Where can I get an abortion in Bangalore?

If you are unable to find the service, please do write to us.

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Namma Bangaluru!!!!! Namma young people staying in Bangalore!!!! Have you ever heard about Family Planning Association of India – Bangalore??
And why should you know about them? So let me introduce you to FPAI.

As you would have already noticed that FPAI stands for Family Planning Association of India. FPA India envisages sexual and reproductive health for all as a human right, including gender equality leading to alleviation of poverty, population stabilization and sustainable development. They have their presence in
Delhi, Ahmadabad, Chennai, Lucknow, Agra, Bangalore, Mumbai and few more places.To know more about them you can visit their website: www.fpaindia.org

So where do you go if you are looking for Sexual and reproductive health aid in Bangalore?
Private hospitals? Clinics? Nowhere? For those who are still struggling, for those who are suffering cause they dont know where to go, for those who have suffered a lot because of judgmental comments by the service provider, high prices, let me introduce you to FPAI – Bangalore. A place where you wont be judged. A place where you would feel safe. A place where services are affordable and a place where proper guidance and counselling would be given for Sexual and reproductive health.

The clinic is situated at City Corporation Maternity Home Complex, 1st Floor, Palace Guttahalli (Guttahalli circle), BANGALORE – 560 003. For those who have no
clue about this place, let me tell you it is very close to Le Meridien Hotel and Bangalore Golf club, Sankey Road. As you reach the complex’s gate, you would see the FPAI board
on the left side of the building. On the first floor you would find the Admin team of FPAI – Bangalore. From the gate if you walk towards the right, you would see a path on your left which would take you to the clinic (currently which is under maintenance now; till it is ready one can visit the doctor on the first floor)
The clinic operates from 9 am -5 pm.

So what is the procedure followed by FPAI – Bangalore?

– The first thing is Registration: Here the person would be asked the reason for coming to FPAI. Is for MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) in other words safe abortion
or sterlization.
– Then the person is sent to the counselor where the counselor discusses what all happened and what can be done. Privacy is given utmost importance.
– Then the person is provided with consultation. It is checked whether the person is on her first trimester or second. Then she is provided with proper guidance on what
she is required to do.
– During the medication, if the person is asked to take abortion pill, she is provided with proper guidelines on how to consume them. And if minor operation is required
the she is guided accordingly. FPAI – Bangalore currently has 10 beds and one minor operation theater. And the clinic is very clean.
– One week later a follow up is done, where the person is asked to come back. This is done so as to check whether the pregnancy is completely terminated and the
person is safe.

FPAI – Bangalore also gives a counselling about Family Planning Methods. They also provide people with free contraceptives for example free condoms.
Apart from MTP, FPAI also does HIV testing, Cervical cancer test (compulsory for women above 30 years), Vasectomy, tubectomy and test for breast cancer.
The tests are done after the consent of the patient only. All the tests are done in the Laboratory.

FPAI Bangalore also has Adolescent health clinic and also does Male sterilization.

FPAI follows no refusal policy, this means nobody is refused or sent back without providing medical services and help.
Privacy and confidentiality is the most important aspect that FPAI follows.Whoever comes to the clinic needs to just register with one’s name.
This is required, to keep a count of the patients. It is not for public to examine. Let it be a married women or unmarried women, the information of the patient is
kept highly confidential. Nobody asks the patient uncomfortable questions like are you married or not? Where is the husband?
Everybody is treated with dignity at FPAI.

Namma bangaluru, I found FPAI – Bangalore very friendly and approachable. If required, kindly try utilizing this clinic. It’s friendly, non-judgmental, safe, clean and affordable.
The whole facility would cost around 500 INR. Kindly utilize this amazing clinic. Try it out and refer it to the ladies around.
Let us all promote safe abortion and health care around us.

PS:  “FPA India clinics may charge, what we prefer to call as a ‘partial user fee’ to the clients for seeking abortion or any other SRH service. This fee is very subsidized and helps the Association meet some running costs. However, all FPA India clinics also have a “NO REFUSAL POLICY”, which states that no client walking into any FPA India facility is denied any service, especially if he/she is unable to afford even the subsidized fee. Thus, poor and marginalized clients can also access quality services in FPAI clinics. Only when the facility is not equipped to provide a particular service (for example some client may need a specialized service, or admission or higher level emergency care) are clients to other facilities.”

Podcast: Own Your City – Cubbon Park – Bangalore

 

In this series “Own Your City”, we have Akarshitha  taking you to Bangalore, a city in the Southern part of India.  It is a city that is famous for its gardens, malls, pubs, food and lovely streets. In this walk, Akarshitha focuses on Cubbon Park, a beautiful park situated right in the middle of the city. She takes us through memory lanes and shares her stories around this park. To find out the various stories that unfold in this park, go ahead and listen to this podcast.

 

101 Q Dates: With the Beautiful as a HUG volunteer

Editor’s note: 101 Q Dates is an initiative by Dolly Koshy, a social activist from Bangalore. This is an account of her 101 dates with different people from the LGBTQIA+ community. All 101 Q dates will be blogged. The aim of these 101 dates is LGBTQIA+ sensitisation more than finding a partner.

Shruti sang her way into my heart. I first noticed and started talking to her at a dinner organized by ASQ: All Sorts of Queer. As I kept in touch with her after that night, I got to know how dedicated and loving she is to her family and friends and of her many talents including singing and poetry writing. Despite being very young, she has the maturity and depth that I rarely see even in many older people.

Shruti is a data analyst in an IT company and will soon be leaving India to do her master in Italy. In her own words, “At any given time I can be seen reading books, singing to a random tune or writing”.  I was completely bowled over when she sang a song in Malayalam. A non speaker of Malayalam singing a Malayalam song so well amazed me beyond words.

Date 2 of 101 was sponsored by HUG – Gift a meal. HUG is a group of citizens that have come together to create a Hunger Free Society.

Any restaurant or cafe can sign up to be a HUG certified restaurant. This allows the outlets to place table cards informing diners that if they choose to pay Rs. 30/- over and above their docked bill, HUG will ensure that it goes toward a hot meal for the underprivileged.

Join HUG Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/BangaloreHUG/

When Madhumita Kalauny who I know through The Friday Convent (TFC) came to know about the 101 Q Dates, she asked if one of my dates and I wanted to volunteer at a HUG’s event and I agreed to volunteer without an after thought.

After numerous feeding programs and months of understanding the gaps, HUG launched the Gift a meal with a HUG at World on a Plate. Hug’s #GiftAMeal program was announced and endorsed by the Masterchefs at the WORLD ON A PLATE 2017.  The event started with the  lovely children of Sahasra Deepika interacting with the chefs and having a breakfast treat of dosas made by them.

The day of our date was a gorgeous Saturday morning. I was determined to not let butterflies get the better of me and let my anxiety make a mess of my date. I reached Shruti’s place early and while I waited to pick her up, I decided it was time for a dose of caffeine to soothe my frazzled nerves.

Shruti had mentioned the previous night that she would be little nervous and to excuse her, if she was not her normal self on the date, so I was determined to make her feel very comfortable that she would forget her nervousness.

We arrived at the venue at 8.50 and met Paluk Khanna who had arrived with the kids much earlier. She put us in charge of looking after the kids and arranging the stall where HUG was going to sell baked products from home bakers donated for the cause.  I met a friend Geetha Krishnan who is also from The Friday Convent (TFC) was a volunteer for the HUG stall.

The lovely children of Sahasra Deepika who HUG brought to interact with the chefs were bunch of disciplined, full-of-life young girls. Most of them were sure of what they wanted from their future. I could not help but think that if these young girls were allowed to live their life and future as they envisioned, India would be better place. Why does patriarchy crumple the dreams of so many young girls?

After the kids finished having the dosas, it was time for us to leave. We handed the kids back to Paluk Khanna. And obviously, the smell of dosas had left us very hungry. So we stopped for tea at one of Shruthi’s favorite place. As we bonded over masala chai, I looked for some masala of my own: I asked her why she went out on a date with me. To which Shruti said, “It is to make myself and the people who read the blog understand that it’s the same as any other date. Two people hanging out, talking about their lives, seeing if they like the other person. I was homophobic a few years ago. Now, on the other side of the fence, I expected to see scandalous things, except they’re not. We are all human and our needs to love, be loved and find a partner, are all the same.”

As we headed back home, I couldn’t help but think about how regardless of our differences, we all have similar dreams, desires and hopes. I guess that’s what makes us human. And that’s what makes us a community.

Shruthi’s Experience and Version of the Date

I thought being differently oriented in gender and sexual identities from the “norm” was a difficult situation, especially in a country like ours. But only recently have I been witness to stories of horror and hatred. I can empathize how something so different from the hetero-normative can be seen as a threat – it’s unknown, rarely seen much less understood. Hence this attempt at understanding the lives of the LGBTQI seems like the right way to spread awareness and dispel any antagonism towards all precious life.

The first time I met Dolly, she resembled a lion (not a lioness, a lion!), all raring to go at the Pride. She was the epitome of what I thought a “Lesbian” looked like. I was impressed, although the ‘Out & Proud’ attitude was more than I could handle. I had only recently discovered myself.

The second time I met Dolly, it was at a fun night at Nosh & Tipple. Dolly was drunk and was flirting with me. She managed to outrage me with almost all that she said. I was convinced that I would most likely never see her again. But in between that night and the date, 3 things made me realize that there’s much more to Dolly than what I had seen in one evening:

  1. I read a novel she co-authored that I loved (Book: Broken Jars; Fistful of Dreams). A must read for all, as it deals with a lot of psychological and social issues.
  2. She made intelligent conversation  whenever I talked to her
  3.  And she has this huge heart which tells her to do too much (atrociously too much) good to others!

So, when Dolly called me on the night before the date and asked me out for a ‘Volunteering’ date, I was initially disappointed that she only considered me a filler (the person she had planned the volunteering event with could not make it at the last moment). But, I realised that this kind of filler asking out could only come with a sense of trust and comfort. After making her promise she won’t kill a flower for me, I agreed.

On Date Day, Dolly is overcompensating and arrives early to pick me up. I am ready with a bag full of handkerchiefs for my cold (so there goes the possibility of kissing, sigh!) and off we go. She’s a careful rider, I am the irritating pillion that you never want sitting behind you. We reach our destination and are put in charge of the most disciplined set of girls. All we had to say was ‘Attention!’ and they’d be ready for NDA.

The kids, a surprise run-in with an old friend, the volunteering cause (hunger management) and all the hullabaloo around the Master chefs made it a very satisfying and fun event. I was immensely moved by the two things I saw that day – compassion for life, and the complete normalcy in a same sex date. (Yes, nothing scandalous occurred, imagine that!)

After the event, we went to a cosy tea place and spoke some more. Dolly gave me her complete attention the whole time, which I loved! (except for a call on car insurance. After all, car insurance is definitely a priority). And as we headed back home, I had a smile on my face for the wonderful time and utter comfort I felt in the presence of Dolly. I knew Dolly, the activist, who helps every person she could. This date left me with a feeling of immense pride for a soul whose compassion for life is unquestionable. And yes, now I am a little less scared of dates.

Disclaimer: Hidden Pockets is media partner with 101 Q Dates. Published with author permission from the original blog

Pleasure Pockets: Bangalore’s Blossoms bookstore, every book lover’s paradise

Long before I ever knew that I would be one day calling Bangalore home, I vaguely associated the city with primarily three things: its India’s Silicon Valley moniker, legendary weather, and gardens. I had visited the city once when I was ten years old and en route to a rain-soaked vacation to Ooty; what I most distinctly remember about that trip was visiting what then appeared to be a glitzy Kids Kemp store meters away from the hotel we stayed in at the time. In a curious example of life turning full circle, this same store happens to be located in close proximity to my present home in Bangalore.

Bangalore only started to become more real and tangible to me after I met my husband, a Bangalore boy; the stories he narrated of himself were inevitably intertwined with that of the city and expanded my previously limited perceptions of it. I found myself pausing and reading more about the city wherever I encountered it, whether it was in a blog or an article or a photograph. Nevertheless, during my first few visits to the city, I was a migratory bird, knowing that I was in permanent transit, staying only for so long before returning to my home in a different country and continent at the time. It was only after I came to live here in January this year that I started to make a conscious effort to befriend and claim for my own the city and its space.

How does a city metamorphose into a home from earlier having been just a handful of memories and vague associations though? Perhaps, when you marry one of its inhabitants and acquire the keys to their storehouse of memories. Living in the city now meant that the cafes or streets or restaurants my husband had previously mentioned in his stories were no longer alien to me; as we drove through the streets of Bangalore, they vivified, enlivened by the incidents and events that took place there and which he narrated to me. They truly were memory minefields, as Suketu Mehta brilliantly describes the memory spots in his city, Mumbai in his seminal book, Maximum City: Mumbai Lost and Found. I realised that I was now colonising that world which my husband had once inhabited and now reviving and reliving for me through the memories he was sharing; I was effectively voyaging through Bangalore via his map of memories.

While I was happy to wander through the bylanes of those memories, I was eager to layer them with mine too, creating my own map of memories, those spaces where I could find and access pleasure, as he had done. Yet, that endeavor was fraught with a little hesitation as I grappled with the idea of searching for my pleasure pockets on my own in an unfamiliar city. I found myself gravitating towards one of the first places that I had visited as a bonafide Bangalore resident: the new Blossoms bookstore on Church Street. An avid reader, my husband had told me that he had often found and bought many rare books in this legendary secondhand bookstore and I subsequently read many articles and posts celebrating this veritable Bangalore institution. Thanks to online book shopping, I rarely found myself browsing through bookstores anymore these days; yet, when I first stepped inside the new Blossoms store, I delightedly lost myself in the shelves and shelves of books, savoring the musty story-laden old books smell which I had last inhaled as a postgraduate at university while sitting and researching in its ancient libraries.

Photo credit: Priyanka Sacheti

Even though I claim that I am not a ritualistic person, the truth is that I love forming and sustaining rituals; they add structure, texture, and shape to my memories, carving out shelves where I can place my memories. Going to Blossoms, buying a bagful of books, and sitting down with a drink in the Matteo cafe below demarcates the borders of my first pleasure pocket in the city. If the weather permits, I sit outside, simultaneously indulging in people-watching and briefly skimming through each of the books I have purchased. This is a sort of space which I have never accessed or taken pleasure in before. I previously read my books at home because that’s how I had always read them; I didn’t know any other way. Reading them in a public space was something new and exciting to me.

Ever since I have started visiting it, Church Street has been in the thick of extensive renovation and digging up; the street is in some state of disrepair, making it difficult for the stream of people and vehicles to access it. Yet, this is the only Church Street I know. I enjoy glimpsing the street art that envelops many a wall and building over there. My fascination with street art began when I moved to Pittsburgh, United States; it was the first time I was enjoying such unadulterated access to public space and that access also included engaging with the numerous examples of vibrant street art I encountered there. By the time I arrived in India in August 2014 and shortly moved to Delhi afterwards, the street art scene there was exploding in neighborhoods such as Shahpur Jat and Lodhi Colony; it was one of the few spaces in Delhi that I felt comfortable and secure accessing and photographing without constantly being conscious that I was a woman happening to do so.

Photo credit: Priyanka Sacheti

I experienced that similar and simultaneous feeling of comfort, security, and enjoyment while walking through the vibrant and vital space that I personally have found Church Street to be. The walls bloom multiple avatars of street art; the MG Metro Station is covered in fantastical iridescent creatures while an irreverent street artist cheekily pokes fun at the street art culture itself in several examples in the area. The street’s character constantly evolves as you continue walking down it. There are new shops and old shops, new restaurants and old restaurants. There is an old abandoned house where grows a heavily laden jackfruit and richly flowering hibiscus trees in its garden; its thick bush of bougainvillea turns the walls fuchsia in the afternoon light above neon posters pasted on a metal container. As an amateur photographer who particularly loves to capture the urban space, I always find something new to discover and photograph in Church Street. It is a street which I have claimed for myself, a street which I will take guests visiting Bangalore and include them in my ritual of accessing and befriending Bangalore.

With time, I know that I will find more pleasure pockets in Bangalore; yet this space will always remain special for me for the sheer pleasure I derive from exploring this confluence of art, books, and architecture and knowing it was my first memorable interaction with the city that is my new home.

About the writer:

Priyanka Sacheti is an independent writer based in Bangalore. She has been published in numerous publications with a special focus on art, gender, diaspora, and identity and currently an editor at Mashallah News. An author of three poetry volumes, she’s currently working on a novella. She also explores the intersection of her writing and photography at her blog: http://iamjustavisualperson.blogspot.com/ and instagram: @iamjustavisualperson.

#YouAskedForIt: A walk to move from shame to acceptance and change

“You asked for it being out so late.”

“You asked for it wearing short clothes.”

“You asked for it….”

“You asked for it….”

Saying enough is enough to all the victim blaming of survivors of sexual assault, Winged Warrior, a recovery forum for narcissistic abuse and codependency held a protest march in Cubbon Park on January 8, 2016 to spell consent and respect for all. Taking the lead from the naysayers about victims of sexual abuse, the march was named #YouAskedForIt.

“People always keep slut shaming saying ‘You asked for it,’ shaming survivors and victims of any sexual assault. It is time to shame the sexual predators and offenders. And that’s why the name #YouAskedForIt for our initiative,” says Arundhati Chaudhari, Managing Director of Winged Warriors.

Though the permission for protest march from Victoria statue at Cubbon Park to the M.G.Road metro station was denied by Cubbon Park police station, the group continued with its protest. Instead of a walk, they stood by the Cubbon Park M.G Road signal, displaying their message boards. “We stood at the signal when signals were red moving from one side to another with each signal change. Traffic slowed down while we were there. I don’t know what sort of an impact it had. It felt like some people saw it,” says Chaudhary speaking about their protest.

The group then moved into Cubbon Park to settle down for a discussion on sexual harassment and other forms of sexual assault that needed more awareness. The conversation revolved around different places – work, home, public spaces and different forms of harassment in each of those spaces, identifying a prospective molester, what can be done about it and self-defence.

“Mostly women, shared stories of sexual harassment. It was an honest expression. It takes a lot of courage to say it out loud in public. To see it was heartbreaking and also enlightening. People are talking about it and it is no longer a matter of shame,” says Vasu Dixit, Musician & Artivist who took part in the march and also performed at the end of it.

Don’t these protests or conversations die out eventually? What is the effect of such a gathering? According to Dixit, women find a community where their voices will be heard. “In their own houses, they don’t share it to protect the name of the family or out of fear. In such spaces, they can say it out loud. There is a sense of belonging. Men are also taught to have empathy and not shame the women saying that they have been molested but to say you have been molested but I’m with you.”

What is the longevity of such a protest? Is the message and spirit of such groups sustainable? Answering to this question, Chaudhari says, “We later on realized that we need to do more of these charts and display them in public spaces more often. Sensitization program should happen at a regular basis and can’t be compartmentalised.” With that in mind, Winged Warriors intends to have its next session on self-defence, followed by other sessions for survivors of different forms of sexual assaults, one step at a time. Forums, discussions and communities help individually change attitude and help people come together as a society.

#YouAskedForIt may have begun with just a group of fifteen but ended with a group of over fifty people, with on-goers stopping by to take a look especially during the music performance towards the end. That said, considering that all that was shared was personal, confidentiality of the conversation was a priority, notes Chaudhari. Changing the society might take time, but these conversations are the starting point to influence change in people, one person at a time.

Walks Free Like Pockets Spree: Pleasure Pockets experience

At 8PM on a Friday Night, my friends and I were standing outside Christ University Main Gate for the walk to start. Yes, I had invited half my friend list on Facebook, and yes, the event page on Facebook says 39 going and 100 interested, but I still wondered if people would turn up. Within a span of 10 minutes, 30 people were standing at the venue. A few regular faces, and others unknown, all of us eager to know what will happen next.

By 8:10, the Hidden Pockets team had inaugurated the walk. All of us stood in a circle with Jasmine in between explaining to us what the walk is all about.

“Why should we suddenly wake up one morning to reclaim the streets?”

“Do we actually feel safe walking at night?”

“Isn’t it a bit awkward to walk around with strangers?”

While a few of these questions were thrown at us at the beginning of the walk, we were asked not to walk ‘with our friend/known face’ and observe the streets carefully. Quite frankly, I was doubtful regarding what difference this walk could make. Till I reached Stop number 1: Under the Dairy Circle Bridge

The Junction under the Dairy Circle Bridge in Hosur Road is one of a kind. With not a single street light on the road and nobody around, it could be one of the creepiest spots of our area. Again, we stood around Jasmine as she asked us if we have ever commuted via that road. Everyone were quite participative and she asked about our experiences traveling in a dark/shady road. Each one of us had different answers. While, one of the girls in the group was afraid of tall bulky men walking behind her in the evening another boy was afraid of Transgenders following him in the night. Each one of us had our own stories that we are embarrassed about and this walk made us open up about it. Not only were negative experiences shared, every possible utilization of a dark/shady road was discussed.

Jasmine: Have you ever made out under a bridge?

Me: Well, not bridge specifically..

A few my friends raised their hands. Good thing it was dark, no one remembered their faces in the morning in order to tease them to death. The next stop was somewhere in the middle of the main road. We got into a discussion on whether or not CCTV cameras in streets is a good option in order to keep the streets safe. A few of us felt that it was a good initiative as everything is recorded and can be under supervision while a few others thought it was a major invasion of privacy. This particular discussion got me thinking. I used to be someone who used to think that the more the security devices (CCTV cameras, Safety Apps etc) the more the safety. But, with 1,500 police men present in the New years eve in Brigade road, many, many women got molested. A CCTV footage of a group of men grouping a girl on a street went viral on Facebook. But, did that really help change any mentalities around? Do I feel safer to walk after 8PM just because a CCTV is capturing my movement?

The last two stops where in SG Pallaya. (A well known street near Christ University where most of the students stay). One was near a park, the other was near a famous theatre in that area. We got into many interesting discussions and debates. While we gathered in a big circle to listen and respond to Jasmine, we also noticed random strangers in the streets joining behind us to find out what was happening. One of the most interesting discussions included whether or not our safety depends upon the income group of a person, or the ‘class’ they belonged to. Yes, we were after all a group of strangers strolling around the streets together and having discussions, how is it that I felt safer around them, but suddenly felt conscious when a stranger from a lower income group joined the gathering? Are we being stereotypical of people? Are we judgmental with people on streets? Am I being too comfortable with my Facebook-user-Activists group that I’m forgetting to educate everyone in the movement?

While all these questions were shot in the air, all of us kept walking and reached the end of the walk. Quite frankly, we were not only searching our way back, but also the answers to all those questions. I must have walked the same route a million times in 3 years, but this was the most insightful and thought provoking walk I’ve been in. While a few of us were inquisitive as to what can be done next, a whole group of others were confident that changing mentalities is one of the biggest challenges. No, not every problem needs to have a solution right now. I know that CCTV on roads isn’t the answer, I also know that moral policing and staying “back at home” isn’t the answer. I also don’t have an alternative, but sometimes, acknowledging that the principle is wrong is all we need to start a movement and make a change. The Hidden Pockets Team made a difference by creating a thought bubble among us. We need to do something, and we need to start now. Looking forward to more and more #pleasure pockets walks. Here’s to reclaiming the streets, inch-by-inch, street-by street and debunking myths about spaces around us.

Author Profile:

Mira is an ardent left leaning feminist who prefers pizzas over pastas any!

Finding free health services for women: A look at government hospitals in Bengaluru

“How many Government Hospitals are there in Bengaluru? Could you please tell me few names?” I asked a female worker at St Johns Hospital, Bengaluru, who had a big smile on her face and looked approachable. “Umm, Victoria… Vanivilas… Jayadeva… there are a lot of them” she answered. Armed with what I could glean from Google and my limited knowledge of Kannada, I was on a quest: to locate health services for women in government hospitals in the city. Having attempted it before in Delhi as part of a mapping project for Hidden Pockets, which locates services around sexual and reproductive health services. Having done this before in Delhi, we were trying to do the same in Bangalore, to understand what that process was like for women who seek health services and be able to recommend it to women in all situations. But given our rather bleak experiences trying to figure this out in Delhi, my research in Bangalore led to a pleasant surprise.

Bengaluru Urban District is divided into four taluks: Bengaluru North, Bengaluru East, Bengaluru South and Anekal. I went to five government hospitals across the North, East and South taluks. The first hospital I visited was Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, a 2-minute walk from the busy Shivaji Nagar Bus. It is much cleaner than the government hospitals I have seen in Delhi, and guards were very helpful, and able to answer my queries.

“Room No27. Yes, that is where she sits,” one guard told me when I asked where I could find a gynaecologist. “Once you procure an Admit Card for Rs10, you can consult a doctor here” he added. I met a few, all young and helpful doctors, who told me that the facilities are provided for free. The patients also looked happy with the services. Out of curiosity I asked one of the patients who was waiting to meet the doctor outside Room No. 27, how the services were and if it was for free. She told me that the check-ups as well as the medicines were free, one needed only to pay transportation costs. She told me the doctors were helpful. To double check, I also spoke to the chemist at their in-house pharmacy. “All medicines are free, but if it is not present in the main medicine block then we sell those medicines at 50-percent-off rates at the generic medical store under “Jana Sanjivini” scheme. This scheme involves setting up of generic stores in the hospitals of Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education,” he explained.

Content with what I saw, I walked towards Government HSIS Gosha Hospital, which is a 10-minute walk from the Shivaji Nagar Bus stand. Nobody seemed to know about it and most of them referred to it as the Muslim hospital. I could spot it on Google maps, but the navigation didn’t keep up with me and I was lost. An hour later, a cab driver was able to point me in the right direction. The hospital had a big entrance and a big board with its name written on it but as I entered it was difficult to understand where the building was. I couldn’t find the entrance gate. The hospital was under construction and I could only find the Maternity ward, rest of the hospital seemed under construction “Gosha Hospital handles all maternity issues which includes pregnancy, women’s health issues, Paediatrics, abortion etc. Rest all cases go to Bowring Hospital which is 15 minutes walk away from here”, a helpful staff told me. Gosha Hospital also follows the same procedure, one needs to get an admit card costing Rs. 5. All the treatment as well as the medicines are free. I could see the admitted ladies were talking evening strolls at the hospital veranda.  I was amazed by the cleanliness of the hospital and the smiling faces of the admitted patients made the hospital look more friendly. This hospital had more of the Muslim crowd. I tried meeting the head of the hospital for more information about MTP but I was denied and was told to get my employee ID card for any information. But the helpful staff was very polite and told me one can come during morning for MTP.

The next hospital in the list was the Victoria Hospital which is located close to the City Market, Fort Road. It was very easy to locate Victoria Hospital since it is one of the biggest government hospitals in Bengaluru. While searching for the maternity ward at Victoria, I found Vanivilas. It is a huge building which has all the services required in a maternity ward. I got to know that the maternity ward is called ‘Vanivilas’ and to meet the gynaecologist one needs to go to Room No. 29. “Patient needs to get an admit card costing Rs.10 and then can consult the doctor. All services are free here,” said one of the female nurses who directed me to Room No. 29. Vanivilas takes care of all the issues related to pregnancy, women’s health issues, paediatrics and abortion. At Room No. 16 one can get free tablets. It follows the “Jana Sanjivini” scheme i.e. all medicines are free, but if it is not present in the main medicine block then medicines are sold at 50-percent-off rates at the generic medical store.

One-Stop Centres

In my mapping study, I was also looking for one stop crisis centres (which we’ve explored previously in The Ladies Finger) in Bengaluru. These centres are intended to support women affected by violence, and to cater to the immediate medical, legal and psychological needs of the survivors of violence. In 2015, the Ministry of Women & Child Development proposed to set up 36 centres across the country with an outlay of Rs 18 crore under the Nirbhaya Fund. In the first phase there should have been one centre per State/UT.

When I enquired about it at Vanivilas, I was instantly told there was one at Bowring Hospital. I did go back, and found the Women Special Ward there called “Mahila Gataka” and found that it works exactly the same as the one stop crisis centres proposed by the Central Government. A unit was devoted to support women affected by violence. The unit had proper check-up rooms, a room for admitting the patient if required. There was provision for a counsellor, a policeman, legal assistance, a person from NGO. The unit was clean and was properly maintained. A staff from the hospital who was probably a nurse, was in charge of the unit. The staff was very friendly and approachable. She took me around and showed me the entire unit. The centre seems to operate on funds from the Karnataka state government; as The Hindu reports, the state has not claimed compensation under the Nirbhaya Fund. Considering I didn’t find a one-stop centre in Delhi, I never expected to find one in Bengaluru and was pleased to be proved wrong by Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital.

The last hospital I visited was KC General Hospital in Malleswaram. It was easy to find this hospital. Most of the auto guys knew about it. “You can meet the gynaecologist in A Block,” the guard told me. As I stepped inside the A Block and the first thing I noticed was ‘Mahila Gataka’. I was highly impressed. The person in charge showed me the unit. It was exactly similar to the one in Bowring Hospital. There was provision for a counsellor, a policeman, legal assistance and a person from NGO. The unit was smaller than the unit in Bowring Hospital. The doctors were approachable. It was lovely to see how even the hospital guards knew about the unit and how they were ready to guide us whenever we asked. KC General also offers free medical assistance to its patients. In all the Government hospitals, we went, maximum cost incurred was Rs. 10 (admit card).

The whole mapping around Government Hospitals in Bengaluru made me realise that public hospitals in Bengaluru are approachable. The staff is friendly and helpful. The guards were aware about the Women Special Wards (Similar to One Stop crisis centre). I would say that the government hospitals in Bengaluru are doing a good job. Common wo/man should try out the services provided by the Public Health Care. The consultation is completely free and the services are pretty fine.

Practitioners Experience:

The experience I shared above is as an end user. Had I missed out on the experiences by the on-field practitioners who have actually worked with these government health services providers, this article would have been in complete. One of the practitioner felt that these health providers are good but can do a lot better. Patients tend to offer extra payment to doctors, which has also become a forced practise now. The patients should try to understand that government hospital services are all free and by paying the doctors extra they are creating an extra burden for those who actually can’t pay.

Author Profile:

Aisha Lovely George, a researcher and podcaster at Hidden Pockets. Folllow her at @aishalgeorge on Instagram.

We would love to thank The Ladies Finger for helping us think through the piece and helping us curate a better experience.

 

How safe is SG Palya in Bangalore for women?

With Gender Equality at No.5 in UN’s list for things to improve, India starts the year with women safety as a widely discussed subject in all directions. Considered to be one of the safest spaces until now, has Bengaluru started drawing parallels with Delhi?

In light of the recent incident in Bangalore on New Year’s eve, it becomes pertinent to explore and understand different areas with high concentration of female population. Suddagunte Palya or S.G.Palya located in South of Bangalore is a home to thousands of girls who come from the different parts of the country for education and jobs. ‘None of the city, be it Bengaluru or any place in India is safe enough for a girl to walk freely during night hours and be absolutely safe,’ says a Social Work student from Christ University who resides in SG Palya for the last two years. That said, another management student from Christ University who also lives in a PG in the area disagrees. ‘No, I don’t think so, there have been many days in my life when I had a late night walks and have roamed around on bikes.’ The recent incident that happened on New Year’s night, has indeed changed the existing notions about places and pleasures but that will not stop the new force, who are coming out much prepared for these challenges.

The uniqueness of SG Palya is its dynamics and ethnicity. ‘The area used to be a barren land earlier with very few people residing.’ Tells a local resident who runs their old condiment shop near Christ School. As the population grew things changed and those who had small land or a property turned it into four storey buildings occupied mostly by the students and job employees.

My parents have always told me to not travel alone after evening time because of the mixed population in the area.’ says Akansha, a local resident who works in a MNC. But she also adds ‘I usually come back late from my office and I just try not to go out alone after the initial dark hours, otherwise I have always found this place happening and full of life.’ She believes that women have to travel daily because of their work and they can’t quit going out and traveling by local transport simply because these cases are happening and suggests that this area has lot of things to do. Women’s accommodation in the area is usually expensive than men’s and differs based on the facilities and location. A two or three sharing is more feasible than a single sharing. There are enough medical and healthcare centres in the area, which are function throughout the day although it was hard to find any government woman help center in the area.

Photo credit: Ashish Kumar

Equipped with both north-Indian and south Indian delicacies from Shawarma counters to happy meals all over the place, the area has several dining options including cafes like Mécaf Multicuisine and Eat n DrinkChristites adda is the new Malabar Café, which is always serving tea and fries to students’ crowd. The best of thing about this area is that there are three single screen theatres, Srinivasa, Laxmi and Balaji theatres. When asked, many girls say that they don’t prefer going to these theatres because they don’t seem women-friendly. Comparing the prices with luxurious PVR cinemas in Forum, these theaters offer much cheaper viewing but appealing only to the male audiences.

Tavarekere Park is another fun spot in the area. It has a running track for walkers and runners. Women prefer going to this park during early morning and evening time. According to the locals, the park needs maintenance and stop the miscreants from polluting the tranquillity of the area. They also say that there have been few cases of theft and assault but the effort has been put in to prevent such incidents. Most of the parts of the park is under surveillance and along these lines to find some personal space would be not so easy. But places like Soho St., Little Italy, Malabar Bay and Forum mall are always there to have a good time.

Photo credit: Ashish Kumar

‘This city is considered to be one of the most advanced, in terms of education and work culture but it’s not about just education. It’s all about the attitude towards women and it is about time that we bring back the chivalry culture,’ says an employee from one of the famous cafes in the area, when asked if the recent incident would affect their establishment. This small pocket in south of Bangalore has motivated to maintain positivity in the hearts and minds of all gender and the recent events will only help in empowering women to fight against the growing menace and live out loud without any fear.  ‘Modernisation is not just of spaces but also of thoughts.

Author profile:

Ashish Kumar is a Media and Communications post-graduate from Christ University, Bangalore. He is a freelance writer and is passionate about films, politics, and new age journalism. Previously, he has worked with Jagran Prakashan Ltd, NetworkingEye.com, Web Cyonix, and interned with Hindustan Times, Patna. His sources of inspiration are writers Charles Bukowski and Eric Hobsbawm.

Women Health Wards, Bengaluru

Hidden-Pockets team went looking for Abortion Clinics in some of the government hospitals in Bangalore. Here are 5 of them that we found and were actually good services.

Please do find the nearest metro lines for easy accessibility.


Listing of Hospitals:

a) Haji Sir Ismail Sait Gosha Hospital

b) Room no. 27, Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital

c) Room no. 29 –  Victoria Hospital

d) Vani Vilas Hospital.

e) A block, K.C General Hospital