I’m feeling sorry for myself – indulge me
I’m sat drinking Dioralyte and reading the paper. It’s all I have the energy for after my body, yet again, violently expelled unwanted items in my body. A full night without any sleep, and your stomach doing crunches constantly, is exhausting. The Dioralyte actually tastes ok – a sign my body is craving lost minerals. The repetitive incidents are starting to have a cumulative effect I think – they’re getting worse, if that was at all possible. Not that I am losing any weight – I’m not doing any exercise at the moment; the lack of energy isn’t helping with that. I need more sleep and I need to eat something – but my stomach responds with a involuntary crunch at the thought. I’m not risking it. I’ll stick with water and Dioralyte for now.
It’s frankly shocking how much it affects the body. As well as the obvious effects there is the sore throat and nose from violently vomiting. There is the stomach ache associated with these things but also a different stomach ache later as your body feels it’s done circuit training with a sadistic personal trainer. There is the loss of concentration – the brain turns inwards and focuses constantly on the stomach – everything revolves around those involuntary crunches, water and whether I can risk a bit of food. I cannot deal with the simple tasks – not that anything is simple here – but the shopping won’t be being done today for example. I simply do not have the energy do deal with the multiple store trips and language barrier. Doing anything technical work wise is impossible – I simply can’t concentrate. I just feel vulnerable and want to be looked after. But I am 5000+ miles away from the UK and all my family and friends. Rez is at work and Zahra is at school. So I decide to write a blog post instead – it’s taking a while.
I’m sat here (in between the dashes to the toilet, which thankfully are becoming more infrequent – but you know I must be nearing empty by now) trying to restore my energy levels, and I read The Times of India.
What the Papers Say
On page 6 there is an article titled: ‘Child brides born out of poverty, lack of security’. Now to be fair, pages 1 and 2 are taken up with yet more leopard sightings in Bangalore city (thankfully for us they’re in the East and we’re in the North) but why this article is relegated to page 6 is beyond me, but perhaps an indication of the resignation of the issue at hand.
The number of underage marriages the Child Marriage Prohibition Cell (‘CMPC’) (established in 2011) stopped was 1,412 in the last 2 years in Kannataka alone. Children are forcibly removed from schools and married. Now this evokes a lot of emotion around child protection in schools and how this could actually happen but those questions remain unanswered in this article as the focus is on child marriage. The acceptance that this happens is quite alarming. (Although it does give some explanation of the myriad of G4S security guards they have at Zahra’s school.)
According to the CMPC the reasons cited most often for child marriage were financial constraints and lack of security for women, even in the domestic sphere. Parents are worried about girls security at home when they are at work. They fear they “may fall prey to sexual violence as well as social atrocities” the article states. Parents also have to pay a small dowry if the girl is under 18 “as the groom’s family demands more, both in cash and in kind, for an adult bride,”. There is no discussion or analysis about either of these issues and whether anything is being done about it. The focus is how many child marriages have been prevented.
It is difficult for a westerner to understand the payment of a dowry. It is such an outdated concept paying the groom and his family for your daughter or sister to be married. It is big business here. Our wonderful G4S driver has a sister getting married next month and he is worried about how much he will have to contribute to the dowry – and he has a father and 4 brothers chipping in. Not only money exchanges hands – goods and chattels are too as well as a lot of gold jewellery. (They literally do wear their wealth here – status is everything (after your caste I suspect).) It is just accepted practice and unfathomable to me.
Violence against women
The other issue mentioned but not discussed in the article is the violence against women. The fact that women cannot feel safe in their own home is alarming. The fact that there is little the police do when these crimes are reported is also alarming. The police can refuse to even record a complaint without any investigation if they think there has been no crime – it’s so arbitrary and of course open to corruption.
It is truly a sad states of affairs. The position of women in Indian society has got to advance into the modern era. Men are letting this happen – they need to stand up for their daughters, wives and sisters and say enough is enough. They also need to just stop – stop being violent against women and stop demanding a dowry. Stand up and be counted as a man.
Energy all gone
It’s time for me to stop. My energy is sapped and I need to lie down. It’s pathetic I know – but I am recuperating. Onwards and upwards from here (I hope!).