Madeleine

2017-12-25
07:19:00

A moment of truth in Jaipur
 
We're in Jaipur, Rajasthan, taking a Rickshaw back to the hotel after a meeting with a retailer specializing in bedsheets and pillow covers. The traffic lights turn red and suddenly a young girl comes up next to the Rickshaw and wants to sell balloons. She's wearing a traditional Rajasthani dress. Colourful. "She's married", Sudarshan says and is hinting at her red stripe on her forehead. So young. But I'm not surprised. Rajasthan has one of the highest number of childmarriages in India. Culturally broadly accepted, even if it's nation wide a crime to get married before the age of 18 if you are a girl and 21 if you are a boy based on the Prohibition of child marriage Act since 2006. And only This year India decided to criminalise sex with a child bride.
So up until now it's been ilegal to marry a child but legal to have sex with a child bride...does that make any sense to anyone?! 
 
The red light is still on and we turn our heads to the other side of the Rickshaw where a little boy is standing and holding an even smaller boy in his arms. Like a mother carrying her child on her hip.
The boys are barefoot, wearing dirty clothes and looks significantly malnourished. Dust on their both cheeks. Imagin the amount of airpollution they breath into their fragile, not yet fully developed, lungs while walking the hectic roads of Jaipur.
And at the time we look at them they, at the same time, turn both their heads with their big eyes towards us.

Red light turns green and we're on the go. A  normal day to day view of Indian society. 
Do one turn numb after seeing one too many of these situations? Maybe it's a form of defence mechanism?!
 
A week before PM Narendra Modi visited Gujarat in order to become the first passenger on India's first seaplane. 
 
There is absolutely no logic in this world.
 
 

2017-12-24
17:56:00

Merry Christmas ☺
 
 So Christmas is here and it is around this time of year I usually miss my family the most..!! I gave grandmother, grandfather and my brother a call and wished them, and later I'll Skype with mom and dad!
We got a parcel from Sweden that we opened yesterday😄 Full of "skumtomtar", mom's special saffron biscuits and a few presents! I also got an oh so beautiful surprise gift from my bf which made me cry a little (man, I'm so sensitive) and we also met up our dear neighbours in the evening and shared a few drinks and alot of good thoughts and laughthers🙂
 
I'm also alone this Christmas eve which I initially didn't think would make me feel as lonely as I feel at the moment. And I actually didn't think I would mind being alone since my bf had to go out of town for understandable reasons. But sitting here and listen to Christmas music and trying to make my own rice porridge (by recommendation from my grandmother🙂) I'm reflecting upon a couple of things this evening! Watching people's cheerful photos on Fb and Instagram does not make me feel much cheerful though...sorry for that everyone, but at the moment that's the truth..
 
So here's the thing. I don't consider myself as a Christian. But since I grew up in a "Christian society" I love the whole tradition around December time when it comes to baking, decorating, Lucia celebration and creating that "Christmas feeling" with friends and family. But as time goes by friends and family starts creating their own traditions. And after all my years in India it hit me that I lost some of those traditions that I used to follow - midsummer celebration, "kräftskiva", Lucia celebration and of course everything that comes with Christmas.
And then another thing hit me! Even if I lost some traditions I have also gained some; Holi, Onam and Diwali, to mention a few🙂 And so, in the end it is my own responsibility to choose what I want to celebrate in life and how. And how to hold these traditions alive! And I have to start doing that. I can't let time pass by thinking that it doesn't mean anything to me. Cause it does! Otherwise every day would be the same if we didn't keep traditions alive and celebrated life as we know it!

And a new year is about to start, and I still feel my life is getting better and better for each year. And I wish the same to all of you out there!
 
 
Merry Christmas every one🙂
 

2017-12-20
15:47:19

India please, grow up!
 
 Kerala - God's own country and the state holding the highest number of educated inhabitants. Pardon me for now sounding a little harsh towards Keralites. But to me, having such an educated population seemingly does not have to meen being a developed state. One may think that so is the case. But after watching today's morning news about a boy not getting his right to write his final exams for 10th grade because he was hugging a girl for "one too many Mississippi's" Kerala keep reminding me about the unbelivable conservative society which is holding back Kerala, and the rest of the country, from progressing as a nation.
India is a country with so much potential! Still there are so many other problems to highlight than to waste time on a boy that apparently was violating the school rule by being "to intimate" with a girl by giving her a hug. On top of that his private instagram account suddenly got hacked or something and his pictures was shown to school authorities who though his photos was way too unimpropriate. So now because of this hug the boy have sufferend two things - he'll miss his final exam which means he will miss out another year in school and he gott his privacy inskränkt. 
The girl involved in the matter had nothing against the hug. But because of the risk of not getting any marriage proposal after this incident she does not want to step forward and face the risk of being humiliated. And so, If she is found hanging out with a boy, or even hug one, "indian society" may think she's not a virgin and she's looked upon as a very "naughty girl". And not many families in India want their son to marry a "naughty girl". Despite how good she's in the kitchen. 
 
WHY DO PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY PUT SO MUCH IMPORTANCE IF A WOMAN IS A VIRGIN OR NOT BEFORE MARRIAGE, BUT NOT AS MUCH IMPORTANCE WHEN IT COMES TO MEN???
 
Empower women AND men. Don't lock them up or get them married away to a stranger just because "the stars" are telling you it's a good match. Make them realize on their own what is the right way and not the right way to treat each other. And for that to happen boys and girls need to interact. It does not happen with divided seats in the classroom or rules of not hugging each other.
India please, grow up!!
 

2017-12-18
13:49:00

Queens of Parvati Valley
 
We're sitting around the tandori heater. I'm shivering like crazy. My but is cold and my feet are warm.
But she is not freezing. One of many power women from the beautiful valley of Parvati. She is used to the cold that suddenly hits you when the sun disappears behin the mountain tops. She knows how to keep herself warm. Or maybe her body have adjusted to the harsh climate since childhood. But it's more than her ability to adjust to the harsh climate that makes her a power woman. Since childhood she has never left the valley. She grew up with her parents and sisters in a house warmed up with the help of firewood which they had to collect around the area on a daily basis. She went to school but not to college. And seeing a girl hanging out with a boy with out consequences was not an option at all. And so there was just one option for her in life. To get married.
And so she found a man. But since her family was not agreeing to her choice of husband they did not allow him to enter her family house. Initially they stayed in a simplr room while he worked at a tourist camp and brought her food in the evenings when he came home. But since 6 month back they live in a tent outside a restaurant building that we have helped them to construct. And during this season they got an income by renting out tents and maintaining a restaurant!
The plan is to build concrete houses by next year. And the first house will be for them and their future family since they are also expecting a baby in may!!
I just pray that they will be able to manage the winter and stay healthy in that harch climate..!!
Himachel and Parvati is a wonder valley for tourists to spend time in cosy hotels or for those who prefer an adventure in a blissful trekking!
But for locals it means daily work in order to keep warmth and to earn money for the day to bring food for their family.
 
 
 And there we sat arounaround the heater on their kitchen floor. And suddenly she starts telling me how lucky she thinks I am, based on all my privilege I'm being born with. And at the same time I'm being filled with guilt feelings of hearing what I'm hearing and of being the person I am. Something she can't put a blame on. Something I can't put a blame on. It's just the way it is.
What do one respond to that...?
 
I believe we all have a capacity of doing the best of the tools we have been given in life. And despite the distance and difference between us I've found a friend🙂 We are so different, but our basic needs in life, both as a woman and a  human being, are the same! So we have so many things in common of course!
She even asked me to be present at the time of birth..!! No need to go to the hospital she thought. Her grandmother have help many woman during their birth period. So all she though of what that her grandmother and me could be there. I panicked in my thoughts and told her nicely that when that day comes please go to the nearest hospital, and if I'm able to I'd be there with her I would love to..<3 If you only knew how much I admire you oh young woman and my dear friend🙂
 
 
 
 
 
Love<3
 
 
 
 
 

2017-12-10
18:04:00

Convocation time!!
 
And finally D-day was hear!!
After four years of intensive studies and clinical practice PLUS one extra year of waiting before writing my last exam...The toughest thing I've ever gone through and at the same time the best thing I've ever done in my life!! And I couldn't have done it without support and patience from my parents and my love who faced my daily dose of frustration and irritation  of all college stress. And of course supported me during the whole time.
I'll be writing about "truths & myths" about Manipal and its University soon. Since I've had quite an experience here. Both good and bad one.
Now, we're planning the rest of the year. I will probably not work as a nurse in India, but there are some ideas in my head which I'm working on a little bit in silence. So we'll see how it all turns out😉

We've put our hopes and believes into our ideas! But so far I feel we're on the right track in life🙂
 
 
 
And thank you all for the wonderful wishes🙂