Friday, October 20, 2006

Motivation and a 'Thank You'

Sometime last year, one of the LLMs had given a questionnaire to some of the LSC members to fill. It was trying to discover what motivates us join the Clinic. If I remember correctly, it included categories like "for CV", and well, such like.

I was thinking about it and wondering what DOES make people join LSC....a lot of volunteers and members I've randomly chatted with mention a sense of satisfaction....(jam buns at the end of a Ramnagaram trip are a thing of the past now, that isn't an incentive any more...)...This got me wondering about something Toohey says in The Fountainhead...when he tells his neice that working because it gives her a sense of satisfaction is a form of selfishness....she wasn't working with the children because she wanted to help them, but because it gave her a sense of satisfaction to help them...Hence, she was only working because it benefitted her.

Well, whatever the motivation may be is beyond me right now. But, I'm glad that there are people who continue to help out and volunteer for LSC work. All the volunteers especially, who have no obligation to come for any of the trips, but still do so in such a faithful manner. The only reason we have been able to increase the workload this year and still thrive, is because of you. Thank you for everything!


Saturday, October 14, 2006

KLA Client Counseling - NLS Won!

It's been a good week for LSC. The team consisting of Kalyani and Sanhita (both from the 3rd yr) won the Kerala Law Academy Client Interviewing and Counseling Competition,2006. The competition had 22 colleges from around the country particpating and this is the 1st time that a team from NLS is winning it. The two of them have broken the KLA jinx and in full style too- won 4 prizes including the Govinda Menon Rolling Shield and the prize for the best team.And to top it all, they had the highest score ever!Congrats..

So, why am I bragging about it? Cos LSC did the entire organising bit for choosing the teams to represent NLS in these competitions.We had overwhelming enthu this time with 55 teams participating! was one hell of a experience handling it and I am happy that things have been going well. Now the nationals are coming up and I am keeping fingers crossed.


Friday, October 13, 2006

CCL - LSC Visit to the Nagarbhavi Home

Today, Suchita and I made our way to the Nagarbhavi Home for girls along with Pramod from CCL. The job at hand involved measuring, counting, and a fair amount of arithmetic to determine whether or not the dimensions and physical conditions of the home corresponded with the rules laid down by the Juvenile Justice Act and the Karnataka Rules on the same.

I've just come back from this visit, and decided to put down a few assorted thoughts....not a formal report, just things floating around in my mind.

The first thing which hit me when I entered was the assortment of smells which greeted us. We moved from room to room with our measuring tape, and I think the only word I can use to describe things is "pitiful". Not that it was a terrible place...I've seen homes which are is just that the thought of 40 odd girls living in such a small place (detailed measurements in our report, to be submitted tomorrow to CCL) ...and the fact that even though there was provision for so much, very little had been done with that (mainly due to lack of funds). For example, there were sufficient number of windows, but most of them had a wall outside, which prevented most of the light from entering in.

And then, there were the electric or natural light at all in them, no proper ventilation, and yes, naturally, they were smelling. I really don't understand how the girls are able to manage doing everything in the dark!

Three gas cylinders were out there in the passageway outside the easy reach of little inquisite fingers.....and no fire fighting equipment in sight, something which was mandatory according to the rules.

Also, another hazardous feature (I feel like I am doing an advertisement right now) was that all the plug points were well in reach of the children!

For a solely Angrazi (English) speaking girl like myself, and a bilingual non-south Indian Suchita who didn't know Kannada, language, as usual turned out to be a swalpa (slight) problem! (Pramod was not allowed to enter any further than the front the sole Kannada speaker was not at hand)

But hey.....with the patience of the girls and their matron, and our own blundering efforts, we did mangage to survive.....For example, when we were told "bisi thani illa"....well, we know what "illa" (no, or not) means...."thani", by means of hand guestures, we deciphered to be water....but what in the world did "bisi" mean???.....and then, the memory of "bisi bele baat"...a dish in the college canteen came up...what would food and water have in common......HOT!!....yes, that must be the meaning....and guess what! Turns out we were right!!! [Small step for man.....;-)]

A barrier in one of the measurements turned out to be a long line of cockroaches between a window and a cupboard (I'm not exaggerating about the line thing) had me yelling in excitement to Suchita..."Come see, come see!!!"....looking back at this about an hour later, I'm trying to figure out why I didn't run??? Again, I don't know how those girls manage! Maybe next time any of us head down there, a bottle of flit or something as a present to them might be useful....?

The girls, though were very friendly and helpful, as was the matron and the superintendint. One or two of them actually helped us with the measurements by holding the tape and such like, and we got asked by others, "ninne hesaru yenu?" (what is your name?)......some limited conversation did follow.......but unfortunately not much!

Tomorrow is Children's Day.......Happy Children's Day to all the girls of that home!! And hey, if any of you happen to go down there take along a bag of sweets....I am sure that they would love them!

Signing off for now,


Monday, June 12, 2006

Gearing up for the Nationals

The days of the Louis Brown Client Counselling and Interviewing Competition (19, 20 and 21 of January) are drawing nearer and nearer. Colleges are sending in their comfirmations of participation, arrangements are being made, Judges are graciously consenting to come, and the atmosphere among the heads and volunteers is getting thicker and thicker with anticipation, excitement, and yes, nervousness as well.

We have organized intra-university competitions before, but they just were not the same....I mean, we were dealing with only our collegemates then, and even though that wasn't an excuse for shirking work or making mistakes, we drew comfort from that. But now, everything is taking place on a larger scale - more people, higher stakes, and any slight slip could be easily magnified.

We really want the organization of this competition to be a success, and we are trying to do our best to make sure it is. But hey, I guess this is only natural, but there is the slightest flutter of butterflies in our stomachs. So yes, do wish us luck and support us as we embark on this maiden venture.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

LLP Musings..

It's not often that half an hour after you have spoken about the legal age of marriage and the need for consent etc. a girl from 9th std. walks up to you to say-"Akka-my parents are looking out for a groom for me. They want to marry me off after 10th std. I want to become a doctor.Please come and talk to them ...please.." All this is in very cute Tamil. Just as I am wondering what exactly I could tell her, another one shyly walks up and says- "You talked about boys teasing us on the road and misbehaving with us. But if I talk to anyone about it or complain, they will only tell me not to go out after dark and scream at me for not wearing my dupatta properly.I would rather suffer that as opposed to being made to stay at home...what should I do?". A third one says "My mother's sister has been abandoned by her husband and he has married another woman. Everytime the 2nd wife goes out of town, he comes in the night and harrasses my aunt to sleep with him.Should I file a police complaint?".

I give them all some answer. Tell the 1st one that she should try explaining things to other elders in the family who might be in support of her and if things still don't work out, we will think about further course of action. Tell the 2nd one that -Yes- it is unfortunate and it happens to me too several times. But its important not to feel guilty about it and feel that its her fault and there will be people who will understand and a group of them together should complain about the boys atleast to the school principal for starters. Tell the 3rd one that she should file a complaint in this case, but that she should not go alone to the police station and that she should take some adult with her etc. etc.

Now for the teachers in the school. They tell us that these sudents were extremely interested in our Legal Literacy Programme only because its all very much like what happens in their homes everyday.One of them chuckles saying "how much ever you tell them about eve teasing, all that they do is to go and flirt with those boys down the street every evening- what more do you expect of the girls from the slum?"

This is just one more of those many days- where an LLP just brings you back to the real world. A world where lots of things actually go wrong every day, where the law has a very big role to play-only if used and only if policemen were good and more importantly only if people KNEW of the law. Sometimes I feel terrible and helpless. But at the end of the day I tell myslef that if atleast 3 out of those 70 girls think all the rights they became aware of because of the LLP has SOME use in their life and attempt to fight for it, it was worth all the effort.