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Archive for the tag “social issues”

What happened the very first time I donated blood

I am a huge believer in the effectiveness of a one-on-one interaction. In the Second Year of Degree College I stood for the Class Representative elections. I remember I made a personal appeal to each and every student of S.Y.BSc to vote for me. As a result each and every student turned up on election day to vote and I won by a margin so huge which the college had never ever seen before.

The very first event organized by the newly elected Students Council was a Blood Donation Drive. My MO intact, 8am onwards, on the day of the event, I approached each and every student of S.Y.BSc yet again to convince them to donate blood. Most of them did. At the fag end of the event at 12:30pm, it was my turn to give blood. I lay down on the table and stretched out my right hand. The doctor encircled  my upper arm tightly with the fabric strip of the blood pressure machine, searched for the vein, found it, inserted the needle to draw out the blood that would be collected in a bag. The blood was collected and just as the doctor took out the needle from my arm, my eye fell on the full bag of blood and suddenly the world was a merry go round. My thought, just before I fainted, was that the doctor was quite good-looking.

It was a pretty embarrassed-me that regained consciousness which I assume was a couple of minutes later. I’m sure no slippers or onions were used in the process. After a sweet coffee and a couple of biscuits I was fine. And my parents wanted me to be a doctor. Who knew!

We had a great collection and the drive was a huge success. All those who donated blood that day got a little card which mentioned their blood group and it entitled them to receive free blood for a period of one year from that date.

Many years later I got another opportunity to donate blood but they refused to take it because in the past few months I had suffered three bouts of malaria. Totally my loss.

P.S.: BloodConnect is a group of motivated individuals working towards a single goal – “To solve the problem of blood shortage in India”. When you donate blood, you can save a life. Please donate and encourage others to do too.

This post is in response to a friend who tagged me as part of the #IBloodConnected_DidYou Initiative of BloodConnect.



As a way to understand the dynamics between male and female students in a co-ed school, I asked my 9yo nephew a few questions about it. According to him, his teachers tended to side with the girls in case of any dispute between the boys and the girls (which shouldn’t have risen up in the first place) even when the girls were clearly at fault. This seemed to create a lot of resentment in the boys against the girls, even as they continued to be friends with them.

Two years later, at his birthday party, boys and girls sat in separate groups even while playing games and eating and the only time they came together was while playing housie. The boys were loud and boisterous and even though the girls were not boisterous they were neither meek nor timid.

The resentment of two years ago seemed to have created a rift deep enough to make the girls form separate groups but not deep enough to not be invited to a boy’s birthday party at all.

Two questions rose up in my mind:

  • What is the role teachers play in perpetuating or breaking stereotypes
  • If mindsets develop in early childhood what must parents do to ensure the children assimilate gender-equality rather than develop the default patriarchal mindset.

When I was designated #VoiceoftheWeek by Sayfty on Twitter, I used the opportunity to find answers to these questions in my many conversations on that platform.


  • Parents nowadays are more sensitive about gender typecasting and are supportive of their children’s choice in toys, colour of clothes, books they read. Eg: dolls for boys to play with or trains for girls. Boys choosing to wear pink because they love that colour (pink supposedly being considered a colour worn only by girls).
  • Teachers can create gender equality by encouraging boys and girls to sit /study/play together as classmates rather than as boys and girls and at the same time being fair in their dealings with the students, irrespective of their gender.
  • Many students face a lot of peer pressure to confirm to society-supported gender roles especially in the case of colour of clothes and types of toys. Giving in to their personal choice which if it is against the accepted norms can attract ragging and unnecessary harassment from those who have not been sensitized to gender equality.


This brings us back to the point that the family plays an important role too in creating a mindset that encourages boys and girls to be considered as individuals with equal rights.

Parents then have to be very careful to examine their own behaviours and speech to ensure that they themselves are not perpetuating existing backward norms.

Is it not possible that while driving to the Toys Mall to buy that train set because your daughter wants one (or because you want to buy it for her as your contribution towards girl empowerment) the car driver in front of you is driving erratically and you mutter under your breath, “must be a woman putting on makeup”? Okay, that might be a bit over the top but such attitudes are so ingrained that we sometimes overlook them just because they are so rampant.

Or perhaps, your wife is doing all the cooking and cleaning while you are at work the whole day and then when you are back at home, you park yourself in front of the television for a “well-deserved rest after a hard day.” You cook a cordon bleu meal once a week and there is a lot of excitement and your wife tells her friends with great pride that you are a great cook. But you never ever help with everyday cooking because that is “your wife’s department.” Or worse, both of you work but cooking food is completely your wife’s responsibility. So even if your daughter is not buying that toy kitchen set, doesn’t your son get the message that the woman is in charge of the kitchen?

With girls and boys getting the same high levels of education, it is inevitable that the only things that will sustain a relationship are respect and trust between the partners. And this can be done only when the sensitization begins in childhood.

Happily, lots of young parents are much aware of the situation and making efforts to sensitize their young ones.

What steps are you taking to ensure your children are aware of gender equality?

Do share your practices so others can also adopt them and this in turn can only benefit society in the long run.

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