Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I ASK SANTA

I ask Santa
to add a dash of sensitivity
in the cakes
he leaves for Indian boys

and a huge chunk of strength
in the pies
little girls,including mine
bites

and for myself and friends
little cookies of hope
that make us believe

this too shall pass
and change for better !

Sunday, December 23, 2012

MARYADA- मर्यादा

मर्यादा -पुरुषोतम  भी
ये दुसाहस
नहीं कर पाए थे

सीता को त्याग कर
उन्होंने  ही शायद
नियम ऐसे सुझाये थे

उसके साथ अन्याय
हो जाये तो भी
उसको ही  दंड मिलेगा

आज भी दुसाहस
रुके नहीं हैं

आज भी नियम वही है
दुर्बल कहते हैं जिसको
वही आज भी

मर्यादा का भारी
बोझ उठाये खड़ी है !

Friday, December 21, 2012

RAPE is not just another four-letter word -"The ax forgets, the tree remembers." Maya Angelou


"The ax forgets, the tree remembers."
Maya Angelou, Even the Stars Look Lonesome, 1997


In the last decade or so Delhi has witnessed some horrible rape cases

2001 a 26 yrs old is raped in a Blueline bus which she boarded form Mathura Road in South Delhi
2003 A 17 yrs old is raped in the Buddha Jayanti Park
2005 The Dhaula Kuan rape of a student in a moving car
2010 gang-rape of a BPO employee

All the cases sparked debates,protests outrage and most importantly false promises by the Delhi Police which were never fulfilled.
The kind of support system we have for the victims is evident from these reports.

So after six months perhaps this uproar would die too,till there is another victim offered to be sacrificed on the altar of this woman-hating culture.The educated ,liberated,independent woman is so difficult to "tolerate" by the men she is quickly displacing in all fields.confining her in purdah and kitchens and "teaching her a lesson" if she doesn't confirm are covert ways of keeping the power structure intact.

Even those of us who raise voices at homes an in cyberspace are labelled to be "armchair activists" who have nothing better to do.The language in which we refer to women is still largely as "protectionist".

Till we raise our boys as privileged,more empowered and superior than our girls,the problem will persist.Men who enjoy these notions in homes and families will never be able to accept a woman as an equal and hence her right to everything as valid as their's.

lets not teach our boys to protect the women in the family instead RESPECT WOMEN,their bodies and their opinions.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Doomsday prophecies when fairy tales have gone horribly wrong

21/12/2012 has been in the limelight for long now as the supposedly last day for humanity on the planet,interestingly big daddy of the info world GOOGLE celebrates the 200th anniversary of Grimm's fairy tales in its doodle and a girl brutally raped and harmed fights for life in a Delhi hospital.

Humanity is already dead in every space where fairy tales have become nightmares for girls.Public outrage,candle light marches all happen after an incident.Oh please do they want us to believe that so many people are actually concerned,if they were the girl and her friend wouldn't be lying naked on the road till the police arrived.

We have had good public campaigns like justice for Jessica Lal and a few others but the root cause - how we perceive our girls,still remains more or less unchanged.

Celebrities,institutions,families,individuals,media all have to ensure this outrage does not die the death all our petitions and campaigns do.Let us hope that as NASA suggests there is no doomsday happening tomorrow and all of us have some more time to bring in the change and be better equipped to look after our girls,prevent crimes to a large extent and to handle sexual crimes like rape better as suggested by IHM in her brilliant blog post.

No law can guarantee a crime free,safe,equal society only you and me can do our bit in our homes,workplaces and wherever we are whenever we can in whatever way.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Are Rapists from Mars or Policemen from Pluto?


  • CHANDIGARH-A post-graduate student in a university hostel rushes into the common room in panic and starts crying she has just witnessed a man flashing himself,she did not know what to do and immediately rushed back to the hostel.When she narrates this to a few fellow hostel friends(all post-graduate or higher level students) a lot of joking and laughing happens.
  • KOLKATA-A middle-aged lady who teaches in a college takes a taxi to return home,but finds the driver is not following the correct route and is not listening to any instructions or protests,when she manages to force one of the back seat doors open and threatens to jump from the running taxi he drops her at a deserted spot and runs away.
  • LONDON-A young Asian woman,who is new to the city is taking a bus to her college.Its very early in the morning and the only other passenger of the bus is a young man who sees her alone,moves closer to her seat,passes a lewd comment and makes an obscene gesture.She is visibly upset and looks lost,the driver watches the scene and quietly drives the bus to the nearest police post.
These are not imaginary incidents,these are real incidents which have happened to real women,some of my friends in real cities.Don't they tell us a lot about gender sensitivity,social attitudes to sexual crimes and why RAPE still remains the ultimate threat to a woman,sometimes even worse than murder.


A list of a few of these common words is usually given in Gender sensitization workshops to participants to understand gender stereotypes:


Dependent - Independent
Weak - Powerful
Emotional - Logical
Supporters - Leaders
Fearful - Brave
Peace-makers - Aggressive
Cautious - Adventurous
Passive - Active
Gentle - Strong
Recipients-Providers

In most sexual crimes  like the recent gang-rape in Delhi all these stereotypes seem to play an active role in the causes of the crime.The rapists are not from other world,in fact statistics tell us that most of them are people the victims know and trust.Similarly the police personnel who are so insensitive to victims of sexual crimes are men and women from this very society.

The perpetrators of course need to be highly dehumanized and detached from he plight of the victim to assert their physical and sexual power so violently on them.Although no two sexual attacks are same and neither are the mental states of the attackers similar but RAPE for most criminals is essentially about showing the woman her place,punishing her for raising her voice,offering resistance and teaching her a lesson.

Remedial measures are required but I believe the real change has to start in homes,families,schools,bus stops,offices every where,whenever we see a woman being harassed,If we ensure that the society and the system stand by her and not against her would be a definite deterrent.

VIOLENCE,APATHY AND BLAME

I hold her little hand
and see her smile
in her sleep,I wonder
do I owe her an apology

for bringing her
into this world
where schools aren't
immune to guns
and streets are filled
with savage brutes

where they deify her
and then immerse her
constantly in the dark waters
of honor and shame

where she has to be
fair,slim and homely
wear decent clothes
need to be "protected"
and rarely really respected

What am I really thinking
when I tell her fairy tales
don't I know
the real stories of girls
are too horrible even to tell

still I will speak up
and voice these gruesome truths
let me introduce her
to new words
violence,apathy and blame !


This post was shared at http://fakeindianbbahu.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/second-thoughts-first-violenceapathy-and-blame/
and here http://twitter.com/fakeindianbbahu

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

HIPPOS SWEAT RED - IZZAT and RAPE in DELHI


Some believe hippos sweat red when angry or sad,the analogy is weird here I agree but apt for what we do  so often after a crime against a woman in India. Their is rampant outrage in media,social networks ,there are candle light protests and then there is the strong undercurrent of shame and immorality that we heap on the victim,irrespective of whether she is a teenager found murdered in her house or a victim of gang rape in a bus in the national capital.Then something else grabs eyeballs,TRPs and mental space and we  go back to our utopias or our shells.

A reputed fellow blogger asks "What do you think made these rapists in Delhi so fearless?"

The character of the victim is questioned,her upbringing is analysed and criticized and we conclude that she will live a hellish life afterwards if she is lucky to survive.Not wrong but instead shouldn't the afterward be made shameful for the perpetrators of such crimes instead of the victim.

Generalizations are easy to make but most often I believe men involved in such crimes and women who patronize such men or blame the women victims are brought up in social environments where a girl child is often killed even before she is born and if born a daughter or a sister is always considered to be a liability for the family and the wives just owned objects.

So that leaves only two options for thousands of educated women in Indian cities:

  • Go outside,use public transport,work,study,watch movies,meet friends but constantly in the fear of getting teased,harrased,molested,raped or killed 
  • Stay inside the four walls,maybe in purdah,do not work,do not study and still be vulnerable to violence  of the worst kind.
As a woman,as a mother this is not a society I want to exist in.There are two Indias every where here,the imaginary new and shining only in terms of malls and colleges and the medieval and real inside our minds where power equations haven't changed much.Where the responsibility of IZZAT is still heaped onto the shoulders of the girls and it is enjoyed only by men.

Instances from every day life of being just elbowed in a bus or leched at in public places,of patronizing advertisements,films and TV serials where women are either devi or devils,where men have a right to presume NO as yes and we just laugh at "boys will be boys" need to change.

Crimes like these are not only about sex they are always about weak men trying to assert pseudo power,men who use abuses pertaining to daughters,sisters and mothers at the drop of a hat,men who believe women need to dress up and act in a certain way and they will teach a lesson to those women who do not confirm. 

They are supported by a system where they use violence in their own homes and the culture of silence prevails,where numbers of women are declining so fast that they are rarely seen and never ever heard.A set of politicians and experts who never use public transport,never walk on a dark street alone to and from work debate it in the comforts of news channel studios and then do not do anything about the lame laws that allow the criminals in such acts to  find a way around the legal system easily.
The rape capital is not going to change till we change our bedrooms,our kitchens and our classrooms.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

BIRTHDAY MUSINGS


Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. - C.S. Lewis

Words have always been my friends,and stories my world.Initially a compulsion imposed by our almost solitary house on the premises of my father's work place- an electricity station and later out of choice because words talked to me better than people did.

But for the last four years I have been struggling to find a word or a few words to define the moment when I first witnessed that blinking dot on a screen and the doctor said," That's your baby's heartbeat."

How do you define happiness,anxiety,excitement,fear,love,panic all shooting at once through your heart? Probably the closest a word can define all of this is "overwhelmed".The months after that and then the four years with Priyamvada have all been overwhelming in one way or the other,smiles of all variety and tears of happiness,despair and sometimes just fatigue.

Why I write this today just two days before her 4th birthday because I guess there are so many moments every day,every year that memory might not preserve all of them accurately,so here are a few in no particular order.Some of my choicest moments with my lovely daughter in the last four years,lets see how many I get instantly:

  • answering her questions- can ants see planes in the air?, why do you make circle rotis?,who switches off the sun?,where is barbie's mom?,why is red not green? and on and on and on............
  • having her baby talc smell close to me
  • matching clips and socks with dresses
  • hoarding everything from plastic lids to broken toys and calling them "my stuff "
  • making stories about food,diapers,medicines and everything else
  • singing songs with garbled lyrics and rhymes with wrong words confidently
  • dancing in abandon to any kind of beat
  • pausing in the middle of a busy work hour and see her smiling back,just that instant
  • she becoming "chhoti mama" and I am the naughty baby 
  • saying O wow !!! at every little thing said,heard and seen
  • holding her hand and knowing she is mine forever
  • her classifying everything as boy/girl despite all efforts to break stereotypes
  • naming all her soft toys with her
  • less sleep,less me-time,less leisure,less work but a bigger heart,thanks to her !
  • trying to find the chef part of my soul to make her good meals and appetizing tiffins
  • making a code language with my husband to say things that she need not or should not hear
  • waiting for her to come back from school every day
  • holidays with her,looking at same places and same people with new eyes
  • giving her my things- books,chunky jewelry,pencils,lip balms.....
  • my husband's special smile when she says- papa I am like you !
  • watching my parents as grandparents loving her more than me- their only child
As i pause and look up she is right there across the room,playing doctor and I am the next three patients so will have to go but I hope she reads this some day,understands and knows I am because she is.HAPPY BIRTHDAY NUMBER 4 PRIYAMVADA !!!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

SUFI


About 33,100,000 results (0.26 seconds)
says Google when you key in SUFI

seek HIM quietly
no kilobytes needed
no light and sound

a calm descends 
and in the warm mist
of divine clarity

all wrinkles 
of the soul
get ironed out !

Friday, December 7, 2012

FAITH

When words fail
and thoughts rush

when the fear 
of an immense loss
terrifies

and a faith
is reluctant 
to take the leap

I think of
the majestic Dhauladhars
the monks in meditation
and the warm sun
in the courtyard
of the Namgyal monastery !

Thursday, December 6, 2012

LOVE

a little trinket
becomes a precious jewel

Rumi and Gibran
fade in the gleam

of a moment
worth a lifetime

such is love !!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

search

the normal
and the paranormal

the thin line
of belief and experience

blurring in art
and life

in an attempt
to rationalize
a loss, or just to
regain some faith

the search is on !!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

TRADE

the asterisk points
-read the terms
and conditions carefully.

missing the fine print
is a bad idea
in a lifelong deal

commissions are fixed
terms negotiated.
deals commence

souls have
no role
in trade.

Orange Flower Awards

@IAmSufiZen

COMPANIONS CALLED BOOKS

To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
Frankenstein
The Odyssey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Count of Monte Cristo
Eat, Pray, Love
Lolita
The Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
The Silence of the Lambs
The Diary of a Young Girl
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Notebook
Gone With the Wind
}

I WILL RING THE BELL.WILL YOU?

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario
my work on display there !!!!!