Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Menstruating with Dignity!

Post written for the 'The Idea caravan' contest by Franklin Templeton and

God made man on the 6th day as per the Holy Bible. Sooner, he made woman who would assist him and follow him throughout his life.  That was how men and women were created. Wondering why discussion about men and women?  Right?

There are many differences between men and women and the prime differentiating factor would be the  biological cycle in both. Women's body is fragile and  designed in such a way that she has to undergo monthly changes within her body.A normal girl attains her puberty at the age of 13 ( varies between 11 -15). After this age she has to cope up with monthly changes in her body when the growth  and sex hormones comes into picture.  It is when a girl completely turns into a woman or it can be referred to as her sexual maturity period. The biological clock starts ticking and thus the periodic changes in her body. In India discussing about periods and menses are considered as a taboo. A woman can only discuss such things to her sisters ,mother and her close female friends. Around 70% of people in India live in rural areas. Women in urban regions have access to proper health facilities and sanitation. But the case is completely different in rural regions.  Here women have to deploy different techniques and methods to collect their vaginal discharges in form  of  menstrual blood.  Around 80 % of women in India have access to markets. Most of the household stuffs are purchased by the man of the family. As a result it becomes difficult for women in rural villages to go out and buy such costly sanitary pads. They lack basic menstrual hygiene  which  inturns becomes problematic for them.Many women from  these regions are held back by shame when it comes to basic sanitation. 

 As per recent researches only 14 % women of reproductive ages in India use sanitary methods to manage  the blood flow during their periods.The others  use ragged  clothes,newspapers,tree husks,dried leaves, saw dust, ropes and even ashes during their menstrual period to manage their hygiene.  Around 20 - 30 % of women suffer from different  health disorders because of such unhygienic practices to manage their periods.One should know that there are large number of health issues which is directly or indirectly attributed to improper sanitation during menstrual cycle.Diseases like severe urinary tract infections,gonococcal infections,septicaemia,vulval irriation and itching can lead to many severe complications like abortions,infertility and even death. Any developing nation has to address the problem of sanitation. Women among the younger groups needs to be educated and only then they could find a solution to such issues. Proper education and sanitation facilities are the need for the hour. Women shouldn't ignore health  issues resulting as a result of improper sanitation.  Women should be educated  about self hygiene care and health awareness should be created amongst people in rural areas.By ignoring these issues we are just killing so many generations.  Women should be aware of all these issues and its high time they should face and handle such things. There should be access to cost effective sanitary measures in form of sanitary pads and other means to manage menstural problems. Since, a large chunk of people live below poverty line in India and the rural side suffers a lot. There are women who lack basic amenities and aforementioned they should be addressed. These impacts a women's dignity as well.Not most women from the rustic villages afford expensive sanitary pads  which costs around Rs 10 per pad. Due to poverty and family issues, they resort to using cheap products or any other alternatives to manage their menstrual discharges.

Mr. Arunachalam Muruganatham is a local entrepreneur from Coimbatore who  had an innovative approach to address these issues that women face. The main problems for women from rural areas include access to the expensive sanity pads.  He had an amazing solution which provided easy access to sanitation facility for women. He made cost effective sanitary pads which benefited most of the women in villages. He researched and worked on to create sanitary napkin to make sure that it proved handy to the needy women. He invented his own machine which  is used to create simple sanitary napkin  at a lower price. The pads made using his machines would be sold at a lower price than those produced using high equipped machineries. Aforementioned, a single sanitary pad is sold at Rs 6 but the one produced from Arunachalams machine is sold at  Rs 1.5. Thus it is cost effective and makes it easy for women in rural villages. This machines operates on a small scale and helps to offer good hygiene, dignity and empowerment to the underpriveliged women in our country. I appreciate the efforts Arunachalam put in creating the product. In our country where women find it difficult to share their menstrual stories to men, Arunachalam rendered help from his sisters and his wife to seek feedback about his product. He also sought help from few college students but all his attempts to set up a concrete stable  product seemed futile during his product research phase because of the taboo which I mentioned above. He tested the sanitary product on himself by using  animal blood to check the effectiveness of his product. He later went on to set up Jaishree industries which markets these machines to rural women all over India.Thus contributing to  women empowerment and to improve their quality of life. His efforts and commitments has won him several awards and accolades. He even received an award from the President of India for his innovative solutions and contribution to women empowerment in rural parts of India. He has been giving out his machines to women  on a non profit basis to help improve their life.Through his innovative approach and solutions Arunachalam has not only helped the  rural women in India but also changed their lifestyle. There are many  women praising his product and feel comfortable with it as they no longer use the unhygienic methods to collect menstrual bloods.He talks of living a meaningful life. What is the first step in nearing a solution is to find a   problem itself. His inspiring words can motivate anyone and by this any can find a solution to a problem with alternative  and innovative approach. 

Check the TEDx video below  by the man himself.


The Solitary Writer is a blog which started as a hobby.Here you will find stories, poems, satirical posts, humour, photography and almost everything. This blog is the alter ego of a Technical guy who loves to be called as the Solitary Writer. Others call him Ste. He works as a Senior Quality Analyst in a leading Organisation and loves to break the codes and he likes to  do things differently. Did you like this post? Get The Solitary Writers updates via Facebook or Twitter, better yet, subscribe to it via RSS Feed. It’s easy, and free!Also you can discuss in the Forum. Comments are just another way to let me know how you feel.Don't forget to comment.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

All that matters!

Man is a social animal and that’s the reason why he has been living in groups and communities since ages. Time immemorial, we are inclined towards people who are close to us and those people do mean a lot to us. It’s for them whom we toil hard and struggle day and night to keep them happy. At the end of the day, we desire to keep them happy and all that we want from them is their million dollar smile. One day when something disastrous happens to any of our loved ones, it hurts us. We as Indians should be proud of certain things. In this country we value our family and culture. In other developed European and American nations, people give less importance to their family. They hardly care for their parents and siblings. Such relationships seem trivial for them. A woman who bore you in her womb for over 9 months seems less important to them. But our culture and traditions are different from the western world. We honour our parents and treat our elders with respect. This is the reason why I have been asking youngsters to get inspired from the western world for a right reason. One should extract the best from what life offers you. It’s in this country where unknown faces tend to offer help during jeopardy and catastrophic situations. But family culture is different. It’s in this culture where we grew up where we were taught to respect our elders and honour them. Different holy books accentuate the importance of this in different chapters. In one of the commandments in Christianity, it clearly mentions the importance of parents and family. 

 "Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother is old, my son, hear the instruction of thy father and forsake not the law of thy mother!"

 These are inspirational versus from the Holy Bible. But these days’ people have turned money minded. They are inclined towards materialistic things and during this process they tend to betray and forsake their elders. I still come across people who use their elders as a ladder to achieve success. It’s sad that all such things do happen in our country but there are also many who also care for them. Life has become sophisticated in the 21st century where the cost of living and everything has increased to such an extent that it becomes mandatory to do over time and double shifts at work. We even burn the midnight oil several nights to fulfil the needs of our family. We are ready to do this at our own cost by ruining and sacrificing our happiness just to see a smile on our loved ones face. Our ultimate joy in life is in keeping our loved ones and people around us happy. For this we are ready to do anything. At times, we have to face the animosity of our bosses and senior managers. We struggle everyday to meet the deadlines and timelines. We dream to succeed in life and the same time make sure that our dream of tasting success materializes some day. A great philosopher said that dreams are something that would give you sleepless night.It's this dream that keeps us going which ignites the other side of you.  At times, we even transport our tensions and frustrations from office to our home. We do not show our anger at our loved ones because we know that they are meant to be loved and cared. They are tender like a rose; if we treat them harshly then it would hurt them. And of course, we won't wish to hurt our loved ones. That's why they have been saying that relationship is like a string or a thread and hence it needs to be handled with care. A small tiff can hurt and break the bond.  The entire theme of life is to educe sorrow and instil happiness in our life as well as in others. I would also say that all that matters in life would be us – our happiness, efforts and hard work in life is necessary if we have to keep people around us happy as all these factors are indirectly related and linked to each other.

At the end of the day we should remember that it’s only our near and dear ones who are by our side when we breathe our last. So it naturally becomes our responsibility and duty to keep them happy and whatever makes our loved ones happy would definitely make us happy and give us the strength to toil harder for them. So at the end of the day all that matters is the smile that we desire from our loved ones face so that we see only happiness on their face which in turn will keep us happy. This smile is nothing but a motivating factor to earn more, love more, and care more and more over toil more!


 This post is written as a part of ‘All that Matters‘ contest at in association with INK Live 2013.
The Solitary Writer is a blog which started as a hobby.Here you will find stories, poems, satirical posts, humour, photography and almost everything. This blog is the alter ego of a Technical guy who loves to be called as the Solitary Writer. Others call him Ste. He works as a Senior Quality Analyst in a leading Organisation and loves to break the codes and he likes to  do things differently. Did you like this post? Get The Solitary Writers updates via Facebook or Twitter, better yet, subscribe to it via RSS Feed. It’s easy, and free!Also you can discuss in the Forum. Comments are just another way to let me know how you feel.Don't forget to comment.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Explore the Unexplored!

 This blogpost is  written for 'The Perfect Road Trip' contest by Ambi pur and

Note - The images used below are my previous trip photos! 

(We walk a lonely road, the only road which we know where we meet strangers and smile at them.)
I love to roam around different places, meeting people scattered across the diverse geographical regions. I have been an avid traveller who loves visiting new places and learn new cultures. I have visited many places across India, eaten multiple cuisines and explored the new horizons. A wanderer, a vagabond am I!  IT life is measured in releases or quarters. Likewise, there are 4 quarters in a year. We get adequate amount of 'offs' after the end of each quarter. So, I would love to tell you how the idea of trips and travel culture originated in our group. We are enthusiasts and zealous likeminded people whose dictum in life is to enjoy and cherish life to the fullest. Albeit tensions and struggles in life, one sometimes needs to stop fretting about releases and projects. So we decided that we would refresh ourselves post quarter by visiting new places. This gave rise to our group of Stebu, Gubbi and Shambu visiting and exploring many new places like Ooty, Shimla, Gangtok, Kolkata, and Aleppi and so on.
(When the car goes on the solitary road far away from everyone....)

One should lose themselves, far away from where people reside, in a world where you saunter around in sheer solitude with likeminded people. Gubbi and Shambu are my trusted confidantes. I have never hesitated to knock their door for help. Gubbi is our trip planner and Shambu - our lover boy and me the shutterbug. This trip culture in our group is infectious as others got inspired from us and started their own adventure club. Few of our last trips have provoked us to visit new places in quick turnaround time. So that was how we visited Goa soon after visiting Mahabaleshwar within a gap of 2 weeks. Our plans are not fixed nor are they the results of intense brainstorming in identifying new places. We close our eyes and what comes in front of our eyes is our next travel destination. Visit places where you have never been before, roam streets like you are visiting it for the last time. Shop for items and collect souvenir’s from the all the places where you go, click pictures and keep them as a memento. This time the task of identifying and planning the trip was given to me .I had to make it perfect, well- planned and at the same time exciting!  Being a perfectionist and a true lover of Mother Nature I have been deciding and planning things from a week now. And today was the day when I would share my plan with my buddies.  I am confident that it’s going to be an impeccable and enthralling road trip!

(Click things that fascinates you...whether it be a monkey,donkey or an old fort!)

 “The task of making a trip perfect or imperfect is in our hands. That's not rocket science! All that matters is Zilch! You don't require a PhD or any certification to do make a trip perfect”.

I had been saying these motivating words to myself all this while. I am lucky that I have an amazing group of friends. Coders and Analysts by profession and wanderers by passion, we belong to that race of people who want to enjoy every bit that life has to give us.
My job of selecting a destination was a bit difficult. Our base is Mumbai - the city of dreams. So I wanted to select a place which we would be visiting for the first time (like it would be for the last time). I would need to take care of the fun quotient and other parameters while I  work on my plan .As I search my destination , I would also need to focus on the historical and geographical importance of that location so that we could enjoy the trip, making it perfect!
 Finally after some research, the place that came in front of my eyes was- LADAKH...say LAAAADAAAAAAKHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

(Meet  new people when you go out for a road trip.Nag them  by asking unfamiliar addresses.Spend some time with them)

Yes! Ladakh is a beautiful tourist spot located on the banks of the Indus River in the beautiful state of Jammu and Kashmir. What makes Ladakh special is its scenic beauty at any season of the year. I am sure my comrades would agree with me.  You might be wondering Mumbai & Ladakh are two poles distant apart. Who cares? A group of travel enthusiasts don't need to fret about the distance when it comes to travel. They are the most trivial thing for us. The longer the distance more would be the fun while travelling.  We don't require a flight for we don't wish to get lost between the clouds .We  don't wish to board a train to Jammu Tavi for I don't wish to ignore most of the scenic beauty of the beautiful places that we encounter during our journey. We would prefer a road trip to Ladakh. A road trip is the best when it comes to admiring and enjoying every single bit of a place. When one road leads to another around the serene nature, it’s most likely that travelling becomes more beautiful than the destination. And this precisely was my purpose, my desire!

(Tread through the crowded streets where people don't have time to stand nor stare)

Mumbai and Ladakh are mere 2000 km apart. But in between these two places rests different other places of great importance. Our trip would be enroute Delhi and it shouldn't take more than 60 hours to reach Ladakh even if we halt in between. Gubbi's Mahindra Scorpio would suffice especially considering its effectiveness when it comes to long journeys .It has a good ground clearance of 180 mm which is good when it comes for adventure trips and a fuel tank capacity of 80 liter’s should be more than enough. We could utilize the back section to store our stuffs. Since we are only 3, we would have a large amount of free space.  On our way to Ladakh we could play some really  good music so that we 3 don't get bored.

Can’t wait to kick start from Mumbai  to Ladakh enroute  Ahmadabad,Jaipur,Delhi,Panipat, Chandigarh, Manali, Keylong and many more – known and unknown places in between. It would start from Mumbai via the NH8 highway. Aforementioned, we believe in the concept of getting lost. Once you get lost, you get to explore things by yourself. You get to meet new people and follow them minutely to find out the place and learn about it. We would be treading north westwards to reach our destination. I named it LA-DEKH (instead of Ladakh). The rear section of the SUV would be hosting the tent which would be required on reaching our destination. We plan to explore Gujarat too by travelling through Surat, Baroda till we reach Ahmadabad via NH8. It would require around 550 km to reach Ahmadabad. On way we can acknowledge our hunger by visiting the Lemon restaurant which is around 0.25 km from Ahmadabad. I would capture the sceneries and most amazing places on my Nikon DSLR. Soveineirs are a must for they are such tangible memories and of course the cam memory card would not be left with any space. 

(Pause at a nearby river and wash your hands with the pure water...lose yourself in its divine purity and drink it till it satisfies your thirst)

After travelling 550km, we must have witnessed most of Gujarat. Now, from Ahmadabad, we would move on to reach Jaipur enroute Udaipur and Ajmer. We would take food and snack breaks at restaurants and hotels identified during research and analysis. We would require around 10 hours to cover the 670 km to reach Jaipur. We could reach it by taking the NH8 and NH79 route. My camera would capture the beauty of Rajasthan and Punjab as we move on. We would stay at Delhi for some day to refresh ourselves. We would resume our trip from Delhi to reach Chandigarh and then Manali. We could halt at different 'dhabas' and eat different North Indian foods. There is a famous shop called 'Bhatt ji ka Bhutta' in Punjab where we could enjoy tasty corns at a reasonable price.

And the Himalayan adventure journey would kick start from here. Needless to say the best is reserved for the last. The divine sight of the  snow cladden Himalayas which hosts Ladakh, the hugging clouds, the whites and waters, the lush greens each step towards the destination would make us love it more.

(On your way you might see many interesting things.Click pictures that touches your heart and soul!)

By then we would have covered the North Western India to reach the Little Tibet. They say the best time to visit Ladakh is from June to September. The roads would be rocky and rough. The best thing would be to carry spare parts of vehicles so that we don't face any difficulties in our trip. I usually love to strike a conversation with people around. That is the most amazing way to know the world. We would love to meet monks in Ladakh and visit different places of importance. Hemis Gonpa is the biggest and the important monastery in Ladakh and we would love to get a glimpse of it. The mesmerizing landscapes and the picturesque view of the snow cladden mountains can soothe anyone’s eyes. And after capturing all those moments and memories it would be time to return back.  Later on we could camp at the Nubra valley. It would be a complete delight to sip the infamous black tea in the highest cafeteria of the world. The ‘Highest Cafeteria of the World’ is 18,380 ft. above the sea level. We would travel along the banks of the Indus River and then drive till the Pangong Lake whose one third part is in India and rest in China. We could sit on our care and enjoy the pleasing sight of the Pangong. It would be celestial to see something so beautiful where the waters of the lake changes to seven different colors within every 15 to 20 seconds. Driving through the rocky roads would be thrilling and an amazing experience. 

(Stand by the riverside, admire its beauty and scream how much you love it!)

The return path would be the same. But not actually .If we still have ample time left then we could return via Ludhiana, Delhi, Mathura, Agra, Gwalior, Indore, Dhulia, Nasik, Mumbai route. That would be a hell lot of new places to visit. Overall it would be fun and of course visiting a place and getting lost in the sight of the magnificent landscapes, snow cladden mountains, lakes would be a trip to remember. So a trip where we get to explore new places, meet new people, learn and witness new cultures and admire the beauty wherever our Scorpio takes us would be a perfect trip.  So such a trip would be a perfect road trip for me. At the end of the day all that matters is what you made out of it. It was a trip to get rid of a frustrating IT life which would help us to rejuvenate and refresh ourselves to boost us for the next release. Many people have different views when it comes to describing a trip as a perfect road trip. For me I would talk about the satisfaction, entertainment and enjoyment factor when it comes to rating a trip as perfect.

(There she stands solitary along the road! the chivalrous knight who transports us from the known to the unknown roads)

Such kind of trip would be a perfect trip where you have nothing to lose but only special memories to cherish - of visiting new places, meeting new people and exploring the scenic beauty of North West India. Driving through the unknown memorable roads and exploring the unexplored roads would be a perfect road trip for me. So it’s time to explore the unexplored, make it a perfect trip.
The same day, I discussed the plans with my friends and they were happy about it too.
I gulped the glass of cold water as I explained my idea to my dear road Romeos.

Gubbi got up and said, “but you forgot a thing.’
I looked at him with questioning eyes.
“Remember the sick smell in the car last time?” he said.
He took a sip of the red wine and said, “I can’t let that spoil my trip this time.”
 I smiled and said, “Ambipur hai naa! Don’t you worry of the good ambiance in and out!”  Shambu gestured me a thumbs up and nodded in agreement.
taken from Google images!

The Solitary Writer is a blog which started as a hobby.Here you will find stories, poems, satirical posts, humour, photography and almost everything. This blog is the alter ego of a Technical guy who loves to be called as the Solitary Writer. Others call him Ste. He works as a Senior Quality Analyst in a leading Organisation and loves to break the codes and he likes to  do things differently. Did you like this post? Get The Solitary Writers updates via Facebook or Twitter, better yet, subscribe to it via RSS Feed. It’s easy, and free!Also you can discuss in the Forum. Comments are just another way to let me know how you feel.Don't forget to comment.