Sunday, September 8, 2013

All Talk !

Not so long ago, I had written a post about how a couple of girls in the North East were molested by a group of men, and how it was unceremoniously captured on camera.  It was the biggest media coupe at that time, with almost every other "literal" (mark my word here, I mean literal who may not necessarily be educated!) person, expressing their disgust on Facebook (that's where the likes are !).  Approximately a year has passed and those poor girls have gone into the oblivion. Their per pretors are nowhere being discussed or no more are the people lighting candles for their punishment. 

After this incident, happened the Nirbhaya incident, the brutal gang rape case of a physiotherapy student which was soon followed by the horrific story of a 5 yrs old being sadistically raped of her childhood. Again, these incidents were media fodder for quite some time, people discussed it vehemently on whatsapp and what-not, and not before long these incidents are too biting the dust. 

The latest media sensation was the gangrape of journalist in Mumbai - a city that was once regarded as the safest city in the country. People are back quoting their pseudo-intelligent but largely unavaialable thoughts and garnering the "likes" and "views" and "opinion" of the like-minded.!

The first two times these incidents happened, as a woman, I was shocked and burned my heart out on the social media ( yaa my pseudo thoughts, for a penny!). Then as more and more such incidents began to roll, I began to care less. These days when I read of such a news, my first thoughts are thank god I am not in India, and thank god my sister is planning to get out there soon. I don't want to justify my apathy, but somewhere the general pattern of all these cases have made me callous. 

When I read notes of my male collegues, discussing how women "should" be respected and how they will teach their kids to "recognise a woman's heart under her clothes", I can't but smirk  ! It were exactly these collegues who drew graphs based on a woman's appearance, who rated how woman looked and who openly discussed that a "girl should not be so loud" ! Some of these guys are my best friends, and I know for a fact they wouldn't do wrong to anyone, but aren't these sort of sexist ideas, the basic reason of the hitherto upmanship of the male gender ?

I thought a lot about why do men rape women and the answer is simply to assert power ! Which brings us to the next part, why do men need to assert their power ? Simple...because all their life they have been told that woman are expected to follow a certain code of conduct, failing which they have a right to punish. The worst punishment (even before murder) is to rape her and shame her.  Sometimes there are lesser evil punishments, judge her, gossip about her and just stare at her until she herself get embarrassed. Somewhere the root cause of this code-of-coduct coming into existence is the sexism that has been all prevalent in the society. And in all societies, not just ours.  It's eradication is going to be the responsibility of each individual family, and I can only hope they do their parts right. 

No punishment can deter the occurrence of these events, and they can only be curbed by prevention. As a woman in India (who has been a victim of hidden molestation, unabashed leaching and yet become so de-sensitized to it), I can only count days before such incidents happen again. And one other thing, make sure my sons are brought up right !

Friday, July 13, 2012

I am angry...


Today my country upholds yet another shameful story. The public molestation of a young girl by a mob of hooligans made the headlines and I couldn't help but swear in disgust. A few days ago another article that made me squirm was the treatment metted out to Pinki Pramanik. Pinki is a national level athlete who has made India proud at --- games was manhandled by the police, to perform a check on her gender. Whose business is it, if she is a male or a female ? And even if it were something that needed investigation, wasn't there any dignified way to do it ? The more I comb through newspapers these days, the more I read about the deplorable and henious ways women in this country are handled.  What happened in Guwahati is not a classic case of woman abuse. Another such incident is the Keenan Santos case - where Keenan and Reuben were killed by a mob of over-20-something boys while protecting their girlfriends. It is very common to hear about the kidnappings that happen in Delhi and Noida where woman are picked right outside their homes.  

What really hurts me is that as a soceity we have disgraced to such low levels. As a human being, there is no moral conscience left that would control such brutal behavious. Just because males are physically stronger than females, they do whatever they want and manage to get away.  We talk of India having a rich culture- is this the culture of our country where women mean nothing more than a consumable product ? And really who is responsible for harbouring such a paradigm ? The woman of this country have worked very hard to achieve an equilibrium in the society. They defied all the general norms and have excelled in every feild of occupation that was hitherto a man's domain. Indian women not only manage their careers  but are also the best homemakers. We have done everything Indian men do and have done it better. How long should we struggle and what more should we do to earn respect in this society. And yet a pertinent question is why as women should we struggle to have a dignified existence ?

These mobsters who vandalised women are not misogynists. They are worse than that - They are apathetics and sadists. Men such as these, do not deserve any exemption. They should be severly punished because really they are the sore points of this gangrenous society. But their elemination alone is not going to solve the problem. It will set an example no doubt, but the root cause will still continue to breathe. What our society today needs is education and more like a cleansing literacy. We need to have people learn and understand that it is WRONG to HURT AND DISRESPECT anybody and that if you derive pleasure out of someone's pain you are a sadist who needs treatment. I know this sounds like kindergarten morals class - but that is really the need of the day. 

Aside from the burning issue of woman manhandling (irony isn't it!) what bothered me  is the way a mob gets formed in our country. I was really shocked to see a group of people chosing to participate in the wrongdoing, instead of rolling up their sleaves to protect this female. And while a group to molest the female was so easily formed, no such congregation was formed to protect her. 

And this really brings me back to the basic premise, that has been eating me since the time I read these news. Are we humans de-evoluting to being animals ? Have we become so emotionless, heartless and callous that we no longer care about the basic values of respect and dignity ?

As an Indian woman, today, I feel downright helpess and suffocated.

So much for the country where people venerate Durga Maa. 



Monday, November 28, 2011

a part of me

It has been 3 years... since I saw Mumbai wounded... 3yrs to the blood bath, betrayal, loss and infinite amount of grief... 3 yrs to the candle march, silent protests, unsolved problems... 3 yrs since I am paying tax to this castrated government for keeping a murderer alive...

how did i solve the problem...? I escaped...I just turned my back on my wounded city and escaped... I ran away to deal with another and newly evolved set of problems... and now after a year and half as I decide to go back to Mumbai, I can only but wonder... what does it look like now to stand at the Marine Drive and stare at the Hilton towers...what does it feel to sit at CST and sip coffee from Ram Pyare's stall... do the pigeons still gather to feast off the grains from hand... Mumbai has changed, I have changed... but Mumbai in me is still the same... I have never loved someone, as much as i have loved my city... my home which has given me unselfish protection, more than adequate attention, sense of joy, blissful solitude... an identification...

i can;t wait to rush back and hug Mumbai and hold her in my eyes... and get drenched in her charm... my Mumbai...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Summary of life in USA

A whole year has passed. and this hasn't been an ordinary year....it is the closure of my first academic &|| residential year in the United States of America...it is also the year when India won the world cup and Obama killed Osama! But in my case, it is more significant, because for the first time i have lived outside the comfort of my home all by myself. Also because I actually realised the importance of having great friends... the ones in India did a great job at holding me and anchoring me and supporting me and the ones here actually faced all the problems with me. No! i did not emerge as a meritorious student with medals of achievements...I have once again established my mediocracy...but in America!!! And that is a big deal...

I remember my first attempt at cooking (my rummates say : first attempt at murdering us)...all i did was follow the instructions..,take oil, heat it, put jeera, and then chilli...only i put chilli powder... {now all those who know how to cuk can guess wat happened}...there was smoke..some more smoke..and then lots of smoke...everybody within the 50ft of my apartment were coughing mad...but the best part was,,,my rummates Isha, Pri and Smi still ate watever I had cooked that day...and it was that moment when i realised...how lucky I am :-)

A few months in the US...i realised cooking and studying were least of my worries... I had to tackle bigger problems...accomodation...every month we lived under threat of being ousted from our abode (inspite of paying rent!!!)..and finally it did happen! in middle of october, we had to pack our bags and leave...a month and a half of separation...fortunately we found another house and it was good..this was d most difficult phase in my life...and also the best one! because all my friends came up and helped me sail thru...

they say u shud thank adversities...they tell u ur true frnds!!! well i shud thank this one...as i got a chance of staying with the bestest ppl ever... Gayatri Ritu Rutvij Varsha and Prafulla...all the happy, kind cheerful and genuine ppl...it was a roller-coaster ride...and yes of cos!! our mad boys at 2034... i remeber sitting in the closet and crying...and Rohit and Addy sneaking to watch me...then console me and then laugh at me :D :D :D

6 months, 3 apartments later...we got our own house...the 923!!! and den we had a rainbow (this is a metaphor! rainbow has 7 colors and we r 7)...yes wid the bigger apartment came bigger ppl :P :P :P... EKus Rini and Stuty joined us!!! and the roller-coaster has gone wild!!
many ppl told us dat 7 girls staying together wudn't work out..but thankfully (to me!!!) we did manage to make it work...and more than that make it work so well that we all are happy!!! this small family of 7 ppl here is the bestest thing ever...and again I can simply say that I am lucky...

so I may not be the best of the students here...but this place has lead me to being a better person...by giving me the company and friendship of such great(in size also :P :P :P) ppl... it doesn't happen to everyone and it is not that common and it is a big deal !!!

and yes...i can also cook very well now...ppl take second helpings :-)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Belonging!

Belonging! My favorite movie since childhood has been "Hum Apko hai kaun" and the tag line of that movie is "Every heart longs to belong". And how true is that!!!

All of us, are working so hard to always fit in a clique, rather belong to a group and have a common identity. I have hardly seen anybody who is a solely objective person, essentially dismissing any need to be a part of a group.

Back home (I just love to think of India, that way!!!), I had many friends and an awesomely large family. So I did belong to a cult (big word! but I did belong to a cult group :P :P), a group, a friend circle and family!!! and now I am here! in US of A.

Even here, I have the best of friends who are my roommates also. Nothing to complain about. But still, it doesn't feel like belonging to America. I still belong to India simply because all my friends are Indian. There is nothing new, that I know about America.

I am still in as much awe of the American culture as I was when I used to see the Hollywood movies. The only difference is, now I am on the locations ! I so definitely want to fit in this culture and understand and explore it. I want American friends, and taste American food and enjoy American parties, and I want it all to have a meaningful and everlasting impact on my life. I wonder if I will get this chance.

American friends here I come :-) :-) :-)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Bookshelf I

Just finished reading Sidney Sheldon's "Master of the Game"...crisp, witty, intelligent, cunning...this book is a treat to those who enjoy the dark undercurrents that run through a person's mind, manipulating his emotions...all are a consequence of quest of power...or power itself. I simply enjoyed reading a book of this genre after a long time...it a sheer page-turner. I enjoy reading...infact if i can describe myself with a set of words, one that would surely come up is "reader"...and i am really proud of it...i am largely an unjudgemental reader...and i draw a lot from the literature that i consume....

of the many many books i have read, some of them have really moved me, compelled me to introspect and changed me as a person... {and funnily none of them have been the self-help kind :P :P :P}...one of them worth mentioning is Ayn Rand's Foutainhead. Her style of writing is unique...rather long sentences and obscure paragraphs...a huge ensemble of characters...but what is the most tangible is the content of it...not once does she fail is putting across her point with utmost clarity. Fountainhead has been disputed by me and my frnds...but what i take from it is not the theory of objectivism and agnosticism...what i learnt is dat every man is a hero in himself...and that his greatest glory is in manifesting that heroism...it is imperative for every person to have a goal or a project in his life...which would define and calibarate his existence..."a man's ego is the fountainhead of his success" says Rand and by that she means, that one's competence and belief in it is man's biggest strength. Fountainhead made me more determined and respectful of people who have been achievers by sheer competence. It also made me understand that "self pity" is the worst of all soft crimes.

Another book, that i manage to enjoy everytime is "Maximum City" by Suketu Mehta. This book didn't really teach me anything but certainly brought me closer to the place of my birth. I always knew that Mumbai is a special city...Maximum City made me proud of that speciality. It also introduced many distinct and peculiar corners of the city to me...I visited them later and realised that this city is more than what i had imagined. Maximum City is diverse in it's content, location and characters. It told me the history of my city and it's gory present...but also told me how much everlasting magic Mumbai produces each day...that hundreds and thousands of people flock here....it definitely touched the Mumbaikar in me...whenever I am low, and feel like escaping in my comfort corner, this book is there invariably in my hands!!!

There are many other books that I have read and enjoyed...and will write about them soon...this is just the beginning of my book shelf...there is more to come :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

what eviction means to me....!

home...one word that is truly synonymous to the concept of comfort and affection...and practically associated with a roof over your head...to me home is that place where you go even when the doors to all the places are closed...a place you can call ur own...! i always pitied the homeless and shelterless inmates of the Mumbai roads...i would sigh when i would see the BMC bull dozers rushing to demolish them...sometimes i would think it serves them right...illegal occupancy is a crime....in india, my home, i was legal...


now i am here...partly evicted from the place where i stay coz it is not on my name...i pay its' rent, electricity and pay for all its utilities...yet i cannot legally and officially stay...i see the owner's cart coming for checking...i see myself rushing and hiding things...picking myself and throwing out of the house...i stealthily sneak into the house every night..quietly place my footsteps and cook a silent meal..and then turn off lights into darkness and sleep ...rather try to sleep...but fear looms...anxiety is there...i have to get up early and practice the same rigmarole. i now understand what it means to be homeless...i now understand how pathetic is a life full of indignity...but i am not scared...because there is nothing to lose...dey will keep evicting and i will keep coming back...


the moment the BMC bull dozers went away, shanties were built back in the same place...i am trying hard but cannot stop thinking...how different am i from those slum dwellers...?


we were 6 people staying in 350sq.ft with just one bathroom and a sloppy fan, a gas stove, and lots and lots of pandemonium...but i would always want to go back to that place...here i stay in 530sq.ft, with centralised ac and inbuilt washer dryer, unlimited internet...but i cannot go back to this place...this is the difference between home and house...


i crave for a place where no fear looms....