Friday, March 30, 2012

Joy of Giving - Rahmath - Card 22

Rahmath has been following the Joy of Giving cards and has written about her experience with the 'Avoid plastic bags for 7 days' card 22. Its a sweet post reminding us of the way our own parents used to shop before the plastic bag replaced the cloth bag as a shopping bag... Must read.

You should visit her blog for more insightful posts on life... Thank you for this post Rahmath and for being such an ardent Joy of Giving practiontioner...

Avoid Plastic for Seven Days.Use Cloth Bag Instead.

The sewing machine in my parent's house has helped my mother (and me) sew a lot of things. One of the things my mother used to sew was cloth bags. She used to recycle my father's old pants into durable and strong cloth bags. And my father used to take these bags whenever he went for groceries. I guess he still does.

Theirs was a generation in which nothing was wasted, even the free flimsy plastic covers. Father used to take a plastic cover for milk packets and the egg dabba for buying eggs. Very very rarely did my parent's house ever have too many plastic covers. In fact i don't remember if it ever did. Infact as a child, I remember scouring the house for the bubblegum type plastic covers to make plastic flowers and hardly finding two or three.

How easy it is to forget such subtle lessons. That's why I like Ritu's en devour for Joy of Giving. Truthfully speaking, most of the cards are nothing new. Come on, Let's give our parents some credit. They have already taught us many of these lessons.

Then why follow these these Joy of Giving Cards?

Well my dears, it's because they are reminders,extremely important reminders. We have to go through these reminders again and again and again; Else it's so easy to forget.

Nowadays I try a bit harder. I try to CAB (Carry A Bag). Please visit Ritu's page and go through the video she has composed.In her video she has emphasized the importance of not using plastics or paper covers for our environment. It's worth it. I am still trying to CAB and am not 100% CAB - ing. I am still trying to make it a habit.

Now, I have two three small plastic cover's in my handbag and a cloth bag which we bought for 5 rupees from spencers retail. Instead of home delivering, nowadays we try to get groceries when we go for a walk or while we come from office and use our plastic covers or cloth bags.

We refuse bags, plastic or paper from shops as far as possible. I give my hubby a plastic cover or two when he goes grocery shopping or vegetable shopping and thereby, trying to reuse the ones already in our house.Sometimes Yes, we forget or we feel lazy and indifferent but the habit is slowly kicking in. Hopefully, soon we will kick out plastic covers and paper covers from our lifestyle completely.

By sharing this, I Hope to inspire you too the way Ritu has inspired me.

Let's do Mother Earth Proud.

Hope!!!! Such a sweet word...


Intermittent giggles. A screech here and there. Gossip - who is 'hooked' with whom; boy friend chatter; who likes whom and who can't stand who. Laughter - full throated, loud and effervescent. Music, Dance, Karaoke. Food. Ice cream. Fun. Happiness.

When a bunch of the daughter's classmates threw her a farewell party (she's moving to another school), along with the sentimental video and the cards they'd made for her, they also spent a major part of the day having unadulterated FUN, the way all young, on-the-threshhold-of-teens should.

They clung together and shed tears, sang songs of friendships, dedications to their classmate of five years who is moving on, reminisced about the just-concluded exams and the idiosyncrasies of teachers...

I watched them my heart filled with an indescribable emotion. Perhaps I was recalling my own school days. Perhaps my friends. Perhaps lamenting the loss of rock solid friends in my here and now. Perhaps rejoicing in the knowledge of friends I know will remain mine forever. Perhaps hoping that my daughter forges such beautiful friendships where she goes next. Perhaps sad that she will be closing this chapter in her life. Perhaps sad also with the knowledge that she'll probably never meet the same bunch of girls again.

Life has a way of helping you cope. We all have a recovery process that kicks into action the minute we are faced with a situation. I know hers kicked in as soon as we closed the door bidding the last of her girlfriends good bye. "Now I am happy mom..." simply meant that she is now ready to move on, having officially bid goodbye to the bunch she'd known since she was 7.

I need to learn to let mine kick in too. Its high time.

Red wine & Clooney on the telly

The scene is George Clooney has just finished a round of push ups and pull ups (shirtless, obviously) and has stepped out of the shower thereafter - a white turkey towel wrapped around his lower torso ... The only thought racing through my mind as I watched his rippling muscles was "Oh God! Please let that towel drop, please let that f*#&^%g towel drop!!!"

Phew! Wouldn't THAT sight actually complete the entire experience of Clooney on the telly and a potent almost-port Red Bhutanese wine by the bottle (depleting by the minute) being devoured in the cold climes of the mighy Himalayas???

Yes! And perhaps leave me wet in some unmentionable areas as well... Sigh! Clooney!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Joy of Giving - Week 28 Card 28

Wow! The card this week, taken out randomly from the Smile Deck is NOT going to be very easy!!!

Made famous by the Munnabhai series of films, this card wants us to give someone a 'Jaadu ki Jhappi'....

The sweeper in my building is a lady...and I will give her the JKJ she no doubt deserves... How about you? Will you do it? Or will you figure another way of showing your appreciation and love?

New to the Joy of Giving? Here's what you can do:

Go to the page titled Joy Of Giving where I have posted all the cards selected so far. Those of you who'd like to start this exercise from the beginning, just follow the cards in the order they are posted!


To join the Joy of Giving right away just follow the cards every week as they are posted on the blog.

Please REMEMBER to post your experiences in a public forum - your own blog, note on FaceBook - or leave your story in the comment section of this blog. Do remember to tag me in your posts...

To know how it started 
click here.

To track the Joy of Giving through the past twenty seven weeksclick here

DO spread the message of this unique movement. Encourage your friends to start following the cards and spreading joy...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Joy of Giving - Week 27 Card 27

The card this week is another simple card that reminds us rather gently to watch our carbon footprint.

Im looking forward to hearing your story!!!

If you are new to the Joy of Giving here's what you can do:

Go to the page titled Joy Of Giving where I have posted all the cards selected so far. Those of you who'd like to start this exercise from the beginning, just follow the cards in the order they are posted!


To join the Joy of Giving right away just follow the cards every week as they are posted on the blog.

Please REMEMBER to post your experiences in a public forum - your own blog, note on FaceBook - or leave your story in the comment section of this blog. Do remember to tag me in your posts...

To know how it started 
click here.

To track the Joy of Giving through the past twenty six weeksclick here

DO spread the message of this unique movement. Encourage your friends to start following the cards and spreading joy...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Importance of Time - A Lesson

Nothing has worked.

Threats? He just stares at you if you threaten him!

Anger? He'll scramble for his books and on his way back from the room (to the study area) he will end up playing with his football, while you wonder where he is

Cajole? He'll cajole you right back with a "Can I do it later? Pleeeeeaaassseeee?"

Resignation? He will resign too and completely FORGET that he has to do it!

Home Work is ALWAYS the last thing on his mind.

Despite the 6 hours he gets after getting back from school and before getting into bed, he won't spare 20 - 30 minutes for an activity that he is aware he needs to get serious about, but won't just because it doesn't strike him as important...yes, inspite of the "incomplete work" remarks and occasional stinker his class teacher sends across.

Sometimes he will awaken to the mighty HW at 9 pm. Imagine if you will my consternation when I see 2 Maths sums, a few Qs&As to be learned in Science, and an essay writing thrown in (on good days mind you! The bad days will have Hindi AND Marathi work thrown in for good measure too!!!), and the ticking clock showing me exactly 15 minutes to wrap it all before he settles (almost carelessly) into a deep state of restful slumber, before another battle ensues the next morning!

"Why didn't you tell me you had so much HW?" I scream.

"I didn't know..." he will say in his smallest, meekest voice, making me sound like the quintessential evil witch who screeches and scares poor little children.

"How come you didn't know? Didn't you note it down from the blackboard?"

"We have a green board, not black..."

I do feel it pointless to tear my hair out at this juncture. All I can do is rush against time, get him to complete what he can and wake him early next morning to do the rest. Needless to say, I hardly ever succeed.

His diligence begins AFTER he has "seen" the HW... Until then, he will throw tantrums, play, or worse, procrastinate.

Yes...I've been told that this could be a phase and he will outgrow it. But I am afraid that he will not learn the value of the opportune moment (like doing his HW before the nth hour or doing it at all) and will stumble his way through academia and life, the biggest test of them all.

Today was no different.

Even as I struggled to get him to open his books and "at least tell me what you have to do today!" an imminent movement has me de-cluttering the house with a vigour that was infectious enough to get the daughter involved as well. She had just crossed the BIG hurdle in any child's schooling life - THE final exam and was eager to help me.

I asked her to start with her room and in 20 minutes, she found this incredible piece of paper hidden amongst her brother's Transformers, bullets of a gun long lost, scraps of impromptu notes and bits of half-eaten pencils...

She shoved it in his face as he lay on the carpet playing with another red plastic man-hero which obviously cost me a bomb and said, "Did you write this? And you only don't follow it!"

After a shouting match that went something like "You stupid...", "You wrote it you stupid...", "Give it to me idiot..." - you get the picture Im sure - for about 5 minutes, he finally snatched the sheet, read it and looked sheepishly at me, "I think I should do my home work. How much time do I have?"

There is something about wide, innocent eyes that can do anyone in. I am a sucker, I admit!

BUT this paper I've decided is precious, precious, precious. I am considering making copies, laminating them and pasting them all over the house.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A post of Gratitude, 3 gifts and a beautiful woman named Yamini!

I have immense respect and adoration for her. She gave me ardent support when I was the archetype stressed mother of two without reliable day support for them as I slogged my backside to pursue a passion/profession!

I don't want to call her home a "day care" or "creche" because what she has given my children, and all the other children who have walked into her fold, is a lot more than just a substitute to home.

She has given my children a home. A place where they can BE. Comfortable, safe and happy.

She gave my children TLC (tender loving care) when we couldn't leave everything we were doing to rush to their aid.

She ensured that they completed their home work to decrease the burden on us.

She gave them space, TV time, play time, happy times and loads of fun times with multiple parties and celebrations (festivals, birthdays and what not!)

My children went to her, straight from school, for three years before the daughter decided she had outgrown it and wanted to be home every single day. The son missed his friends like crazy and for the first few weeks of transition would go straight to her place after school and come home only when I asked him to.

She never once, not once, sent him home, because I wasn't paying her anymore, nor did she spare any effort to reach out to my tween "I know what I want mom" daughter... They still get invited to the birthday celebs of their erstwhile mates... Such is her all encompassing love for children...

And I have missed the support she gave us so unconditionally (especially now that I am virtually stuck at home, and have to perforce cook three meals AND ensure the fussy lad eats too)... She did it all and didn't complain... Tackled the tantrum throwing of the fast-growing daughter and the hyperactive always-getting-into-trouble son...

There was no "closing" time, and even as we'd brave rush hour traffic to pick them up on the stipulated time, we knew that they will be safe and happy even if we were to get delayed by a half hour or so. She never once, ever, made us feel guilty for not having picked them on time...unlike many so-called professional outfits I'd encountered that would call and actually threaten us while we'd be stuck in a traffic snarl that we would not be able to crash through or fly over.

Card 25
The children stayed over at her place a couple of times when I was tied up covering an event that would mean staying out till 11 pm. She would always assure me that they would be fed and that I shouldn't worry about picking them up at 11, disturb them if they're asleep. Instead she would reassure me that they will be taken care of and will be home the next morning!

To a working mother, such a woman is nothing short of a guardian angel and therefore, for card 25 of the Joy of Giving, my children and I decided to create something and gift her.

Son and daughter made glass paintings, and I a poster (toyed with the idea of a cake but wanted to give her something that would express my feeling of gratitude completely and words ARE my 'craft' anyways)...




This evening, we shall give her the gifts we've crafted...which are still inadequate for all that she has done for us as a family.

Joy of Giving - Card 26 - Week 26

Its the half way mark my Joy of Giving partners!!!!! And how beautifully we have walked this path together... Some very prominent, some unsung...but please know, whoever you are, your support matters and counts in this endeavour!!!! A BIG Thank you and loads of hugs to all!

Now for 26th Card of the Smile Deck. Here it is:

Easy, did you say? will depend upon what we give away... The card says "possessions"... Our favourite CD, perhaps? Or something we cherish, like a piece of jewellery? 

Put on your thinking caps my friends and share your wonderful tales with me!

Meanwhile, if you are new to the Joy of Giving here's what you can do:

Go to the page titled Joy Of Giving where I have posted all the cards selected so far. Those of you who'd like to start this exercise from the beginning, just follow the cards in the order they are posted!


To join the Joy of Giving right away just follow the cards every week as they are posted on the blog.

Please REMEMBER to post your experiences in a public forum - your own blog, note on FaceBook - or leave your story in the comment section of this blog. Do remember to tag me in your posts...

To know how it started 
click here.

To track the Joy of Giving through the past twenty five weeksclick here

DO spread the message of this unique movement. Encourage your friends to start following the cards and spreading joy...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Women's Day Thoughts

This Women's Day I am actually quite pissed!

There are pics of girls smoking a cigarette doing the rounds on social networking sites asking caustically, "Is this women's lib?" on the eve of International Women's Day. Snide comments including a lot of moralising is going around and I cannot help but raise my voice in utter consternation.

If a woman, in this day and age, parties, smokes and drinks, according to some very "educated" men around it is tantamount to being "liberated".... And I ask simply, WTF???

Who in the world gave the man or another woman for that matter, the right to judge someone else for what they do?

Take smoking for example. I agree that women who smoke like men will die like men. The health hazards of a woman smoking are as same if not higher than those of men who smoke. Smoking is an unhealthy practice and there is no denying it.

But why single urban women out? Smoking beedis is very common in the North Eastern states as well as Andhra Pradesh according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) study. The prevalence of smoking is higher among rural women in our country according to the same study.

Are these signs of "liberation"? Why are urban women being targetted? Because they are making a choice? Exactly like the men who smoke?

Another argument I read - "Oh these foolish women are aping the men".... My response to such would be, "Sorry! But I have the right to try it out for myself....even if you assume I am aping a man... May be I do it because it makes me 'cool'..." (haven't you heard that one before???)

Similarly, why does the 'liberty' to have sex with multiple partners, live it up by partying, wearing clothes of her choice or doing whatever else that makes the woman happy, have to be classified as being "too open/liberated"?

Why can't the rest of the world simply accept it as part of a Woman's CHOICE, to do as she pleases, just as a man would?

Yes! Strides in technology (including birth control)  and the opening up of opportunities in every field have made a difference. If she is capable of taking responsibility for what she does, and even if it harms her health, why should anyone raise heckles about it purely based on her gender?

The easiest thing it is today to raise a hue and cry over the 'freedom' a woman has. She is breaking free of stereotypes, exploring new grounds (which includes her sexuality) and throwing the age-old patriarchal mumbo jumbo down the garbage chute (where it deserves to be, I might add!) and she is doing it without feeling apologetic and guilty.

This phenomenon has most men and many women gunning for the old world order where gender roles were not as complicated as they are today. In their bid to stick with the old, they refuse to accept that the process of evolution has to happen in every single field, including how women perceive themselves and the roles they play...

Will this same moral brigade go around condemning female infanticide, child marriage, the practice of dowry or Sati with the same gusto?

I'd prefer if this group of people simply said, "Don't smoke" instead of making it a battle between the genders.

Goes to show, we have a long way to go before we can actually claim that the International Women's Day has some relevance in the lives of the men of this country (other than raising parochial issues). It isn't enough to recognise, appreciate, laud or felicitate women achievers.

How about women with flaws? Women who didn't quite make it but are still, well, Women, with thinking minds and feeling hearts???

How can a Women's Day celebration be complete until the woman is recognised as an INDIVIDUAL, with her strengths AND weaknesses?

As a post script I am adding this pic that I found on FB which says EXACTLY what I've been meaning to, through this ramble:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Youth in Indian Politics

Way back in 2004 I wrote a post on my now-defunct blog Vivify about how I was not opposed to a little bit of nepotism in Indian Politics, because the advent of young blood into the arena would surely do the country some good.

After the astounding victory of the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh on March 06, 2012 being credited solely to the dynamic four-time Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's 38 year old son, Akhilesh Yadav, I feel like Nostradamus...(except for our obvious age difference!)

No, seriously, barring the biggest exception of 'em all Rahul Gandhi (who I may add did work very hard in UP - but clearly failed to create any impact; despite hogging ALL the media attention with his dine-in's, run in's and what not, while Akhilesh got small mentions for his bicycle yatra), who is highly misguided and has fallen into the same trap as his grandmother (being surrounded by a coterie that ill-advises if and when it does), the other young guns have done quite well. 

I am all for young blood in Indian politics. In a democracy that is 65 years old, the average age of our 'active' politicians hovers way above that mark and it IS time to change that! 

To the list of Jyotiraditya Scindia, Omar Abdullah (who hasn't done very well as the CM of J & K, but who still qualifies to be on this list!), Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot, Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Madhu Goud, it would be prudent to add Priya Dutt (daughter of Sunil Dutt), Supriya Sule (daughter of the formidable Maharashtra baron - Sharad Pawar) and Agatha Sangma (daughter of ex-Lok Sabha speaker, P A Sangma) as the rising prodigies.

May their tribe grow, and in 2014 when I go to cast my vote I would want to choose a 30 or 40 something to lead my constituency with the vision and boldness that only comes with youth.

Meanwhile, this is what I'd written way back then...

Catch 'em young
Much is being made about the foray of “young blood” into the Indian political arena this Lok Sabha season. The “routinely” responsible media of the Nation has gone crazy trail blazing these young political wannabes, making predictions, coming up with eager opinion polls, predicting, interviewing and the works…in short, making celebrities of them. I think it is indeed a step in the right direction, not the media’s glare on them, but the augmentation of such new entrants. Why?


1.India needs “young blood”; translated into normal parlance means, youthful, energetic fervor, young men and women with enthusiasm, commitment, vision, passion, zeal and a spirit for adventure, for dynamism, with the ability to bring our country to the new world order.

2.I think that in a country where “politics” is considered a taboo career option for the youth, where the term “politician” is equated with one-upmanship, treacherousness, and political ambition with slyness, dirty dealings…it is very heartening to know that these young men have decided to take on the baton. Yeah, even Rahul Gandhi ;-| ….who I might add, was always projected as the reluctant warrior. His coming of age may coincide with the desperate hanging on of the Congress Party to the Gandhi name, yet, this time, he does come across as happy in his new shoes.

3.Maybe this baton is being pompously passed on from one generation to another. Maybe these future political honchos have, in fact been carefully groomed to take over the reins one day (as if it were the family business). Maybe it is nothing but nepotism and partisanship. But would it be possible for a young man or woman, hailing from an average (read undistinguished) family, to bear the cost of contesting the Lok Sabha elections as they are contested today? Would they have the opportunity to grow into ‘leaders’ or get noticed as ‘party workers’? Would the average gentry (read voting junta) trust these youngsters? I agree that it sounds like a pathetic argument, but given the benefit of their ancestry, the years of collective political wisdom and experience in their families, acceptability and in a way, contest-ability will come easy for them.

4.The brighter side is also that it will take them at least 15-20 years of political hobnobbing, or more, to learn the games, tricks, shrewdness and wickedness that politics brings in its wake. Until then, these, our chosen representatives will actually have done our country some good! And by that time, a new generation of political wannabes will be ready to take over.

We need a young political force. On behalf of Gen Y2K, I do firmly believe that we are more motivated, we work harder (at least as much as we party or more), we are more focussed, more tech savvy, more aware of our duties and responsibilities as citizens and less inclined to corruption and deceit than the generation before us.

Don’t mean to offend you mom and dad…but it is a fact all thanks to the glorious media revolution of the 21st century.

So, why should we get stuck with 60+…”experienced, seasoned” politicians? Isn’t it time that the young be given a fair chance? 

In the ideal world, all youngsters would be given a fair chance, irrespective of their gentry, ancestry, caste, creed, SEX (no girls contesting...except for Mehbooba Mufti Mohammed, but would she qualify as "young?").... But then we would have to call that world Utopia, right? In this real world, this is as real and fair as it gets.

I say three cheers for all of them, Scindias, Abdullahs, Pilots, Deoras and Gandhis.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How to Tackle a Bully? Read on....

The children are playing with "each other" again... The Bully on the Playground has been beaten :-)

I enlisted the help of a very dear friend, who lives in the same society as I do, and who is a long standing resident of the place. Since I was the "interested party" (my son was being bullied) I spoke to him seeking guidance.

Because I knew that only two things would happen if I approached the bully myself:

1. Having heard his reaction to an innocuous comment I made to the children, I knew that he is not a reasonable man. Moreover, he seems to have scant disregard for basic etiquettes, else he would not have stood on the ground floor of my building and shouted his lungs out.. Expecting him  to be 'reasonable', 'calm' or 'patiently hear me out' were near impossibilities.

2. I also knew that if I were to confront him after our rather unpalatable face-off on the day the incident occurred and found his attitude unchanged, found him unrepentant, or worse still if he were to lash out at me, I would have, in all likelihood slapped him or worse.

I am the mother of an eight year old, who he used cuss words with, bullied on the playground, and also ensured that he was boycotted by his own friends... I sure as hell would not have been reasonable or patient with him. This dear friend warned me that such a reaction would become detrimental to my case and would make him a victim instead...

All he asked off me was to be patient. His only remark, "We'll use yukti (intelligence) not shakti (strength/muscle power) to teach him a lesson." I trust him and held on even as I wrote a letter to the society Chairman requesting his intervention (which hasn't happened so far!) and also got a reporter friend to call the Chairman, since the media was very interested in my story.

While one part of me was seething, because I wanted to make sure he had more than a few broken bones, I also wanted an apology from him for being rude, crass and uncouth, but I let those feelings pass. It was "personal" but it did not become me to make it "personal"... Eventually I wanted to put an end to it because he had no business being a nuisance and ruin the innocence of childhood for the boys.

Meanwhile, this friend, spoke to all the children, who admitted being cursed, abused and intimidated by the bully. They also admitted that the bully had abused me for raising the issue.

Then he spoke to the parents. One by One. He got the parents to intervene, and a general alarm was sounded. Each of the boys was directed by his parents not to play with the bully. For two days, a parent accompanied the boys and played ball with them, making sure the bully doesn't venture close.

It was a coup! Bloodless, at that!

In two days, the bully was boycotted by the group. The same set of boys who were afraid to take my son in to the group, called him and began playing again.

The bully probably doesn't really know what actually happened. All he knows is that the boys, collectively, don't want to play with him around.

He, being the proverbial bully, has moved on to another part of the society, to a group of boys playing badminton.

I am unwilling to let him get away scot free not just because he bullied my child, but because other kids will certainly become his victims if he is not stopped.

As I watch him playing badminton (all-rounder in sports he seems to be...), I am picking the phone and making that important the Chairman, who has my written complaint and whose duty it is to ensure that our children are free to play and grow without adverse influences within the walls of our society.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Joy of Giving - Week 25 Card 25

Another week, another card...and with this 25th card we are nearing the half mark for the Joy of Giving exercise I started way back in September (2011)... For all my Joy of Giving companions, a big Thank you!

The card this week is quite unique. While it exhorts us to 'Craft Something with your Own Hands and Give it Away', it is also a FOR YOURSELF card... By creating something with our own hands, the joy we will experience will be as big as the joy of giving the gift away... Superb idea!!!!

It has been a while since I created anything. I've stopped painting, creating knick knacks and I hardly enjoy cooking/baking... But to honour this card, I shall certainly find something I can 'still' do and enjoy!

Meanwhile, if you are new to the Joy of Giving here's what you can do:
Go to the page titled Joy Of Giving where I have posted all the cards selected so far. Those of you who'd like to start this exercise from the beginning, just follow the cards in the order they are posted!


To join the Joy of Giving right away just follow the cards every week as they are posted on the blog.

Please REMEMBER to post your experiences in a public forum - your own blog, note on FaceBook - or leave your story in the comment section of this blog. Do remember to tag me in your posts...

To know how it started click here.

To track the Joy of Giving through the past twenty four weeks, click here

DO spread the message of this unique movement. Encourage your friends to start following the cards and spreading joy...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Joy of Giving - Gift for my sweeper

How often do we actually SEE the people who do sundry jobs for us? The same people whose presence means that our day goes better, and without whom, life would be all, but happy/safe/clean/pretty?

When the Joy of Giving Card 24 prompted us to Give a Gift to the Sweeper in your Society, it got me thinking. The lady who sweeps the building in the sprawling (575 apartments) society I live in also collects the garbage every day.

In the 18 months that I have lived here, I have never once seen her take a day off. She works 7 days a week, and sometimes when she is unwell, a substitute takes her place. But that rarely happens.

Collecting garbage is not easy; especially in a building where the insensitive residents do not segregate  garbage and often I have seen filthy dustbins being handed over to her.

Segregating garbage helps the sweeper. Here's how:

She gets to collect dry garbage that comprises, paper, glass, plastics, batteries, cans, bottles, tins etc...and dump them into the large bucket. The wet waste that comprises the kitchen waste - peels, leftover food etc is handled separately. But when the two are mixed, she just doesn't know how to dump them separately, and she ends up getting her hands messy in the muck that she didn't create.

The ignominy of the entire process is when she accidentally spills something outside the large bucket she uses to collect the garbage in, she has to pick it and put it in. This she does with her bare hands.

So I thought that to follow the card I will give her the following items: A soap case with soap so she can wash her hands after the entire activity is done; a pair of durable rubber gloves, so she can wear them and not get her hands dirty to start with; a small mug to help her clean her feet, hands etc under the society tap before she goes home, or even before a meal; and a little insulated tiffin box, because the least a person deserves is a decent meal, stored properly...

I am also planning to add a bottle of water every time she comes to pick my garbage - will ask her to ring the doorbell and if I am home, I will give her a bottle of safe drinking water. In this searing heat, I hope it will help.

I don't have to, but I'd like fellow "Givers" to know that the total cost of this little package is Rs 225...

Soap Case - Rs 22
Rubber Gloves - Rs 79
Look on the sweeper's face - Priceless!

I would also like to share a few tips on how we can help ease the lives of the sweepers and those who handle our garbage. I follow these myself and it does take a little bit of 'thought'...but nothing more....

1. Never throw fused bulbs, broken crockery or any piece of glass straight into the dustbin. The garbage collector who collects from our doorstep to the ragpicker who rummages through our dry garbage looking for produce to sell/recycle, can end up hurting themselves with glass shrapnels. Always wrap the broken item in a thick layer of newspaper, rolled in a way that they have to 'open' the package when they deal with our garbage

2. Ditto for old knives or other sharp objects like used syringes for example

3. The same 'wrapping' process is advised for used diapers, and sanitary napkins/panty liners/condoms etc

4. Garbage segregation is the need of the hour. If not your society sweeper, but somebody in the chain has to separate the dry waste from the wet for the dry to be picked up by the Municipal Corporation. According  to a year 2000 Supreme Court ruling, segregation of our garbage is our individual responsibility. Even if we don't have much regard for a ruling that has not been implemented well, let us, at least for the dignity of these fellow humans, ensure our garbage is segregated and handed over to them