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December 4, 2009

What is intriguing about signboards from Pune (Puneri Patya) is that they are so explicit! If there is something that can make people laugh it’s the absolute truth told in no uncertain terms. But one cannot help wondering if these signs actually work!

Take a look at this signboard for instance. It says:


And this one says:


There are people who use the toilets carelessly and the next one one spells it out for them, although in a sarcastic manner. It says:



The fact that signs extorting people to be clean are becoming frequent is a good thing as it means that people are becoming increasingly conscious about keeping their washroom areas well maintained. It’s a change from days past. I remember when we were in college we had to search for a decent hotel if we wanted to use the loo, as the college loos were too filthy. Traveling by bus anywhere was a big problem as it was difficult to even step inside the toilet. Today I find that at bus stations one finds not one but dozens of toilets in a row and yes they are reasonably clean. Even train toilets are much cleaner. Sure, this change has not taken place all over India, as poor children in municipal schools still have no place to go. There is a top South Mumbai college with filthy toilets as well. So the lack of funds is not always the reason. It’s the lack of will. On a recent trip to Matheran we found that the toilets at the parking lot (where you have to park your car before climbing up to Matheran, which takes about an hour) were stinking and filthy and impossible to use. However, there is a noticeable change in commercial complexes and on important travel routes. Providing toilets makes good business sense I guess.

While there is an improvement in infrastructure, old habits die hard. Recently while traveling from Pune to Mumbai we had stopped at a washroom along the highway and saw a busload of passengers troop out. About half a dozen men from the bus got down and headed straight for a row of thick bushes. I was a bit puzzeled, thinking that perhaps some accident had taken place. It never ocurred to me that they might be going there to pee, as the washroom was just a few feet away and a clean one that too! But these shameless people stood in a regimented row with their backs to a row of parked cars and did their business. If it wasn’t so disgusting it would have been funny! We were sitting in our car munching on a burger but had to pull out. We have stopped parking there nowadays. Perhaps a shop-keeper should put up a signboard there. It could say in Marathi: Hya jhadanna pani dilela ahe. krupaya andkheen tras karun gheu naka

These people have decided to be aggressive, but in a sarcastic way!
The sign says:



A change in attitude might be visible when it comes to toilets but there are some attitudes which do not show any sign of changing! Prudishness for instance! The sign says:


The Rain Dance itself maybe culturally new to India, but there are certain rules to be adhered to!! Not that I knew that one took off one’s clothes during the rain dance! The sign says:


And here is a piece of advise for those “errant” boys and girls who dare to cross the line! I wonder if anyone has been caught!

I like the following one the best. I think the shop-keeper was fed up giving directions to people, but I really doubt that the sign deterred anybody! The sign says:


Considering that he tagged on another sign shows that his sign hadn’t really worked. He had underestimated the innate curiosity of Indians! He must have been forced to add a second part:


The sign below is not a Pune sign, but one which I discovered while surfing the net. It is from a site called and like the Puneri Patya is quite frank and funny.

Hope you enjoyed these Patyas as much as I did! And for any lapse in translation, I apologize.

(All photographs are from Puneri Patya except an imaginary one which I made myself, the one in red with a white background and ofcourse the last one)

Related Viewing:
This is another post on Puneri Patya: Pune signboards (Puneri Patya)
This is a post on some Funny Signs which I’ve spotted
This is a picture of A funny battered car which was still being driven around the city and these guys actually waved at me when I took their picture with my cell phone!
These are Bal Thackeray’s election campaign ads which should be serious, but are funny instead!
These signs are not funny, but are Interesting signs from Europe


Sex Surveys and research tell us how badly India needs sex education

December 1, 2009

Call it teen marriage or  “legal” teenage sex, but what it results is in teenage pregnancy. It underlines the need for sex education in India, more so than in other countries. Half of India’s women marry before the age of 18 and about 18 percent are married even before the age of 15! Even if they want to, these young girls and their young inexperienced husbands cannot always prevent pregnancies. One wonders how much they know about sex, contraceptives, or the bad health effects of pregnancy on young teens.

Despite all this staring at it in the face India shows little signs of shedding its conservatism about sexual matters. Survey after survey, year after year, tells us that the majority of young Indians get their sex education from friends and from porn.

A  recent global survey confirms that only 52 percent of Indians felt that there is “enough” advice and information available on sex. One is not sure whether people from rural India are included in this survey, but the lack of information is bound to be worse there.

The survey showed that most Indians rely on their friends (59 per cent) for sexual knowledge, followed by magazines (58 per cent). The internet is also one of the major sources of information among those who have received sex education (60) and who have not (46). Books are another major source of information for Indians.

Only 18 percent said they had recieved any sort of guidance from their parents.

The survey also revealed that almost half of the men interviewed did not use condoms regularly. Out of this group, 24.3 percent never use condoms at all, while 4.5 percent don’t do so because they say the women bear the contraceptive burden. Others say they use condoms only occasionally.

A four-year study on 500 students, by MAMTA, has indicated that sex education can be very useful in not just improving the health of young girls but also in controlling the birth rate. Four schools in Haryana participated in this study (2004), two in urban Rewari, and two in rural Bawal. After they received the sex education classes, as many as 78 percent of the rural girls and 33 percent of the urban girls said that they would “decline sex without a condom”. Before the classes, only about 5 percent of the rural schoolgirls and 10 percent of the urban ones had any awareness of condoms.

Hypocrisy pervades our government as it kow tows to those who are against sex education. People who feel that children turning to pornography for information, or teenage pregnancies or child abuse is the lesser evil. Recently, an article in the Guardian, UK, expressed its bafflement over India’s stand on sex education. It quoted a parliamentary committee saying that India’s “social and cultural ethos are such that sex education has absolutely no place in it.” This despite damning statistics which tell us of the high rate of teenage pregnancies, and high rate of child sex abuse.

I will end this post from a quote from the Guardian article by Anindita Sengupta in which she gives her reasons as to why India has puritanical and hypocritical attitude towards sex:

…it has its roots in deep-seated emotions that are closely entangled with centuries of religious and cultural mores. Leaders from Buddha to Gandhi demonised sex, it was seen as something evil or dirty, something to be avoided, controlled or condemned. Add to that elements of prudish patriarchy, peevish ignorance and paranoid imaginings about cultural colonisation and you have a mess of dysfunctional views with regard to sex.

Related Reading: Indian youth get their knowledge of sex mostly from friends, porno films and “self-reading”
Sex education in schools can help counter the ill effects of porn
Dating does (and should) lead to marraige say teens
We don’t like talking about sex
Teenage Sex on the sly
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Improvements in security arrangements in India after 26/11 (Mumbai Terror Attacks)

November 26, 2009

This post is in response to some comments I received on the post I wrote on the Mumbai Terror Attacks yesterday. The comments seemed to express a thought that there is no hope, that India is India, that India will never improve, that nothing will never improve. I don’t go by this. And I just want to jot down a few changes that have taken place in the past year which I hope will help India become more secure. Sure a lot of things have not improved, but here I am listing the things which have.

1) We have a new Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram, and he has brought in a lot of changes and new initiatives. As this news article says:

Fully utilizing the free hand, Chidambaram has helped in creating a feeling of urgency among various security agencies, intelligence agencies, state police and paramilitary forces, besides resorting to certain legislative actions like strengthening the Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act and creation of the National Investigative Agency.

I believe this because I have been following Chidambaram’s moves, and he is far better than his predecessor Patil.
A lot of initiatives of his have been listed in the article, like acquiring of weapons, improvements in the law and order situation in Kashmir, increased efficacy of the intelligence agencies.  There is more cooperation between US Intelligence, the FBI and India.
2) Force One, Maharashtra’s “elite security force designed on the lines of the National Security Guard (NSG)” has been commissioned a few days ago.
3) Arms purchase has increased in India. Not just in Maharashtra but by the central government, and the Army too.
4) The Navy is also beefing up on infrastructure to protect India from the sea. From aircraft to boats, to the numerical strength of personnel is all being increased.
5) Vacancies in the Maharashtra police, which were at 230,567 on January 1, 2008 are now down to less than 150,000. The central government has ordered that this deficit be brought down further, and infact brought down to zero by March 2010.
6) A 20 per cent increase in the budget for Coast Guard vessels. Manpower is also being increased.
7) The Maharashtra government has set aside Rs 150 Crore to buy speed boats this last June.
8] The government has opened four NSG hubs in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai, each having a strength of 241 personnel.
9) NSG will now be better mobilized:

That time lag of Nov 26, 2008 when the National Security Guards (NSG) took about five hours to take up position to combat India’s worst terror attack will never be repeated, promises chief of the elite commando force N.P.S. Aulakh. “We lost time during the Mumbai serial attacks. But things have changed and now we can take up any challenge within just 30 minutes of notice and that too anywhere,’ NSG Director General N.P.S. Aulakh told IANS in an exhaustive interview.

For more details you can check the link.
10) I also think that our media could have learnt a few lessons, although I am not sure about it.

This is not an exhaustive list. Just a few points which tell us that our government is doing something. Its not as if nothing has happened after 26/11/2008. Things have happened, some things have been planned, and more will be done. Things cannot change overnight that is for sure but I think there has been an improvement, as the facts show. One hopes that there is better preparedness next time.

Remembering 26/11 – the Mumbai Terror Attacks

November 25, 2009

Tomorrow is the first death anniversary of those who died in the Mumbai Terror Attacks. A reader sent me this video, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Dan Reed which I thought worth posting here. Clicking on the link will take you to the video.

Reed has done a brilliant job. Without saying it in so many words he has shown the terror and helplessness of innocent people, the ineptness of the police response, the crazed minds of the cold blooded killers who contaminated and bruised our Indian soil. He has also showed the VT attack in a fair amount of detail. He has not blamed or told. He has just shown – like any good filmmaker would.

What amazed me while watching the video was the number of times the gunmen talked of “God”. In almost every sentence they uttered God’s name. And it sent a chill through me to hear the Pakistani handlers urging the gunmen to kill while the telephone was on so that they could hear the shots and the screams. The handlers and the killers should all be in a mental asylum, locked up forever, given food only through a hole. No living thing should ever touch these “its”. Locked up not to seek revenge, but simply because this much evil needs to be locked up so that it doesn’t harm any other living thing. These killers are not human. As Kasab says, his instructions were to kill at anything that moved, all people. Just people.

This is not a new video, but I had not seen it before. And if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a see. It encapsulates the Mumbai attacks quite well without moralising, without too much gore, and the Police Dispatches reveal what actually happened, “hour by hour, from the perspective of the security forces, the terrorists, their masterminds and the victims”.

It is tragic that today, one year after 26/11, the names of the people responsible for procuring defective bullet proof jackets for the police are not known. Which politician and policeman made the deal? And even one year after 26/11 we do not know the names of those who were responsible for the confusion in the Mumbai police force at the time. No one took charge. After one year are we any closer to knowing WHO is responsible?

All that we know is that the Chief Minister of Maharashtra at the time Vilasrao Deshmukh was kicked upstairs, given a plum job for his “loyalty” to the party. RR Patil, the Home Minister got his job back, and as for the top cops, the bickering and the blame game goes on…

So many died in vain, but not a single person has taken responsibility for the carnage. We need to mourn the dead, but we also need to ask for the answers. It is the top cops and the politicians who are to blame. For the lack of coordination and action. It is really pathetic and in really bad taste to see television channels blast the foot soldiers. Try and shame those poor unequipped men who had rifles that were rusted, men who ran helter skelter because they had no leader to direct them. Men who weren’t even sure where the terrorists were, how many there were, what they were up to. Even in these circumstances there was a poor man called Tukaram Omble who grabbed Kasab’s machine gun with his bare hands and took the bullets. Facing an enemy with proper weapons, proper armour, and a proper leader may require bravery, but facing an enemy without any of these things means heroism of a superhuman kind. The foot soldiers in Mumbai had nothing. If some of them ran, let us not blame them.

Related Reading: Terrorism – citizens need answers!
Some tips from someone caught in the Mumbai terror attacks
War not an option after the Mumbai terror attacks
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The Indian government’s green channel for the corrupt

November 24, 2009

The government of India allows corruption. How else could it have become the scourge that it has today? The Prime Minister may be thinking of removing a happy clause in the law, happy for the thieves that is. A clause supposedly put there to protect public servants from wrongful harassment which blatantly helps crooks.

Government departments and ministries have been misusing a constitutional provision (Article 311) in which the CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) has to seek prosecution sanction from the government before beginning a formal probe against allegedly corrupt officials.

This law has a colonial tint. A seed planted then used by our own lawmakers during the drafting of the anti-corruption act. The clause has opened a floodgate for the corrupt with scores of officials escaping prosecution because of it. No one wants seems to have the will to get rid of it. At least not our elected representatives.

A politician suspected of corruption simply pulls a few strings and the recommendations of the Central Vigilance Commission (that a person should be prosecuted) is ignored!  In other words the government has laid out a red carpet for the thieves.

The facts and figures read like a horror story. Since 2004, in almost a thousand cases, the government ignored the findings of the CVC. In some cases, the accused have been “exonerated” without proper inquiry! You name the ministry and you can be sure that it has disregarded the advice given by the CVC, at some point of time. Whether it’s the Indian Railways or the Municipal corporations of different cities, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry or the Department of Telecom, public sector companies like the Delhi Development Authority or Oil India Ltd. And this is counting just those who were caught.

The funny thing is that the Supreme Court has interpreted the law differently! It has said twice, once last year and once this year, that the CVC need not take the sanction of the government to prosecute. It can go ahead on its own!

Supreme Court today ruled that prior sanction was not required for the prosecution of public servants, including chief ministers and ministers in corruption cases…

Apparently, sanction need not be taken if the wrongdoers do their thieving while on duty. I am not sure what that means, because don’t they all do it during the course of their duty? So what is this, another loophole? What is a layman to make of it? How much more confusing does the government want it to be?

The CVC should just quote this Supreme Court judgment and go ahead with the prosecution don’t you think? But if it doesn’t, it means that there are some factors are play that are not known.

The judiciary does not have a clean record in any case. I found a shocking report which says that in 1991 some Supreme court judges had passed an order that “the Chief Justice’s permission was mandatory for the filing of even a first information report (FIR) against any Judge of the High Courts and the Supreme Court.”  The Bench said this even though they “accepted [that] the sanctioning authority for prosecution was none other than the President of India.” Despite accepting this, the judges said that the President “shall act in accordance with advice given by the Chief Justice of India”. Hopefully this order is gathering dust somewhere. Or is it? What is the procedure for prosecuting of a judge? From what I have read, there was a case where a judge was accused and it was the judiciary itself which which set up a committee to look into the matter. I think the CVC should have a say in this, not just the judiciary. The CVC should have  the authority to be part of the inquiry commission which decides whether judges should be prosecuted or not.

There was a recent case of the cash-in-bag scam (Punjab and Haryana high courts) and suspicion fell on  justice Nirmal Yadav for accepting around 15 lakhs as a bribe. The CBIhandled the case but while the CBI (department) said there was sufficient evidence for her prosecution, the CBI head opposed it! Can anything be more pathetic? He said there was not enough evidence, and he sent his opinion to the attorney general (AG) of India. Guess what? Charges were dropped.

All in all, our corrupt government officials are looting the country or the public, and the government is giving them its blessings.

Related Reading: Indians believe their judiciary to be tainted
Why Mayawati’s assets are not a problem for the Indian government
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Test Your Global IQ

November 20, 2009

What is your knowledge about global affairs, particularly in relation to India? I re-did some Pew quiz questions to suit India. The format is the same, but the questions are now India centered. So take the plunge and check your global IQ!

The answers to the questions are given below. It’s an upside down image. Save it and rotate it on your pc to get the correct answers. Most of the answers are from surveys carried out by Pew research and some are from news sources. All answers are subject to the limitations thereof.

After checking the answers what did you find out about your global IQ? I scored six on ten.

Read all posts based on Research Surveys
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What Asian countries think of America

Wishing and Hoping…My Bucket List – (Tag)

November 18, 2009

I was tagged by Minal, a new blog friend. She has tagged me to write my wish list. And my done list. So here it is guys and girls, and it’s not long,  but more or less encapsulates my life. I have done tags and memes before, but of late have been a quite lazy about them.  This one I did as it didn’t require much work!  🙂

My Bucket List:


1) I cannot help but start with what Minal has written, because it is on my agenda too. I do it off and on, but it’s always cooking on burning hot coals, and it’s the thing I am going to devote a certain part of my life to it. Social Service for Kids.

2) I  want to never ever stop working, and by that I mean writing and doing whatever I do, till the day I die. I pray that my body keeps up with my mind.

3) I need to finish my books. I have written a thriller and about 500 pages of the first draft are done. Unfortunately for the last two years I have not edited it and made it into a cohesive whole. I have also written a skeletal second book (psychological thrillier), plus a concept idea for a book on palmistry. I plan to finish these projects in the next 3-4 years. Just waiting for an important personal commitment to be over first. My day to day activities  are eating up my time right now.

4) I love to travel, and want to keep seeing new places, keep meeting new people.

5) I want to improve on my “tech-ing” abilities. I am not as hopeless as I was when I first started blogging three years ago, but I want to hone up on this skill a bit. I am being very patient with myself.

6) I love my blog and I hope I keep meeting wonderful people through it.


1) I found the love of my life, my soul mate.

2) I’ve been a good mother to my two daughters. I feel happy at the way they have turned out. I am content that I spent time with them when they were growing up. I am proud that I worked hard as a mom. I have done what I loved in my life, been a mother and a writer although there is a long long way to go where my writing is concerned. And yes, even as a mother. I will never cease to be a mom.

3) My friends are like jewels on a necklace that I wear in my heart. They keep my heart warm and bright.

4) I have never hurt any person consciously in my whole life. I love human beings and see the positive in them.

5) I have worked full time in the best organisations in India and free-lanced for the best and am now  getting sick of this job!

6) I have also managed to write a decent blog. I have been true to it. I have helped people.

7) I have kept my mind healthy. This means that I do not harbour hateful or revengeful thoughts. I am not a bitter person and I do not have any guilt or any emotional burden. I can easily forgive and forget and love. But it’s not just my mind, I have managed to keep my body healthy. That takes hard work too, to ensure a nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle. I don’t like to do physical exercise but I force myself to exercise.

8] I have traveled and enjoyed every bit of it. However many more places I need to go to!

(I think these lists are probably not complete, and therefore I will keep adding as I remember, but the major stuff is here.)

The first person I thought to tag was Sahaja, as she is just back from a blogging holiday. The others whom I tag are Nimmy,  Smitha, Kanagu, Rambler, sraboneyghose, Vishesh, and Soham. Would be quite interested to know what their life goals are.