All posts by Ancy Abraham

Worked as Magazine and Educational Books Editor, Developed industrial websites, brochures and profiles. Writes about lifestyle topics related to health, food, shopping, etc. Presently writing for lifestyletodaynews.com. Many other life-changing projects are in the pipeline, keep reading, Enjoy!

Hema Sardesai: A woman playback singer with over 60 superhit Bollywood songs

Many a time we know a melodious movie song by heart, but we do not know who sang the song. We watch a lot of Bollywood movies, and all we recognise are the actors. Most of the time we do not know who the singers or the directors of the movie. There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. We remember the actors we see, but do not remember the singers we hear.

Thanks to social media and Google, I discovered recently that many of the famous songs that we often keep humming were sung by Hema Sardesai. She has sung over 60 Bollywood songs and all of them were super hits. For instance Badal pe paon hai from Chak De India and Awara Bhanware an A R Rehman song.

She has got the rare accomplishment of singing the duet with top Bollywood superstars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Govinda and Salman Khan. One of the five songs she sang with Amitabh Bachchan is Chali Chali in Baghban. This years women’s day post is dedicated to Hema Sardesai because apart from being a prolific playback singer, she is also involved in many social causes like women empowerment and Save the Girl Child.

In 2017, She gave an audio interview for the Radio Playback India program Ek Mulakat Zaruri Hai. Here is an excerpt from the interview with Sajeev Sarathie:

How was the early stage of your singing career?

Those who work with principles and values will face difficulty in achieving anything in life. I consider my music a gift of God, and so I do not let any harm to happen to that gift. Besides, I believe in giving high status to women. Like in any other industry in the world some people see women as a sex object, and that happened with me also.

Whatever I achieved is because God wished that I achieved that in life. I have a struggled a lot in the industry. Initially, I walked out of every studio. I wanted my voice to reach everyone by doing what was righteous before God. Because God was with me, I could achieve something. I got the opportunity to sing with great singers like Sonu Nigam, Kuma Sanu, Shaan and Udit Narayanan. And by God’s grace, the more than 60 songs I have sung are all super hits.

What is the secret behind your Bubbly posture?

I give credit to my smiling face and energetic song performances to the blessings of my Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

How was you experience working with the music directors?

All of them know my mind. They knew that I will work only if I got respect. So wherever I went, I got respect.

Hema Sardesai
Listen to the complete Interview of Hema Sardesai by Sajeev Sarathie for the Radio Playback India programme Ek Mulakat Zaruri Hai

Hema Sardesai made her American debut with an International single in English ‘Power of Love’.On this Women’s Day we wish her all the best for her future endeavours in Bollywood and Hollywood.

Thanks to Sajeev Sarathi for permitting to use the complete interview for this blog post.

Unbox Festival: A Weekend of Discovery and Learning

UnBox 2019 was a weekend of discovery and learning, and allowed for unanswered questions as well as explorations. It brought together emerging and disruptive ideas from those who are pushing boundaries of their own practice. The three day festival had 100 Indian Collaborators and 32 International Collaborators.

With 328 Total Participants, the festival outcomes are both tangible and intangible. Some projects were co-created at the festival and will continue into longer projects. Here are some quick highlights from UnBox Festival 2019:  

Discussions and talks                                            

Stories, conversations, and dialogues took centre stage at UnBox Festival this year touching upon relevant topics shaping contemporary thought. Day one was loaded with talks on water resource management at the grassroots, cultures and values of learning in the present age, the importance of consent in the digital space, exploring technology for conservation, the impact of social media on India’s upcoming general elections, as well as exploring the messy futures space from a personal and human perspective. Conversations on the burgeoning city limits and its impact on infrastructure and resources, storytelling traditions that share genealogies and ecological patterns, ethics that may govern the use of AI systems, the impact of technology in the social sector, making a truly inclusive Internet, design-led innovation strategies, the need for intersectionality in design and the use of digital processes in preserving heritage, unfolded and expanded through the three days of the festival.

Workshops

UnBox 2019 curated a set of workshops conducted by experts from varied practices, for festival attendees to participate and immerse into. While some created intimate spaces to brainstorm and ideate, others got participants down to their hands and knees exploring and making. Taking on multiple tracks and formats, they led participants to experience disability to understand its needs and choices, explored emerging technologies, create a wishlist of a feminist Internet, build unique conspiracies, imagine a world of AR/VR without using it, and discussed the role of technology in craft practices. UnBox also curated workshops that used three-dimensional tensile structures to evaluate the relationships of the human body, and featured the unheard stories of the brave women of Karnataka, explored the future of consent, examined data driven investigation, and making zines.

The festival also hosted a 4-day lab, in partnership with UK-based artists collective – Invisible Flock, that focused on building meaningful, cross-disciplinary collaborations within environmental and socially engaged practices. It brought together artists, designers and writers from India, Uk & Uganda to think about technology beyond its traditional understanding, and instead as a creative medium. Outcomes from the Lab were shared in multiple formats ranging from exhibits to talks and performances.

UnBox Food Lab

UnBox Food Lab explores connections and meaningful interactions between food, its preparation, the act of enjoying it, and the people who consume it. This year the lab manifested in the form of  talks, workshops, and communal meals at the festival, with conversations on cultural appropriation in food and the future of urban farming; workshops that investigated the fascinating world of coffee through games, experience traditional fermentation processes, and explore our interconnected food ecosystems. A selection of films explored the challenges of rising food demands, while thematic culinary experiences translated into community meals that served traditional regional recipes and helped reconnect with those that grow our food.

Performances

The evenings brought together an eclectic mix of sound and visual artists. A transmedia narrative using improvised electronica and live visual programming, featured Seasonal Affected Beats, Aural Eye and Cursorama came together in Dreamswitch at the UnBox Open House on day one of the festival. UnBox After Dark was a collaborative audio-visual showcase by UnBox residents and guests at Foxtrot, Koramangala. The night combined sounds from Bombay based electronic musicians SPRYK and Echofloat, with visual interpretations from Thiruda and Cursorama from the VJing collective Alt-Q, supported by Romanian collective Aural Eye Visions Studio. The last evening of the festival brought together an indie folk trio with Abhijeet Tambe accompanied by Michael Dias and Kaushik Kumar in The Unwind Collection, at The Humming Tree in Indira Nagar. This was followed by a modern, electronic set that brought together the sound experiments of Nikhil Narendra and Shreyas Dipali.

Installations & Exhibitions

The exhibits at UnBox transformed the space of the festival into a transient gallery with projects and ideas across multiple formats. More than 18 installations and exhibitions were presented that ranged from immersive entertainment with VR film pods to a participatory installation on creating a collective scent. Others included the outcomes of mixing environmental data collection with technology, a curated set of albums that created an archive of stories from India’s countryside, an interactive installation that made visual and acoustic connections between outer space and physical spaces that surround us, and the making of both real and virtual Narkasur effigies. Music came alive through the stories of a curious crow that lit up each time a musical note played, and a transient space within an auto rickshaw that urged all to make their own music.

As reported in the Press Release of the Unbox Festival. Image Courtesy: Unbox Festival Team

Day 1 of Unbox Festival filled with activities and entertainments

Like the past editions of UnBox festival, this year the line up for day one was stacked with some great talks, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, installations and meals. 

Festival attendees got a chance to explore talks and panels on water-related issues, the future of urban farming, the digital content landscape in India, language and learning, the impact of social media on the upcoming general elections, building resilience from distress and tech ecologies.

Produced by UnBox Food Labs, lunch at the festival was catered by Bengaluru Oota Company which was a tribute to the Gowda and Mangalorean cuisines of Karnataka, a culinary experience based on heirloom family recipes that are passed down through the generations.

Post lunch, we dived right into workshops – Experiential Immersion in Disability, The future of History, Smellscape, Emergent Tech, What is your feminist wishlist?, Narkasur, Conspiracy creation and Seeing Invisibility. 

UnBox X Open house – a free for all event kicked off at 6PM with Now: A Kinetic Life – an interactive installation and performance, and a three-part film addressing the challenges of rising food demands. A collection of art exhibits, installations, screenings and immersive experiences were on display and open for all those who walked through the fest. We closed day one with a trans-media narrative of hypnagogic dreamscapes (titled Dreamswitch) through improvised electronica and live visual programming, featuring Seasonal Affected Beats, Aural Eye and Cursorama. 

As reported by Vibhuti Jaswal from the festival venue.

Information about the Evening Performances On February 16th and 17th.

February 16 | 8:00PM onwards
UnBox After Dark
Aural Eye X Cursorama X Echofloat X SPRYKPresented at Foxtrot – House of Subculture in Koramangala.

Unbox After Dark presents a collaborative Audio Visual showcase by the Unbox residents and guests. The night combines sounds from Bombay based electronic musicians SPRYK and Echofloat, with visual interpretations from Thiruda and Cursorama from the VJing collective, Alt-Q supported by Romanian collective- Aural Eye Visions Studio.
Spryk is the brainchild of Tejas Nair, an independent electronic musician pushing boundaries of technology-driven art. EchoFloat is a music project conceived by Jeff Nelson, exploring productions and DJ sets ranging from lush thoughtful soundscapes to intricate granular textures, to invoke a sense of space, form, interconnectivity and movement.

February 17 | 6:00PM-10:00PM

The Unwind Collection

Nikhil Narendra X Shreyas Dipali X Tambe and Friends
Presented at The Humming Tree in Indira Nagar.
Tambe & Friends is an indie folk trio based out of Bangalore, India. The project revolves around an intimate collection of songs written and sung by Abhi Tambe with ample support from Michael Dias and Kaushik Kumar on guitars and vocal harmonies. Abhi Tambe, currently performing as a solo singer-songwriter, is remembered in the city as one of the founding members of the cult band Lounge Piranha, which disbanded back in 2010. Michael Dias is founder and frontman for current city favourites Mad Orange Fireworks and Kaushik Kumar plays bass in the same band.

They will be followed by a modern, electronic set that brings together the sound experiments of Nikhil Narendra and Shreyas Dipali. They used to perform with alternative band The Bicycle Days, but have found their true calling in electronic music that condenses their many influences into one sound. 

A Curtain Raiser to The Unbox Festival

The countdown has begun for a festival that connects people and helps one to learn from the experience of people from various fields. The Unbox Festival is being put together, for the fifth time, by Quicksand Design Studio, a research and design practice with studios in New Delhi, Bangalore and Goa.

UnBox Festival will take place at the Bangalore International Centre, in Domlur, between February 15-17, 2019. Here is an interview with Babitha George, Co-Founder – UnBox Festival & Director – Quicksand Design Studio. She talks about the events at the festival this year, how the festival began, and the outcomes from the festival so far.

Tell us something about UnBox Festival?

The multi-disciplinary festival brings together people from various fields of design, technology, culture, art and Policymaking.

Incepted by Quicksand Design Studio in 2011 as an annual festival in India, and a fellowship program since 2012, UnBox has promoted new thoughts and partnerships at the intersection of design, art, culture and social innovation. UnBox is a growing community of creative, academic and developmental professionals seeking to collaborate beyond their immediate practice and looking to infuse future world experiences with imagination, sustainability and responsibility.

In 2014 we took a pause on the UnBox festival format to reflect and renew. While we were away, we spent time quietly tinkering. UnBox was evolving and we tried on many hats. We packed it small and took it to Ahmedabad, Bombay, Bangalore, Goa, Berlin, London, Leeds, Sheffield, Anstruther, and Tokyo. It became a lab, a caravan, a pop-up, an immersive media arts platform, and an in-house experiment for the folks at the studio. It’s now back in India as a festival platform after a 4-year hiatus and with the upcoming edition we hope to rediscover lost paths, forge new trails, and have a good time while we are at it!

This year, UnBox will take place at the Bangalore International Centre in Domlur between February 15-17, 2019 and will bring together a unique programme that features diverse tracks for participants to explore intersections across design, art, culture, technology and policy. The festival will invite diverse participation and bring together technologists, activists, policy makers and a mix of the creative community to ideate and collaborate on the most pressing challenges facing India today.

What are the main events at the festival?

UnBox 2019 will run across three full days with workshops, labs, conference sessions and conversations over meals, along with evenings of performances and excursions into the city curated to inspire, provoke and imagine. With a detailed programming in place this year we deep dive into conversations around art, design, culture, technology, policy, environment and social innovation. Right from conversations and discussions around emerging technologies such as AI to conservation and human ecologies, design led innovation to digital heritage and food ecosystems to creating a smell map of the city, UnBox 2019 brings together a diverse mix of projects which are shared either as evolved project ideas, or other projects that either culminate or are initiated at the festival. In this way the UnBox experience lives not just for the three days of the festival, but moves into a space of continued learning and collaborations.

Who are the participants at the festival?

UnBox 2019 is where people from seemingly disparate backgrounds, but with similar interests and values around collaboration come together to explore diverse themes and apply their unique skills and talents in co-creating new products and ideas. The festival line up in terms of participants and practitioners is carefully curated for a rich balance of the intellectual and the experiential.

How did the UnBox festival begin in the first place?

We started UnBox with the intent to create a larger community who value multidisciplinary approaches and are open to questioning their own practice and learn from others. 8 years in, we have built a vibrant network of artists, designers, thinkers, young professionals and stakeholders in the creative economy space in India and abroad. We’ve always put innovative experiments at the center of our programming and this year UnBox festival will be no different. With UnBox 2019 we hope to bring people from disparate backgrounds together to explore diverse themes and co-create new products and share fresh ideas. It’s important to have a safe space that allows for discussions about failure as well as about work that is in progress, which might be messy and chaotic.

Through UnBox, we want to allow for new encounters and conversations, and to draw inspiration from unlikely spaces. This festival edition will collectively engage with new futures in a way that acknowledges and builds on the multilayered complexity of our lives, from culture, memories and the past to the spaces and communities we inhabit and shape.

Tell us something about the outcome of the festival in previous years?

The outcomes of the festival are both tangible and intangible. Some projects have started at the festival and continued into longer projects. For eg; UnBox has been working with the University of Dundee for a while around decentralised narratives for technology that attempt to co-create solutions with communities that are appropriate for the context. We are partnering with Black Baza Coffee and Buffalo Back Collective on this project and all of these explorations will make its way to the festival this year via conversations, workshops and exhibits.

There are several other examples like this, also of projects that start at the festival and continue to be explored beyond the festival through active collaborations. Some other outcomes are intangible, through connections that are made. The intimate format of the festival allows for informal and meaningful networking, some of which are facilitated by the UnBox team, while some others happen organically.

What is most exciting is when practices that would traditionally not work with each other find points of connections and new ways of collaborating and exploring challenges. For eg; what does it mean for a technologist to work with a social scientist to think of what it means to develop more sensitive and thoughtful technology services for communities, that take into account the unique aspects of various contexts.  

Tell us something about the installations, exhibition and performances at the festival?  

Attendees can expect to see a diverse mix of installations, exhibitions and performances at the festival. For instance, Invisible Flock and Quicksand bring to UnBox 2019 Kāṇada kathegaḷu which aims to mix environmental data collection with technology to find new ways of representing hidden elements of nature and our fragile relationship to it.

Stories from Down Under: VR Cinema Pods with Crossover Labs (UK) is a showcase of cutting-edge immersive entertainment from Australia featuring award-winning virtual reality films in association with Australian High Commission. The films export you to different worlds including the life of a street artist, a magical autumn forest and the land of an Australian indigenous elder.

Anatomy of an AI – In this talk, Prof. Vladan Joler from Novi Sad University uncovers the invisible matrix of human labour, energy consumption and resource extraction that is hidden behind digital networks and Artificial Intelligence. Specifically, it takes the home assistant Amazon Echo as a case study of black box technology and, step by step, reconstructs its design and the relations of each component with planetary ecology and economy.

In a participatory performance installation titled Un Parfum En Commun (supported by Pro Helvetia) with Swiss artist Maeva Rosset the intent is to create a common scent that identifies with all those who become part of its creation.

Aurora with Invisible Flock and Quicksand aims to open up a dialogue on the value of water at a local and global level, to understand it as an element, a life force, a resource, a commodity and a danger.  

NOW – A Kinetic Life (supported by Goethe India) with Thomas Heidtmann (Lacuna Lab) and Bidisha Das is an interactive installation that spans a visual and acoustic connections between outer space and physical spaces that surround us. It is an orchestra of movement using elements from outer space, nature and human bodies as instrumentations.

Reminiscent of the warmth of a hardbound book and the scent of its pages, The Unlimited Book with Thejesh GN expands the ecosystem of a library as the keeper of infinite knowledge. Taking the form of a secret book safe which consists of a custom server that runs on battery it serves readings that are stored locally on the server without the use of the internet. Project Infinity with Thejesh GN and PARI, an edition of the Unlimited Book includes a curated selection of stories from the People’s Archive of Rural India.

Mix the City Auto with Indian Music Experience is a transient space created within an Indian Auto Rickshaw to showcase and experience the diversity of sound, music and cultural influences from various cities in the country. It features original content by Indian composers and musicians in the form of short audio and video samples, compiled by UK music producers (Boxed In, Django Django and Anna Meredith, along with Israeli producer Kutiman). Supported by the British Council.

UK-India Lab with Invisible Flock and Quicksand who are facilitating a new network of artists and creatives from UK and India through a lab that focuses on building meaningful, cross-disciplinary collaborations within environmental and socially engaged practices. Supported by the British Council.

Swarpeti with Pratyush Gupta explores Indian classical music is intertwined with nature, seasons, colours and emotions. It transcends time and cultures to create a blend of music full of depth and wonder.

Talking Albums with PARI present a curated set of albums that speak from The People’s Archive of Rural India, a living journal and an archive of stories from India’s countryside.

Boundary Conditions with Deepak Kurki Shivaswamy, Abhijeet Tambe is an installation which looks to ignite an experience that is created by placing moving bodies in and against an architectural space that speaks of itself.

Performances

UnBox Open House: Friday @ Bangalore International Centre

With: Seasonal Affected Beats (Tarun Balani) and Aural Eye (Alina & Daniel)

UnBox Afterdark: Saturday @ Foxtrot

With: SPRYK (Tejas), Thiruda, Alt-Q and Echofloat (Jeff Nelson)

UnBox Unwind: Sunday @ HummingTree

With: Abhijeet Tambe & Friends, Nikhil and Shreyas

How can someone participate in the festival?

Apart from an extended team of co-creators, mentors and practitioners who make up the festival programme, there is also a ticketed, open call for participants. Attendees will have access to talks, discussions, workshops, exhibitions, installations, meals, performances and excursions into the city curated to inspire, provoke and imagine.


Babitha George, Co-Founder – UnBox Festival & Director – Quicksand Design Studio

When the bucket list meets #TheBlindList

Dear ‘The World’,

When you invited me on The Blind Date I was puzzled. Should I accept the invite or not.  How could I go on a blind date with The World, which never happened so far in history?

Bucket List

Those who travelled the world, they travelled with a purpose. The Vikings were pirates. Columbus and Vasco de Gama sailed in search of the spices.  The three Magi followed a new star in search of the newborn and the Israelites crossed the Red Sea to settle in the land flowing with milk and honey. Lord Hanuman went in search of Sanjeevani.

There are many fictional places, in novels. Alice falls into a hole and discovers a Wonderland.  Gulliver lands in Lilliput. There are other famous fictitious places like Erewhon and Utopia.

Bucket List

The boy in ‘The Alchemist’.  He had a dream and sets out in search of a treasure. And what a fantasy-filled, mystic journey it was. Was it you, The World, who came in his dream and cajoled him to go on a blind date on paths unprecedented.

I was just joking. I know these places are just in fantasy and they do not exist in reality…… Or do they exist somewhere? The World, you are too tricky. The mankind is yet to unravel you completely.

Can you just spot one person who has been on a blind date with you? Not even Otzi, the Iceman. He was out on a mission, probably a soldier, killed in action and preserved for posterity by you. Were the Mountaineers, who discovered, Otzi, 6000 years later, on a blind date with you?

Bucket List

My World

I got ‘My World’. A world comprising the people I know; the world that I read; and the world of my dreams, aspirations and hope. What I see and hear and whatever I fantasy they become part of my world. And the world that I have not seen, heard or experienced is your world. Do you have anything to offer me on the blind date which is not already part of my world?

You are a little late, I have seen it all. What I want to see are all over the Media. The television and the social media takes me to the unseen world. I have seen the underwaters, the deep forests and the Outer space.

Can you surprise me?

There is nowhere in this world where you can take and surprise me. Since I am not a big fan of surprises, let us reach an agreement. I will let you know my bucket list of places I want to visit. And I will share with you my likes and dislikes; and my dreams and wishes. You will have a fair idea on how to plan the blind date.

How I like to travel

I don’t like group tours. I like to travel with friends or family in a small group. Even if I can visit only a few places it is Ok. I want to tap the essence of the places that I visit. I want to meet the local people. Have food with them and enjoy a few cultural events. If you go for a group tour, they take you to popular destinations and the tour is time bound.

Bucket List

The popular tourist places are mostly customised – a dream world which is a bit away from reality. I would like to visit a normal family in any place and eat what they eat normally and enjoy the cultural activities they enjoy normally. That is the real culture of a place.

You are full of surprises

Remember, Abhilash Tomy, who sailed solo. He met with an accident at a remote location in the Indian Ocean.  A location unexplored by mankind. Even now there are places on earth, unexplored. You still have many surprises for us in your kitty. You have many places still secretly kept and yet to be unfolded to mankind. Are you planning to take me to one such undiscovered place? Then I am ready for the blind date. Maybe I can meet people there who have their tradition, customs and recipes original and fresh.

My Bucket List meets #TheBlindList

Let me share with you my bucket list. That will give you an idea about how to plan the blind date:

Bucket List

The Holy Land

I want to visit the Holy Land so as to tour all the places mentioned in the Bible. Do you have any Biblical places which are not known to the people? Then please take me there on our blind date.

The land of Wordsworth

Can you take me to see the golden Daffodils and the lonely moor where the leech gather worked dedicatedly? Those are perfect places for a blind date. We can read the romantic poems of Wordsworth and pluck a few golden daffodils as a memento.

Iceland

The biggest attraction of FIFA 2018 was Iceland. The highest temperature of the country is 25-degrees Centigrade and that happens rarely. The average temperature is 12-degrees Centigrade. How Cool! Can you take me on a blind date to Iceland? I saw the images of Iceland.  Auroras, glaciers, blue lagoons and much more. Do you have anything to offer me in Iceland which is unexplored by man?

Europe

Off late there is growing interest in European tours. Some countries in Europe like Croatia, Czech Republic and Greece are becoming favourite tourist destinations. European countries that were known for modernism are now searching for their tradition. They are exhibiting the traditions from the past. Can you help me discover one of the forgotten traditions of Europe on our blind date?

The United States

I want to visit The United States because everyone who goes there never wants to return.  I want to see why the country in so attractive. Everyone knows everything about The United States. But still you, The World, may have something hidden to surprise me on our blind date.

I am sorry if I disappointed you. I am such a fuzzy person. You will take me on a blind date and we will end up arguing. So I just made my stand clear.

I like to keep my world pure and pristine. Crystal clear like Diamond. Every place I visit, every person I meet, every story I hear and every food I eat becomes part of my World. I am sure you will understand my likes and dislikes and plan accordingly. I am waiting with excitement to go on the blind date with you. After all who can be a better companion to travel the world than you, The World. Hope that after this blind date my World encompasses the whole of The World.

I know you won’t reveal the whole world to me. You will still have some hidden surprises so that you unravel The World, during Blind Dates, to the mankind in thousands of years to come.

This Blog is written for Luftansa’s #SayYesToTheWorld #TheBlindList Campaign

Images Courtesy: Manu Stephen

7 Main features of Blog Compass

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers
Google has come up with Blog Compass, an app for the bloggers. The App which can be downloaded on the iPhone and the Android has much more than analytics to offer.

One thing common with all bloggers is that they want to measure the reach of their activity on the blog.  They want to know how many views their blogs have received. And a sincere feedback of the content.

Blog Compass is a must-have App for the bloggers. The app has a number of features that range from providing the analytics of the published posts to giving suggestions on topics to write about.

Here are the 7 main features of the Blog Compass

Every feature of Blog Compass is equally essential for the bloggers. While planning the day ahead, the Blog Compass provides lots of inputs on improving the content of the blog.

Blog CompassHome

The Home Page of the App contains the highlights of the rest of the 6 pages on the App.

  • There is a graph illustrating the number of views on the website.
  • Mention of trending topics.
  • The number of latest comments.
  • Overviews of Google Analytics.
  • A suggestion of what to learn at the Learning Centre.
  • And the number of badges earned for the posts.

Activity

The Activity page includes the Visitors Overviews, Traffic Source, Search queries and Details of the top posts. You can check the above-mentioned information for a week, month, 3 months or a year.

Topics

An outstanding feature of Blog Compass is the topic suggestions to write about. Following are the categories of the topic:

  • Your Picks: Possibly these topics are based on the google search made by you.
  • Trending: These are the topics that are trending on the internet.
  • For you: Based on the topics that you have posted on your blog.

Badges

The highlights of Blog Compass is the Badges provided for reaching a certain milestone. There are badges like bronze and silver. You can view the badges collected so far.

You can share the badges on the Social Media. I shared one time and the response from the readers was as if received an Oscar.

The badges are given for Page View, Unique Visitors and number of posts written each month.

Posts

The posts can be viewed in different ways: post by date, post by last modified, post by the number of views and posts by title. Under each post, you can view the number of views so far and the number of comments.

Comments

You can view the number of pending and approved comments separately. You can also directly approve or remove the comment through the app.

Learning

A plethora of subjects is provided in the learning centre. Ranging fro SEO starter guideline to how to advertise on your blog. You can click on the subject you wish to get educated about. The learning centre is a help not just for the beginner but also for seasoned bloggers.

Overall Blog Compass is a must-have App for the blogger. Until now the bloggers could only get to know the number of views based on country and demography. Blog Compass provides an in-depth insight into the performance of the posts. And the badges provide lots of encouragement.

Blog Compass is just a few months old and currently available only in India. It is more compatible with Android.

Google is still improving on the App and in future blogger can expect more useful features.

OMG! My Unpaid Care Work created a dent in the GDP

‘My’ here refers to every woman in this world, without any differentiation of society, cast or creed. The common factor for every woman is that she has to manage cooking, washing, cleaning,  taking care of children and the elderly and numerous other activities that make a house a home. Such works are called Unpaid Care Work in economics.

It is not a new word. The necessity of including the Unpaid Care Work in the GDP calculation was suggested 80 years ago. That will be discussed later in this post.

According to a report by OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) “Neglecting Unpaid Care Work leads to incorrect inferences about levels and changes in individuals’ well-being and the value of time, which in turn limit policy effectiveness across a range of socio-economic areas, notably gender inequalities in employment and other empowerment areas.”

There was a report in the newspaper that the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) will conduct a survey in the household to know about the Unpaid Care Work done by the women. The reason being:

  • the gap being created in the GDP
  • the valuable service of the women that is lost to the society
  • the equality between man and woman.

Whether employed or unemployed, a woman, according to studies 75% of the household work is done by women. And in India 700 women do household and unpaid care and their work are unaccounted for in the GDP.

Unpaid Care Work

From time immemorial the work done by a woman at home is considered as a duty. A dutiful woman wakes up early in the morning, before everyone else, and takes care of the entire family.

A woman having a job does two jobs every day. She hardly gets a break on a Sunday.

                   Statistics of Unpaid Work

Country                   Women             Men          Gender Gap Index
                                         %                        %                         Rank
India                                 66                           12                            108
China                               44                            16                            100
USA                                  50                             31.5                           49
UK                                     56.7                         32                               15

Statistics of 2017

Everything was fine. Women considered the household duties as their commitment and worked to the bones to do her best for the family.  The outlook towards the household work, done by women changed when the UN did some GDP calculations. They discovered that there was the gap in the GDP of all the countries because the contribution of the women at home is overlooked. 13% of the world GDP was from the unaccounted Unpaid Care Work.

What do Celebrities say about their Unpaid Care Work?

There was a report that Serena Williams, who is also a mother, said she is finding it difficult to balance her profession and home. She says that managing the house and a profession is an art.

Exactly, she is right. Managing the home and the job is an art. Either you are a good homemaker or you are a good professional. As Indira Nooyi said once, ‘ Women cannot have it all’.

The first woman to voice the above sentiment, Anne-Marie Slaughter, later realized that ‘no one can have it all’. She gives her own example, where she is the main breadwinner. Her husband takes care (or more care) of the children. She refers to him as ‘lead parent’ and herself as ‘non-lead parent’.

Who sacrifices well paid, high-profile career?

Because of the scores of care and routine household works to be taken care of, many potential women employees give up their job or take up part-time jobs. Their non-participation is a loss to the  GDP.

One disturbing trend, nowadays in Indian metros,  is that well-educated women are giving up their jobs so as to take care of the family. A woman, in her early thirties, holding a prestigious position in a Bank, left the job to take care of the family. She is now doing some work from home.

                                           INDIA

(Time spent by both genders on paid and unpaid works in India)

                                      Women          Men

Unpaid Work               297                   31
Paid Work                     160                   360
(in minutes)

Why women leave their jobs

The reason why the well-educated women leave their job is that their salary is minuscule in comparison with that of their spouse.

Or maybe they have inherited a fortune. So they feel that their income hardly make any differce in the financial security of the family. So they choose to remain home as their service is required more at home than the society.

Unpaid Care Work

Another reason could be that the salary that is offered is not in tandem with the expense they have to manage. When a woman leaves for work she has to appoint a maid for washing dishes and cleaning the house. Arrange tuition for the children. Arrange a reliable driver to take them to the tuitions and extracurriculars.

All the expenses amount to between 10,000-15,000. If you appoint a cook and home nurse then the expenses with be much higher.

If the woman is going to earn around 20000  per month, she feels that ‘sitting at home’ is better. She can do all the above-mentioned work with more dedication and she can save the travelling time and expense.

What are the consequences of excluding household production from national accounts?

It leads to misestimating households’ material well-being and societies’ wealth. If included, Unpaid Care Work would constitute 40% of Swiss GDP (Schiess and SchönBühlmann,2004) and would be equivalent to 63% of Indian GDP (Budlender, 2008). ‘OEC’s report on Unpaid Care Work’

How we perceive the household work?

Generally, the household work done by women is perceived as a leisurely activity because the work is not time bound. On the contrary that is not the truth. Women have to plan, stick to a routine and work in a time schedule only then she can accomplish her duties.

Household work also involves a lot of stress. Household duty is serious business. If she skips one activity in a day the whole family is affected.

If we convert the household services into money, the UN says that it comes to 13 per cent of global GDP. Since we fail to oversee the household work as a paid job there are some serious flaws in the GDP of the countries.

UN says that if the government does not take care of the situation then the growth of the country will be affected.

How should the household work be perceived?

Firstly the quantum of household work done by women at home should be given a monetary value. Secondly, the Government should be able to provide care systems, so that the women can go out and work in their field of interest. Their contribution is equally important for the progress of the nation. Unpaid Care Work is an essential determiner in evaluating the social well-being of a Nation.

What is GDP?

80 years ago British economists Richard Stones and James Meade formulated a method to calculate national income. Now it is being used as the global stand to evaluate the economic growth of a country.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) gives an estimate of the financial products of the country. The GDP measures both the income and expenditure of the good and services.

The woman behind Unpaid Care Work in GDP

Phyllis Deane, an apprentice, hired by these eminent economists felt that the Unpaid household work also must be included in the GDP. She argued that a vast amount of productive activity done by women was not listed in the GDP.

She contended that the labour of cooking, taking care of elderly and children, collecting firewood, is traditionally considered as women’s work. After months of research in villages in Africa, Deane concluded that an all-inclusive GDP, that increased National income, can be formulated only if all producer, including rural women, are accounted.

Her recommendation was not considered in the GDP calculation in the past seven decades. Now that the present formula is under criticism, Deans suggestion of including Unpaid Care Work (mostly female work) in GDP in being considered.

According to studies the number of people requiring care, elderly, children, the disabled and the ill will increase by 2030. If someone cuts down of a few hours of work or even relinquish the paid job in order to do Unpaid Care Work that will create a huge, irreplaceable damage in financial security.

According to a BBC report “Unpaid carers save the UK economy almost £60bn a year, suggests a new analysis of official figures by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). About 8% of the UK population living in private households acted as informal carers last year, the Department of Work and Pensions figures show. The ONS calculates that it would cost £56.9bn to replace these unpaid carers with paid workers.”

According to ILO report ‘Care work and care jobs for the future of decent work’s “If investment in care service provision does not increase by at least 0.5 percentage points of global GDP by 2030 from the current 6.4 per cent of global GDP (as of 2015), deficits in coverage will increase and the working conditions of care workers will deteriorate.”

Women do more underpaid work

ILO report further says, “In 2018, 606 million working-age women said that they were not able to do so because of Unpaid Care Work. Only 41 million men said they were not in the labour force for the same reason.”

Inequalities lower in high-income countries

Source: World Bank (2014), World Development Indicators and OECD (2014), Gender, Institutions and Development Database. “Gender inequality in Unpaid Care Work is also related to the wealth of a country. Time use data reveals a negative correlation between income and levels of gender inequalities in Unpaid Care Work: the distribution of responsibilities is the most equal in high-income countries.”

Kerala needs 10 times more fund for rehabilitation

During 1924 deluge, Mahatma Gandhi, collected Rs 6000 for Kerala. Through his publication, ‘Young India’ and ‘Navjivan’ he urged people to contribute to the “unimaginable” misery. People donated gold and their small saving for the relief work of “Mahapralayam of 99” (Malayalam year 1099).

How similar are the two deluges

The flood in 1924 was in Travancore, Idukki, Thrissur and Kottayam. The same places were flooded this time too. The similarity ends there.

The great deluge of Kerala, 2018, is greater than the great flood of 1924. There was massive destruction of infrastructure and property. While thousands of lives were lost in the flood 100 years ago, thanks to the rescue operation in 2018, the heavy casualty was avoided.

If the water reached 6 ft then, now it was more than 8 ft.

Unlike in 1924, now Kerala was on the path of rapid development. Kerala has the highest development index. There are IT parks and Startup hubs generating jobs which in turn improved the quality of life of the people. There are hi-tech buildings and roads that lead to every nook and cranny of Kerala.

Estimated loss

As the infrastructural development was at a rapid pace, the loss was also massive. 221 bridges were destroyed, 10000 km of road damaged and 3 lakh farmers were affected. The Government of Kerala has estimated a loss of more than $3 billion (Rs 20000 Crore).

Dream homes shattered

A house of one’s own is everyone’s dream. Kerala is famous for the huge mansions built along the length and breadth of the state. Even the poorest of the poor own a piece of land and a house in it. They make their houses as cosy as they can afford.

The flood completely destroyed 7000 houses, mostly of the poor. 50000 houses were partially damaged. Because the water gushed into the houses and engulfed the house for two-three days, some houses have become weak. They are not safe to stay.

Since furniture was not waterproof, most of the things were destroyed in the water. The water entered the cupboards, shelves and kitchen. Soiling the clothes, kitchen gadgets, cars, grocery and documents. They have nothing left other than the clothes they were wearing when they were rescued.

The earning of a lifetime was gone with the waters. Some of the houses were on loan. Now they need extra money to restore their homes. The houses are to be cleaned and sanitized. The electrical and plumbing lines are to be repaired. Books and uniforms are to be brought for children. Medicines were washed away.

Schools destroyed

In schools (especially government schools) the entire furniture, documents, books (including library books) and computers were spoiled. Restoring the schools is a mammoth task which includes labour and finance.

Hospitals damaged

Some hospitals were also flooded causing damage to the medical equipment and medicines.

Some still in camps

The people of Kuttanadu are still in camps. The water has not receded properly. They are basically hardworking farmers. With a little support, they will back to life very soon.

Tragedy strikes twice

A lady tailor’s husband died suddenly of a heart attack ten years back. Her youngest child was 6 months old at that time. She supported her family of three children and in-laws by stitching. After the flood, only the house is left. Everything inside the house was destroyed.

Her story represents the story of more than one million who were displaced or remained on the rooftop until the water receded.

A heart-warming story

One man who lost a few of his household items in the flood gave a cot and a mattress to his neighbour. Because when he had lost only something his neighbour lost everything.

Funds Kerala received so far

The Central Government has promised Rs 600 crore. The donations in the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund has crossed Rs 700 crore so far. In total Kerala has received around Rs 1300. And if the UAE Government provides Rs 700 crore, the aid will reach 2000. Still, the State needs ten times more funding for rehabilitation.

How the fund helps in rehabilitation

The fund will not only take care of the reconstruction of the roads and bridges but also help in rebuilding houses and rehabilitating the victims of the flood. The funds will also provide relief to the farmers. They had taken heavy loan hoping to reap a profitable harvest during Onam. Unfortunately, a few days before Onam, the crops were destroyed.

How to #HelpKerala

Massive fund for rehabilitation is required. What we can do is to donate generously to the Chief Minister’s Distress relief fund.

Donate Online

Account number: 67319948232
Bank: State Bank of India
Branch: City branch, Thiruvananthapuram
IFS Code: SBIN0070028
PAN: AAAGD0584M
Name of Donee: CMDRF

Providing material support

Almost every school and institution in India is sending material support to Kerala. You can contact the nearest schools and colleges to know if you can contribute in some way.

When the people are returning home from camps, empty-handed, they need the basic essentials to start their life once again. Some of the items that are required are:

  • Stationery for children (Notebook, pen, etc.)
  • Gas stove
  • Cookware
  • Nighties and Lungies (Unused)
  • Water resistant chappals
  • Rice and green gram
  • Mat (Chatai)

When warriors of sea rowed their boats on hills and rescued thousands

From now on we will call them ‘Our Fishermen’. This was not the situation until yesterday, Aug 18th, 2018.

Tsunami and Ockhi destroyed their homes and killed their loved ones. But we did not go to their midst to help them. Every other day there is a news of fishermen gone missing in the sea or dying.  We consider such incidents are a part of their occupation.

But when the Fishermen heard of the tragedy of their fellow human being. They came risking their lives. They brought their boat which is their source of livelihood. Their act of kindness gave us the assurance that humanity still exists.

When the waters were swallowing Kerala like a giant monster, the fire force, the police, the locals, the navy and many others came to the rescue of the victims. But there were rough terrains which hindered rescue operation.

The MLA of Chengannur, in Pathanamthitta, lamented that at least ten thousand people in his constituency will submerge in the waters if help does not reach in time.

Then something magical happened on Saturday, August 18th. Out of the 54,000 rescued on that day from Eranakulam district alone, 18000  were rescued by fishermen.

It was a spontaneous decision on the part of the fishermen to rise to the occasion. Someone in the fishermen’s Association suggested in the social media about the help fishermen can provide, and they acted on the spur of the moment.

They did not wait for any invitation or financial assistance from the Government. They arranged the fuel and trucks, on their own, to transport the boats to the affected area.

The Fishermen took their boats from their native places Ernakulam, Mallapuram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Malappuram, Thrissur and Kannur. They took the country boats to Aluva, Chengannur, Chalakudy, Mala, Kodungallur, Kuttanad, North Paravur and other places.

The hills and the low lying areas were submerged in water. In some places, the water level was over 8ft. high. The furious water and the unpredictable terrains hindered the navy from carrying rescue operations in some areas. Thousands were feared trapped in submerged single storey buildings.

In 600 country vessels, 1400 warriors of sea formed teams and ventured into the ferocious water rowing against the current. The boat got damaged due to harsh terrain, low water and rough weather.

Sometimes the mobiles did not work. Some of them were bitten by the poisonous insects. They had to jump in waters, risking electrocution to rescue women, little children and elderly.

At one place the women could not climb into the boat. So a fisherman, Jaisal, provided his back to allow the women to get in the boat. He was an instant hero on the Social Media. But Jaisal says that compared to the daring rescue operations done by some of his friends, his act was nothing.

The tech-savvy younger generation fisher flock had a huge role to play. Some of them, who were students, decided to join the rescue operations. Some of them were successful in convincing their reluctant parents to take the boat for rescue and also to join and lead the team.

The fishermen have become overnight heroes in Kerala, just like firefighters became heroes on September 11 in the US. The fishermen are now called as Kerala’s Army and the superheroes of Kerala like Spiderman, Superman and Batman are superheroes of Hollywood.

Chris van Avery, a former American Sailor says in his blog “The Sea is a choosy mistress. She takes the men that come to her and weighs them and measures them. The ones she adores, she keeps; the ones she hates, she destroys. The rest she casts back to land. I count myself among the adored, for I am Her willing Captive.”

The fishermen are chosen men of the sea who they call Kadal Amma (Mother Sea). They are a community different from others. They are called the Mukkuvan (which means fishermen) and live as a community near the sea.  They have their own community rules and live one day at a time.

They were affected drastically by Tsunami and Ockhi. They venture into the sea for fishing even when there is a trawling ban.  Because fishing is their livelihood and they believe Kadal Amma will protect them.

The famous novel, Chemmeen, by Thakazhi Sivanakra Pillai,  in 1956, is about the fishermen community. The story is based on their belief that if the wife of the fisherman does not remain chaste when he is out in the sea, then kadalamma will kill him. The novel was made into a movie in 1965. The film was the first South Indian film to receive Indian President gold medal for a South Indian movie.

The fishermen are fearless and largehearted. During the shooting of Chemeen, it is said the fishing community opened their homes and gave boat for free for the shooting.

They are not dejected by the ups and downs in their life. When they go to sea sometimes they return empty handed and sometimes with a chagara (bounty).

They are non-materialistic. Remember the Nobel price winning Novel by Earnest Hemmingway ‘Man and the Sea’. In that story, a fisherman, who could not catch fish for 84 days, goes to the sea and catches a huge shark. He ties the shark to the boat as it was too huge to be put inside the boat. By the returned to the shore, he found that there only bones, the flesh was all eaten by small fish. He abandons the skeleton of the fish on the shores and goes home and sleeps.

The Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, announced that Rs 3000 per day will be given to each member of the fishermen community. But Khais Mohammed, a fisherman, said is an FB post that they refused to take the money for saving lives.

Combatting natural elements is not new for Keralites. But, as mentioned in another post, Keralites were forgetting their skills to combat natures fury because of the invasion of technologies, consumerist culture and addiction to social media.

The ones (fishermen) who are even today sharpening their skill by battling the natural element, could save the rest of their fellow human beings.

People of Chengannur thanking the fishermen for saving their lives.

Many functions are arranged to honour the bravery of the Fishermen. They never waited for any accolades or rewards. On 20th the rescue work was over and from the 21st the returned to the sea for fishing

Their only demand is that their boats must be repaired. They say the repairing work will cost between 1-2 lakh for each boat.

Kerala needs help, situation worse than Thailand

This flood in Kerala is probably the biggest flood after Noah’s time. The flood is not getting over in a day or two. The calamity is continuing for over 40 days now. It is raining and flooding every District of Kerala and places that have never seen flood are getting inundated.

People are reluctant to leave their homes because they can’t believe that their beloved rivers will flood their house to kill them. Most of them are being uprooted from their homes where they have been staying for generations.

The fire force, the police, volunteer and hundreds of army men are working day and night. They are concentrating on areas which are adversely affected. Two days back they were concentrating on Idukki, Kochi and Pathanamthitta. Now they are concentrating on Chengennur and Chalakuddi.

But the issue is there are people stranded in other parts too. On the road from Parumala to Thiruvalla, I know at least four houses where people are stranded on the top floor. In one house there are 20 people. Imagine staying on the terrace with limited food, no electricity, no television,  and now no phone connectivity for four days. How do they defecate? I can’t imagine. Most houses have elderly staying alone. We are unable to contact them.

I think the navy and the army may not be able to reach these places because there are other places with bigger tragedies. But if these people are neglected for another day there will be tragedies like the one that happened in Chengannur (In Chengannur when the rescue workers reached a home a 90-year-old lady, her daughter and grandson were found dead).

What are the hurdles?

  • There is no forecast about which places will get flooded. On Friday the people in Pandalam were taken by surprise when the river started flowing through the town.
  • Flood water is entering some areas of Harippad and Mavelikara. People do not know how high the water will reach. They are waiting with their fingers crossed.
  • It is a relief to know that Pampa water is receding. So the stranded people on the Parumala-Thiruvallla route can relax. What if there is a heavy rain? Will the water level go up? We are worried. Ironically, the stranded people do not have any information about the water level. No information can be shared with them. Who can help them?
  • The relatives of those stranded in the Parumala-Thirvulla area thought that, in case of emergency, they can be rescued using boats. But there was disturbing News. A boat carrying 15 rescue workers in this area went missing yesterday at 5:00 PM and now their boat was found today morning in a secluded area with all the rescuers in bad health. They lost the way, or fuel got over, is not known. This incident shows boat rescue is not an easy option here.
  • All we want is the assurance that our relatives will be safe in their stranded places. We want them to have enough food and medicine. Who can provide us with this assurance?

We need more HELP

We need more expert help in Kerala. When there was a tragedy in Thailand the whole world came together. Right now Kerala needs the attention of the world.

Kerala is a State. Then towns, cities and villages of Kerala are well connected. Kerala has low lying areas, plains and highlands. So rescue operation is a challenge.  So far, Keralites managed the situation like no one else could do.  Now, the stranded people are spread all over the state. It is difficult to decide which place needs more help.

The relatives of the stranded people staying in other parts of India, and abroad, are able to make the best coordination. Yesterday one relative could send me an SMS that they are safe on the top floor. I could share the message with others. Now there is no more communication. Someone will be able to make contact, I am sure.

There are hundreds of Keralites waiting to help the victims. Churches, Youths, Voluntary Organisations, all are helping and more are willing to help. Yet the help is not reaching the people.

The biggest hurdle is that when thousands are rescued thousands of others are affected in another area. The calamity is unending. New Channels are unable to concentrate on one story. There are hundreds of stories of victims to share which can fill the newspapers for years. The calamity is so vast and unending that I feel we need help from every corner of the world.