Tag Archives: child


This one is from the archives. This poem holds a special meaning for me because of two reasons:

  • It was recognized by UNICEF as a literary piece spreading awareness about child abuse, specifically that of the girl child.
  • It introduced me to my life partner — this was the first piece of my writing he encountered and was touched enough to drop me a line. The rest, as they say, is history.

This poem is based on the right of a child to be protected from abuse and exploitation. I have not titled this poem because I want the readers to feel that just as a poem is incomplete without its title, childhood is incomplete without protection from the law.

Dark brown eyes that are red because of crying,
All hopes of escape and freedom are dying;

Clothes have been torn, hair is a tangled mess,
The face has lost all its childishness;
Hands and feet show marks of the whip,
Blood flows down from the cracked, parched lips;
Since the past three days no food has been eaten,
Her faith in God stands totally beaten.

Only seventy-two hours have passed since the time
There was laughter in life and bright sunshine
There were mother, father, and a lovely baby brother…
So what if they lived in a hut near the gutter?
There was dearth of money and they couldn’t eat well
But life was peaceful, and who had thought of such hell?

Loving neighbors, all sweepers by profession,
Who cared, but were financially in depression.
City life was expensive and father wanted the best for his son,
So he came up with an idea that would give him returns;
The very next day he came wearing a new coat,
In his hands he held hundred rupees’ ten crisp notes;
Life changed its course from that very moment
But there was no thunder, no lightning in the firmament!

The door creaked open and light illuminated the room
That hulk of a man, that lubber, spelled doom…
The message was to ask her if she was ready to come,
A customer was waiting — his fear made her numb;
But she was too tired to resent any longer,
Moreover, the louts were much, much stronger,
They washed her clean and gave her a dress
How she looked, is anybody’s guess.
She was led to a room where she would spend the rest of her life,
A girl of twelve followed by a lecherous man of thirty-five…




Filed under Personal

Gift for your baby girl: a breastfeeding doll

Yesterday, a friend forwarded a Huffington Post slideshow of the seven most inappropriate toys for children.

I was appalled, needless to say, but one that had me going “No way!” at the top of my lungs was this particular product: The Bebé Glotón breastfeeding doll.

Who in their right minds would buy a four-year-old girl a toy that teaches her to breastfeed??????? It’s absolutely atrocious!

And wait till you hear the tagline: “Because you shouldn’t have to wait until you have breasts before you start breastfeeding your baby!”


And just as soon as you develop those mammary glands, go ahead — have a baby. So what if you’re a teenager? You already know how to breastfeed if nothing else!

Is that what we want to teach our little girls? Have babies, breastfeed them and fulfill your mission on earth!!!??!!

I don’t understand how or why the manufacturers can get away with something like this.

Growing up, I never played with utensils or Barbie dolls — instead I got board games and Lego building blocks, but I saw the gender stereotyping where other girls my age would play a nurse or housewife and the boys would play doctors or engineers.

But this takes it to whole new level of ridiculous!

I don’t know if it’s advertised to be an “educational” toy but even if it is, isn’t four years a bit too young to be focusing on having kids and what your yet-to-be-developed breasts can biologically do? And it assumes that the little girl will grow up and want kids! And then breastfeed them!

What kind of education is that?

According to the comments in this San Francisco Chronicle report, these dolls were a huge success with sales hitting the roof and the supplies going out-of-stock within a month.

I really don’t see how this is appropriate, especially for this target age group. Do you?

Thoughts? Comments? Reactions? Outrage?



Filed under Personal

More in sickness than in health

As I lie in bed coughing, battling body ache, and trying to kill that monster playing ping-pong in my head with Advil, I think of mom and dad.Twenty years ago, I’d be smothered with care and affection. Soup, fruit, hot meals, sponge baths, loving fingers caressing my messy hair … needs met before I even had the chance to articulate them.

It was good to be a child. Even better being an only child. Not that I was pampered … but I could revel in undivided attention. I was the queen of the house. Mom would deny me the title by saying “little princess” instead, but both of us knew.

I wasn’t one of those sturdy,healthy, bouncing babies. More of the wimpy, frail, sickly bambino requiring a lot of nurturing. From what I remember of my childhood, I was sick every time the weather changed 15 degrees; every time we came back from vacation; every time I was around other sick kids. My immunity was always taking a beating from an assortment of viruses and bacteria. I was used to downing pills and syrups, sticking the thermometer in my armpit or mouth depending on the age, and called our family physician, “Dr. Uncle.” Still do.

Teenage years were a tad better, although they were fraught with their own set of mental anguish.

And then came those two years in Iowa City where it hit me for the first time what being sick by oneself really meant. If I needed food, I had to get up myself and make it. Water? Plan ahead. Keep a bottle next to the sleeping bag I called my bed. Medicine? Trudge slowly to the bus stop, haul myself on the bus, go to the clinic, then the pharmacy, and drag my sorry feet back home.

Amid classes, midterms, a foreign country, and many acquaintances but no real friends, falling sick in the first semester was a real eye-opener. I missed my parents a LOT then.

And I miss them today — despite my loving, caring husband, who makes the best daal-chaaval when I’m sick; and friends whom I can count on for anything … I miss my parents’ devoted caregiving. And even though I say this, I know that if they were here today, I’d be acting all grown up and adult-like refusing to be taken care of. “It’s just a sore throat and some body ache, ma,” I’d say refusing her repeated requests to stay still in bed and keep the laptop away. “Stop treating me like a baby!”

If only that were true…


Better will my “adult” body into going downstairs and fixing some lunch now.


Filed under Personal