Tag Archive | Social Awareness

Day 18: Killer Chillar

Location : The Supermarket

I buy some grocery items and cosmetics. I stand in queue at the billing counter and when my turn arrives, the person at the counter scans the items and tells me the amount. It is 439 INR. I give him a 500 INR note and he hands me back 60 INR and one eclairs toffee instead of Re 1.

WTH!! Many of you must have faced a similar situation. Why am I unhappy with one of the most popular chocolates? Because

# It is not a fair exchange

# In reality I am being forced to buy something instead of getting money due.

# You know how a pot of water fills by drops of water. Similarly losing change at grocery stores and other such places regularly is actually creating a big difference.

# Chocolates and candies are bad for teeth so there can be an increase in dental bills

# Chocolates and candies are high in saturated fat, and a large part of the calories in this food come from sugars. This food also has Trans Fat.

# Most importantly I want my change and I DO NOT want an eclairs!

A survey conducted in 2012 by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in response to complaints from the public, found that 44% of people in 12 Indian cities had the same experience; candies instead of coins for change.

According to The Hindu dated 4 April 2013, 18 bank branches have been identified to distribute coins daily and tide over the shortage

1. There is a dearth of Rs. 2, Rs. 5 coins in many cities across India

2. Banks say they distribute 10-30 bags, each containing 2,500 coins, every month

3. RBI has pumped in coins worth nearly Rs. 16 crore over the past year

After RBI’s decision, coin counters in banks have closed down and the shortage of small-denomination notes and coins has hit the roof. Small-time traders and merchants depend heavily upon these coin counters at banks. There is a huge bottleneck in the circulation of coins in the market. For my research for this post, I came to know that shopkeepers and retailers are forced to pay 8% premium to get 100 Re1 coins in the black market. This means they pay Rs8 to Rs10 extra to get 100 coins in Re1, Rs2 and Rs5 denominations. But why do they do that? Because of customers who want their change back and they are not wrong in doing that. But due to insufficient coin circulation, customers are not able to give change but want their due change. Moreover, customers are choosy about which coins they want; the 50-paise coin being the least popular. Though RBI has not discontinued 50 paise coins, people refuse to accept them including beggars. But there are some places where they are still in use.

Some shopkeepers blame the ATMs that churn out only notes of large denominations, some shopkeepers allege that the coins are all taken to Tamil Nadu, melted and made into razor blades.  Confused? ’The one rupee coin after melting can yield six to seven blades, making its total worth over Rs 50. The shopkeepers are turning to beggars and eunuchs for help! But even the beggars are refusing to part with the precious change and if they do, they charge extra for it. Shopkeepers also procure coins from temples and churches, who also don’t give it for free.

Some of the coin counters still functioning are predated by agents who are actually into this very business..they have an understanding with bank officials at the counters and get coins easily instead of shopkeepers standing in queue. Later they sell these coins at a profit to desperate retailers.

A possible solution to this problem, the note to coin change machine made by UK-based Thomas Automatics has been acquired by the government and 150 of those have been installed in banks, railway stations and temples across India since 2003 as of 2007. But it has its own set of issues like equipment failure, low public acceptance etc.

That day is not far when we, the consumers, have to start giving eclairs toffee to toll booths, shopkeepers etc. Toll booths have not started giving eclairs toffee yet but I think they are the ones who should. Maybe the toffee will have some calming effect on drivers and help prevent accidents. :)

or maybe RBI can just declare the eclairs toffee as the new Re 1 coin.

P.S. Chillar means change in Hindi. Candies as change can kill us with diabetes hence the name “Killer Chillar” :D

Appeal to the Public from RBI Website

The Bank, with active co-operation from various agencies, has endeavoured to distribute the coins in an equitable manner to all parts of the country. The mission cannot be successful without unstinting support from the people at large and the various voluntary agencies. Members of public are requested to avoid holding on to coins and instead, use them freely for transactions to make sure that there is a smooth circulation of coins. Voluntary agencies are requested to educate the public about the various facilities available in their areas for distribution of coins, exchange of soiled notes and proper handling of notes.

P.P.S I missed again on Day 17. I was physically and exhausted due to a tiring day at work.

Mother’s Love

No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star. ~ Edwin Hubbell Chapin

Does your mother love you?

Does she care for you? Does she tend to you, comfort you, support you, provide for you, thinks for your well-being and comfort before hers ? Be the tree providing shade in the harsh sun called problems and difficulties which life gives to you?

Are you a mother and do you love your kids?

Does you care for them? Do you tend to them, comfort them, support them, provide for them, think for their well-being and comfort before yours? Be the tree providing shade in the harsh sun called problems and difficulties which life gives to your kids?

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Noisy Faith

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There are several ways and mediums of expressing the faith in the Almighty. Temples are also one of these mediums. Several events are organized at temples for mass expression of faith. Such a religious event – Satsang – was held at the temple near my home for ten days. The organizers of this satsang were utilizing the power of loudspeaker to the maximum. The session timings were 8 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm. Though the timings were within the norms, the decibel level of the loudspeaker was not. The norms say :-

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The Water Day Quiz

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International World Water Day is held annually on 22nd March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.

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Remarriage and Indian Society

A professor in my college had been in a terrible car accident last year and his wife had died on the spot. He has a 10 year old son and a 14 year old daughter. Few days back I came to know that he had remarried after six months. I exclaimed “In just six months??” My colleague who gave the news justified that sir by saying “He has two small kids,madam”. I thought to myself “then he should have got a nanny, not a wife!!”

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Guardian of Hope

The United Nations Children’s FundUNICEF – is well known to all of us. UNICEF focuses on five major areas. They are :-

  1. Child Survival and Development
  2. Basic Education and Gender Equality
  3. HIV/AIDS and Children
  4. Child Protection from violence, exploitation, and abuse
  5. Policy advocacy and partnerships for children’s rights

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too. The children’s corner in the UNICEF website for India helps in knowing the rights of a child and learning about various issues like the girl child, water, sanitation etc with the aid of quizzes.

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The Postal Scam

Have you ever had a letter delivered to you by the postman which didn’t have the adequate postage stamp on it? Have you ever paid the bearing charge (fine) for such a letter and said expletives in your mind for the careless sender? Many of us may have encountered such incidents. In most cases we blame the sender instead of suspecting the postal services. But a recent incident led me to strongly believe that there is a huge postage fine (bairang) scam going on in Indian Postal Services.

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A Thousand Words

Its said A picture is worth a thousand words. And rightly so. I got this e-mail and it had only images of advertisements which conveyed important messages in a more effective manner than long posts could ever have.

# Picture 1

Title: Parenting is by example
Headline:
Children learn fast. Don’t fight at home.

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The Undesirable Child

A shocking news once again exposed the fact that how desirable sons are in Indian society. And up to what extent many prejudiced Indians are willing to go to get a male child.

At the age of 70 years, this woman went for assisted reproductive technology (ART) to conceive and has given birth to twins, one boy and one girl. The rural couple said in the interview that they have lots of property but had no “heir”. Apparently their two daughters can’t inherit it as I suppose they have done a crime by being born as girls. Challenging the limitations set by Mother Nature, a woman risks her life just to have a son because of deep rooted age old beliefs and discrimination against the girl child. The couple is so old that I doubt if they would be able to see their son reach 5th grade. After they pass away who is going to look after the kids? Their sisters or their relatives? I can’t even imagine the embarrassment the daughters must be going through. Imagine the grandchildren going to school where everyone knows their grandma has given birth to their uncle!! Its being ethically justified on the grounds that there is no maximum age limit for ART in Indian Law. Even young women conceive one after another just to get a son and end up having a huge family and losing their health, sometimes even life.

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World War 3.0

So now I know how the world is going to end. It will be annihilated by the commencement of World War III. How did I reach to this conclusion? Read on.
There was a bomb blast in Thane, Mumbai on June 4 2008. Some more bombs were recovered live from other places. Two Hindu extremists have been arrested for the same. Supposedly they belong to some Hindu organizations called Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) and Sanatan Sansthan. Read the whole news here. Now after this happened, the Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna ran an editorial in which Mr.BT (the editor) advocated “build-up of Hindu response to counter the ‘growing Islamic terrorism’ in the country while ridiculing members of a Hindu fundamentalist organisation held for low-intensity bomb blasts in Thane.” Of course it doesn’t matter that 7 people died (correction:injured) in the blast and my guess would be all of them were not Muslims. What is the problem if 7 die (correction:get injured) among 13 million population of Mumbai? Sacrifice must be made for the greater good, right? I guess this is the convoluted mentality of these people.

So Mr.BT has commended the creation of Hindu suicide squads as a tit for tat for Islamic outfits. I’ve already expressed my indignation over how irresponsibly leaders speak and behave. But this has crossed the limit. How can a leader in his sensible mind ask his people to form suicide groups for spreading violence? How can he ask them to sacrifice their lives and families to die for his absurd cause or rather I presume his personal vendetta? In today’s world how can a leader champion the cause of terrorism and blood for blood? Our Nation’s Bapu must be turning and tossing in his grave!! (yes, I know he was a Hindu) How can a leader encourage his people to take the law in their own hands?

I condemn such fundamentalist leaders of any country who show the path of violence and bloodshed to their people. Instead of waging wars why doesn’t he encourage people to form cleaning squads to keep Mumbai clean and water logging free?
According to Mr.BT these Hindu squads should go to Islamic countries and carry out bomb blasts there. I guess if this happens those countries will retaliate and US & EU will jump in too in the foray. Taking the opportunity China may attack India from other side. And thus World War 3.0 will ensue. And the world will come to an end.

On second thought, that might be a good thing. Everything will start anew after humans have wiped out each other. Sigh! A 6 yr old kid is wiser than a 80+ adult.


Click to enlarge and read

P.S. Logos credited to northernsun.com

Social Awareness Ads

I came across these ads for social awareness on YouTube.

Although the uptight sophisticated feel & the price of ticket didn’t appeal to me, this is the one thing I liked about Gold Adlabs in Pune that they played the National Anthem of India before the movie started and all stood up in respect. I don’t know if all movie theaters of Maharashtra follow that or only Pune. And I’ve no idea about other states except MP & CG where there is no such practice.

This one is a bit long but a very nice song & theme and one cant guess whats the ad about till the end. I hope posting it here will spread the awareness.
I couldn’t believe this one was titled “social awareness”. I admit there should be freedom (with responsibility) to choose one’s career/job/life partner but creating a ad about Mens’ Freedom??? and what was the implication? First guys should get their freedom then girls??? What a sexist ad. Stop cribbing and comparing to women. But its funny. Enjoy!

Shame! Shame!

I’d decided the world would never come to know of a recent and one of the most embarrassing incidents that happened to me . But then by not sharing I lost the opportunity to rant about men. So first the incident then the ranting.

Few days back the college where I work was a center for candidates appearing in Pre-Medical Entrance Exam. The candidates ranged from general category to the reserved, urban to rural and intelligent enough to understand instructions to the dumbest. We, the lecturers, had been assigned as invigilators. Now, each floor has 4 bathrooms at its corner…for girls, ladies staff, gents staff and boys and has that written boldly in red at top. Before the exam started, I went to freshen myself in the ladies staff one and just as I went inside the already open door, a young boy (must be candidate) was answering nature’s call!!! I rushed out shouting “its ladies bathroom” and went straight to the assigned exam room.. [Yeah laugh at my plight!!] Thank God he had his back towards me!!!

Later in retrospect, I thought why was I feeling embarrassed with no fault of mine and I was disgusted at the non existence of the feeling of shame in most Indian Males (or maybe all males of world). Even if the boy had entered the wrong bathroom and didn’t even know that there are separate facilities in cities/colleges; still he should have locked the door not out of manners or etiquette but out of shame. As I analyzed further, I remembered the common sight of men(any age group) answering nature’s call by roadside or on a wall and mostly not hidden from view. For pictorial depiction you can see here.

One may argue that maybe men have less bladder control than women but anatomically speaking women are supposed to have less bladder control. But do we see women sitting on road side? Maybe the poor and illiterate women are seen but males of any class & any age can be seen. They consider it their birthright. The trouble we girls have to face when we go on a picnic or trip!!! We have to take a friend (girl) along to stand guard against any Peeping Toms. Why us? Men don’t have to worry about such problems.

So is this habit a result of the difference in upbringing of the male child and the female child in Indian society? Do we encourage our sons to become shameless by allowing them to bath openly or roam around without wearing vests? Is covering up essential only for the girls? Is lajja or shame meant exclusively for women? Is decency a feminine virtue?

Why is it wrong for girls to wear low waist jeans and not for men? I don’t like seeing or knowing about the brand of brief they wear!!! Another example.. this attitude “We are men. We don’t need to hide” is so expressed in the design of Men’s bathroom (note: no personal experience..as seen in movies and asked guy friends) which is different from the Ladies’ in matters of privacy.

Of course the Govt is to blame for not providing public utilities along the road on an infrastructural basis and for not maintaining those which are provided. One factor is the so called lack of funds for such a trivial thing when we have bigger problems to deal with like price rise and poverty. Another may be that are not most of the politicians male and have the same attitude towards “shame”? Thus they feel no need to provide such a basic amenity even in slum areas. There is an old joke about this Indian habit. You can read the joke and a good rant about this habit and another famous Indian habit of spitting here.

I admit its fine when one goes long distance driving like from one city to city. But in normal circumstances why can’t you just stop at a restaurant/petrol station or hold it till you reach wherever you are going? And for God’s sake look if its for men or women & for Shame’s sake Lock The Door!!!

P.S. Some (like a very dear guy friend of mine) may think “what an absurd topic!” but its My Blog and I can rave and rant about whatever I feel like. So there!

Marathis vs North Indians – Part 2

In the name of Lord Rama, what is going on in India? Wasn’t the eternal feud between Hindu and Muslims enough, that now we are hell bent on fighting among ourselves on the basis of region? Our so called leaders or people’s representatives have forgotten the Preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of India. I quote

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.”

Well, I guess its not their fault. After all power corrupts. And most of them are not educated enough to be political leaders. Literacy is different from Education. But still they are adults and supposed to behave maturely and understand the effects of the influence they wield on their followers. Just by saying provocative sentences they create disorder, lawlessness and riots leading to violence and cruel acts of fanaticism. When did this feeling that I’m only leader of Marathis exclusively and have no responsibility towards rest of Indians, creep into their hearts? Why should a particular region be resided only by their natives? Then we should all go back to where Aryans came from!!! In today’s fast growing economy where India is dreaming to be a superpower, a leader can’t see the money the immigrants are bringing. If north Indians are earning from jobs in Maharashtra, they are spending it there only. They pay their taxes to the Maharashtra government only. Just because the leader is not in power, he thinks Marathis should drive out North Indians. I want to find out whether his laundry man or driver or maidservant is Marathi or North Indian and whether he has fired them or not. I want to know if workers have stopped working in the industries owned by him?

In today’s world where peace is the keyword, the leader is creating a mass exodus like in the time of partition. How does he justify an act as cruel as chopping off hands by his followers? Are Marathis only about violence and intolerance? Doesn’t the leader know the fundamental rights of all Indians? How can anyone sleep in peace with the blood of many on his hands? May the souls rest in peace and may God give strength to the family left behind.

I would like to remind Mr. RT of the famous patriotic poem

sāre jahāñ se achchā hindostāñ hamārā

ham bulbuleñ haiñ us kī vuh gulsitāñ hamārā

parbat vuh sab se ūñchā, hamsāyah āsmāñ kā

vuh santarī hamārā, vuh pāsbāñ hamārā

godī meñ kheltī haiñ us kī hazāroñ nadiyāñ

gulshan hai jin ke dam se rashk-e janāñ hamārā

mażhab nahīñ sikhātā āpas meñ bair rakhnā

hindī haiñ ham, vat̤an hai hindostāñ hamārā

Translation

Better than the entire world, is our Hindustan,

We are its nightingales, and it (is) our garden abode

That tallest mountain, that shade-sharer of the sky,

(It) is our sentry, (it) is our watchman

In its lap frolic those thousands of rivers,

Whose vitality makes our garden the envy of Paradise.

Religion does not teach us to bear ill-will among ourselves

We are of Hind, our homeland is Hindustan.