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This is what it all comes down to. I am planning to move out with my son, Nisarga. We currently live hand to mouth and with added expense of rent for home, things will get tighter. Will mostly be living on charity. Need ideas for great places to bring a kid up in that are dead cheap. City not needed, internet connectivity must.

Also I need financial help. More than large sums of money, I need as many of you as possible to commit to a sustainable sum of money every month that I can count on. This will help me move as well as manage expenses till I can figure life out. I am going to need at least 15 thousand a month to survive.

Given that Nisarga is not able to speak yet, and I am committed to not leaving him alone with strangers till he can at least answer to how his day was, it is going to be an extended period of financial insecurity, which has always prevented me from walking out so far, but you have to start to get somewhere and I have been staring at the starting line for too long.

We are also open to the idea of bumming around and travelling to live with friends in different places. Not yet decided how that will go, but I am hoping that from a stressed living without choice, we can step into a grand adventure rather than merely aiming to survive.

No idea what goes how, but if there was ever a moment to support, this is it. Comment with your real email if you want any information. If you wish your comment to not be published, mention that in the comment itself and it will serve as a message to me and not get published.

Thank you all for being you. Can't imagine anyone else I'd rather be alone with.

2

Republishing this post today to add this quote of horror:

Usha Devi, a slum dweller, went into labour at night on the 12th Jan 2012 . She was taken by her husband to Chittaranjan Hospital, which refused to admit her, and sent her to Shambhunath Pandit Hospital. On the way there, she delivered a baby outside Chittaranjan Hospital. Uma Devi, the newborn and her husband went to Shambhunath Pandit Hospital, who refused to admit her and asked them to go back to Chittaranjan hospital. She delivered her second baby outside Shambhunath Hospital and died. The twins, losing their mother within a day of their birth are themselves in serious condition. The macabre treadmill goes on.

A little over two months ago, 30 infant deaths in West Bengal Government hospitals was big news. Around the same time, another story went viral. That of a pregnant woman who was in labor being denied admission in a hospital. She delivered on the street outside the hospital. Everybody and his cousin were angry with West Bengal authorities for shoddy healthcare and callous disregard.

One would imagine that this was an outrageous incident, and I think many imagined that, but it is really an outrageous pattern. I mean, pregnant women dismissed have delivered outside hospitals, in cars, outside emergency wards, outside elevators... because the  refused to hospitals refused to help them. Even twins! I mean, a woman ready to deliver twins is like really obviously badly pregnant. Can't be missed. Pregnancy and delivery is still a natural phenomenon, and one way or the other, deliveries happen, unless there are complications. And it isn't like being admitted is any kind of guarantee that anyone cares. Read the story of Nisarga's birth.

Victims of torture refused admission have spent the night on the street. Howzzat!

Another documentary had gone viral about conditions of government hospitals in Delhi. Frankly, all this information is the best advertisement for home birthing if no health concerns are present.

Today, a fire broke out in the basement at AMRI in Calcutta. This is a high end, centrally air-conditioned hospital, and that central air-conditioning took the smoke from a basement fire and circulated it all through the building. People died desperate deaths as staff escaped and left them to die. Unbelievable accounts of security guards refusing entry to locals come to help, reluctance to call fire brigade and windows that couldn't be opened have tempers blazing in empathetic fury.

Other information emerging about basement used like a godown, warnings from Fire Brigade ignored, lack of emergency plans even inability to provide very basic information to fire fighters likel locations of emergency stairs is adding to public fury. The Uphaar tragedy was relived in a hospital.

Many praised Mamata Banerjee for swift action against the culprits. I don't see it as anything extraordinary. For that matter, there was no need to play extra curricular superman. Police ought to have arrested them anyway. What does it mean that it takes Mamata for them to be arrested after such an incident? Will our police not arrest rich people if they commit crimes unless someone tells them?

And there are hordes of other scams (will add links later - bad network) related with government funding but no free treatment for poor, vaccines, referrals, transplants.... you name it.

It isn't about government hospitals being substandard. It is a lack of standards all through.

It all comes down to one root cause - lack of standards being enforced. Without appropriate oversight, people are free to twist the system to taste, and this is turning our healthcare into a health scare.

Employees in government hospitals grudge patients care. Maternity hospitals promote more expensive cesareans, induce women before time to fill "empty beds". More expensive hospitals create increasingly service industry type "products" and focus more on delivering an experience. Researchers conduct shady trials that they couldn't in other places. Others promote additional vaccines, while government vaccine productions capabilities are decreased, leading to extremely lucrative deals.

This whole scenario reminds me of something P L Deshpande said about Pune's shopkeepers (satire) "In the entire shop, if there is anything to be ignored, it is the customer."

16

I have been reading the frustrated rants of many people about how the crowd stood standing as Keenan and Reuben were stabbed and how no one came forward to help. With the size of the crowd gathered, one would think it wouldn't be such a big difficulty to step up and help. But it didn't happen.

The other side of it is that many people admitted that if they were a part of the crowd, they might not have stepped up either. They did not think they had the courage it would take. An expectation, but an uncertainty about self on same expectation. How could it then be reasonably expected. Even if expected, would people actually do it? How could they overcome the fear? Torment.

Needs a shift in perspective. I have one possibility to offer.

Before Nisarga was born, when I used to do experiential training programmes in the outdoors, we used to do an activity that went something like this. You stand on an elevated platform, at the edge, with your back to the drop. Members of your team stand facing each other and extend hands to form a kind of bed. You lean back off balance and fall into that bed of arms waiting to catch you.

It was a common fear - would the group hold the person falling safely? The heavier the person, the scarier it seemed. Yet, done as directed, it goes off without a hitch every time. Here is why: Consider a heavyish guy - say 90kg. When 10-12 people share the load of the falling man, each person ends up actually responsible for less than 10kg. For a general guide - your average toddler weighs more than that and you are able to throw into the air and catch without fear of not being able to bear the weight. In fact, you could do it easy! Even twice that weight!

Yet, when we do this with a group the first time, it is difficult to get volunteers to catch the falling person. No one thinks they can do it. Once it becomes clear that the activity "must" happen, the biggest men in the group get "volunteered" to catch, while the lightest person is selected to fall. Naturally, the astonishment at success is amazing. No one expects it to be that easy!

Of course, it is still a big responsibility, and there is no room for carelessness or distraction, but it is nowhere near as difficult as it seems.

This response reminds me of the crowd. Everyone thinking it is too tough and they will not be able to do it. Thus, since there is no "must" help rule, no one helped. Yet, if you see the capacity of the crowd, it is doable. Like a load of 90kg, when divided among 12 people is a ridiculous 8kg or less (ok, maybe slightly more at the hips, if the person doesn't trust and fall perfectly straight, but still waaaay easier than imagined)...

If you consider a crowd of over fifty people watching, even all of them yelling to stop NOW would be intimidating. And fifty people is hardly any. A street will gather a crowd of hundred or more easy. Half of them throwing a shoe would qualify as an attack. And we haven't even gotten into getting hurt distance yet.

The trick is in looking at this as a group thing. If you see it as one person taking on armed thugs, it won't work. The idea is for us to help many people realize that four people can hold down a strong man easy. Ten people yelling loudly can get your average eve teaser to do a serious rethink.

This kind of logic needs to be spread. Where the power of a crowd means that you are not going to need phenomenal amounts of strength. Enough people only are going to need to do it.

If public message films can be made with such examples, so people can see how it can play out, it will become far more easier for people to step up and confront a criminal on the street. Maybe a catch phrase can be figured out and made common usage, so people have something familiar to do, instead of hesitating to yell publicly.

What do you think?

Like a social trust fall.

32

So it has been 24 hours since I left my married home and returned to my parents. Been a sense of freedom in one way.  This move was long overdue. It is good to be engaging with life again rather than coping.

On the other hand, I am discovering just how much I had hidden away from the world. I lived at home, rarely ventured out, had few friends, lost confidence in everything, totally out of date on all the hep and happening (uninterested too), essentially, my world was my home. That is it. It had happened gradually, from being an outdoor professional, trainer to being totally wall bound. I think I am lucky to have the internet, or I'd be so totally out of sync, that I wouldn't know where to begin integrating.

Went for a walk yesterday evening. Nisarga was sleeping. Just went out and walked the quieter lanes of Parle. Rain had left everything wet, puddles on the road, green canopy overhead... I had forgotten what this felt like. Felt very good. For the first time in too long, felt good to be out of the home. Headed out into the bustling main roads, made my way to the familiar paanwala. Everyone had moved on, apparently. No familiar faces. Ookay... that felt really alone.

On the home front, things are good and bad. Good in the sense that the father seems to have accepted that it wasn't working, and surprisingly, isn't pressuring me at all to make up with my husband or any such thing. At least not now. Not so far. On the other hand, he is so controlling and judgmental, that I can write an epic of comments and opinions for the slutwalk right here, right now. His worst nightmare come to life. Daughter returned back from yet another failed marriage.

On a practical front, the biggest problem is a lack of phone. Not being able to call for help was a problem on the night that changed everything. It has been a problem ever since. The Airtel update is that there are no updates. People call to find out what the matter is, vanish. Same as always. If you guys are listeing. No difference. Problem  To compound this, I can't buy a cheap card, because the rules have changed since the last time I needed such things. Now, they want passport/driving licence/election card. I never went out of India, nor am I tempted. I don't have a passport. I don't drive. I don't have a driving licence. I don't vote, I don't have a voter's ID. So the guy will not give me a card. When I got my previous Airtel card, a Vodafone card, and a Reliance number before that, my ration card, PAN card and school leaving for address, photo ID and age - respectively did the trick. No go, this time. To top it all, my father refused to allow me to get one on his driving licence before I even asked.

But this is a tip of the ice berg. In the years since the wedding, I have slowly, slowly slid into many, many issues of paperwork.

  • My Income Tax accounts. Someone at the accountant's office fucked up and misplaced my bills and statements, etc. This was three years ago. I haven't been able to consistently follow up and sort out that mess for three years now. Which is sad, because I don't earn enough to be paying anything, and should be getting deductions back, if only I followed enough to file. I'm scared about this, because Wide Aware is a business account in the bank, so maybe more checking?
  • Clearing out my credit card bill. Since Nisarga was born, I have not been able to complete and clear my credit card payments as I usually used to, with the result that I am paying a lot of money in interest.
  • Nisarga's entry on the ration card. He has a birth certificate, but his name is still not on a ration card - though seeing the Airtel fiasco, it is another matter completely if it is any use putting it there. We don't get rations on it anyway.
  • Filing for passport, driving licence. I had better get them made, and fast, unless I want to be in trouble. Nothing seems happening without these.
In other news, there are other things piling up that need done:
  • Nisarga is overdue for some expensive tests. I need to stop dithering and get them done, because his health matters.
  • I am thinking of getting some psychotherapy for the depression and whatever else is found in the garbage in my head. That needs done.
  • Figuring out the scenario with the husband. I'd rather have a quick divorce and get my new documents in my new name, but that is an irresponsible reason to decide
  • Transporting my things I left behind at home, and figuring out a way to do that with a kid in tow.
  • Figuring out income and future. Where am I going?
In the background are constant tapes playing.
  • A relative warns me not to hassle my father with burdens at this age.
  • Neighbour woman I say a random "hi" to after 5-6 years advises me to not get involved with any more men - this resembles my own conclusion, but is beyond insulting as an opening line. Particularly with sympathy to people whose lives I ruined.
  • Father is forever trying to keep me at home. If I go down to the shop, he wants me to return fast. If I go to meet friends, I shouldn't. They are "bad influence". Don't stay awake late, sleep early, don't speak with men, etc.
  • Apparently, the few people I knew had always felt we were a mismatched couple. So why had they not said something?
  • Another epic from another relative. No one is going to give me a home after this. We shouldn't complain when "our own coin is fake". Yeah, "fake coin" is a metaphor for me. Thanks.

And many, many more. All this is running together in my head. Can't find the space inside me to start cleaning up this debris. Hopefully, writing it all out will let me read it and start prioritizing and fixing.

Good news is that the only direction left from here is upward 🙂

Love you all for your support.

26

Khatnil herbal bed bug killer is a product that claims to be herbal. While there are precious few alternatives to target bed bugs in India, the ingredients of this one are unclear.

Khatnil K-20 for bed bugs is an insecticide product which claims to be herbal. However, the ingredients of Khatnil are not clear. With a base that smells of paraffin or kerosene, it is unclear how the product can be called herbal.

Update: The bedbugs did decrease after using Khatnil, but I was doing so many things from vacuuming to hot water washing of all cloth items that it is difficult to say what was killing them. It most certainly could not be applied and left to work. Not even regular applications got rid of the bed bugs completely, and we ended up trashing the mattress and the one that came after it as well. I did win the war against the critters, but it was not easy, and while Khatnil probably helped, it most certainly wasn't the solution.

bottles of pesticide khatnil


Bed bugs! When we returned after a trip with suspect accommodation, we were worried that we may have brought back more lives than we went in with - as in a whole colony of bed bugs. Actually, I suspected much later when I couldn't sleep and caught the critters red handed or rather red smeared on the sheets. I then put two and two together and remembered the ghastly sleepless nights in the cheap hotel .... and sure enough, the suitcase we had taken there had some in it too.

[slideshow]

Worried about the safety of my infant son Nisarga, I wanted to find an organic solution for bed bugs that was most appropriate and least toxic.

The local shop set me up with a bottle of Khatnil K-20 and I happily looked forward to a bedbug free home. Alas, things did not unfold so. True to form, before using anything I don't know much about, I decided to look up the active ingredients in the bottle to get an idea of their safety.

Imagine my surprise when all my hunting didn't find any place on or in the pack where it mentioned what was in the bottle beyond "Powerful liquid to curb bed bugs" and "herbal". Yeah, that's how everyone describes their herbal bedbug killer product - but not its content. I searched online. I couldn't find the ingredients anywhere.

So how does one check that the active ingredients in the herbal insecticide for bed bugs are actually safe? What if someone has an allergy to something in it? What in the world does a doctor combat in case of accidental poisoning?

So I went to the shop and argued my tongue off. No help. They wouldn't take an opened bottle back and offered me another 'herbal' solution, which they say is pretty much exactly the same as Khatnil, but mentions the ingredients - petroleum derivatives, coaltar... were some of the words that I had to investigate - herbal? The only herbal ingredient in there seemed to be eucalyptus oil.

This seemed worrisome. Taking a risk, I used it sparingly in areas I was dead certain no one would touch and still worried about fumes. It smells like turpentine. Last I know turpentine isn't a herbal product. For the rest, I just shook eucalyptus oil and water together and sprayed. It seems to be working, but then I physically slaughtered most of the critters and it wasn't a bad infestation.

We have no trouble these days, though I'm going to keep a sharp eye on things for quite some time.

Is there anyone at all who cares about such things?