Public Relations – Govt Mental Health Centre, Kozhikode

kuthiravattom-murder

For the past three years I have had the personal experience of dealing with the patients and the staff in The Government Mental Health Centre at Kuthiravattam near Kozhikode. I can clearly state the miserable conditions and problems faced by the people there and also some of the immediate measures which can be taken to improve the functioning of the hospital and the wellbeing of the people.

I went there as part of an education programme conducted by National Service Scheme in my college. And we were supposed to teach the mental patients (most of them has recovered from their mental illness) on every weekends. There were hundreds of patients who have been cured of their mental illnesses but remain to be housed in the hospital because the society and their families are not ready to accept them. There are no facilities in the hospital for these people for their relaxation and recreation. The premises are not at all environment friendly which has a drastic effect on the inmates. Patients are being cruelly treated by the staff and these atrocities are never bought infront of the world. The food provided to the patients also needs to be taken into consideration. Many times the food provided to the patients by the government does not reach them. A huge business is being played in the name of these mental patients. Lack of cleanliness is also another matter of concern.

We, students were not allowed to enter into the rooms inside the hospital and was given only a single room outside the hospital. Yet, many problems faced by the inmates could be clearly sensed and understood. There is no doubt that even more terrible things are happening inside the hospital.

A separate recreational space (a large park) with modern facilities for the patients whose movements are now curtailed within the four walls of their cells due to the insufficient space provided to them should be soon implemented. The patients should be provided with the opportunity to feel the nature and enjoy the greenish environment through the construction of gardens and the planting of more trees. The proper functioning of the separate rehabilitation centre to provide skill development training for the cured patients should also be ensured. Proper training classes should be conducted for the workers in the hospital to avoid the ill-treatment of the patients and to instill in them a commitment to the job they are doing.

A detailed project report (DPR) for Rs.20-crore renovation project has been prepared very recently and it has been planned as a comprehensive renovation project modelled after the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore. This project should soon be implemented by the government.

Mechanics of Writing

MECHANICS OF WRITING

Words That Are Redundant

 

  1. years’ time

He intends to retire in three years’ time.

“Time” is redundant here and can be deleted. The sentence has the exact same meaning without it: “He intends to retire in three years.” Adding “time” only increases the chance of forgetting to use the apostrophe after “years.”

 

  1. currently + being done

 

The bridge is currently being repaired.

The word “currently” is both unnecessary and incorrect here. The present continuous passive structure “is being repaired” tells us that the action is taking place now. Including “currently” merely repeats that.

Alternatively, we could say,

“The bridge is currently under repair.”

 

  1. past experience

 

Research has shown that past experience helps us make complex decisions.

The word “past” should be removed. In this context, “experience” means knowledge based on past events or circumstances. “Past

history” and “past tradition” are similar examples.

 

  1. the mark / the level

 

Turnover fell below the two million mark.

“Turnover fell below two million” is sufficient. By adding “mark,” we are simply putting a redundant word at the end of the sentence.

 

  1. estimated at about

 

Profit is estimated at about 10 million dollars

.

“Estimate” and “about” have the same meaning. Write either “is estimated at 10 million dollars” or “is estimated to be 10 million dollars.”

 

  1. very unique

 

Kurt Cobain had a very unique voice.

Something cannot be “very unique,” not even Kurt’s voice. Things are either unique or not unique.

 

  1. think to myself

 

I thought to myself how strange it seemed.

And that is a very strange thing to write. After all, who else can we think to other than to ourselves? Make it “I thought how strange it seemed.”

 

  1. Fewer/less

 

The mistake most people make is using “less” when they actually mean “fewer”, rather than the other way round.

 

The rules:

 

“Fewer” refers to items you can count individually.

“Less” refers to a commodity, such as sand or water, that you can’t count individually.

 

How not to do it:

 

There are less cakes now

Ten items or less

 

How to do it properly:

 

There are fewer cakes now

Ten items or fewer

 

  1. Amount/number

 

These two work in the same way as “less” and “fewer”, referring respectively to commodities and individual items.

 

The rules:

 

“Amount” refers to a commodity, which can’t be counted (for instance water).

“Number” refers to individual things that can be counted (for example birds).

 

How not to do it:

 

A greater amount of people are eating more healthily

 

How to do it properly:

 

A greater number of people are eating more healthily

The rain dumped a larger amount of water on the country than is average for the month.

 

  1. lose vs. loose

 

The rules:

 

lose = a verb, to come to be without something; to suffer the loss of something.

loose=an adjective, free or released from attachment; not bound together; not strict.

 

How to do it properly:

 

I do not wish to lose more weight.

I was about to lose my ear ring.

She cannot stand the thought of losing him.

My belt is very loose around my waist.

She likes to wear her hair loose and free.

That is a loose interpretation of our document.

 

  1. Who/That

 

Wrong:

 

Companies who practice green manufacturing can get government grants.

People that like peanut butter and bologna are weird.

 

Right:

 

Companies that practice green manufacturing can get governmentgrants.

People who like peanut butter and bologna just have different tastes, that’s all.

 

  1. Singular vs. Plural Matching

 

Is it “Neither of these sandwiches is” or “Neither of these sandwiches are vegetarian?”

 

The rule:

 

Since “neither” is singular, treat “neither of these sandwiches” as a singular noun and make the verb match.

 

Right:

 

Neither of these sandwiches is vegetarian.

 

  1. Good vs. Well

 

People use ”good” and “well” interchangeably.

 

The rule:

 

Good is an adjective, but well is an adverb. An adverb modifies a verb — How do I sing? I sing well

But an adjective modifies a noun — What tastes good? Dinner tastes good. That’s because an adjective will also follow sense-verbs and be-verbs, so you can look good, smell good, feel good, be good. But you don’t look well, smell well, feel well, or be well.

 

Wrong:

 

I sing good.

Dinner tastes well.

 

Right:

 

I sing well.

Dinner tastes good.

 

Run-on Sentences

 

 

Definition

 

When two or more sentences are combined incorrectly in one sentence, the sentence is a run-on.

 

Example

 

Sentence 1: It was a beautiful day.

Sentence 2: The students went to the beach.

Run-on: It was a beautiful day the students went to the beach.

 

Correct run-on errors by:

 

  1. Changing the sentence into two separate sentences:

It was a beautiful day. The students went to the beach.

  1. A compound sentence:

It was a beautiful day, and the students went to the beach.

  1. A complex sentence:

Since it was such a beautiful day, the students went to the beach.

 

Choppy Sentences

 

 

Definition

 

A succession of short sentences, without transitions to link them to each other, results in choppy sentences.

 

Example:

 

No:

Our results were inconsistent. The program obviously contains an error. We need to talk to Paul Davis. We will ask him to review the program.

 

Yes:

We will ask Paul Davis to review the program because it produced inconsistent results.

 

Excessive Subordination

 

Excessive subordination is not an effective substitute for choppiness.

 

Example:

 

NO:

Doug thought that he was prepared but he failed the examination which meant that he had to repeat the course before he could graduate which he didn’t want to do because it would conflict with his summer job.

 

YES:

Doug thought that he was prepared, but he failed the examination. Therefore, he would have to repeat the course before he could graduate. He did not want to do that because it would conflict with his summer job.

 

Parallel Structure

 

Parts of a sentence which are in sequence must all follow the same grammatical or structural principle.

 

Example:

 

NO:

I like to swim, to sail, and rowing.

 

YES:

I like to swim, to sail, and to row.

 

Avoid Using the Passive Voice Unless Absolutely Necessary

 

Example:

 

Awkward passive: It is recommended that this experiment be tested for its effectiveness. (recommended by whom? tested by whom?)

 

Better (still passive): The effectiveness of this experiment should be tested.

(but tested by whom?)

 

Better (active): We should test the effectiveness of this experiment.

 

Be Simple and Concise

 

Choose a short word instead of a long one when the meaning is the same, and avoid jargon.

 

Example:

 

Wordy: It is expected by management that great progress will be made by personnel in providing a solution to these problems in the near future.

 

Better: Management expects that personnel will soon solve these problems.

 

Pronoun this or that

 

Avoid starting a sentence with the pronoun, this or that, unless it is followed by a noun or refers clearly and directly to a noun in the previous sentence. These pronouns should NOT be used to refer to the concept of the entire sentence (or paragraph, or essay) preceding it.

 

Example: A scientist’s work has no value unless he shares his thoughts with the scientific community. That is the cornerstone of science. (What is ‘that’? Try “That communication . . .”)

 

Avoid the Use of ‘there is’ or ‘there are’ to Begin a Sentence

 

Example:

After you complete these programs, there are many leagues available for you to join.

OR:

After you complete these programs, you can join one of the many leagues available.

 

Dangling modifier

 

A modifier (a word, phrase, or clause that describes something else) must modify something in the sentence. A dangling modifier occurs when the element being modified is implied rather than stated.

 

INCORRECT :

 

Turning the corner onto Peachtree Street, the park looked scenic.

(In this sentence, it is unclear who or what turned the corner. Grammatically, it seems that the park turned the corner.)

 

CORRECT :

 

Turning the corner onto Peachtree Street, we noticed the park looked scenic.

(“We” turned the corner, so “we” needs to be in the sentence.)

 

Split infinitives

 

An infinitive is “to” with a verb. A split infinitive is an infinitive with a word or words in between the “to” and the verb. Split infinitives do not necessarily cause confusion, but many readers disapprove.

 

INCORRECT :

 

The professor asked the students to quickly take the quiz.

(“To take” is an infinitive and should not be split by an adverb.)

 

CORRECT :

 

The professor asked the students to take the quiz quickly.

(“Quickly” can be moved after “to take the quiz.” It is important not to create misplaced modifier by placing “quickly” at the beginning of the sentence.)

 

Fragments

 

A fragment is an incomplete sentence. A sentence is incomplete because it is a part of a sentence separated from an independent clause or because it is lacking a subject or predicate.

 

INCORRECT :

The inevitable laying off of faculty and staff.

(This sentence has no predicate. )

 

CORRECT :

The laying off of faculty and staff is inevitable.

(The sentence is no longer a fragment because there is now a subject, “the laying off of faculty and staff,” and a predicate, “is inevitable.”)

 

Lack of subject/verb agreement

 

The verb in a sentence must agree with the subject in number and person. If the subject is plural, the verb form must also be plural. If singular, then singular. Additionally, if the subject is first person, the verb must be also.

 

INCORRECT :

 

One of my professors always spill coffee on my papers.

(Although “professors” is plural, the subject of this sentence, “one of my professors,” is singular. The plural form of the verb is wrong.)

 

CORRECT :

 

One of my professors always spills coffee on my papers.

(Both the subject and verb are now singular.)

Vague pronoun reference

 

A pronoun must clearly refer to a subject. A vague pronoun reference occurs when a pronoun could refer to more than one subject or the subject that the pronoun refers to is only implied. Either way, the reader can be confused as to what subject the pronoun refers to.

 

INCORRECT :

 

If your students don’t do well on their quizzes, they must not be very good.

(“They” is a vague pronoun in this sentence because it could refer to the students or the quizzes.)

 

CORRECT :

Your quizzes must not be very good if your students don’t do well on them.

(In this sentence, it is clear that “they” refers to the quizzes and not the students.)

 

Lack of pronoun agreement

 

Use pronouns exactly and consistently. The pronoun must agree with the number, gender, and type of subject.

 

INCORRECT :

 

Each member of the rowing team had to set their alarm for three in the morning.

(“Each member” is singular, so the pronoun must also be singular.)

 

CORRECT :

 

Each member of the rowing team had to set her alarm for three in the morning.

(The noun and pronoun are both singular.)

 

Use of needless words

 

  1. That

There are two kinds of thats — ones that you need, and ones that you don’t. When you delete a that, re-read the sentence and

see if it still makes sense. If it does, you didn’t need it; if it doesn’t, you did.

 

Delete: This is the food that I ordered.

Keep: I want to eat that steak.

 

  1. Anything that ends in -ly

 

You can get rid of almost any adverb in your writing; adverbs weaken writing because they detract from what’s being said. It’s one more unnecessary word that bogs down the narrative, and when it’s overused, can jolt a reader out of their reverie.

An adverb modifies a verb, but why would you need to? Never describe a verb, use a descriptive verb instead.

 

Delete: He ran quickly.

Keep: He raced.

Delete: The cannon fired loudly.

Keep: The cannon thundered.

Delete: She ate noisily.

Keep: She gulped down her food.

 

  1. I think, it seems, in my opinion

 

Unless you’re writing a news article, everything in your blog is your opinion. It’s not a fact, evidence, or an incontrovertible truth. So you don’t need to tell that it’s your opinion by littering it with “I think,” “in my opinion,” or “IMHO.”

If you want to be more authoritative and credible, remove all references to your opinion, unless it’s absolutely necessary to mention it. For example, if you’re writing a news article, but you have to add something you’re not sure of, then drop in a qualifier to avoid confusing the reader who might mistake your opinion for a statement of fact.

 

Delete: I absolutely think that it will greatly improve your writing.

Keep : It will improve your writing.

 

 

 

 

Advertising – New Tactics and Games

In the 21st century, the world of advertising has become a very dynamic, creative and challenging world which tells us the story of product, evolution and its endless possibilities in the world in which we live. Ads are powerful states of human communication. Advertising is paid non personal communication from an identified sponsor using mass media to persuade or influence audience. It is a public pronouncement.

Advertising is unique, as it is a powerful tool of communicating ideas, information integrating writing, mixed and remixed images, layout, sound, gesture, speech and 3D objects”

  1. AXE DEODORANT COMMERCIALS

Axe deodorant commercials are aired with the aim of sensationalism. The advertising agency and product’s company clearly knows that sensationalism sells really well. Almost all the Axe commercials is overtly sexual, to cite one example, the one in which a bhabhi meets her bro-in-law and drops her mangalsutra because she is so much attracted his smell (obviously created by the Axe deo). The title given to the ad ‘Even angels will fall’ gives an assurance to men that the woman which he desires will come to him without much effort from his part. Axe commercials stand as the best example for the indecent and improper portrayal of women.

“The ads brim with messages aimed at tickling libidinous male instincts. Indecent, vulgar and suggestive by subtly sending a message that the products arouse women’s sexuality”.

-India’s Information Ministry

 It said that they portrayed women as “lustily hankering after men under the influence of such deodorants”. There are several Axe advertisements which are questioned, especially this particular one in which the woman finds a man’s deodorant so stimulating that she begins to undress. It is clear that plot lines for deodorant ads aims at young men. And it is quite obvious that the men of all ages who have some sort of sexual dissatisfaction will give a try to this deo in order to attract women as the ad promises. The way in which the company presents its product, the manner in which they dealt with the plot and mnemonics is highly attention seeking and  to a great extend influences the viewers.
2. METLIFE INSURANCE ADVERTISEMENT

MetLife Insurance advertisement shows a father-daughter story that evokes in the viewers all sorts of sentiments, digs deeper, and packs even more of an emotional wallop.

The ad begins with a smiling, smartly-dressed dad collecting his young daughter from school. Against a cheesy, upbeat soundtrack, he reads a prize-winning essay that she has written about him:

“Daddy is the sweetest daddy in the world. Daddy is the most handsome. The smartest. The most clever. The kindest. He is my Superman. Daddy is just great, but…

“He lies.”

And then things take a surprisingly dark turn.

“He lies about having a job. He lies about having money,” the girl says. And we see short clips of her father performing various menial jobs as he tries to scrape together money to fund her education.

“He lies that he’s not tired. He lies that he’s not hungry. He lies that we have everything. He lies about his happiness. He lies because of me.”

As he reaches the end of the essay , father and daughter dissolve into floods of tears.

The video is a part of MetLife Hong Kong’s “Dream for My Child”, a campaign intended to help parents save for their children’s education in a city where, according to news site Asian Correspondent, “the cost of sending a toddler to school [can be] more expensive than sending a teenager to the university.

.”You can’t change your destiny, but you can create your own,” says the brand. “MetLife values the dream of every parent to give their children a good education to pursue a better life. We understand every sacrifice you make for your children’s future.”

The ad is capable of or aims at influencing all the parents who are concerned about their children. It is indeed thought provoking and it definitely makes the viewers think for a while. The method that it adopts to convey the story is quite interesting and it has definitely helped in the high rating of the ad. The story is told from the perspective of a small child. It’s a tear-jerking reminder of the lengths parents go for their children, and just how much we owe the people who raised us. The ad became a huge success because of the emotional play that it has bought into it.

Truth Speaking to Power

” Women have been denied, dispossessed, devalued.

Women have been made invisible, excluded, erased.

It is to this invisibility, to this disappearing that we speak,

of female-foeticide, infanticide, dowry killings in India, rape all over the world,

female genital mutilation in Africa, honour crimes in the Arab world,

trafficking and sexual violence in Asia,

nuclear waste dumping and testing in the Pacific

inviting the women to tell their stories.”

I got a chance to be a part of World Court of Women Against War for Peace conducted on 26th November 2015 at Mount Carmel College Bangalore. It was an altogether different experience hearing the testimonies of women who have borne witness to the most grotesque faces of warfare. The whole session gave me an understanding that women in all cultures and societies have been marginalised and silenced in different ways. The tears and narratives of the women, their pain, their devastation and destitution lead me to rethink and reimagine. The interview I conducted with Sue Wildfinch and Liz Khan, Women in Black, from UK gave me a chance to hear women who have been central to many significant movements for peace and justice and are therefore refinding new transformative visions for violent times.

Women in Black is a world wide organisation which Sue defines as  a network against militarism, violence and patriarchy. When I asked her the opinion about NATO, she said, ” It started after the II World War in 1947. It developed to be a new way of defending communism but actually its not. NATO was seen as something which protects people from communism and Russia”. She further explains how there was fear in the minds of people about Russia. People believed, she says, ” NATO is going to save us from communism and we are going to be capitalists. America is particularly protecting its capitalism. US and UK are instrumental in using the word NATO to attack Afganistan, Iraq and other countries”. Sue quotes, “Women in Black Movement 

                       Black is the colour that we wear,

                       Black, the colour that speaks our resistance

                       Silence is the language that we speak 

                       Silence, a language that voices our anguish”

In Iraq none of us protested against NATO, says Liz. She further continues telling how Iraq was attacked by America claiming that they possessed weapons of mass destruction and they supported terrorism. She also points , how the Americans made use of the oil from Iraq. The supreme interest of NATO was nothing but to ensure the interests of US.

When I asked Liz, whether this network attempts to address the gender nature of violence, she said, “yes, it is against violence, militarism, war and patriarchy. And when I asked her about the stand of men in these issues, she replied, ” I think it is women who suffer in particular. Men who goes to warfare are killed first and then women are drawn to all sort of atrocities including rape. Women are much more likely to get oppressed trying to look after their children. And there are millions whose ravaged lives bear mute testimony to the violence of these wars. The displaced and dispossessed indigenous people who have become refugees in their own lands; the increasingly vulnerable women who are being made victims of new forms of violence- raped as part of military strategy and ethnic cleansing, trafficked in times of wars, burnt for dowry in the flames of consumerism, stoned to death in honour crimes as part of reconstructed traditions.”

When I asked her the opinion about WikiLeaks and the people like Julius Ascender Nadine, she replied, ” I think it is just wonderful”. She spoke about the telephone conversation.     ” So when suddenly so much came out, the world started believing. Its not just our telephone or your telephonic conversation but the latest conversations including the economic deals. So it is wonderful. On one hand we have WikiLeaks trying to expose America and on the other there is India trying to get recognition in front of America”.

Sue further explained her thoughts about India’s stand in all these affairs. ” Prime Minister Narendra Modi was welcomed in London, soon he will be invited to America too because everyone is interested in trade relations and now a days its all money that matters”.

The entire programme which included the testimonies of women from different parts of the world and different strata’s of society and also of life for me was like a step towards re-imagining the jurisprudence from within civil society in which we are able to creatively connect and deepen our collective insights and understanding of the context in which the text of our everyday realities is being written. We need to imagine justice, differently.

 

 

 

 

A Vagabond at Heart – An Interview with Anjaly Thomas

 

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“As you travel solo, being totally responsible for yourself, it’s inevitable that you discover just how capable you are”

 Its when I started searching randomly for the blogs of outstanding personalities, that the blog “Travel With Anjaly” which has been nominated for “Best Asian Blogger” at the UAE 2014 Masala Awards captured my attention. Anjaly Thomas, a passionate Indian traveller in her early thirties, the first Indian woman backpacker to travel alone and away from the tourist tracks. I was privileged to have an online chat with her. Her friendly demeanour and frank responses to my question, added as a catalyst to my spirit for adventure….

1 .A brief note on yourself

I am a lawyer-turned-traveller-turned travel writer. I am not your average tourist sticking to the regular touristic-tracks, I am a solo traveller/backpacker, love trekking and climbing. I am also a writer for Lonely Planet and an occasional poet. I love riding on the back of cattle trucks in Africa, I am never worried about where I would stay or eat. I am strong believer in humanity and love good cup of coffee before I begin anything – and through it and after it.

2 .As the first Indian woman backpacker….

There are many myths about single Indian women backpackers – basically because it is a new concept and the lack of knowledge of the same makes it seem very daunting. To me backpacking denotes freedom – as it would to women who have ventured out alone. Wanting to travel alone doesn’t make you “a weirdo” nor immoral. Today’s woman is fiercely independent and to me, travelling is an extension of that freedom to do what one pleases.

  1. The concept called Travel and Relief……

My relief work is really simple and straight forward. I am a backpacker – hence never carry too much luggage. So when traveling to developing countries, I use the baggage allowance to take any essential items that include over the counter drugs, stationery, milk powder, soaps, paste, clothes etc. Or, I end up buying food stuff from the destination country and deliver that to any orphanages. I do volunteer at orphanages or old people’s homes. There are so many people in need, especially kids and old people and I like to do my bit for them as well. I have been lucky to travel a lot and see even more – because I tread away from the regular touristic path and I use that experience to be able to change something for someone.

4 .The first Indian woman to do a solo climb of the 5,895m high mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa….

I wanted to climb the highest mountain in Africa-Kilimanjaro. Deciding rashly to embark on this climb I arrived at Moshi, Tanzania in the rainy season when hardly anyone climbs the mountain. No wonder, I was soaked to the skin during the ascent when my guide revived me with massage. I scrambled to the top to set a crazy record as the only woman to reach the peak without a bra! But it was my proudest moment.

5 .Major differences while traveling in India and outside……

I have realized that people all over the world are the same! A Mexican will behave exactly like a Cambodian when hungry or an Indian will react exactly like a Frenchman at the sight of a hapless traveller. . What really makes them different is the language and geography. But there is one thing that easily helps dissolve that difference too – SMILE. You don’t need a language to communicate.

  1. It is said, travelling alone at night is not safe for women. Challenges that you faced in your life….

As Indians and more specifically girls, we are warned against being too friendly with strangers, of wandering about at nights, of wearing the right clothes, of ‘behaving’ in a certain way etc. I have realized that all these make for a wholesome travel experience. I no more walk around wondering when I am going to be mugged. I have learnt to believe in myself. I have survived knife attacks, being molested, being held at gun point, extreme colds, extreme humidity – these were challenges that happened along the way – one can never prepare enough for these. But when you are on your own, there is some kind of survival instinct that kicks in when you are in danger- you have to trust that instinct.

7 .The passionate writer and traveller….

Writing and traveling are two of my passions and it was a great idea to combine them. So I did. . I thoroughly enjoyed all that I experienced – living out of a bag, hanging out with perfect strangers, eating with locals – I thought it was important to share that experience and hoped in some way to prove that the world is a safe place for women wanting to go solo.

8 .Almost Intrepid…..almost-intrepid-anjali-thomas-cover

I absolutely loved writing Almost Intrepid, for me it was like going on those journeys all over again. As you read in the book, it is about (me) a solo Indian woman backpacking around the world, climbing mountains and trekking in jungles – but the one essential component is that (she) is always alone. So, I guess, joining me on a journey is a bit off the mark – plus you might end up hating the way I travel.

9 .Fund for Travel and Relief …..

Travel and Relief is not a ‘fund-based’ operation. It is about sharing a little of what you have excess of. It is about compassion. Whenever I speak to friends about it, I am amazed at how willing people are to be a part of it – in their own ways. Often, I end up having to find a volunteer to carry much of the stuff that gets left over!!! It is such a joy to know that even non-travellers who haven’t seen as much poverty as I may have, feel for those unknown sufferers and generously open their hearts and share. “I do not buy expensive dresses, cosmetics, handbags, shoes, jewellery and all the things women usually purchase,” she says, “I travel with the minimum gear in a rucksack on my back, stay in low priced hotels, eat street food and do not go shopping when I’m on the road. After every journey, I start saving for my next trip.”

10 .Unforgettable memory of a place/person…….

You know, it is hard to single out ‘one unforgettable memory’ of a person or place – because as a traveller, each place or a person has added a different meaning to my travel. All of them have, in their own unique ways enriched my travel and travels, reinforcing my faith in humankind. They have humbled me with their sheer generosity, kindness and trust

11 .Next book….

‘There are no Gods in North Korea’ is coming soon. It will include my experiences travelling in the Hermit Nation of North Korea, the awesome steppes of Mongolia and the freedom in poverty in Africa.

12 .The first trip alone told Anjaly that you don’t need a travelling companion, just a desire to get somewhere to start travelling.

With two older brothers, and liberal parents, I was always one of the boys. I made male friends more easily than female friends and never fit in completely in my convent school in Mangalore. One weekend, we, a gang of girls decided to escape for a trip to Goa. But as the day drew nearer, every one backed out one by one. I had built the trip so much in my head that I couldn’t bear to NOT go. So I decided to travel alone for the first time in my life. I had been to Goa before and wasn’t as afraid as I would’ve been if it was an absolutely new place.

  1. Pleasure of travelling….

A backpacker at heart, for me the thrill of the travel is the solitary nature of exploring new locations on my own. Of testing your limits, and seeing what little you can manage without .Of immersing myself in local experiences and the warm community of backpackers around the world.

14 .Thought of settling down

Hmm, I really cannot answer that honestly right now. All I can say is, there is really no need to give up one thing for the other – life is all about maintaining a balance and I have managed very well so far and will continue to do so.

15. Greatest achievement…

I think breaking the mould of “traditional travel for Indian women” was my biggest achievement. I don’t really care much for social approval and to me  achievement is more about overcoming everyday biases to embrace something new, different and better.

“Travel has defined me as a person, and made me so tolerant and patient that nothing surprises or angers me.” – Anjaly Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflection of Hope – An Interview with Pope Francis

15360-1qo4qg6.jpgI am privileged and blessed to have a conversation with the spiritual and the world leader Pope Francis who has been noted for his humility, emphasis on God’s mercy, concern for the poor, and commitment to interfaith dialogue. Pope Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio) is the 266th and current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, a title he holds ex officio as Bishop of Rome, and Sovereign of the Vatican City. He chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas. He is credited with having a humble, less formal approach to the papacy than his predecessors. He maintains that the church should be more open and welcoming. He does not support unbridled capitalism, Marxism, or Marxist versions of liberation theology. Pope Francis maintains the traditional views of the church regarding abortion, euthanasia, contraception, homosexuality, ordination of women, and priestly celibacy. He opposes consumerism, irresponsible development, and supports taking action on climate change.

  1. Recently your views on contraception, which you mentioned in your interview with Carlo Marroni became a huge controversy. How will you respond to it further?
  2.  In your book, On Heaven and Earth you mentioned;

“Dialogue is born from an attitude of respect for the other person, from a conviction that the other person has something good to say. It assumes that there is room in the heart for the person’s point of view, opinion, and proposal. Dialogue entails a cordial reception, not a prior condemnation. In order to dialogue it is necessary to know how to lower the defences, open the doors of the house, and offer human warmth.”

Is your opinion with interfaith dialogue too the same?

  1. Holy Father, your opinions about the non-believers goes against the fundamental Christian teachings. How will you justify your arguments?
  2. What are your responses regarding the significance of the women being denied in the Roman Catholic Church and also in the Holy Bible? How will you address the subject of the ordination of women?
  3. Your environmental concerns captured huge public attention. Being in such esteemed position, what are the measures taken from your part to protect environment?
  4. You said, “Extreme poverty and unjust economic structures that cause great inequalities are violations of human rights,” When you stood for the eradication of poverty from the world, you were also severely criticised on your views against Marxism. How will you respond to this?
  5. How will you be able to go against the act of abortion when in case it proves to be a threat to the mother’s life?
  6. You showed the courage to restate the Church’s principle, that homosexual practice is intrinsically immoral, but that every homosexual person should be treated with respect and love. You also took a strong stand against same-sex marriage, including the 2010 bill to introduce it in Argentina. How valid are your opinions about homosexuality, considering the present scenario of the world?
  7. When you propose the abolition of both capital punishment and life imprisonment, what are the other possibilities that you put forward to punish the culprits?
  8. How would you view the world (in political, social, economic, cultural, religious aspects) here after fifty years?