World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

It is not easy to raise a child. There is no good parenting or bad in that case. And there are hundreds of books written for the uninitiated. But when it comes to raising an elder there are few. We have to rely on our sensibilities, empathy and situational awareness. For those who are trying to do this right, it could be emotionally and physically draining to take care of an elder, protect their basic rights, ensure their health is preserved to the best, and be witness to their dwindling legacies. Still doesn’t give any care giver or those that are surrounding the elder a plausible excuse to resort to abuse

While I always weave in personal stories because of extreme hurt, I have no shame in pointing out instances that are not acceptable by my standard or any other. Because what we feel is simple yelling or logically arguing, when it translates to the older minds it is toxicity l, nonetheless. Sometimes, the same, we do to our peers, or those younger to us is considered bullying or harassment. And if proven is punishable by law. In school, there are strict anti-bully laws that govern the environment. When it comes to elders, laws are very weak and lost in translation as many time we are unable to prove the abuse.

I’ve heard horror stories from my friends and colleagues about the elder abuse. It is gut wrenching to hear about some elders who muster all their energy for the last lap of their life just like a marathon runners, so that they can get to the finish line with certain pride and dignity. But no, some just won’t let it happen. A friend’s grandmother died from internal bleeding after her daughter-in-law beat her to to pulp on her death bed. That daughter-in-law could not even wait to let my friend’s grandmother die in peace. My own grandmother suffered from a lot of indifference from her brood, their spouses, and her grandkids except from my mother, and my uncle. Rest are all culprits.

WHO has global strategies in place to help countries adapt laws against elder abuse. They recorded elder abuse as the most repeated action or or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person. This type of violence constitutes a violation of human rights and includes physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse; financial and material abuse; abandonment; neglect; and serious loss of dignity and respect.

I am personally very motivated to address psychological and emotional abuse, abandonment, neglect and deliberate impairment of dignity and respect to an elder person. Anyone that is 60, in some countries it is 65 or older and defined as an elder. Now, there are so many positivity promoting pseudo-influencers who keep telling me to ignore and focus on ‘good things’ and that everything is be fine if I meditate or do yoga. But one thing they may never comprehend is, if elder abuse is happening right in front of me and to my own mother or those I dearly know, how is positive outlook or a yoga pose or ignoring is ever going to help? Makes me wonder which world they live in. If people like me don’t make a strong effort to intervene, snub the ridiculous behavior of the offenders and teach them a lesson, their sadism is bound to perpetuate. And they might continue to have this wrong impression that it is okay to do what they do.

There seems to be a heart ache amongst some audience when strong people retaliate in the open instead of quietly suffering through and exhibiting their supposed strength. Such people are the cause of societal inequity and they might not even understand the concerns expressed in this podcast. Do we ever tell a physically abused younger victim to move on and find better things only to be abused again? Then why do we turn blind eye to elder abuse mostly subtle, verbally invasive and not acceptable, no matter how you look at it.

My mother’s sister, pedamma had Alzheimers. And suffered from abandonment, and in the end her death was most painful from dehydration, malnourishment, lack of hygienic circumstances and brutality that educated families don’t experience. Some others that were part of the extended family took devious pleasure in seeing that degrading humanity. In my heart, there is no forgiveness for such people.

I have a special mention of state of California. Under Penal Code 368 PC, California law defines the crime of elder abuse as physical or emotional abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of a victim who is 65 years of age or older. The offense can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, and is punishable by up to 4 years of jail or prison. Specifically, emotional abuse (which can take the form of isolation or ridicule) which has been the favorite of some living in California and impacting my mother. Apologies from those individuals after the fact will never be accepted as it does not compensate for their preposterous actions. I regret twice not reporting elder abuse within 24 hours of occurrence. Moving forward, I will not hesitate. I sincerely want to teach those that are conveniently instigated to attack an elder person. I wish other states in the country and other country refine their elder abuse laws.

With awareness campaigns such as mine, STOP ELDER ABUSE, SEA, it does not cost a penny to propagate awareness. Not much is known about elder abuse and how to prevent it, particularly in developing countries. Because of booming technology, elder abuse and awareness is just coming to light. There are many improvements that need to be made, and sometimes law enforcement requires extensive evidence which is unavailable because the elder many not have the strength to pursue. May be they’ve just given up to their fate. Either case, that is the saddest that could happen to the those who’ve ensured our present is secure.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (#WEAAD), was yesterday June 15th. It is all about making it a mission that safeguarding the elderly is everyone’s responsibility. Around 1 in 6 older people experience some form of abuse. Recognise and report it. Hope each of us can work towards ending elder abuse and celebrate the value that older people bring to our families, lives, communities, and future. Show you care by taking a stand.

Not Now, Not Ever

In his cruel immortality, I found solace for many of my pains. Neither was it a fangirl in me that was veiled because of his untimely demise a year ago, nor was it my sense of inseparableness with many others across the globe who eventually found their way for a shared cause for justice despite the benevolence of their variety. Regardless of exhibiting the conceit about being the biggest democracy in the world, or being the most prominent at social media, and by sheer strength in statistics, there seems to be bifurcation in how a premature passing is perceived.

There are many amongst us who proliferate superfluous positivity instead of focusing on the root cause. There have been days at a time, sometimes contiguous months, that I have felt a sense of emptiness. It has been a hard 15 months and I could possibly be confusing the departure of many near and dear because of COVID, my own personal misfortunes and the upheaval in emotions in exchange for the anxiety of one. And, surprisingly I won’t be the last in this conundrum.

What continues to baffle me is how nonchalant his own fraternity is. Through the rectitude of those that have not ceased to fight for him, have not rested a day without trending him, and linger much to the disgust of those who are watching from the bleachers, there is a certain tranquility that because of him, it was a better place . And perchance there is some decency left in this debauched world. Although, I have been counseled to see a shrink for matters of imaginary negativity, there won’t be a moment where I will distrust the few tenacities I am committed to.

There will never be another like him. He was an enlightened human being, with dreams bigger than the clouds, ambitions that could not be measured by an average mind, and was outrageously a societal outlier. Many more honorable than him have died leaving an abysmal hole in this creation, but millions seem to still care about exalting the virtues of this specific deceased man. This has become bigger than conviction or belief for his admirers regardless of Wikipedia audaciously gripping a suicide theory.

Well-wishers have snickered at my incompetence to grieve a flawed thespian but I can’t seem to give up remembrance of one of the paramount individuals that embellished the earth. Some influencers are spreading their shamefaced commiseration to rejoice his life but there is a convinced obsession to find the actuality. And people like me will not give up on him or themselves. Every morning, we make a choice to do complete fairness to our own lives without forgetting that there is a part of us that will need to fight till the end – whatever it may be, rationally.

It is hard to fight when the fight isn’t fair. It is hard to imagine that the person is going to come alive from all the memories. But, if the persuasion of verity is curtailed then there will be many more like him. Humanity will come to an end. Those who have caught the habit of being reprobates will remain to hound what is left of harmony. They will tatter the heavens into irredeemable smithereens. Yet, there won’t be another opportune moment to reinstate our reliance on valor, exactly the way he may have envisioned. The kind where we can never give up seeking the truth – not now, not ever.

Dear Husband…

When I married you
I thought love was true
But the moment you threw
A wet towel impromptu
Onto a bed, clean and new
At that moment I knew
There’s nothing I could do
Though I gawked, you’d no clue

When I hear you snore
I hadn’t ever that loud before
Not that I am going to deplore
Your nose is playful to explore
Gives me no choice to ignore
For what’s worth, I swore
There is so much in store
To tolerate you all the more

When you look at me
I can totally see
Why you always agree
As I’m that wisdom tree
Who is the best to foresee
Of what we would be
Without I, there’s no glee
You’d be left with a topee

When it’s meant to be, they say
Hope they don’t mean until gray
Being with you is no child’s play
There’s so much to weigh
You bring chaos to my everyday
And stand by me, come what may
Dear husband, I sincerely pray
That you add fun to my today

#quotidianblessing #marriage

Quotidian Blessing

I was born
Not with a silver spoon
Nor with a crown
There was a charm
As I was taught to be free

I grew up
With lot of doubt
None to support
There was still magic
As I was meant to be

I worked hard
Proved my mettle
Stepped up the game
There were sweet successes
As I became a mystery

I raised my own
Just like they did
It was payback in love
There are lot of emotions
As I need the world to see

I became a home
Affectionate and kind
A better human each day
There was so much to seek
As I held the happy key

I want to be…
A quotidian blessing
For those who need
There is a lot to serve
As I make many like me

#quotidianblessing #womenforwomen #selfmotivation #servantleader

The Story of a Father

He was a very dutiful father. And raised beautiful daughters and did all that he could to elevate his small family. There must have been a million hardships but the moment he came home from work, he was relieved and had nothing but relief and smiles. But when time came to get his daughters married, it had become a struggle because of all the conventional practices that he couldn’t plan for ahead of time.

His eldest daughter was smart, beautiful, witty and at that time it didn’t seem like she had a bad bone in her. She was a good human being. Destiny had its way and a boy from US came knocking on their door asking for her hand. The potential groom and his parents didn’t ask for dowry but just wanted a lavish wedding. The father of the soon to be bride was ecstatic and started all the preparations to fulfill the tiny demand that came from the groom’s side.

Even if the groom’s family didn’t ask for it, the father was going to do his best to make it memorable for the daughter, the groom and his family. Nearing the wedding, it was all festivities. The wedding was a huge success with bejeweled ladies with their zari sarees,’dhoti’ clad gentlemen, huge ‘mandap’, the scents from the flowers and the ‘attar’, scrumptious food, and the return favors that the guests couldn’t stop peeking at.

It was time for the ‘bidai’. The father and daughter held each other and cried. They were happy that they found a family that was going to accept and blend into theirs. And sad because they won’t be seeing each other every day. May be, if there is a chance they would hear each other’s voice once a week. The daughter was leaving for US the following month. Until then, she’d stay at her new in-laws’ place getting acquainted and serving her new family.

It was all great until she landed in the US. Her husband was staying with his brother’s family in a two bedroom apartment. Her dreams were shattered. She thought that she’d be able to make her own home with her husband but never did she imagine that she would have to feel like a maid at her brother-in-law’s home. The brother-in-law’s wife always took an upper hand and reminded them that they were dependent on them for every small thing. The money that her father gave her was all over, and she couldn’t ask her husband for more.

Time passed, and the newly weds slowly moved out and rented an apartment. In few years they got pregnant with their first child. And she really wanted her parents to help out. Everyone was excited to welcome this child. The parents came to the US and tried to do their best, first by getting used to the American ways of living and then by doing all the household chores. Only over the weekend, their son-in-law would take them to Costco. That was the only outing because they couldn’t go anywhere in their own. They couldn’t even talk on the phone unless their son-in-law gave them a calling card. Yet, they chugged along for the sake of their daughter and her unborn child.

In all of this commotion of expecting a child, having to stay with his in-laws, the son-in-law must’ve lost a couple of nuts here and there. He started acting weird. A year into his marriage with their daughter, he has moved them into an investment property as tenants. He felt invicible and felt like he had control over them. Who knows what demons came alive, he stopped talking to the wife’s parents. He would curl up and sleep at odd times. The father felt stuck and wasn’t sure what he could do or say. He would suggest that the son-in-law see a doctor but constantly got snubbed by his daughter to leave them alone. She was financially dependent on her husband and didn’t want to do anything to invoke his ire.

The father was never in such a dilemma where he felt unwanted. He always was self-reliant and self-sufficient person. To avoid the friction at his daughter’s place, he would go and sit at the corner bus stop for the entire day so he could sit in solitude. Sometimes passers by mistook him for homeless guy and give him a dollar or two. He wished that no one would experience such pathecy. For the first time ever, his irresponsible behavior towards his own parents came flashing before his eyes. He wished that he treated his parents, especially his mother better despite the stiff opposition from his wife and daughters.

There are many fathers like this one that are silently wailing psychological abuse. There is no manifestation of such exploit because there are no visible bruises. Neither there are tears in most cases. Some progeny don’t realize how their actions are agonizing thekr elders. Arti Honrao said, “Just because it is not physical, it does not mean it is not abuse. Verbal and Psychological abuses are real things; their effect is perhaps more damaging on the mind of the abused than the open wounds that can be seen in physical abuse.” I take it as my personal mission to SEA. Stop Elder Abuse. Hope you do too.

#stopelderabuse #parents

Saranga Dariya

Before you read what I have to write, you must know that I speak the Telugu dialect from Telangana. And for virtue of being raised in Hyderabad, my spoken Telugu is an amalgamation of Urdu, the convent English from school education, and of course my mother tongue, ‘the’ Telangana Telugu. My parents were born and raised in remote villages in Warangal district. Our family is a typical representative of rural way of life. We never made any effort to exude any popular dialect sophistication and my mother says I am still a poster child for our indigenous dialect.

When Shekar Kammula’s song “Saranga Dariya” was released I was excited for his continuous undertakings to depict and glorify Telangana. Lyrics and music seem to have invaded households and resulted in gazillion covers and dance videos of some amazing dancers (not the actress) gyrating to energetic moves. I have not stopped tapping since it has been released a month ago.

Even though this particular song was an adaptation of folklore, the lyricist took creative liberties to make it palatable for urban and commercial taste. In his interviews he mentioned that upper class lyricists and singers leave their ‘signatures’ unlike God who does not leave his signature on his creations. And that folk songs are up for grabs by anyone. Hence this particular song was readily distorted and destroyed based on his whim and fancy. That is exactly why perhaps the lyricist chose to retain some parts of the original song for which I am particularly very grateful. Not.

There are few instances where words have been truncated into forced rhyme. In some instances it seemed that the lyricist is objectifying the folds of the waist of a woman. Upon more thought I was in awe of his true machismo serenading the curves of pleasant sized women. In another stanza, he writes about strumming a ‘Sarangi’ without strings (indicating a girl) and forcing on her too. Just glad that the girl in his lyrics turns into a cannon. But again, why is he assuming that a girl should or could be forced or coarsed into something? Wonder if we should have more femlae lyricists who can find similar finer folds on the male body and objectify. Too bad we don’t have many in that part of the world which screams discrimination and gender inequity.

In the original song which was obviously not copywrited and sung by someone at a music competition where lyricist was a judge. It seems like he was reminded of the same song he heard when he was a child from his mother while it was passed onto the singer from her grandmother. And shocking that he waited ten year to ‘adapt’ and rewrite it. Glad that the original singer wrote to the Director to get credit where due and I hope she did get what she deserved.

What bothers me is that the original song had lyrics in tribute to an honorable woman who is known for her virtues and courage not just the beauty and definitely not the curves of her body or folds of her waist. Village women like my grandmother who worked hard in the fields, wore ‘raike’ or the blouses with knots. The yegenta is the Telangana melody for the color, magenta. There is a certain pride in such legacy and language which people like me are proud to be born into. And I have least tolerance for those that commercialize a piece of history.

You might wonder why I am perturbed now when such instances may have happened many times. I was hesitant to be a buzz killer. And, I never paid attention until I stumbled upon the original which epitomized vigor and soul that the jingle, twerks, grand picturization of the movie song and even a gracious actress may never do justice. This write-up is not about feminism or man-hounding but it is about preserving our culture; whether it is from the intrinsic parts of Telangana, Andhra or Rayalaseema or any language or it’s dialect. It is about, not corrupting age-old language sensibilities that only the creators have the right to amend.

(Posting the original song so you can appreciate and give it the same love as the movie song.)

#quotidianblessing #language #Telugu #Telangana

Conceal

Often called a waste or barren land
Worthless without a child or two
If you just see a sweet, smiling face
How would you know what they go through?
It is not a curse of the Gods
Perhaps just a matter of good luck
Time ticks by and it’s still the same
What can you ever say that’s awestruck?
Science has progressed just like the mind
While you make it all a big deal and tattle
Not aware of what it is like to be this
Who can feel the deep within battle?
Each time the needle pokes your skin
With no end in sight and the bloody oozes
Besides what is fed for your curiosity
Would you know the scars and bruises?
The deprivation is not easy either
Waiting through the emptiness and silence
Be cautiously optimistic is what’s told
When is it the right time for defiance?
Kindness may not come for some
But all we pray for is some blessings
There is nothing that we won’t do
To put an end to the hurt and sins
Adopt, await or surrogate say well-wishers
Only the heart knows what it really feels
Decisions bigger than any emotions
Why would you expose what they conceal?

This is my story battling with secondary infertility. Judge me all you want but it is not by choice, neither is it genetic nor because of being on the pill or sacrificing precious time for career. I am just one of the many. There is not much data out there and even fewer that empathize. Adoption is often provided as a favorite solution but it’s not for all. It may not define us, but we still try. Insurance sucks too to the most part no matter how good the job is. I still get jitters running into few people at social gatherings who read my palm to just tell me how my husband and I won’t be parents. If someone you know is struggling with primary or secondary infertility, support them. And if you can’t support them, just don’t say anything. A friend told me once, “There is a child in your life, one way or the other.” The time will come!!

I AM A BROWN GIRL

I am a brown girl
Unwanted from the start
If not for brave mothers
I’d be flushed in the toilet
Or slaughtered in honor
But I live despite the odds
There is nothing that favors
Yet, I keep defying all norms
Back where I come from
Lust and bigotry rule the roost
All my life I struggle to break
Those ruffian glass ceilings
Not knowing where I belong
But following my gut
With hope that I am worth
Then I’m married off
Either in a trade or of will
Still doesn’t mean much
As I continue to merely exist
No matter what I achieve
It’s beneath a man
When opportunity strikes
And I travel to far away lands
Dreams in my eyes
Holding my head up high
Sashaying into equality
Alas, it is the same here
Personality penalties galore
Social inequity all over
Glass cliffs give me the edge
Risking my life’s harmony
Told subtly I don’t deserve
Because my sisters need more
Confidence is called arrogance
Hard work goes unrecognized
Don’t know what turns the tables
Well, my turn may never come
Until I land below the red line
Which I perhaps never will
Born to take the roads
That’ve never been taken
Time will never be right
So, I will make it right now
Come what may
Future belongs to me
No matter what holds
Proud of who I’ve become
Honored how far I’ve come
To stand tall on my feet
Making my own destiny