Sunday, 30 December 2012

Aborted. Assaulted. Raped- Is this what is left for women?

It was centuries ago that goddess Sita had to undergo an agnipariksha to prove herself; to prove her purity.
Centuries later, we say the situation has changed. Women emancipation has taken a giant leap, and is hailed in the name of few women like Indriya Nooyi, Sonia Gandhi, Chanda Kochar etc. The optimistic government says it has reserved 33% of seats in all legislative institutes for women. 

While all this is used to paint a rosy picture of women development, the reality is altogether different. 
India is the perfect example where technology has proven to be a bane. Though pre-natal sex determination of a foetus is illegal, the practise is so rampant that even when India’s shining story is being appreciated at global platforms, the sex ratio is stuck at a shameful 953 girls per 1000 boys.  And if it’s a girl, then she is killed even before she can open her eyes to this ruthless world. But even if she survives, it seems that the entire society is set to take revenge for being a girl. 

Even after 65 years of independence, a woman who gets raped at night is said to have invited it to herself. Her mistake? Why was she out at night in the first place?  And if my mistake that poor soul had just come out of a night club or god forbid was dressed in what our society thinks is “provocative” or “unacceptable” then our entire male dominated society puffs up its chest and proclaims that the men who did it are innocent.
Our society, unfortunately, even has a rule book by which women should live, what careers they should take up, how they should behave, where they shouldn’t or should go, who they should befriend. And as if that wasn’t enough, even what they should wear. 

My question: even if a girl walks by herself naked at night, does it justify if she is raped? Can anything justify the lecherous looks we get even when we walk down the streets fully clothed? What gives men the right to inflict such behaviour on women?

And why do we even need reservation? Isn’t reservation done for minority communities which are socially or economically backward, and require an extra helping hand to be at the same start line as general? Is that why women need reservation? Are women socially backward? Or do we need that extra push?

Such questions have no easy answers. Legislations might help, but are they being enforced?

The police swear by that they are going to serve the public and protect them . Where does all this go when a woman comes to complain about domestic violence and is sent back, citing it as a domestic affair? Then why do we hear of instances where the protectors become predators?

We were not safe then , we are not safe now. Only the faces have changed. The voices remain the same, and sadly even the plight remains same.

The nation is mourning over the loss of the brave girl who was a victim of the Delhi Gangrape. All over the country, peaceful protest marches are being organized, but what will happen after a few weeks when life returns to normal?
After this incident, you are lucky if you are just raped and not subjected to physical violations.
I feel lucky that I've been spared till now, but what if my luck runs out one day?

Friday, 28 December 2012

The Mumbai Salsa

"Ready to go?", my mom asked looking at me.
No. I am scared. I am scared that something bad will happen. What if there is no such hotel as we have booked. What if its not decent. What if I get lost? What if....
"Yes. Ready", I said pasting a reassuring smile on my face. I wish I would feel as confident as I was portraying myself.
Seven days in Mumbai. An all girls trip. Phew.

"Four of us in one coach and six in another. You are in the four wala coach Gelato", Charvi said smiling mischeviosly, clearly knowing the effect it will have on me.
And undoubtedly, she got it.
"Oh. No. We will be alone. No. I will stick with the six. Please...", I start hyperventilating.

Well, it  was just the start of my hyperventilating at every small thing, and all my friends grabbing that opportunity to tease me.
The train journey and the next day went smoothly, and it was the first evening in Bombay.
It was six in the evening, and as usual, I was scared. Rest 7 had left(I am sure they were testing me and deliberately left me ), and it was   just Surbhi, me  and Vishakha.
Finally we got one, and we were just near the hotel when Surbhi got the call about the dinner.

"Yeah, we'll bring the dinner. Dont worry", I heard her talking on the phone.
My heart rate accelerated, and nearly jumped out when I heard Surbhi say to the autodriver "Bhaiya, koi acha dhaba par leke jaane ka?". While she was talking to him, I didn't know what to do. Laugh on her wannabe-mumbaikar-style or be scared due to the fact that its dark and we are alone in a new city.
I took out my cutter(yes, yes, I agree I am paranoid) and told Surbhi in hushed tones "If something bad happens, I am going to  first kill you with this".

On coming back( sahi -salaamat), I was greeted with a big hug from Anushka, "Oh Geet! Are you okay. You must be worried sick", she said with an amused expression.
"No. No. I was the brave on, it was Surbhi who was shivering, but I kept saying to her it'll be okay", I added sarcastically.
"Seriously Geet?", a shocked Divya asked.
"Yeah Right. She had the cutter open, ready to use the whole time", Surbhi said.
"Oh. I thought...I was just imagining Geet as the brave one...." Divya said laughing and everybody joined in, discussing how impossible that would be.
 If looks could kill.

The subsequent days went by smoothly. We went to bandra, pali hill, (hoping to catch a glimpse of any movie star(=Ranbeer Kapoor) or any other tv star(=karan kundra); typical delhi girls!), mannat(dont tell me you dont know who's house it is- Anushka would have killed me if I don't mention Mannat :P), bandstand, juhu, versova beach( where we saw only dogs and crows fighting for ulte-white-mare-hue-jheenge), haji ali, linking road, colaba, ferry from India Gate, and the Colaba police station( Ayushi's phone got stolen-had to add this).

But the best was the time we spent on the marine drive, eating our subways, quietly( there was not a moment  where you would see 10 girls sitting quietly:P),legs dangling with just the sea and us. Beautiful it was.
And sitting there I realized that as days had passed, I had shed some of my fear and learnt to sit back and relax. That nothing bad is going to happen, not thinking about the  million possiblities of something wrong.

Sitting there with the cool wind kissing my hair, I realized that  Mumbai has taught me to enjoy every moment, taking one step at a time, living in the now.
Every place that we went to, every bite of pizzas and pastas, every auto ride, every taxi ride, every small fight( what do you think- 10 girls and no fights-are you kidding me?), every second, every moment was the highlight of the trip which helped me realize that if I keep my mouth(rather, my pessimist mind) shut, I 'll be better able to enjoy. Better able to acknowledge the fact that a trip like this maybe my last chance to live a carefree life, to learn to be independent, to enjoy the view without thinking about the hundred wrong things reverberating in my mind, to take my Leap of Faith.

P.S. Anushka, Ayushi, Charvi, Divya, Gunjan, Surbhi, Vasudha, Vishakha and Vishesha: Thankyou for really listening to my million -wrong- things and my lame jokes.
P.P.S. I was thinking of giving the title as Bitchy and Catty (rather Ayushi's hindi version) but then thought against it- bordering on vulgarity:P

Thursday, 13 December 2012

A Nocturnal Rendezvous

He sat under the tree , looking towards the sky
His face was clouded with pain, as if pained by waiting.
I asked him what do you see in the sky?
I see the dark, I await the night, he said.
The night? What is there to await the night?

He sighed and said, Night has a certain charm to it, she sits with u and tells u a story
She brings out the true self of you which otherwise was buried under the obligations and restrictions of sunlight, she makes you feel realistic
In the day you are just living a lot of different lives
faces taken by mirrors , views taken by instances.
Night cuddles with you , weeps with you, smiles with you , makes love to you , puts you to sleep like a beloved distinguished damsel does..

I said, but sometimes the damsel turns monster when it strangles you with its sinister arms,
tempts you with its cursed hairs, makes you fear her endless black existence deprived of happiness and hope.
Locking your gaze, she takes you to the endless pit of sadness.
She leaves in the sunlight to find another one who would join you in the pit.
But that's where light comes in, and taking your hand tries to pull you help u survive..

To this he said , Maybe the light is an illusion to your belief
Night never brings sadness along, she is the most sought after creature and the damsel even though a monster, is still composed of feminism and womanhood and as a quality trait it gives birth
it will never embrace those who are afraid of her...

He looked at me waiting for a reply...

I sat beside him looking at the fading twilight...trying to find the goodness
but after some time I looked at him and said, its delusional to those who don't believe in it.
Who don't believe that no matter how deep the pit, no matter how many layers your pretty damsel makes of sadness, the light will percolate all of them.
All of them to save only those who believe in it.
But some are so blinded by the clouds of night that they think the lighted  hand to be an illusion, such is her embrace....

He said, on the contrary , the sadness the pains bring the best out of us
Pain is nothing but the weakness leaving the body
every time you suffer pain , you overcome it
But yes, I'd rather prefer the night embracing me in the pain than to be wearing faces that are stolen-
that are not me , that are carved by the hollow joys and shallow smiles.
The pain is my own , and the night cries with me to overcome it...
I looked at him and thought
Could it be true?
Is the night the real damsel that the man was talking about?
Is their a woman behind the monster..that only few can see, few can feel her embrace, few can feel her presence when she cries with them?

The man looked at me and said...
Run away from the night
it is easy to believe in what looks good
But only few have the courage to believe in something that looks like a monster....
Run away to your light...
To The illusion...
Because the night will not embrace you as you fear her...
It will not embrace least not today....

P.S. After the last post, all my friends are vying for my attention.:P
But credit for this one goes to Hullas, and the reason why I am writing this. Trust him to engage you in conversations, and that too midnight ones, and that too during exams, and that too as exceptional as what led me to write this.  Thank you Hullas:)
P.S.S: Trust men to anthropomorphising (
ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing nothuman, especially to a deity), or rather gynomorphising(giving feminine attribute) everything and anything. Also, gynomorphising is not a word. Don't look for it:P ;)