Saturday, April 21, 2018

Hiraeth

I am a serial Netflix binger. This is an honest confession. Given light days, I find myself glued to Netflix till the dark - my dog the only distraction. On realization, I did a quick analysis only to realize more that  Netflix is a portal to many lives and chapters for me. Quite akin to the feeling I had as a child being lost in books. I do suffer from a content hang-over - while earlier it was Rebecca of Daphne Du Maurier or Heathcliffe of Wuthering Heights or Irene Adler of the Sherlock fame - these days the characters and content are transient : probably can even term them as Fast Moving Content Spiral. On deep-diving more, I laddered to my intrinsic need to escape from my own reality and "provenance". I like neither. Both seem to be prescribed than subscribed to and more like an albatross around my neck.

Recently I even realized that my life is full of people who are just there - in suspension or in co-existence. Emotions are transacted along with perishable promises. I see the people - more like ghouls - in my path as stardust : flaky yet solid. I feel like Aza (Turtles all the way down - John Green) - there but not there. Conversations, people,lives and bonds now seem ephemeral. I can't help but wonder if my previously mentioned idea of FMCS is the causality behind the current template of life.

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In 2 days recently, I finished watching a heartwarming series of Chesapeake Shores. The story revolves around  Abby - a versatile woman ferreting multiple hats of a successful career woman juggling the pace of NY corporate life, a single mother, recent divorcee, sister to 4 siblings, daughter to a busy father and an absentee mother and a beloved grand-daughter to a wise grandmom. She comes home at the behest of her youngest sibling who has opened up an inn of her own. As she settles her girls in,she bumps into her own high school sweetheart Trace - and together they both realize the full meaning of "home."

Abby realizes 'home' outweighs the rapid pace of her corporate ladder - while she can live her ambition, she has a choice to live it at her own pace. Trace, retraces his footprints back into a high flying music career - now complete in heart and soul with Abby by his side.

However, the series revolves around stories, contexts, emotions and inner thoughts of all characters involved. The layer of family bonding, sibling love, ambition and words of wisdom from the elders are all implicit to tell a tale of the positive family always there for you. I realize the candy floss-ity of it, still am gullible enough to be swept along in its tide.

As I finished the 20 episodes spanning the 2 seasons, I thought of my home. I pictured the people I knew - here where I stay / where I come from - and realized that neither attested to being my home. Instead I am now suffering from an acute attack of hiraeth - "a longing for a home you cannot return to or one that was never yours. Not necessarily a house"

My home town folks never had any connect with me. Both parents were busy chasing materialistic dreams or living up to social ambitions - with no time to converse on topics that would have cemented us together. Instead now there are loud laments everywhere. I belong to a part of a generation that has no / negligible friends. The veil of friendship had been lifted up long back to realize the agenda driven relationship sustenance. I feel no shame or live in denial to highlight the lack - now there is no need even.

Where I stay, now too seems, polluted by people. None of them mine / a home. Nowhere is this feeling of abandonment of spirit or mind explicit - where you know that you can be still and in peace - without the brouhaha. No questions asked, no answers looked forward to - only a fluidity of space, time and relationships to float all boats.

I wonder, how many people have truly found homes? Homes they are lovingly beckoned to - in light / dark? 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Dog-Ma

Almost a year of being a Dog-ma. In every possible way a kaleidoscope of emotions, thrills, hopes and dreams. She has taken me to the moon and back - several times - and continues to do so in her magical way everyday.

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Jimmy walked into my life with her four little salt and pepper paws a year earlier. I believe she was God sent. Maybe my Guardian Angels realized the trough I was facing in life then and to bolster me out of my own crevice and had sent this furball my way.

We started living together from her 5th month onwards. My parents had never allowed me to have a dog though I had always yearned for one. I knew deep in my heart I needed one and I could raise one.

Little Jimmy helped me burn myths and live a life of love, laughter and "light".

Let's talk about the myths first -


  • Being single does not make any girl equipped to raise a dog - Jimmy and I strongly disagree. She has learnt to spend her free time at her productive best (the doors, walls and endless toys can speak up for that). I am solely responsible for all her needs - walking, barking (she is an extremely quiet dog and I need to teach her how to bark or howl now), OOH pooping, playing with other dogs and playing me inside the house. Food is her frenemy. She takes out all her moodswings on food which has to be strictly home-made (she is very health conscious). My maids support me when I am at work. Else she is an independent woman, just like me. In all this single / plural (the relationship tag of course) hardly makes a dent because what I have realized interacting with most men - they remain in the play periphery of the child (human or dog). Mom remains at the nurturance level which is the core. Being single or plural makes no change on call of duty / inherent responsibility drive / heart full of TLC. 

  • Mother knows best. - that is so not true. I have a mother who carries me around like a trophy on her purse or a credit card. Jimmy came in 'her' life (here life = awareness) as a dent to that perfect credit card that could run on its own fuel. She then tried to insinuate herself as a positive catalyst in my life by removing the negativity. Little did she know, (or she did not) about a mother-child love. Jimmy and I remained rock solid while my mother with her Utopia made her exit permanently from the boundaries of my home. Its a sham when most parents today, take it upon themselves, to 'straighten' or 'keep the child on the right path' - what does it ever mean? That just shows a materialistic, dominating and a controlling mindset - where the child is an object and must flow in the course dictated - not guided. Guidance needs interaction -  my mom and I have never talked. 

  • Dogs will bite - of course they will. They are animals. And when cornered even humans bite and bark. It took patience, love, caring and prayers for me to get past Jimmy's teething phase. I even visited a hospital for anti rabies shots, where the doctor shot furtive and suspicious glances at my Significant Other fearing domestic violence.  But in the end, looking back, it was worth it all. She is more loving than ever, with occasional mood swings. Protective, she will run and come in  between any one who presupposes a negative vibe which she picks up on instantly. Many a times, if the Significant Other and I are fighting, she will come and sniff - once she senses the heated up atmosphere,  she will jump on her front paws and try to push him away. Otherwise, if the pheromones suggest that "all is well" or "there is love in the air", she is quite happy to share me. 

  • Indi dogs are hard to handle. Female Indi dogs are akin to signing a death warrant - Wrong. A vehement no to this. Agree and concur that before Jimmy walked in, I had always dreamt of the branded good looking doggo to buy from a breeder. Jimmy managed to open my eyes to a whole new world where I have come across concepts of adoption, Indi bias, male fetish for simplicity measures and looks decide love quotient. Jimmy is most probably a Border Collie and an Indi mix - which makes her a delicious energy ball, active runner with a vibrant demeanor. Given my own inertia to playing, Jimmy seemed not to be my cup of tea / coffee / juice. She ran around, dug into carpets / walls / door frames, scratched me all over, appeared disobedient to any training - basically she was a curious mix of Allauddin Khilji and Tughluq. On top of that being a female, I kept hearing other tut their tongues on her apparently imminent mood swings, heat cycles which would leave the house messy and create a stench and my own plate being overloaded keeping her (the temptress / seductress) away from the male poachers. The warnings had been registered, but as I fell in love with her, I saw no signs of the above. Her first heat cycle in December left her calmer - my house was as clean / dirty as before - her no cause of any stench / mess. A female was just a gendered label - I soon discovered - she wrestled / wrestles with all male dogs, has no mannerisms girly (bitchy?) and clearly she enjoys being her own self. There is no "handling" aspect to her - its only about seeing her grow up into a swan-like graceful creature who makes each day worth living for. 


My life of the 3 L-s now - love, laughter and 'light'

The term 'spring' would best describe the entry and impact of my Little Jimmy on me. She came to me at Spring time, when all of Bangalore bloomed out in its glory into an explosion of colorful blossoms. With Jimmy by my side, there is a season agnostic spring in my step everyday.

She works like a spring too - pulls me up when I sink. I remember a couple of weeks back, a viral had struck a low blow which left me bereft of any energy or stamina. My sleeps were similar to any Rip-Van-Winkle's dreamland - where I seemed to lapse into - with a slight fear of slipping into Forever land. In the REM stage of sleep I dreamt of her calling out with a keen look in her blazing eyes and her mouth set in a hard line. With a start I awoke to discover I had been asleep for more than 5 hours in the afternnon. Mustering courage, I took her for her walks and stuck to a normal 'routine' - not allowing myself to 'sink.'

I know its 6 am when I feel Jimmy licking me awake. She rises with the sun and tries to program me similar to her body clock too. Of course, its mainly for her OOH refreshments. But eventually, after a period of curses and frantic look-out for dog walkers, I realized that mornings are beautiful (the Goth in me has always been an anti-morning person). I started looking forward to the little walks or runs with her, smelling in the clean air, feeling the mist / chill in the air or simply "being" in tune with nature. 

Its because of her, I have made friends with all her friends - and their walkers and maids too. Her friends are of different shapes, sizes, colors and fur types. I do have my favorites and clearly so does she. She smells the puppers - no harm done - she sniffs at the females, rejects shorter / smaller males and only waits / advances towards the big male dogs. As she plays, I keep interacting with her friends too - who realize my greed to touch them and walk closer to me too. 

I love watching her indomitable spirit as she plays with the big male dogs. She does not stop, is virtually never bereft of energy while the other dog surrenders panting on the floor and she loves to climb on top of the dog. Its a lesson learnt from watching her moves - dont be bullied by life no matter the size of the challenge. She, in her subtle ways, is my Guru. 


To come home, is my biggest joy. She has taught me to be simple, appreciative of the small joys of life. When she hears the key turn in the lock, she is ready to greet me with all her love, licks and tail wags. She demands her quota of love - and I'm only too willing to abide by. Evenings are spent walking, talking and playing ball. My house comes alive with her paws darting from room to room in  search of the elusive ball. 

She has taught me how to control my short temper (put it on leash), be more patient, loving and finally what it is truly like to care deeply for a child. She remains my elixir, the knight in her shining fur, the love of the long licks and my guardian angel in an animated form. My SO / parents often ask me about career / ambition etc - somewhere Jimmy has made me realize that intrinsically my metrics of happiness / success is not about career / travails / vertical ambition - they are scattered but at its root is my need for freedom / flexibility intact.  Best part about being in Jimmy's life is that she makes you famous, popular and well networked across a slew of people from varied backgrounds = which in my current metrics of success / happiness = endless opportunities to grow / be / do + varied interests. 

Today I am me because of who and what Jimmy has made me to be. I am happy. On cloud # 9 / top of the world looking down on creation. 


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Friday, March 9, 2018

Petish


To wonder about humans is my favorite pastime activity these days. I don't consider myself inhuman / sub-human / alien - however the differences between breeds within humans is quite stark today. A couple of incidences have led to this post write up.

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Incident 1
7:30 am on slightly sunny Bangalore morning. I took my pup for a walk. To beat the mundane activity as well as keep sleep away, I had headphones blaring with Classic English Rock music in my ears. Felt the rock-shock would enliven me and put in an instant good mood.

When  the lift reached the 12th floor, I saw a man and child enter. There was some delay on account of the child being scared of my pup. But the man forced the child to enter. All of this happened in a dumb  charade format for me as I had the music in my ears.

Suddenly I saw the ratty man (his teeth jutted out and  a scowl hung low on his face as if tattooed on by a permanent marker) address me - angrily and loudly enough to pervade the sanctity of my noise cancelling head phones.

As I took my headphones, the man continued ranting. My groggy state made registration of his chaff - in slow motion.  He kept glowering at my innocent pup and asked me why I had to go take her out during school time. My pup chose that exact moment to stand up and sniff at the man. To which, he took particular offence and nastily kept telling its wrong to take pups out when school kids are in the same elevator too.

By now, my anger system kicked in - the boiling point reached. I snapped at him equally ferociously and told him that he had entered the cargo lift where there was no time allotment to take pups out. Cargoes are meant for pets - rest of the 2 lifts for humans. Since he was so concerned about his child's safety, he should have taken the passenger lift instead of blaming an innocent pup for her form and state.

He even said "It should be leashed." I do take offence at relegating animals to a third gender - they are gendered as us. I corrected him saying "Its her. Its a she. And she is very well leashed" dangling the leash end in front of his bumbly nose. Along with his teeth, his mouth too hung open now. I am not sure what angered him - my talking back or the fact that veracity was definitely on my side. He was on the wrong footing where the grass lay barren and not green.

The pup in question sensed something off and lay at my feet. I risked a look at the child - his small stricken face showed up from beneath the cap he was wearing. My heart went out for the poor boy with the ill-mannered father. I pointed out the man's rudeness and called him out for talking rudely with a girl so early in the morning - that too in front of his child. These were surely not the values his son would have wanted to inherit from his ratty father.

The ratty snappy cantankerous man, at a loss for words, stepped out when the lift hit Basement level.

It felt good standing up for your child - pup or human doesn't matter - the bond is what foretells your own responsibility towards your ward. It felt great to call out a man for being rude - and pointing out clear facts than let him create facts. Men may feel they have the upper hand on women, sneering and jeering with palpable disdain - its good to put them in place.



Incident 2
Each tower of the society complex have their individual groups on WhatsApp. We keep checking for maid related updates, sales of certain home items or any requests that we neighbors can help each other with. One evening, a neighbour, messaged in a very angry tone, complaining bitterly about dogs being taken in passenger lift too. She was steadfast about maintaining the distinction and dignity between species - humans of course were more privileged and had access to all lift while dogs can only use the cargo elevator. All that's well - but in situations of lift out of service, it becomes imperative for the human to be humane too. While all the neighbors - most of whom practiced 'love thy neighbor' except for our angry lady here, volleyed back and forth in support of the dog rights, it marveled me to imagine the deceit and conceit that finds space in the core of the heart. How can one be so insensitive / inhuman to place a barrier on what's accepted / not because of species difference. Why can't we all live in harmony - helping one another out, instead of bearing grudges to our graves?

These incidents made me wonder about who or what is human today? Is a human privileged because of its bipedal status and its earning capacity? So in that case human is all about mind and no heart? Where is the humanity - that shows love to all forms of life - celebrates life?

Dogs are with us for such a short lifespan - what is really being human enough to discriminate?
Live and Let Live! Slowly humanity rings its own death knell bell - live and let live or love and let love - these concepts only belong to a select few. Sadly. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mundane Milestones

The issue that's bothering me is the incessant prodding of Mundane Milestones. Milestones - unfortunately for most, are socially dictated.

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Be born, grow up, study, marry, reproduce, grow old and die. The cycle of life. Within this cycle, you're expected to earn money, save, travel the world, enrich your children, be materialistic, opt for a regimented career ladder and finally retire with a lump sum for the rest of days.

How linear? Why can't we curve our own experiences? Choose our own free will?

As I was growing up, I had seen a friction between pursuit of American shows vs parental control. Most shied away from SEX - the biggest sin on earth. I always wondered what truly had been the bone of contention - was it only as trivial as sex or was it something more?

Today when I think about it, our concept of America is entwined with free will implicit in their culture. Hence a corny notion of culture gap.

Free will or freedom to choose your own life for most of us is a holy grail not a habit loop.

Let's get down to some examples of the 'free' mindset - 


  •  I was once discussing about my hopeless future with my mother. Her idea of life is simple - marry, be a parasite, rear children as the only duty of the womankind, die with child's hard earned money honeying her embers. I wonder how I came out of her womb - we are such polar opposite creatures. Anyway, I had the misfortune of once telling her that I would be later adopting a child - to me the idea had been rooted in shades of my own childhood (another blog someday) and the dream of enabling a young soul who could have had a sordid past. There are plenty like that. Being a Cancerian I am naturally maternal - but practical too. Yes any girl would love to see the chemical compound a child would be of both parents - who's nose would s/he get, who's eyes etc. - but somewhere I had always known I had my own architecture of thought that bordered on giving a life but not of my own flesh and blood. My own flesh and blood would also involve gaining nearly 20 kgs - no difficult a feat as losing it would surely be a nightmare for a depression prone patient such as me. I know instinctively I could never deal with the post partum blues. But the moment the truth of my dream crept out of my lips, my boorish mother bounced back on me with her bearish self. She could not fathom how I can be "irresponsible" (I clearly am at a loss of the use of the adjective here as adoption is one of the most responsible dreams that I could ever harbor!). Her facts were drawn out of 100s of my friends who are happily married with children to which I calmly pointed out that out of that 100, 50 are already divorced and bearing brunt of a bad decision. However, she persisted with the imaginary 100 figure as her yardstick of true womanhood - they had the courage, passion, dream and a behaved version of a settled life to have children with a loving spouse. I did zone out soon after as I felt my recounting of the side where the grass isn't as green - but before that I did point out the example of Sushmita Sen living it up with boldly and beautifully with her two adopted children. She in fact broke many a fear paralysis at one go - adoption, no marriage, no child of flesh, blood and fat and both to be girl children. To which the maddening woman, her Bengali ego hurt along with her kinship with other Bengali women stinging, cited example of Bipasha Basu who was a 'waste and lost in life' before marrying or Sushmita Sen could have done better had she settled down. I mentally shut down my case with the prayer of QED silent on my lips - but my point was fairly well made. Free will to live, free will to think of your own life in your own way and also free will to decide what happens to your body. It does not belong to your parents, society, to any man or anyone - save your own self.

  • My Facebook photos show many images of my friends happily getting hitched. Claps and Bravo for taking the plunge.Where I beg to differ - and this is my personal opinion alone - is the use of shenanigans to express celebration. Why would the code of celebration be linked with food, revelry, costumes and performances. Why can't simplicity be a way of life - register marriage if you may and get done with it? Are we socially pressured to follow the doctrine of how a marriage ritual should be or how much money should be sinking to keep the couple afloat on their personal Titanic? 'Society' itself has led us to be so micro eyed about every issue in life - forgetting the larger picture. Our basic rights are expensive to us, we do not know where the taxes we pay go, India is still touted as an emerging or under-developed economy, jobs are uncertain - given all this why not simply save money and spend on more fruitful adventures? In fact I love the travel pictures of the same Facebook friends - travel is a worthy expense - so is marriage ceremony a conduit?

  • Rushing to office to be on time and working till late. A very slave driven mindset and philosophy. Everyday I see hundreds of commuters cursing the Bangalore traffic under their breath, otherwise on their phones apologizing for running late. That's good - punctuality is a disarming quality of the human kind. But today, where the work primarily runs on technology, why not simply work from home? Do we really need an office structure and physical presence to report into? Are we not adults who could be responsible about our own deliverables? Free will exists in the way one perceives his / her work life balance - in this case commute too. Working from home for most could also save commute money, commuting pains of navigating their wheels through to the nearest spot to escape traffic and also boost up productivity. Another problem with most rigid corporates I find is the culture of leaving work late. Why? Is there a point to prove? There could be aberrations but not a daily crisis one has to solve. There must be equal emphasis placed on me-time that leads to strengthening one's EQ.

These are some of the top thoughts that I rattled on. Let me think up of some more to prattle on. Till then do comment with any after thought. 


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Shakti- wo:man

As we grow up, the children become the center point of conversations. How each is growing up and what are the typical traits developing. As the many meets and the conversations flowed on, I realized that somewhere there was a new pattern emergent.


Accepting the feminine side of you - a sea change from the testosterone heavy atmosphere we have grown up in. 

Patriarchy had directed that there is an LOC between males and females : each form must adhere to his or her own traits. That is anyway how behaviour was simplistically segmented. Hence the popularity of Raymond led ads of "Feel like a Complete Man". What is a complete man or what completed him : few questioned. The symbology of controlled power, grace, compassion and the 'father' archetype was promoted as the benchmark of manhood / masculinity. Anything below would be an 'effeminate male'. We turned down our noses at the 'queers' : never respecting their courage to being who they were.

For females, the same Patriarchal dogma imposed on virtues and deeds of being a 'good woman'. Every semblance of her was dictated to fit the stereotype. Deviance raised eyebrows and silent toasts. 'Like a girl' became akin to a curse phrase. In fact the Nike ad brings this pain point out beautifully.


The change now is seen at 2 levels :

1. Androgynous styles or the Gender Bender
2. Rise of femininity



1. Gender Bender  or no difference between males and females. Rooted to the spirit of equality and frankly speaking not a new trend. But what is new is the embracing and celebration of the same. Fashion circuits are abuzz and agog with this new trend.


While, to some, it appears that it arose completely out of the blue, this trend has actually been around longer than many might think. The “unisex” clothing movement began in the United States around the ’60s, and had already began spreading throughout Europe long before the trends when one gender would wear the others’ typical clothes. High heels, for example, were originally worn by high society men to set themselves apart from those of lower classes.

Though as time passed, women began wearing high heels and eventually men stopped, and the rest is history.
Recently a report - Andrej Pejic is part of the new femiman trend in fashion. He’s one of a new breed of androgynous models who have risen to prominence in the past few seasons

Now both on the runway and daily lives, we see more women dressed in a masculine fashion and more men embracing hair styles, colours and accessories. This has more to do with shedding gender constraints personally and professionally. Women on top - pun intended - is the new normal that has seeped into the post modern age. Women started accepting this new normal with cropped hair and masculine power dress code to work to make a statement than be the statement.

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What tilted the scales towards the unisex dress code is men adopting to heels, skirts (kilt hangover?), jewellery and accessories. Interestingly, men adopting to 'feminine' clothes raised far more eye-brows termed as deviance - mainly because of the innate fear of loss of masculinity / shedding of masculine power. The power equation has been the biggest barrier to androgyneity. Social media dubbed this new man as the 'femiman'.

In India, Ranveer Singh has been touted to having brought the post modern androgynous culture to India. His flared skirts, colorful ensemble and stepping out of the codes that prescribe and bind men's wear made all of us sit up and take notice. Some thwarted him. But most admired the flamboyance.

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In India, androgynous clothing soon crept up the popularity or at least awareness ranks. Dhruv Kapur of DRVV fame started crafting a new era in men's fey wear - with tunics and skirts making waves in the man's wardrobe. "For me, it is more an expression of power rather than gender. Power has traditionally been associated with men. Through androgynous silhouettes, there is a sense of power being transferred to women. Making women look more masculine than men — not only does this change gender stereotypes, but it is also an empowering gesture. It is not a fad, it is here to stay. Something as simple as a skirt can look androgynous, purely because of its cut.”


Image result for dhruv kapoor androgynous collection for men

Image result for dhruv kapoor androgynous collection for men

However, androgyny in India is nothing new - in fact its the rise of the Phoenix. The Maharajas had long sported the androgynous look -with jewellery, colourful clothing, angarakhas and achkans. Floral designs and fauna motifs are not unknown to men's fashion. 
Today the androgynous fashion is more about just clothing - its about expression of a bold statement of equality - where men too crave for the colours so long held into the female territory. The blurring of boundaries, gender bending and the rise of unilateral codes of power and expression point out to the macro cultural equanimity that most have come to expect and accept today. The deviant only rapes / molests / is regressive towards the females : mainly because in "the survival of the fittest" trend of today which is pronounced more strongly than ever before - the men feel threatened by not only the women's rising power and status in the society - but also, majority men's acceptance of the new social code. 
Let's now come to the second observation - 


2 Rise of Femininity - The observation comes at the back of observing my baby sister and another girl of almost the equal age. Both are almost 6 and extremely feminine. At 6 I would have expected most of the girls would be gender neutral in terms of outlook or dressing. But to my surprise 6 year old is not completely child-like anymore. They are adulting earlier today - be it their lifestyle, appearance, outlook towards relationship or even their own self-perception. 

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For instance, the 6 year old today easily knows and uses the language of having a boyfriend / girlfriend - to them the difference is clear from the viewpoint of the emphasis placed on the distinct status of either. The way they see their elders speaking to their significant others on phone or 1:1, is the pathway for them to emulate and bring the nuances in their own conversations.



In terms of appearance, there is a special craving for make-up and feminine accessories - viz. bindi, dupatta, jewellery : the mother's wardrobe becomes the raid point as it symbolizes femininity. This is in stark contrast to my own childhood where at 6 I was seen playing cricket with the boys in shorts - a defiant attitude towards being typecast into a feminine mould of playing with a generic kitchen set or the Barbie doll.

Today, its the opposite. There is a deeper inclination to the 'codes' (or so we see it to be) of femininity - or maybe its the adulting of children that is more noticeable and we term it as femininity. Adulting would have been a phenomenon that could have been related to teenage years - instead it has rapidly progressed to start early - now from the age of 5 or 6.

Rise of femininity also includes the overarching attitude of there is nothing wrong in being a female - indeed there is nothing wrong in it but so long we were made to believe that certain aspects of femininity were wrong to be embraced at a certain age / life stage. Now, there is no boundary. The men too do not have an expectation benchmark - instead the mere need from life is to flow without borders, demarcations and markers.

Rise of femininity is also rampant therefore among the men - ergo their own contribution to it by their androgynity.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFmKbUAmFNI

In fact, this brings to mind the original reason which is a question that started off this rant : are we headed for a world that is supremely feminine? Is patriarchal archaic hold slowly fading away to a more feminine society (equally applied for men and women?)

Food for thought? Would love more examples and observations - as well as accounts for the impact at micro and macro level to the socio-cultural melting pot we live in today..




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Thursday, October 19, 2017

#METOO

Image result for #metooIt was twilight when the Man and I went to walk our dog. We walked in companionable silence till dusk settled into a velvety starlit night. Our puppy trotted by happily - seemingly affected too by the same spirit if magicality that shrouded that evening.

As my eyes turned star-wards, I asked the Man what he most liked about the our complex. He rattled off a list of facility based benefits that was otherwise amiss in other places he has lived at. For him the woe was the lack of an easy access route to a market place - the act of hopping into the local grocery or stationary shop within the locality. 

When he switched the question to me, it was one word that summed it all. SECURITY. I feel 'safe' at the campus - with its security guards everywhere and light at every nook and cranny. 

As we discussed, the Man marvelled at the simplistic need of the woman-kind today - the longing for a safe and secure place to live at. 

I spoke about the many experiences that I have faced - in fact girls / women have faced all over. The staring and the spontaneous breaking into a song by men at any place you walk into - I do wonder how men are hard-wired to do that? Is Bollywood ingrained in their veins that when blood rushes to the head from the below-belt region, a song with the occasion - specific lyrics pops up on their sinewy lips? 

There have been times when I have taken the public commute to find men bursting at their seams literally to graze past - the frequent 'accidents' seemingly a normalized routine curve. As a woman in India - may be globally too - you are socially conditioned to give men the benefit of doubt - keep giving them as a process and lose your own self-respect in your eyes. 

Everytime I wear a short dress or a short skirt - men leer. Funny to notice that more than men, women too objectify critically - I understand : its a primal instinct of survival of the fittest (albeit the sexiest). 

Many a times, when I am at a coffee shop or a restaurant, men casually pop up at your table (when they see that the chair opposite is empty as they cannot fathom that a girl can like her own solitary company) - and say "Hi!". You may choose not to answer to which these men say - "Why don't I have the right to say Hi?" - Question : who on earth gave you the right? 

At Gurgaon, I have been chased from my way to home from gym by the men in cars - the testosterone hit from the weights and the thrill of 'exploring' is the adrenaline rush for the men. It comes to the girl then to keep cool and outsmart. Question is : why? 

It seems a normalized pattern - that girls day in and out have to live through. It may scar or scare - but we must always bow down to the patriarchy. After all men are stronger right? They can disarm and harm and that's why parents always condition their little girls not to 'lead'. 

Right?!

Bullshit. 
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I am amazed to see the magnitude of sexual assaults against women today - my social media pages are flooded with the accounts - some gory and sickening while some a mirror experience of my own. It somewhere classifies men into segments -

  1.  heart ruled 
  2.  mind ruled
  3. dick-ruled. 
The descriptors are obvious for the segments - but the alarming factor is how one man can be all 3 all at once. 

I am happy to see women across the world stepping up to simply voice out - it's a movement that calls to attention how a micro-trend can actually be potentially leading to a macro change (and not vice versa). 

#MeToo campaign deserves an applause - it cannot be measured by the action standards of the government. In India, where inflation cannot be curbed, its a far cry to curb more #MeToos. However, what the campaign did is to bolster confidence in women like so many of us - to simply echo the most obvious but the most hushed. 

It also brought to light " A few good men " who somewhere too get suppressed in the stereotyping of men as "xyz". What the movement needs are more men stepping up, more women speaking up, more women in power today taking the corrective action steps. Till then, the movement will just be another WOM. Hope it doesnt bite the dust. 

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dare to Love

A rainy evening with a filter coffee in hand my pensive mind processed the current events pathologically. Too many things have been said and done - some never done but thought aloud about.

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Flashback - a little furry puppy came under the wheels almost. No mother, no litter nearby.  Orphaned at 35 days. First thought - stray, must have run atray. Second thought - let's find it a home.

We grew up and grew tired of the teething woes - her teeth seemed incisive enough to make us decisive about giving her up. Marks, cuts and bruises on my skin seemed a tell a gory tale - but nothing as bland as pup-teething!


Couple of times, when the pick-up was finalized, the last minute back-outs soon started an alarm bell. I had wondered where did she land at my abode with furry paws - the 5w-s and 1 h of her existence / co-existence with me. Now, when we almost parted ways, why she never let go. Even in shadows!


Now she is firmly entrenched in my being and the 4 walls of my humble abode. Never will I ever think of giving her up - no matter the penance the growing up days impose on me or shoot me in a mellow daze.

She comes as a blessing - to relieve me of some of the past gloomy days : showing me the yellow rings of sunshine. Her slow acceptance of the human kind - may be kind human remains a question in her mind - and co-existence with a kingdom unknown of her own, seemed a joy to discover.

Dogs had always fascinated me. I had always wanted one. When the little one came into my life, I had been unprepared for it - defenceless too to her animal instincts. Giving up was the easy escape route. Yet when I looked deep into her soft chocolate eyes, I knew she was my home if not the other way round.


Jimmy's eyes tell their own story - expressive canvases they reflect her mood and security at shelter.
Her eyes turn woeful on the rainy day when she sits pensive staring at the footfalls of human life below. She is happy when cuddled - though 'to love' is not a language she yet knows given her tender life stage.


The Facebook pages I am a part of, tell appalling stories of dogs abandoned. When owners cannot take care of their dogs, given illness or the other excuses, they resort to the cheaper option of abandoning them on the streets. Few wait for a better home for their furry friend. What I have realized is to have a dog seems to be norm de plume of a well-off lifestyle : breeds of dogs a status symbol. But when the caretaker realizes the folly of ambitions, the furry friend is abandoned with haste and no backward glance. Nowadays, you see German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers or Labs - unhappily roaming around with the decorated collars but emaciated selves and hungry eyes.

Question - why take responsibility of another life, when you cannot give it a life?!

So many times, my parents or grandparent has urged me to give up my bundle of joy. They are scared of joy, I feel. Or are scared of consequences of joy - the corollary that brings bucketful of sobs. Most have grown up with pets of their own - trysts that tell their own tales but for their own child, that tryst must remain a chapter in a story-book and not real life. Real life must be walked only on rose petals - not shards that raw emotions can leave one with.

I remember couple of phone calls which have shaken me up - primarily because they woke me up to the ocean of differences between generations. I was told to put up my furry baby for adoption because when her time is over, I'll cry. I should not hence invite that sorrow into my life.

The words left me bereft of words. It seemed odd a life- lesson to exchange hands - how could one tell a younger one to avoid sorrow. Is that not a part of life that makes you grow up? Is that not how you turn into a realist?

The lesson shared should have been of celebrating each day of joy - and being sad when the time comes : the strength to fight the sorrow would be the moments of puerility shared ahead. They alone would sustain the dark days - the memories made and laughed at would greet every tear that would form at the corner of the eye.

Death - of a pet / partner / self - is an eventuality that cannot be escaped. The lesson shared should be of courage to love - #DARETOLOVEANDBELOVED










Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Second Fiddle

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A contemplative post - on the nuances of being a Second Fiddle. Recently I have been binging on Netflix - addicted hopelessly to period dramas. The Crown Season 1 finished in a day for me - and then my hungry eyes clapped onto Versailles.

Versailles - talks about the Sun King and his ambitious rise. Each and every frame captures the grandeur that Paris is, was and forever shall be. The glamour that formed the golden halo actually arose from Louis IV's golden period.

The actors are as illustrious as the set and setting. The director is able to take the creative leap back into the past - enlivening History and my own perennial love for European History.

However, when all shines bright, a rather 'queer' character creates a curious headline for himself. None other than the King's brother, Phillipe.

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Phillipe - played by Alexander Vlahov - is an unfortunate case of chance going in the way of change. A cavalier at heart with Chevaliar in his heart - Phillipe makes a strong argument of how the Second Fiddle in fact is the fulcrum to the head.

Phillipe - a couple of years younger to the monarch who is famous for his line "I am the state" - had been a brilliant strategic oversight - purposely left to enact behind the scenes in the King's Palace. His sulk is encapsulated in all its truth - he is but a mere human being, puppeted and parodied on by his own sibling and the rest of court

The brotherly ties appear infrequent - the bond spoken of only in dire straits. The King appears to merely tolerate his flamboyant brother - taking for granted his heart of gold.

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Phillipe - lost in the shadows, however chooses not to be overshadowed. His colourful interests make homosexuality the cover story of the court - his courting of Chevaliar despite heterosexual marriage is carried on in aplomb. His love-hatred for the King is evident through the words he utters and the words he hears back from Chevaliar. To make a mark and strike memory, he even dresses up as a woman and willingly is the laughing stock of the court.

Very seldom do his actions meet approval or thoughts find resonance. Yet he carries on with his life and duty towards the court - his latent desire to always be seen as a leader, at par with the Emperor.

In truth, Phillipe is a better war strategist - a decorated Army General and a clear headed pragmatic director of the battle-fields. His valour and astuteness is the talk of the town - much to the chagrin of the King who is seen as more of a "King on the chess board"

The Sun King does not like to be eclipsed - no matter the ties of the blood or the might of the brain to serve the State.

On reflection, I wondered. in our daily lives, how much do our lead roles need the support of the likes of Phillipe - the behind the scenes victory craftsmen.


Here are some of the common daily life scenarios 



1. At workplace :
You slog like a dog on the slides - the final report credits the seniority. Hours spent with a hunchback and 2 decade old eyes crowfeet-lined : yet there is a hapless joy or a joyless sigh. Why - is the question that's TOM.

2 In a relationship :
Face it or not, the woman plays second fiddle when it comes to decision making. Men are perhaps hardwired into under-taking all major decisions regarding HOME - finances, design, layout, hygiene, - you name it, you get it. The more you harp on "independence" or "equality" men see that as femi-Nazism and instantly look down through their flared nostrils. No matter the degrees, when it comes to life-partner, there is a degree of 'second fiddle' playing up its sad tune. Of course that builds up as a grudge and wham - the household war erupts. Wonder why men are not tagged as "home-maker"!

3. Within the  Famil(iar)y 
Sometimes the age wizened age, when they reach a certain age, they cross the 'ok-plateau' of naked joy on seeing the dominant many. Mostly its the father, the oldest friend or the brother. Its also the mother who by power of the womb places stake on the central decision making nerve of your body. You listen - if you don't go their way - you're branded a rebel.

4. The Autowalas
Driver's seat redefined - GPS proves directionally purposive but when it comes when it comes to ethicality : you're shot to the back-seat (literally and pun well intended!)


I am sure the world over there must be so many such scenarios. Playing the unc-credited for 'second fiddle' can lead a Grudge or the Fudge -


a) Grudge - lots on mind, nothing on lips except the smile crease. Pent up emotions - volcano like. Crows feet and forehead creases. Suppression and submission. Till a point. The main reason for this many of us who are coerced to playing the second fiddle, do so in conflict of their own base nature. The base nature cannot lie low or still for long.

b) Fudge - Lack of ownership and the happy passage of responsibility from one's shoulders to a more dependable one. Happiness at not being in the driver's seat but only a pillion. Not consultative - but an executionist. Key reason being the disengagement of mind from task or lack of alacrity. Such beings rate mental contentment higher : waste no energy on forming or holding a grudge.


The second fiddle thus has his or her own motivations, needs and expected benefits from the role. The role brings no glory - instead figures as more challenging as its multi dimensional and quite layered. Complexity of its existence and enforcement brings to light the poor inter-personal understanding and the main gap of treating one another on equal footing. Eye to eye can avoid the stye.

Monday, May 8, 2017

LinkedUn


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It's a hot summer day when the lady of the house enters the silent abode in a pensive mood. She takes her steps slowly and settles her sweaty self on the bed. She flips the AC button and switches it on the coldest temperature.

Its yet another defeat after a disgruntled work-day - now, quite her usual serve but still not her cup of tea. Of the fiery spirit but the dejected heart - she lies still as the hot tears fall. She tastes the salt in them and tries to wipe them away. Yet her hand seems to be powerless - as helpless as she.

She finds herself a misfit - a misfortune who dont understand the shades of corporate (or corporal?) politics - her naivety erodes her of her own positivity

She used to be a believer - a foolish hopeless soul who believed in the radiance of the career ladder, in the unequivocal ferocity of honesty and also in her own dreams.

But reality soon robbed her of any mirth - she lived away in her own state of exile, remote to the closest even. Her mind had become a numb conundrum - frail to the sounds of every dream crashing with a deafening roar. She found no voice of her own.

She saw all, happy and elevated. Her partner too seemed to be flush with joy - only blushed when comparisons lay stark,

She thought them all and thought them through - chased away the tail of of all thoughts and brushed away all hopes. She now preferred a blank space, where her mind was - she had killed the chatter.

She longed for a renewed chapter - to fill her with a rekindled vigor for life. She was ambitious - but the lackluster ways of her organization, failed to live up to her expectations.

Strung on the tight-line, her reflex seemed to pause her own acrobatic joy - she who dreamed to somersault and waultz into new professional highs - now pressed the brakes too hard and too fast.

All day, all month and all year - she found the empty notifications of someone else's good luck - of someone's new position / designation - yet she found none of her own making. She found the professional app to be a stranglehold - to serve as a reminder to her own folly or perhaps a mirror to ask the hard questions too.

The networking philosophy seemed to ridden with narcissism - the social media site had the noiristic under-belly of selfishness and individualism. Humanitarian ideals of helping others seemed to be amiss from its constitution.

Day after day, seeing others celebrate - made her celibate her own drive.
Her pale skin, lifeless eyes and cold around her heart - made her sickly in mind and soul.
She found no way out - stuck was she like a spider in her own web or womb.

Slowly she reached out and uninstalled the app.
She could not much help herself to change her destiny overnight - but at least enable herself to delete a sign of negativity in her life,

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

India -> the Auto-wala theory (copyright the coinage)

A couple of days back I read an article that cited stats on how India was the saddest country compared to her neighbors. The article brought a smile - for the citizens of today, you don't need Stats to verify what you feel and live through everyday. 

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Onto its 70th year of Independence, I wonder what all has the country done. My thoughts have been mirrored in the questions / thoughts raised by LSE as the panel too sought to answer the same maze-like venomous thoughts. (https://scroll.in/bulletins/54/as-india-turns-70-london-school-of-economics-asks-some-provocative-questions)

I am no Economist - I am merely a "General Class" citizen in a country where being a "GC" will land you nowhere. Reservation policies and privileges act against you. 

I live strata-ed in the middle class segment too - however the bulk of the population bears the brunt for the lack of vision the country shows - infallibly everyday! 

Taxes eat into salaries - so that eating OOH / at home seem a luxury. A water-stressed market now, the country shows remarkable finesse in being constipated in thoughts as well. 

Ergo selection of certain officers in the high post despite the Progressive Role Models of the country now. 

We have Virat Kohli - who  is globally known and acknowledged as India's youth icon. His aggression on and off field, the way he stands up for his values / beliefs as also his love for the opposite sex - tells a lot about the shape of the thoughts here today in our country. His social media accounts and the comments only testify the mindset of the youth today and his influencing power. 
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There is Farhan Akhtar who actively stands up to reshape age old patriarchal thoughts through his fervent public speeches and impassioned stance for equality at instances of the Vagina Monologues and his MARD campaign. 

Stand up comedies today exemplify the satirical outlook the citizens have started imbibing today - the humor is refreshing because they bring to life daily stress points caused by our macro structures stunting a progressive thought flow.


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Instagram is visual rendition of the how the people today are rising up against stereotypical thoughts - you only need to look at Saloni Chopra's account to understand the stigmas she is trying to debunk.  

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Bollywood now is ripe with examples of citizens standing against the normative thoughts or the constipated structures - e.g. Dangal, Pink, Udta Punjab among others. There are social messages being evinced through films such as Ki and Ka, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil or Dear Zindagi - that espouse the love and respect for the softer shades of life. The whole of celebration of individuality is so clearly apparent in the mass media platforms - with Bollywood playing a pivotal role today. 

Despite such thought movers and soul shakers - we only need to look at certain mismanagement examples -  the over flowing frothy lakes, polluted potholed roads, incessant honking at roads and junctures, lack of pedestrian walking spaces, improper planning of infrastructure with the commuters spilling onto roads and just about being saved from being run over - to understand that despite the thought progression, the country remains myopic ; unable to internalize the actual "winds of change". 

The question therefore remains in all its perversity - is our country not really reading the though trend or listening to its citizens? And if that be so, where is our Democracy? 

Despite the apparent progress we witness in our role models, why is Regression setting in with flares of communal-ism? 

A part of it was answered the other day I took an auto ride to Koramangala. As my eyes roamed around the traffic signals, a thought struck at how the autos / auto walas represent the core of the Indian mindset today. If you look at auto-walas today, you know the barriers to progress of our land. 

How we see autos today - (specially in Bangalore) 

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  1. Untrustworthy - an unusual alacrity to over charge beyond reasonable means
  2. Insect-like - crawls into any spot in the traffic without regard to other commuters and crowd around in hoards. Just like insects or the moths to a flame. 
  3. Jugaado - the quintessential Indian word to describe the mentality. Squeezing for any benefit from anywhere and anyhow. To get what you want is the goal - the short cut is not even a backward glance. 
  4. Malefic - accidents are only a "touch" away as the autos try to out-maneuver traffic to its whims
  5. The "kuch bhi chalega" mentality - least effort placed at being ethical but most at con-conviction
The article is meant to make people think - though the article also wonders what happens when citizens think? Does the country take note of the citizens thoughts and needs? Where are we living and what is the future? How can India become a super power when it has slipped from Developing to an Under developed world?