Wednesday, December 17, 2014

16 Dec 2014

Where did so much hate come from? How did people become this? Who sowed these seeds of violence? What kind of religion is this? Will there ever be innocence – unharmed, untinged with darkness and blood?

They killed innocent lives, young children…and for what? To take revenge? To extinguish their very breath because they were living a normal life? Studying to become something? In a school to learn, play, grow, love…


Tuesday, December 09, 2014


Once again…Rape…makes it to the headlines and we fume and fret and offer our opinion and judgment. Once again, no real action will take place. No case will be put up, nothing will happen to the accused. Yes, he’s been caught. Yes, he’s been put behind the bars. So?!
He has already been there and done that before. This person was sent to the prison earlier too on the same account. Raping is like a hobby for him; he rapes, goes to jail, serves a short sentence, is out on bail and back at pursuing his hobby. How convenient?!
And the girls – they dare to hail cans at night, they dare to step out at night, they dare to wear short clothes, they dare to work and have fun --- in the night. They dare to exist!!! That seems to be the crux of the matter…that WE EXIST!
There is no law, no shame for the guilty. The women are the ones to be judged again and again. Their very fault being that that they have two X chromosomes. They have a body structure and shape that is provocative. They happen to be. They exist. And if that wasn't enough, they actually attempt to live! What blasphemy! You exist and isn't that enough burden on the earth, on mankind, on the whole of the human population. On top of that, you want to live a life free of responsibilities! You damned creature – You dare to live and breathe and feel that you can have a life.
Scene 1 – The woman goes out for a movie with her friend, who has a Y chromosome. Now, read that again, SHE goes out with a human being for a movie in the NIGHT. Natural and obvious reaction – she is not only inviting trouble but initiating it. She NEEDS TO BE RAPED!! KILLED BUT NOT COMPLETELY!! BREAK HER SPIRIT
Scene 2 – The woman has chosen to work in a call center that operates in the up and coming city far away from home, she talks and laughs and wears clothes which are not Indian. She is raped. But of course!
Scene 3 – The woman after a day filled with meetings and deliverables and calls takes a cab to get home, she is tired and dozes off. She is asking for it by not being alert, how can she be so casual as to go to sleep in a cab! She MUST BE LOOKING FOR RAPE!
Scene 4 The woman is at her house and is wearing a saree and the man who has come to collect the dues is provoked. RAPE!!
All this and yet again, she dares to ask for freedom for a choice of life for the most basic human right….not even to be treated special, just to be left to be able to live!!
So, the mistake is that women exist that they dare to live and breathe in the same air that the men breathe!!!
And we stay quiet, we discuss it over coffee and think – it will run its due course.
Why aren't more people angry about this? Why are women even saying that the woman should have been on alert?
Isn't this my country? Don’t I vote? Don’t I pay taxes? Don’t I exist? How come nothing ever is done for me….why do we give a fair trial to even those who have done the crime and everyone knows it! They should get a fair trial for human rights? What about my human rights? You have taken away my sense of peace my freedom, my way of life and I am at fault!!!!!!
Save the girl child… says the campaign. Just like we were fish or cattle or the forest….and need to be saved so that someday when we grow up someone can get the chance to rape us and get away with it! Save us indeed!!! Save us for later when you can ill-treat us and gloat on the degrees of ill treatment!!
All these crimes just keep on increasing. Every month, every year, we are just statistics. And the world moves on! We rant and rave and scream and cry and demonstrate and … then, go quiet. No explosion gets us an answer, maybe an implosion will. A collective implosion…
At times I wonder if all these incidents continue and happen each single day so that eventually women will give up, will give in, will wilt and accept their fate. And then there will be none…
And that thought makes me angry….howling mad inside me, an anger which does not go away even when I scream my lungs out, an anger so potent that it will burn down anything just by a breath. It is this anger that I feel. I’ll be damned if I follow your rules, if I get cowed down, if I give in. I will live my life the way I want to – you want me to end it, I won’t. You want me to stop existing, I won’t. You want to break me, you cannot. I will continue to live on and stare at you with the unspoken anger inside me which one day will cause your end. I will prevail. You cannot kill me, you cannot harm me. NO – YOU DON’T MATTER TO ME NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU TRY TO HURT ME, YOU CAN NEVER GET TO ME. I AM. I WILL BE.

I stand for R.A.P.E - Rage Against the Perpetual Emasculation

Emasculation = Loss of power and masculinity

If a man is not man enough, and a woman is nothing, there is no further evidence needed for a society which is castrated/emasculated.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Connecting the dots

It starts at the back of the head. Sometimes it is so vivid that it threatens to spill over...over onto the conversations in the room, over and above the music reaching the ears, shimmering over the traffic sounds and lights...over onto the now.

Yesterday looking at the symmetry of flowers, Monet came back. The first time that Monet had entered this life. As mundane a surrounding as a classroom, thin wooden benches with uncomfortable backs. Strong sunlight streaming in and forming designs on the floor. Little sounds of the birds outside. Larger sounds of the people inside. Bewitched, we all watched and heard the teacher tell us fascinating stories of people who saw the light, who saw nature, who saw paint like no one else. People who started the Impressionist school of though and painting without a thought. Monet at the forefront. All of us found our own special one. Leafing through the dark, usually damp shelves with books not colourful enough...each one of us was immersed in a new world. The sunlight - always so strong in Delhi, never welcome except during two months of the year. Today it assumed a whole new form, a whole new meaning because of the meaning it had given to others in another world, years ago.

Ever since, I went looking for Monet all over. When the chance came to visit a city in the other part of the world, it was Monet that I looked for. And through Monet, discovered such stories, such colours.

Today, at the roundabout near the rose garden on Shanti Path, I wish Monet had the chance to paint these lovely pink flowers.

Tomorrow it will be another dot - pulsating near the eye or away from it...

The dots will continue their own swirling dance...the connections will be left to me...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Haiku or almost...

Blue screen blinking eyes
Discussions in the cloud
The line goes dead


Coffee sounds traffic smells
The day has begun on a smoky note
The next year is here


Hush in the corridor
Sushi and wine high on mind
Rush in the arteries


Free flowing words like salt
Arrested mid-flight by PowerPoint
Drenched and lost in projector's light

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Cinnamon Powder - IV

The Autowala

I was getting impatient towards the evening. Had I got myself into trouble by accepting this position at this company? I had thought that it was going to be closer, lesser commute time – not lesser so much than better and easier commute time, and of course, the opportunity to work in a great place. I dreamed on a bit more about all the art shows that I could go to, the festivals just around the corner, the walks to all those great eating places and of course, the endless people watching. “People watching” – that specialization opportunity that they never tell you about in universities…but now, I’m digressing…
After calling up and finding out that there were no easy commute modes available, I was introduced to the idea of a chauffeur-driven vehicle – the humble auto. So, here I was trying to call up the person who would drive me to work each morning. Well, it was a short conversation. I tried to make it more economical for me but in the end, agreed to the proposition at the other end of the line.
8:00 am, the next day, I got a call. The driver had come! I was pleasantly surprised by his sense of timing. We all know how punctuality is a true blessing and as all true blessings, as rare. The cynic in me told me that maybe this was his “first day” style.  But as days progressed, this punctuality and awareness of time would stick. And this was one of the first reasons that I started looking at this man with respect. We developed a quiet understanding and an unsaid pact was developed. Both of us adhered to time and if at all, there needed to be a change, it would be communicated. This sense of professionalism and respect for another person’s time is something that I’d love to see in many people that we come across in the workplace!
Our conversations started…
I was in for another surprise when one day he told me that he needed to take his wife to the hospital and so, would not be able to come for the daily pick up unless I was ok leaving a bit early. I agreed and then asked after his wife. With sparkling eyes, he told me that they were going to become parents. I congratulated him and asked after his wife’s health. And then, the man told me how both of them were hoping and praying for a girl child. Yes -  a girl child!! I was shocked. For those of us who have been following the news, about how female foeticide is prevalent and especially in families who are not very educated, would share my emotion. In India, sad as it is, most families and especially in rural or less-educated families go to any lengths to get a male baby. They will perform sacrifices, go to fake doctors, pay quacks (even when they don’t have enough money to feed their family!) – all to ensure that they are blessed with a son. And in front of me was a man who not only was hoping for a girl child but was actually taking his wife to the hospital to ensure that she got the best care in the world. My eyes brimmed over with respect for this man. On other occasions, when we would discuss news and inadvertently talk about the crimes against women, he would come up with a simple philosophy. He believed that when a woman goes through life doing so much for her family, how can that family or others around her treat her as anything less than remarkable? He expressed shock and disgust at all the men who treated women as commodities and was “macho” enough to express his love for his wife.

He had other ways of showing respect for women. He would ensure to tell me about all possible ways of reaching a place so that I didn’t have to depend on him always and I would be safe even if I was to commute on my own.
Not only respect for women, this humble man is a stickler for principles. Another one of his rules was that he wouldn’t drive in the night, no matter how lucrative the money. He would always head home around 8:00 pm to spend time with his family. And for many years, he would not work on Sundays considering it his weekly off. Professional to the core with a code of ethics!
Though I’ve changed workplaces and don’t get to meet my autowala so often, we still talk on New Year’s and his daughter’s birthday. Yes, he was blessed with a daughter alright.