07 Thursday
March 2019
Be your sister’s keeper

Cat fights. Mother-in- law –daughter- in- law horror tales. Devraani- jhethaani who don’t speak to one another while living under one roof. Sisters fighting over the same man. We have seen it all.

Women judge each other all the time. She’s so fat/ thin, dark/ too fair,too tall/short, lanky, desi, BTM, snooty, bitchy. If a woman chooses to work after a child she’s too ambitious, if she doesn’t work after a child she’s not got her act together. If a girl leaves early from work, she’s a shirker, if she stays late she’s after a promotion! If she hangs out with boys …if she hangs out with girls…..if she doesn’t hang about at all……. We are judging each other very critically all the time.

The next time you need to say something to another woman, let it be a compliment: about her dress, hair or even her lipstick. You’d be surprised how there will be a spark in her eyes…and it will be reflected in yours.

Women have it tough. Some are born without being celebrated. Many are not allowed to pursue education courses of their choice. I know someone who was asked to quit her high profile job as her parents were unable to find someone who could match her salary! So many women are dependent on their husbands’ decision if they will be “allowed” to work after marriage or not. The women who do not earn out of their homes remain financially dependent. Most girls in India still do not have a choice about who they will marry. Girls face harassment on the roads, in public transport and within offices. It’s about time that we rise up for each other.

India is one of the few countries which had a woman head of state way back in the sixties, something the Americans have not been able to boast of even today. Indian women have been able to cast their vote ever since independence, something British women could do only after 1918.We have women in the Parliament, Governor House, Space agencies. Women excel as Doctors, CEOs, Judges, Pilots and every sphere even as taxi and auto drivers.

There has never been a better time to be a woman in the history of the world than today. Gender neutrality is now being practiced in a few homes and many minds. We have the option of raising our girls to be brave, bold and outspoken and our boys to demand less of their wives and support more. It’s time for gender lines to get blurred. It’s time for women to treat their daughter in law exactly as they would treat their daughter. It is time for employers to look for the best “person” for the job, not the best “man”.

For a woman who is standing up to centuries of tradition, generations of mindsets, parental and society pressures as well as her own expectations, it becomes a huge support if she gets a nod, a smile or a word of encouragement from someone else. Be your sisters keeper, be the air beneath each other’s wings. It is time for us to fly.

Happy women’s day 2019.

Dr.Sarika Verma
ENT Surgeon & Allergy Surgeon

02 Saturday
March 2019
Hate hasn’t worked,shall we try love?

Our generation has grown up hating Pakistan. Ever since I was little I heard about war, partition, and how we absolutely hate each other. In my youth we saw the nation boil as the Kargil war played out in front of us. Daily news tells us how terrorists are supported in every way by forces across the border whether it is Pulwama, Uri or 26/11. Every patriotic movie shows them as villains. We scream our lungs out shouting Bharat Mata ki jai and Vande Matram on the Wagah border. We hate them in cricket matches. In hockey. In every utterance we make about them.

Once I saw my father appreciate a group of Pakistani singers singing aaya ladiye ni tera sereh wala vyavan aaya.I was in semi-disbelief when my Mom watched 3 days of back to back Pakistani serials on video cassettes. How we could we like anything Pakistani? Then I saw Pakistani suits at an exhibition. And realised we really are two pieces cut from the same fabric.

We hate Arnab. I’m sure they’re embarrassed to death about their tauba tauba guy. We hate war mongerers. We’re called anti-national for wanting peace. I’m sure the Pakistanis holding placards asking for peace weren’t spared by their own countrymen either.

One incident that really shook me this week was their own pilot was lynched to death by Pakistani junta imagining he was an Indian. And an Indian pilot was saved from those same people by the intervention of few Pakistani soldiers.

This is the price of hatred. They killed their own hero imagining he was Indian. And the people we grew up to hate saved our hero.

Neither of us need a war. The price of every war is widowed mothers and orphaned children. We both are struggling with poverty, poor education, unaffordable healthcare and deplorable levels of safety for women. There is so much to be done for our people; this rhetoric of war makes me sick.

The issue of Kashmir has to be resolved by the Indian government. By talks with locals, not the separatists.70 years of various governments have done nothing concrete to resolve such an important issue. Every government has tried to get political mileage out of the tension in Kashmir, no one has made inroads into developing industry, jobs, and basically removing the alienation that has been ingrained into Kashmiris just like we have been ingrained with a hatred of Pakistan.

It saddens me that Kashmiri students haven’t been taught to stand up for the national anthem or respect the tricolor. You cannot keep hating the hand that feeds you and keeps you safe. Do you imagine that a Pakistani passport gives you a better future in the world than an Indian one? It’s been 70 years. Accept that you are Indian, and leave your hatred behind.

70 years of baying for blood,

70 years of hating with ease.

If we could change our hatred to love.

Do you think we could leave a legacy of peace?

Jai Hind.

Dr.Sarika Verma
ENT Surgeon and Allergy Specialist