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. 

Image result for india saddest among neighbours

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? 



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Lost Woman

Indian mentality and mindset is always anchored to a man - for a woman. There is no place for identity or self-confidence. And sadly, the docile meekly but firmly try to impose the same "civilian" codes on other women.
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Here is the Pretty Story of a character called Radha. Her name semantic of the pedantic joy she spread as she poisoned her Krishna.

Radha met Krishna when they were mere children - innocence was more part of Krishna's story. Krishna was idealistic, filled with notions of clouds, wonder and magic. In his shape of a woman, he never sought a form - rather completion. A reader, a leader yet a voice never angry - Krishna chose the might of the pen over the sword in most cases of his life. Ergo, the spiel of a spiral.

Radha on the other hand lived in disillusion and denial of her own self. Her folly was further misguided by her aimless but a conniving mother and a sisterhood of no shame. Her animatics had no action point - reason saw no fruition because there was no base. Radha lived in the world of signs and notion - love meant the man chasing her, relationship meant her assertion over the man and motherhood meant her complete control.

The children in these two wanderers soon grew up - Radha a more vicious and a vivacious self, Krishna a nomad but curiously a shelter-seeker.

Radha and Krishna remained steadfast friends - both awed by the dissimilarities they brought to each other : as a stark grey in their rainbow worlds otherwise.

One day, the story of Adam and Eve caught their attention - and funneled down to a union. But one was prepared to dominate while the other saw no means of escape.

Marriage was always about the wins and losses, the gains and spoils and the hits and misses. Full of oxymorons, the stature of marriage between the two souls became a bondage : one aware the other unaware.

The aware one sought passive means to escape - technology afforded a convenient world. The friends made over social media suddenly seemed more real, the sexting became the pleasure principle while the digital flings the course of corrective action. For the unaware, ignorance remained bliss - as she lost her own personhood in the miracle of her being.

Radha, felt her womanhood with every passing day. She asserted her illusioned omniscience on the more knowledgeable soul - drawing wonder at her courageous folly. She fought for attention - around her there were shards of glass for others to walk on as they meekly tread her path in life. She remained joyless - full of spiteful dreams and made others lose any spark of life too. Yet she never woke up.

In their blissful ignorant world there were two sudden occurrences. One was the dawn of cherubic innocence - and the other a Game of Thrones. As random has no play in  this world - so did the Theory of Coincidence wreak havoc in Radha's image of a perfect life.

In a day, stripped off her colors, she remained stranded - feeling her own self-pity mocking herself. Her womb felt heavy - yet she remained untouched by remorse.

She found flaws in everyone, argued without a base, wanted to crush all with all her force and be the Kali. She never ever was the Creator, anyway. She felt the fumes of the blue murderous rage awash her dark soul, her charred eyes burned red as her heart rot away in jealousy. Insecurity ate her vision of life - she dug her claws on every back she found : regardless of child or adult.

Radha was a function of her hatred - she spread no love even to her own flesh & blood. Krishna, lay at crossroads of his own way to Life and at the Destruction of a loveless life. He prayed for the smile while the tears poured all around him. His idealism lay shaken, his belief in Radha's maturity lay broken.

Both were at opposing ends : Radha's insecurity her barrier. Yet she saw nothing of it, the supremacy of her conceit found every vein capricious in Krishna. The battle ensued and exited with Krishna on his path to victory and Radha stranded on an island of self-woe : still blaming others for her own state of negation.

As days passed, Radha grew lonely : her need for a man proliferated to choosing Tinder over the reality of life. In her definition of love, she had sought to impress upon Krishna, her tattooed presence. She had wanted to be his Manna - but all she did is break his own Mojo. She sought for a world of passion, instead she brought bitterness into every household she stepped into. She wanted security of a man, as her mother had taught her - but instead, she made the man insecure of his own self. She felt unwanted, unloved, dejected - but never really questioned her own self and the tears she brought others with her own unethical life-path.

The story of Radha and Krishna - inverts the reality of the mythological story we have grown up with. The root of the story is love and blind faith - the germ is the concept of unconditional love that made Radha blind to any man.

My story here, is metaphorical of the modern day relationships : where the Saas-Bahu serials fueled the stereotypes of a relationship which find followership in even the most progressive.

The mindset of a woman towards the man in India / or maybe outside, then becomes a case of ownership and pawn. Her pride lies in domination of his spirit - unknowingly she herself buries the relationship though in her crude uninformed mind, she begins to believe that she is the Saviour. There is no "Lover" in people like Radha here - they only seek to be loved but have no knowledge of how to impart love. Such women, are lost and "loose" - they are the moles that turn cancerous. Their perennial islandic worship of their own selves - never ever being perceptive to the man's emotions - makes them critical of every blessing. The man is the Provider - not the Partner. The man is the Caregiver - but not the Friend.
It's still a sad world and women like Radha deserve a sad ending.