Sunday, March 1, 2015

Reforms is Not a One Way Street

My folks around me at home switched on the TV and watched the news about the budget...see the discussions and then animatedly discuss it among themselves whereas i as a typical homemaker who is not really grappling with poverty but something else on a daily basis had wanted to contribute...questions relating to schemes...developments and most importantly of reforms and why those reforms fail to bring about the desired changes but something stopped me.
There weren't many around who would much give a twopence to what i thought or felt so i continued being there fiddling with my phone and looking into this picture of me with Chirmee and wondering if when she was branded with that plus mark she was hurt and in pain.

That she camel Chirmee...chi as in Chir...and Me...hey i just made it up order to help with the pronunciation...Chirmee and me...

i just listened and later read and did not react much to the headlines screaming stuff and went about my chores as usual. i was hearing words and there was a hundred things going on inside me. Chirmee her branding and because Chirmee was a camel also the Camel and Arab story...the many thoughts...

My opinion does it matter...and even if it does how will those reforms help when more and more there seems to be a culture of dependency and entitlements.
Be it food. housing, education, health. And the list seems to be endless.

i am seeing a lot of development from the time when i was a child to now when in about ten years time i shall be entitled for what is known as the ' Senior Citizen ' benefits.
But growth and development are slightly different and i don't see much of growth rather a steady decline and i am left wondering if and when i will be entitled to one such will then i shall also start being hopelessly dependent on the Govt to do everything for me or will i have the self esteem to work it out for myself and be thankful enough for what i am being provided for .

All the talks about helping those less privileged or help those below the poverty line reach a decent standard of living and encourage them to achieve certain basic entitlements seem to collapse from what i see of the tendencies in those we are hopelessly trying to help.
" Sleeping off a line on benefits" i remember reading this somewhere and this is what i am grappling with on a day to day basis.
And sometimes i curse within my breath, " Heck all the positivism with which i am beginning my day with how do i maintain it... and why is all the frigging sermons meant only for us...just because we are not below poverty line is it...? "

i was horrified the other day to learn that all those lovely sweaters we graciously distributed to the naked children and the shivering homeless seen wandering here and there on the Delhi streets during the chilly winters have landed in the huge piles at Sarojini Nagar Market where they are being sold for Rs 100 each.
The message was circulated through Whatts App and we complied by always keeping a few woolens in our cars. Sure it is an experience worth reliving and re learning. How while commuting we would frantically look for ' shivering in the chill of the winter' bodies to generously donate. Actually done with true intent to help those whom we thought needed help and that we were blessed to have plenty. Donation done the warmth inside the car made us throw our own coat even once. Then coming home feeling still warm with the thought that someone will not be sleeping or sitting cold tonight. Sweaters, pullovers, cardigans, blankets...i remember making a neat assortment of sorts because we never knew what age, gender or how we would find them. Some might even be lying there sleeping in the cold...
i am citing one example because winter was not far away but there are many such instances and just a couple of days back a lady conned my son pretending to be a ' have not' and he got conned because she faked pregnancy and a false alarm...

i read about the Self Determination Theory. It has three important aspects and if met it would enable us to function well, be proactive and grow as well.
According to SDT theory we have three innate psychological needs. Which i remember making a note of. Competence, Autonomy and Relatedness.
From what i can remember of the three should be as follows:
a) Competence- a good sense of self esteem and efficacy. That you matter and can impact upon others around you.
b) Autonomy- A feeling of having options and choices in your life.
c) Relatedness- Mutual interdependence in a way that you are as much dependent on others as others depend on you. This one is feeling based and the most important of which lately i see a lot of erosion in trust of. The feeling that people do care and want to care and thus that way we are close. Only thing this care should not be taken too much granted as a right without giving anything in return.

i have tried in vain to be virtuous, kind, generous and humble. But those i feel need to be reformed seem to be getting from bad to worse and i wonder why. There is a constant malicious scheming a hoodwinking of sorts into getting you to buckle down and provide them with stuff which they are capable of getting for themselves.
i can understand the exercise in futility of the Government 's welfare schemes too. One i am regularly seeing is that the Government clears a slum in one area gives the slum dwellers a clean housing facility with basic amenities and these people then sublet it just to shift and create another slum elsewhere.

Perhaps we need to do some serious thinking and maybe re adjust our lenses through which we see 'Generosity' and thus the need of ' Reforms'. The kind and of what sort.
There is an adage 'You can take the horse to the water but cannot make it drink unless it is thirsty'.
However theoretical or psychological it may sound i think The Self Determination Theory is not only instructive but also motivational.
If we want to help people we should strive towards this than complying with messages that are forwarded in impulse and donating this here and that there. Just to find some of those donations in a pile in Sarojini Nagar being sold for Rs 100 each.
One close relative was thrilled at getting a 'branded' and 'trendy' export winter wear so cheap and came running to me the next day asking me how to conceal the hole that she had just discovered.
i had to explain her then the logistics of how to buy...when she buys such stuff...from a pile...before i could ask her if she has disinfected and cleaned the branded export item or not.

i was thinking on these terms. If we truly want to support people into work we need welfare reform and work programmes that help people to develop Competence, Autonomy and Relatedness. 
Only thing i don't know how to make my horses drink competence, autonomy and relatedness. My own practice what you preach does not seem to work. Love and kindness are taken for granted and most of the times i am taken for a big ride of which the family later has their cracks upon.
That's why many a times positive lenses and love spectacles are left aside and punitive welfare sanctions and meaner benefits seem the only way to wake them up. Seriously.

i have a question today and that question is if 'Reform' is a one way street.
Why are all the sermons meant only for us...'The Haves'
What about the' Have Nots '...what special training is required other than kindness, humbleness, compassion, empathy, sympathy to get the horse feeling the thirst to grow and just not develop enough to have a cell phone and probably all those fake clothes with which they try to emulate style...
How can i as a homemaker enforce SDT and help bring about these changes that i so much desire to be a part of for development i see plenty there is no dearth of it.
How do i remain positive when each day a new experience with the so called have nots  takes me to that tent in which the camel put his nose first. Yeah the Arab and His Camel fable that i read not many years ago...
(In a 1915 book of fables by Horace Scudder, the story, titled The Arab and His Camel, ends with the moral: "It is a wise rule to resist the beginnings of evil.)

The The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith known as the great poem Anyway is there...but then there ought to be changes and i desire to be a part of some if not all.
Thing is how...

How does it matter this budget or the other budget...people will continue to be the same...unless they are given some wake up call...


  1. Whatever changes comes in our country through budget or not... first we need to change. But these days there's so much of positiveness and compassion around us. It's better to focus on those rather than the darkness. Loved the sweater/coat sharing part. By knowing someone else is well because of us, itself provides us with so much of warmth.

    Thanks for stopping by my space. And yes I agree you don't do small ;) ... but it was worth. :)

    1. :) yeah when I have to say Sheetal I have to say it all. But thank you for not only for the patience but for the kindness shown.
      Sure one needs to focus on compassion and be positive but it's wisdom not to waste it on those who actually don't need it.