club/group  on Facebook, which includes both the girls and the boys school. Boy! It seems to have set all our facebook accounts on fire.

Shivaniji of Awakening with Brahmakumaris fame, had tried explaining how we should be soul conscious and understand that the age and appearance of our body costumes, over the successive births and deaths we encounter, doesn't determine our journey over time.

I think facebook allows you to not see these body costumes and to people in this group time seems to have stood still. We (40-50 year olds) were actually behaving like a bunch of teenagers, chatting away at all times of the day and night...chats which would put the teenagers to shame, complete with romantic songs (with You Tube attachments), various emoticons, suggestive and flirtatious innuendos and numerous posts to relax, tickle and stimulate our hearts, minds and souls.

Coming back to the teenager at home, I am now having a problem practising what I preach. I got told off by my 11 year old- "Aaaaall this time you have been on Facebook"

I am not so sure how I would explain anything if they were to sneak peek in more detail.

I used to get annoyed in the hospital, when students would come into the rest room periodically to check their phones. I wonder whether I will be able to stop myself from doing that.

Mark Zuckerberg has done what spiritual gurus have been asking us to do. Live in the moment, make soul to soul connections pleasant and positive and be happy.

But sadly, I have, as I am sure all of us have, promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep.

I pray to God, to give me strength to pull myself away from the irresistible urge to keep checking for the red icon with the number of notifications on the usual blue facebook back ground  (a sight so addicting that I seem to see it in my dreams) at the dining table, while my children are talking, when I am watching TV, when I should be resting, when I could be reading a book or even when I am speaking on the house phone. O God please help me.

I need to do this or else I am going to have to tell my children- "Do as I say, not as I do"

And that, for parenting standards is soooo baaad!!!!

So long guys, gotta see whats happening on.....Ooops!!!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Jaa ki rahi bhavna jaisee, prabhu moorat dekhi tin taisi- If you are lazy, u believe the rest of the world is too!

Today is international women's day and there is so much talk about the glass ceiling. I realised long time back that my job at the hospital can be done by some one else, but nobody can be a mum to my children and if they don't turn out right, I will not regret, not having done this or that at work, but will tear myself to pieces, wondering where I had gone wrong at home.

I have been a feminist from my Safdarjung days, when men would refuse to donate blood for the women who bore their children, but over time getting married and having children hasn't diluted my feminist credentials, much. At least my husband is candid about these things. Once when he was trying to convince me to receive his parents from the railway station in our newly acquired Zen, I asked him why he was out to prove to his parents that he was bad and I was great. He said in a Chanakya like strategist voice- "Thats the idea, that way they have no expectations from me and loads from you" Really?!!

Women at the top have it tough. Even top heroines get paid less than their male counterparts and even though Madhuri Dikshit, Kajol and Sridevi are reversing the trend of retiring after motherhood, it is not the norm. However, I learnt in an interview recently that Sharmila Tagore did it successfully, all those years ago. Hats off to Late Nawab Pataudi who kept sane while she romanced Kakaji by saying- "Heroes are many, but there is only one captain."

 I do believe that most men are just not capable of as much work as most women are, and the worst thing is that the men then find numerous excuses to prove that the reverse is true.

I recently had a run in with my boss who was trying to imply that I was trying to shirk work by not agreeing to try and be at two places, at the same time. My take simply is that the idea that I might be trying to get away from work, occurs to you only because it is on your mind all the time, not mine. Jaaki rahi bhavna jai see, prabhu moorat dekhi tin taisee.

Around about the time when a pregnant Marissa Mayer was appointed CEO at the floundering Yahoo, an article in the economist said that a lot of women feel that the men propagate a culture of drinking gallons of coffee and socialising during the day, only to then stay back after five for strategic meetings, which could easily have been earlier. Naturally the women, who find it hard to adapt to this culture and want to get back to the nursery at six, gradually make themselves content to not pursue top jobs.

The same Marissa Mayer though has been criticised for reversing the "work from home"rule for Yahoo.

This reminds me of what Sugata Mitra of "Hole in the Wall" fame said in one of his TED talks. He said School education as it exists today was created by the British Raj to ensure it churned out people with similar skills and culture to ensure the bureaucracy supporting the Raj, which was spread over many continents without internet or telephone, could function smoothly. The skills like good handwriting and mental maths are now obsolete, as these jobs have been taken over by computers. Alvin Toffler on the other hand said the schools were trying to be like factories from the Industrial age, where sirens made sure the workers were present in the assembly line to start production.

Whichever it was, the schools still maintain strict timings, but the IT industry in recent times decided that flexibility and innovation was key and thus allowed its employees to work from home. Wonder what would happen if kids were allowed to attend school from home. Also it was forced to be flexible with times because of the internet age when India had to complete back office tasks before America woke up.

At Yahoo, people took up part time jobs with other companies, while being allowed to work from home, forcing the hot off the press CEO Marissa Mayers to call for "All hands on deck" policy. Good luck to Marissa Mayers! If she manages to turn the fortunes of the struggling company Yahoo, men will have to put up with more cracks in the glass ceiling.

Most regular working women resent people like Marissa Mayers, who worked through her two week maternity leave, because women like her are empowered to pursue their dreams by what they can afford in terms of child care and household help and expect lesser mortal women to be as ambitious and relentless in the pursuit of excellence, when doing a job.

Then there are others (single women and women without young families)who resent the fact that some women take the work life balance to the other extreme by taking frequent maternity leave interspersed with sick leave and leave to look after dependants and attend hospital appointments.

Employers should allow flexibility to a certain extent, if it helps people reach their true potential. But more importantly women in their work force need to be treated as individuals with their unique abilities, without painting them with the same brush, based upon their own views and opinions from past experience.

I have tried to make peace with my boss without treading on his toes while trying to get him to see my difficulties but....jaa ki rahi bhavna jai see, prabhu moorat ......

Monday, 14 January 2013

Bharatiya sanskriti- sach ka saamna

पिछले कुछ दिनों में मैंने कितने ही लेख पढ़े, कितनी टिप्पणियां देखीं, अमिताभ बच्चन की कविता भी पढ़ी।

ज़्यादातर बड़े बड़े नेता, कुछ बहुत पढ़ी लिखी औरतें, और कुछ आध्यात्म के क्षेत्र  के दिग्गज, सबने खूब जी भर के टिपण्णी की कि लड़कियों  को क्या करना और क्या नहीं करना चाहिए- कहाँ किस वक़्त जाएँ, क्या पहने, हमला हो तो क्या करें? क्या सचमुच ये  समाज ये गारंटी देगा कि इनके मापदंड के हिसाब से चलेंगे तो इज्ज़त बची रह जाएगी? इतिहास तो कुछ और ही कहता है।

कोई ये क्यूँ नहीं सोच रहा की नैतिकता के स्तर पर अपने आप को इतना ऊंचा मानने वाला ये  देश और ये समाज, इस  में  आखिर क्या कमी रह गयी है? हमारी परवरिश में क्या कमी रह गयी, हमारी शिक्षा प्रणाली में क्या गलत है जो रोज़ औरतों के साथ होते हुए ज़ुल्म गिनना मुश्किल हो गया है- चाहे वो दहेज़ हो, भ्रूण हत्या हो, छेड़खानी हो, बलात्कार हो या घरेलु हिंसा हो। ऐसा क्या हम अपने बच्चों को पढ़ाना भूल गए जो वो ऐसी घ्रणित मानसिकता का शिकार हैं? या फिर कमी हम सब में है और हम अपना बोझ किसी और पर डालने की कोशिश कर रहे हैं।

हमेशा हमसे ये कहा जाता है की पुराने समय में औरतें तलवारबाजी भी करती थी और बच्चों की परवरिश भी। और अगर खजुराहो की प्रतिमायों से उनके पहनावे का अंदाजा लगाया जाए तो आधुनिक दौर के पहनावे को मीलों पीछे छोड़ देती थीं।

मै स्कूल में थी जब माँ जिस अस्पताल में काम करती थीं, वहां एक औरत प्रसव के दौरान बहुत खून बह जाने से बहुत बीमार थी। उस बेहोशी की हालत में उसके पति ने आकर नशे की हालत में, उसकी पिटाई की, सिर्फ इसलिए की उसने एक  बेटी जनी थी। इस वार को वो औरत झेल नहीं पायी और उसका देहांत हो गया। उसकी बिटिया वहीँ वार्ड में पलने लगी, क्योंकि उसके पिता ने उसे अपनाने से इनकार कर दिया । नर्सें उसका खूब ध्यान रखती, और डॉक्टर नर्स कर्मचारी सब के तोहफे से लदी, उसे कभी कपड़ों की कमी नहीं होती थी। लेकिन आखिर कब तक, इसलिए लिखा पढ़ी की गयी की एक निःसंतान दम्पति उसे गोद ले पायें।

लिखा पढ़ी पूरी करने के लिए अखबार में उसके पिता के नाम इश्तिहार दिया गया, की अगर वो अपनी बेटी को अपनाना चाहे, तो ऐसा कर सकता है। सब आश्चर्यचकित रह गए, जब वो आया और अपनी बेटी को ले गया। फिर पता लगा उसने कुछ हज़ार रुपयों के लिए उसे बेच दिया। शायद वो बच्ची उस हैवान से अलग रह कर ठीक ही होगी- लेकिन ये उसकी किस्मत है।

लडके की चाह में जाने कितनी औरतें गरीबी की आग में झुलसे  शरीर के साथ गर्भधारण  करती हैं, कुछ गर्भपात करवाती हैं,कुछ कमज़ोर बच्चों को जनम देती हैं, खुद कमज़ोर और आत्म विश्वास हीन रह जाती हैं क्योंकि अपने आप को निःसहाय महसूस करती हैं। ज्यादा से ज्यादा सफ्दर्जंग अस्पताल में अक्सर अपनी पांचवी या छठी बेटी का गला घोंट देती थीं  या एक बार एक औरत ने डॉक्टर से कहा था, बच्चा बदल दो, बेटा  हमे दे दो।

अमानत की कहानी ने सारे देश को झकझोर के रख दिया है लेकिन अफ़सोस की बात ये है की ये समस्या नई नहीं है। हजारों की तादात में बच्चे बच्चियां ऐसी सी दरिंदगी के शिकार बन चुके हैं और समाज, सरकार, पुलिस, कचहरी किसी ने उनकी आगे बढ़कर मदद करना तो दूर, हर किसी ने उनके साथ वो सलूक किया जो ज़ुल्म करने वाले न की सहने वाले के साथ होना चाहिए । उन पर इलज़ाम है की वो न्याय की मांग कर रही  हैं, सब कुछ खो कर भी अपनी निराशा और आक्रोश को अपनी शक्ति बना कर समाज और देश के ठेकेदारों के खिलाफ आवाज़ उठाने की जुर्रत कर रहीं  हैं।

भारतीय संस्कृति को नैतिक दृष्टि से बेहतर मानने वाले लोग अपने अन्दर झाँक के देखें-
क्यों आखिर क्यों ये आम सी बात है कि लडकियों के साथ छेड़खानी होगी, वो अगर किसी लडके के साथ हैं तो उनके ऊपर निर्णायक टिपण्णी के साथ फत्वाह जारी कर दिया जायेगा, उन्होंने क्या पहना है वो बहाना बन जाएगा औचित्य बन जाएगा उनपर ज़ुल्म करने का।

चक दे इंडिया जैसी पिक्चरें बने, तो लड़कियों का आत्मविश्वास जागे। आम तौर पर, हर तस्वीर में यही दिखाया जाता है की औरत एक गुड़िया है, हीरो प्यार से खेलता है, विलन हीरो को हीरो का खिताब दिलाने के लिए कुछ ऐसी वैसी हरकत करता है और फिर  गुड़िया तो गुड़िया ही है, जिसका खुद का कोई वजूद नहीं, जो चोर डाकू, अपहरंकर्ता सबसे प्यार कर बैठती है।

शर्मीला टैगोर से कुछ मुश्किल सवालात किये गए आज के आइटम नंबर के दौर के ऊपर और उन्होंने कुछ गोल मोल जवाब दिए- कहा कि सेक्स, हिंसा, आइटम नंबर इन सब चीज़ों से पिक्चर बिकती है- तभी तो "लगे रहो मुन्ना भाई" और  "3 इडियट्स" जैसी पिक्चरें हिट  होती हैं। कोई जिम्मेवारी खुद नहीं लेना चाहता- दोष किसी और का हमेशा होता है।

टाइगर पटौदी से अपनी शादी के बारे में बात करते हुए उन्होंने एक बात कही- Thank God for young people! They will continue to break the mould! सच है, युवा पीढ़ी है, तो आस है!!! आस है कि एक दिन वो सुबह आएगी जब हर बच्ची को प्यार और इज्ज़त नसीब होगी।