Thursday, 14 February 2019

Leaving ones land ...

I see the students bewailing that they cannot move to USA, with tightening immigration rules. I wish I could show them what a blessing it is.
I have seen my generation. Following the great american dream.
Losing roots, des. Losing the space to serve family and community. Losing the country and citizenship.
For some purported standard of living. For some so called intellectually challenging work.
While the essentials are lost. So completely. That their loss is also forgotten ...
  • Vijay Chacko Loss is of their mother tongue for the next generation, the culture of festivals is gone in it's essence, the dirty looking man on the street disappears. Clean and well laid out streets appear, but they have no soul, cause the stray dog and cow is missing, the wild trees and bushes, around the corner are gone, the soul leaves the body and one becomes part of the western concept of 'secure perfect world'. It is this sense of security that drives people abroad, on the way they lose their identity, if any, and they roam the cold streets like zombies in mars.
    • Kavitha Nistala Gollapudi Vijay Chacko I sort of disagree. Yes we are a part of the western world which is not perfect either. But we have not lost our souls and identity. We are attached to our roots, culture and soil immensely as you are.
    • Aparna Krishnan Over time, and over generations the loss will happen Kavitha. It happens from villages to cities.

      Come back soon !
    • Vijay Chacko Congrats to u for keeping it alive and kicking. I am also living in UK since couple of years. Was giving u a first hand account of myself and my family, that consists of wife and one son aged 10 yrs. Suddenly we started to talk only in English at home not Hindi or malayalam, which we used to few years back. So first loss for my son was Language, now I am spending 8 pounds per hour for online Hindi class to keep up, in case of going back. Secondly we used to celebrate all festivals of all religions back in India. Now the fellow Indians here try a abridged version of few hours celebrations at community cultural centre, that makes no sense in essence to the child, as culture is ongoing process, where children, used to talk with other children, adults would take time out for preparation and it used to seep in our lives slowly but steadily. Not a fast food break. Next is about the regimented lives the kids live of school, home work and any after schools. The aim of parrents here is to outdo each other with children academics only. As if life is only about reaching that coveted university and A levels.They truly miss out on the aimless time spent with friends of all economic, linguistic, and social background, that made me more tolerant and accepting of all types of people. I can go on....
    • Aparna Krishnan " culture is ongoing process ..." Word. 
      That is why one needs to be on the soil of the land. There is no short cut ...
    • Kavitha Nistala Gollapudi Vijay, the situation is no different in India. It might be existing in few parts and among those who truly understand festivals and culture. But the exact ditto environment competition, losing the real meaning of festivals but celebrating lavishly st the cost of many socioeconomic conditions yes exist back home as well. It's upon us I feel - yes there are restrictions here in U.K. Or US but some are good. Recently I've started attending and celebrating Telugu land festivals with the local groups - the culture is alive in true sense even though it's celebrated in community hall. Mindful for others and neighbours . I don't mind it as long as we don't forget the history of these festivals vs just name sake celebrations and eating.
    • Vijay Chacko Hi Kavitha, I get ur perspective and hard reality of times. Our common challenge is how to ensure that the next generation can have their identity alive and have something to pass on to the next, as we r trying.....
    • Aparna Krishnan And yet, the very soil matters. However alienating upper class urban India lives are becoming, still some thing about the very ground roots.

      That is my feeling.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Ola and the Auto Driver

Getting late. An auto to the bus terminus. Ola.
As we passed the Pamban Sivan Koil, "Is that a temple ?" The young driver
asked, as he bowed his head. Slowing the auto for a few seconds.
"Yes, Pamban Sivan Koil."
"Oh, Sivan Koil"
"Illa. Oru Siddhar."
He was happy. Divinity is divinity. Just as in my village.
Then we got talking. How Ola works. He wanted to explain. "We get rides. But Ola takes away 20/- to 25/- rupees for every 100/-. I have to work continuously to make return s. It is much better when I get rides on my own. But this is more assured ...
It was not this bad initially. In the beginning to capture the market, they took only a small commission. Or would even pay us. Now it is very bad. They pay us lesser and lesser. "
As he dropped me off, he said, "Wait. Just see. The Ola commission will show now." It flashed on his phone. 12/-. For a 49/- fare that he took from me.
He smiled and thanked me. What for, I wondered. For listening ?
Capitalism. Cannibalism. They rhyme. I thought.
It's a killer world. Out there.
Big fish eat small fish.
And Ola is not even a fish !

The PaalaGuttaPalleBags and the Post Master General

So this is a wonderful story that I want to share with all of you via Aparna Krishnan a friend whom I have never met, and with whom I may not always agree fully.
#PaalaguttapalleBags is a venture that was born out of sheer necessity, exactly the way things happen in a village economy. People look out for options to earn, not to hoard, but for everyday living.
With failing rains, polluted rivers, costly seeds, pesticides, love for imported plant products, and constant migration issues, people from Dalitwada were having great trouble to make the ends meet.
It was an organic decision to stitch bags, for giving some economical boost to few women whom Aparna knew. Lots of help and doubts poured in from all sides, slowly orders came in, the ladies perfected their products, more ladies joined, they went outstation to exhibitions, bought new saris for themselves, made sure that husbands got their medicines and children got their food, new designs came, new machines came, media recognition and awards came. Love and sisterhood and humanity triumphed.
Finally this latest update, that support us going to come with the earnest interest of government staff from postal service. India post is economical and quite reliable and when they decide to pitch in to reach the most interior villages in India so that they do not lose their lion share in transportation, that is when we achieve #MakeInIndia It is no political propaganda, it is the need of the people, supported by the people, by the government departments, who are the face of the people.
Aparna Akka, wonderful to see this, and proud to re-share this

Postmaster General, Kurnool, Srilata Garu.
And the Paalaguttapalle Bags team.
Roopas phone call, "Postmaster Garu has come. Will you talk ?", and she put the phone on speaker.
Srilata Garu, "Namaste madam. I have heard a lot about this group and wanted to visit. I was going with my team from Chittoor to Tirupati, and I decided to come this way.
The women are so confident. The way they have explained the whole process to me shows that they understand all details.
I actually also came to see if I could help them. This is such an interior village. They explained to me how they handle the postings. Walking, some distance by bus, some shared auto. How much time. How much expense also.
I will see if the delivery service from the post office can be reached to them. They also explained how for every screen print order they need to travel to Tirupati to collect the print out, after which they prepare the screen in the village. Let me see if some government delivery service can be used.
I am so impressed at how they have built this up from nothing. And the quality they maintain. And how nicely they work together."
We had a conversation on the speaker phone. The team, she, me. She agreed that this was a remarkable effort that had lessons for the state. On how production can be moved to villages. Strengthening village economies.
"Their products are world class", she said.
... and then the women also told her about #JeevaniMilk, which she was very interested to hear about.

(Morning ...

Roopa, "Madam, we got a call from the Tirupati head post office. The head madam has heard about us, they said and she wants to visit us. They confirmed that she will be coming at 11."
"Great, Roopa. You all show them your work. Discuss. Work out orders. Take charge of your business completely !"
"Yes madam, we have kept all samples to show to visitors in a separate bag. Visitors come without announcing."
It's a nice feeling to know that we are redundant, unnecessary ... )

Monday, 11 February 2019

Sasi, then and now.

Paalaguttapalle (Dalitwada) 2014
I finally have met my Waterloo in Sasi, Eashwaramma's grandson. Among some bigger worries about the village, one smaller worry is that he has needs to have his milk with Ashwagandhadhi daily whick Varalu gives daily. He' so undernourished, and he improves so much when he has it, and he has no parents to worry for him. He stays next door and has been in and out of home since he was an infant.
Sama, Dana, Bheda, Dandam ... all have been tried and failed. Last I confiscicated his cycle, and told Varalu to retain it till he started having his milk daily. He whistled his way to school 4 km, or else forcefully sat behind his sister's cycle and made her pedal up and down I was told.
Yesterday, I returned the cycle, accepting defeat with grace, and again reverted to sama ... requesting him to have milk daily. I suppose sometimes that is all we can do.

And now ... 2019

Universal Basic Income

From another wall/ thread. On a post suggesting that universal basic income in india will make people lazy. As a study said that it did in Finland.
I agree completely with this comment here.
Sanjeev Prakash It doesn't apply at all to India. This was done in a high income country and the results are not be considered in the remotest something for poor countries to learn from. 
In India most of the huge underclass will have to supplement it with work wages since given their number it'll necessarily be a small amount, nowhere near enough even for the food to maintain health and a working life. But that smallish amount to everyone will provide a modicum of decency and backstopping insurance in society so that life is not lived out in sheer desperation, from hand to mouth and rounds of degradation and exploitation, so there is a little chink of light in life. Do not grudge anyone that, and under mistaken premises.
I and they will vote for those who bring it in. You and friends can go the way of Marie Antoinette and eat a little more to make up for the malnutrition 😦