Tuesday, 31 May 2016

It is a Man’s world

As a 23 year old educated and mentally sound individual, I find that the fact that I am born with a particular set of body parts dictates the way society accepts me. I may achieve excellence in everything I do but before my word is taken to account that of every man around me has to be heard and considered first. Why? Because female judgment is always considered to be lacking. We are emotional beings, therefore, we can’t think logically. We are homemakers and therefore we have no place outside a house.

This discriminating approach has existed from the beginning of man’s consciousness. Somehow because a man can throw a spear further it was considered that women cannot provide. The fact that pregnancy makes us require special attention became the proof that women are weak. The one aspect in which a woman can always and will forever excel- in a man’s eyes- is her BEAUTY. A woman’s physical beauty is always appreciated and admired; and more than often celebrated. We are ornamental beings made for only one objective: to beautify the life of a man (in whatever way he deems fit).

 Ironically, animals i.e. millions of species that we consider lesser, seem to do it the opposite. Females in the animal kingdom aren’t lesser. They are integral members with momentous roles to play. So on this, I question: who is truly wiser? Who is superior? Who is the real apex of the food chain? When one-half of an entire species can suppress the other half. Is it the species that excludes or the one that includes?

Those are questions I want you to ponder over. Because those questions have manifested themselves in the way we females even as children are brought up. They say don’t do this because only boys do it. They tell us to let the guys walk first because they are supposed to lead us. They say don’t run so fast or lift things that are heavy because those are what men are built for. They tell us not to fight because boys are to fight and protect us.  They tell us to not focus too much about school because when we marry the man is to be the main breadwinner while we stay home. They tell us to stay home and behave because only boys are supposed to be inquisitive and adventurous. It is only lately that I realized that the male population only got as far as they did because the society keeps holding us females back. Constantly restraining our wings and hindering our flight. Men became leaders and frontiers because women were chained by the notion that they are incapable of doing what a man can I do. But in reality it wasn’t that we were naturally incapable, rather like elephants, we were psychologically programmed to think that the string tied around our necks were chains. I cry for my fellow females who still have to break these chains. More than anything it angers me.

It angers me because we are not incapable of anything. Our sex does not dictate the extent of our productivity nor is it a box to keep us in. I see that now. And luckily for a few of us, we have beloved ones who see it too. Fathers who believe in their daughters’ strength; and pave a way for her greatness. I mention fathers specifically because a girl’s father is her first love, and how he sees her and treats her is the first brick in her foundation. I am lucky and blessed for the man I call my father because old traditions of man have not stopped him from being the ‘MAN’ in my life. And in him, I find courage and wisdom to see the world that the men we’ve let to rule us created. Indeed it is a man’s world. And it has no space for us. I am thrilled by that because I don’t want to be part of a man’s world. I want to rule it… the way only a woman can.

P.S. the title is a song by Etta James. Check it out. ;)

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Stop...in the name of STUNTING

From May 17-18, UNICEF held a conference in New Delhi. When I left for habitat centre, I had only one goal in mind. Get there, find the right opportunity, talk to Ms. S and hopefully leave with an interview. All that did happen. And I am both ecstatic and relieved about summer, now.

However nice the day was for me, its true essence was ‘stunting’. Many of you, like me earlier, will be wondering what in heaven’s name is STUNTING. It sounds so dangerous. And you are right, it is so. UNICEF defines stunting as the percentage of children, aged 0 to 59 months, whose height for age is below minus two standard deviations (moderate and severe stunting) and minus three standard deviations (severe stunting) from the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards. What this means is, Stunting is the reduction of growth rate in human development.

 Simple enough, right? Wrong. Stunting is a chronic condition caused as a result of malnutrition, mostly undernutrition, of the child and mother. Like most dietary illnesses and issues stunting doesn’t just affect one aspect of human life. Stunting has been proven to be associated with long-lasting harmful consequences such as the underdevelopment of the brain, diminishing mental ability and learning capacity, poor school performance in childhood and reduced earnings as an adult. Not to mention the ones we hear every day like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. The disease is a cumulative effect of intergenerational poverty, poor maternal and early childhood nutrition and repeated episodes of childhood illnesses.

I know what you must be thinking, if stunting is such a major issue why haven’t we heard about. The reality is, stunting is a peculiar condition which earlier was harder to identify as it does its most damage between 1000 days of the child’s life. I don’t mean 1000 days after birth, I mean 1000 from the day of conception. That means that after the child’s second birthday it becomes irreversible. Not only that but since stunting is an issue of undernutrition it is mostly known to affect the ones less privileged i.e. the poorer countries of the world such as India and Nigeria.

Stunting is a syndrome where linear growth failure serves as a marker for multiple other pathological disorders. It increases morbidity and mortality. And unfortunately, it affects ~25% of children under the age of five globally. This is a grave issue for South Asia as 38% of the children in these countries are stunted, making it the epicentre of the illness. To worsen the matter the country affect most by stunting is India, with a reported 48 percent or 54 million stunted children i.e. one-third of the global total population of stunted children under the age of five.

In order to prevent stunting or at the very least reduce it, 3 main things have to be taken into account. Firstly, the history of parents- most importantly the mother. Stunted parents have a larger likelihood to reproduce an offspring with the same illness. When it comes to the mother, her diet during the pregnancy is very important for the child’s development just as her diet before the pregnancy. The nutritious deficiency she suffers from prior to the pregnancy accumulates and make it harder for the child to escape such a faith. This is even worse when the mother is anaemic which often the case in South Asia. Secondly, the child’s diet. Till about 6 months after birth, the child solely depends on breastmilk. It is the period when the child is introduced to both solid and liquid foods as well as breastmilk that is the most sensitive. As the nutritious value of the food and frequency matters. Therefore, a child must get both a balanced diet and regular feeding. Lastly, the cleanliness of the environment. Sanitation and hygiene play important roles as diseases such as diarrhea, fever and pneumonia further weakens the child and results in loss of more nutrients.

As you can see, stunting is neither a small issue nor does it lack consequences both early in life as well as later on. Therefore, it is important that we do our best against it. Other than governmental schemes that improve maternal and child nutrition, as well as bettering of infrastructures within the country; we as individuals have roles to play, such as:

·         Eating a good diet. Especially the female population i.e. the future mothers

·         Understanding and providing the dietary needs of children under the age of 5.

·         Hygiene and sanitation: public defecation and inadequate or wrong handwashing have to stop

·         Education: people have to be educated about stunting

·         Women empowerment: women who are educated, independent and self-thinkers will take charge of their lives and the lives of the unborn. In the end reducing stunting.

That's all for tonight's blabber folks. Remember 'we have to care today, for those we love to get tomorrow'.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Oh My Dear Sweet JONAS

Nicholas Jerry Jonas, there are so few people from our generation that make music. I don’t mean the noise that caters only to the ears. Nor do I mean the rhyming of impedimentary language. I mean music that embodies today as well as says something. And you for one are a unique brand of such embodiment in the music industry.

Ever since his relaunch in 2015, I have to say, his music has added a certain intensity to my playlist. It’s not like I am advocating for the young man. Don’t get me wrong. I am advocating for the talent the man has. Lately the music industry has been producing the most insignificant music when it comes to substance and content. In every genre, every culture, every nationality the presentation of the artist a.k.a. brand has become more important than the music. Words and meaning have been interchanged with beats and catchy chorus/dance movies.
Music used to be a language: it had a voice that spoke about love, sorrow, beauty, politics, loss and so many important components of a life. Mainstream music today has killed the soul of music, and when artist like Adele, Sia, Nick Jonas and others make it, I rejoice. I rejoice because I finally get to have a conversation with the soul of an artist. Finally I get that transcending connection that music brings. I forget race, sex, waist size, financial status, religion and all other things that segregate us today. I realise that I am not alone in whatever it is I feel. And I thank such artists for putting into words that which I couldn’t. For embracing humanity for what it really is: emotional connection.

In the words of Plato i bid you good night.
"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."

Sunday, 15 May 2016

To be at Peace is to slow things down

It’s exactly 2:00am, and I just got done with my prayer for the day and a little one-on-one with the holy book. Yeah… yeah… me stating it seems a bit pretentious. But it's my blog and it’s the truth: P so deal with it. Anyway, as I was saying, it is late at night and the out of the blue smell of rain is intoxicating me. A romantic cliché.

Today was actually a pretty good day, no thanks to NCR's scorching summer sun. It indeed was terribly unkind, I think I showered like 4 times during the day, therefore I had to stay in the hostel. I won’t bore you with the step-by-step recap of my cleaning routine nor the improvised recipe of what I had for lunch- which turned out pretty darn good.

Today was a good day because it was peaceful. Because for the first time in a long time I didn’t have any deadline hanging over my head-that’s if you don’t count prayer times. I was in bed till late afternoon. And when I woke up, I actually got to stretch in bed slowly and at my leisure. I waited as my bones cracked musically, recapping another enrolee of my weird dream collection. And no, I won’t share what the dream was about.

Today was a good day because I felt time pass without me rushing it. In its slow ticking I filled the time with radio. At first piano and guitar instrumentals followed by bbc1's breakfast program and then the sound of my bedroom in Nigeria-hot fm.

Today was a good day because I got to dust off my drawing book and my quotes journal. I read the words of many before me who in one way or another felt something similar or even exactly the same as me at one point in their lives. It made me feel connect to myself, to them and to the universe; because emotions and feelings are like energy- they are never created nor destroyed, they just pass on. I like to think they pass on not just by becoming other emotions but by transferring from human to human. Connecting us together like a yarn of emotions.

Today was a good day because of the hours I spent on the hostel sidewalk with my friends. Talking about everything from exam cheating techniques- not all were our handiwork- to preferred methods of death. Btw, please don’t cheat it is dishonourable. I loved this part of the day especially because we actually talked looking into one another’s eyes i.e. no cell phone distractions.

Today was a good day because it was simple. A pleasant, mediocre and fulfilling simple day. And I enjoyed it. I wish people my age didn’t find days like this lacking. It saddens me that nowadays such a day is something to avoid. Because it doesn’t excite in pictures. Because it doesn't validate the awesomeness of one’s life. I wish everyone takes a day like this, just to be.

Good night and sweet dreams.
Yours blabber.