Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On a Collision Course

So much negativity in the world these days. So much devastation. So many deaths. Don’t you stop and wonder why? I do. Actually it’s not really much of a halt rather a question that keeps knocking at my mind subconsciously. Innocent people being blown out of an aircraft, innocent people dying in bombings around the world and then to top it all the robbing of innocence of a 6 year old in town. What has the world come to? Is this the apocalypse everyone talks about? Certainly seems so.

I don’t understand politics too well. But I do understand humanity, the basic concept of it at least. I’m not saying I’m perfect. Nobody is really. But I do recognize humanity in the broader perspective. In any case I’d certainly like to believe that I do. And that is why I feel that everything is not alright with this world of ours.

Imagine being on a flight and watching re-runs of F.R.I.E.N.D.S to pass the time. I do that all the time. Someone might have been doing just that when some Neanderthals fascinated with the idea of regionalism and power, rather politics, ended that life. I say this because I saw the picture of a laptop at the crash site, open as though it might have been in use at the moment of impact. So many lives lost, of infants and children too. I cannot bring myself to even imagine the horror. But is this the advanced world we boast about where people are killed for no fault of theirs and that too so terribly. What have we become really?

Gaza. It’s strange how convenient it is for the world to forget about the people stuck there. Imagine living in a war zone. It’s sad, these blatant mass murders on the pretext of selfish motives. It’s just politics on both sides leading to deaths, thousands and thousands of deaths. Life really is of no value. And sad part is nobody cares or a better way to put it would be perhaps to say that nobody cares for both sides of the story.

You might think why am I bothered since these are things taking place miles away. Perhaps you are right but I could as well have been on that plane you know. I had just flown through that European corridor in June and so had my husband this very month. In fact it could have been anyone. I feel so bad for those poor souls. So it bothers me a lot especially when so many innocent lives are lost. 

But still if you insist I’ll look around closer by. Maybe that will make me feel better? But you know what it doesn't feel better at all because what I see is a misogynist society that has stooped so low that it has destroyed the childhood of a six year old girl. What was her fault? Not only was she violated by that monster but by her teacher too who thought it was alright to send her to a dark room for punishment. I shudder to even imagine. Oh the horrors! Makes me wish to beat those responsible to death with my bare hands. That I’m angry and disgusted is an understatement really. Tell me all those who blame women for every damn thing, what was her fault? Was it her school uniform or was she inviting trouble herself? No answers right?

From a 3 to a 6 year old, from a 22 to an 80 year old, no female is safe. Tell me then what culture do we boast about? The next person that harps on that tune will surely get an earful.

What’s wrong with our world? If we can’t even keep a child safe then what’s the point of anything at all. Who abuses a child? Not a human certainly. Then have we moved towards being animals? Disgusting, distasteful, appalling and more. With all the gloom flashing all over newspapers and new channels lately let's hope that our world heals soon and along with it the wronged souls.

You know I grew up in Shillong and sometimes there would be curfews imposed suddenly around town. My mother tells me that during those times our head-mistress would ensure each and every parent that once the children are in school they are her responsibility and no harm will come to them. But what I hear now is that the schools see children as avenues to charge hefty fees. Nothing more. It saddens me really. I want to punish them but honestly what can I do except sign petitions and protest? So I don’t know about you but everything seems colored in the hues of disaster for now. I just feel we are on a collision course, don't you?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Musings of an Unapologetic Feminist...

Are you a feminist or just a man hater?

Are you really a feminist or are you just fascinated with the idea of feminism?

Many a time I have been asked these questions. Many a time I have been asked if I’m a feminist. But before I answer that let’s dwell a little on what feminism is. At least for me? As far as I’m concerned it has got something, in fact everything, to do with the quality of life of a female. It is something that reminds the world that a woman deserves respect and has every right to lead the life of her choosing. For me it’s not only the age old fight for equal rights but something more than that. It is to remind the world, especially the Indian society, that a woman is more than just a wife or a mother. It is to ensure that a woman is not punished for the clothes she wears or is not blamed for being raped. It is to ensure that marriage or motherhood isn't the culmination of a woman’s life until she wants it to be so. It is a movement, a vision and a life long struggle to fight the highly misogynistic society of ours in whatever little way possible.

So I don’t know if it matters but still I have this sudden desire to announce to the world that of course I’m a feminist. Why would anyone even think otherwise? Let me also let you in on a little secret, I’m proud of being one. Call me what you want. Define me as you wish, not that anyone really cares, but I think that’s what I will be as long as I walk this earth. And I’ll do it with pride. Here are just a few of the reasons why.

To ensure that every time I’m asked to wear a saree for a client visit I stand up to make it clear in no uncertain terms that what I wear has got nothing to do with how I work. I’m not here to deck up and look pretty. Though there’s nothing bad in dressing up there’s more to me than what I wear. And if my wearing a saree is good for the company’s image in front of the client then I’ll only do it when the men in my team wear dhoti and kurta too. Women are not show pieces and every organization needs to know that.

To take notice every time a woman places her career on the back burner for her husband or children unless it is by her own choice. Yes, the feminist in me will suffer a heart break each time women give up their aspirations but she will not be tight-lipped about it. I’ll never believe that sacrifice should be a woman’s middle name and will try to propagate the same.

To raise my hand every time a woman feels guilty for taking care of her parents after marriage for the feminist in me wants to change how our society thinks.

To interject every time someone takes the names of a handful of successful women to subdue any voice urging better treatment of women folk. The feminist in me will shout at the hypocrisy of the world which refuses to see the plight of millions of women around or the fact that even the successful ones are not spared from jibes of the world’s questioning attitude.

To yell every time a pseudo-intellectual woman justifies acid attacks or rapes by men on the guise of the opposite sex being hurtfully shunned. The feminist in me needs to raise her voice at every such occurrence and she will indeed do.

To bring to the world’s notice every time a woman is stopped by her husband or brother from wearing sleeveless salwar suits or even churidar for that matter. The feminist in me will be angry then because while a man gets to roam around freely in shorts there’s clearly discrimination when it comes to a woman’s attire.

To stop someone from equating liberation of women with a few reserved seats on buses and compartments in trains. The feminist in me would like to remind the world that if not for that some men would have free access to groping women in every nook and cranny of the public transport system, especially in India.

To stop and make you ponder every time you think women are bad drivers. I see thousands of awful male drivers on the road. And I’m sure you do too, day after day, every day but what gives the world the right to associate bad driving skills only with women? So the feminist in me will urge you to not resort to such sexist outlook of the world.

To remind the world that it’s not fair to deride women. Remember the jokes trending on twitter making fun of Alia Bhatt because she wasn’t able to answer a question? You do, don’t you? Well even her male co-star Varun Dhawan wasn’t able to answer so why no jokes about him? Convenient memory loss to only target a woman? So yes the feminist in me will raise her voice for such instances too because for some strange reason the world finds it really easy to mock women.

So there I’m a feminist and maybe you should be one too. Up to you of-course! All I can say is it has got nothing to do with hating men. It’s about hating the wrong done to women. In fact, if anything at all it has got everything to do with making this world a better place for women. Tell me then are you with me? Will you raise your voice too? Perhaps by lending a helping hand to the woman in your life as she makes it through this skewed society every day? Perhaps by being the woman you want to be, unapologetically? Think about it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blocked & Clogged!

I don’t think there could have been a better Wednesday Prompt from Write Tribe this week. All I need now is to complete writing this. Well let’s see how far that goes.


Writing for me seems to have taken a back seat this past couple of weeks. A new project at work coupled with some medical emergencies at home has eclipsed my entire life. Yes my blogging as well. Sadly, my reading hasn't been spared either. All those neglected books now seem to be calling out to me but I just don’t have the time or the energy to pick them up once I’m back home after work. It’s hard to explain how I miss spending my days reading and writing. There is a constant nagging thought in my mind that I’m doing something wrong by not writing and by ignoring my books. But what can you do sometimes you just lose control!

I think for most bloggers and writers out there writing, even if a few lines, is therapeutic and essential. But when life takes over no matter how strong your desire to type a few words is, it just doesn't happen. No matter how much you want to shut out the rest of the world and jump right into the world of writing, other priorities hold you back. And when you finally find the time all that stares back at you is an empty word document. The mind just stops working.

"writingeven if a few lines, is therapeutic..."

Laziness or fatigue or even writer’s/blogger's block, you choose what you want to call it. It’s a little bit of everything I think.It affects one and all. I guess it's a little bit like Measles that most children get at-least once in their life time. Strange analogy I know but humor me for a while. Every writer or blogger falls prey to a 'block' at-least once in his lifetime. 

Anyways without further delay let’s take a look at some probable solutions or ways of warding off these dry spells in writing, shall we?

·   This first tip is for all my blogger and writer friends who work in the IT industry or perhaps anywhere else for that matter. Keep a word document open at all times on your system while working. Type anything, everything that comes to your mind whenever you get time. Trust me it helps. I have written many a blog posts sitting in my office cubicle either waiting for a meeting to start or for a job to complete. And when that thing called writer’s block affects you, the office can actually give you a lot of ideas. A post about the bad boss for example or perhaps those annoying colleagues who do no work but get accolades all thanks to their sweet talking skills!

·   Sometimes just forgiving yourself also helps. Forgive for what you might ask. Well let me explain. Most of the times when I can’t write or when I find no ideas I end up blaming myself for not paying enough attention to my blog. I basically reprimand myself constantly, which trust me isn’t helpful when you are short of ideas or when you just can’t connect your thoughts with words. Giving yourself a break is the key in such situations. So take a step back and give it a rest. Stop thinking about it 24 by 7 and trust me the clot will disappear in time. Writing has to come naturally else it won’t come at all. It should be like a wild spring, spontaneous. Hence it can’t be treated as something that starts at the press of a button. So now do you see what I mean? Let it go.

·   Read books but of course for this to work you would need to love reading. Read the books that have been gathering dust in your bookshelf. Reading takes you to a different world altogether and opens up horizons. You not only get ideas but also feel good about doing something that you love. I always believe that if we are stuck we should move on to something else that we can do till we are ready to resolve the former. Worked for me during exams and works for me at office too. So why not implement this in writing?

·   Being associated with groups like our very own Write Tribe most certainly helps. I couldn’t have written a single word today if it wasn't for this awesome prompt. So associate yourself with groups. Trust me everyone faces the same problems as you and they can help you out. You can’t talk about writer’s block with your family for even if they want to they won’t understand. But a group of bloggers and writers most certainly will and hence there’s your solution. Be a part of at least one writing group.

·   Sometimes lethargy and work pressure rises to such levels that it’s hard to get back on the writing bandwagon even after repeated attempts. But don’t be disappointed there’s a way around everything. Start with free writes, a few sentences each day. Don’t think too much just write! And trust me at the end of it you’ll have the satisfaction of having written something every day. What’s even better is that in this way, unnoticed, those knots will disappear before you know it!

Now I feel a lot better for I’ve written so many words. After repeated failed attempts at getting a start I’m finally done with a blog post and I hope I can continue to do so. But yes before you move from this post of mine I would surely love to hear your views on ways to fight writer’s block. Go on I’m all ears, or eyes rather!
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