Aunties and uncles, judge all you want!

A note I wrote about 2 years back, but seemed relevant when I saw the recent news of a lady moral policing girls on their choice of clothes.

07/08/17

The other day a good friend of mine sent me a chic picture of hers, dilly-dallying by a side-walk in a metro city abroad. She was sporting a cute knee-length skirt and a matching tank top and my immediate response was, “You look so pretty in that western attire, why wouldn’t you wear these here in Trivandrum?”, to which she sheepishly retorted just a di-syllable, “Naanam”. I paused for a moment to recall few other lady friends and colleagues of mine who have given similar explanations or rather explanations that were disguised under layers of other phrases but essentially meant the same thing my friend just said.

So what makes bold independent women of the 21st century still feel apprehensive of wearing attractive modern attire that suit them a 100 times more than the sloppy salwars and kameez that infact even stand out as sore thumbs in a corporate setting.

I can only think of 2 reasons :

The first is the fact that our society is extremely judgemental and is audacious enough to give out verdicts about everything and anything in other people’s lives – beginning with the way they dress, eat, talk, the circle they move in, to the most inconsequential of matters. And they have multiple channels with which they broadcast these judgements. Most common being –
1. ‘piercing looks’ that make you feel like digging a grave and burying yourself in it rather than face the stares
2. vociferously, but ‘behind your back’ and never on the face
3. ‘subtle comments’ under the guise of small talk
4. ‘blatant mockery’ for which your clothes, shoes, makeup, hair anything could be subject to

The second reason I can think of, is the fact that we are all brought up without being told an imperative fact of life – ‘What other people think of us is none of our business’! It does not matter to our lives in any tangible way. It only has power when WE give it power. If we choose to ignore the words or thoughts of others it will burn down to ashes and have no effect whatsoever on our lives or peace of mind.

Even while brought up by well-educated parents they forgot to instill this thought inside of us. I hope at least we don’t trivialise this and would make sure we inculcate this thought while raising the next generation, for this brutal prejudiced world is always ready with its unforgiving whip that doles out unwarranted sentences for every turn our children may take.

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10 reasons why I don’t need to hate BJP & Modi and 1 reason why I think I should

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1. I have not been a supporter of any party – Congress, BJP, CPM, AAP, BSP, DMK, YSR, or any other numerous parties in India. I have never voted for any party nor do I have a voter’s ID yet.

2. I am born Hindu and legally still, so I have had no issue from Sanghis or Hindutva factions like what Christians or Muslims have faced.

3. I am not a Dalit and have not been discriminated by upper caste Hindus.

4. How ever much the fuel or cooking gas price is hiked in India as opposed to the record low international crude oil price, I have been able to afford buying it because I have a well-paying job.

5. There have been no riots that plagued me or my region killing or hurting anyone close to me.

6. I have had no issues from Sanghis regarding eating beef because I live in Kerala. And even if I travel outside I don’t have to worry over being killed for it anymore since I have stopped red meat altogether as part of adopting a healthier lifestyle.

7. Note ban did not affect me because I had enough cash withdrawn and also I could use digital money in few places. I also didn’t have to stand in ATM queues, nor did anyone close to me stand in that queue and die waiting for money.

8. All the failed schemes Modi started hasn’t affected me, because I’m not a person who would directly draw its benefits, the only exception being Swatch Bharat and again it’s failure doesn’t affect me much because I live in one of the cleanest cities in India.

9. I don’t have to worry about Rafeale deal or Ambani making money over it because it doesn’t affect me personally. And no one close to me is serving in IAF for me to worry over their safety since Modi has got the deal delayed.

10. I am not any well-known writer or celebrity or judge and hence don’t have to worry about being attacked or killed for writing or talking against BJP or Modi.

And yet, I am vehement about my displeasure towards the governance under Modi and BJP. I would like to clarify that the reason I do not support BJP is nothing personal. Me as a person or my family or my dear ones have not had any glaring issues during Modi’s rule. I have had no personal experience that would make me dislike him either. However, everything I have said against Modi and BJP all these years is because I couldn’t help being silent after seeing what’s happening around me. I couldn’t stop being empathetic of people who have faced the above said in different parts of the country at the behest of BJP, Sanghis and Modi. And I believe when the good people of this country are able to look beyond their own previous personal experiences that are religious, social, cultural or communal, and are able to see other people’s sufferings they may be able to understand why so many people are against this extreme right wing politics that is slowly tearing into the heart of India and murdering her.

P.S. : I have 2 friends from JNU, who are Hindus and it was easy for them to receive favours in faculty recruitments just by showing affinity for right-wing politics because the VC is BJP. However they chose not to do it only because they did not want something preferential like that after what had happened to Omar, Kanaiyya and Shehla in the campus. Now, that’s empathy. And that’s what I’m looking for in every citizen of our country. To consider experiences of other people and let that factor in when you decide whom to reject in this election. The experiences of those people who have absolutely nothing to give you back.

 

 

 

My tribe, my own

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Not all who have mothers,
Can know how it feels to be a child.

Not all who have siblings,
Can feel protected.

Not all who have fathers,
Can call themselves a princess.

Not all who have husbands,
Can pride to be queens.

Not all who have families,
Can claim to belong.
Because, to belong is beyond blood.

I have found my tribe,
Not in the confines of my house;
But in the saddest of places, like a murky mind,
That sees the same darkness as I do, and
In the loneliest of deserts, like the heart of a kindred soul.

I have found kinship,
Not with the clan that profess to be family;
But with the trees I wrap my arms around heaving a sigh,
When the goodness they breathe out,
Makes my soul pristine, with every whiff I hug back in.

I have found peace,
Not in the quietness of my vacant house;
But in the tranquil lull of the seas,
That is balm to my wounds, and
Heals the gashes on my heart.

I have found love,
Not in people’s hollow words they decorate their Facebook posts with;
But in the eyes of a speechless animal, who
Feels my bleeding innards,
Even in my silence.

I have felt at home,
Not with people who have labels in my life;But with this nameless tribe of mine,
Whom my soul would meet again and again,

In all my lives to come.

First love

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After ages,
I stepped inside a book store.
A rarity now,
Thanks to Amazon and Kindle.
I held my breath,
Hogged with my eyes.
I walked down the aisle,
With flutter in my gut.
I picked up a book
Opened windows,
Into worlds unknown,
Lives unheard.
I smelled the pages,
Snorting cocaine, a lesser high.
I had almost forgotten,
I was a whore,
For hardbounds and paperbacks.
First love they are,
And will always be.
I walked out the store
Books in my arms,
Smile in my eyes,
Twinkle in my voice,
Glee in my heart,
Relieved that the child in me,
Is still intact.

Why we need feminism

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This is not just the schedule of swimming pool timings. It reveals why feminism is important, but then again you have to furrow your brows, cringe your eyes and look.

I felt like writing today because I’m irate, extremely, at the increasing attrocities against women and even in the name of traditions, and even from their own families. And I’m enraged, extremely, at how everyone around trivialises it.

I wanted to emphasize in my own way, why feminism is important now more than ever. Just because there are pseudo-feminists who don’t mean what they say, is it okay to condescend all the well-meaning ones by twisting the term into a derogatory “feminichi”? Is it okay to deride feminism as something unnecessary and exaggerated?

Coming back to the picture – Earlier when I put it up with the same description, many asked me what is wrong with it. I didn’t really say there is anything “wrong” per se, but rather what I said was “the picture reveals” why feminism is important. And the reason is, there are multiple “Women only” slots, but “Why isn’t there no “Men Only” slot?”

The answer to that question explains my whole point on why feminism is important – There are “Women only” slots because many women don’t feel safe around men. Hence the need for such a slot arises in the first place. But there is no question of men feeling unsafe around women, and so there is no “Men only” slot. Not even one.

Like most people misconstrue, feminism is not aimed at putting women on a pedestal and giving them prerogatives that they don’t deserve. Feminism came into existence because women are more oppressed than men are, and women feel more unsafe than men do in most circumstances, here and everywhere (except few one-off cases). We need women to be lifted up to the same status as men are in all walks of life, so that they don’t feel less recognised, less respected and less safe as they do now. Hence feminism. Period.

 

 

 

 

 

My Trivandrum

16642C27-514C-4F81-814C-DBC052CDC55CTo all the rest of ‘Lolans’ and ‘Lolas’ like me, who are besotted with our beloved Trivandrum…

I love driving on Sunday afternoons through my city. Reminds me of the old Trivandrum, Trivandrum of 90s, Trivandrum of my childhood. The city looks lazy and laid back, with a profound sense of calm about it. The grandfather trees that flank the Kaudiar Rajaveedhi look serene and as if in an afternoon siesta. I can never get enough of floating amid them. Once in a while, I park my car in their shade and keep gazing at the leaves that dance down in a gentle drizzle. The old Colonial structures spread across the length and breadth of the city seem more majestic than in a busy day amidst manic traffic. They stand tall and wise like a proud tusker, having been witness to decades of eventfulness. And when behind the wheel I particularly love listening to yesteryear Malayalam movie songs, specially those of Mohanlal. It’s like they have an air about them that summons a whiff of that era. You inhale and get magically transported back to that time. I’m sure nostalgia coupled with the beauty of Trivandrum on a lazy Sunday afternoon is something most of my peers – 80s born Trivandrumites – can relate to.

Why not ‘save’ Malikappurath Amma too?

So the logic is Lord Ayyappa being a “naishtika bhramachari” cannot even stand the sight of a female devotee who is of menstrual age. They can’t even be in his vicinity! In that case, isn’t it reasonable to wonder why male worshippers are allowed inside Malikapurath Amma’s temple, when she has vowed to stay a “virgin” till the day Ayyappa is ready to marry her? Leave aside the devotees, how can male priests be allowed to touch her, caress her, even bathe her?! Oh what blasphemy! And how can Ayyappa and his worshippers stand and look on when this gross injustice is being inflicted upon Malikapurath Amma, who has devoted her entire life to Ayyappa? If the virginity of Ayyappa has to be protected, then Malikappurath Amma is also entitled to the same.  Looks like feminism is a relevant concept even in the realms of gods! So I’m wondering why not call on and unite female devotees to safeguard Malikappurath Amma’s virginity? Why don’t we set out to vandalise public transport and burn abodes of ‘detractors’ in her name?

P.S. : Have a look at this picture, blokes wearing undergarments are this poor virgin’s bouncers which is also deemed perfectly normal. Sigh!

Disclaimer : For the morons who can’t process sarcasm, please be informed that this is a satirical note.

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