Monday, November 9, 2015

This world and You

"Prerna thought she will buy the box of nutella herself. For she was hungry for some chocolate!"

It is beautiful how we all live in a certain kind of interconnectedness, without the knowledge of it. We are bound by this cosmos which allows us to do actions but we somehow are responding to some kind of equilibrium. Today, I am laughing but somewhere around the corner someone is crying. Today you get married, and someone has had their first visit to a divorce counsellor. Thousands die and thousands take birth on the same day.

I am walking down the street, listening to music and someone is fighting in a corner of a street. I lower the volume, pass them by. I hear 'You don't understand' only, and the look on the man's face is despondent. I hear two men talking in Tamizh in a rickshaw- I smile, listening to your mother tongue in a different place always fills you with a weird kind of joy. I pass by a woman who is talking on her phone who is telling to the other side of the call "Punjabi Ladki hoon, mujhe dar nahi lagta!". I smile, for some inane reason. As I walk past I see two kids of my age smoking, a whole montage of people who I know who smoke passes my mind, and I fight a lot of judgemental opinions that my brain creates. At the same time I see a 10 year old selling ciggarettes, with such informative vigour. And I am witnessing all of this while having a whole life my own, and I am being witnessed at the same time. Someone saw my hair, someone saw my cellphone, someone saw my eyes. Someone did not look at me at all.

Almost always, what we do is a reaction to what is happening somewhere else. It might seem like an overstretched thought but coming to think of it, the world's stasis is possible only if we are acting in accordance to some kind of equalizing structure. It fills a certain kind of optimism in me- that today's tear can turn into a smile soon enough to balance it out.

All this, comes in my mind while going to buy a box of nutella- an impulsive decision taken sitting in the college canteen, wanting to eat something inordinately sweet. The impulsive decision connected me to Virginia Woolf's first sentence in Mrs Dalloway: Mrs Dalloway thought she would buy the flowers herself. Certain sudden impulsive decisions could always make you learn a lot you signed up for. I learnt that no matter how lonely you feel, your very being is made up of this world you live in. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Process That Has Come Alive.

Sometimes I wish the world slowed down its pace. It just gets too fast and too insane to tackle and one starts to lose control and hold over what goes around them. We just become machines, cogs in wheels trying to work it out the way we are mechanically systemized to do it. Time and tide wait for none, but nowadays they don't even come at a normal speed. Time goes away before you even realise it came and affected a change in your life. It is both beautiful and disconcerting at the same time. Life looks like a pack of dominoes, sadly.

Now that I have started on a very bleak note, I cannot change my tone can I? The bleakness ensued because of what is going on in life right now. College is ending so fast, it is unimaginable. I still feel I came to the college last day, met the principal with my parents and entered the room waiting for my roommate to come the next day. I still feel that those days were just yesterday. But the reality is that two and a half years have passed and now people around me respect the lot I am in, the "third years", the way we are seen by our " juniors" and are talked to is so different that it beats me. Until yesterday I was the one talking like that, today I am on the receiving end.

It struck me hard when I directed a play with a first year and a third year, and to me, more than the play it was the first year whose talent was a revelation. I got reminded of my first few days in college where I just wanted to try out everything and try and get my hold in the college somewhere, but at the same time wanted to be a stranger, because fame came with its responsibilities and issues. I saw this person with my own past in mind, and I felt a certain kind of responsibility towards him. Even though he had already acted in a play in college, this was the time I could break the mould and surprise him with what he could do. With really supportive people around me, he was brilliant enough to even get acknowledged for his work. The feelings that came to me were inexplicable.

The feelings came with an added sense of seniority and nostalgia: I felt I have got just six more months in college, I need to make the most of it. When I saw him as successful, I saw my college life's last chapter being written. Even my being was a contribution of so many seniors who affected changes in me, but this time I could actually feel how it felt.

Being older to someone and polishing their skills isn't the point here. The point is how amazing the feeling is when you get to see a process come alive in one person, how one person can be an amalgam of your thoughts process,work, time and effort. It is a beautiful feeling, and it makes the epoch even more meaningful. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Rantings of a List-Maker

Sometimes, I just feel like losing track of my self, my surroundings and let things go haywire. Sometimes, even I feel like doing things impulsively, and doing things without a checklist. Even I have those moments of exasperation, those moments of "I GIVE UP" and "I CANNOT HANDLE THIS SHIT". But, I mostly fail.

I have realised that even my fun time is in my routine, the amount of fun I have is also proportionate to how much work I am doing in a day. My "Google Keep" has a check list of "Things to Read" "Things to say to People", "Things to do", and  in between, I have marked out "Have fun". And when I do have fun, I feel guilty.

I feel guilty that maybe I am having fun right now but what if I am not doing something important which needs to be done, and what if I will pay for it. I have utterly failed to live in the moment, because while living the moment I am already planning my future.

I wake up late sometimes, yes. And funnily, even that is planned. I don't just "sleep with the book on my face", or "sleep while the movie was on." I have never had those moments, and if I have, I may have repressed them because they make me feel guilty. Hell, this blogpost was the only unplanned thing I am doing today and it has already put me on a guilt trip.

My lists are getting too many and are piling up. I have forgotten to add one list, and that is to live. Because I don't really know when I can do that.

Do you?

To know more about my OCD:

Excessive list-making: People with OCD often fear they will forget something important, so they may make excessive lists to remind them to do daily routine activities (i.e. brush teeth, make breakfast, etc.) However, research has shown that people with OCD do not have memory problems, so the lists are actually unnecessary. List-making would be considered a compulsion because the list reassures the person with OCD and helps them to feel temporarily better, thus they never learn that they do not need the list to remember things. People with OCD may also make lists to remember things that may be contaminated to later wash or avoid, which also contributes to the OCD process. List-making can be in writing or verbalized aloud.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What Women Want

 “I’m blogging for the India Today Woman Summit 2015 #WomenPower activity at BlogAdda.”

Nowadays Men Rights' Activism  has emerged and has led to the utter amazement of feminists upon this movement, because they never knew what they were working for could lead to an alternate movement. Something has gone wrong, and we need to realise it as soon as possible.

Feminism is nowadays seen as a monolithic movement with internal contradictions because of the gross misinterpretation done by people who call themselves feminists. Feminism is often treated as an elitist movement because it has not led to the upliftment of women in rural regions, but these are arguments given without seeing what feminism has achieved.

Today, here I am, writing a blog on a public forum. Today, there is an India Today Conference on Women's Rights. How was this made possible? How was this feat achieved? It was due to that 100 years of fighting for universal suffrage and equal rights, equal recognition of humaneness in both female and male that has led to this. Some years ago it would have been impossible for women to have opinions, let alone voice them out. But this generation of ours has got everything ready on its plate, and thus it is easy to ignore the movement which led to the formation of the food we are ready to gulp down our throats. We take our rights for granted. 

Today a woman can walk on the road, ride in a metro, have a job and do things outside the oikos, the domestic space. Yes, a woman is in danger when she walks on the road, can be teased in a metro, isn't given equal pay in the job she does but everything is in the pipeline, and a bit of optimism goes a long way. If we could achieve the former, removing the issues would not be a problem. But it can only happen if the former is not taken for granted, as a given. I am not saying treat it as a privilege, as a favor being done to our sex. NO, not at all. It is not a favor which has been granted to us. But it has been our birthright which has been successfully realised and now we can exercise it- one should see how it was achieved whenever trying to extract it. It was achieved through years of revolutions, deaths and fights- it wasn't a mean feat. 

Riding in a metro for a woman would have been a privilege 50 years ago, because 'rights' were quite foreign to women, they were only used to 'duties'. But now, we are used to having our own space. It does not mean that we use it for extracting ulterior purposes. I am not blaming women in general, but our movement of feminism needs to be a very strong, all-encompassing one. And thus, no misinterpretation has space or a room here. You cannot ask for chivalry if you are against chauvinism. You cannot sit for a dharna for equal pay and ask your boyfriend to pay your bills; you can offer a seat to a man and if someone offers it to you, accept it gracefully. Quoting feminism in wrong contexts is leading to a large number of problems.

The Rohtak Girls incident is often quoted as an example of how women are playing the 'victim' card to get what they want. Being a 'victim' is seen as a privilege- and that in itself is problematic. A movement won't be successful until we understand what we are working for. We want equality, and not special treatment. We do not want to overthrow patriarchy and rule over people instead. We do not want to be people who men and other sexes are scared of. We want to be equal, we want to be the same, and not different. 

Fake cases of harrassment and rapes are taken as exemplifications of feminism and are told to steer forward the argument for having men's rights. The problem is that those who do this, don't know what feminism stands for. Feminism stands for removing the gendering of any activity or social phenomena- it does not want gender as a criteria. And it is because women have always been treated as suboordinate, is why it is called 'feminism'.  This does not mean men are not treated equally, but it is to come to the level of men and be equal to them is what this movement strives for. How come then, we can undermine men and go for our goals? We do not consider men superior, nor inferior. We consider them the same as us, and hence their problems are equal to ours. Feminism is for both men and women, and those women who say they aren't feminists because they love men, are giving a very illogical argument. You love men? You are a feminist. Because the mere act of you voicing out your love for the other sex publically is the feat feminism has achieved. Thanks to feminism, you can say you are not a feminist.

We need to correct and check our opinions because voicing them has become easy. This will lead to an understanding amongst women itself- what do they want? And only when we understand it, is when we can make others understand. And it is not a difficult task to do so.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tell them the difference!

The fact that rights of women have become a joke in itself an example of the current problematic situation regarding feminism in India. It is because of the misappropriation of the word 'right' is what is coloring interpretations regarding 'what women want.' This is actually where the problem lies- it is not about what a gender wants, but needs. And that is how equality is asserted.

It is when the lines between want and need are blurred that issues arise. How people approach equality is also an issue- what kind of equality does one want? And why does one want it? Women's rights are about being given the same rights as men as they are as human as men are. This has not been achieved fully as yet, and the sad part is that with this partial fulfillment, the misappropriation of these rights have begun. Such is the case with humanity- we do not finish a task before we start going for the other. And here is where we do not budge from self-contradicting.

A day in metro can see the different ways men and women appropriate their rights. A man accidentally enters the women's compartment and a woman shouts- Dikhta nahi kya? Andha hai? ( are you blind? can't you see?). Some other day you see another woman telling a man politely, saying that this is the woman's compartment, or better still- people mind their own business, and things go on the way they are supposed to.

 But problem arises when they don't- it often happens when women don't tell a man to leave the compartment and some men stubbornly sit there- where is the voice for rights then for women? Why is that all of us approach the same problem in a different way? This is why it is said that there is no unity among the human race- everyone is pitted against the other and no one has a collective conscience.

The new term called the 'victim card' has emerged. The very fact that women 'get to be victims' is seen as a 'privilege'. When did this happen? When did being a victim become a powerful endowment? It is again about the misuse of a provision- it is when some people call the wolf because they have the liberty to. But when the wolf really comes for some people, there is no go- everyone thinks the person is lying like the other one, and there is no resolution. Voices get subdued again, only that here the problem lies with the people who tried to raise it.

The special status given to women in public places like the metro compartment, a different queue, is always seen as a contradiction to the rhetoric of feminism. Feminism is also blamed for the word 'fem'. But men and women who do not believe in this concept do not know what it actually stands for.  Feminism is called feminism, and there is a differential treatment because only  upliftment of women will make them reach to an equal status. One cannot jump to the zenith without crossing various borders, and this is why these provisions need to be made.

About men knowing the difference between equality and special status, it is a murky area. It is the prerogative of both the genders to understand that if you want to denounce any kind of chauvinism, you need not expect any kind of chivalry. A friend of mine hates it that she does not get equal pay as men, but she wants the man to pay for her dinner- this internal contradiction needs to be erased. We need to be sure as to what we want, and for that we need to know why we want it. Women need equality, and not special status. We do not need matriarchy over patriarchy, but an egalitarian existence of both the sexes. Men will know the difference only when it is shown to them that there is a difference. We need to assert our rights equally to be treated equally. Inner contradictions need to be removed when we realise our shared past of suboordination. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

An Appeal to Both Men and Women Out There

Sunday, August 9, 2015

These Painful Terms!

Nowadays I don't really understand what 'decent' stands for. What is decent? Who decides what is decent? Sometimes I feel the word is so badly misused that it has led to hundred many problems of our times. 
What conventionally decency means is conforming with generally accepted standards of respectable or moral behaviour.
Conformity, generally accepted, standards, respectable/moral behaviour. Such heavily loaded words that my eyes twitch when I look at them, let alone read. Conformity is something which is now being questioned on so many levels- conform to what, why, how and when it is okay not to. Why do we need to conform is often quoted as the 'rebel's phrase'. But no one has an answer to it. The answers vary, but aren't satisfactory. 'Because we don't want anarchy', 'because that's the way it has always been' are two topmost replies. Anarchy? What do you think is going on now? Superb simple democracy itself has turned into a anarchical institution. Sometimes I feel it is almost a widely accepted misnomer. 

 The word conform means  behave according to socially acceptable conventions or standards. The last part of the sentence again clashes with what decency means.  Generally acceptable- Socially Acceptable. Accepted Standards- Conventions.  But who determined the generality? What makes something 'acceptable'? Many would say what most people do is what most people are okay with. That is one easy way to say what 'widely accepted' is. It is what is widely done. This is why left handers are still seen as potential murderers ( sorry for the exaggeration, sense my frustration) because well, they form just 10% of a population. If it isn't practised by many, maybe it isn't right.

But we never tend to question WHY in this case. Why is something not practised by many? Fear? Ignorance? Bias? If bias, then of what kind? 

For ease, let me take an example. Couples were thrown out of hotel rooms for public indecency. Many people said it was right- not everyone takes 'get a room' literally. But then, when PDA is seen as something 'indecent', now sharing a bed with your loved one in a private space is indecent too. The argument provided is- they aren't loved ones approved by law, hence they can't stay in a public property to carry out personal shenanigans. But wait, isn't a room in a hotel my property when I have paid the expenses? People will say it is just a matter of glossed over prostitution. Wow, that escalated real quick. 

I never really understood what law has to do with relationships which are made out of mutual consent. Laws should be for problems after the mutual consent, or problems where there is no consent but force. Two people, who are happy with each other, what is a public rule got to do with that? Maybe I am being myopic, but then I feel our government just wastes time in petty things while there are issues in the same domain such as sexual harrassment, domestic violence looming at large. 

Conventions-standards-morals- high time we take individuals' individuality seriously, see them as wholes and not as a random figure in a murder of crows. This group-thinking will lead us closer to the point of nadir, point of no return.