What is Wrong With Us

Women

A few days back, I was talking to a friend of mine. She was in quest of a place to stay, near her office.

She: My friends and I are looking for a house around this area. Would you help us in finding one ?

Me: What are you looking for, 2BHK or 3BHK ?

She: No, I am actually looking for PGs.

Me: Rented houses would be more comfortable than PGs. Why do you go for a PG ?

She: No, parents wouldn’t feel safe putting us in independent houses.

Why does an independent woman in an independent country feel unsafe to make a living.

Whats wrong with us ?

A few excerpts from the official statements made by socially accepted individuals.

“The female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities; we should regard the female nature as afflicted with a natural defectiveness.”

“When a woman has scholarly inclinations there is usually something wrong with her sexual organs.”

“Direct thought is not an attribute of femininity. In this, woman is now centuries … behind men.”

“If rape is inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”

“The poor fellows, three of them have been sentenced to death. Should rape cases lead to hanging? Boys are boys, they make mistakes. Two or three have been given the death sentence in Mumbai. We will try and change such laws…we will also ensure punishment of those who report false cases.”

“Hindu women should have between four and ten children”

“Just because India achieved freedom at midnight does not mean that women can venture out after dark. They should ensure that they do not board buses with few passengers. The woman should have thought twice before boarding the suspicious private bus that night. Though the incident was condemn-able, she should also have behaved keeping in mind the situation. Although it [Delhi gang-rape] was a minor incident, Soniaji made it a point to meet the protesters when they called on her.”

“Pakistan’s powerful Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has passed a draft proposal for a bill which recommends that “husbands must be allowed to lightly beat their wives” in case the later behaves erratically.”

Ain’t equality a birthright of every individual ?

What’s wrong with us ?

From the advent of civilization, we have collectively taken a hypocritical stand in one aspect, which is prejudice against a sexually dimorphic human species. Our rivers are named after women, our Vedas insist the parents to gift their daughters the intellect and the power of knowledge before she gets married, our customary practices reiterate women to light the lamps for Agni to symbolize the absence of darkness and grief, and the very same custom was cool with pushing a widowed woman into the same Agni.

The same hypocrisy still exists in our everyday life.

Those “Don’t cry like a girl.” provokes from the elders, those “ Are you a girl ? Won’t you come outside and play with us” taunts from your seniors, those ” Girls will marry and go, you should work hard to get settled” free advice from the entire world.

Those “She has a good hand writing and ability to mug up” lame excuses we tell our parents when the girl next door scores better than us.

If a Woman voices her opinion call her a “Slut” , If a woman is successful call her a “Witch“, If husband fails in his business, call his wife “Unlucky“, above all if a girl refuses to accept your proposal, “Strew acid at her” or lest “Kill not just her but also her character“.

Ain’t Gender difference a matter of chromosome ?

What’s wrong with us ?

In a society where still a girl’s dress speaks about her character, the caste flashes first in the headlines instead of the fact that a girl was raped, the concept of Consensual Sex is worth unmentioned.

Equality shouldn’t stop with drafting just a bill. It should be in the very essence of society, right from “building toilets in motels where men find open ground to pee and women are left with just two choices; One is to go in search of darker places or lest control the advances of kidney” to “treating a woman with good will not because she is a woman but an individual”.

Respect a woman not because you have a mother or a sister. Respect her for the person she portrays.

Misogyny is no less shittier than racism.

When She Said her Passion is Dead

Source: alansvejk.com
Source: alansvejk.com

“What’s your passion? What do you want to achieve?” I asked her. “My passion is dead. It’s buried” she replied with eyes full of tears. “I’m a girl from a conservative family. I’ve been trying to pursue my passion right from standard 8. I love literature, poetry, and design. The education institutions I studied in ruined my passions. Relatives and parents were discouraging me. Now after ceaseless disappointments and pains, I’m working as a computer programmer. If you ask me what’s my passion, I don’t have an answer. During my childhood I was into dancing, professional dancers asked me to pursue dancing as I had a great future in it. My grandma opposed it strictly and I left dancing. I used to write English poems but when my relatives and parents read it, they asked me “for whom are you writing these? Are you in love?” There ended my tryst with poetry writing. I rarely write nowadays. I played badminton in my high school. My staff said that if I’m trained in the right way, I may excel in it. Then my parents said, “You need to build your body and stay fit for it. You can’t do it”. I locked my badminton dreams in the locker of the gym. My team started hating me for what I’d done. I studied well, scored good marks and got into a decent college. I wanted to become a fashion designer. But, this passion too failed.” She continued speaking.

“I felt lost. I felt terrible. I felt stupid. You may ask, why can’t I pursue my passion without my parent’s knowledge? I can’t, because I’m a girl. I’m a stupid girl! Now I’m earning 50,000 per month. Do you think I’m happy about it? I’m a lifeless person. Nowadays all I think is, I want to get married and settle with a good husband. That’s the only good thing I am fit to do in this society. Do you think I can simply go and ask my parents to get me married? I’m living in a world of hatred, disappointment and humiliation. Just because I wear branded apparels and good-looking shoes, it does not mean that I’m happy. I can easily wear a fake smile. Do you think I can resign my job? I need to give a peaceful retirement to my parents. For that, I need this 50,000 per month. This is the hard truth brother. You may come across many women in your day-to-day lives. I can vouch for sure that this is the condition of almost all girls born into middle-class, narrow-minded, conservative families. I’m not blaming my parents. I blame my ancestors. I blame this biased society. I blame this education system and finally, I blame myself for wasting my life. My passion is dead, but I earn 6 LPA with some programming skill I learned in my college. Wish I was born as a boy, like you brother” saying this, she wiped her tears away, finished her coffee, and checked her face in the front camera of her iPhone. “Do I look fine?” she asked me. I nodded. She smiled and it looked fresh. “My parents will start searching for a groom soon”, she said with tired eyes.

It replayed again and again in my head when I saw her photo in the obituary column of the newspaper 2 years after this incident. There was a “Mrs” before her name.

Nothing Will Change, I Promise

Coffee

Another Sunday!

Sleep, eat, roam about lazily, repeat. This, is how my Sundays go, I’m sorry, used to go. Being 25 and unmarried just ruined everything. Sundays became the time for me to converse with strangers for like, half an hour and decide whether to marry them or not. Four such horrible Sundays passed by in three months. This, is the fifth.

“Varshu! Aren’t you ready yet?” That’s Amma’s voice. A worried voice to be exact. Not only her, everybody at home were so worried. Especially, when Amma’s sister’s cousin’s daughter Reshma got married at 23, Appa’s colleague’s daughter Sanjana quit her job to go to the US with her husband and ended up successfully giving birth to a baby boy at 22 and here I am, unmarried with a successful career. Now that, should hurt a lot!

Arranged marriages are complex, already. Horoscopes and the mathematical calculations that decide whether a boy and girl can have a successful and good married life make it even more complicated. Despite the horoscope matches with the four guys I previously met, nothing worked out even in the half hour talk, forget about the rest of life. Arranged marriages don’t give you soulmates, I know that. Just to find a person who is like, tailored for me and not only my horoscope, I am doing this.

“Varshini, listen. Please tell me what you are going to talk to the boy?” When Amma calls me that, it means she is pretty serious. And yes, that question is the outcome of all the fear she has about the way I talk.

“Sorry ma! I’ve told you everything that I feel and everything that has happened to me in life. But this, no. I don’t want to get advises on what to talk to the guy and what not to. So why don’t you just trust your daughter and let her be herself?”

“All these days, I’ve let you be yourself, and the result? You’re still not married while all the girls of your age are with two kids and settled down in life. I don’t even know if you care about us when you talk something to the guy. I’m talking to you! Varshini? Look at her, she is not even responding?” she told my father.

“Till you have this stubbornness, you’re not going to get married at all!”

“Chitra, please let her be! Varshu, I believe in you. Just talk whatever you feel like talking okay? Now go, get the bike key” Appa. Someone who trusts me to the fullest and believes whatever I do will be right.

“Thank you for all the trust that you have in me, pa. Just wait for two minutes, I’ll be right back” I had to actually fight my tears on the way back to my room.

Amma didn’t mean any of those harsh words, I know that, but I had tears filled in my eyes and a sudden rush of negativity.

How can I spend the rest of my life with a person who doesn’t like me the way I am? Am I that terrible a person that nobody will ever like me? I was lost in these thoughts! I had so many questions. I know someone who would have answers to all those questions too. I logged into Skype and waited for Shravan Kumar to come online.

Shravan is my best friend since the time when hormonal changes made us adults, so basically, we know both the child and adult part of each other. Gender has never been a bar for our friendship. He knows me in and out and we share literally everything that happens to each other. We’ve discussed about arranged marriages right when we were teens. He used to ask me “How do you decide whether a person is your life partner in just ten minutes?” I mean, how right he was?!

He came online. “How long should I wait for you?” I shouted.

“Hello! I was ju… Hey wait? Were you crying? What’s the matter, Varsh?”

“Shravan, this is the fifth guy that I’m about to meet. The guys whom I met with before apparently ‘didn’t like me’. Am I that bad a person? Mom says I won’t get married till I change, I don’t know… I am just too low. I’m kind of in a complex that nobody will ever like me. It’s all bleh! Shravu, can you… can you actually come here?”

“Why do you think so much at a time? Varshini, get this straight into your head. You’re the most confident and strong woman I’ve ever met in my life! And YOU are failing to be yourself because of some stranger guys?”

“I don’t know, Shravu! I just hate this phase of my life. It’s ruining me!” tears that I controlled earlier fell mercilessly from my eyes.

“Stop crying now. This is not something that I want to witness over a Skype call sitting several thousand miles away. You shouldn’t let any situation ruin you Varsh. I have seen you face worse crises and you’ve handled them boldly. Just throw everything out of your mind and go meet him as Varshini Raghuram. For now, you are not her.”

“Okay if I be myself, you think this guy will like me?” I asked him like a kid.

“That, we can’t tell. But… ”

“Varshu it’s 5 minutes to raahu kaalam! Can we start now?” I just realised that I kept Appa waiting.

“Okay Shravu, that’s Appa. I will leave now. Can I have a hug?”

“Yea you can. Hugging and supporting you with all my might. Now stay calm and be yourself, don’t forget that!”

“Alright! You go to bed now, don’t stay up too late.”

“Yea, I won’t. You take care and ping me when you’re back! Love you dumbfuck!” and he kissed me good bye. “Love you too! Bye!” Talking to him was like a therapy, I felt so relieved and positive. This asshole should’ve been here with me, I thought as I started yet another journey to find my better half. Whoever invented this word to describe a spouse is such a legend. Appa’s bike stopped.

Okay, I’m in front of Adyar Ananda Bhavan, a restaurant which is usually suggested by my parents (I guess even that was years ago, they in fact come up with suggestions like BBQ Nation and Cream Centre these days) and Harish Rajagopalan has asked me to come here, of all places.

“Varshu, he’ll be waiting for you. Once you finish talking, come back safely in an auto or give me a call”, Appa told. I just wanted to go back home with him right away.

My eyes quickly scanned the entire restaurant to find a face at least little similar to the one they saw in SS matrimony (One can never rely on the photos in matrimony sites, they are always the best possible photographs of the person). I couldn’t see anybody like him so I called Appa and asked him to call Harish and find where he was (Tambrahm has it that the guy and girl shouldn’t exchange numbers before finalising the wedding). Looks like he has been waiting for me in the first floor.

I entered the hall and there I could see him, pretty recognizable. Harish Rajagopalan, height 6 feet 1 inch, weight 75 kilos, Senior Software Developer at Zoho Corporation, Chennai. Above all this, something that is of maximum priority, he is Bharadwaja gothram, Kadaga raasi, Poosa nakshathram.

“Hi! I’m Varshini. Harish?”

“Hey! Hi Varshini! Vaa ukkaaru (Come, have a seat)” That isn’t the way you address a stranger, I thought as he went on. Not judging, though.

“So, how does it feel with all the marriage alliance – seeking and the horoscopes and stuff? Boring isn’t it?” So that’s how you start a conversation? Not judging, again.

“Haha yea” Faked it.

“So Varshini, if I’m right, I’m the fifth guy that you’re seeing for marriage?”

“Uhm, yea?!” I stopped with that, though the voice inside me screamed ‘You have a problem with that?’

“Do you know why the four guys you saw previously rejected you?” That was it. I couldn’t stand more crap of a conversation. I mean, who does he think he is to use the word ‘reject’?

“Well, I don’t know Harish! I don’t want to, but let me guess, those guys might be as narrow-minded and drunk with arrogance as you. I am not jobless to come all the way to a place like this and get ridiculed by a stranger! You know what?! Before you say a word, I’ll just leave! Good bye!”

I entered home intoxicated with anger. “Varshu, why are you home so soon? Did you like him? What happened?” I just brushed all these questions away and stormed into my bedroom.

When I woke up it was 8 in the night! Shravan’s call woke me up! “All the best da” I blabbered in a sleepy voice. “My exam got over an hour back. So what happened in the meeting? Was the guy cool?”

“He’s the most disgusting guy I’ve ever met Shravan. Rude, arrogant, ill-mannered…” I narrated him the entire story.

I was so pissed and there was Shravan trying to ‘draw positivity’ out of this incident. “You know what, I’m really proud of you for being this bold. Before you went, you were all down and after meeting him you’re at least not low, in fact you shed all that complex shit though you are pretty angry. I should thank the guy for that.”

“Yea, right! That’s how you thank someone who insulted your best friend!”

“No. That’s how I thank a guy who made my best friend speak her heart out.” Actually, I didn’t realize that until Shravan told, I did open up, yea.

Appa came in “Varshu, you woke up? Harish called just after you reached home. He apologised to you, seems like he had a really important work and so he had to leave. Only then did I and Amma understand why you came early. Thank god, he called and informed. That’s why I didn’t wake you up!” Okay, I didn’t have the slightest clue of what was happening! Why did he have to lie to my father?

“Sorry pa! I can’t see him again. I’m done with him.”

“But… why kanna? He just apologised for leaving early, no? Are you angry for that? ”

“It’s not that pa…”

“Okay, we will discuss about this once you are done talking in the phone, alright?” He went outside the room saying this.

“There’s nothing to discuss pa!” I shouted at the void behind the open door and continued my phone call “Varsh, what was Appa saying? I heard something like the guy wanted to see you again?”

“Yea, I don’t know why he lied to my dad that he was the one who left. Anyways, I don’t want to see him.”

“Varshini, you should watch out for this guy! I think he is cool and I also feel that you never let him talk. Probably that’s why he wants to see you again. So you know what, you have to meet him again!”

“No way, Shravan! I won’t meet him again.”

“No listen… ”

“You listen! The guys whom I met before, told my parents some stupid reasons after meeting me to avoid the alliance, alright? This guy, isn’t even that courteous. He was so rude, blunt and spoke to me in such an arrogant way.”

“Varsh, hang on. Just recall what you told right now. The fact that this guy is different from all the others came out of your mouth. And you know what, he never said he didn’t like you. Even if he said so, he told it to you at your face directly right? So, isn’t he your type?”

“Don’t try to change my mind-set Shravan. I just don’t want to see him again.”

“Varshini Raghuram, if you don’t have a valid argument against my view, just shut up and listen to what I say at least.”

“No it’s not that… ”

“You’re time is up. You’ve not got a point against Shravan! Accept your defeat and agree to meet that guy. Go and tell Appa, NOW!”

“Fine. Bye”

“What does that mean?”

“It means I’ll go talk to Appa and agree to meet him, alright? Bye” He laughed and I kept the phone down.

I agreed to meet Harish again on Monday after office. This time he asked me to come to KFC, a total contrast of a place!

“Would you like to have something? To eat, to drink?”

“Krushers will do. Thanks”

“Okay I’ll order Hot Wings for me!” Hot Wings… is supposed to be chicken right? Oh my god, apparently the white cross isn’t pure white. He continued talking “I’m sorry, are you still angry?”

“Why do you even bother about all that? Please tell me why you lied to my dad and why you wanted to meet me again.” I was about to utter few more words, but he spoke like a rapid-fire, “Because I like you and I wanted to spend more time with you” Shravan was so right in telling that this guy is outspoken, I thought.

“Wh… What?!” I gasped.

“Yea! Just let me complete what I was about to tell you yesterday, will you?” our order came. “Chicken saapduviya?” (Do you eat chicken?)

“No!”

“Yea so, the question I asked you was to give a good start to the conversation, but I just didn’t use the right words… ”

“Okay, you asked me if I knew why those guys ‘rejected’ me. This, you believed, would’ve given a good start?”

“Yea, I know. I apologise for the word. I just meant if you ever thought why those guys would’ve responded in negative.”

“No I didn’t. In fact, I don’t want to think about all that.”

“Well, even if you don’t want to think about it, I want you to know, so please let me talk…” he continued. “Uhm, my family kind of did some ‘research’ about how you are as a person and all that. So… they were told you are a bold personality, outspoken, talented and everything, but they were also told that you are not a ‘cultured person’, you are quite ‘modern’, and you always hang around with the guys, you know, such stuff.”

“Oh okay, so you say that those guys would have ‘rejected’ me hearing all these? You know what, I really don’t care… I…” I… was interrupted.

“Relax Varshini! Just calm down. Will you please listen to me fully?”

“Why should I listen to what people bitched about me? Huh?”

“Because I want to let you know that I don’t give a fuck to those opinions of people.” I got bowled over by this reply, to be frank.

“What are you saying?”

“I seriously didn’t want to judge you with all these talks. I just wanted to let you know what is going on around you, considering that you might be clueless about what really went wrong with these guys that met you. And that just didn’t go the way I wanted, I’m sorry for that. In fact, I feel if there’s mixed opinion about a woman and there are people who bitch about her like this, she must be someone who follows her heart without giving a damn to what people think about her. Above all this, if you hang around with so many guys as they say, all of them can’t be your boyfriends, right?” he winked. That sentence angered me.

“Oh, so? If I had a boyfriend and I broke up with him, you’d have judged me like the rest of the people?”

“Absolutely no! I’d think that the guy whom you broke up with couldn’t just hold on to a woman like you.”

“A woman like me? How well do you know me to make that statement?”

“Well, I don’t know you much, but I would like to know more about you! Because, I personally feel that you’re an awesome woman already!” I was afraid that I would decide in haste if I stayed a little longer. So I told him some lame reason and rushed home. When Appa and Amma asked, I told I need time to think.

I called Shravan and told every word of the conversation I had with Harish. “See?! I told you he’s not a bad choice. This is why you’ve to listen to me…” he just ranted on. However, I couldn’t come to a conclusion with that meeting. Shravan suggested that I meet him again. But how, this meeting itself is ‘illegal’ according to my relatives and the elders in my family. I can’t ask my parents to meet him once again, so I chose not to tell them.

For the third consecutive day, I met him. He suggested that we walked the talk.

“Look here, Harish… to be frank, I loved the way you spoke yesterday. But, will it be practically possible to implement your views in life? I am even doubtful if they are really your views.”

“You thought I spoke all that to impress you? Well, honestly I was very careful with the tone or the words I chose, I did try to impress you as the first encounter flopped, but what I spoke, the content, it’s something that I truly believe in, yea”

“Harish, all these years, my dad has trusted me and given me the freedom to do whatever I like. I’ve seen girls of my age who had to face a lot of restrictions. My dad was different and yes, I’ve never spoiled his trust. He has been the ideal dad! All I wish for is one thing. I need a truly ‘better’ half! A person who can give me the same freedom my dad gave me and trust me like him. I don’t want anything to change after marriage. I say “Love you” to my best friend Shravan and kiss him good bye whenever I talk to him. I don’t want that to change. My job, the way I be with my parents, friends, I don’t want any of it to change because of a marriage. Varshini Raghuram should live life no different from Varshini R Xyz. Yes, I won’t remove my dad’s initials after marriage, neither will I refuse to add my husband’s name. I want everybody, I need people…“ I kind of spoke everything that I had in mind.

“What are you staring at Harish? I’m done talking!” I said.

“I’m going to tell my parents that I like you. You just think about it and let me know. ”

“What? Harish, you never told me anything about yourself?”

“What do you want to know about me?”

“What sort of a question is this? Tell me what kind of a person you are and what kind of a girl you’re looking for and all that, I don’t know?”

“The girl that I’m looking for is in front of me.” and before he continued, I got a mini heart attack!

“And what do I tell about myself? I love doing what I like and I admire and have huge respect for the people who do what they like. You’d have noticed yesterday, I eat non-vegetarian food despite being a Brahmin. I’ve not hidden this from Appa, Amma but yea, when I go for a meal with them, I don’t eat non-veg as they won’t like it. I’m quite broad-minded… uhm… not a people person, but yea it is not difficult for me to be with people either.” He thought a moment. “What else, I smoke when I’m tensed… that’s actually a rarity and I drink occasionally. I’ve not been in any ‘relationship’ but almost got into one. And yea, I’m a virgin.” He ended, laughing.

Okay, someone please call the ambulance. Varshini has fell!

“Hello? Varshini? You’ve got a problem with anything that I said?”

“Huh? What did you ask?”

“I asked if I told something wrong.”

“No! Not at all… uhm…”

“What are you thinking? I understand, you need time to decide, right? You can’t choose in 25 minutes the person with whom you are supposed to spend more than 25 years of your life. You take your time, Varshini. I can wait. I’ll just tell my mom and dad that I like you. So, if at all this marriage alliance is dropped, I’d be the ‘rejected’ one! Wouldn’t it be cool to reject someone?” He winked at me and bid good bye. It would definitely not be cool or right on my part if I ‘rejected’ such a guy.

Something in me said this shouldn’t be the last time I’m meeting Harish. I gave it a lot of thought and even asked Shravan. He was very happy and excited hearing the way Harish spoke. “Go for it Varsh” he had said. And finally yes, I decided to actually go for it.

There were six whole months between the day his entire family came to see me ‘officially’ and the marriage. Unforgettable days, they were. Roaming around the city, little meet-ups over a cup of roadside tea or paani poori, endless midnight conversations, fights that seemed cooked up just to experience the bliss of reconciliations that followed, and what not. He taught me how to live life, with a child’s innocence and an adult’s maturity.

Thinking of all this, here I am, sitting on Appa’s lap waiting for the holy thread to adorn my neck and he, was standing opposite to me chanting all the mantras. Everybody started gearing up all of a sudden while I just closed my eyes and prayed “Dear God, the smiles, the beauty, the wealth, the kin and kith, all these might not be with the both of us throughout our lives, but let the love stay forever. Not only Harish, his family and friends are all mine too now and I should never disappoint them in anyway. Let us both spread love, more love, again and forever.” With so much optimism, I opened my eyes, they were filled. Harish tied the thaali once around my neck, his sister Shalini tied two more knots and yes, I was married. I told Harish “I love you.” He smiled. He just smiled? “Won’t you say it back?” I asked. “Why should I? Don’t you know it, for you are mine now.” he said. I don’t remember a time I’ve been happier. I looked at Shravu, he was crazily waving at me and giving flying kisses to both of us. And I can’t describe in words how happy our parents were.

I dragged Harish and Shravu and told them “I want a group hug!” They both hugged me in a reflex and Harish told the cutest sentence that a husband can ever say, “Nothing will change, I promise.” That moment will be FRAMED in my heart, forever.

The End.

Easy God

Clasped handsIt is that time. You do not know him/her. Actually you don’t even know the language proper. You are not judged if you do not use the respectful plural for singular, when you address the elders. The karma points are not taken seriously, at least by the people around you. At this point you would have already been introduced to him/her. Then you are taken to school.

Now at this age (today), when you read random articles like this one, you might (or, I apologize and make myself clear inside these holy brackets ‘You choose not to’) realize this introduction was very peculiar than the other introductions you ever had. Ranging from people, the idea of mermaids, to complex school of thoughts that make you blink twice, really hard, or serious (worse) buy a book.

This one was different because you don’t know how you got acquainted. It was a simple process. That much you know. You were asked to believe, and you did. There was not any serious fight, because there was no harm. Believing anything never hurt, except some beliefs make legs liquid in the dark. So you might have nodded when people like parents, people who are the sole reason you can walk, talk, convey or comprehend, ask you to do such a simple thing.

Nod, ‘yes’, palms together closed eyes, knees on floor and bent-back, clasped hand and sharp glare, folded hands and heads up, the holy words which subtitles read out as  indistinctive murmur, daily bath, good deeds, indulgence on threads and people with more threads, company of books that won’t fetch marks but points, belief that all this will get one more close to the old acquaintance, the God(s).

Now, we can say we believe in god, at this point. He/she with no doubt is the most powerful entity ever known. No matter what word you use to praise or describe with awe, there will be people who will tap your shoulders to correct you with a better word. Some less powerful might pop bullets inside your skull, then you will know the right word.

The sad part is, god like Gandhi crosses a phase in every individual’s life. Gandhi? You like him, you think you are big you don’t like him, then you become really big to like him again, or you stay the same (disliking or/and not so big). Anyway he was an influential person, and still is. So is god in this matter, influencer, supporter and sometimes a resort. But he/she suffers a similar but only rougher phase in people’s lives. His/her very existence is suddenly doubted. You see things happen and you had attributed it to god, now you look back and remove god from the equation, because you have more time and no one calls you to play gully cricket. The simulation gears go work and you see the thing still happen just fine without god in it. You repeat it for several instances and you see things work anyway, without the god factor. God has not even been the sugar that you can manage without in a coffee, he/she was the bird you missed to see which flew as you sipped your coffee. The bird that did not even turn coffee into the tea you like. And of course no water to wine, so you begin to doubt, but then again you don’t have the time to think long.

Then phase two of the original phase. Reading now can never be considered time waste. You read about evolution. Survival of the fittest. Now you do the fitting. You fit the fact that god does everything that no one else did by accident or by purpose. So evolution becomes god’s act. Some deny, but that is what happened you argue. Animals died because they were not taller, killed and preyed upon for not being the right colour, starved to death because they shouted different. Natural selection the book calls it. You say nature is god, and you think one should hate god for this. You still love nature, grass and stars. So now denied existence in your heart and then got accused, god waits (you think).

The aftermath. It is exam, game, or a loved one in hospital. The almost 18 to 20 year old practice tries to drive you to a place of worship or tries to make you do the single sided conversation. It is dilemma time, you and your conscience have immense ego. So you can neither deny nor accept god now. You may pay for the taxi that people take to temple you decide. Later this becomes routine. Denial, doubt, dilemma, eat, not pray and love. Terrible cycle to deal with, and yet you choose this.

Now what follows are not facts and do not employ fact checkers to confirm or deny. Call it preaching if you want to be hard on me. Or just read. Just being the keyword here.

God was created to solve issues and to attribute the unknown to something. We still follow the same, we call god particle by the name ‘God particle’ because it is not understood yet. What is not understood is god. It is not in school text books. When you cannot define something in a textbook it becomes god. God is contextual. A dead man’s god is not a living man’s god. A child’s god is not the same as an old woman’s. If something cannot be done then it is left for god. Not for solving always, but sometimes for easy closure. Most people want good to happen when things are at the worst, when life is at the rock bottom. And many try to contact god wishing good to happen. So god is something that people relate with so much good and positivity. And by people, we are counting in billions.

I do not find it easy to quote Dawkins or Indian exports. So I quote from the subtitles of one of the best movies on earth ‘Om Shanthi Om’

If you want something from the bottom of your heart, then the whole universe conspires to get it to you.

So if you want something, just want it. Not need, yearn or ask, just want it. It might sound bad English but it should work. Mind you, Shahrukh Khan is the lead actor of the movie ‘Om Shanthi Om’ and the italics is his dialogue in the movie. But it is difficult to believe, and more difficult to keep believing that you will get what you want. It is tiresome to keep ‘wanting’ something when you doubt the result.

This is when god comes into play. Many ask god for it. Now you know for a fact that god is a belief of billions wanting things to be alright and they are always associating god with good. Don’t do complex maths, let me make it easy for you. It is just a big mountain of positivity. God after this realization, or acceptance will seem larger than life, interesting and trustworthy. The problem now boils down to just asking and waiting, because now a bigger force is working. It is convenient and it is free.

Whatever a person wants, is sent as something like a cellphone signal into the universe. One needs to keep letting the universe know that he/she still wants it and hence, help the universe help oneself. With god this process becomes easy. All they do is get a token rather than carry the heaviness around.

So this is why people choose to believe. And I believe that they need not be converted to a non-believer, or convinced that god does not exist. Let them believe, if you find it convenient you do too. The thought is simple, gives relief, and takes out steam off the brain and heart.

Going to a place of worship is also something similar. The non-science is also very relatable. Imagine you are going to an important place, filled with important people, and you need to present yourself the best. Will you take the short route of high traffic, garbage in narrow lanes, and urinating Indians, or will you take the cleaner longer road where you have a high chance of a person greeting you a nice day? Let us assume you have a lot of time to get there. Yes, you will take the longer route. Convenient and the waver maybe good looking. You will take the loud laughing room than the weird scorning room with an air conditioner. So people visit places of worship because no one makes them uncomfortable there and no one is. On top of that, it is a place filled with similar people (not the religion, the less judging believers. Less judging at least in this context.)

The objective is simple, mine. Let people be what they are unless they harm others. No one is stupid, don’t look at anyone that way because you have a big library or an E book reader with earphones. Maybe gently nudge when some think that god asked them to kill a lot, or when they think there was a calling to produce more babies despite the buses and trains overflowing, and economy bad, because they think god asked them to create more of what follows their way of living. More than that, your interfering kind heart will seem a big ugly nose.

Many do better after the belief phase. Works well in sports and money, but most scientist and writers still make a good living bashing the big man/lady. Just saying. And I am sorry if the words seemed preaching, never meant to.

‘He/she’ because my sister is a feminist, and I respect and fear Amir Khan. I really can tolerate a male god actually.

I Don’t

Marriage

Marriage is a common dream. The perfect moment where we are expected to find happiness… To feel content that the person standing opposite or next or sitting elsewhere is the one we’ve been waiting for all these years. There are age old dogmas which run in our society and the idea of marriage is one among them. Sure, it would have been the best practice years ago. But to keep following the same institution of marriage without posing questions about its practices in this era of enlightenment is a mistake.

There is a common tenet to exert dominance- both physical and sexual over a married woman by her husband. Sexual independence is only a dream to many women who feel bereft of having control over their own body. A UN survey says that 2/3 of married women are victims of marital rape. Marital rape is not an easy concept to be understood by many so to explain what it means, marital rape is when a married woman is physically or sexually abused by her husband without her consent.

Our society has been for long, driven by the idea of transaction that marriage also is being looked at as one. Matrimony is often seen as the transaction of ownership from the bride’s family to the groom. With such a transaction and signing of agreement, it is felt that open consent is given to dominate the woman involved and to reach any extent to implicate animalistic torture over her. Because naturally, she has been portrayed as a property according to this practice. There is a fault in the way people perceive marriage. It has shifted from the combination of hearts leading to asserting and establishing love for each other, to a menial idea of open and always available medium for sex.

The awareness about marital rape is so minimal that most women think of it to be a general practice. It is looked upon as a part in the process of getting married. The doctrine of ‘Pathi-Parameshwar’, wherein servitude to one’s husband is paramount is repulsive and to explain against it would only end futile. But how long can someone bear to stand such a torture. Stress after marriage increases abruptly for women due to various reasons, ill-treatment being the first. This is why as per another study, every six hours a married woman is forced to commit suicide.

She walked down the aisle, bursting with smiles. The veil and her bonnet combined couldn’t contain the outburst of joy on her face. He stood there, the guy who would spend eternity with her. He smiled too. She stepped onto the altar and looked at him. He was handsome, well built… a fine lad. She felt glee… Happiness attributed to the content that her parents have done enough justice to the belief she had in them- to have found her the perfect groom. Everything around her was pure magic and she felt ecstatic that this moment was just as she had dreamt. Perfect. All this to get beaten up, tortured, assaulted and feel deprived? Sounds wrong doesn’t it? Well, what is more wrong is that marital rape is not an offence punishable by law according to the Indian Penal Code.

It states that marital rape can only be punishable if the victim is under 16 years of age when the legal age for a woman to get married is 18. Such an age old legislation that is not even under consideration to be altered withal the idea of suppression leads to a situation where many cries of women have gone unheard of. The reason stated for not changing law with respect to this aspect, the reply given was that it would “weaken the institution of marriage”. Well if reporting marital rape would weaken it, I am startled if it was believed that upholding sexual assault would strengthen matrimony.

Well, what is more wrong is that marital rape is not an offence punishable by law according to the Indian Penal Code.

We all talk about ‘Mardaani’ and about how cool it is to be manly. Is it manly to assault and torture one’s wife for something as futile as sex? Is the woman you married just an instrument for pleasure and isn’t her respect supposed to be your priority? Is a woman supposed to be servile or is her life just to please you? Every woman has a say on everything that concerns her. Her body, soul and mind are hers alone and she has total independence over them just as anyone should. Anything apart from that independence is a violation that should be curbed for if a woman is not safe at home, how will she feel safe elsewhere?

So, if she consented to the marriage saying “I Do”, know that the “I Do” is not for anything and everything that is to follow.

Black is the New White

black is the new white

I stay frozen watching TV. The inevitable happens. 10 minutes after the show started advertisements start flashing. Advertisement of a popular washing powder shows white shirts getting whiter and brighter. I now imagine. What of black shirts?

****

The morning of the new year I happen to hear this story from one of my friend. He wakes up as early as possible that morning. He bathes. Makes him up and gets ready to hang out with his friends. Suddenly his mom yells at him. “Dai nalla naal athuvuma karuppu satta potukriyae. Vera ethaavathu potutu po(Why on earth are you wearing black shirt on this auspicious day. Wear something else and go)”. He sobs having left with no other choice.

****

I have been visiting countless number of temples since my childhood. Temples in India attract people in huge numbers. The point to be noted here is the diversity of people. I have seen black, brown, pale, white and people of all complexion visiting temples. As soon as I enter the shrine of the temple I see God in front of me sculpted beautifully in a BLACK sacred stone.

If Black depicts sorrow, God depicts sorrow too. If black depicts sorrow, every night is sorrow. The whole idea of black being called a sign of evil is obsolete.

Why is there diversity in complexion if God is partial to the colour white. Why are shrines of God Black in colour. We humans ourselves force the idea that black depicts sorrow and we ourselves go on sculpting the shrine of God on a black stone and worship it. Isn’t that unfair? Yes it is.

****

The fact that his mom’s words made my friend sob is a great sign. People of today’s generation understand the world better. Yes! They say we are losing the culture that has been in existence since a thousand years. But does that anyway matter? It is now enough if we know the past. Sati was a bad practice of the past. Didn’t we stop that cruelty? So everything of culture is not to be preserved.

Wearing white on auspicious days was a culture. But it no longer is valid. I have worn Black dresses on auspicious days. I haven’t felt even a tiny bit of negativity in it.

Black has nothing to do with sorrow. Black is nothing to do with being pessimistic. Black is nothing to do with black of those days. It is just another colour. It is just a part of light. It is just another colour that is visible to your eyes.

Just think of the blind. They love black. Infact they only love black. They see black. They live black. I have seen happier blind people than most of us. Black is no more a bad omen. If it is, it shouldn’t be.

Look around you. Black is inevitable. There is less white these days. Black is not bad. Black is the new white.

Juvenile Adult

Amar Chitra Katha

“And thus the lazy grasshopper learnt its lesson from the ant”. Getting your nostalgia kindled?

Do you still remember those Amarchitrakhatas and Panchantra story books? My childhood was filled with these stories either being heard from elders or read them fondly. These days we neither have elders at home who willfully say such stories nor these so called “books”. It’s always been the R. D. Sharma and JEE mains books right from sixth standard. Our society has evolved to such an extent that we teach an eight year old about sex education and not any of these meaningful tales.

Thinking about it, those weren’t just fairytales or bed time stories. They taught us life lessons. They molded us. Our perception, our opinion on the society. Present 2014 has no more of amarcithrakahtas ever being popularly talked about. Citing my own childhood days, I was blessed with wonderful souls who told me bed time stories until I was sixth grade. Trust me I never got bored of it. Story telling is an art and finishing with a social quality that should be instilled within nourishing young adults and is way beyond perfection. Such stories made me think. Grasshopper should have been a little more proactive if it had enough sense to know that winter is coming and storage of food was indispensable. King Harish Chandra lost everything but never lied in his lifetime so on and so forth. I would still be all ears if my grandmother could tell me bedtime stories. These stories always had interactions, human touch to it.

I couldn’t stop emphasizing the hard luck the growing toddlers face in this era. I had my eleven year old nephew coming up to me and talking about the jelly-bean software up-gradation in android phones. His parents were very proud in the right way their boy is growing up. I couldn’t stop feeling pity for them or for that innocent little human growing into a technology slave at such a young age. I was very curious to know how fortunate his childhood days are, and immediately asked him “what were his favorite panchantantra stories”? He gave me an awkward smile and it pains me so much to say I got silence for an answer. I wasn’t able to comprehend and digest the incident. I was flabbergasted. I got furious that innocent child had already adapted itself into the way how the society wishes it to be seen. Thanks again to modern technology and the proud parents who exactly knew what was unerringly needed for their child’s development.

The society, the parents, the teachers everybody wants the infant to grow, grow faster, mature, well-established, so developed that they don’t get a fair chance of growing, enjoying their childhood and learning what is necessary. Everybody wants a juvenile adult.

If you think teaching your child about physical abusing and harassing is essential then why not about Panchatantras and Amarchithrakhatas? Why not inspire the young bud with ancient rich civilization and culture rather than dumping it with harsh realities of life. It doesn’t mean that the child should be refrained from the harsh realities. It is just that we millennial from 80’s and 90’s generation feel we grew better and smarter than this smart phone era.

Opposable Thumbs, Not the Only Qualification

Monkey

A Prison For Your Spirituality

29th May. 2014.My birthday came by and I was taking in calls from all those people who remembered.

There was this certain well wisher who couldn’t make it to meet me in person as planned before, so naturally some time was spent discussing my birthday itinerary with said well wisher.

My birthday plans didn’t include the obvious early morning trip to a nearby temple, as I have never been a “Ummachi kaapathu” person before. But I was asked to visit god’s place at least this one time in my life, asked in a rather   firm way I must add.

So the resident god-house near my place of stay was an Aanjaneyar Temple in Mambalam,Chennai.

God was supposed to exist in every object of the universe and yet I had to go to Mambalam now to meet up with him. Completely acceptable logic to me .

So I went there to the monkey gods shrine, and since I didn’t know the standard procedure to take in the holiness of a place, I started looking for the prasadam stall.

After a few seconds of looking around, I found what I was looking for and found something else along with it too.

The temple boys had a monkey tied to the base of the prasadam table, maybe as a symbol of the deity they believe in. The monkey was suddenly the recipient of my curiosity, and believe me when I say I have unbound curiosity.

The monkey didn’t mind me at all, staring at me just as it had stared blankly at the countless visitors before me. There was a simple hemp rope attached to it’s right leg and the weight of the table above the rope inhibited my new friend’s movement.

I considered the monkey to be my newly met friend now, and tying the legs of my friends doesn’t sit well with me at all. So I removed the rope from it’s vestiges and both my friend and my curiosity were unbound now at the same time.

The table was not weighing down on him, the rope around it’s leg was now a useless piece and he could go anywhere he wanted to in all of west Mambalam.

Yet the monkey did not move.

The stare which greeted me when I first met him, was still painted across his face. He had no wish to be wild and free just like he was meant to be. Pretty content with scraps of food offered by god, he didn’t care to return to his normal monkey mindset.I realized that, according to him I was just an annoying brat on his birthday adventure.

That my people, is a narrative that fits even us greater simians. There are too many of us with beautiful minds in this world, only to have the beauty curtailed by the dogma of religious beliefs.

Religion is the thing standing between us and God. Isn’t that such a funny statement to make?

Religion, as opposed to it’s initial purpose of acting as the ladder to reach the almighty, has now become the mountain one needs to climb to overcome the burdens acting on one’s individuality.

The rope around your leg is growing tighter, and you are becoming less aware of your own capabilities.

It’s time to answer a small question. So, what type of monkey do you want to be?

Does it Even Really Matter?

Sex

Does it Even Really Matter?

I am supposed to be warning you that the following discussion is not safe for women, children and minors.

But here’s what I’ll tell you instead;

The discussion is not safe for people who aren’t open minded. (honest question,why is this topic taboo anyway?)

Sex.

Here, I said the word. And nothing happened, nobody punished me or anything. It is just like every other word. You just try saying it out and tell me if it feels any different.

This blog post is not going to be spicy (boo!). Nor is it going to be educational (yaay!). I am writing all this to know why sexuality is not looked upon as a personal preference but remains a topic which is only analysed in our imaginations.

There is no need to be discriminatory to a person just based on his/her sexuality, imagine somebody who wont let you sit next to them in a bus because you are wearing the wrong brand of jeans.

A person’s sexual preferences, just like a brand of jeans, remain his own choice which he doesn’t need to answer to anyone about.

In the country I live in, homosexuality is a myth which doesn’t exist, a disease which has been cured.

We try to make issues magically disappear by ignoring them.

It is a concept which most of us don’t understand, but that doesn’t mean it is a sin. Our ignorance of homosexuality is based on some points which really have to be discussed.

Our Laws:

Article 377 basically says that homosexuality is wrong while it really isn’t. Do we have a law which says sexual relations between a man and a woman is perfectly legal? We don’t.

Then why do we take up the responsibility of interfering with the private preferences of another set of human beings when it doesn’t really threaten us?. Here’s why:

We are afraid of differences.

Differences threaten us, they take us away from that orderly cocoon we built for ourselves.

A homosexual person is considered wrong not because we are under threat due to said person, it is because our cocoon gets threatened when it knows about such people.

We are scared, and that social fear translates to such laws which protect our un-informativeness.

Calling out “ah, gayyy!” at someone is not really funny. Even if #social #media tells you otherwise.

There are evil straight people and good gay people in this world. They are termed evil/good because of their sexuality deeds.

P.S: If god hated gay people as some of you claim, he wouldn’t have created them in the first place. So stop acting as if you have inside information on god’s opinion.

P.P.S: I am a straight person.