Thinking Out of the Box

October is supposed to be domestic violence awareness month.

I do not really believe in having months or days for awareness about any social defects. Usually, politically correct noises are made at the time, with not much sustained or personal effort afterwards. But still, awareness months are a step in the right direction.

I have read several blog-posts on this issue, and am myself taking the lazy way out, by re-publishing a post that I wrote around this time last year.

The ladies that I have written about in this post, had thought of a somewhat unusual way to combat domestic violence in the case of one of their friends. I do not mean to imply that this is the right solution in every case.

Each case is different- I do not believe that ‘standardized’ answers to social problems work.-
…………………

My son is studying Business Management, so there are always a couple of magazines related to Management Studies lying around the house. Yesterday I was looking through one of them when the title of an article caught my eye- “Thinking Out of the Box.” It stressed the importance of creative solutions as opposed to routine ones.

It was afternoon, the women had finished their chores and were gathered as usual under a large tree in front of the chawls where they lived. Tati was older than the rest of them and I could see that they respected her a lot.
The next time Saguna’s husband came home drunk, Tati and another neighbour went to their house and stayed there without saying a word, till the husband sobered up.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. However he did drink less frequently and he was careful not to mistreat his wife and children lest Tati thought of some other annoying plan! So Saguna was satisfied.

The mention of creative solutions made me remember Tati of Wadala. In connection with some volunteer work I was involved with, I had gone to the Wadala area here in Mumbai to meet a group of women.

One of them, Saguna, told me that Tati had saved her marriage. This intrigued me and after she left, I asked Tati about it.

It seemed that Saguna’s husband had a drinking habit. He used to spend a large part of his earnings- usually on the day he received his weekly wages- at the local Darucha adda ( bar) on drink. Then he would come home drunk and beat her. She had asked Tati’s advice about what she should do.

“Do you want a divorce?” Tati had asked.

“No, when he’s not drunk he’s a good husband.”

“Then we will think of something.” Tati had assured her.

When he came home the next evening two other women were there with Saguna to make sure he did not mistreat her while drunk.

When the same thing happened the third night, the husband got fed up. He came to Tati and told her that if she would tell the women to call off their continuous vigil, then he would promise to stop drinking.

I would like to tell you that their plan was completely successful and that he stopped drinking.

I think resourceful women like Tati could teach Management students a thing or two about “thinking out of the box”!

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19 thoughts on “Thinking Out of the Box”

  1. What is the source of this build-up inside us? Further, this finds an outlet only against someone weaker than us.We build a lot of stress and frustrations in our lives and we have not learnt to let go of emotional garbage. Periodical cleansing helps a person stay in equilibrium.Violence in any form – physical, emotional or mental is widespread. Unfortunately we focus only on physical violence ignoring the other two. We need to unlearn a lot of rubbish crammed in our heads and must learn how to live a full life. Only the would this scourge be removed.

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  2. If you had said that 'their plan was completely successful', it would have looked like a story. But in real life, no change happens overnight. Tati's plan nearly worked and that is important. I was glad to read that the other women helped her whole-heartedly, without criticizing her.This is the apt post for 'domestic violence awareness month'. We need many more Tatis or we can try to become one.

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  3. That was a brilliant solution. Sometimes such disruptive responses, which are not expected by someone even in his dreams, can achieve miraculous results.Often such solutions are found, not by social scientists conditioned and straitjacketed by their study and conditioning, but by uncluttered minds in close touch with and empathetic towards humans around them.

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  4. Mavin– I completely agree with what you say.It is so sad if we hurt someone weaker than ourselves merely to prove our superiority.Ugich Konitari– Yes, I liked this solution, too!There are, of course, situations where the abused wife should be encouraged to leave her husband. But sometimes a solution like the one Tati thought of may work, too.Going over to read your post now… Anrosh– From your comment I am not sure whether you approve/ disapprove of Tati's solution. :)Many will think that Tati's solution was a regressive one. That Saguna should have walked out on her husband.In such a situation,it is often difficult to say with confidence what is right/ wrong, I feel.

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  5. What Tati did was good but it doesn't work always. Every problem and its solution is different.I think a month or day dedicated to issues and social causes spread more awareness. The work goes on everyday but one day or month just for it when everyone unites and talks about it has an effect.

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  6. Sandhya– Very true- in real life, no change happens overnight.Change usually takes place through evolution, not revolution! 🙂Renu– I prefer constructive solutions, too! Vinodji– Yes, I thought that it was a brilliant solution, too!Tati had just one goal before her, that was to improve Saguna's domstic situation. And she did succeed to an extent

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  7. I am not in favour of fixing months for a certain programme.Every day should be a day against domestic violence.Tati has set an example,she must be a real strategist,a marketeer.Only if we had few more Tatis

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  8. That was a good one.. we need more Tati’s in our world. Tati’s who are courageous and are wise. As I see, if more men are helped to get out their pitiful conditions we will see more progress in reducing DV’s, and if more women walk out of their marriage then we shall be pushing these men into worst conditions! And sooner or later he would have found another victim to vent out his failings/weakness. But then not all are lucky to have Tati’s and maybe not even their own parents and not all men can be changed and in such cases there is no other option but to walk out.And the solution to DV’s also depends upon the victim; here Saguna mustered the courage to seek a solution.

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  9. Kislay– Yes, it was pretty ingenious. 🙂Chowlaji– Yes, I agree with you.Happy Kitten– It probably is true that if men were in a better social/economic condition then there would be less incidents of domestic violence. As you say, though, not all men can be reformed. As in almost all social problems- every case is different….

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  10. of course manju, i approve tati's strategy. i am not the one for breaking marriages, but definitely the one to break domestic violence. but if one has to live a happy life to break a marriage, i support that.the point is tati had a solution to the problem – regressive or aggresive is besides the point. isn't it good that she did without extreme measures.non violence is a very powerful instrument, but looks like very tame one. it has a very long lasting impact.everyboday applauds gandhi and talks about gandhi, but cannot practise ganhisim. tati did just that.in the case of saguna – she definitely was interested in finding a solution.one needs emotional intelligence to solve a problem and saguna and tati is a good example. and life is all about this

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  11. There are indeed so many 'Out of the box' thinking examples enmeshed in our everyday life and living ! So much that it sometimes is not even noticed !Thanks for showcasing this. Time and again !

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  12. We had gone to the Indian complex last weekend and there was a lady there passing out flyers promoting the month. We did not know what the flyer was about and Suresh, my husband just took one (to be polite!). The woman looked a bit crestfallen that I had not taken one too!! Suresh does drink (like Tati's husband) but does not get drunk…and certainly hasn't thought of beating me…neither have I…yet 😛

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