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Monday, September 15, 2014

Midnight Travelouge

Is it a fall?
No it's a journey.
But isn't it downhill?
Yes.It is...it's a long walk and it allows to come back and meet again..where you left.
But still.It's a fall.Won't you say it?
No.You can come back and this time uphill.
But uphill is difficult?What if you can never come back?
Well..there's always a place in between..in the woods..where the road turned away to  denser greens
Do you have a company?
Yes..I have..at different times.
Do you seek someone?
No.I seek something.
And did you ever come across it?
Yes. Quite a few times..it's just that it never allows itself to hold..it flows away..you know..just like that river that flows by the hillside.
And you still seek it again?
Yes.My work is to search..until I get tired..till I am there.
Till you are there?
You see..I may be ..I may not be..sometimes things are not meant to be like what you would believe,or at the least want to believe.
Isn't it confusing?
No...It's surprising!
And what's that you see far down the hill?
That's  life..
And what's here..uphill ..where you start?
That's also another life..
And what are you ..and the others?
Well..we all are just mediums of transfer.
For The Thing you seek?
Yes.It is and it never ends here.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Like waves..

It's not about big things you could have done
Or petty things that you do,
It's not about the achievements- there might be none
Neither about the failures - some of them you might not even know!

Day in and day out you might find yourself,
Trapped in sarcasms, betrayals, loss,
And yet, continually rediscover yourself,
Like those relentless ocean waves...

There are people you wanted to be with,
And people whom you never urged for,
And yet you find yourself in a cozy realm to be with
It is because, it's you, whose identity makes it worth for.

You are free to fall and arise again,
And follow your own path – the one which still lies afresh,
And the one that has been trodden, again and again,
The more you like it, pain of fall is less

The satisfaction of being oneself
It's a hard earned treasure,
No repents, no compromises and nothing that haunts yourself,
Freedom, they say, is a gifted measure

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Needless to say but...

Not that I am too emotionally overloaded particularly because of the Delhi rape case. But certainly the views that have come up in open in the past one month makes me write again on this. Yes I am overloaded because of the alarming situation. This is not a stray case, our national capital has also been the rapist paradise for years now and slowly other cities are also catching up. From my Delhi friends as well as my stay for few months in Ghaziabad and various adjacent areas, I do know how women cope up there. As a woman living various phases of my life in Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, I have also faced eve-teasing and have learnt to consider the security factor, always. Villages aka Bharat is sill safe or they say so, just because Police stations are far away or actually non-existent, and people don’t report most of the cases because "izzat ka sawal hai".Not that these views of politicians, media, spiritual gurus(high on spirits) and common man, including me, were not at all known before, but certainly the nation seems to react now. And hence comes my second post on particularly the topic of why girls should not provoke guys, should not stay late, should not party, in short , stay back, stay out of the mess to avoid getting trapped in the mess.

After reading through various channels, what I discover is the main reason behind these people telling the women to dress properly or "behave" is that they feel today's women's actions titillate the man. The man with his innate carnal desires and unadulterated innocence is simply not able to control his feelings and ends up eve-teasing, molesting, and raping. Now in most cases it is seen that girls who are perfectly decently clothed get raped. So this has to be definitely 2nd order titillation. So this bechara guy, who generally comes from the uneducated, socially deprived background, comes to a modern city, sees lot of micro-mini clad girls and gets provoked. He knows he cannot get most of these women. But simply because these women have done the crime of provoking the guy, now that he is turned on, he ends up raping another girl who has nothing to do with this "inviting" nature of girls. Now that brings me to question few things:
  1. If wearing lesser clothes is provoking etc, then would the TV commercials stop showing skin for the ads of every single product on earth. Be it deos, briefs, cookware .
  2. Would guys give up their share of watching porn to keep them away from all ill-effects?
  3. Would movies be banned for showing rape scenes and item numbers that increase their viewership to manifolds’?
  4. Would all adult movies be banned?
  5. Would Internet be censored?
Even all this doesn’t ensure completeness of the theory.Titilation may be different for different people. And guys may have their own interpretation of whether a woman is inviting or not. Some common theorems are:
  1. If a woman is wearing skimpy clothes, she is inviting. Even if she says "No", the first interpretation is above all
  2. If a woman has had multiple relationships in her life, with some of them even intimate, she is definitely slut.Hence inviting. Are relationships and forced ones same?
  3. If a woman is staying late at night, if she is a party hopper, she is inviting. Well the premises of night are strictly not meant for girls who don’t want to get raped. The vice versa is also true.
  4. If a woman is a single woman-unmarried (post the standard age of marriage), divorcee (oh!!That’s why!!), widow (unlucky one) that is w/o a legitimate male owner, then she must be inviting.
  5. If she does not "listen", if she is adamant, if she is helpless(hence needed some help), if she is working late nights, if she is a boss' favorite, if she has got a promotion too soon, even, if she tries to be a man(hence needed to be reprimanded).....the list is endless.Also cannot help asking if a slut not have the right to say "No" ?
Agreed on the fact that 90% of our population comes from the economic and social "have not" category. They neither have the enlightened thought processes like us-the middle class or the access to every possible luxury on earth like the rich. But this provoking theorem makes only these “have not’s” take the onus of being lecherous and ill charactered.Have we forgotten Priyadarshini Mattoo case? Don’t the "high profile", "born pub trotting" men happen to see girls around them in skimpy clothes all the time? Then what titillates them? Or they are immune to all kinds of frustration and brutality?
 
Now come on, man and woman have always mutual attaction.Thats normal. A man may like a woman or vice versa. But then it’s important to understand and respect her "No". If we are to make an impact and make our surroundings more secure, we need to be inclusive of the 90% also. And changing the way girls look, dress, behave, just not to make the "have not" guys shocked, doesn’t solve the problem. There is no end to it. For a man who has bad intentions, irrespective of the fact whether they come from village, are not accustomed to see city girls or whatever, clothes and all are external factors and there can be thousands more. These cannot be controlled. What can be controlled is improving the framework of security, judicial system and providing a better atmosphere at home, better and sensible education.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Freedom today and one day...


For a while now India has seen an upheaval in protesting against crime against women. Yet, everyday newspapers are flooded with all sorts of such crime. Is it that these crimes were present all the time and it is only now that they have gained importance to make a place in the first page? Or is it, men actually are finding it to difficult to restrict their carnal desires? The weirdest comments like "Why the girl was scantily dressed", "why she was alone”, and “she must have provoked men" have made place in front pages also. This makes me think, if this kind of mindset is shared by a larger section in our society or not. Also what goes inside the minds of people who do such heinous crimes? Is it really the carnal part of it or is it something more to that? Most of these people have steady partners or else there are ample red light areas too.

Rape or molestation is the extreme case where a girl's self respect is crushed to the most brutal extent. But it is our social structure that makes this experience even worse to her. And surprisingly, some people, including women do think that dying is a better option. The definition of self respect might be different for different people and the impact also might differ, but this is one point where many would agree. And that's because "life after rape" is worse than “no life “at all. Thanks to the modern outlook. So when it comes to taking revenge on a girl, rape is the simplest solution. In fact, Hindu devtas have also somehow endorsed this fact.Indra still remains Indra after all-King of devtas!!In every bit of history, mythology or whatever, men have shown their irresistible lust for women and tried to get her with or without her consent. And every time it is other men who came to save her too. Be it Sita, Draupadi, Ahalyaa.Yes, women are too feeble to say "no", protect themselves, and take revenge. When he is a protector, he is the heroic, brave man. When he is the molester, he is bound by his natural instincts-simplest explanations of all. So be it the destroyer or protector it's "THE MAN”. And the things start looking simpler. This cannot be the case where a man wants to molest a woman, it is because this is one thing where he can inflict a lifelong pain to her and yet his subconscious will not make him mad with guilt. Somewhere deep in his heart, he knows, this why women were made after all!!

A girl from her very childhood is taught to play with dolls, make her dummy family, and wait for husband. Her entire world is some pseudo husband. A boy is taught to be the "maa baap ka budapey ka laathi", the Mr. dependable. From the very childhood, the upbringing of a girl takes away the power to make decisions .From watching her mother and other women in the family she learns that to succumb is "the way”. In a country where marital rape is not rape, what else can be said!! She knows that the only way she can get things done is use her beauty, feminine skills,"rona dhona".But if she dare says that something is her right, that's too much like audacity. Even educated, well earning women are prone to this. For example, many women claim that they do not want a very good job that demands extra hours and rather they would prefer a cushier one, because it’s their choice. Gosh!!Choice is applicable only when you have the option!!Will their family actually say "yes" if they opted for the more demanding one? And without a "yes" do they have the guts to live life at their own terms? Freedom doesn’t lie in boasting but it’s a way of life. And sadly  our social structure doesn’t support much of the idea of a woman living at her own terms. In every marriage proposal, even now, be it love or arranged, it is the girl's beauty, ability to compromise, and a decent education that's monetarily not so great and of course less than the groom's is taken into consideration. Even after marriage, it is  expected that the girl makes compromises because she has to adjust and that's normal, right where as the man makes compromises because "bechara" he is such a great soul.After marriage a girl is always supposed to pay more importance to her in-laws and it’s the other way round only if she can “entice" her man and  not by normal decree. Be it her attire, her own lifestyle, her space, her surname, her friends, this applies to all. Matrimony ads still contain words like "We are very modern and will allow our bahu to work". There is no greatness in "allowing" a free person to do something. The other day  I heard a mother recite tales to her little daughter, every tale being so much marriage-husband centric, I realized that my childhood tales always had me as the main character, and how my mom used to change all the "heroes" to a girl .And I always learned to blame Rama for his leaving Sita. Today when I see the elaborate marriage rituals, be it Bengal or any other region, it makes me fearful of how much vague respect can be paid to the "ladke walas".Shouldn't respect be earned?

So men, by default are respectful. When people say why she wore mini skirts, or why she stayed late, I agree that in today's social and judicial structure it makes very unsafe for women. But instead of saying why she stayed late at night, shouldn’t we say why it is not safe to stay at night? Is this just to manifest that "men will be men" and rest of the world take care of themselves? Is there not somewhere imbibed the urge to look down the entire fairer sex and make them stay back. Is it not again the age old power game that's behind every war, every economic issues or every choice?(apart from the ones made because of love). May be some part of men are really frightened by the fact that women are taking hold of a part of their "rightful share" of resources, jobs, money, respect and so on. It makes me surprised, that most educated men, when in college, school etc tend to get  their homework done by their sisters or female friends. They learn to appreciate their female classmates. But the same men when they get married to one of those, start believing that it is their own career  that should take the front seat.Doesn't this kind of self proclaimed deep rooted decision making habit transform into other forms of crime for men who are not so educated, who come from very dark backgrounds? Can we blame only those men or should we not take steps to educating our sons and daughters equally right at home? For daughters, to teach them that there is nothing to feel guilty or afraid about to state what they want, to make their own choices, to stay happy w/o leading a husband oriented life. For sons, that their sisters and female friends also deserve the same freedom, nutrition, respect, education, financial independence as they do and there is nothing great or abnormal in it. This is the way it should be. For the husband, that he should treat his wife as companion , friend, partner and not be himself the  owner, that he should also make sacrifices in his own career if his wife needs so or relocate to wife's city or bring up children and that, it is shameful to say that "I don’t do household chores”. For the wife to stop living in a false sense of freedom, to raise her voice, to stop the everlasting "rona dhona" and feminine tricks, to lead a guilt free life. For every bystander, that he/she is not a bystander and is as active as anybody else to make this society a better place to live. For all movie and serial makers, to stop showing the "ideal bahus" in their stupid daily soaps/movies, for political leaders to come out of the extra secure cordons that they have and see what goes outside, for the judicial and law enforcement system to remember that it is not ideal that women should stay back at home at night or cover themselves in veils to escape from brutality, but it is their duty to provide a secure city to women.For everyone to believe that "Freedom is our birth right”.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Durga and more..


“3 cheers for Chakraclub”!!”Hip hip Hurray “ -Just when I thought it must be another upcoming IPL team of the local version and the cheer leaders were doing their job, it emerged to be something else. Yet another prize bagged by our “Para” Pujo. An entire of 5 days in all, loud speakers that are fitted just beside the wall of your bed room, nothing can be more surprising than “3 cheers” message at 4 am dot. And what surprises, we should have got accustomed to all these.3 months of prior preparation, when your own locality becomes like maze and almost all the lanes and by lanes get ready for their own version of Durga Puja.You have to literally find ways between lanes to find way home as most of these are blocked. Kolkata, during these days sees a new light. Everything is jazzed up-colors, lights, themes, creativity.When I was out of Kolkata, for many years, I did miss all the glamour of it. In MBA days, I used to pray desperately that our dear Subbu doesn’t use his brain too much to schedule an FCQ on these days!! That our esteemed placements committee ensures that placements are over by this time .And that anything unforeseen, unexpected just doesn’t happen. Because these days were reserved for Durga-the goddess who comes with her four children-Ganesha, Kartika,Lakshmi and Saraswati to her parent’s place from her in-laws(thus goes the Bong version of the Durga story).And we are to visit her and her children with all our demands(Vidyang dehi, Jasho dehi,…). I guess now the list must have got a makeover to include Iphone dehi, laptop dehi, truly beautiful, extremely fair, highly educated housewife dehi, Extremely rich, handsome, loving, caring, sensitive and zero expectations husband dehi, D’dmas diamonds dehi, abroad vacations dehi, onsite dehi and might be even FB likes dehi. Not growing up in a family that is super dedicated to religious matters makes you somehow inert to all the pujas .I am also not an exception to this. But when I was not here in Kolkata, I really wanted to be home this time of the year. I started planning much ahead. And, now when I am home after all these years, I just get a feel of something missing! Not that I do not like Pandal hopping. But some strange observations this year. People dress in all sorts of things-micro-minis, spaghettis, shorts, party gowns!!Kolkata sees a mix of temple+church+pub+beach+casual+ what not wear on the streets. It’s really amusing. People in their best attires (as per them) and best makeup (as per them) walk around the streets and lanes to show how “beautiful” they are to some strangers. And a new comer this Puja is definitely the Pepper spray...I heard girls are keeping those in their bags to shove off all those eve teasers. At least I could sense some confidence .Now-days all the theme pujas seem somehow redundant to me...Around July, you choose the theme...abstract themes like light/colour/happiness/hope...so on and choose the material like coconut shells/wool/old buckets/leaves/paper/clay/iron/..So on…and then you come up with your 50 lac/1 crore masterpiece in the next 3 months. Advertisers, endorsements, big, small...all in the game. Thousands of people flock to your pandal, you get loads of prizes, for 5 days you don’t allow anyone in the neighborhood to sleep. All the deities in the local temples are the neglected ones these days with no lights or just an almost invisible diya or they also choose pandal hopping? And that’s about happiness. In all these one question just pops into my mind. We want everyone to be a part of our happiness.True.But what about those whose definition of happiness is altogether different. What about the old people who like some silence to be there, what about people who would want the atmosphere to be a little less polluted, or the people who have life deciding exams just after Puja holidays!!Or those who are from a different part of the country or a different religion who can’t just identify themselves with all these ballyhoo.Happiness is definitely our right, but at the same time, choosing to stay away from our happiness is other’s right. I have always observed that there are very few people who can respect the idea that everyone is so different and that makes this world so interesting( as one of my friends used to say).Why can’t we just believe in that and act accordingly? Imposing things on others always creates the feeling of supremacy, difference, bias, and minority and so on. Along with all the other prayers to the Goddess, let’s also make a prayer that we would share a little more responsibility the entire year henceforth, may be Durga also maintains some appraisal reports for all of us!! Who knows!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A time to change

To some of my friends I am a diehard feminist and it is such friends who are my inspiration to write this blog.I have never thought of myself as a feminist or whatever but the fact that I am a woman myself, always leaves that small piece of inherent bias in all my judgements.Having said that, it does not mean that I do not look into things from nuetral perspective .My upbringing in a very liberal minded family, my good fortune to know people like my parents, my grandparents very closely has rendered me as an individual who cant take anything granted,who has always this question in mind.."why?".So something which is obscure in my eyes, always leads to the question why it is so...when did it start?

Such is the question of the traditional roles played by women in India mainly, and also the world.The way ,in general, social perception has been built , women are known to look after the family,bear children, satisfy their husbands in all respects and that is where they should find salvation.They are supposed to undertake any sort of sacrifice or compromise for this purpose.Now in today's world when we have advanced a lot and we see a lot many working women it is time that we ask a question,whether this traditional perception of women, is ,at all valid.

Lets take a plunge into the past for this.Long back when cave man and women decided that they should follow the steps of Adam and Eve, their only necessity was to eat, reproduce and sustain their family.In such a set up, the ability to sustain a family in a better way and the size of the family you can bring up, were the only measures by which your efficiency could be judged.So for a man, it was the number of women they had in their life and the number of children they had.For a woman too, it was by the number of children she could produce.There is a reason to this also.Our earth in the distant past was scarcely populated..yes it was..and people then must have understood that manpower was what it needed to be more powerful, successful.The definition of power and success , ofcourse judged by number of wives and children you have, among other factors.This was a cycle..the more you reproduce the more powerful you are..the more powerful you are..the more you can reproduce.And why not..!!the kind of inputs that led to a good life and sustainance of life..involved heavy work..going to jungle,working with the woods,gathering food from the dense forests, breaking stones and so on.Life was very hectic and hard.So for obvious reasons,the physically weaker sex,women lacked much behind in all these.It was very difficult for a woman to emerge as the food provider of a family.She gradually emerged not as someone who could provide food like men, but as someone who could produce men.Healthy, strong men.Hence those women who could not do so..came to be known as unholy,unlucky,the bereaved.It is important to understand the position of an unmarried girl in a family in this repsect.The only use of woman , as a producer, was not available unless she gets married.So until that time she was a burden on her father.In a social structure that has a scarcity of resources, love, duty and responsibily are not always the only things.So when it comes to bringing up a child,or spending some resources for him/her, in case there is a paucity of resources, the provider would always try to dispose of the unproductive things as early as possible.Hence came in the custom of early marriages.A girl, as soon as she reached her puberty was married of.And even in some cases before that...when the bridegroom is hedging the future risk of not geting a beautiful, healthy wife.Even the definiton of being beautiful has been very close to what it means to have the ideal body statistics to bear more and more healthy children.Thus girls were married of as early as the age of 10-12.And then in the years to come the girl became extremely weak,giving birth to children year after year,with severe malnutrition, and other diseases.If you are giving birth to 10 or 15 children in a span of 20 years(which could have been your most "productive" years in other ways too), starting from an age of 14 or 15, it is obvious that you wont have any good health left out to do other things.
So for understandable reasons , it was the RIGHT social structure that women stay back at home, nurturing their offsprings and bringing more of them to the world, while the provider, the man goes out for work.

Now , in everything we see, we know, the person , the group who "provides" has an undoubtable upperhand.Take for the example your employer.So unless the service is very rare and very important, it is the provider of money who is the boss.Because he provides excangeable currency.I will write a separate post on this soon.Hence we can undestand why the males in a family grew to be masters.He will demand care, attention, pampering,he will make rules and ensure that they are followed.In short, he will want a gratification of his power.And in such a scenario, if we consider the male and female as two distinc entities of a bigger social picture, who would not want to decrease the power of the other entity and grow themselves?So as time passed, it became a male dominated society.And came in such fundas as "daughter is a guest","kanyadan" etc.If a daughter stays with you only for 8 or 9 years before she is married,before she develops her own identity,personality,she is indeed a guest!She cant get anything from parents, she cant be an intrinsic part of her maternal/paternal clan.Yes,she imbibes everything from her inlaws.And gharjamais were looked down as expected.Certainly because they were "weak" they could not sustain their family themsleves, and took help from another male..the wife's father/brother(the males will be in a state of continuous struggle for power among themsleves).This continued for years over years, and now we have our present socitey.

Now take a look at present.One, the nature of work needed to sustain a family has drastically changed.You dont go to jungles or wage a war to sustain your family.A vast part of job profiles consists of cushy jobs and getting paid.Two, and thank god and the inventor,birth control has arrived.You dont have to give birth year after year and yet your carnal desires can be fulfilled.Three,today's world does not need a big family.Come on..its population EXPLOSION.We need less number of children unlike the past.Four,the maternal health has improved drastically over the years.Thanks to the laws and medical facilities.So we have more number of physically healthy women in the society.Five, on an average women are getting married at an age over 20.So for 20 years her closest relatives are only her parents and siblings.She cant be called a "guest" any more.Six,the definitions of power,success have , to some extent changed.We can no longer say that a women who gives birth to 10 sons is a worthy human being.We do not consider widows as totally useless unlike the past when they were rendered useless because of their incapability to give birth and satisfy a man in the legitimate way.We do not consider a man with 20 wives as a "MAN".Seven,information revolution has taken place.It is very difficult to keep someone uninformed.Hence everyone is mostly or can be aware of his/her position/role in the society.Eight,just like the past,everything is governed by the convenience and power.So it is more convenient to have a dual income family,gives more money,makes you more powerful.

Coming to a close, what I want to say is, the rules and social structures in any society are always constructed based on deep social, economic factors, are based on the convenience of people, over the struggle for power, over domination and revolution. Over the years these take shape into an extremely stringent rule based system, a closed dark box. You never become aware that those very reasons which led to the rules have changed and that you need to change also. New rules have to be made in a society where the dynamics of everything is fast changing. One cannot keep his/her eyes closed and be impervious to all these.I am very lucky to have grown up in a family where I have been brought up not like a son, but as an worthy daughter,an worthy individual,where my parents never wanted me to be their "son" or induce me with what to do and not to do as a girl, but wanted their offspring to be a good human being capable of facing the world with reason.The ideal society should be such which should give equal opportunity to all, that should not take decisions on behalf of others lives and that should have equal representation of all the parties. This is not something to happen in a day. And infact, ideal is a word that suits in dictionaries only.But then haven't we learnt about differential calculus ?Limit tends to ideal?..at least we can strive for betterment.It’s time to take a call...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fuzzy Logic and Me

From the days I studied this topic in college everything has been fuzzified.Neither did I understand it then , nor do I ,now, given that I encounter it at every phase of life. So everything is stuck between 0 and 1.And no one knows what, when , where, how!!I search for happiness, peace..everyone else does so..but when I tend to know what will make me happy , I get confused.Not that I have been this confused always.But the time from when I have learnt to undersatnd that consequences to the correct knowledge of the answer of this question can make a hell lot of difference in your life..I have started getting confused.
So what are the main problems? Take for example,leaving a well paid job for pursuing higher studies.Higher education is well and good.But what about life after that?Is it going to be some ease in your career or turn out even more nightmare?Next comes the bigger question..whom to marry, when to marry?Or marry at all?I dont want to be an outlier as such, but then the happiness of being single is too dear to sacrifice, unless...ofcourse you get an "YES" from your inner self!!And sometimes that yes comes packaged in a hazy pack..very difficuly to identify.Again things go FUZZY!! Apart from this, ceratin behavioural aspects too are there.I have realized this one thing..that you cannot be your true self even if you want to be.So you cannot be humble always, you cannot totally not be pretending, you cannot let go always, you cannot be conforming always.And there lies the challenge.Answers are more often fuzzy than being a specific yes or no.Tough times to come!!!