Tuesday, July 31, 2012


As far back as half a century ago,  you finished high school and matriculation, and as a matter of course , went over to a college of your choice and took admission. The admissions were always on merit, and you never had to fight for places in admission queues, fee queues, neither were you part of any queues that went around a college building.  The only entrance test one heard about then, was the JEE for IIT's, and folks studied for it, appeared for tests, and got selected, in the normal course of life, without the family having to alter its bank balance,domicile or peace of mind drastically.  

Today, there are entrance tests for everything, like medicine, engineering, management schools, and even hospitality institutes. Every summer sees an exodus of people travelling across the country to join up at various institutes they've never seen before, simply because that was the admission on offer. Many years later , young people again sit for placement tests and interviews, in order to get their first job. By definition, you are presumed to be no good, until you prove yourself otherwise, by sheer dint of hard work, dedication, a thick skin, and sometimes, blindness and deafness of the appropriate type.

And then one sees  certain folks who have a choice of jobs on offer, with absolutely no educational and/or work experience to speak off. What is even more amazing, is that there is a clamour from certain quarters that these folks take up the jobs, and there are influential folks who do what may be called  "appraisals" and give full marks, even before a single day has been spent on the job.

Which brings us to the subject of entrance tests for folks who choose to get elected by the public for  public service. (And not the bureaucratic types)

A person aspiring for such service today must declare, mostly his documented wealth, his pending court cases , his convictions (in court and not in his mind), and as an afterthought, his educational qualifications.  Unlike for the hoi-polloi , no one really checks these educational qualifications  with the Institutes that granted them, and they become the subject of court litigation by opponents later on, wasting the judiciary's time.

Why not design an aptitude, plus advanced test for those wishing to stand for election ?  They could choose subjects as diverse as agriculture, banking, industry, culture, public utilities , womens' issues, health care and management, education, food, arts, children's welfare, computer applications ,  wireless communication etc   in the advanced stream,  while the common entrance test would be of school leaving level ( regardless of whether you went to school). 

A passing score could be valid for 10 years, allowing you to fight a minimum of two elections, and maximum decided by the inefficiency level of the government of the day.

Like everyone who undertakes a public sector job these days, let these candidates also undergo a medical fitness test.  Fit mind in a fit body and all that.

Today, there may be a fine mismatch  between a person's abilities and the responsibilities assigned to him in the government, since most appointments may possibly be done on other compulsions in political life.

But just like other  appointments in government where interview committees and boards  sit in on selection, why not have something like Parliament ratify and approve appointments, in a public session ?  (This happens in the US where the President's appointments to his cabinet, must pass through approval by the Senate etc).

And so it would be interesting to see things like, Lalu Prasad Yadav asking Mukul Roy difficult Railway questions, and say a previous External affairs type asking the current chosen one, his views on our neighbors, Burundi, G-8 etc ; or even some tough Parliamentarians asking the concerned candidates their views on  rural health care, water supply , food shortages , armed forces benefits and welfare , environment etc.

Stupid me. It's wishful thinking.  Any such stuff  might simply  be fought tooth, nail, running into the well of Parliament,  possibly flinging of microphones, tearing of papers,  fisticuffs and maybe , declaring a Bandh .....

Will this happen ?  I don't know.  Notice how no mention has been made here of lakhs and crores.

I was talking about lakhs and crores of people.

I guess they only understand lakhs and crores of  votes, currency, and scams.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Passport tales....

People started needing passports in India after the First World War. Before that you could simply  ride over some mountains and passes with a cavalry, or sail in via the Bay of Bengal or Arabian Sea and enter. It helped if you came with tributes etc for some powerful person. (These days people have still come in via the sea, and that too with guns ....)

The British , who then ruled India,  invented what was called a British Indian Passport.  May be that was to differentiate the colonies from the originals, but I like to think that they probably saw a distinct possibility of an Indian Indian passport happening in the future.    

I got mine first,   44 years ago. I didn't fill up a single form, I don't recall a fuss being made over photos (which were in Black and white, and were "developed" and not printed immediately). I was a minor, my folks applied , and I was the proud owner of a passport. An odd size hardbound booklet, much at variance with the many passports I saw when I went to the US for grad school at 19.

I acquired another passport after a name change post marriage, without much of a fuss anywhere. I didn't know the meaning of affidavit then, I hadn't ever done one, and life was simple. The passport size had changed, & softbinding was in fashion.

When my son was 2 years old, a family friend's daughter was doing a travel-tourism course, and needed to make some one's passport for practice. My folks thought the son was an ideal subject. Those were days when kids could be endorsed on the mother's passport. But we actually filled forms, took pictures (the son glaring with huge eyes at the strong studio lights) and sent it off to her.  The stuff was intercepted by my mother, who insisted, that the world needed better pictures of my son, given that so many countries would see them. Pictures were clicked again and sent, and he soon became the owner of a passport , which he used for 10 years, showing his 2 year-old-photo even when he was 10.

Life became more complicated after that.  There was a lot of what I called trust deficit everywhere. You needed to show two evidences of everything. Addresses, births, education certificates, and so on.  We once went to renew the children's passports (both under the age of 12) , and were made to come again and again because they said the stuff had gone for police clearance.  The kids were assumed to be crooks/thieves/embezzlers/murderers unless the police certified otherwise.  And you did this by standing in endless queues.

About ten years ago, the offices moved, and we went to get our own passports renewed. Computers had arrived and we had a bunch of sheets that gave us that day as a confirmed appointment.  For an office that opened at 10 am, we were there at 8 am, in the rain, and were faced with a huge queue that snaked around an immensely huge square building. Shuffling in puddles, watching tea vendors and idli vendors on bicycles circulating, we finally showed our papers to a guy, who observed the husband's silver grey hair and without reading the DOB, simply directed us to the senior citizens counter!   A couple of hours inside, avoiding leaking roofs, wiping wet seats, and ensuring  no one was breaking our queues, we returned. Then on the day of the famous 26th July 2005 monsoon deluge in Mumbai I got a call from the police to come show my documents at the local police chowky. Mind you, the passport office had seen these, but I needed to hotfoot it, in knee length puddles in potholes, and heavy rains, to have a constable glance through stuff and put tick marks. 20 days later , I received my passport in the mail.

Somewhere in between the intervening years (till now), the government came up with the idea of Passport Seva Kendras. Everyone became greatly computer literate, and you could now enter your details online, and get yourself an appointment.  The whole of Mumbai, did not need to congregate at one single office, and there was actually a branch nearer my residence.

 A family member, earlier a minor , now an adult, needed to have a passport reissued as it was about to expire, and we did all the online stuff and reached the place an hour earlier. No there weren't any snaking lines, or chaiwallas cycling around. Just about 50 folks ahead of you, who had the same appointment slot.  Much security checking, frisking , beepers et al, and the applicant only was allowed to go in.  There were various windows where your documents were scrutinized, and only those having everything 100% in order , were given a token number, and proceeded further . If you had something missing, you were sent back.

The family member was found wanting, something that was not clear from the requirements mentioned online. Your current application reference allowed you 3 days to come back. We dashed home , to collect the document, and back within the hour and gained priority entry.  This was at 11.30 am.

I sat outside on the garden sidewalk between Honda and a BMW,   to answer any help queries on the phone if required, while the family member went through the various modules inside. Biometric profiling, thumbprints, eyeball photos, and they even took your photos. (You didn't need to carry the physical photos). Whats more, they showed you your photo, and took another if you didn't like what you saw, and had eyes shut  etc. Then there was a payment counter, and something called a granting counter.

I learned many things which are not mentioned on the web page , and enumerate them here , so that folks may go in prepared. 

-- Take two xerox copies of every document you plan to submit.

-- Two other address proofs are required even if you submit your Ration Card as one.

--If you are born after 1989 , a birth certificate is required.

-- If you work for the government in a permanent job, a no objection certificate is required from your employer.   If you work for the government, and your job is temporary ,  ie time period based, then you need to provide, 2 originals of the no-objection certificates.

--If you have a valid visa in your about to expire passport, make 2 xerox copies of that too, and submit , and mention that to the passport staff.

--If you are a graduate , carry 2 copies of your degree and final year mark sheets.  There is something called emigration clearance , which is not required for graduates, and this helps them decide.

--Two copies of all pages in the old passport (besides the mandatory first 2 pages and last two pages), where any kind of "remark" entries can be made (whether there is any entry or not is immaterial).       

There is a photocopying machine available for use inside, at slightly enhanced rates, and also a fancy refreshment place , also with slightly more enhanced rates .

My family member came out, tired and hungry,  4 hours after going in, with an acknowledgement slip, and a cancelled and returned old passport. 

I came out from my place between the Honda and the BMW, with a sore back and painful knees. 

The passport came home , by speed post , in 14 days. And there was no checking by the police . 

I think things have improved.  This holds for the most general stuff like reissues of passports about to expire. I have friends who went in for reissue subsequent to change in status/name etc,  and  requirements for these folks are not very clearly mentioned online. 

There was a young couple with a one-month baby , who came for the baby's passport with all the relevant documents. They came earlier with the baby's photos, and were asked to return with the baby the next day. I met them after they had been in for the major part of the day, and had emerged finally and were waiting for a vehicle.  Yes, the baby was biometrically profiled, hand prints/fingerprints etc.  The baby was fast asleep , swathed in some light pink cotton wraps as the mother tried to shield it from the hot afternoon sun.

I didn't have the heart to ask her, if they profiled the eyeballs, and took the baby's photos, and possibly ended up rudely waking a baby,  sleeping peacefully in the air conditioned chaos inside.........

There must be a better way............... 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Care of the Intense type....

It's recently been more or less an "S" less month.  (S is my household help for almost a quarter of a century now, and has figured prominently on this blog).

When "S" returned 5 days ago, she looked a bit different.  

First, there was a message saying she was down with typhoid. Her son mentioned that she could barely get up and was advised rest.  With 8 adults, and 4 small kids living there, I actually worried about the young ones catching it, till I was told that you couldn't catch typhoid sitting next to someone. 

A week later I called to find out how "S" was, and was told by one of her sons (who is on my phone contact) that she was getting better , but her eldest son was in the ICU of a neighboring big hospital, with a combination of pneumonia, jaundice and typhoid and that she had taken it very very badly.

Just when I was about to go see her at her house, one morning, she and her sister landed up at my house.  The minute she saw me she burst into tears.  I have never seen her this way, despite she having faced such tough odds in her life.

Turns out that the eldest was coughing a lot, and one evening started coughing blood; so they rushed him to a local hospital that had an ICU of sorts.  The way "S" told it, there were breathing difficulties,  and they were advised to shift him to a larger hospital  with better ICU's as "the oxygen in this place was "smaller" than the oxygen needed."   S had seen stuff on TV shows, and that was her comment on the size of the oxygen mask placed on the face. 

Then followed days of watching him from a small window. The other brothers rushing around day and night getting medicines, raising money, attending to the hospital requirements. S had seen him heaving laboriously  to breathe once through the observation window, and she couldn't get it out of her mind.  She would go there daily, and return extremely worried , not just about the son, but his young wife and two small school going kids .

I offered her financial help , but she said she would keep it in reserve. Right now , they were somehow managing.  The daily payments were in double digits in thousands, and there were some strong injections, that put you out of 8 thousand Rs for one jab. The other sons seemed to have understanding employers, and they rushed around meeting doctor appointments, their rounds, waiting outside  the ICU, and  trying to discourage their mother from making trips there.

Apparently, one of the medications, had shown an encouraging change, and the fellow would recover, but very very slowly.

" You know, money can be earned anyhow, but a life must be saved. It is so heartrending to see my son struggling like this"  she said amidst tears.

Someone had asked her to do a short prayer at the Devi temple, and offer the prasad items to the lake.  She , who followed Dr Babasaheb Ambedkars teachings, didn't really worship these Gods in real life, but she was willing to pray to anyone, and so she had done that and on her way back stopped at my place with her sister.

The entire family, including her other daughters-in-law, offered their jewellery to raise funds. It wasn't anything stored in lockers, but something they wore daily.  Her sons wore some gold chains as was the custom, and those came off too. The women offered their bangles , chains and mangalsutras.   Everyday items they wouldn't ever move out without, but then these were not "everyday" times. 

By and by, the patient recovered enough to be moved out of the ICU to a ward, and after 3 days of proper observation, was allowed to go home, with lots of restrictions of diet, movement, and enforced rest for some time. 

S did return 5 days ago, and yes, she looked a bit different. 

Her neck was totally bare.  

Although a victim of domestic violence of the worst kind in the pre IPC-498 days, it had been more than 25 years since she had left her husband behind .  Her children went and visited whenever they heard of his illnesses and problems,  were insulted by him, and returned.  But "S" insisted they follow their own standards, and do their duty by him.  She would not go. But they needed to go.

 "S" had continued to wear her old sturdy mangalsutra out of habit along with some tiny string black beads. The husband figured nowhere her scheme of things, but in a society with double standards, and preying males, it was convenient.

She was the first one to sell off all this.  The sons sold off their chains, the other daughter-in-laws offered theirs.  The current high price of gold came in handy, and they were able to raise resources at short notice.

The real riches in "S" life were not these pieces of gold. 

It was the people around her. Her own brothers and sisters, her various other son's in-laws, her own in laws, (who she, amazingly , is on excellent terms with, despite the useless husband,)  all chipped in, some staying at home managing the school kids, some making lunch tiffins for the fellows rushing around for their brother, waiting nights outside the ICU, and some even offering what monetary help they could.

S, is a proud woman. She didn't want to be in a debt, at the mercy of someone. If it came to that, she would borrow against her salary from folks she worked for, all of whom knew her for the last 20 years and more.  And we would give , no questions asked.

But she didn't.

As she said, "Should something happen to me, the worst thing would be to leave for my children, a debt that needed to be paid back. The jewellery we sold was not important. The real jewels are the kids. "


For me. There was so much to learn.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: I, Rama Age of Seers by Ravi Venu

To  me, stories of Ramayana , are things that take me back to my childhood, 50 years ago. There was no TV, no cable, no DVD's , no Amar Chitra Katha,  only black and white movies,  and what fired my imagination , were the mythological stories told to us, a gaggle of young cousins, by our grandmother,  at bedtime. 

By and by , I was exposed to the best of Marathi literature, a very richly developed resource, and the classic SriRamayana, Srikrishnayan,  KarNaayan and other stories, told in spell binding fashion, by folks like the late Gopal Neelkanth Dandekar, who were the types who personally lived history, making their writing very attractive. These stories were written from the points of view of the main personalities, though not in autobiographical form.

So  when I received this Book, "I, Rama" from the Blogadda Book reviews program, I couldn't wait to start reading.

I was disappointed. 

While the idea of an aged Ram telling his story to his sons,  Hanuman, and his brother Laxman, with the help of Sage Vashishtha's son  was  interesting, there appeared to be a confusion on whether this was a story being told or history being stated.  Sometimes it even looked like a script being written....

To start with, there are too many supplementary characters here, being treated in primary fashion.  Too much detail, that takes the emphasis away from our effort to know the mind of Lord Ram, which is what I expected the book to be about. I thought an inordinate number of pages were spent on King Dasharatha and the going ons  regarding defeating the asuras, with almost step by step fight details, and descriptions of fighting hierarchies starting with gods coming down from the heavens, forts appearing and disappearing, wild attacking animals emanating from attacked forts etc etc.

The only new learning from this book was the character of Kaikeyi, who has been treated as a kind of warrior princess, who is very smart intellectually and who gets her way each time.

Whether it was fooling the king in a man's garb, at her initial encounter, whether it was about  being offered in trade, as queen , against Dashratha helping protect her father's kingdom, whether it was preferring to take a call later on the 2 boons offered to her, or whether it was about getting the boon timing so perfect with regard to her son's "promotion", that today's management gurus would  greatly applaud  .

 It is a bit difficult to visualize her sitting behind a screen playing the dutiful wife and watching the arrival of the sages at court, after having just returned, from not just fighting shoulder to shoulder with Dasharatha against the Asuras, but even saving him with her amazing charioteering , horsemanship  archery, and bravery. 
The book is studded with special effects using laser technology, physics, chemistry, biology, cosmology, intergalactic travel, not to mention conversion of fields into matter and matter into fields, with a alacrity that would shame the Higgs Boson.

The narration is in flashback form, but fails to hold your interest.

For various reasons that have to do with  inadequate editing , proofreading, and crowding of too many characters, this book appears to be an attempt at pouring in into   a small space, the huge research possibly done by the author. And the reader loses concentration.

The whole idea of children/elders listening to stories from mythology , was so they learned about and admired the qualities on the main characters, and how they dealt with problems, with a lot of thought, dedication to certain ethical values, and tough decision making .  Listening to mythology gave you a peep into the minds of the various deities, and  warriors. 

The way, one heard such stories, made us demand for more. Whether it was from a story-telling grandmother, a play , a film or something else.

 This book does not fall in that category.

 I delayed picking it up after I had momentarily put it down while reading. It is not a book that will keep you awake.  

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!


Friday, July 06, 2012

Amar Boson....!

At first everyone thought Bamata Mannerjee had something to do with it.

I mean, an international atomic particle named after a son of Bengal , in the same month, that someone she didnt support, who declined to be the son of Bengal (and declared himself son of India), was likely to be elected President.

Mr Higgs has been duly invited and will be felicitated at the Eden Gardens.

Most of the peoples' representatives have been agog since they learned that the Higgs field is really the basic thing present all over the universe.  The Boson is much the Brand Ambassador of the Higgs field. And its a kind of Draupadiki Thali of atomic particles. Huge varieties of particles.  Massless, possibly angrily charged particles shoot fast through the Higgs field,  while some lumber around , slower.  And are said to have, Mass.

For the folks in the capital, it all rings a bell.  Shri Ralu Srapad actually called it "Hi(gg)s field".  This business of being in a field with nothing. Not even fodder..  Having no mass, nothing to call your own. And then suddenly acquiring mass   So many particles already following that philosophy.   Some electronic, some positively civil-ly constructed in a capital way.  Loaded with unaccounted mass grabbed across the Hi(gg)s Field.

Of course, some end up being used in the Tihar Particle Collider,  mostly to prove a theory that acquired  "mass" today can be a hard labour "field" tomorrow.

Then there are folks calling it the God Particle, much to the consternation of those who call themselves secular parties.   The ruling party spokesman, tight lipped, appeared on BNN-ICN, and announced that they would respond after consultations with the High Command.  There was naturally a vociferous demand to change the name of the particle to the RGSon (abbreviated for Rajiv Gandhi Son).  The most populous state of India, demanded that the particle be renamed as the Baba-on (after Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar).  Naturally, one heard loud whispers on how the particle should really be called  Laliton or even Karunon

But the folks really upset, are the Communist party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M).        

The CPI(M) Politiburo has since been in an agitated state  and has strongly condemned  the nomenclature bringing God into the particle proceedings, bringing as it does, several doubts into Karl Marx's laws of communist society : viz ; There is no God, Everything is material,  Human nature is the product of the economic environment in whichthe individual is raised ,  A special environment creates a special class  and  The proletariat must win.....

While the existence of God cannot be proved by naming a particle, (just like someone doesn't become a saint by being named after one,) and the proletariat is certainly not winning vis-a-vis the Rulers and Rajas, some Z-plus environments are certainly creating Z-plus-plus classes, and there seems to be an element of Boson prediction in Karlbhau's declarations.  At the end of the day, everything is about creating material benefits out of a field of nothing.  

A small set of people have been harping on how we seem to be specializing in India, on a "Inverse Higgs Boson".  Whenever something important and useful with a decent mass exists, this new particle, the "Corrupt-on", simple converts it into a field where things with mass disappear, that too with a different mass-pieces into  various pockets.

The powers that be are , as they say, seized of this matter, and a GOM has been appointed to study and present a report.  This being a matter of deep social,political, secular, and constitutional importance, the report is not expected to come out before the end of 2014.

Reports indicate, that Dr Higgs, who started all this in the first place in the 60's , is completely stunned to note that the Higgs-Boson-matter-mass concepts have been known to Indians and in practice , since a long time.

His felicitation at the Eden gardens will have a special showering of Sandesh Particles interspersed with ChamCham particles of smaller diameter. Rukh Rukh Khan, the city's idol, is expected to perform on  his evergreen hit "Kuch Mass Mass Hota Hai" , Dr Higgs, will be presented the Keys to Kolkata as an honorary citizen. Except no one knows which locks they are to be used on.

In the meanwhile according to reliable sources, a powerful leader of Bengal was heard saying on the telephone, "Oh, Higgs Boson?  Amar Couson ..."

Right . Such Capitalistic ideas . The Left is not amused. ..

Monday, July 02, 2012

Hair Tales

Folks like Rapunzel have nothing better to do than stand in the balconies of towers showing off their long hair cascading to the ground in ringlets, so that fellows can climb on that and reach the balcony, possibly in a great display of stupidity..

In reality, things are much different.

As a little girl, she had lovely soft curly hair, each strand with a perfect Young's Modulus, and regardless of how enthusiastically you brushed it straight, she always ended up with a halo of curls around a determined face.  It was a breeze to maintain the hair. Even if you just washed it, and went out to play, her hair never flew helter skelter, but always dried and withdrew firmly,  each strand  curling  with a lot of natural grace.

By and by,  as a child of 5, she got a chance to travel to Germany, and  a whole new world opened up.  Life was just endlessly thrilling with no writing in kindergaarten, lots of life experience field trips, the teachers exclaiming in wonder over her wheatish complexion, jet black thick curls and she herself going gaga over her best friend who had waist length blonde hair that fell in ringlets.  She occasionally observed people on trips , and even on TV (she learned German very fast), and was enraptured with the punk hairstyle.  Her mother once found a pair of scissors , and a couple of chocolate wrappers under the pillows, and the next time the hair was combed, there were these weird fringes that curled, and a few standing up on top of her head.  The then current hair style was the "wet look" which folks cultivated with a lot of slathering of gel and stuff, but the little one achieved that by simply not drying her own hair, causing stuff to get entangled later on.

Back in India, her face radially framed by a mass of curly hair, classmates would tease her over a then highly regarded Godman, who had similar hair. The experiments continued, with the hair getting a providential escape from certain doom, when , during a fancy dress competition, she became Indira Gandhi , and  her mother arrived in the nick of time to snatch away a jar of fevicol, with which she was planning to get the white streaks in her hair. Talcum powder was immediately substitued.

Teenage, and college, and the curls were getting to be a problem, where slim girls were moving around with straight hair, and appeared on TV and movies, looking at you through their equally slim eyelashes,  slathered in mascara.  The salon where she went for a haircut, always marvelled at the quality of her hair and mentioned it to her mother. She herself quietly observed, girls her own age, having strands wrapped in silver foil, and later emerging with red streaks. In a wild streak of independence, experiments were done at home using bleach for silver streaks and some fancy hair color for red streaks. Fancy shampoos and conditioners were insisted on, on trips to supermarkets, and she started reading labels.

There emerged friends, who massively straightened their hair in the vacations, and appeared with hair that looked like a broom when tied up.  Some folks went blonde, with a red tinge.  Her confidence was a bit shaken , but then someone gifted her a hair straightener.  Capturing unruly strands and curls between two flat heated plates, and kind of moving across the strands was the lesiure activity of choice. And Curls was, well, a 5 letter word.

All through, the gentle hints at wanting to straighten her hair , now became fairly vocal. 

In between , shampoos for shining, straight, clean and clear, head and shoulders, strength, colored , damaged hair etc, made their way across the bathroom shelf with an amazing frequency.  Then came serums.  Then concoctions like curds, tomatoes, oil, and beaten eggs, were mixed in various combinations and proportions  and slathered on the hair, and washed up, leaving the hair clean, but the bathroom smelling .

One fine day, having worn down the resisitance of the opposition and budget  controllers  by sheer persisitence, the hair was straightened, appeared on FB and was commented on favourably by many.  She had become a photoblogger in the meanwhile and got to attend a blogger meet sponsored by Dove, where actual hair washes were conducted and folks emerged from behind curtains, supposedly transformed. Her mother , in the meanwhile, had developed significant grey strands, and was constantly badgered by the daughter into getting it transformed into what it was not.

Then, thanks to the bloggers meet, she discovered something called , mask or masque , (depending how sophisticated you want to sound), and she gleefully came home with a hamper of stuff .

Today, her straight hair has remained straight, no one teases her about certain Godmen, she doesnt look wistfully at certain magazine photos of silky strands of hair falling languidly across heavily made up faces, and she has developed a technique of clicking excellent photographs of herself, displaying  a crown of hair, gracefully falling across her face.

Her mother  would love to say that , that was the end of the daughter's  hair problems.  She  doesn't really know.

 Fashions change. Girls change. Sometimes the mothers change the way they think.

Turns out that earlier , folks used things like boiled slugs, olive oil, honey, saffron, soap and cumin to improve and condition the hair.  Exclusive modern hair treatments often contain ingredients like snake venom, bird droppings, snail serum, cow dung, caviar, hemp and hold your breath, whale vomit.

Snakes, birds, snails and cow dung is locally in great abundance. It boggles the mind to wonder how you collect a whale's vomit. But never mind.  Whales-in-retail hasnt yet happened in Parliament. (We tend to latch on avidly, to things that arrive from the west ).

And one must be grateful to be living at a time when hair treatments are available in decent containers, without wild ingredients.

Until then, the mother hurriedly declares, that yes, that was the end of her daughter's hair problems... 

(Submitted as an entry for the Dove  " ... and that was the end of my hair problems!"
competition with the Dove Hair-Aware App  )