Kids should be able to enjoy their childhood. No child needs to get married. I was engaged at the age of 14, and even though the marriage didn’t take place until I was 18, it had all the elements of child marriage. I was not free to choose. I couldn’t say no. I was too young to know what was happening or to fight for my rights. My human rights were violated, and my freedom to choose was taken away from me. I was forced to marry a stranger, and was put into danger. This happened to me not in India, but in the UK (I have started a Change.org petition – Please sign it at www.change.org/EndChildMarriageAndEndForcedMarriage
Every day, children are not lucky enough to even wait until the age of 18. They are being forced into marriage at age 10, 12, 14 – you name it. It’s happening here in the USA, and believe me, it’s happening right in your neighborhood. There is a child out there who could be a victim of child marriage and you may not even know it. This is why it has to be brought to the attention of the general public. It’s only through awareness that we can try to make a difference, that we can even try to bring about change, so this does not continue to happen. If it can happen in India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, many African countries, in the UK, and Denmark – then believe me – it happens here too!
Sometimes, child marriage (defined as a marriage of a minor under the age of 18) or forced marriage (which can happen to anyone including children or adults) happens because girls get pregnant by their boyfriends, and they’re pushed into the marriage, either by the boyfriend or by the parents, so as not to bring shame on either of the families. However, many times, one or both the victims don’t even want the marriage, it’s the parents who thrust this punishment onto the child, in the name of culture and or tradition. It’s no one’s culture to abuse! We all have to stop this abuse, it’s our moral obligation to do so. Right now, people know they can get away with child marriage, in fact they can even go from one state to another to the one that will allow them to do the deed that should not be done – child marriage. I believe that anyone who enables this to happen (cake maker, the priest, the judge, the guests, the parents) is complicit in the abuse of that child, and the longtime suffering they will go through, so let’s just all bring about the necessary action – let’s end child marriage, and let’s also focus on ending forced marriage too as even adults who are 18 years of age and older can be forced into marriage.
Until we raise the marriage age to 18 for everyone in the USA, we will not have done our very best for all children. Did you know that if parents give their consent to the marriage of an under-age child, a judge is very likely to sign off too and then a poor child is doomed to a life no child should have to embark on. Perhaps they blindly believe that parents have their children’s best interests at heart. But, sadly not all parents do. Parents are often the enablers of this cruel tradition that is a harmful practice. They are the ones that want their child married, whether it is to carry on a tradition, or to ensure the child marries appropriately, or does not stray into a relationship that would bring shame on the family – there are a multitude of reasons children, especially girls, are married off. Sometimes, it’s for horrible reasons such as immigration, where one person benefits at the expense of another! However, these reasons are a violation of a child’s basic human rights. Some traditions are best broken or ended, and it’s our job to call out harmful practices when we see them.
Just place yourself in a child’s shoes for just a moment and you will see this is no way to begin a life. A child forced into child marriage now has to serve a spouse in more ways than I would like to describe. However, describe it I must. No child should be subjected to sexual slavery just because they are now in a marriage that they were placed into. No child should be subjected to a life of domestic servitude and control, but this is very likely to happen when they are weak and vulnerable compared to the older spouse who has power and control over them. No child should have their health and safety compromised. Kids should not be giving birth to kids! I strongly believe in education first, then marriage. So many children are robbed of their right to education and placed into marriage as they are considered to be a burden.
If we don’t stop this cruel enabling of child marriage, we are letting our children down. We must ask ourselves “how would we like to be forced into marriage?” Let’s stop the perpetual cycle of abuse and also break the cycle of poverty. If kids are not allowed to pursue an education, they are much more likely to remain in poverty and be increasingly dependent on their spouse, and never be able to escape the unhappiness. Unhappiness often leads to domestic violence. Do we wish them to suffer one abuse after another? Let them have every opportunity they deserve instead of a lifetime of hardship.
I’m asking you as a very concerned citizen, please open your heart and stop the suffering of children. No child needs to be married. There’s no urgency. Marriage can wait until an individual is 18 years old, and as long as they are not forced into it. The real truth is that I would prefer that the marriage age be raised to 21 as I believe that when I was forced into marriage at 18, I was still way too young. How can being 18 be old enough when a week or few months before that you’re a child? Since I know we have to start somewhere with safeguarding children, I’m still willing to say 18 is way better than the alternative of allowing a child to marry prior to that age, so I’m definitely willing to work with this and hope to see a day when it’s raised to 21. I definitely say no to child marriage and no to forced marriage.
Also, it should be important for you to know that the marriage age has only been raised to 18 in six states only – New Jersey, Delaware, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New York! None of us should rest until it is raised to 18 in every state in the USA without exceptions! This means no exceptions – no signing off by parents giving their consent for their under-age child to marry!
Please join me in signing this petition. I urge you for the sake of all children to raise the marriage age for all to 18 years of age. What I’m asking for is that a bill is passed in the House in California, in fact a bill should be passed in every state in the USA, that would raise the marriage age to 18 without exceptions. Furthermore, all countries should be doing the same so that kids everywhere are protected. Forced marriage needs to be a crime here in the USA just like it is in the UK – yes, it’s now a criminal offense in the UK to force anyone into marriage – this law was passed at least five years ago. Please remember that forced marriage is human slavery, and a form of human trafficking. Let’s not stop until we end child marriage and forced marriage everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you live, you can sign and make a difference. Abuses have no barriers of distance, neither does helping another human being. Thank you.
For More Information:
If you want to know more about forced marriage or child marriage, the following organizations can be contacted. The following organizations exist in the UK: Karma Nirvana, IKWRO,and The Sharan Project. The UK is 10 steps ahead of the USA in awareness and Karma Nirvana even trains law enforcement so that the signs that someone could be a potential forced marriage victim can be spotted; and the correct plan of action is carried out to help a victim, and not send them back in harm’s way. There are so many charities there now that exist to help victims – there’s probably at least thirty if not more.
Here in the USA, we are making progress. We now have Tahirih Justice Center, Unchained At Last, California Coalition to End Child Marriage | Global Hope 365 and the AHA Foundation. We also have great organizations involved in the fight to end child marriage world-wide, such as Girls Not Brides, Freedom United, and Plan International.
For Further Reading
More Petitions For You To Sign
Here’s a petition to stop child marriage in New York. Naila Amin was forced to marry at the age of 13! This should anger everyone, and everyone should ask how did this happen here in the USA? I like to share because I signed that petition too – it can never hurt to sign as many petitions that come across your way, especially if you can help those that are most vulnerable, and have no voice. Please sign Naila Amin’s petition
Here’s another petition to stop child marriage in California. Sara Tasneem was just 15 years old when she was forced into child marriage. She gives some great reasons in her petition as to why child marriage has to stop. I encourage you to sign her petition too. Like I said, sign all the ones you come across, it doesn’t hurt, and hopefully it will help. Please sign Sara Tasneem’s petition
Here’s another petition to stop child marriage in the UK. Even though forced marriage is a criminal offense there, child marriage is still occurring and again, it’s the same problem as what we have in the USA – judges are going off the parents consent, and we have to stop this from happening. This petition was started by Payzee Mahmod, who was forced into marriage at the age of 16, and who lost her sister Banaz Mahmod to an honor killing. Honor killing is a by-product of what can happen to a girl if she doesn’t give into an arranged marriage or forced marriage. I’ve signed this petition too – it doesn’t matter where you live, just sign – we are all in this together! Please sign Payzee Mahmod’s petition.
Have you ever thought what it would be like without a fountain? I’m sure you haven’t if your fountain is not a life saver. Some fountains are. The fountain in Carini, Sicily is a life saver in my opinion as it’s a necessity. You may think there is not a water shortage in places in Europe, but you may have to rethink your opinion.
Unless there has been a significant improvement since I was last in Carini which was approximately 2006, Carini did not have plentiful water coming out of the taps whenever the faucets were turned on. Long story short – the fountain was where you had to go to fill up your containers in case your water ran out. People would walk, drive or go on their motor bikes to get the water they needed to drink, bathe in and do the dishes. Most residences had to instal a water storage tank on their rooftops to maintain a steady supply of water. Here is a picture of the fountain in Carini. I am supplying two as one is better than the other as it shows a wider area as in my original print.
Carini Plaza Fountain
By the way, Carini is a wonderful place. I have been there at least five times, and have stayed there for 5 weeks one time, another two times I was there for three weeks each time, and the other two times, just a couple of weeks.
I had this picture enlarged and in a frame. It was hanging in an Italian restaurant for at least ten years, and then it went missing. Good job I still have the prints. I took pictures of my picture to bring you these images. I hope you enjoyed seeing a little bit of Carini.
Don’t ever forget to be thankful when you turn on your tap, and you are lucky enough to get running water. Be grateful that you don’t have to go to a local fountain (even if it’s a beautiful fountain) to get your supply of water.
Also, sorry I haven’t written in such a long time, life has been so very busy. Does it ever get less busy? Until next time.
Happy New Year Everyone! Sorry that I haven’t written in quite some time. Life has been agonizingly busy, and I say agonizingly as you wouldn’t believe what I just went through – one of the worst moves of my life. I will leave this story for another day, but needless to say I was not happy about moving – I also had to downsize, and pay double the rent! 😦
Anyway, onto happier memories from last year….and hoping this year will be better for me and for all of you. We visited Santa Monica last summer, and I have had so much happen that I couldn’t even post my pictures until now. Well, it’s better to do it now than deciding to do it five years from now.
We loved Santa Monica, it’s quite close to Los Angeles, and we were just in Santa Monica for a day, but in the Los Angeles area for nearly three days. Isn’t it amazing that I live in San Diego, but don’t get up to Los Angeles that often any more, and that I have never visited Santa Monica until last year – and I’ve been in San Diego for almost 19 years!
Well, without further ado, here are some of my pictures:
This last picture is of main shopping street that is a block or two away from the beach. I will share more of these pictures another time. Well, that’s it for now, I hope you liked my pictures, and that you are already having an amazing year!
We had one of our big Diwali celebrations in San Diego on October 15, 2016. It was the Festival of Lights held at Balboa Park. It was a fantastic event, yet again. This year it was special, because as well as dancing, we had singing, and there was a world-class singer who entertained us, so it was truly magnificent. His name is Aditya Rao, and apparently he has won several awards, and has appeared in several videos like the one below:
Here he is performing at Balboa Park, and he’s also seen in this video that I made
Here is a video that shows the lighting of the lamps display, and the women carrying the lamps during the lamp parade.
Here is a video showing Punjabi music and specifically, Bhangra at the Festival Of Lights….spectacular!
Here are more photos showing Aditya Rao, and the performances that he was part of.
Here are some other pictures taken at Festival Of Lights
These are the lamps on display. I have never taken pictures of the lamps before as I always get a seat, and never venture towards the lamps, but this year I did, and I’m glad!
Here are some of the other performances
One of Aditya Rao again, with the main presenter
Here’s little Chandra having fun!
This is Aditya Rao standing with the main organizers and this is just prior to the Indian Anthem being sung
President Barack Obama graced Diwali at Balboa Park with his presence, even though it was just on screen. He wished us a Happy Diwali! This was ever so nice, just to see President Obama in Balboa Park!
I really love going to the Festival Of Lights, as I enjoy seeing the performances, seeing Balboa Park again, seeing the stage graced by beautiful dances in clothes that sparkle, and then of course the lights tinkle! I also enjoy eating the Indian food that is available from many of the vendors who participate in Festival Of Lights. This year I got samosas, chicken saag and rice, and gulab jamun – that was two trays of food for me and Chandra, which included passion fruit juice for her and a nice cup of Pumpkin Spice Chai that cost just $9. You can’t beat that price!
I hope you enjoyed my pictures of the Festival Of Lights, and I hope you all have a truly beautiful Diwali. May light conquer over darkness, may good prevail over evil, and may we all experience peace, joy and prosperity on Diwali, and in the year ahead. Happy Diwali!
The Venetian is my favorite resort and hotel in Las Vegas. I absolutely love it, and have only stayed there once. Every time I go to Vegas, I want to stay there, but sadly price wise…I have to stay away. I wonder how packages from the UK are so affordable to other countries, including to the USA, yet we can’t seem to get any bargains like this from here? For instance, my sister just booked a trip to the USA where she stayed 4 days in New York, and 4 days in Las Vegas (during this summer). Her hotel in New York was the Marriott Marquis right in Times Square, and her accommodation in Las Vegas was the Venetian. Her price for the trip was £1,000 UK pounds per person (for a family of four), and this includes airfare and hotel cost. When I flew to the UK in 2014 (in the summer) it cost me $1,500 per person (for a family of four), and this did not include the cost of hotels. I am so jealous, ‘cos I want to stay at the Venetian for four days! However, since it’s my sister….I’m happy she is staying at one of the best places in Las Vegas.
Last time I wrote in May about Las Vegas, I told you I would include pictures of inside the Venetian, so here we go. Sorry, it has taken me such a long time to get around to it. I even fit one more trip to Las Vegas since Christmas – this summer – not the same time as my sister unfortunately, and I did not stay at the Venetian 😦 . Here are the pictures that include Christmas inside the Venetian, and some that were taken this summer. Oh, and the gelato – it’s absolutely delicious! Incase you are wondering, Christmas is a great time to be in Las Vegas, and especially at the Venetian.
Oh, what a fabulous day! It’s a day I will never forget! President Bill Clinton came to town, and why would I not go see him? I usually don’t go to Chula Vista, which is about 40 minutes south of where I live, it’s close to the international border with Mexico. I just never have reason to go there, but Bill Clinton is certainly a great reason to travel just 40 minutes. That’s just 40 minutes we’re talking about to see the former President Of The USA! Bill Clinton came to Bonita Vista High School in Chula Vista. When he was President, the USA was doing superbly well. The economy was great, America was great! I believe with Hillary Clinton as the next President, with Bill by her side, we can be great again. I have to add that I also love President Obama too, he has done some fabulous things, and does not get enough credit. Health Care Reform is just one of the fabulous things he helped pass, even though I can’t believe Congress want to take this advancement away. Sometimes, I wonder if Congress can ever be satisfied, they are always whining about something or other and blocking progress. I think they are jealous that President Obama got something done.
Did you know that I have always liked Bill Clinton? When I first came to America, he was running for President, and even though I couldn’t vote for him, he had my vote 100%. I attended the inauguration celebrations in Washington, DC, and what a fabulous time that was! He tried to pass Health Care Reform too, and I believe he may have inspired President Obama. Just think what Hillary can do! She is an inspiration, she will be the first female President of the USA, and we need that. She’s empowering to girls and women, and I am sick of all this hate directed towards her, and the lies and innuendos. How dare people keep going on about the emails? I am sick of hearing about this. Just today I ready that someone else in the Administration had sent classified emails via his private email, but he never got criticized. There can’t be one rule for a man, and another for a woman. I believe that’s gender discrimination! They can’t bear the thought of a woman as President, but President she will be, mark my word! Anyway, am I being too political? I’m not usually like that, but I do want Hillary to win, and I do love Bill Clinton. Here are some photos of me, Bill and Hillary when I was at the Inaugural activities in Washington, DC when Bill Clinton became President.
So, going back to the present, you can see I was a fan, and am still a fan! Here are some pictures I took of President Clinton in San Diego. By the way, did I tell you it was an incredible day? It was, and I’m still getting over it, still beginning to touch planet earth again. I wonder if everyone there was as much a fan as I? There were people who were fortunate enough to get close and have selfies with him, and books signed, but I didn’t. Keep reading below, and you’ll see what I have in ways of pictures of me an the President together.
This score board shows that President Clinton is/was the 42nd President, and Hillary Clinton will be the 45th. See, I told you she is going to be the next President!
Just some of the crowd going crazy for Bill Clinton in San Diego
Guess what? I’m not good at taking selfies anyway, but I was desperate to have a picture with Bill Clinton, but I couldn’t or wasn’t allowed to get too close! Sad! So, what did I do? I tried to get a selfie with him, even though my youngest daughter defined “selfie” and said I was supposed to be next to him! What if I couldn’t be next to him? I aimed the camera on my phone onto me and him, and must have looked crazy while I did this, but who cares? The President was here, and he had to be in my picture! Can you see him below, just visible (even though it’s a bit blurry, I promise you it’s him!) above the guy in the blue cap.
Another selfie – or should I call it a failed selfie of me and the President!
Here’s a video that I made, and of course, I included my failed selfie pictures towards the end of the video.
I hope you enjoy the video, and I hope you enjoyed my post. Even if you didn’t, guess what, I enjoyed seeing President Clinton tremendously, and I’m still not over it. We need to vote for Hillary for President, and then the King and Queen of America will go back to their house – the White House and we will be prosperous once again. Please join me in voting for Hillary Clinton for our next President. Thank you.
Venetian Magic, Venetian splendor! Oh, how I love the Venetian grandeur. This hotel/resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, is my absolute favorite out of all of them there. I have stayed at the Venetian many years ago, and absolutely loved it! I wish I could always stay there when ever I visit Las Vegas. Even when I stay elsewhere, I make it a point to go visit the Venetian. If you can’t go to Venice, at least go to the Venetian – it’s a bit of the real thing. Here are some pictures:
My kids outside the Venetian, last Christmas
Isn’t this place pretty? Isn’t it magical? Wish I could have a permanent suite there! These were all pictures taken outside of the Venetian, next time I will show you some pictures taken inside.
Christmas in Las Vegas was a new experience for us, and a rather nice one. We spent Christmas, 2015 in Vegas, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Here are some more pictures, these were nearly all taken on Christmas day, 2015. The last one was taken on Christmas Eve at The Carnival World Buffet which we went to prior to going to Christmas Eve mass at Our Lady of Wisdom Church.
We didn’t stay at Bellagio though as much as I would have liked to. Actually, if you ask me which place I would like to stay at my number one choice is Venetian, and number two is Bellagio. We actually stayed at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club Resort of which I am a member (through my timeshare ownership). I won’t even go into my tea-bag dilemna that I had there – can you believe they didn’t have regular black tea? I certainly had tea withdrawal! Enough said of that for the time being, other than to say you hotels should never just cater to coffee lovers, there’s tea lovers too! My view wasn’t too bad though.
We had brunch at the Paris Hotel’s Le Village Buffet, I will show you pictures of that separately in another post. Here are pictures of the Bellagio, where we spent the majority of our Christmas day, just strolling around – what a beautiful Christmas display!
We had Christmas Eve lunch at The Carnival World Buffet at Rio
We ate a lot in Vegas. My kids talked me into getting them the Buffet Pass which cost $55 per person for 48 hours. So we started the pass at around 5pm on Christmas Eve and it lasted until Boxing Day at 5 pm. Therefore, we were able to use it for meals over 3 days, but had to time the last meal on Boxing Day to be in the line for the meal before 5 pm. If you can time it properly, it works out well. All the meals and drinks that you want are included in this price (except alcohol of course) – but you will be sure to put on a few pounds! I will post more pictures of Las Vegas soon. I can’t believe it’s already April, and I’m just getting around to doing this post now. Where does time go to?
I’ve spent New Year in Las Vegas, and summer in Las Vegas, but not Christmas in Las Vegas, so last Christmas we tried it, and we liked it!
There are less crowds in Vegas in Christmas, than there are at New Year. Also, when it’s New Year, it’s just not the best place for kids in all that noisy, raucous Vegas celebration – what with the drinks and the drunks, and well…..let’s say I think Christmas was a little more mellow in Vegas.
Have you ever associated Las Vegas with Christmas? Or have you ever even considered it to be a good place to celebrate such a joyous occasion? Well, I think our Christmas in Vegas in 2015 was spectacular, partly, because we found a beautiful church to celebrate Christmas Eve in. I am Sikh, but I like all kinds of churches, temples (including Hindu temples, as well as Sikh temples) and have even enjoyed visiting Mosques or at least taking pictures of them, see this link. The church we visited is an Italo-Greek Byzantine Catholic Church called Our Lady of Wisdom, located on 2120 Lindell Road, Las Vegas, NV 89146, only about 5 minutes drive from the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard. It is such a truly beautiful, spectacular church, and is very European looking – I could not believe I was in the USA while I was in this church, it was such a wonderful feeling that the church gave me. Here are some pictures:
I managed to get my two daughters in the picture
I don’t really think I was supposed to be taking pictures at the church, but I think it was too beautiful to not take pictures. I would love to be at this church every Christmas Eve, too bad it’s not in San Diego!