Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I was introduced to Prajwala by a friend through the net. As I read &  understood ,what Sunitha Krishnan has done & continues to do ,I was filled with admiration & respect for  her.

She herself was a victim of gang rape & she rose from the ashes to rescue others from trafficking.The tasks she has on hand are just too enormous.Her orgainisation has been instrumental in rescuing & rehabilitation of hundreds & thousands of women &children.

She has a blog titled "Sunitha Krishnan :The Anti Trafficking Crusader " where she recounts her experiences of rescue.Actually ,her blog is not an easy read.It is very difficult sorry impossible to read about small girls ( as young as four year old ) being raped by dads, uncles,brothers,cousins & neighbours.A seven year old  was violently raped .Her blog posts can just shame us all out of our peaceful existence.The least we can do is spread awareness about the scrouge of trafficking.

We are a very proud nation, always boasting of our glorious past & the economic gaint we have become now.We seem to brush under the carpet ,the sins committed by us.Trafficking is increasing at an alarming rate & no one is spared.Girls are brought in from Nepal & sold to brothels all over our nation.The alarming part is that people who are involved in all this are the ones who are trusted by victims.

Fathers,brothers,uncles,grandfathers,cousins,neighbours,acquitances,friends -all are involved in this dirty business.In some cases,they are the ones who violate the victims first & then invite others to do so for a price ! Really how sadist can anyone get ? Many atimes ,the mother or female relatives who raises a voice are silenced by money or threats or rape or by death.Hence,the victims are utterly helpless.

The condition of the victims is worse than that of slaves ! The victims are subjected to the worst form of sexual abuse often accompanied by violence.It leaves the victims emotionally as also physically brutalised.The victims have to keep catering to many clients & end up with HIV/AIDS.Then, they are just discarded as they are now useless & cannot bring in any returns for their owners.

Sunitha's orgainisation 'Prajwala " has been rehabilitating the victims after rescuing them. Shelters have been built & a factory has been opened where skills like carpentary ,welding ,etc are taught to the girls.Prajwala also tries to unite the victims with their families.Sometimes ,the victims are not accepted back by the families owing to the backwardness of our views on women.At such times,Prajwala takes full responsibilty of such victims.Some women & girls are also married off by Prajwala in its endeveour to integrate the victims back into society.Prajwala also takes care of the last rites of the victims who pass away.In all these tasks,Prajwala faces stiff opposition from our society .

Prajwala works with police & other law enforcement agencies in this job of fighting commercial sexual expolitation.Prajwala never seeks publicity for the rescue of the girls.Prajwala lets its  work speaks for itself.

Prajwala & Sunitha have won many awards for their exemplery work.They are now sought after ,the world over for rescue & rehabilitation of victims of trafficking.Even State governments are listening to Prajwala &  Sunitha in prevention of trafficking.All this, will surely help in minimising this crime .

Sunitha has said time & again that the silence of the society towards human trafficking has to change.Let us become aware & appreciate Prajwala.

One can become a follower by joining Sunitha Krishnan's blog @http://sunithakrishnan.blogspot.com/.One can also 'Like" Prajwala on facebook to get updates on Prjawala.

Please spread the word around on the net- on social networks,through emails,through twitter ,etc.This will be our contribution to this noble cause

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cheap Indulgence

On the weekend ,I indulged in some shoopping at Khadi & Mrignaynee.Mrignaynee,the M.P Stae government showroom at World Trade Centre,Colaba,Mumbai had been advertising that there was a sale upto 50% off.As I had never been there before,I thought, that, I must go & have a look as the discount was too tempting. I landed at Mrignaynee & the first thing that caught my eyes were the  jute bags .They were available for Rs 22/- & Rs 15/- each depending on the size ! I brought two of each -two big & two small ones.Next ,I moved to the clothes-very few readymade tops were available.Many were without sleeves.I had to make do with a simple parrot green & white coloured batik top.There were more batik prints in vibrant hues but all without sleeves & some were blouses.I got another top in white, with violet & pink block design.Both the tops cost me on an average Rs.100/-.Then, I brought some pieces of cloth for as low as Rs 50/-per metre each.These, I got as I want to stich salwar suits for wearing at home.All the clothes which I got are pure cotton .Some have stripes ,others are plain.The clothes feel very good to touch & the colours are simply vibrant.

Next ,I got a simple soft dupatta in plain blue shade for an unbelievable Rs 60./- only.My dad brought  a cotton block printed saree in red,black & white block print for Rs.700/- only.The blouse piece is a part of the saree. The saree is one of the softest I have come across in these times of polyster & synthetic fibres.My mom had told us to get her a black saree & we got a chanderi black saree for her.That cost us less than  Rs.2000/ as there was some discount.The actual price was Rs 3000/-.All in all,it was a fabulous bargain.The icing on the cake was that we were shown all the clothes which we brought by unfolding them so that we could see if there were defects like missing weaves ,tears,etc.

We then headed towards the Khadi Bhavan at Fort ,Mumbai.My dad needed sajara ( short kurtas with half sleeves ) for home wear.We enquired for them & were shown the same in typical khadi woven patterns in myraid shdes like blue ,buff,etc.We brought 5-6 of them at prices of  Rs.200-250/- each.I brought one plain white khadi salwar for Rs 250/-.I always buy white salwars,& chudidaars from khadi as they last very long( because  khadi is  handwoven ) & are very comfortable for wearing in the hot & humid climate of Mumbai.Also ,a lazy person like me can get away without starching clothes as khadi clothes are thicker.I also brought two bath towels from khadi bhavan as they are thin , dry fast & absorb water better.My dad brought a set of  five white handekerchiefs for Rs.120/-(for the set of five ).We also brought Agarbattis like Chandan ,Mogra,Gulab etc.there as I prefer even incense sticks from KVIC. We got white khadi pyjamas for my father from there for Rs 225/- each.Then we moved towards the billing counter.I just stopped at a sign next to the packing counter as it  said "30% off".I asked the young  lady at the counter about the things on sale at the discount stated.She pointed out to various salwar-chudidaar sets which were damaged or torn or very old were on sale.I chose one which was in a good state-a blue kurta with collar &  beaded embroidery with a loose block printed chudidaar.I got it for Rs 400/- only.Next ,I asked her about pastel shaded bundles of clothes lying in the shelf ! She told me that they were all shaded salwars for Rs 90/- each.I saw them & was floored ! I brought four of them as I can mix & match with so many kurtas.The salwars are very soft -in fact the khadi used is super soft to touch & feel.My dad also brought another sajara at a discount there .My dad was lamenting that he would have got all sajaras at discounts if only he had known the presence of such a counter before !  We finally moved to the billing counter & paid our bills.

I would like to inform my readers, that, of late,Khadi Bhavan has stopped all discounts -there used to be 5-10% off on cotton khadi almost through the year.Now ,this is not so.Still,I felt that we got excellent stuff.Akin to Mrignaynee,the young girl at the discount counter was taking great care to make us understand & see the defects in the clothes which were on sale at 30% off.She simply refused to show us the white khadi pyjamas on sale there as she opined, that they were all smudged.To be really honest,I have found all this is  missing in brands & malls.

I prefer going to Government emporias for clothes as one can buy clothes of the all the States of our great country at such shops.Hence, ,we can all become brand ambassadors for our handlooms.Moreover,only  if we continue buying such handlooms ,can we hope to keep the precious arts & crafts of our artisans alive.Otherwise , we will lose all  such traditional arts & crafts for ever.We have already lost many weaving methods & other hand crafting techniques as they were no longer sought after.Many people like the Holkar family,the Taj hotel group,& Fab India are  trying their best to revive some of the forgotten ones.We can do our bit by buying  handlooms & handicrafts.This will surely help in keeping these arts & crafts alive.

One more handloom shop that I keep returning to is the Co-optex handlooms .Co-optex hand looms showcases handlooms of Tamil Nadu .I buy bath towels,bedsheets,dress materials,kitchen towels from Co-optex.Just a month ago, I brought some unstiched dress materials with dupattas for less than Rs 300/each.The set included a dupatta as well.The tailor charged me a fortune,considering that I paid a pittance of Rs 300/-for the material  .It  cost me Rs 170/- to stich a  salwar suit. Labour cost is moving upwards rather rapidly !

I also had a chance to visit an exhibition cum sale of Gurjari.Gurjari is the initiative of the Gujarat government to exhibit & promote its arts & crafts.I brought a small bag cum purse from there.On sale were rakhis,pretty torans,artificial jewellery ,semi -precious stones set in various necklaces,bracelets,ear rings ,soft padded purses-cum-bags ,folders,dress materials,bedsheets,dupattas,scarves etc.

I have also visited other State emporias like that of  Orissa,Uttar Pradesh ,Karnataka etc .All have impressed me & the trend continues.I feel, that our homes will be as colourful as the rainbow if we can indulge in products of our many states.Moreover ,then our homes & in turn,we  will, reflect unity in diversity !

Monday, August 1, 2011


Women are fond of bags ! We need a bag whenever we have to go out on errands.That bag is like a bottom less pit.This is so as it contains our identity card,make up kits,sunglasses,candies,address book,combs,brushes,bills,receipts so  on & so forth.We just keep stuffing our bags or purses with so many things as we want to carry our world with us .

I used to long for a purse even as a kid.I recall that, I was gifted a small  coin purse on my birthday.It was of lavendar colour . I loved it.It had  a very simple design.As I went to college,I carried a bag, into which went my books as also pens,etc.The bag had a small side compartment in which I  carried money for travelling in buses.

After college,I got a job. I brought a small leather purse for a princely sum of Rs.100/-.This was a rag tag bag in which many left over leather pieces of varying shades of brown colour had been stritched together.After that bag ,there was no looking back.I brought many bags for office use.They were big enough to carry many things including the daily newspaper which I could read during commuting to & from office.I would generally go & shop at Dharavi as it is famous for leather goods.

I soon discovered that one of the fringe benefits of being  an officer in a PSU is a bag allowance.This is redeemed after one purchases a bag & presents the bill to the office.It was a pittance but still the fact that it was there, was reason enough to produce the bill.Thankfully,cash was handed over without producing the bag in evidence.There were some conditions like there was limit to the cost of the bag.Also ,it could be claimed once in every five years.Slowly ,the cost of the bag that could be brought was raised to reflect inflation.So also the period was raised to six years.The logic was that a costly bag would last for one more year ! Many did not buy any bag or suitcase & still managed to produce genuine receipts of well known shops.

Perhaps the bag allowance was meant for providing bags in which officers could carry work home.Many of the tribe believed that the moment they stopped taking work home,their bags had collapsed & could no longer take the load /s.Rules being rules,the office had to wait till the officers turn came to claim the next bag allowance.Till that time ,the office work suffered ! Just goes to show how any positives for employees can backfire on any establishment !

I have always liked big bags not small ones.I need my hands to be free to board buses & trains.Hence, my bag must acconmdate many things -almost everything .I have noticed that females who are short opt for big bags & who are tall opt for small purses.

My dad went to Chennai once & I requested him to get a purse in genuine leather from Chennai.He got one which was like a simple clutch in black leather.I never used it as it just wore out as I kept it for special occassion .The occassions came but I just forgot about using  it.

My bhabhi once got a leather bag for me from abroad.I still have it & use it for keeping some things which I need once in a while.It is still looks good though the zip has given away.

On my first trip abroad,I got some bags in pastel shades.I gifted them to friends & relatives.I kept one for myself .The one bag which I intended to use later got spoilt due to my hoarding habit which encourages me to postpone  using a thing to a later time.

When I started buying bags,I was crazy about leather.Now,I have changed & take care to buy bags made from synthetic materils like rexin ,plastic,fibre etc..When my hubby hinted recently, that I should buy a bag befitting his status ,I made my position clear.I told him, that, I will not buy a leather bag no matter how high the brand.I have joined PETA online & this was the least I could do.Apart from status,my hubby got this purse for one more reason-he expects me to carry his mobile ,his sunglasses,his passport & other knick knacks in it.After all,as a dutiful wife ,this is expected .Moreover since,he has paid for it,I am coerced into accommodating his things in my bag.

My hubby recently gifted me a branded bag.It has cost a neat sum.It is quite hilarious as the bag is quite bereft of the cash it has been paid for.It is more of  a convenience, for all in my family.Everybody wants to be hands free of goggles,cell phones,identity cards,credit cards etc. So ,I am left with the unenviable job of carrying the baggage of all !

I read, that if a woman carries a large bag ,she is carrying her baggage (read  past ) which she  is unable to detach from.What it omitted to state, was that all women, end up carrying   baggage /s of  their near & dear ones - literally & even otherwise !

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