Sunday, 22 March 2020

The flower seller, a collateral damage of Corona

The woman I buy flowers from daily was silent today. None of her usual smile and greetings. I asked her quietly if sales were very bad. She said she had sold nothing. It was nearly 9 pm when I stopped at her small table under the tree.
She said that the temples were all closed on order. The park also. Passersby were few. No one bought anything.
Her items are perishable. She travels to Koyambedu to buy flowers. Bus charges are substantial. When the days pass like today, it's not just zero earnings, it's a loss.
The flowers fade away. She also fades away.
She is one of the 'masses'. Her son is a drunk. She and her daughter in law run the home. Her daughter in law works as a maid in a few homes.
She has a rickety table and a rickety stool on a corner of the footpath. That is her entire business.
Mr. Prime Minister. Narendra Modi
Your address yesterday asked us to stay at home on 22. To clap from balconies. A nice touch.
But you did not touch on the real issue. This woman, and others like her. Whose lives and livlihoods are lost. Who are themselves lost. Crushed. Under this halt of economy. Under social distancing.
We are waiting...
For you to live up to your duty. Your answerability. As the Prime Minister of our country. To this woman. And all others like her.
As the Kerala CM is doing. In concrete terms. 🙏
PMOindia





Fading flowers, trying to act unfaded ...
Today on the streetside I saw the rickety table back, and the familiar figure I had been seeking so long. Kaveri, from whom we used to buy flowers daily. Because she needs to sell them as much as my daughter loves to wear flowers.
But after the lockdown the table stayed forlorn, and I had tried to reach her in vain.
Today she was there again, with a few flowers. Sad lookin flowers. She called out seeing me, and chatted with usual warmth. And asked if I wanted flowers. She said take it all, give what you want. I gave her the
money I had been trying to reach to her last few days in this lockdown.
And she continued in a lower voice. How her grandson had had a cold and wheezing, and how he was admitted in the government hospital at Egmore. How the ambulance took him, and they came back after 3 days. They needed to take an auto, 500/-, as there was no transport. ... money vanishes these days in a minute.
I took her number now, and have her mine. It feels better.
As I walked down, the old man with his tea cart was back. And further some more women with flowers spread on the footpath.
The poor are back, doing all that they know to do. To try to eke a living. To earn an honest days wage.
Social distancing can happen to us whose meals are assured ...


The flower vendors tentatively spread out their wares. Hoping against hope for some sales.
Lakshman Rekha is for those of us who can stock up. Not those who need to to earn each days meal that day.
Till their survival concerns are addressed, every strategy is doomed to fail.



I walked down the darkening streets with my bag of biscuits. Blue packets of glucose biscuits.The 5/- a packet kind. For the street dogs.
I passed the pushcarts on the sidewalks, tied down with yellow tarpaulin and rope. Carts with glass bangles under the tarpaulin. Carts with plastic wares under the tarpaulin. Carts with slippers under the tarpaulin.
The roads were quiet, the birds were chirping. It was still. In the fast approaching darkness.
I see posts describing the beauty of nature in these lockdown times.
And as I read them I see the carts. And the nameless faces behind the carts. Which have no more daily earnings.
I see the face of that man with his earrings spread on a small plastic sheet, that day before the lockdown. I bought 15 pairs of earrings that evening. Not knowing what else to do. Helplessly.
And the next day the lockdown began. The man has disappeared. As the poor politely do. Without troubling us. Or our sleeping conscience.
And the quiet, peaceful roads suddenly start looking menacing. Not beautiful.



The street dogs in my area are all starving, and sniffing at each stone and leaf on the deserted roads. At looking hopefully at each passer by, and following them wagging their tails.
The tea shop owners, and other vendors and also the walkers made up an ecosystem that supported them. With kindness.
They are all lost now. What can we do ? I will go daily and feed a few, but more than that ?
#Corona #Collateral #Damage




Along with other street vendors trying to come back to combat hunger, the ragpicker was also there. In his patched black shirt.
From the almost empty trash bins he had collected a few plastic coca cola bottles, into the big sack over his shoulder. And walked to the next trash can.
Reaching there, he first carefully laid out a piece of old newspaper and from a small tin, placed a heap of yellow colored rice on it for the two dogs that stay near the trash bin. Then he peered into the trash bin. There was nothing and he moved on.

The Assumed Superiority of English

Why do many people who speak English fluently assume they are smarter ...🤔
They don't know it's just another language, among ten thousands ? 
Comments
  • Paranthaman Sriramulu yes, they equate knowledge with language proficiency. Forgetting knowledge can acquired via different languages, even without speaking...
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  • Nikhil Seri More than just English, it's a European vs Indian thing. Gujarati or Bengali is as foreign to a Telugu speaker as French or Latin. However, when one gets the option to learn a foreign language they choose European ones.

    Additionally, there was a sign
    ificant period in Indian past where progress in scientific field has been stalled. Europeans/Americans pioneered in these areas. So all inventions have European names or tastes. So all the equipment that we use in our daily life will find it's origins in these foreign lands. We cannot just translate these things to Indian languages, we have to use the original European given names. Hence, the disappearance of Indian words from our daily conversations.
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    • Aparna Krishnan Nikhil Seri they feel a superior caste if they can speak English.

      This is real casteism !
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    • Paranthaman Sriramulu Yes, this is real casteism. Who ever knew English got close with English invaders. They started dominating rest. Slowly everything become ENGLISH..
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  • Manohar Kamath Well many reasons but they are treated with awe even today. Also as stated earlier here, we access most higher education in english.
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  • Monika Sethuraman It's not just another language. Ppl toil day and night to master it to get employment or even understand the text book. It's a skill acquired . One can be proud of such accomplishment. Than merely being proud of being born into a particular group.
    • Aparna Krishnan Monika Sethuraman it's a greater skill that another language 🤔

      And those who are born into upper class families where English is the default. And who did not need to slave for it. They are less 'proud' 🤔 ?
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  • Meenakshi Negi Maybe it’s a psychological idea inserted by social conditioning which has not met its match through questioning validity.
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  • Manan Bindal जब नाश मनुज पर छाता है
    पहले विवेक मर जाता है
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  • Vipin Sharma The language spoken by the most powerful country in the world is respected worldwide, but in India, it is mainly due to the British rule, the language of the rulers relegated the languages of the natives to a second grade.
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  • Komakkambedu Himakiran It's a huge enabler, economically and socially, so they flaunt it.
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    • Aparna Krishnan Komakkambedu Himakiran and that it is such, and other languages are not, is what needs to be challenged, and corrected ?
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    • Komakkambedu Himakiran Yes. That's why it's very important to decentralise the economy. It enables local knowledge systems, practices, trade and that's done best in local languages.
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    • Komakkambedu Himakiran The vitality of Tamil in terms of being able to compete and stand up to Hindi or English is because of the local economy factor. Unfortunately we are losing ground there too with this globalised economy.
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  • Vidya Subramanian The best part is the copy of accent as well!!!
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    • Manohar Kamath Vidya Subramanian yes. Among English speakers there is a social ranking based on accent and vocabulary.... In some social circles th accent matters more than the content.
      My neighbor's 6 yr old daughter speaks with an American accent (she has never visited the US) and the whole housing society is so in awe and admiration... Every kid wants her brand of English.
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    • Aparna Krishnan Manohar Kamath I doubt if the elite of any country is more enslaved and dumb that ours !
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  • Mark Johnston Perhaps learning the language subtly alters the mind in ways that encourage such silly delusions ;)
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  • Sivapriya Krishnan Yes. The vestiges of the Raj! Its a world disorder! 😄😄
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  • Rama Murthy I wish some one talks to them back in French :)
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  • Nitesh Kothari Aparna Ji, I always don't know how get on to english conversation while speaking then again realise and try to come to Hindi.
    How can I refrain myself from english?
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    • Aparna Krishnan Nitesh Kothari our schooling has destroyed us. The way back is not easy.

      Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, writes in The Dance of Shiva,

      “It is hard to realize, how completely the continuity of Indian life has been severed. A single generation of English education suffices to break the threads of tradition and to create a nondescript and superficial being deprived of all roots—a sort of intellectual pariah who does not belong to the East or the West.”
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