Sunday, July 12, 2015

You can have any colour, as long as it is black.

In the light of the recent controversy in my college, I feel very sad that my relatives, who never congratulated me when I got into the institution, woke up asking about the sexual harassment case in the college because according to them, they felt sad for me and were concerned. Suddenly, those who did not know about the college's good aspects, or just like the rickshaw wallahs in NCampus, did not know which college Stephen's is, know about the college because of this case, or because of the various issues that make the front cover of all the major dailies. It does not come as a surprise, because it is just human tendency to incline towards someone or something's misery. 

Another problem is, ( not related to the controversy) the students protests- are done mostly by either people who are recent pass-outs, or are in third year's last semester, obviously because then they have nothing to lose.  Haha, nothing to lose. My own friends warn me of the 'consequences' of my ideas of open protests against college issues. 'Do it after you pass out'- they say. Residence is based on merit, and if I write or say something bad about the college, that diminishes my merit. (I went through an interview, taken by the principal- who remembered I am a blogger and am an avid reader of Freudian analysis of human psyche. Say anything, the fact that he remembered the littlest of things about me, shows that he listens, which is a very admirable quality. I believe in giving credit when and where it is due.)

One of the frontrunners of the curfew issue of our college lived in residence for most of the time in college and wrote against college only after passing out. Who wants their parents to suffer more to live in Delhi just because our adrenaline got the better of us? No one. Our condition is like the stereotypical uncle/aunty in an Indian marriage, often quoted in stand up comedies I have seen- he/she takes everything available in the buffet, eats it, hates some dishes too, burps and is done with the plate and while eating the amazing dessert he goes and tells the organiser the food was great. But then goes out, turns to a friend says- Ghatiya tha khaana, kuch bhi sahi nahi tha. Wo to usne meko bhare plate ke sath dekh liya to bolna padha ( Everything was bad, nothing was all that great. He saw me with a full plate so I had to say it.)

We talk against our college issues under pseudonyms, S.P.I.C.E ( Stephanians will understand this) and in hushed tones. We write allegorical articles to tell about our problems. I remember a friend of mine had to turn down her article before it got on many hands, because it compared dogs to girls. We all need to retain a privilege. There is a Hindi proverb I am translating here crudely- No one wants to drill a hole in the plate they are eating. Wow, I have a lot of food metaphors in this piece.

This is exactly the case with majority of students in not only Stephen's, but I guess, every institution where there is Althusserian interpellation everywhere (the only thing I liked learning in last semester's Literary theory). And it is something we have signed up for ourselves. We give and take simultaneously in this process, without any gap in time. We are tricked into having a choice but we really don't. As Henry Ford said- You can have any color, as long as it is black. I think from this sentence, you can finish your own stories. 




  



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

An Open letter Against the Mooh Kholna Ad of Cadbury

An open letter to Cadbury,
Hello,
 I hate your ad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMiXfHzE9jI), straight up.  The 'mooh kholna' in a public place because a guy gets baffled as there is a boy who has long hair (maybe transgender, or just choosing to have long hair?) and whose mother actually looks like a father ( a man, you mean)- what exactly is your message? Are you saying that our world is developing really fast and you support the development and some people are just in for a suprise ( a happy surprise? ) or are you just being plain transphobic?

Is it a joke on the transgender people who choose to accept their identities in public, or is it a funny 'acceptance' of such people in public and you are choosing to shut the gawking faces with your product? What exactly was your intention?

Why should I eat your product? Because you chose to show a person who just cannot take the surprise of a man-like woman or a woman-like man or anything of that sort? Do you see the absurdity of all of it?

What is your point? Do you want more people to gawk at people who choose to be the way they are or shut our mouths with your chocolate because we should not gawk at them?

Maybe I am giving good, justified reasons to your utterly and blatant transphobic ad. Because only few of us understand what is the seriousness of this ad, maybe people who you cater to, which is whole of India, might not understand the wrongness of it and might take it in face value.

Which is dangerous. As a brand, you should never portray a very ambiguous opinion to such a burning topic and way of life.

I fail to understand, truly. And I really want you to answer your intention behind the advertisement for a better understanding of your message.

Thank you.
Yours truly,
A person who does not gawk at people's choices.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

#freefromanygender

I am a girl because I have a vagina. That's what they say.
But that's my sex they say.
But I lack a gender.
I lack a gender because I feel pressurised into growing my nails and putting paint on them and I feel that's just not me.
I lack a gender because I forget to put kohl everyday and I don't want to be less pretty if I don't.
I lack a gender because I love shows that show food and drinks and traveling and I just can't take shows that tell me that my freckles need to be perfected because they aren't ladylike.
I never knew my vagina came with so many warning signs.
warning sex means you lose a part of your vagina which is directly proportional to purity of your Sexuality. I broke my hymen by swimming in a swimming pool. My virginity was taken by a pool of seven feet of water and not a seven inch cock or a hungry vagina . these aren't my terms that's what you have taught me.
I lack a gender because I hate definitions. I lack gender because I hate ending conversations and playing hard to get.
I lack gender because my mind loves a woman but my vagina asks for a man but sometimes that is swapped too. I have dreams of dating Nicole Kidman and Matt Bomer. Matt Bomer is gay. By the way.
With so many complications, who will you marry they ask me.
I will marry
An individual who lacks a gender too.
Whose penis, or lack of a penis doesn't define who he or she or they or whatever is.
Because we all lack a gender.
We are free souls and no gender should bind us.
Free yourself from a gender.
Be yourself.
Be YOU.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bhains ke aagey been bajana!

An Open Letter To Aunty in the Movie Ticket Line:

To the aunty and her jeeja who told me to behave like a girl, just because I told the woman not to cross the line and come forward in a movie ticket line ( subtly telling them to act civil and you know, following a normal rule), to the woman who retorted by saying "Mai aapka ticket chheen rahi hoon kya?" ( Am I snatching your ticket?), to the woman who told me to mind my language when I told her to "Please be in line, aunty", because then she said "Bhains jaisi ladki mujhe aunty bula rahi hai!" ( A girl who looks like a buffalo is calling me an aunty):

I am sorry. I was just trying to make you understand that it is no waste of time to stand in line, and telling you to do so does not make me a bhains. Also, I don't look like a bhains, which is a very beautiful animal. I bet being a very authentic Chhattisgarhi, which I knew from your accent, aap bhains ka hee doodh peeti hongi. But yes, that is inconsequential.

What I told you was nothing out of the box, I told you to be in line. But you chose to talk about my body, and your "jeeja" told me to act like a girl, and you added to him and said she is showing hands and talking. I had to, because my father also told you to be in line and you suddenly started shouting in your topmost voice because you were trying to make a victim position out of being a woman in a public place and get odds against my father, who is well, of course, a man. Above that, he had a fractured hand so for your own safety, as the cast could hit you if you tried to squeeze in ( why do so much when you can simply stand behind me), he told you to be in line.

 To that I want to say that many women like you exist, who are making this society even more vulnerable to problems- you accept a victim position and try to use it against both men and women when sometimes yes, you are in the wrong for the most basic of things. You might as well have shouted "molestation" if only my father was there to shout at you and I was not there, because that would have made your case easy. Then your jeeja would have come and acted like a man to save you, just like he did here, to save you from me. Why don't you understand you are not a victim and you don't need a man to save you? Why do you accept a victim position and are an enemy to more women and men? Why do people like you do not let this society grow? Being a woman is not being a victim. Please, do not give the wrong message to the society by accepting and using this position which other women can do away and do better away with.

I just told you to buy your ticket after me. And you put the entire bogus mindset we still have in front of me. I loved the movie I watched afterwards, but you, you showed me an entire picture of this nation.

Ye to bhains ke aagey been bajana hogaya, is what came in my mind.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Thursday, June 4, 2015

High-time I spoke!

I have been doing slam poetry and writing articles on fat-shaming, fat-bullying and how body image is an issue we all need to tackle. But I always kept my own story hidden, kept it under the wraps because I never really had the courage to blatantly speak it out. I thought it might be seen as an attention-seeking drama, or it will be a matter of yet another joke.  But then I discovered the sheer hypocrisy between theory and practice of my belief, and here I am, telling the truth.

I started getting fat when I was in Class 3, around 8 years old. Before that, I actually was a very weak kid with my bones making weird shapes on my skin. I was too thin, too problematically thin. ( Here, I am not talking of aesthetics of being thin, but my vulnerability to weakness because of a very delicate body).
Then, I suffered a disease and its side-effect was body fattening.

Since day 1 of my body weight rising, I was subjected to many words synonymous to animals like elephant, a bison etc. When I was small I used to cry over it, but soon, every word started taking an ugly shape. Soon, people started associating my fat with my food-habits, my dislike for sports and made fun of me when I tried to wear clothes of the latest trend.

The next stage of this was associating my fat with my heredity, making fun of my family members who were fat and then saying I got it in my blood, asking me why do I get two tiffins instead of one ( real reason- I used to travel 15 kms unlike other children so my mother packed an extra box).

I traveled to Chennai for completing my higher education for two years- and here is where I was subjected to a different kind of bullying. My fatness was associated with being a nerd, a bookworm, a person 'who only is into books and not people' quote unquote a person who I will never forget. I found my books were tattered into pieces and thrown in different directions. A group of students picked a random fight one day and tried to shatter my confidence in myself and my appearance by saying- "Look at yourself before you try to fight with us." And they mumbled "fat ass" and walked away.

Now I am studying in college, and  I realise I have become a self-abominating person, a person always guarded with fear of being judged for my body. So before anyone else says or makes fun of my fat, I make fun of it myself, so that their jokes don't make me feel bad. But all these years of constant remarks have made me my biggest critic- and that is what I am trying to fight, and want to tell others-  you cannot change others, but you can always make amendments to how you look at yourself. I have always regretted it that I actually gave opinions of others a lot of importance. I won't say I have changed, but I have tried to improve.But never let someone else's yardstick be the measure of your self. And no body is shameful, and you should love yourself. It is the hardest thing- to admire yourself. And it is the only solution- stereotypes can only be broken when you yourself stop believing in them. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Rising Women Of Chhattisgarh

 Women of Chhattisgarh are hardly talked about. Chhattisgarh as a state is only in news when there is a Naxal attack, and it is sad that the development of the region and the people is neglected in media. Photo-walking a corner of Raipur led me to discover these jewels.


Santoshi, age- unknown

"I do not know my age, because I am not educated enough to know all that. I don't even know when I got married, but my husband is supportive of me. He works as a driver. I handle this all by myself."



 Priya Mishra, 25 years. 

I have studied till 12th. I handle this restaurant, I drive a four wheeler and also, I work in a magazine. I am a reporter, and I actually also work in an NGO, Marriage is not on my cards yet, lots of work to do. Never in my family was I told to not do something. I was just told not to dance, I wanted to learn.


Noor, 50 years

I got married when I was 14. Now world is changing so girls get married when they ought to, but I don't feel sad. It is fine, I have been working ever since. In this generation, girls are doing really well, equal to and better than boys. 



                                                           Leena Gaikwad 35 years


"I hold a degree in Electronics and Communication. I worked with Reliance, had to come down home to Raipur because of various family issues. They needed a helping hand. I always was interested in fashion, and business, so I combined both of that and now I have a business of my own. This is my boutique, and I run it all by myself. I have been independent since Class 6th, never was I stopped from doing anything. Also, I have polio. But that didn't stop me. That drove me, actually. Girls and boys are the same, girls have to handle a hundred more things because theirs is a role tied to both domestic and industrial realms."




Preeti Turkane, 22 years

"I have been an LIC agent, I completed my first year now. I don't like to take money from parents for my education so I try to do my best to fund my life-needs. I also work by imparting information for  filling forms for the Mahila Samooh in Grameen Seva. Also, I play tennis, volleyball and run 8 kms everyday. I like wearing what I want to, no one has stopped me from doing that. In fact, my father buys me jeans and skirt. So all's well."



Indu, 27 years

" I am a B.COM graduate, I joined this work recently. I travel all the way from Bhilai to work here. Marriage? That will happen when it has to. No one told me how to act as a girl or anything, my father never restricted me. In fact he scolds the boys at home if they do something wrong. They never asked me where did you go, who did you go with. Never have they asked me. And that is great of my parents."





She was too shy to tell her name. She is learning tailoring, and is learning to live on her own terms. Well, she is just 18.



Kiran Sahu and Meenakshi Turkane, learning tailoring.

  Kiran is a graduate, and she was a very robust woman. She grilled me for 10 minutes and also said "representation is needed for Chhattisgarh." She did not want to make the head-tailor angry so I took a quick photograph.

Meenakshi, on the other hand is just 18 who has passed her 10th recently. She says she isn't doing this for earning, but learning. The L before the the earning makes all the difference!



Radha Singh, 35 years.

 I earn well and I like this job, security and helping people out in the mall. It is a simple job with no restraints whatsoever. My husband passed away, and the idea of sitting jobless at home sickened me. I couldn't study beyond Class 5, father was suffering from a very debilitating disease. But it is okay, I like working and I am happy.



These two were too busy, I did not want to disturb them. Both of them work in my apartment, and help it keeping it clean. Both of them said "Yes women should come forward, and they have."

Just crossing the road, and I had 10 examples of amazing women in two hours. And we are a country of a population which crosses the billion mark. You do the math, and you will be proud to live in a country with such great revolutionaries. Not only the ones who come printed on your note, but the ones who just pass you by and are changing lives every second.