Is My Family Dysfunctional

20 Jul

Is My Family Dysfunctional

07/20/2015

Is it common for desi kids to fake having a good relationship with parents?

Greetings!

In last few days a discussion in personal circles once again emerged about our families of birth and their impact on our adult lives. Going forth and back numerous times decided to re-post this from the tools on the right margin of GGTS under All About Relationships. Click the hyperlink to read comments from desi adult children to learn more about desi family dynamics in everyday lives.

Is My Relationship Reflection of My Family

Stepping into the adulthood many of us thought we could not only leave our family but also our childhood problems behind. However, many of us have found ourselves experiencing similar problems, feelings and relationship patterns, long after we left our family environment. In family environment, growing up children learn their worth and to value their needs and feelings. In many families the communication patterns are such that they limit a child’s expression of feelings and needs thus breeding low self-esteem and a deep feeling that their needs are not worth to be taken seriously by others. As a result, they may face difficult establishing satisfactory adult relationships and often find we are finding people who are almost like our family members.

Patterns of Dysfunctional Families

 Following are the examples of patterns frequently observed in dysfunctional families:

  • Either or both parents subscribe to authoritarian control over the children. Often such families rigidly adhere to a particular belief. Here are few examples:
    • Personal: No child of mine talks back to me; no one in this family marries out of caste; women in this family do not wear skirts/trousers etc. You follow the recipe as I taught you to.
    • Religious: In this family we follow our religious rituals in a particular way; our religion is the best etc.
    • Political: In this family we only vote for X political party because we have been doing so for generations etc.
    • Financial: Money is hard to earn, it is not for spending on fashion etc.

Food & Shelter What Else?

  • Either or both parents are unable to provide adequate emotional support or threaten to withdraw emotional of financial support. Failure to provide basic physical care or provide it conditionally to the children. It is commonly heard in desi families- “We provided you with every comfort, even those that were beyond our financial reach.” “If you disobey me, I’ll disown you.” “If you marry him/her I’ll commit suicide.” Atiya, grew up with best amenities but resents how her mother was never emotionally available. Her mother was always preoccupied with her self and the needs of everybody else in the extended family. Even when Atiya initiated a talk about her day or life it always became all about mommy. Atiya feels she goes emotionally unavailable to her partner for days and weeks because that way she does not have to deal with his problems.

  Needy Parent: You Are Me, You Are For Me

  • Either or both parents treat children as possession and use children to meet their physical or emotional needs. Anuja, grew up in a family where she and her siblings had to protect her mother from her father’s openly sexual demands and his family’s vicious violence. Anuja feels she is observing similar trend in parenting her child. She often asks her son to take sides for minor things. DG’s mother grew up taking care of her sick mother because her father did not pay attention towards his wife, as a result she has hard time accepting even she can fall sick and someone can care for her. Some parents use children to get even with their partner. They ask children to take sides. In some desi families mothers raise sons with a constant reminder to them how they brought them up irrespective of the hardships piled by their father and grandparents; how they are counting on their sons to pay back their sacrifices by caring for them in old age or taking sides in any future family dispute. Some parents treat children as their extension. They expect children not only obey them but think and act like them.

     Angry Parent: Child’s Problem

    • Either or both parents us use threats or physical violence as primary means of control and disciplining. Children may witness physical aggression between parents or experience aggressive disciplining. Some parents force children to participate in punishing siblings, or they may live in fear of parent(s)’ explosive outburst. One time while growing up DG saw a neighbor was punishing his very naughty teens by asking them to slap each other hard. She heard him say, “slap the other hard or I’ll beat you both”; both boys were crying and slapping each other. Recently when she was back at her childhood neighborhood came to know both boys are no longer at talking terms with their father and the older on has pretty bad anger issues famous in the neighborhood.

    All in the Family

    • Either or both parents have addictions or compulsions like, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, gambling, overeating, overwork, over indulgence in children’s lives etc. these have strong influences on all family members. My high school friend Veenu’s mother followed too many religious rituals- fasting, extended poojas etc. Thus Veenu could never invite us to her home so she refrained from coming to our homes. Our friend Vinita’s mother was like a helicopter, she not only hovered on Vinita and her siblings for home work but was too involved in their lives. Vinita feels her mother was trying to escape her over bearing and adulterous spouse through her children. Vinita finds so many similarities between her spouse and her father. She said “Now I can join the dots, I am actually married to my father. During the courtship he acted just like my father, controlling, emotionally unavailable, making evasive replies,  and pouting if I refused to do as he wanted. I felt it odd but then I thought I could handle it as I had seen my mother managing with my father. This familiarity seemed comforting but now I see how big a problem it is. I see a pattern here, I am just a copy of my mother, something I hate.”  Atiya says she married her needy mother, as her spouse demands too much attention and time.

    There are numerous variations in how often dysfunctional interactions and behaviors occur in families so is the severity of their dysfunction. No family will have an absolute match to the mentioned patterns and some families will have over lapping conditions. If the patterns mentioned above are a norm rather than exception, they systematically foster abuse or neglect. Children may:

    • Be forced to take sides in conflicts between parents.
    • Feel ignored, discounted, or criticized for their feelings and thoughts.
    • Have parents that are inappropriately intrusive, overly involved and protective.
    • Have parents that are inappropriately distant and uninvolved with their children.
    • Have excessive structure and demands placed on their time, choice of friends, or behavior; or may receive no guidelines or structure at all.
    • Struggle with rejection or receive preferential treatment.
    • Experience restrictions on direct and full communication with other family members.
    • Face temptations to use drugs or alcohol and subtle encouragement from parent(s) who abuse the same.
    • Experience physical violence- slapping, hitting, kicking etc.
    • Experience verbal and emotional abuse- name calling, undue criticism etc.
    • Experience “reality shifting,” means there is a contradiction in what is being said and what is happening in actuality. A child may see one a parent hit the other but one or both parents may deny if physical scuffle ever took place.

     

    End Result

    For children to develop trust in the world, in others, and in themselves they need life free of abuse and neglect. Those experiencing abuse and neglect as children later as adults find it difficult to trust not only others but their own judgments and actions; they have doubts about self worth. They also experience problems in their relationships and their identities.

    Abused and neglected people often struggle to interpret their families as “normal.”  They make accommodations to make their situation seem normal, such as, “I wasn’t beaten, I was just slapped little too often.” “My father didn’t have anger issues; he just had low threshold for frustration.” The more accommodations they make the more likelihood is they will misinterpret themselves and develop negative self concepts (example, “I deserved it,” “I had it coming,” “I am a bad person”).

    Making Changes

    All behaviors are learned behaviors. At times we continue in our roles in a hope that our parents will give us “permission” to change. This permission has to

    come from within. People can ask you or encourage you to change but it is only your prerogative to change. Often people and parents in dysfunctional families fear change; they feel threatened by changes in their family members and children. They may even try to thwart your efforts to change by manipulating you to give up attempts to change or revert to your previous self. For this reasons it is important for you to trust your own perceptions and feelings. Change is difficult but not impossible. Only you can change your self. You can do the following:

    • Identify difficult or painful experiences of your childhood.
    • List your those behaviors and beliefs you would like to change.
    • Against each behavior or belief in the list write what you would like to do instead.
    • Choose the easiest item from the list and begin practicing the alternative behavior or belief.
    • After you have performed the first alternative behavior number of times and you feel comfortable performing it without much difficulty follow the other items on the list.

     

    You may seek support from people who believe in what you are doing. You can also seek help from professional counselors.

    Best Practices

    • Perfection is not the aim just be comfortable in practicing the change you want.
    • Don’t try to make your family perfect. You can only change your self and inspire others to change.
    • Don’t try to win the old struggles- you can’t win.
    • Set clear limits- e.g., if you do not plan to spend your vacations with your parents say “no” not “will see.”
    • When you try to change your self people around you may not like it. Even if you make small changes be prepared for adverse reactions from you near and dear ones. The anticipated reactions are tears, yelling, temper tantrums, threats etc. Prepare your self how you will respond to these adverse reactions.

     End Note

    Change is difficult but not impossible. It is normal to slip back to your original behaviors patterns because you are accustomed. Change is slow and gradual. If you miss some day do not treat it as an excuse to give up. Instead continue to practice healthier and new behaviors soon they’ll become part of your daily life.

 

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When it Hurts to Go Home

2 Jul

When it hurts to go home

07/01/2015

After a lazy day just after 8pm DG realized she needs to pack in some exercise for all the goodies she ate at the afternoon potluck. Before she changed her mind she decided to go as she was in a churidar suit, that has no pockets. Her new phone is the size of a brick she was reluctant to carry it but decided against it. Too many decisions to make before she steps out of the door. She had thought of downing a quick 5K and be back home by 9pm.

A summer evening by the river is a busy scene families, friends, couples, joggers, walkers and few loners like DG mark their time. Just few yards before she hit the mid mark a tiny Asian woman may be in her sixties dressed in all black to the teeth a full sleeves hoody pulled up on her head, track pants with white stripes and a bag on her shoulder caught her sight; she looked as if she was fresh off the boat. On her way back this same woman crossed her may be past few hundred yards. Her walk was painfully slow a slug would beat her. DG checked her phone for the time she wanted to get back in time to call it a night but that voice she told you all about came from nowhere. “Are you okay?” she asked that woman in black. “Yes, I am fine.” “Are you sure?” “Yes, I am.”

Suddenly DG used her DG voice (curt one), “No, you are not. You look sad. What is the matter?” The lady tried to shrug it off,” it’s just a family matter.”

DG: Are you safe to go home?

Lady: I don’t want to go home. I just came back from work.

DG: I can give a you hug, we can sit there on the bench and we can talk, you can tell me what is hurting you.

Lady crumbled in her arms, don’t know when these arms became so strong. As they sat down she started , she is terrified to go home because the minute she steps in her husband will start with his tirade calling her names, yelling at her and cursing her and her dead parents. At 69, she was working 10-14 hour shifts in packaging industry on her feet just to stay out of the home. All her life she worked and worked hard to raise three children and few grand kids now she worked for her sanity. Previous night she said, she stayed by the river until 11:30pm soaking wet in the storm finally making her way to a friend’s home to sleep and leave for work at 5:30 in the morning.

He never laid a finger on her she professed but his words are becoming acerbic by the day more so since she stopped retorting few years ago. His choicest were to blame her for being happy and enjoying outside the house though she spends all her time at the back breaking work and accusing her dead parents. Though she said, her children were not aware of her plight as she doesn’t tell anyone and he is known for being a quite person who doesn’t speak beyond exchange of greetings. Adult children are not blind, sometimes they just choose to turn their faces away as they don’t want to pick sides or parents never taught them how to do the right thing. She wanted to talk but had no one she could speak to in her mother tongue (Thai).

She talked DG listened while her mind raced faster than the setting sun. She told the lady, “it should not hurt to go home.” “You have a right to peace and peace in your own home. There is help available and you are not alone. I SEE YOU and I HEAR YOU.” She made few phone calls took the woman to a women’s shelter instead of Domestic Violence Shelter. There the staff told her about the services and living arrangements if she wanted to stay tonight and gave her some food. She chose to sleep at her friend’s place as she had to go to work early in the morning. Tomorrow the centre will start working with her to find her own place as she wishes. Her voice and demeanor changed after this short visit. She was no longer invisible. Walked her to her friend’s home and came home by 11:00pm. The lady in black kept wondering why she walked past her usual path and how come only DG saw her while hundreds thronged the riverfront. DG sees you because once upon a time she was you.

Home they say is a place made of hearts where souls and soles find peace after long tiring days. While typing this post DG recalled all the times when she and many others did not want to go home but had nowhere else to go either. One time a young woman told her how everyday she spent an hour in the car in the parking lot at work just to get some respite for once she was home there awaited demands and complaints. She had a car so she could say the traffic was bad but all those who don’t have cars or travel by public transport cannot say, they missed the bus or metro every single day. To her weekends were a torture. Yet another said, she feared going home because the atmosphere weighed her down and another said, “I am homeless it is his home I live in.”

Every time there is a mention of home DG is reminded of “Chaipau” of Salaam Bombay and many kids like him who runaway to escape the perils of so called home. Most street children are runaways and they run to escape the abuse within the homes. Habitual runaways, whom police write off are often teens who want to flee the toxic homes. It should not hurt to go home…

Hundred Times Over Still No Regrets

19 Jun

Hundred Times Over Still No Regrets

06/19/2015

 

On a usual morning when DG leaves home she sets intentions for the day, armed with her to do list she takes bus, delivers warm greeting to the bus driver and a compliment to lady driver or a co-passenger. Then shut her eyes to focus on her breathing to conserve energy and avoid sensory overload. A portly woman of color in a well fitted dress boarded the bus her bereft of makeup looks caught DG’s attention. Most of the time DG is not aware of who is sitting next to her, this time when she opened her eyes at some random stop sat to next her was this woman in fitted dress, about half a foot taller than her. As she looked up to her face, she saw a stream of tears running through the corner of her eye. Disappointed at her meditative stance she was glad she opened her eyes. She put her hand on her hand and asked what is the matter? What is hurting her? Are you safe? She struggled with her words and barely managed to say in broken English, “my husband, wants to kill me, my child is at home, I ran out with no money just bus pass (that explained her disheveled looks).” Now all eyes, on both of them as they spoke to each other. Quite audibly DG said, “in this country we don’t let people kill people coz’ one is married to them, you don’t have to die just because you are married to someone.” Yes, it is a lie she told, more women are killed every year by their intimate partners in this country and across border than by cancer.

To make sure she was safe and had a safe place to return was DG’s priority in that moment. The lady, did not know what to do just had a business card of a an attorney she saw in the past. DG offered to accompany her. These are the moments when DG feels very blessed, people she work with understand her random style of working don’t push her for lapses in keeping appointments every now and then. While they alighted the bus and started walking a bible thumper who was listening to their conversation kept interrupting, “I’ll pray for you, Jesus will make it all well for you.” As if praying solved the social issues world would have been Eden, a reign of peace. They went to the attorney she was kind to take a walk-in DG spoke to her to make sure this woman had a safe place to go back to and her child was not at risk. At work DG explained why she was late a volunteer chirped, “so you are the good Samaritan today.” All DG could say was, “No, I was she.”

That afternoon DG recalled how it all started, there she sat by the roadside sad and confused, she came out of that apartment she was told was her home just to catch a breath. The cop from the patrol van asked her if she was okay why was she sitting there. She realized, one cannot just sit anywhere without looking suspicious. Few years later, broken she stood at the doors of her academic mentor, who told her not come in with a long face, there after she regularly took her sadness to the malls where she climbed elevators, strolled in the stores aimlessly not one soul saw her or her sadness. She returned when her feet hurt or the mall was about to close. Her sadness was the ghost she carried on her being for a very long time. Then came a time, she started working on the source of sadness it is an ongoing project… she learned when you are sad you are invisible, you shrink in size, your presence ruins the scene of social propriety.

Maintaining a spiritual practice with the rigors of a yard-bird she grew stronger by the day her intuition sharpened and she learned to trust it. Coming out of class as she headed to International Student Center under a tree a pair of shapely legs in magenta fishnets attracted her attention, she smiled to the glory of youth and walked by. She hadn’t gone past more than five yards, she heard a loud and clear voice, “go back to her.” She could not take another step forward, it was so compelling she had to go back. There sat a 19 year old freshman, sad and alone. DG asked, if she was okay? standard response came, “I am fine.” DG won’t give up, she sat down and continued what was ailing this youngster. It was her father’s death anniversary who died a year ago and now she was away from her mother and sisters in another city. That sadness melted into tears in a strong embrace.

Few days later as DG walked out of her physiotherapy session to take the trolley, she heard a pedestrian in back and neck brace walking ahead of her crying and talking loudly over the phone. As they both crossed the traffic light and came to the trolley stop don’t know what came over DG she just opened her arms like Shahrukh Khan (two years ago she learned this phrase when she was playing bollywood with a 24 year old in the snow by the river). The young woman just hugged her tight and cried her heart out while her mother on the other side over the phone waited. This young lady had fallen from the fourth story balcony of her apartment in a drunken episode now her back and neck were broken and diagnosis was not very encouraging.

Many more such moments came just before DG left the town for good, she walked to the bus stop after class, a woman was on phone talking and in animated Spanish and sobbing in between. DG just stood in front of her and opened her arms though she understood not a word, this woman too hugged and cried her heart out. Her relationship was breaking and she had realized there was nothing more she could do to save it. That was DG’s good bye to the city she learned so much from.

Moved to new place 5000 miles away; one afternoon while browsing the shops on a trendy street where lull reigned on a sultry afternoon DG passed by a white woman in her sixties who walked like a slug. That loud and clear voice struck again. DG had to go back and ask her if she was okay. “Are you okay?” “No, I lost my husband last month, I am so lost.” They stood there in the middle of the street embracing when they parted like always no information was exchanged.

Last year while she headed to join Take Back The Night (TBTN), just before she alighted the bus she saw a fourteen year old with red eyes, on bit of probing she disclosed how her sixteen year old boy friend was “streaking.” Her parents we druggies, one was incarcerated and other was just out of jail, her grandmother had her custody. She had about an hour before she could be home; took her to the TBTN venue, introduced her to professors and students gave her a glimpse of possibilities, that she mattered and we saw her. Soon she vanished in the crowd without saying a good bye, it was okay. At least she heard it so many say it out LOUD and CLEAR, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.

DG trusts her intuition and never misses an opportunity to ask ARE YOU OKAY? It’s always been right. There have been times, it is usually younger people, who fight it like few months ago, a teen who looked perturbed, kept insisting she was fine and called her friend to tell him/her how a weird woman was asking if she was okay? Yes, also Desi women fight her if she asks, “Are you Okay?’ She doesn’t care, if it doesn’t feel right, it ain’t right is the bottom line for DG, she has to do what she has to do. She’ll not have it on her conscience she should have, could have, would have…

Yes, on her shoulders DG carries the carcass of her past it doesn’t weigh her down but reminds her how far she has come and how far she has to go. By training she is a student of social relationships she is bound to observe and draw similes and metaphors from life around her especially what she knows the best, her life. That doesn’t mean she hasn’t let go of her past. Her past is a undeniable truth etched in time be it good, bad or ugly she can and does dispassionately observe it and carry on with her life. Obliterating past does not mean one has let go of it, to let go means to live in peace with what has happened and give it its due place where it needs to be.

STAND IN FRONT OF A MIRROR AND ASK YOURSELF, “ARE YOU OKAY?

IF THE ANSWER IS “YES” GO OUT AND ASK SOMEONE “ARE YOU OKAY? maybe you’ll touch a nerve…

IF THE ANSWER IS “NO” TIME TO EXPLORE FURTHER.

FACEBOOK has blocked DG, she refuses to disclose personal information for reasons of both privacy and safety of people she works with. If it is a life and death situation you know how to reach her. All other queries can be addressed in the comments on this post or other posts.

World’s Largest Democracy Goes to Vote

29 Apr

World’s largest democracy goes to vote

04/29/2014

Here are the gems contesting elections shinning bright and making us proud on the international stage today and if declared winners then for next five years. Let us refresh our memory because we desis have very short memory and suffer from euphoric amnesia and long term cribbing disorder.

 Drum Roll

Meet Mr. Onkar Singh Thapar: Shiromani Akali Dal

This 59 year old Vice President of Shiromani Akali Dal Functionary broke in the middle of a speech on the ‘democratic right to protest’ to admonish his wife for absently tapping the table: Tenu pata hai jad mai bol rehan haan, bhen***d thaa-thaa maari jaandi hai (You can see I am speaking but you SF keep making that infernal noise). When cornered, Thapar told India Today, “Show me any man who has never abused his naukraani (domestic) or his janani (wife)?” Great logic sir. You have rightly defended the great desi/punjabi culture.

Not sure if he is running for 2014 elections.

Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia: Shiromani Akali Dal
Has the honor of cussing in the house during the session, he too has a justification for his choice of words and more than that he too claimed his words were taken out of context.

3 Idiots of Porngate

Porngate refers to three sitting MLAs of BJP  Lakshman Savadi, C.C. Patil and Krishna Palemar were watching a porn video while the session was in progress. In their justification states they claim were watching a video of rape of a woman by four men to educate themselves in order to raise a question at a later hour.

This video is in Kanada but the information section has details in English

Laxman Savadi, won 2013 elections from Athani constituency with a margin of 24,879 votes that is one third of the total, really women were sleeping during the elections. This is how good our memory is.

Oh then there is Gurjrat porngate and stalkgate

Sanjay Nirupam Indian National Congress

Has an honorary Ph.D. for what have no idea, though DG spent 8 years slogging in libraries and field. This scum of earth was congress created Shiv Sena crony became congress candidate. On a media penal discussion when he was losing the to a female politician who happened to be a TV actress too he called her dancing girl watch it for yourself. His masters just chided him no disciplinary action was taken by secular people.

Asha Mirje Nationalist Congress Party and Member of State Women’s Commission  According to her “Rapes take place also because of a woman’s clothes, her behaviour and her presence at inappropriate places.” 

Her party member Supriya Sule immediately released a statement how she and her party did not agree with Mirje’s remarks.

Abhijit Mukherji Indian National Congress and Son of President of India

Called the women protesters dented painted unworthy of registering protest against sexual crimes against women. Though his sister came running to apologize for him.

Saved the best for the last

Mulayam Singh Yadav Samajwadi Party

Is the Messiah of rapist considers rape is a mistake boys make.

Abu Azmi Samajwadi Party

He is a sitting MLA was just following the foot steps of his master, said, women who have sex outside wedlock should be hanged. Wao, he’ll bring sharia law to Hindustan. Guess, he really respects Indian constitution’s claim to equality and its citizens especially women.

His daughter-in-law expressed her disgust on his remarks.

 

Sharad Yadav Janta Dal

Supports khaps and believes stalking women is fun activity he had men his generation undertook.

Abhishek Manu Singhavi Indian National Congress

Caught with his pants down at work

Time to wind up it is two past midnight. Readers are requested to add to this list and beat the drum. If the voters especially fail to wake up now then they should not complain for next five years just get ready to roll with the punches.

Person is judged by the company he/she keeps. Choose you allies carefully.

Good Night

 

A Time To Grow Up

5 Jan

A Time to Grow Up

01/05/2014

Finally someone is talking sense
“When a grown up, educated and office-going woman subjects herself to sexual intercourse with a friend or colleague on the latter’s promise that he would marry her, she does so at her own peril. She must be taken to understand the consequences of her act and must know that there is no guarantee that the boy would fulfill his promise.

But this sensibility came loaded with lots of moral BS

She must understand that she is engaging in an act which not only is immoral but also against the tenets of every religion. No religion in the world allows pre-marital sex,”

Why can’t desi judges shut their moral BS and stick to the books. Moralizing defeats the whole purpose of taking responsibility as an independent agent. What about atheists? They have no religion do they still have to subscribe to this judge’s BS or they’ll have to just grow up and take responsibility for their actions.

It is high time desi women learned sex does not mean marriage, broken promises are not rape but buying peace in marriage with sex is definitely marital rape. It is ridiculous when consenting adults refuse to take responsibility for their actions and play the victim game. Sex no matter how protected can lead to pregnancy and STDs, what part of this fact is hard to understand is beyond DG. Desi women bear the differential consequences of exposed sexual indulgences and worse in case of premarital pregnancy. In a system where premarital sexuality of women is frowned upon and penalized in the form of social ostracism and stigmatization women are bound to either limit it by setting boundaries of practice that are conditional (ultimate goal is marrying the person you sleep with) like sex with fiancé, or sex with someone who’ll be her future spouse etc. If the mother lode of desi cultural upmanship was not rested in female bodies and their sexuality women will take more responsibility for their actions rather play victim.

In 1950’s whole nation wept for unwed Mala Sinha in Dhool Ka Phool and made it super duper hit these were the same people who would stigmatize and ostracize an unwed mother in the neighborhood if not stone her alive. If women of 1950’s in bollywood and reality did not understand that sex can lead to pregnancy but not marriage they did not learn it in 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000+ either because of this same moral BS this judge spouted above.

In those early decades a woman ended up with pregnant belly in lieu of broken promises now she has another sword hanging on her, STDs and HIV. It is high time women started taking responsibility for their sexuality. This does not mean it is all women’s responsibility as it takes two to get laid. Men cannot just walk away from their responsibility they have to be accountable for their actions too. Now is the time to ascertain consequences for men too. It is time men start understanding a woman may or may not abort and if she doesn’t you are responsible for the seeds you sowed. You like it or not sex even if protected has consequences at times.

Just because woman’s sexuality and motherhood out-of-wedlock is stigmatized for this one reason men can walk away from shouldering any responsibility for paternity. A woman’s right to her body to determine what she does with the fetus is hers but consequences are yours to bear for next 18 years in the form of child support, you like it or not. Unless we ascertain accountability for paternity we cannot ask women to stop being perpetual victims.  All those men who denounce child custody in lieu of not paying child support and alimony should too be brought under this gamut. It will be thrown in DG’s face that women will purposefully get pregnant if not to force a man into marriage, then for child support those naysayers will love to forget this is des and life for single mothers is not a cake walk for many decades to come by…

Think before you get laid…

Desi Dilemma: To Get laid or Not to Get Laid

 

 

DG is pretty sure there will be a barrage of hate mail and flak for this post but in these many years she has become use to it.

The second news link needs a separate post about women who become mistress and rights of first wife in desi context these are complex issues as women’s dependence on marriage and man are social cultural crutches for majority.

Though did not want to start 2014 with this kind of post but couldn’t help. Hope readers had good 2013 and will enjoy 2014…

2013 in review

31 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 96,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Voice for Her

13 Nov

A Voice for Her

11/13/2013

Few years back DG was an interpreter for an art exhibit where the curator had flown artists from des to demonstrate their art. It was a middle aged couple from interiors of central India who only spoke local dialect not even proper Hindi. The lady until then had never stepped out of her village her first trip was to New Delhi US consulate for visa and second was landing in the US of A. The couple and a very amiable relationship they had six children back home few of them were married.

As an interpreter DG’s job was verbatim communication between the artists and the museum patrons. Patrons had too many questions for the artist and their exotic land. They would answer in monosyllables and the patrons would look at DG’s face as if she was refusing to interpret what they just said. Any question they asked, like how did she like the place, how was food etc. the woman just had one word in her language, good.  The patrons asked why don’t they say anything else or elaborate. This compelled DG to think hard why was she so reticent in usage of adjectives and sentences. She was neither dumb nor reticent she just didn’t have words to express herself it is not that her language lacked it was her lack of knowledge of language that limited her expression.

This revelation took DG to her childhood where her dad would drag the family to visit his widow mother and would insist kids especially DG listen to the stories she told. Every year the old lady told same stories a princess and her bad step mother or how the sparrow and crow together made a porridge. They were interesting until DG had not started reading Reader’s Digest ( at seven she was reading RD) once you are exposed to the world of words who wants to listen to same old stories. Working with these artists DG realized how limited and isolated was her grandma’s life in that hamlet where oral tradition only lost and nothing got added to it by a generation that as no longer interested in listening. It reminded her of alienation of  ABCD grand kids from their desi grandparents who raised them from the day they were born here in the US and Canada. Once kids entered middle school and experienced a wider world these loving grandparents were speaking a different language . The kids could no longer communicate with their grandparents ones they realized their classmates had grandparents who were not only driving but were net savvy and understood their experiences at their level.

As Malcolm X proclaimed in Learning to Read,     “I became increasingly frustrated at not being able to express what I wanted to convey in letters that I wrote, especially those to Mr. Elijah Muhammad. In the street, I had been the most articulate hustler out there. I had commanded attention when I said something. But now, trying to write simple English, I not only wasn’t articulate, I wasn’t even functional.”

When someone is sexually assaulted they have difficulty describing what was done to them it is not that they do not know what was done to them it is lack of vocabulary that prevents them from articulating their experience. This is especially true for children because some can’t even name their private parts. Reminds of  those 1980s movies where in court scenes rape is being prosecuted and the victim is asked to describe what happened to her. What you cannot name how can you be expected to describe it. Shaming the words is disempowering the user.

Words are powerful they not only open a doorway to the world but they also put you in the center of the world that refuses to let you in. Words carry meaning so choose your words carefully for they can make or break you. If you don’t have words you don’t know what to tell and if you don’t tell your silence is taken as your choice. It is important for us as women to not only master words but claim them for they are the steps to our redemption. As mothers and socializing agents we can teach our kids whatever we want then why not begin with naming the unnamed…


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From the wet market

Mostly vegetarian meals from Asia

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