Wednesday, November 26, 2014

To where it all began!

Uprooted from home
Planted into a new abode,
New faces, new places
New experiences galore.

Far from home, adjusting to the place
Every person around a foreign face
Days progressed, but life – standstill
Weeks and months and years to kill.

Children born and raised and fed
Every little need was met,
An emptiness still haunted her mind
Oh won’t the universe be kind?

Life had passed, the end now near
Made a wish, she shed a tear
A journey to home she must commute
Life spent uprooted, in death she’d find her root.


This is a work of fiction written for a Writing Challenge theme ‘Digging for Roots’.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Eat whatever you want!

I was sipping Assam tea while enjoying my favourite freshly-baked walnut brownie made by my sister Simran. The doorbell was answered by her maid and a miniature storm invaded the room as my 6-year-old nephew zoomed inside. He dropped the school bag on the sofa, kicked-off his shoes and socks, got rid of his neck-tie and then with an innocent smile, quietly sneaked into the kitchen.

Moments later, sporting a grin that extended as far back as his ears, he seated himself on the chair next to mine with a big bowl of strawberry-banana ice-cream.

‘Whoa!’ I exclaimed as I raised my eyebrows and stole a glance at Simran. She smiled back placidly at him.

I couldn’t stay quiet. ‘It’s raining outside Adi. Wouldn’t you rather have some hot chocolate milk with a sandwich or something?’

‘Come on mausi’, he made a face at me.

I turned to Simran in hope ‘You must not allow him to eat all this during this weather Simmi. What if he falls ill? My neighbour’s daughter is down with viral fever since a week and she’s gotten so weak.’

Simran teased me with her twinkling eyes, ‘He’s got a magic wand to protect him. Something like a secret potion. Only that it’s not a secret anymore.’

I was beginning to feel as if this was some conspiracy being played out by the mother and son while I was the silent spectator. What’s worse is that I was really feeling worried that Aditya might catch a cold soon. He was close to emptying the bowl of the yummy ice-cream. 

Noticing my restlessness, Simran came and hugged me from behind as she put my worry to rest ‘Didi, I give him Dabur Chyawanprash every day. You obviously know about this time-tested, age-old formulation for good immunity, right?’

‘Yes, I’ve heard about it but does it really improve a child’s immunity?’

‘Of course didi. Thanks to the goodness of a number of herbs and 40 natural ingredients, it actually strengthens the body’s defenses and protects against illnesses.’

I was still skeptical as I recalled my neighbour’s daughter, ‘But does that mean you allow him to eat and drink anything he wants?’

‘Didi. I have seen it work and that’s what makes me resolute about its efficacy. Do you even remember the last time Adi fell ill? Previously, he would keep catching cold every now and then from kids in his school. But now, things have changed. His health his good.’

I slipped my hand over the corner of the table while muttering ‘touch wood’ to myself. 

She continued, ‘In fact, it’s so often that his friends keep falling ill and he has no one to play with. Hence, I even told his friends’ parents to start them on Dabur Chyawanprash.’

I happened to notice that indeed Aditya seemed to be in good health. ‘If that is the case, I totally trust you, Simran. Go Adi, eat whatever you want!’ I tickled him and his peals of laughter filled the entire room with a wondrous rapture!


This post is a work of fiction for an Indiblogger Campaign ‘A healthy child makes a happy home’

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Not in the open

“If you would have delayed bringing her here, she may not have survived,” saying so, the doctor walked out of the room towards the waiting area. Babli still lay unconscious and severely dehydrated – lips parched, eyes sunken and breathing rapid. The drops of the IV fluid slowly merged into her bloodstream, each drop slowly adding a little more life to her petite body. 

In the hustle and bustle of the town hospital, Babli’s mother – seated on a wooden bench in the waiting area – wiped her tears with the corner of her saree. As Babli’s father and the doctor walked towards her, she stood up – eager to hear that her precious one had survived the severe bout of diarrhoea. 

They had travelled miles from their village to reach this hospital, for the treatment of their only 5-year-old daughter. After exchanging a few questions with them, what the doctor related about her condition came as a shock to Babli’s parents.

‘Your daughter has just survived a severe infection. But do you know this could have been prevented? If only she would have used a toilet instead of defecating in the open.’

‘But everyone does it in the open in our village’, said Babli’s father. 

‘What everyone does may not always be right Ramu. Passing stools in the open contaminates the soil and the water with germs. Kids, when exposed to this, can easily catch infections as well end up with worms in their tummy.’

‘Oh no! I wish we knew this earlier.’

‘Not only that, poor hygiene is one of the leading cause of deaths amongst children. And if you think of it this way – it is an avoidable cause. Can’t we do even this much for our precious ones? Give them better toilet facilities in schools & at home, teach them to wash hands properly after defecating, wash hands before & after eating and keep the surroundings clean.’ 

Ramu stood with his head low as he began to say, ‘Doctor, I cannot thank you enough for saving my daughter’s life. And I make a promise to you and to her today. The promise of better sanitation for my daughter, my whole family and my village too. No child in my village shall die for lack of hygienic toilet facility. I shall speak to my uncle in the Gram Panchayat and take this initiative ahead for the benefit of my entire village.’ 

‘Sure Ramu. In fact, HUL’s flagship sanitation brand ‘Domex’ currently runs the Domex Toilet Academy (DTA) programme for the same reason. They make toilets accessible and affordable for a number of villages. They also help us educate everyone about the benefits of clean toilets and good hygiene. What’s more, they are working hard to build 24,000 toilets in rural areas of India by 2015.
Babli’s mother too added with a sparkle, ‘I will discuss this with all the women of our village and we will pass this knowledge about hygiene to our kids. The school teacher is our friend and she will help us too.’

‘Well done Ramu and Rajjo. I will be proud of you if you can do this. And as far as Babli is concerned, she will be bubbling with joy once again, very soon.’

You too can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to do is ‘click’ on the ‘Contribute Tab’ on this page and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life.

This is my submission for an Indiblogger Campaign #ToiletForBabli