Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blueprint for Change

Blogadda has come up with this initiative in which we talk about problems or concerns that we face everyday and in our blogs, accompany them with a blueprint on how these concerns could be rectified. For two days I sat thinking. I was on bed rest anyway, so more the time to think. To speak the truth, I couldn't think of anything revolutionary. So, I decided to scrap the idea and just talk about what bothers me around myself, at the grass-root level.

Health Awareness amongst the youth: Starting from basic hygiene to going for regular check-ups, very few adults are aware and diligent. Brushing your teeth twice a day, keeping your body clean, eyes healthy, exercising to keep the joints running well ... these are absolute basics. What about when you are doing everything outwardly but still get sick. This topic is close to me, as I am a survivor of a life-taking disease, which struck me solely because my own immunity was low. How many of us know youth living in metros away from home, surviving on junk food? Rather, how many of us are these youth? I was one, I ate what filled my stomach, ignored the nutrition, let my immunity drop so low that it just took a few coughs by someone, for me to contract it and drop down almost dead, because I couldn't breath. I was treated and well to go, restoring the immunity my mother had built before I left home, has become an impossible task. 
Journalists, BPO execs, hotel employees ... people who work around the clock, form a huge database of our GDP earners as well as basic population. Alcohol overflows, while food mostly stays limited to finger food, or even worse, just chakhna. In this particular case, where families are away and the kids are too busy earning money & blowing them away, who is the only person who can reach out and ask them to hold on, and take care of their lifestyle, diet etc? The employerEmployers need to butt in here, put pamphlets, memos, mails, whatever works in the employees' faces ~ We appreciate your work, but don't forget to appreciate your body. Eat right, exercise a bit, abstain a bit and you are even better to go!
I, on my end, always talk to the young lot and keep urging them to eat right. If you eat right now, you'l be right tomorrow.

Disciplining the country's future: There are three category of parents when it comes to disciplining their children ~ the one that does, the one that doesn't and the one that does only when the child's behaviour is a problem to them. Type 1 is rare. Very rare. Type 2 is the most common, and usually a family with more children than the parents can handle. The third type is the Page 3 kind, they fancy themselves to be cool, disciplinarian, while they do it on paper only when their child's behaviour affects themselves. Don't scream inside the house, mamma will slap you. Child goes and creates a ruckus outside, mamma has her nap peacefully. Don't litter in the house, I'l break your bones. Child goes to a mall with mamma and litters, but mamma can only see the two size smaller dress on display.
This is wrong in so many levels. Isn't this how a person grows up to be a selfish, self-centred being who only concentrates on hoarding goodies in his own life, oblivious to others around him. Such a future will only be shaky!
How to correct this? Only parents can correct this. Street plays can spread the awareness, but unless parents are willing to bring up disciplined children themselves, there is no cure to this. Don't let your aankh ka taara become someone else's aankh ka kaanta!

Laakh dukkhon ki ek dawaa - education: How many times do we swear in baited breath and say, "illiterate", when someone does something to infuriate us. Well, that's pretty general and example, but don't we all agree that education to a large extent can solve a chunk of problems around us? Yes, there aren't enough jobs. But there are also so many grads and engineers who are venturing into startups. 
Sponsoring one child's education is so easy, just go pay his/her fees. Make sure they have proper school supplies throughout the year, meet the child once in a while, talk, give guidance where required. One can be surprised as to how willing a lot of kids from marginal communities are, and if with the money you give them some personal time, they'l lap it up like greedy. A lot of my friends, and I, do not believe in paying to NGOs because it's our hard-earned money and we prefer to see it being put to correct use. So we do the needful ourselves. Most my NRI friends have adopted minimum of two kids whom they are educating and also meet to spend time with, when in India. No one is too busy to do this, try it.

Feed a few 'more' tummies: I don't want to get into religions, but wanted to state a fact. It's not that other communities don't do it at all, but ever noticed how much the Sikh community feeds the poor? Not only feeds, treats them as humans and feeds them in a clean, hygienic manner. Be it to please their God, or be it for their own peace of mind, the bigger picture is that a lot of what is earned is shared
We have different food habits, we eat what suits our taste, else we waste it. We cook loads for house parties and weddings, and some kind ones send the leftover to NGOs, so that the food doesn't get wasted. But. Why only send the leftovers? Why not fresh food, cooked only for them? 
I am not saying give free food to beggars, that will only stop them more from making an honest living out of their lives. But what about the old? The crippled? The helpless? Take a portion each of all the items of your Sunday lunch, put it in a paper plate, sit in your car and go search for one such person. Urge them to eat, give them water to drink. Ask them how they liked your cooking. If they did, believe me, they will be so vocal about it, you'l be back the next Sunday.

Hand-me-downs: Families with 2-3 children have always followed the policy of clothes being handed down from the elder to the younger. It's a good way of saving money for those who run on tight budget, but we all know, not all such families run on tight budgets. A frock, for instance, is worn by three sisters and then given to the maid's daughter for whom it's either oversized or too small. Why can't the not-so-badly-off families hand down their children's clothes to the poorer children/street kids? Buy a new dress for your second daughter, give her an individuality, she will thank you all your life. And in the meanwhile, give the dress your elder daughter doesn't fit into any more, to the dhobi's daughter. What say? Possible? 

This post is a part of Weekend contest at in association with Chanakya’s New Manifesto

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