Thursday, September 29, 2005

Freeing up from own fibres

Every night, score of migrants lay down with occasional closing eyelids on our station platform. With dreams in their eyes, they let the night pass to catch the next morning’s train going to Delhi or Punjab. There they work as daily labourers in the factories, farms, construction sites or similar kind of establishments. These people mostly tie up the journey money in their safe waist. The scores of dreams are carried in the general coaches of train, not better than packed livestock. If coolies are given some money they can push them inside the packed coach. No wonder, if slipper falls on the track or co-traveler has to get down because he can’t travel standing on the stairs.

These are mostly hopeless farmers or labourers who have difficulty to get job or can’t earn well in our region. Our Gangetic planes have lush green fields and fertile lands. But irony is that the agricultural produce is just sufficient to feed the people and sell the part of it to buy the family needs. Then there comes nature’s fury in the form of flood.

Let me adumbrate on the reality behind this situation, which discourages the need of looking into the real problem, with an incident. Last year on the occasion of cultural night on the eve of Independence day, my cultural group got enough permission to present a drama titled as “Patua” from the program managing authorities. Patua or Patsan is the local name of the Jute fibre. Based on the local farmers’ problems, this theatrical theme was conceived by us. In the direction of my mother, it was well shaped and an effective presentation was prepared with enough practice. It was our surprise that while doing rehearsal, at the end, at my pathetic cry, the neighbours used to sneak through the window with sympathy. On the actual performance evening, with my enthusiastic theatrical team, we reached the auditorium at before time itself. At the spot, we were informed that due to time constraint, our drama was cancelled off ! We were shocked on this coercion.

Once permitted with the theme of drama on pen and paper, and next it was just cancelled. Behind the theatre, the reliable sources told us that, the invitees are the big businessmen of the town. My team’s voice representing the grass root farmers was looked askance, since the officials knew about the theme, the performing group and its malefic effects on the respected delegates. The other dance programs along with some patriotic songs’ dramatic performances were performed as usual to entertain them and make a ballyhoo of patriotic feelings.

The significant business in our town depends on the business of Jute fibre too. Once upon a time the fibre of Jute used to give back good return. The price given to farmers used to be pretty high and the young man might have sold a bundle of Jute and return home back with a new bicycle. After popularity of plastic, truly the prices of jute has fallen but not that much that the same fiber gives in return only the token sum of money which in the most cases gives back only the investment. In this cultivation, the bonuses are the Senthi (the woody stem of Jute plants) and the leguminous nitrogen fixed in the soil by the roots. This nitrogen fixed is helpful to grow the next crop of paddy. For the helpless small farmers the thought of considerable profit is out of thought.

Even knowing all these, every agrestic migrant like to touch the moon in the distant land without uttering a single word, mesmerizes me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Selling magazines @ Sellable item

Last week, a popular national read magazine conducted so called all India survey on urban single women and sex. The book shops already sold integral times of the copies over normal circulation, in a rough estimate. Most of the stalls might have a shortfall too. In that particular issue, my current affairs topics were only two in numbers, that too not very important, I could not feel the need to buy the issue after paying Rs. 5 more than the earlier issues.

The changing lifestyle of urban people was studied. The magazine discussed the matter with the celebrities frankly (whether they did voluntarily or well paid, I don't know). Of course some politics was also played on the statements of celebrities in some regions.

For lakhs of readers the issue might have been a source of information. Let's see whether the magazine has the same concern to publicise the recent laws which state the making internal commitees to look-after sufferings of women at the unsafe workplaces and implementaion of section 12, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23 and the non boilable section 31 which safeguards the sanctity of household women from other members of the family. Being a national read magazine, which presents various national issues well, I shall like to suggest them to take consideration of the millions of passive partners living in the rural India too and to check about the reality about the baby making machines and bonded labourers.

What surprised me was, the way the marketing and advertisement was done for that particular issue in a planned way to increase the popularity of the magazine as well the price from the issue onwards. In marketing point of view, the time when FDI on foreign print media is going to be up to 74%, the strategy of company is not bad. The soaps of saas-bahus and sleazy remix songs all are doing the same thing, using the specific sex as commodity to sell more commodities like detergent, paste and shampoos of MNCs.

Who is being liberated: the common women or the economy of media companies?

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Sound of Silence

Yesterday morning, sipping the Darjeeling tea in the Netaji Cabin, again I saw another rally passing by the road. The rallies are common site in Siliguri, the down town of Darjeeling. Usually Bengalis are very adept with carrying out processions for their demand. The leader shouts and the followers mostly repeat last few words. The processions are carried in long queues. It also has a significant number of ladies too, which may be ostentatious display of equality or just a passive mass. Of course the bhadralok (gentleman) as well as bhadramohila (gentlewomen) voices become loud when it’s congregated.

But yesterday, the congregation of protesters was not even mewing, which surprised me. Like any other roadside person, I could not deliberately read about the demands on the moving placard at the first glance. The placard holders were mostly school level students. Soon I got clear when I saw the madams walking in between two queues were talking with the students in symbolic languages.

It was “the rally of deaf and dumb”

This integral part of society which has limited means of communication needed to bring out a rally, to make their voices be heard, was an uncomfortable shock to me.

The diplomats, who are already deaf and dumb towards the common man problems, that’s why they use blare of loudspeakers and thumps of punches in air in the processions. Their action can be justified to open up the earplugs and beam into sunglasses of languid officials, it’s okay. For that particular rally, neither shall I like pontification on my side, nor unctuous sympathy on their handicap. But I wonder, whether those deaf and dumb officials turn blind too and avoid seeing the speaking placards, which have basic demands of human rights.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Monsoon Sojourn

The sunrise and sunset,
Were as usual.

Once, when he stopped,
On the sideways.

Suddenly heavy winds arrived,
Took him to sky.

Into shapeless clouds,
That rained for sure,

Rained in the meadows,
For a dormant sleep.

Shaken by the sailor,
He got up.

Tired and Hungry,
Fed by the sailor.

Three pieces of bread.
And spare butter.

Like thousands other, he jumped down,
Into the pious lap.

Well-wishers, be thou cheer,
He landed there.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The useful plants of home garden -1

There have been autochthonous medicine practices in rural society, which uses herbs to heal the ailments and can be used as cosmetics too. There are credible facts that the geographical regions, which contain most prevailing diseases/problems also naturally grow the respective herbs to cure the same. There are many of them which can be grown in household pots too. Many of them can be excellent decorative plant also.

Aloe - Vera
Aloe Vera's (Ghritkumari ) thick big leafs makes it a distinct looking decorative plant in house garden. The leaves contain pulp which can be used as an excellent moisturizer. The pulp is colourless, odourless and feels slippery. The pulp dissolves with the skin immediately. To use it, cut out half a inch of the leaf and take out the inside pulp to moisten the skin of the washed and dry face. Apart from keeping “any kind of skin” glowing, this natural moisturizer is absolutely safe to use. Rosy effect If your garden have rose plant, take out few petals from the side of the roses and squeeze out the juice to mix with the Aloe-Vera pulp on the palm before applying on the skin. You can immediately feel the coolness and fragrance over the skin for the day long.

Thanda effect

Aloe-Vera is an excellent coolant too. Many of the elderly person, who may feel several headache or hotness over the head, may apply the pulp on the head and feel the cooling effect. Among our garden pots, once a construction labour identified the Aloe-Vera bushes. He had been searching for it for several months for his ailing wife with head-ache. He requested for a part of the leaf. Like many others he was cordially thankful to the plant.

It can be planted like any other common flower plant. A little sapling after maturing augments several buds. Once successfully planted, the Aloe-Vera does not require much care except regular water ( but not daily). It's good if you can change the soil of the pot once in a year. My Maa's enthusiasm with the Aaurvedic medicines and my affinity with such plants helped to grow several Medicinal plants including the Aloe-Vera bushes in our small garden, which contain kilos of moisturizer pulp !