Nisha in Pain

Nisha is my neighbor. She moved into my neighborhood about four years ago when she married one of my friend’s brother. She is my wife’s friend also. My wife says that her life before marriage was always painful. Her parents were so poor. One of her cousins used to help her family. He was a government employee. But he was not helping Nisha’s family because of their being his cousin’s family but because he wanted to molest Nisha. He used to make physical relations with Nisha forcibly saying that if she would resist it, he would stop helping her family.

Nisha never wanted to go with her cousin but he would come and harass her in front of her friends. She would just weep and could not do anything accept let her cousin do what he wanted. It continued for several years before her marriage, and even after marriage whenever she visited her family. Her cousin now tells her that if she doesn’t make relations with him, he will inform her husband about their relations. She still goes to her sometimes only because she is scared of her husband coming to know about her relations with her cousin.

The above story was told by my wife but I know what happened to her after marriage because she is my neighbor and my friend’s sister-in-law. Right after her marriage she was under huge pressure for dowry. Her husband would beat her nd tell her to bring some money from her family but her parents were so poor so obviously she would accept to be beaten but not ask her parents to give her husband money. Her mother-in-law would not let her husband sleep with her. They slept in different rooms until Nisha’s mother-in-law died.

She would cook the food for the whole family, clean the clothes, clean the home, and get beaten. This was her whole life. She could not even sleep with her husband. Finally she became mentally disturbed. But her husband did not take care of this family. He sent Nisha to her family. Nisha again stayed with her parents for six-seven months, until she became normal again, and during the same time she was again abused by her cousin. Finally she was okay and came back to her husband’s family but this was not end of her problems. She was beaten continuously and was told to bring some money from her parents.

Finally one of her problems ended when her mother in law died but it was beginning of another problem. Now her sister in law got involved in her life. Now she started behaving like Nisha’s mother-in-law. But she did not stop her from sleeping with her husband. Now Nisha gave birth to a male baby. I am sure it was a big help for her. If she had given birth to a female baby, it could have been a huge problem for her.

Her devil husband would have not liked having a female baby, or maybe she went under ultrasound before giving birth to check the sex of the baby. I can believe it because her family seems like they can do anything horrible. Now Nisha’s son is one year old but the problem is that her sister in law doesn’t want her baby to be with her. Her other sister in law keeps the baby busy with her so that he could forget his mother. She always keeps the baby and plays with him, feeds him etc…

Nisha wants to see her baby but she can’t even see him because her husband and sister-in-law won’t let the baby go to his mother. About seven months ago, when the baby was only five months old, Nisha’s husband sent the baby to his other sister in Delhi. The baby still used to breastfeed from his mother but when feeding was immediately stopped, it created tremendous pain in Nisha’s breasts. She was crying in pain loudly because her breasts were full of milk. She wanted her baby to feed from her, but the baby was sent to Delhi. Her husband was not at home this time. Finally neighbors heard her crying and took her to the hospital.

She was fainted by the time she reached the hospital. The Doctor told her to breast-feed immediately. The Doctor said that she would die if her baby doesn’t come and feeds from the mother. Now neighbors called her husband expecting that he would do something. But her husband started beating her in the hospital. The doctor wanted Nisha to be admitted to the hospital so that they could take the milk out of her breast but her husband did not want it. He called his sister who had the baby now.

She also started abusing Nisha. She said why don’t you tell the doctor to stop the milk forever. Nisha’s husband told the doctor to stop the milk. Finally the doctor did something and stopped the milk. Nisha was still in tremendous pain. The doctor kept telling Nisha’s husband to admit Nisha in the hospital for few days but he did not do it. He brought Nisha back home and and started beating her. She was locked up in the room for a few days. She was not even given medicines. She would just cry and cry and nothing else.

Nisha’s husband and sister in laws want the baby to forget his mother so that they can keep the baby and kick Nisha out of the family. That’s why theytortureNisha so that either she will leave the home on her own or die or whatever. But now Nisha has no hope. She can not even go to her parents. They are so poor. Neighbors want to do something against Nisha’s husband but when they ask Nisha about it, she forbids them because she thinks if neighbors take any action against her husband, she will be killed by her sister in law and other family members.

I don’t know what will happen with Nisha but definitely something needs to happen. It is all the impact of our cultural problems where males are given more importance than the females. In Hinduism females are always given more respect than males but I don’t know when it was changed. Prepubescentgirls are prayed to in some rituals. We have the concept of giving high respect to the females but I don’t know who changed it and when. People say that India is developing but what kind of development is this where females don’t have equal rights? Is only male India developing?

We have the most number of professional girls in the whole world which is a very good example for us and it is all the impact of the last twenty years since India has started developing. Our girls have the guts to climb to the top within only twenty years. Isn’t it amazing? Why not promote them? But the reality is something different. In few states like Hariyan, UP, Bihar… the female sex ratio is still decreasing. I hope to see the change but I don’t know when I will actually see it, maybe not in my lifetime.

Nadia back to Singapore

Nadia left Benares on the 20th. She stayed at my place for one month while she was doing research for her photo documentary called child of Ganga. We wandered together to different places in Varanasi along the river. We went to see all the sewage discharge place. It was an amazing experience to be with Nadia along the river. I really enjoyed my time and learnt a lot of new things and saw a lot of new places where the sewage is directly discharged to the river.

Nadia says that she had expected to finish her research in one month but it was nothing for her, obviously people say that even one life is not enough to understand Benares. She plans to come back again next year and continue her research. Her documentary will be showed in university sometime in the month of March, 2009. I am excited for it. I was curious if she would give credit to me in her documentary or not and when I asked Nadia about it, she said if she doesn’t then she will be sued.

She is supposed to write a book as well and I would like to see my name in this book. I think Nadia did something different than other researchers who come to Benares. Usually foreign researchers don’t know about the events which take place once or twice in a year like when people make a pilgrimage by going to all the major temples of Varanasi and finally drink the sewage water, actually it is not supposed to be the sewage water, they are supposed to drink the water from the place where the river Varun mixes with Ganga but in reality Varuna is nothing accept a sewage.

We were waiting for this event but could not make it because Nadia left early. I am very much excited for the book which Nadia is going to write. I could talk her much about what she thought after spending a month in Varanasi because Nadia was always busy. I hope to see her again in future and help in her research.

music classes in varanasi

A guy from California stayed at my place for one week. He was here to learn music and Sanskrit. This trip was only to know the city and get some idea about classes. He had asked me about music classes and I suggest him to go to Pandit Shivnath Mishra, who lives next door. It was funny that he had already met Pandit Shivnath Mishra and his son in California. He met them, played some tabla with them and got an offer to play with them in foreign countries as a white tabla player.

Josh was so happy to got this opportunity. He said that he would love to be part of Mr. Mishra’s crew. He went to Bunti’s school as well where he played tabla and taught African music to the kids. Bunti said that everybody at school liked the music a lot. Josh wanted to visit Bal Ashram, an Aghor monastery. I took him to this monastery. This monastery had a British doctor giving free eye checkup to the poor people. I really liked his devotion. Monastery said that he comes Varanasi ever year for few months and work for free.

Josh wanted to see this monastery for his friends who wanted to stay there and volunteer. I suggested him to go to Bhagwan Avdhoot Ram Ashram as well which is the mother Ashram but Josh did not seem interested. This mother Ashram doesn’t like Bal Ashram because some of Bal Ashram’s employee did some fraud with money. I know that the mother Asharm is a real ashram and I believe them. Josh said that he would visit them as well when he comes to Varanasi next time. He said he will back by first week of January.

Security and Sanitation or Satellite?

On 22nd of October, 2008 India launched Chandrayaan, a satellite, tocompile a 3D atlas of the lunar surface and map the distribution of elements and minerals.I am sure these kinds of work costs huge amount of money. Right after one month of this satellite launch India faced the biggest terrorist attack ever. Almost 200 people died and over 350 were injured in this attack.

Our fire department did not have big enough ladders to reach the target, they did not have any special clothing, they were wearing normal cotton clothes, a lot of policemen were killed because they did not have bullet proof jackets, I saw a video of a police man fighting terrorists with his old riffle and terrorist had very advance gun. This all happened because Indian government never thought to spend money on these things.

During Bihar flood this year, thousands of KGsof grains and food packets got rotten only because we did not have helicopters. There were only two helicopters covering whole Bihar. People were dieing of hunger and thirst. There was enough food but we did not have transportation system to bring it to needy people. Again it all happened only because Indian government never thought to spend money on these things.

Sanitation is a big issue for India. People piss on the road because we do not have public toilets, people throw garbage on road because we do not have dust bins, one sweeper is responsible to cleanup the whole neighborhood where more than two-three thousand people live, they discharge untreated sewage directly to the rivers, people also throw the garbage in the river because there is no one to educate them. All these things happens only because government never give priority to these works.

Sending settelites seems like too much show off work to me. I am sure more than 30% of the Indian people can not write the word moon and more than 50% of the people must not be knowing what a settelite is, and more than 97% of the people will not be knowing how Chandrayan will work or what will it do. Indian government has been continously talking about this project since they have started it.

I think we need sanitation, security and education first, and then settelite. I think it will be better to tell the ideas to some rich countries or tell them to fund the whole project or just sell the projects and spend the money where it is needed first. A lot of necessary things are not done in India only becasue of lack of money like we do not have good roads, we do not have enough schools, we do not have good public transport system. Why not spend money on these projects and give better life to Indians.

Bakrid

Animal waste on road

Animal waste on road

I have been watching something everyday which nobody would ever liketo see. Its blood and meat everywhere in my city. There is a Muslim festival called Bakrid. Each and every Muslim family is supposed to slaughter on male goat. Sometimes they buy one for each member of the family. They slaughter the animal and throw all the waste on road. It takes at least four-five days for municipality to clean this up. There is a Discovery TV show called dirty jobs. I have watched that show sometimes but honestly the job they show is nothing in comparison with our municipality workers.

What part of body is this?

What part of body is this?

For these four-five days all the animal waste stays on road. People stop going to Muslim neighborhoods during these four-five days. I had seen it once about ten years ago and could not dare to go again towards Muslim neighborhoods during this festival. But this year I went specially to see it again with Nadia, a researcher from Singapore. First of all we decided to walk but right after crossing one neighborhood we decided to take a rickshaw because it was overwhelming to walk. There was goat skin, meat and other wastes all over the road. I wondered how other people were standing near all these wastes and talking to each other. It was just like daily routine for them.

It was also on the road

It was also on the road

We took a rickshaw and passed by all the major Muslim neighborhoods in Varanasi. I saw the same thing everywhere- meat, goat skin, and blood. I saw one guy riding a camel as well. They entered in a Muslim neighborhood with this camel. I asked few locals about it and they all said that they were going to slaughter this camel as well. Wealthy people slaughter camels to show their wealth. Number of camels slaughtered is a news every year. I read in newspaper that ten camels were slaughtered only in Varanasi.

Municipality workers cleaning the waste

Municipality workers cleaning the waste

I don’t know what to say about this festival or whom to claim for this but definitely it is everybody responsibility to keep the sanitation. I think they must not throw animal waste on road. It spreads diseases and it looks so disgusting. I don’t think there could be anything worst than finding yourself in between all kind of meat. Nadia is also a Muslim but she had never seen or expected anything like that. She says that its completely hidden in Singapore. People never see any slaughtering even it is done in their name.

A begger storing food

A begger storing food

Nadia says that in Singapore they just pay the money to mosques and get a slaughtering done in their name. This idea is thousand time better than what we have. She started feeling sick after watching those tons of meat. I could not eat the day I watched it but it was still an experience for me and Nadia. There is very famous humor that selling meat is prohibited in Varanasi but the reality is something what I have talked about. Meat is everywhere:- in the shops, in the kitchens and sometimes on the road as well.

Pending

I think it has become our compulsion to use the word “Pending” again and again. Maybe we use this word most in the whole world. We have most number of legal cases pending before courts in the whole world. People file a case and spend their lives but never get any result. Now people feel better settling the case on their own. I never want to go either to the police or to the court for any reason.

If I go to the police then I have to bribe them and if I go to court then I have to bribe and wait both until the judgement is given. And sometimes judges are also bribed and their judgement is not judgement. Once I filed a case against a computer shop from where I had bought a computer about eight years ago. I filed this case because he had given me wrong price. The same computer I had bought from him was worth Rs. 23,000 but he wanted to charge me 43,000.

I told him to either give my money back or take the computer back. He took the computer back and gave me two post dated bank cheques. When I went to the bank to get my money from his account, the bank clerk said that there was no money in his account. I informed the computer seller about it and he told me to go to the bank again after few days. I did it several times but never got any money.

Finally I decided to go to the court for it and filed a case. It took more than seven years and a lot of my personal time and lawyer’s fee and finally judgement was given in computer’s seller guy. I had made the computer guy write on stamp paper that he took my computer and had given post dated cheques, I had receipt of the computer, I had everything to prove that I was cheated but still judge gave judgement in favor of computer guy because he was bribed. So it took eight years and no judgement.

I had applied for a tour guide license two years ago but have not got it yet. The whole process is stuck in the several courts of India. First of all it took almost one year for government to see the paper and organize exam and then later old guys sued government because they don’t want new blood to come in this sector. Even though I have qualified the exam but Government has been giving temporary license which nobody likes at all, we need training and a permanent license. I don’t know when I will have the training and permanent license, but doesn’t seem like I will get it within next one year.

I applied for one other tour guide license which is issued by state government about two and a half years ago and same thing with this program as well. Government was sued by old guides and the case is still pending in the court. To be honest I had forgotten about it and I believe it must be same with everyone. We had to pay Rs. 500 with application which doesn’t seem to come back to us again. Maybe this exam will never ever be organized because we have not heard of any hearing of this case.

I applied for a registration for paying guest house before one and a half year but have not got it yet. They call me after ever fifteen-twenty days and tell the same thing that they are doing survey and will start issuing the license soon. Once they told me to apply again because they had lost my papers. It was not expensive to apply, but it again took at least few hours. I have been hosting guests at my place without having license. I just inform to the local intelligence unit but I will feel better if I have a license.

Condom

I think condoms are one the biggest inventions of science, one of the biggest gift of science to usbut still a lot of people don’t use it and the thing that made me write this post is the people who are shy buying condoms. I never understand why people are shy to buy it. They don’t want to pronounce this word, why? They go to the shops thinking that they will buy condoms but buy candies. It is kind of hard work for them to say that they want to buy condoms.

One of my very close friends got married last year. I had gifted him a big packet of condoms. After few days of his marriage he called me and said that he wanted to meet me immediately but I was far away from home but he was keep telling me that it was some important work and he wanted to meet me. I told him to meet me after one hour and I immediately left my work and got back to him. He was still standing at the place where he had called me from and just waiting for me.

I was thinking that something wrong happened and he wanted my help so I was a little bit tense but when I met him and asked why he wanted to meet me. He took me to a corner and said that he wanted me to buy condoms for him. I thought he was joking but no, he was serious. He was waiting for me for an hour because he did not want to buy condoms. I asked why he did not buy it by his own and he said that since all the shopkeepers in his neighborhood knew him personally he was feeling shy to ask for condoms.

I told him that all the shopkeepers knew that he was newly married and they knew that he will have sex so why to shy. But still he was not comfortable buying. I asked him where did he get the condoms from for the last few days, obviously my gift was not ever-lasting, and he said that he went to some other neighborhood to shop. I wanted him to buy condoms and I was keep telling him to go and buy but he did not want to do it. Finally I took him to a shop and told him to just stand there but the funny thing was that he ran away before I reached at the shop.

He always talks me about how to get rid of condoms. I suggest him different ideas but he doesn’t want to adopt any. I told him to rap it and put it in dust bin but he doesn’t want to do it because he thinks that his family members would come to know that he uses condoms. I tell him to throw it in the neighborhood dust bin and then he thinks that his neighbors would come to know that he uses condoms. I tell him to throw it in the commode and then again he is concerned about his family.

I met him few days ago and asked if he has started buying condoms on his own and he said that he doesn’t buy uses condoms anymore because it was difficult for him to buy it and then get rid of it. I want him to use condoms and still think about some way to make him comfortable buying and getting rid off it. But I don’t think he would ever like to use it again or just hear me. He likes listening about it and but it is hard work for him to buy and get rid off.

The second story is also about my one other friend who runs a convenient store. I go to his shop everyday but never knew that he also sells condoms because condoms are always hided. I saw the packet few days ago and bought few pieces. I pay him monthly so he was supposed to write it down in his register but he did not because he did not want to write that I bought condoms. I really did not understand what was the problem with him.

I have talked him more than five times about it but he always tells me that he doesn’t want to write it. He is shy that his father or other family members would see that he sells condoms also. I doesn’t make any sense but it is true. Finally he counted amount for the condoms I had taken and wrote that I had bought a coconut oil. My one friend who is consumer is shy and my other friend who is seller is also shy. I don’t know how these kind of problems will be solved but it is definitely a big problem in a country like India where there are huge number of HIV patients and the number is increasing rapidly.

Weaving Machine

Weaving Machine

Benares is the biggest consumer of condoms in Uttar Pradesh but here the condoms are not used for birth control or to prevent STDs, they are used for weaving. About 6,00,000 condoms are sold in Varanasi everyday but most of them are used only for weaving. They rub the condoms on loom’s shuttle to make the weaving process faster (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3934275.stm.)I am sure condoms help weavers a lot.

More than 90% of weavers in Benares are Muslims. If the same guys who use the condoms for weaving start using it to control birth, our India would change rapidly. The way condoms make weaving process faster, it will help us develop faster. The way condom is helping weavers, it can help the whole India but we just need to learn how to utilize it.

Terrorist attack on Mumbai

Taj Hotel before attack

Taj hotel before attack

Mumbai was attacked by terrorists on 26th of November. Almost one hundred and seventy five people werekilled and over three hundred and fifty people were injured. Terrorism has been effecting India continuously for the past few decades but still the government is just making the same kind of boring statements and not doing anything to stop it. I think in this kind of crucial situation all the political parties should have come together but again this time both of the biggest political parties- Congress and BJP were against each other.

Everybody is abusing to the government and the police. Media, Indian intelligence department and FBI tells that these terrorists were trained in Pakistan. Police have found a lot of evidences that proves Pakistan’s involvement in this attack but Pakistan government doesn’t want to hear anything. Indian government gave a list of twenty terrorists to Pakistan government and told them to give these terrorists to India but Pakistan government refused it. They say first of all you prove that there was Pakistan’s involvement in this attack and then we will think about it.

Smoke coming out of Taj hotel

Smoke coming out of Taj hotel

All the terrorists that India demanded are known for being terrorists in the whole world but still Pakistan needs evidence. Dawood Ebrahim, the guy who helped terrorists to get them to Mumbai via sea route, has already been declared as a most wanted terrorist by the US government but Pakistan government still wants evidences against him. The whole India wants Indian government to take some action against these terrorists this time but I am sure nothing will happen.

We have very good support of international community after Mumbai attack. The US and Israel government have promised to provide all kind of help to fight against terrorists. But the sad thing is that our government seems super smart taking help of international community to built nuclear power plants which will produce the waste that we can never get rid off and could bring disaster in the future, if not taken care properly, but they don’t seem like taking help to finish terrorism.

One of the terrorists

One of the terrorists

I was watching a interview of a politician from Israel who said that India should do something for themselves first and then hope for international community to help them. I loved his idea. How can we hope for others to come and help us until we start helping us ourselves. After all the terrorist attacks our politicians say something boring and that’s all. Neither they start helping India nor the international community comes forward to help us.

Media is also fed up by reporting about terrorist attacks. They were also saying that enough is enough. They just don’t want to see blood on the road and report about it again and again. Media was appreciated for the way they had captured this whole news. They had reached at attack spots before the police and stayed there until the whole operation was finished. The very interesting thing was that media had pictures and videos of terrorists but the police was keeping telling that terrorists are hiding and they could not see them.

One injured person at hospital

One injured person at hospital

I heard a terrorist calling to a news channel and putting their demands. He was asking Indian government to release all the terrorists who are in the jail and to declare Hyderabad as a Muslim state. When he was asked where was he from, he said that he was from Hyderabad, India. He said that he belongs to a organization called Deccan Muzahidin. Everybody knew that he had very very Kashmir accent, I am sure he was not from Hyderabad. Later the reality came that all these terrorists had come from Karachi, Pakistan.

Once TV host asked a terrorist about what did they have to eat and he said that why do they need to eat. They said that they were going to Allah, and Allah would welcome them with lots of good food. TV host told him- Do you know that NSG commandos and other forces have covered you and they will kill you within few hours and he said that- The world is watching who is being killed. He said even if he dies, he will go to heaven, and will get blessings of Allah.

CST Railway station after attack

CST Railway station after attack

When they were asked for reason behind this attack they said that Hindus kill Muslims, rape their motherand sisters and demolish all the mosques. I don’t know of any place in India where these kinds of activities take place but the sad thing is that this is what they were taught. Babri Mosque was demolished by Hindus and this is the only mosque I know that was destroyed in my whole life. If they mind Hindus destroying mosques then they should also mind Muslims demolishing Hindu temples as well. Thousands of temples have been demolished in Pakistan itself.

Once the terrorist said that people of Kashmir want to live in Pakistan but Indian government is putting them in India forcibly. I asked the same question to a lot of people when I was in Kashmir and each and every person told me that they wanted to be in Kashmir controlled by India. Kashmir is still a very poor state just because of terrorism and all the Kashmiri people know it. If these of terrorists care about people living in Kashmir, then they should immediately stop thinking about them because the world knows that we can provide Kashimiri people a better life because Indians have more opportunity than Pakistanis.

Fire coming out of a window of hotel Oberoi

Fire coming out of a window of hotel Oberoi

I was talking to my friends and they said if this whole terrorists activities are only because of Kashmir, then fuck it and give it Pakistan. It is a big change I have noticed. I also support this idea because people of Kashmir would never ever have good life until this problem is solved. And people of all the states of India have been targeted, they are killed. And what do we get, a tour of Kashmir? If Indian government ever puts this option of giving Kashmir to Pakistan, I would support them because I know it very well that Indian government can never ever solve this problem.

If terrorists or the group of people who care about Muslims of Kashmir are concerned about Muslims in Kashmir, they should be concerned about the Muslims living in other states as well. If they are demanding for Kashmir to provide better life to Muslims, then maybe someday they will demand for the whole India because we have Muslims in all the states of India. I think we give them Kashmir but on one condition that they will have to accept all the Muslims of India and take them back to Pakistan or wherever they want to take them.

Will they accept all the Muslims? No, impossible because they are not concerned about the Muslims, they are concerned about our progress and wealth. They just want to disturb our economy and Mumbai attacks are the perfect example of it. Why did they choose Taj and Oberoi? Only because they want to effect our economy and tourism which is a big source of income of India. I know that all the Muslims are not bad but these terrorists are putting their ideas forcibly on Muslims and making them disrespected in the society.

Candle light procession

Candle light procession

This time people response is amazing. People protested all over India against this terrorist attack. Mumbai people did a candlelight march where more than one hundred thousand people were present. Everybody was claiming the government first and then terrorists, and I completely agree with them. How is it possible to bring all the bombs and other weapons through sea route all the way from Karachi to Pakistan if our police was not involved in it. I am sure our police and navy also helped terrorists.

The Mumbai want to see change in political system. They want each and every political leader to be educated but I don’t completely agree with it. I am sure education will change a lot of things but there are thousands of examples where educated people have done worst and a lot of uneducated people have changed the world by their efforts. I think honesty is the most important thing and it could bring only and only from bringing honesty in the government services.

Whenever anybody asks to a young Indian about if he would also take bribe after getting job and there is only one answer- No. But when somebody sees a lot of corruption and bribes a government officer to get a job then obviously he would also be involved in accepting bribes when he works. People bribe police officers to get a job in police so they also take bribe when they have a job. How can we hope for a honest family if the head of the family is completely corrupt?

Taj Hotel was also appreciated by its clients. I was watching a interview of a Taj guest who was staying there on the day Taj was attacked. He went out of hotel around 5 o;clock to join some party at other hotel. By the time he was getting back to Taj around 9 o’clock, he got a SMS from Taj saying that there was some security problem and they advised him to not come back to the hotel. He went immediately to an another hotel and saw the news that Taj was attacked.

A lot of other guests who were inside their rooms for the whole time until the operation was finished also appreciated Taj administration. They said that Taj employees were continuously informing them about what was going on and were helping as much as they could. All the government departments were completely failed and each and every individual was related to private sector did his job perfectly. I think we should not blame Pakistan or any other terrorist organization, we better improve our system first. In my view there are only two things that made this attack happened:- The Indian Government, The police and Navy.