If you want to understand how to become better allies to people with disabilities, then join us at Embracing All Abilities: Including People with Disabilities at Work.
Early today morning, I was unable to sleep any longer and instead of tossing and turning in bed, decided to go down to the beach. On the way, I saw a woman squatting – and going about her morning business. Yes, not a pleasant sight first thing in the morning, and indeed, the first thought that came to me was, why does she have to do this in full public view, on a brightly lit street? Can’t she go to a more secluded corner?
The next instant, I realised how strongly my privilege was speaking. The privilege of always having had a clean bathroom to use; the privilege of being able to pop into a coffee shop or fast food joint just to use the loo, knowing that even if I didn’t buy anything, my good clothes would get me by.
The shameful thing about what I saw this morning was not that I had to see this woman defecating in public view – the shameful thing was that 60 years after independence, this Indian woman, like thousands of others, has no access to safe, clean and private sanitation facilities. As for why she chose to squat in the glare of a street lamp, perhaps it was safer than going to a dark corner in the pre-sunrise morning, where god knows what creepy-crawlies could be lurking.
It’s also true that in this city, like every other city, public toilets are totally inadequate for the large low-income population who don’t have toilets, nor do they address safety concerns.
None of this is news to most of us, and yet, it rarely impinges on our consciousness. Why? Have you ever considered why we don’t see poor women freely using the streets to urinate or defecate, the way men do? The answer is, because they don’t. They hold it in until late night or early morning, so that they can have a little dignity left to them. They risk urinary infection and bear discomfort. THAT is why we don’t see them.
And as for me, I had no business judging her or wrinkling up my nose. Women’s access to sanitation (and thereby, freedom to travel, work and live in safety) has been an integral part of the women’s movement in India, and the need for it was brought to me forcefully today morning.
More information here at the India Sanitation Portal
Founder & Chief Editor of Women's Web, Aparna believes in the power of ideas and conversations to create change. She has been writing since she was ten. In another life, she used to be read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
As parents, we put a piece of our hearts out into this world and into the custody of the teachers at school and tuition and can only hope and pray that they treat them well.
Trigger Warning: This speaks of physical and emotional violence by teachers, caste based abuse, and contains some graphic details, and may be triggering for survivors.
When I was in Grade 10, I flunked my first preliminary examination in Mathematics. My mother was in a panic. An aunt recommended the Maths classes conducted by the Maths sir she knew personally. It was a much sought-after class, one of those classes that you signed up for when you were in the ninth grade itself back then, all those decades ago. My aunt kindly requested him to take me on in the middle of the term, despite my marks in the subject, and he did so as a favour.
Math had always been a nightmare. In retrospect, I wonder why I was always so terrified of math. I’ve concluded it is because I am a head in the cloud person and the rigor of the step by step process in math made me lose track of what needed to be done before I was halfway through. In today’s world, I would have most probably been diagnosed as attention deficit. Back then we had no such definitions, no such categorisations. Back then we were just bright sparks or dim.
When Jaya Bachchan speaks her mind in public she is often accused of being brusque and even abrasive. Can we think of her prodigious talent and all the bitter pills she has had to swallow over the years?
A couple of days ago, a short clip of a 1998 interview of Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan resurfaced on social media. In this episode of the Simi Grewal chat show, at about the 23-minute mark, Jaya lists her husband’s priorities: one, parents, two kids, then wife. Then she corrects herself: his profession – and perhaps someone else – ranks above her as a wife.
Amitabh looks visibly uncomfortable at this unstated but unambiguous reference to his rather well-publicised affair with co-star Rekha back in the day.
Watching the classic film Abhimaan some years ago, one scene really stayed with me. It was something Brajeshwarlal (David’s character) says in troubled tones during the song tere mere milan ki yeh raina. He says something to the effect that Uma (Jaya Bhaduri’s character) is more talented than Subir (Amitabh Bachchan’s character) and that this was a problem since society teaches us that men are superior to women.
Please enter your email address