Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Most of these health workers are engaged in fulltime activities, but whenever the polio campaign is announced, they take time off to volunteer. They are paid only Rs 50 per day for a shift from 9 am to 4 pm but this paltry sum does not affect their dedication.
Tapati Saha (56), the deputy chief municipal health officer, said of the 6,803 health workers involved in the polio programme, more than 4,000 are volunteers. They get Rs 225 for five days on an honorarium basis.
Sumana Nag (24) teaches swimming at the Southern Avenue Swimming club from 6 am to 9 am, but asks her employees to adjust for the five days of a polio programme. “I feel I am doing a noble deed by giving my time. I first volunteered when my cousin Ankita Dey (18) could not attend due to her exams,” she said from ward number 82 booth at the Gariahat mod. Ankita still volunteers at the Lake Girl’s High School booth in spite of her oncoming HS exams.
Arati Das (42) comes all the way from Kasba to Gariahat to volunteer. A housewife, she considers being a part of the polio campaign as ‘a small contribution to society’. In fact, Arati’s sister-in-law Shelly Das (37) also volunteers at the Chittaranjan High School booth in Kasba. “Ours is a big joint family, so whenever we volunteer, someone always manages the cooking and housework,” Arati said.
Rajiv Bhattacharya (36) is an electrician but volunteers for the house to house polio campaign in Tangra, ward no 59. “A team of two covers about 126 homes in a day. If a child is sleeping or is away, we go back again after sometime. When some parents appear reluctant, we try to convince them our vaccine and training is just as good. Volunteers are given an intensive training each time before the campaign,” he said.
Sandhya Bhattacharya (54) is one of the six supervisors of the Intensive Pulse Polio Immunization (IPPI) plan of ward no 59. After being associated with health work for the last 22 years, all she gets today is about Rs 2000 per month. “The pay is extremely less. We have been hearing it may increase since long. I am happy though, as I started off only with Rs. 200 per month,” she said.
“We feel that the compensation for these volunteers is very less in comparison to their efforts and the importance of the work. However, this pay scale has been fixed by the Centre so it is up to it to increase. It would definitely give a boost to health work if the pay is increased,” said Tapati.
This article got bunked for it was felt that people volunteering for such a measly sum is not a big deal. For people are in need of money anyways and will take up any job that gives assured money. Besides, the success of the polio campaign has come under scanner recently for various reasons-- like the type of vaccine used, the technical expertise of the volunteers. Both points agreed to.
But with an emotional attachment to the legwork and information that I gathered, I find no reason to not put it here. For something is being done, and something need be thus written to acknowledge it.
From what I gathered from talks with volunteers and the deputy chief municipal officer, is that all the volunteers are given training sessions before each campaign and provided with insulated ice-boxes so that the vaccine remains safe. Whatever may be the doubts or cynicism, here's a government motivated movement that is regularly carried out on a massive scale. As I said in the article before, at least 4,000 people work for as less as 225/- for five days to keep campaign going. The least that the Centre can do is to fix decent scales so that more people, who want money and are prepared to slog for it, get a worthy platform to do their bit.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
My first blog award comes from The Indian Homemaker.
Peace is a very strong and responsibility laden word. Thanks!
I would like to pass on the appreciation to
To a youthful brigade who have their own way with words (and music) that I don't quite understand. But their zeal to see things their way and their urge to express is what is the key to any process, including peace...
They are Sudhanshu, Darshan , Kaushik
To the Bum, who surprises me most of the times with his simple, down to earth thoughts
And to Void, who's presumably quite idle now and you never know, he could rake up some movement to make a huge difference :) if he stops being midly idle, i.e.
To Hans and the team who work ceaselessly each day to put up news of what's happening all over the globe.
To Baruk who gets angry, sad and frustrated about all that seems wrong and has an amazingly sharp eye to support, promote the causes he deems fit through his blog...
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps. The matter follows.
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
"115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measure by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest man that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
This post was sent by Pinto sir. Many thanks for sharing it...
Monday, December 22, 2008
Gauri Gharpure asserts her copyright over all the drawings and matter published on her blogs, unless otherwise referenced. Understandably, she discourages the use of these in any other media. In case you feel you want to make use of any of the written and/or drawn matter published on her blogs, you must reach her by email for prior permission.
Wish you all have a joyous festive season...
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Think about the dead. They were there, all fine and healthy and suddenly, in one moment the transgression happened. They became still and cold. Loved ones then became a body that must be immediately disposed.
Here's my theory:
We live as long as we are bodily connected with the surroundings. Each breath we take is an alien mix of life-matter being pumped in. Imagine how much of the environment have we actually devoured to be alive for 20 or 30 or 80 years? Your life is the aggragate of your interactions with your surrounding. Once you stop breathing, that connection is lost, and so, you are 'dead.' I thought of the human body as a cocoon that shelters us from the disappointments of the outside world. Till this thought breezed by. Since then, living has got a strange, better perspective.
I owe my life to a million and more interactions with my surroundings, to strangers who came close enough in crowds for me to share their life-breath, to dogs who greedily lapped up my face and even to rogues who molested me in jam-packed buses. Everyone, however sweet or crude he/she may be, has made a contribution. Made me happy or sad, better or worse, but pushed me ahead by the way of experience. I am grateful.
Like this road I pass by everyday, it breathes into me. From the comfort of my car, I have slowly come to know all the urchins and madmen who line both sides of that street. A cycle cart is always parked on the left side, close to the dargah and half a dozen children play about. The other day, an absolutely bald girl, must be four at max, had fallen in the cart face down. She was flapping her feet frantically up in the air. Her hands were in a desperate position to keep her from tumbling down. She was screaming and crying and whipping up the most humourous frenzy I had seen in days. All beggers, tea sellers and betel nut sellers seemed to stop for a moment to have a good laugh. My car went a little ahead and I saw that bald girl fleeing the spot and galloping in the traffic with utter relief and disbelief. Someone must have finally thought to help the naughty child.
Then there's the old mad woman. I see her anywhere from one end of the street to the other. But wherever I see her, whenever I see her, she is busy counting something in the air. Without a break, without a moment's rest, her hand is always up, her lips always muttering something. Standing up, or sitting down, she has to count. I wonder how tired she may be at the end of the day, after such a ceaseless exercise. Just as I was wondering the first day I saw her what I could do to 'help', a street urchin walked to her, pressed a few coins in her hands and left. A few days later, her head was clean-shaven. She was oblivious and still counting, and still scratching her bald out of old habit. Someone had decided to give her a haircut and rid her of the lice. Someone cared.
These people have made a connection, made me feel more alive. When I die, I am sure a few breaths will be accounted to them.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Why should you think that beauty, which is the most precious thing in the world, lies like a stone on the beach for the careless passer-by to pick up idly? Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul. And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know it. To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist. It is a melody that he sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination.
-The Moon and Sixpence
W. Somerset Maugham
Out of the list, you are supposed to make ‘bold’ the things you have done.
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theatre
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on a television news program as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking with the windows open
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life