Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Did the British Give India Political Unity? (By Shashi Tharoor) - 1

From book "An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India" by Shashi Tharoor

Part one

The British like to point out, in moments of self-justifying exculpation, that they deserve credit for the political unity of India - that very idea of 'India' as one entity (now three, but one during the British Raj) instead of multiple warring principalities and statelets, is the unchallengeable contribution of British imperial rule.

It is difficult to refute that proposition except with a provable hypothesis: that throughout the history of subcontinent, there has existed an impulsion for unity. This was manifest in the several kingdoms throughout India history that sought to extend their reach across all of the subcontinent: the Maurya (322 BCE - 185 BCE), Gupta (at its peak, 320 - 550 CE), and Mughal (1526 - 1827 CE) empires, and to a lesser extent, the Vijayanagara kingdom in the Deccan (at its peak 1136 - 1565 CE) and the Maratha confederacy (1674 - 1818 CE). Every period of disorder throughout Indian history has been followed by a centralizing impulse, and had the British not been the first to take advantage of India's disorder with superior weaponry, it is entirely possible that an Indian ruler would have accomplished what the British did, and consolidated his rule over most of the subcontinent.

The same impulse is also manifest in Indians' vision of their own nation, as in the ancient epics the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, which reflect an 'idea of India' that twentieth century nationalists would have recognized. The epics have acted as strong, yet sophisticated, threads of Indian culture that have woven together tribes, languages, and people across the subcontinent, uniting them in their celebration of the same larger-than-life heroes and heroines, whose stories were told in dozens of translations and variations, but always in the same spirit and meaning. The landscape, for instance, as their travels throughout it demonstrated, and through their tale, Indians speaking hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects in all the places names in the epic, enjoyed a civilizational unity. Lord Rama's journey through India and his epic battle against the demon-king of Lanka reflect the same national idea.

After all, India has enjoyed cultural and geographical unity throughout the ages, going back at least to Emperor Ashoka in the third century BCE. The vision of Indian unity was physically embodies by the Hindu sage Adi Shankara, who travelled from Kerala in the extreme south to Kashmir in the extreme north and from Dwarka in the west to Puri in the east, as far back as the seventh century after Christ, establishing temples in each of these places that endure to this day. Diana Eck's writings on India's 'sacred geography' extensively delineate ancient idea of a political unity mediated through ideas of sacredness. As Eck explains: 'Considering its long history, India has had but a few hours of political and administrative unity. Its unity as a nation, however, has been firmly constituted by the sacred geography it has held in common and revered: its mountains, forests, rivers, hilltop shrines... linked with the tracks of pilgrimage.;

Nor was this oneness a purely 'Hindu' idea. The rest of the world saw India as one: Arabs, for instance, regarded the entire continent as 'al-Hind' and all Indians as 'Hindi', whether they hailed from Punjab, Bengal or Kerala. The great nationalist Maulana Azad once remarked upon how, at the Haj, all Indians were considered to be from one land, and regarded themselves as such. Surely such impulses, fulfilled in those distant times by emperors and sages, would with modern transport, communications and far-sighted leaders, have translated themselves into political unity?

Starting from these incontrovertible facts, it is possible to construct an alternative scenario to British colonialism in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with the Marathas extending their conquests across the country, while finding it politically convenient to mast their power under a titular Mughal emperor, a process that had already begun. Though the Marathas would have ruled the country under the nominal overlordship of a weak Mughal monarch (as the British themselves were briefly to do), this would have led to an inevitable transition to constitutional rule, just as England transitioned (with the seventeenth -century Glorious Revolution and the subsequent strengthening of the House of Commons) from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. This could have happened in India just as it did in several other countries in the non-colonized world, across Europe and in the handful of Asian countries that were not colonized notably China, Japan and Thailand. The process would not have been painless; there may well have been revolutions and military struggles; there would have been disruption and conflict; but India's resources would have stayed in India and its future would have been resolved by its own people. The onset of British colonialism interrupted this natural evolution and did not allow it to flower. But to suggest that Indian political unity would not have happened without the British is absurd and unsupported by the evidence.

Counterfactuals are, of course, impossible to prove. One cannot assert, for instance, with any degree of certitude, events that did not in fact occur, nor name that centralizing figure who might have been India's Bismarck, Mazzini, Ataturk or Garibaldi in the absence of the British. But historical events find their own dramatics personae, and it is unreasonable to suggest that what happened everywhere else would not have happened in India. From such an initially hybrid system could have emerged a modern constitutional monarchy and political institutions built upon the Mughal administrative system, as modified by the Marathas. But these are hypotheticals. The British came, and no such non-colonial India emerged.

Counterfactuals are theoretical but facts are what they are, The facts point clearly to the dismantling of existing political institutions in India by the British, the fomenting of communal division and systematic political discrimination with a view to maintaining and extending British domination.

When the British eventually left in 1947, they left India as a functioning democracy, and many Britons would take credit for having instilled in their Indian subjects the spirit of democracy and the rule of law, even if Indians were denied its substance by the British. This claim is worth examining closely.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Be aware of Indian e-tourist visa online application fraud

The wedding season in India (Nov and Dec 2017) and lunar new year in China (Feb 2018) is approaching, therefore we started planning the massive yearly travel out of California to India and China.

As an international family that father holds Indian passport, mother holds Chinese passport, two kids hold American passport, we have 8, 9 visas and travel documents to apply, so all four of us can enter each other's home country together. You do the maths! 

India has launched e-tourist visa on arrival 3 years back. You can fill out the forms online, pay online, after 3 days the visa will be sent out to your email. It's been a big convenience so far. But this time when I was applying for the e-visa, I fell in the trap of online fraud, let out all of the valuable identity information to fraud companies and almost lost hundreds of dollars.

Through the fake sites, I filled out all the information and paid 140 dollars as American applicant and 130 dollars as Chinese applicant. Luckily our credit card has fraud insurance, they refunded me for the lost and issued new card. As far as I know, if it was a Chinese credit card, the money will be gone forever.

Hours after I posted my story, dozen of my Chinese readers replied that they also almost fell into the trap, until they saw it charges 130 dollars (for Chinese citizen it's usually around 40 dollars), they dropped the application. But for American citizens, it does cost around 120 dollars for Indian e-tourist visa, that's why when I was paying to the fake site for 140 dollars, it didn't ring a bell.

I am using screenshot to show you how it happened, and please be aware when you are applying.

When searching "Indian visa online application", Google showed me four "ad" websites as the top result, all four of them are fake and frauds. 
Here is what they look like, all of them look official, and most of them also write "official" in preview. If people are not familiar with the trick of Google Adwords, if people can't recite the exact address of authentic site, how would they be able to identify the dozens of fake ones from the only and one authentic one? 

This is what the real official site looks like

As I was sending emails for enquiry, (I searched within my own email account because I applied before, so the enquiry email address is authentic), the Indian embassy personal replied:"All other website for the e-visa is fake." I am just wondering if they all know the truth, why there was no action against such obvious scandal? 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Ten Years

I still remember 14 years ago when we first came to the marvelous campus of Xiamen University, everybody was the top of the top from their high school/city, but as humble and adorable as an innocent teenager could be.

We share, we love, we light up the sky with our youth. We respect each other, learn from one another.

There were so many nights we played guitar and counted the stars on the blissful Amoy beach. So many times we cried over other shoulders.

Together, we grew up and grew strong.

I flew away from China that August after graduation and never went back. It looked like all these years I have walked my own path.

But deep down, I carried them with me, wherever I went.

They were me. I am them.

Thanks to them, I have not yet given up my dreams. Thanks to them, I have learned the most important thing in life: accept yourself and be happy.

It's unfortunate that I have to miss the tenth-year reunion. And I am already looking forward to meeting them, meeting my youth again at the next reunion.

See you all in ten more years.

June 2007, I was graduating from XMU Finance

June 2017, ten years reunion after graduation
But I had to miss it because my babies are too young and we live too far

Tuesday, February 21, 2017















Thursday, February 9, 2017

To Shiva and Aditi - Letter From Mommy3

My beautiful children Shiva and Aditi,

Mama wants to keep a tradition of writing a letter to you every year on your birthdays, September of 2016 has long passed but I had never really got time to settle down to write. Now Gong-gong and Popo are here to help Mama, I am starting to have some time to myself.

My dear son, Mama sees that a fabulous human being is emerging from you. You have a really kind heart with a tender nature. There is so much peace in you (yes, you are a peaceful boy, even though you are like a tornado, jumping and running nonstop, leaving chaos behind you wherever you go). I have never seen you pushing anybody or taking toys away from other kids. I have never seen you being mean to anyone. If you are pushed or toys in your hand taken away, rarely you would react to it. You keep calm and move on to other available fun things to do, no fuss no mourning. However the mommies here are very nice and they protect you from their own naughty kids.

You are very conscious about sharing. Most of the time even when you are fascinated with what you are playing with, if I ask you to share, you don't mind at all. It feels like sharing indeed gives you pleasure, if not more, at least equal to the excitement toys give you. Mama is feeling very blessed, because you will understand one day, sharing and caring with an open heart brings only happiness.

It took you a few days to adjust to the arrival of your little sister. At first you were a little shocked and sad that Mama was fully occupied by this tiny crying alien. Luckily Papa, Gong-gong and Popo were on the mission to give you all the love and attention Mama couldn't give at that moment. You transitioned very well. In a really short period of time, you fell in love with your little sister like all of us, don't mind that you have to share Mama and Papa with her.

Now every morning when you wake up, you quietly come to Mama's bedroom, climb onto my bed, find your sister there, kiss her forehead and loudly chant "Bonjour" and "Hola" to her. And she laughs so hard as if she has been waiting for this moment all night long. The favorite thing for your sister to do is to watch you do silly things and laugh. Like when you are performing break dance, singing Chinese songs, patting balloons, jumping around or simply eating your dinner. She enjoys the most and laughs the hardest with you. You are also Mama's great help, you help bathe your sister, place blanket on her, rock her chair, put toys in her hands and you never mind sharing your toys with her.

Before the birth of your sister Mama thought that your coming back to this circle of life might be because of Mama or Papa. Now I am very certain that you and your sister were seeking each other. The connections you two had in your previous lives was unbreakable. Mama is feeling very lucky that I am your rendezvous.

I want you to respect each other. Respect and cherish the similarities, more importantly, the differences. You two are very lucky to share a space formed with both Ying and Yang. And from an early age to understand that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites. This way of living would be very beneficial to you, because you would have a better understanding of the other half of the human population.

I want you two to always love and support each other, take care of each other throughout your life time. The reason that Mama and Papa want to have two kids is because single child could face loneliness. While the most common age differences among siblings are three years and up, we decided to have a two-year gap because we want you two to be in the same age group and develop intimate relationship. You and your sister will surely learn together, grow together, and enjoy the adventurous life journey together. Cherish this siblinghood.

My dear daughter, welcome to this wonderful world! Thank you for choosing me to be your mother, trusting me to nurture you, protect you and bring you up. I am feeling truly blessed. You are such a sweet and tender little human being. Every morning you wake up having a big smile on your face and make happy cooings. Whenever I smile at you, you smile back. You are always ready to give a good laugh to Mama's amusing facial expressions, Papa's comic sounds and brother's funny movements.

Actually when Mama was pregnant with you, I was overjoyed that you were going to be a girl, however I had no idea how it felt like to have a daughter. I have never heard about sayings such as "daughter brings mother glory", "your daughter will grow up to protect you", they are only associated with sons. While I was growing up, in the neighborhood I only witnessed baby girls being aborted or abandoned, or discussions about the abortion or abandoning of baby girls. I only heard about the sex techniques, the food to avert or to consume a ton if you want to conceive boys. I only knew families that kept having four, five daughters until they met a son, no other way round. Expressions like "girls are stupid", "women are useless" are commonly used. "Is it such an inglorious thing, having daughters?" Imagine that this was an actual question circling in my head sometimes, before I had you.

On the day when I was holding you in my arms for the first time, in the morning ray of a California sunny day, my beautiful princess, I finally saw you. You have practiced Kung-fu inside my belly for 40 weeks, my little Kung-fu Master. You are as precious as any baby to their mother. I saw your rosy cheeks and tiny nose, your frowning eyebrows and alert eyes. My thumb felt the strong grip from your fingers. Your hungry lips were searching everywhere to find Mama's nipples to latch on. I just knew that you were my baby who I would kiss a zillion times, tickle a billion times, who I would die a million times for, who I would love to the moon and back. I didn't need to turn you upside down and check if you had a penis, so to determine the way to treat you. And I feel deeply disturbed by the society that shames the mother so much so to cause her to lose the motherly nature of loving her own child.

Your eyes are big and shiny, every time I see your face, they remind me of the beautiful snake I saw in my dream. It was May 20th 2016, Mama was exactly 24 weeks pregnant with you. I had this magnificent and vivid dream that I think was about you. Something terrible had been happening in the forest, there was a snake gang made of ruthless and gigantic snakes, they killed each every innocent living. There was screaming and fear everywhere in the forest. In the dream Mama was a human being, hiding here and there in the forest. Although I was shocked and scared, I was brave enough to keep moving. Because I was carrying a mission. There was a suitcase I was protecting. Eventually I found an empty house in a safe place, stayed in there for weeks, with windows and lights shut in the night.

Weeks maybe months later, the owners of the house returned. They were two men with European accent. At the moment they found about me, I asked them not to be angry but quietly follow me to the room I had been staying. I had something to show them. They entered the room with me. I took out a box, opened it deliberately. A little snake was lying in there, slim and vigorous, red flowery patterns on dark shinning skin. Her eyes were big and shiny. Her face expression was soft and benevolent. She was a little female snake. At the sight of the snake, both of the men were frozen, as if they were struck by lightning. "She is THE one." "Yes, she is the one... wow, she is so beautiful..." They murmured in ecstasy. Yes, this girl snake was my mission, more valuable than my own life. I didn't remember where I got the suitcase that held the egg. I just knew I had to find a place to hatch the egg, protect the baby snake and bring it up. Because this baby girl snake was the one who was going to change everything, who would defeat the snake gang and bring peace and prosperity back to the forest. And everybody recognized this fact at the sight of her, even when she was just a few days old.

In the East, deciphering dreams during pregnancy is a very important part of the culture. Only two or three days after the possible conception date of your brother Shiva, I had a significant dream. It told me I was pregnant with a boy, he was Shiva. Two weeks later, pregnancy test showed me I was pregnant. Five months later, ultrasound result confirmed it was indeed a boy. While I was pregnant with you, Mama had waited patiently for the dream in which I get to see you.

My beautiful daughter, I have no doubt that that little powerful dark snake was you. The forest could be a nation, so you are its president. The forest could be a movement, so you are the leader. The forest could be a company, so you are the one to save it. The forest maybe just represent the hardship of life, so you stay strong and rescue yourself. That little snake was your inner strength. All you need is the freedom to dream. You need the freedom to consider different possibilities and the freedom to follow your heart. Mama will always tell you "Yes, you will be the first/second female president of our country if you want to." "Yes, you will be a respectful supreme court judge if you work hard." "Yes, you will win the world championship if you never give up." Maybe you are the Murphy Cooper in movie "Interstellar", who knows!

At times there might be people implying "Girls shouldn't be so naughty." They might ask "Why she keeps playing with those test tubes like a boy?" They might suggest "Your daughter should focus on something more girly." But how can they know you better than Mama? I am going to quietly turn away and keep granting you the freedom to believe in yourself. I think this is what every mother should do to their daughters.

My sweet son and daughter, your skin complexion is so perfectly brown, I am truly proud of it. It tells the story of Mama and Papa, the story of your origin, your identity. You should be proud of it too. However recently some voices emerged, telling you to be ashamed, telling you that you are not welcomed. In the year of 2008, Mama and Papa first came to this land, it accepted us as one of its own. It showed us the true meaning of diversity, freedom and equality. We fell in love with it. Soon enough we started to consider this land as our own and we fight to keep the values it holds. The unkind voices are a threat to these values.

Yes sometimes the world seems like it's getting darker. But we are at the most peaceful time of the history, at the most diverse and inclusive place one could imagine. Embrace this fact and be grateful. In human history, two steps forward usually followed by one step backward. The most important thing is we should believe in our ability to push it forward, to clench our fists and give a good fight. Nothing worthy comes without a fight. To prepare for it, be tolerant, be kind. More importantly, be positive and optimistic. When they go low, you hold up high. When the darkness is crawling in, you be the light and lighten up the way.

I love you for always
Feb 9th 2017

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Please Help to Save Lives in Narumu Village, Tanzania

I have been working on this nonprofit project for a while now, finally everything is put together and I can introduce it to my friends and ask you all to help.

This is a very specific nonprofit, it aims to help the pregnant mothers in a remote village from Tanzania. The name of the village is Narumu, it's on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. The village has more than 226,000 residents, averagely 23 newborns everyday, but zero health care for women and newborns, there is not even one clinic equipped enough to deliver babies. Women and babies often die from simple infection occurred during birth. If there is unforeseen complication, there is not enough time to reach the hospital 50 miles away because no road and no transportation.

When I gave birth to Shiva at Alta Bates hospital in 2014, I stayed there a few days for recovery, that was when I met Dorothy Mboya, the woman from the village of Narumu, who desperately wants to help her people back in Tanzania. Dorothy was a nurse for postpartum at Alta Bates, she was telling everyone about her initiative and trying to get help. While checking my temperature and giving me painkillers, I also got to know her story.

It is not easy for a woman like her to start up a nonprofit organization. Believe it or not, there was no lack of people who tried to take advantage of her. To file the company registration documents, she paid 3000 dollars to someone who barely helped. A friend of a co-worker promised to open an Etsy account for the handcrafts made by women in Narumu, but ran away with the whole suitcase of precious handmade jewelries worth of 2000 dollars. However Dorothy wasn't put down and she did not stop trying.

To stick with a nonprofit at its very early stage, it requires a lot of commitment, also money out of own pocket. People come and go, progress was extremely slow. I was willing to contribute but limited by my experience. I remember we sent out bunch of emails to professors in Berkeley and Stanford in related fields, seeking advices and help. Most of them didn't reply, some of the replies were heartbroken. Luckily one professor replied to Sabrina, who is my best friend and a PhD student in Stanford, and he was willing to meet us. I had newly acquired the skill of driving around that time, and was still scared of driving on highways, but there was no other options, we had to go. Dorothy was watching the road and map for me, only a few months old Shiva was crying his heart out in the back seat, my hands were sweaty, my head was exploding. There were many trucks over passed us and horned us. Fortunately we made it to Stanford and back safely, it was also a very fruitful meeting with the professor.

The video I made of Dorothy telling her story. We recorded the video in Live Oak Park with my cellphone. Shiva was wrapped up on me so I had two hands to hold the cellphone. You can even hear Shiva cooing during the recording. 

After all this time, only Sabrina and I stayed and are still trying. We are still not sure about how to host the fundraising events, but at least all the information is put up together and that is sufficient to start with. We are raising money to build a Labor and Delivery Center for the 226,000 and more people in Narumu. You may not believe, but living cost in such areas is actually very high, because everything is imported. Therefore we break the project into four phases, for now we are acquiring $80,000 to make a very simple L&D center, only a few rooms with very basic equipment, so to give women a clean place to deliver babies, save their lives from infections. We are also raising money for preparing maternity bags to give to mother-to-be, the bag includes at least 3 months supply of prenatal vitamins, thermometer, bulb syringe, clothes diapers etc such basic postpartum care products. The cost of each bag is around $60.

If you want to know more details, please check our website

The name of the organization is Tujenge Maisha, which means "Let's build lives". It is IRS registered. 

What can you do to help?

-- Share our stories and help rise awareness

-- Donate through Paypal  
    click here  or  send directly to

-- Donate used baby stuff - receiving blankets, clothes diapers, baby clothes, small toys etc (please contact me or Sabrina directly)

-- Contact us with advices or connection

-- Join us with your compassion and expertise 

Watch more videos about Narumu and Tujenge Maisha initiative

Thursday, April 28, 2016

First letter to my daughter Aditi

My dear Aditi,

How are you, my little Kung Fu master? You have been in Mama's belly for more than 20 weeks now, we are half way there to meet you. Where should I start? I have so much to tell you.

After we got to know you were a girl, your Papa and Fua Lipi picked the name for you. We wanted a powerful goddess name, because we didn't want your name to be any less than Shiva, your brother's. Thus here it is, the female Hindu goddess Aditi. According to Rig Veda, the oldest book in the world, "Aditi is Mother of the Universe, the Primal Being. Aditi is all the Heaven, Aditi is the space, Aditi is Mother, Father and Children. Aditi is all the Gods and Goddesses, Aditi is the five bases of creation. Aditi is all that has been and all that will take birth."(Rig Veda 1.89.10) Aditi is the one who creates each every living in the planet. One uncle joked on your Papa "Shiva is on the job of destruction, Aditi on the job of creation, what a match of siblings, no wonder your work specialized on strategy!"

We didn't get to know your gender on the scheduled 20th week ultrasound, we were informed 10 days earlier, due to an advanced DNA test. The DNA test is called Cell-free fetal DNA test, it estimates the risk of about 6 genetic mutations, base on baby's DNA, which is circulating freely in mother's blood stream. Because it directly investigates the fetal DNA, test accuracy is as high as 99%. The reason we did this test was because my 2nd trimester California screening (a mother's blood test on 16th week) for Down Syndrome showed a risk not that high, but higher than my age group (1/470). The fetal DNA test is a follow up option and non-invasive, when our doctor suggested it, we immediately took it. Before the DNA test was first available in 2013, if California screening showed a Down Syndrome high risk, which is bigger than 1/250 for women under 35 years old, mothers were usually recommended to do an invasive diagnostic test, to find out for sure. During the invasive test, a needle would be inserted into mother's womb to fetch some amniotic fluid which contains fetal DNA. This kind of tests cause a risk of miscarriage on later pregnancy (1/100) due to infection.

With a risk like 1/470 (1 out of 470 mothers with the same blood condition) for having a Down Syndrome baby, we would definitely be hesitant to take an invasive test to find out more, because there is a chance for losing the baby later on. Could I possibly be the one in the pool of almost 500 mothers? You never know until the baby is born. That is some serious fear to carry through an already tough pregnancy. Now the new fetal DNA test is available, it only requires 2 tubes of blood from mother, sufficient fetal DNA could be separated for investigation, the test result tells as much as the invasive test could tell. In our case, your DNA shows low risk, less than 1/10,000 for all genetic mutations tested, thus we are freed from the worrying of Down Syndrome. Our DNA test was conducted by a company based in silicon valley, it is a start-up genetic testing company, the Cell-free fetal DNA test was first provided by this company from beginning of 2013. Because the lab is so close by to where we live, from blood draw to getting result, it only took less than 4 working days. How lucky we are today due to the advanced genetic technologies.

But my dear Aditi you have to remember, we live in the most privileged place, we are among the most privileged communities. Our fetal DNA test costed $7999 without insurance, Mama and Papa paid $66 out of own pocket. California is the state that most of such genetic testing companies reside, and up to 2015 there were only 4 companies up and competing. You know how much Mama wishes that within a short period of time, genetic technology will advance much more, more labs from the globe will join the competition. New methods coming up, raw costs going down, tests will be made available and affordable to most mothers and fathers in desperate need. 

The ironic fact is, when we are sitting here talking about advanced genetic technologies, to a vast amount of mothers in this world, basic prenatal care such as regular checkups, ultrasound and vitamins; basic clean delivery materials such as gloves, suction bulbs, clean scissors; basic hospital facilities such as professional medical staff, delivering tables, lights and electricity are not accessible. As a result, infant mortality as well as maternity death rate are extremely high, life and death is still a everyday struggle. While we, who are embraced by all kinds of high-end technologies, have never for a second worried about losing the baby or mother before, during or after birth. Mama wants you to always have this in mind, and start to volunteer from a very young age.

Around two years ago, when I was 12 week pregnant with your brother Shiva, we did a 1st trimester California screening ultrasound to estimate the risk of Down Syndrome. We had the result right after ultrasound, it was extremely low, 1/10,000. When Mama and Papa were leaving the institute with relief, two medical staff stopped us, asking if we could help them. We agreed and followed them into a room. They explained that their company was a genetic testing company, they were currently conducting a research on mother's blood, hopefully in the future with a small amount of mother's blood, they could separate baby's DNA and obtain information of baby's health. Which means mothers would never anymore need to go through invasive tests that could lead to miscarriage. Why did they need me was because I was assessed negative on Down Syndrome and with an extremely low risk, also I was on my 1st trimester, my blood was valuable for their research. However the donation would be made anonymous and we were not able to view any result. Without hesitation, I was glad to help. They began to draw my blood, one tube, two tubes, three tubes...without telling us in advance how much of my blood they needed, in total of seven tubes were drawn from my right arm. Luckily I didn't faint. Less than two days later, my arm started to show severe bruise, the whole right arm was covered in dark black and purple, it lasted for more than three weeks before the bruise finally disappeared. Nobody remembered this incident until recently. Who could have imagined after two years, what I exactly needed was the availability of this genetic test, and I became a beneficiary from a contributor. Help and contribute will bring back good to you, much more than that, it will make you happy and worthy. Mama wishes you a happy life by giving.

Although it was only a short period of time we were worried, for Mama it was a scary ride. "Down Syndrome" had suddenly became a horror word for me, every time I saw it, my heart stopped a little. After reading about it for half an hour, your Papa already calmed down: "Most of such tests show a false positive, 1/470 is a very low risk anyways." However Mama started to put herself through some emotional trauma: "What if I am carrying a Down Syndrome baby? Should I keep her anyways?" "It is already more than 17 weeks, I started to feel her strong kicks from as early as 16th week, how can I ever let my own child killed?" "But if I keep her, can all of us take this burden? Can Shiva take it? What is the best for him?" "What if I want to make the cruel decision? Most probably I will change my mind at the last minute lying on the operating table." "I think I will keep the baby no matter what. I will protect her from all the discriminations." I cried like I was already holding my Down Syndrome baby. You know I would trade everything I have for your health, I would suffer a great deal myself to exchange for your well-being. Money, fame and fortune, all of that is ultimately weightless and meaningless, as long as you are healthy and happy.   

"What will you do?" I asked your Papa. " You need to calm down. I don't want to discuss about it this early, it's like worrying a plane falling on our head. You need to have faith." He answered, "No matter what your decision is, I will support you with all my heart." "You need to have faith." Papa said. Your Papa always has strong faith, and it has helped us through a lot of ups and downs.

When I received the DNA test result by email, I called your Papa immediately, I was shouting on the phone, "She is fine! She is fine! And she is a girl!!!" Papa and I both cried, we were overjoyed by the news of your health, as well as your gender. Yes, you are a girl, a girl that your Papa always wanted. Not all girls in this world are wanted by their Papas, you are indeed born a lucky one. During our 20th week ultrasound, Mama was lying on the table watching you from the screen, you are such an active little girl, you were moving, flipping, stretching and kicking nonstop like a true Kung Fu master. For a moment there I couldn't stop myself thinking how lucky you are. "A boy or a girl?" To a surprisingly large amount of parents, that is the only thing they ever care about for pregnancy. Although the gender is fixed at the moment of conception, it takes 20 weeks for a fetus to fully form his/her sex organ. Which means even around 18th to 19th week, a boy or a girl's sex organ could look exactly the same in ultrasound image, same size same shape, some girls' even bigger than boys'. To tell for sure it's a boy or a girl, one has to wait for at least 20 weeks. 20 weeks of developing, it's a little human being already, all of her organs are in shape, some of them already functioning. After 4 more weeks she would survive outside mother's womb under medical help. She has been hearing her environment for a month now, she would suck her fingers for fun, swallow amniotic fluid for practice. Maybe she already knows how to smile when you talk to her through mother's tummy. But a lot of healthy girls wouldn't survive after coming this far, their Papas and Mamas decide to kill them, just because they are girls, not boys. Looking at how lively you are from the screen, Mama can't stop thinking about the girls that were killed and being killed, and Mama can't help crying.

Yes my little girl, you will surely find out one day, the world you are going to be born into, it's not a perfect place for girls. It is not now, it has never been, and we can only hope for a better future. Till very recently, the world's most famous scientists, explorers, historians, artists, musicians, philosophers, rulers and leaders are 99.99% men, the world was only run by men. Men are still ruling the world no doubt, but after years of years feminist movements, in some parts of the world, women started to participate in roles such as making the rules. However if you look at the population, majority women in the world still have nothing to do with making rules but only to obey. Most of the time women are kept doing what "they do best", giving birth and taking care of offsprings and whole family, and by the end of the day, this turns out to bring them less and less respect. Being a girl, there is much more danger awaits, sexual assault and harassment, gender inequality and discrimination. Even a woman grows up unharmed physically and mentally, most probably she will be put down many times by men's ego later on in her life. Meanwhile, majority of men still couldn't bear to hear the word "feminist", which just means a normal person who thinks women deserve a better environment and they deserve equality, and there is so much to do for them.   

Mama is not suggesting giving birth to your brother and you makes me sad. In fact it is the most beautiful thing ever happened to Mama, I am grateful for each every second I am able to spend with you. Giving birth and taking care of your brother gave me a feeling of being complete. Now you, my dear daughter, we are going to have so much adventure together. I believe by looking into your eyes, Mama is able to find out the little girl in myself, by watching you grow, Mama is going to reflect myself and find out answers about life. I have always been a pessimist when it comes to the selfish and greedy nature of humans. Until one day when I was with your brother that I realized, a mother can never be selfish towards her babies. Selfless love and sacrifice, Mama believes that is the key for human race to survive. Now you see, women is such a powerful gender, mothers and daughters, even the whole world is letting them down, they can still generate endless love, to cure the world.

My dear creator Aditi, Mama wishes you grow into a powerful woman, powerful in a way that you are full of self respect and confidence. So powerful that you might get hurt sometimes, but you can always choose to forgive and choose to love like you were never hurt. The world awaits you to bring changes, and my Aditi, you are the change and you will make it a better place for everyone.