Saturday, September 20, 2014

Impervious to the Obvious.

Recently the Deepika Padukone issue created havoc.
What was the issue?
She has a cleavage.

Yeah, we are getting more ridiculous day by day.

Then I remembered those lists I see in famous websites, showing how a hollywood/bollywood actor was clicked at a certain moment where it looked like he was looking at his co-actress's boobs. It might have not been the case, but it is still sensationalized. If it was the case, well, it is not even a case in the first place. Why? Umm, isn't it natural? Okay, I might be saying something controversial here but let us face it, it DOES happen sometimes. I am NOT talking about voyeuristic male gaze here, but then, sometimes it is very natural for a boy or a girl to look at the opposite sex and admire. They look at us, and let's admit it, even girls look at guys. It isn't wrong. There are even words for it (see Krukolibidinous).

When it crosses a level, a level it should not cross, which is the level of violating the other person, then it becomes problematic. These pictures are just a matter of accidental timing of photography, when the man's face seems to be at such an angle that it is looking where it should not look at.

Second, we have sensationalized a woman's cleavage, and this same world has also sensationalized a man's boner. Yes. We also sensationalise men's erections which happen in public, accidentally or due to some obviously natural cause. "21 most awkward boners of Hollywood Actors".  Why? Isn't it OKAY? Just because they are doomed to be watched 24x7 by people like us, every action of theirs is recorded because their life is an entertainment factor, they are put on pedestal which should not exist in the first place- it just makes them look so distinct from the larger context of humanity that we say they WERE NOT SUPPOSED to have the erection in a public place. Who made their life public? We did. Do you see how highly in the wrong are we?

Third, there was a news when from an actor's pocket, a condom fell and it was made a matter of HUGE discussion. Wait, he is a guy, and has a condom. Good, he is having safe sex. Isn't that nice? No! He has a condom. He is having sex.  Who is he having sex with? Is it the woman in his previous movie? Or the next movie?

The problem is that we have deified actors- and made their life a commodity. Whatever they do, they show, is a matter of contention, debate,discussion, just like this one. A cleavage, is normal. A boner, is normal. Having a condom is normal. Smoking,  drinking by humans is normal, Going on a date, is normal. NOT going on a date, is normal. So if a 'celebrity' has or does all this, why does it become a headline on my newspaper?

It is a shame, that I had to write this. I can't believe we have reached the times of saying biological endowments are well, a part and parcel of human nature. We are being impervious to the most obvious things, and making a hullabaloo of something which does not even need a shout.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Humanity before Nationality- Ask How to help, not Who.

Due to the Jammu and Kashmir flood- I have a few Kashmiri friends, who could not talk to their parents for a long time. Some of them still cannot. Their face had a glint of sadness, even though they carried on with their daily life with the same rigor. Some of them continued with their play practices, assignments, attending classes. I go to my friends' home and he makes me food. I say I got reminded of home. Another friend says I don't want to get reminded of home- it just saddens me, it reminds me of something sullen. Then they all continue to indulge in their daily lives. Are they being insensitive? No! The fact that they are able to carry on with their lives is a proof of how strong they are, and because they cannot go home, they do not even create a facade of trying to do something which they cannot. They do their bit, but know that they can't do a lot. But who can, they did. Some of them did their bit- organised relief drives, arranged for money for their families and others' families, went to public places for donations. They were joined by people who were not related to Jammu and Kashmir. They were related to something called beautiful humanity. This shows in a microcosmic manner what a country should be- you do your bit, you do not show more than your abilities, and you help because you are humane. I come back and I see Facebook Statuses shouting about Army obligations, army this army that, border this border that. I do not even want to go on those debates. It was a flood. In Jammu and Kashmir. A place which has been a space of lots of issues and contentions. A place with humans who are always under some threat. A place... Why? It was a flood. In a place. A place with humans. Why can't we just stop at this? Why not? My own discussion is futile. It is not helping the loss. But the insensitivity was too high, and I had to do this.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I am blogging after one month. I am a little disoriented, but then I have so much to say but so less a vocabulary.


After a long time I want to write something personal. Not something which will ignite thoughts or question beliefs- just something I always wanted to write in my blog- what I feel like.

A month- I devoted my time to a play in college which has become one of the most amazing things I have ever done in my life. The last time I had committed myself whole-heartedly to something was my Class 12th Boards. I had stopped blogging and did only what a 12thie is supposed to do - study. But this one month I did something which I love to do- theatre.

College theatre is not really theatre, but it is a beginning. I never had spent a month on something which was not related to books, and it felt great. This play was not just staging of something on the, well, stage, but it was a month of a LOT of learning, unlearning and trying to get a balance between seemingly imbalanced things in life.

I learnt that being someone else is not really a stage or a drama phenomenon- as I spent an enormous amount of time interacting with people from broad cross-sections of college, I got to understand and know different aspects of different people, including myself. We are never who we pose to be, and that is why anyone can be an actor on stage because we are anyway acting in daily life. 

I learnt that criticisms can be of many types- some sane ones, sensible ones, some which just are there for the heck of it and some which bring no change whatsoever. But more than this, I learnt that whatever kind they are of, we have to manage them, deal with them, and then choose which one to take and which one to let go. The only key is to get to know how to handle them.

I have developed thick skin for many things I was very sensitive towards- I never knew how to take a joke, or even give a good witty repartee. With people with major wit and tactics of witticism around me, I developed a good range of taking jokes on myself and letting others laugh at my expense- it is spreading happiness, so be it.

The play was based on Mirza Ghalib,( Tamaasha ya Tamaashayee) the great Urdu poet's life, and his life and his shayarees taught me a good load of things. I cannot go on to write what they have taught me, but here it is in a nutshell- about how delicate a human being is, how pervasive and universal his/her thoughts are, how similar we all are, how are our problems actually the same but their manifestations differ, how language is just a medium and not a barrier, how beauty is temporary but love is not, I can go on and on.

This personal note will end with nothing but my favorite shayari of Ghalib:

हजारों ख्वाहिशें ऐसी कि हर ख्वाहिश पे दम निकले
बहुत निकले मेरे अरमाँ, लेकिन फिर भी कम निकले

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rape is not about my assets.

I was out in a market with this friend of mine. I am a thyroid patient and suffer from obesity, and I was walking around in the market with this friend who is according to societal demands- quintessential. I saw 10-20 guys giving her a second look, "checking her out"while she remained aloof and indifferent. She knew people looked at her, some people just with appreciating eyes and some lustful. She gave back angry looks, but all in vain. Did I feel bad that no one gave me a second look? No. why will I? Did it make me feel less attractive? No. Unwanted? No. I didn't feel anything. But then something else made me feel bad. The same day I talked to a friend of mine and I say that damn Delhi is really unsafe. Those eyes were enough to infringe privacy. The friend said."You don't have to worry."
I asked why.
The friend said, well, no one will rape YOU! (quote unquote, with the exact caps lock spacing )
What did I feel bad about? That I am not attractive and hence I don't get voyeuristic views? No. What hurt me was indirectly I was told that looking pretty, being thin and being a media driven beauty makes a girl more vulnerable when it comes to rape. My friend said I am safe because well, who will rape me? I am not good looking enough.
People really need to get their ideas right. Rape is not directly proportional to looks. It can be a subjective, specific factor but not an all encompassing cause to an effect. If it is so you won't have 6 years old raped. And if I am fat and that makes me safer than the thin female counterparts I have, then that's the worst and the most fallacious argument ever made.

Follow up: The photoshoot on rape and the explanation given by the photographer is beyond me. If an issue has to be raised and if someone wants people to talk about it, you need not dress up people in gaudy clothes and go in a beautiful looking bus and show rape in a 'sexy' way. The photo is as bad as the pun I just made. rape is not only about sex. It is much more. And this needs to be understood. I don't think it will be.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A void to fill

They call me the in-between
or sometimes they don't call me even
refuse to recognise me
am I human enough for their glance I wonder
I wonder if they know I am one of them
I am the other
both figuratively and literally
I do not belong to straitjackets of definitions
I am not the defined
nor the one who defines
but I am the void which people fill with taboos and innuendoes
I am a cipher.

I am shown through colours,
I am shown through mannerisms,
I am shown through how I talk,
but still, I am not considered normal.
My way of talking,
becomes a joke.

Why can't you see,
You and I are the same,
your preferences
differ from mine,
like they differ from anyone else's.
Broaden your horizons,
let me in,
if not,
let me go.

LGBT rights in India are next to non existent and we need to understand the gravity of the situation at hand. The neglect faced by this community has been replaced by disgust for the community. Which is wrong and it shows how our country hasn't really developed yet.

There is nothing unnatural about being a lesbian, gay etc. The etcetera needs to be taken into account. We are humans and we are varied, and we need to appreciate rather than 'accept' this variety as acceptance has a tinge of compromise and pity attached to it.

Plato said we are searching for our other half, and centuries ago, the same philosopher had said that the combinations we search for is men-women, women-men, men-men, women-women. It is completely normal, natural and equally beautiful.

It is time to rethink. Please, if a guy holds his friend's hands and likes pink dont call him gay. Because first, gay should not be a derogatory word. Second, being  gay is not being stereotyped with certain mannerisms. Be rational,because it is the only we can save this nation.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What it takes to be a man?

People have this really sad notion, that feminism does not think of men. That is because sadly, the word has 'fem' attached to it and it started off with the notions of women emancipation. But the definitions have enlarged, and we think of gender equality. We know men have rights too, and there is no reverse sexism. The same patriarchy, backfires at both men and women.

I would like to thank Aina Singh, a friend of mine who had quoted the last line and made me write this poem. 

We were told to be aggressive,
we were told not to cry,
we were told to protect,
we were told we don't need protection,
we were told, that we cannot have weak moments.

We were surrounded by patriarchy too.

I should get the job,
the bread which comes to the house
should be won by me,
if I don't have the job,
I am not man enough.

Superheroes were made to have
I was told
I am the hero
and if I go down
my family will.
I can not go down.
I can never fail.

If a girl is born,
it is the woman's mistake.
I am the strong one.
I can't be wrong.
Wrong? Man? Pfft.

I have to beat up people,
and I have to think of women of my life
as my dignity
when something happens
when someone does something to the
women of my family
I was told
to rip the dignity of that family,
by hurting their women.
I was told to do this.

I am told to MAN UP,
because if I cry
if I show emotions
if i like drama
if I like poetry
I am not a man!
I am not masculine!

I should be a man,
I should be strong.
Don't act like a woman,

I was told that if I like pink
I will be laughed at
I was given everything in neutral colours
I was shown that men like blue and girls like pink
I was made to believe that no other colours exist
other than these two
which define who I am as opposed to girls.

Even when a woman was wrong,
not because she was a woman,
but was just, just wrong
and if i was involved,indirectly,
or directly
I was told I could not handle her
Or I was told
I am to be blamed.
I am a perv.

Even if I did not do wrong,
sometimes some notions were stretched too much
to make it look like my mistake.

Not that men are never wrong,
but when they are NOT,genuinely
they are NOT.
But then, no, generalisation
and blame game
won the race.

But I did not do any of the things I was told to do.

I was weak,
I wanted support sometimes,
I was strong, but it was not always physical
I had my dignity, but it was not derived by someone else,
NOT by the means of my gender, but the person I was.
If I had not gotten a job
I worked for it,
but was not ashamed of being unemployed.
I worked for it,
But that does not mean I did not let my wife help me.
I told my son to do what he wants
He wanted to sing?
Let him sing.
I did not tell him basketball might be better.
because it is not.
You cannot weigh a person's skills.
Let us men be
what we are.
We also
do not need definitions.

I won't BE A MAN.
I will be a human.
No matter what I will be told
I will be a person.

 I would love it, if you see this video called Guante- Man up. :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I don't have balls, but I can explain.

Yesterday I had written a post about sanitary pads and I got hell lot of reactions, both good and bad. Some people totally misunderstood as to what I wanted to say. A man said I need to justify all their doubts because if I had dared to give my name under the article, I should have the 'balls' to clear their doubts. I am gonna do that. Not because I have balls, well, naturally it is not possible, but because I am tired of misconceptions engulfing and eating out our society.

1. Intention behind writing:

No feminist, modernist, whatever-ist intentions. I was having my periods, got reminded of this incident, remembered I had not written a blogpost for a long time, and wrote it. Once I started writing, I felt this is something serious, so I wrote it just like it happened. Usually when people give out an experience, their intention is to share the experience, and that's it.

2. So I am not a feminist?

Fallacy of exhaustive hypothesis. I am sorry for the huge term, but then I will take the time to explain it to you in very very simplistic terms- when there are two opposites, and when one does not conform to one, people think you are the other, when there is still another option left. If I say the post was not a feminist one, don't call me a non feminist. But I am neither a feminist nor the opposite of it. I am someone who faced an issue, had an issue and shared the issue.

3. Did I blame men in the post?

I did not blame anyone. The shopkeeper was a male, and he was doing his job. Sadly, no one saw the phrase 'he gave me a confused look'- people who understood it never made the point of the author blaming men. This phrase meant to show that the shopkeeper is USED to giving the pads in the same way to other women, and his confusion arose to my difference in opinion. So yes, the point this one simple line was making that I was going against the normal act which is a usual one in everyone's life. About my friend, if I was buying crocin, would he be embarassed? He was flustered, embarassed. But this does not mean I am blaming the male gender. Come ON guys. If he had talked to me, of course I would not have found him weird or spoiling my privacy. And someone said what will he talk about? About my flow? My dearies, just because I am buying a pad does not mean the guy will end up having only my periods to talk as a topic, isn't it? So please do not go for uneducated generalisations.

4. Ad hominem sentences.

I was not attacking intellect, of course. I WAS attacking prejudices because intellect has been marred by prejudices in our country. So yes, I don't regret it.

5. I did not show around pads.

The pack of pads come in a beautiful green/black/whatever color packets.  I took that PACKET around. Guys, please do not misinterpret without reading properly. Yes of course one can take it in a white polybag. But then, that day I was too enraged to take it in anything. I am against the newspaper, the cover up which is done for the pads before putting it in the polythene. Polybag is used for convenience. The cover up which I did not like is to hide the cover of pads. Some of you say, it is a private matter. Well, I never told you to ditch the polythene. I told you ditch the extra cover up. Take it home like you take your other goods and medicines. That was my whole point. It got forgotten amidst crap.

6. About DARING

I didn't dare. I did not find it daring to write my name. My blog is public to the whole world. I write these articles everyday. . It was not the first time a write up got published with a name. I did not need dare. I just wrote it.

7. It is not a professional article.

It is a blogpost. It is not meant to be one.

8. About panties.

Again, I did not show around pads.

9.About condoms.

You can show it around, not show it around, it is YOUR life, YOUR decision, just like it was mine! And in either cases, you are being responsible and you are having safe sex. I appreciate you dear!

10. About shame and privacy-

My point was to remove the hesitation, not to shed your shields. I shed my shield to remove my hesitation, that is my way. If your way is different, go with that. There is a reason I am not you and vice versa, right?

11. About the charas sentence-

First, I did not give the shopkeeper hard time. Actually, he laughed at this sentence. Well I dont really need to explain my relationship with the shopkeeper do I? :P (Again, not because he is just a shopkeeper. Nope. Not that. He is someone I respect, and we need not emphasise on consumer-seller relation here.) But yeah, some people said I am promoting illegal buying selling of hashish. This is so silly that I dont even want to GO THERE! It was a comedic expression.  Comedy, is never understood in India.
Then some people said this comedy trivialises the situation.

Well, I was trying to SHOW that it IS a trivial situation which people make a fuss out of. Hence, the trivialisation. To show HOW small the matter is, HOW big the issue is made out of it, and HOW simply it can be handled.

12. About my English-

Some people said I was just flaunting my English knowledge. Bhayee, yaar aisa hai to mai ek bhi shabd hindi me likhti hee nahi, Kyon? I don't even want to explain this silly notion.

13. About flaunting and hiding.

Again, Logic fallacy. If I am telling you not to hide, I am not telling you to flaunt. And about no one able to see me with the packet, it was not because I wanted attention. I just wanted to make a point there, not for atrracting attention, but to see for real how people react to this. Not for attention. I said no one saw me, because hell, no one SAW me. I was asking myself, WHAT IF someone saw me, how would have they reacted? That's it.

  People said I have not attacked the actual prejudices of temple going, not touching etc related to menstruation. It is because I was not sharing an experience to bring out all those things in one article. One step at a time.

And in fact, I have written a piece recognised by BlogAdda on the topics people think I missed out on and should have covered instead. Read on if you want to.

Please do not judge people and criticize for the heck of it. I took some criticisms with a pinch of salt. But some were really uneducated and not thought over. Hence this explanation.

And I did not write it with anger. the Caps lock is for emphasis, not for shouting. Chill people. Be cool.