“Saathiya” Peer educators!

This morning at breakfast, my daughter suddenly shouted, “What? I can’t believe it! Is this really happening? In India? Under the BJP rule? Oh wow! I wonder whose brain child this is!”

“What are you talking about?” I asked her. And she showed me this post http://indianexpress.com/article/india/same-sex-attraction-is-ok-boys-can-cry-girls-no-means-no-health-ministry-sex-education-4535410/

I must say, I am really impressed. To quote from the article, “In a bid to reach out to 26 crore adolescents in the country on health issues, the Ministry has decided to involve 1.65 lakh peer educators called “Saathiya”.

Health Secretary CK Mishra launched the ‘Saathiya Resource Kits’ along with the ‘Saathiya Salah’ – a mobile app for adolescents – under the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) program.  http://zeenews.india.com/health/health-ministry-launches-saathiya-kits-to-improve-adolescent-health-1979431

This programme aims to reach out to the youth, the adolescents and educate them about sex, attraction, respect for the other and other things that kids at that age are curious about but don’t have the guts to ask anyone.

To quote from the article again, Yes, adolescents frequently fall in love. They can feel attraction for a friend or any individual of the same or opposite sex. It is normal to have special feelings for someone. It is important for adolescents to understand that such relationships are based on mutual consent, trust, transparency and respect. It is alright to talk about such feelings to the person for whom you have them but always in a respectful manner… Boys should understand that when a girl says ‘no’ it means no,” reads the resource material in Hindi that is going to be circulated to states as part of the adolescent peer-education plan.”

A boy can cry to give vent to his feelings. He can also be soft-spoken or shy. Being rude and insensitive is not a sign of masculinity. It is alright for boys to like things like cooking and designing that are normally associated with girls; adopting the role of the other gender does not mean that he is not male. The same applies for girls who talk too much or like to dress like boys or play games like boys. It is wrong to label such people as ‘sissy’ or ‘tomboy’.”

 It goes on to talk about safe sex and masturbation as one of the options.

This was really something I never expected to see in India in a million years. I am so glad that it is being talked about and if implemented well, it will really have a great impact.

Yes, it seems radical, but isn’t it high time we stop burying our head in the sand and stop believing that teenagers are kids who should be protected from everything to do with sex till they get married. There is enough material out there to give them answers, mainly the wrong ones.

Telling them that attraction is normal, whether towards the opposite sex or the same sex is a bold statement and I am sure a lot of people are going to find it difficult to digest.

But I am sure the people who are looking forward to a more enlightened country where tolerance and respect form the basis of society, will definitely welcome this.

I for one, applaud this bold much needed sensible way of dealing with the issues we have and educating our young ones in the true sense. This is education at its best, not history or geography, but teaching our kids to live in the real world and giving them the tools for it!

What do you think? Please share your feelings in the comments below.

Have You Finished Your Homework?

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Over  the last few days, there have been a lot of messages on social media regarding kids who are missing. Most of them have thankfully been found again, but the trend is scary, because a lot of these kids have run away from home or school.

The comments on the social media groups regarding this have been varied, from relief that the children have been found, to blaming the children for not being able to deal with failure and running away in the face of obstacles.

For God’s sake! They are just kids! How many of us as adults are able to deal with failure or pressure? We have this convenient fall back of “Oh I’m so depressed” or “I have so much of stress!”  But what does a child say? What would you say to a child who told you that he or she was under a lot of stress or in a state of depression? Most adults would just scoff at the idea. “Really? At your age? What do you know about stress or depression?”

But look at the lives they live today. Even top executives have shorter work days.  I asked a few students what their schedule was. They are in school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. That is seven hours in school. Add to that the hours spent on homework and tuition classes and projects.  That is like 10 to 12 hours a day!

And what do they get at the end of it? Just questions and nagging from parents?

Let’s consider two sentences. “I love you!”  and “Have you finished your homework/portion?”

Which of these have you used more in the last few months /years while talking to your child?

Every single parent I spoke to ruefully admitted that they rarely told their kids how much they loved them or how important they were, while almost everyday there was an arguement about homework and studies.

I agree that we all want our kids to be successful in life. But where is it written that only getting high grades ensures success? What will make your child successful is something that is never taught in school. And that is the belief in himself or herself. That is something only you as a parent can build.

It involves time and effort. It involves communicating with your child. It involves going against social trends. This can happen only when we as parents change our mindset and stop looking at our kids as trophy kids whose achievements reflect back on us.

We need to accept our kids as they are, average grades and all. Then and only then are we laying the true foundations of their success.

A golden dragon, that’s who I’d be.

dragon-238931_1280One of the prompts on this week’s Friday Reflections was “ If you were an animal what would you be and why?”  Writing in response to this prompt makes me feel like a student in one of my creative writing classes. How often have I asked them to write on this topic, but never have I attempted to do so.  Ah well, there is a first time for everything and so here goes!

If I had to choose to be any animal in the world, I would choose to be a dragon; a beautiful golden dragon!

The reason I’d be a dragon is because I was born in the year of the dragon, but even before I knew that fact, dragons fascinated me. I never saw them as horrible evil creatures meant to be slain. To me, they were magical creatures who had tremendous power. They were the wisest of all beasts and the most regal. In fact the true king of the beasts would be the dragon not the lion.

And why a golden dragon? Because it is the most intelligent and pure of all dragons.  They are magical and can change their form at will. Though they are immensely strong, they prefer talking things over rather than using force. Their mission is to end evil and that is something I rather fantasize doing.

Whenever I imagine a golden dragon, I see a creature of great strength yet with such grace of movement that it is beauty in motion. Combine it with a mind of rare intelligence and what more could you want to be?

I imagine myself soaring across the moon, and swooping back down in a breathtaking dive. I imagine changing forms to tackle evil and making the earth a better place.  Oh what fun I would have belching out fire at corrupt politicians, paedophile priests and other such scum of the earth! I would be magical and good and powerful!  What other reason is needed to be a golden dragon?

What animal would you choose to be? Do leave your answer in the comments. I would love to know!

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You may also like to read my other blog post https://thequillofthephoenix.wordpress.com/2016/10/18/book-review-fighting-for-tara-by-sunanda-chatterjee/

Movie Review: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

 

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Yesterday I watched Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and you know what? I enjoyed it.  No, I ‘m not going to be all trendy and bash the movie and Karan Johar, because I really, truly enjoyed it.

The thing is, I don’t go for a movie with any other expectation other than to relax, except if I consciously decide to watch a movie like “Pink”.

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I loved the songs and the craziness! Ranbir’s character Aayan loves to cuddle all the time. So what? There are teddy bear guys like that in real life and you would be so lucky to have someone like that in your life.

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Anushka Sharma’s character shoots her mouth off. Maybe we are not yet ready for a girl making fun of the way a guy kisses, but I loved the way she acts so care a damn honest.

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Ash looks Hot! And all of you who want to say, “Oh but she has Mickey Contactor to get her in shape!”, truth is she has got back into shape and is looking even more gorgeous than ever. There is a maturity about her that wasn’t there before.

And as for the falling in and out of love or lust at the drop of a hat, what’s wrong with that? We accept it in “Friends” and “Sex in the City” and other such firang stuff, so why not here?  And don’t give me that “oh but we are Indians”, bullshit. Or is it that we’d rather accept rape in out moves than consensual sex? I think it’s time we grew up.

Coming to the unrequited love part, well, life doesn’t always come with happy endings. So that’s fine. If hearts didn’t break, there’d be no stories.

The only jarring note really, was the ending. It looks like the plot ran way by itself and they didn’t know how to tie the bow. It should have been left untied. Ideally the movie should have ended when Fawad and Ranbir meet again accidentally in London. But I suppose we are not yet ready for untied bows either.