Worries of an Indian Girl

The recent articles and blog posts about sexism and frustrations of Indian girls made me write this post.

Couple of months back my Mother asked me whether I had met one of our family friends in Chennai and I replied no. The background story is one of my family friends saw me in the Railway station and the complaint was that I was wearing a loose sleeveless top. The lady got alarmed seeing me in a sleeveless top and complained to Mother saying I should be wearing Salwars as I am Malayali girl.Apparently,the lady is worried that I am spoiling the name of keralites and Kerala’s highly boasted culture(?).Now, this not new to me. Forget about sleeveless tops and party wears, wearing jeans can earn you the name slut.I find it very difficult to understand this concept. If a girl wears a salwar/saree, then she has a good character. From when on wards did we start making analysis of a person’s character according to the clothes they wear.Now,do men have such an issue? Imagine we girls making such an analysis about men — men wearing formal shirts and pants want to sleep around, men wearing veshti don’t think about /look at girls, men wearing lungi want to eve tease or rape and so on. When women don’t judge men according to the clothes, why does vice versa exist? Do not generalize because we don’t think that a guy is bad if he is wearing clothes which he likes.

I remember getting a message in my blog page after writing the post Shadows of a Girl. The message was from an old classmate who was a constant faultfinder of my posts. The message was an apology for the rubbish comments he had posted on some of my posts. The change in attitude happened after he took his newlywed wife to Delhi for honeymoon. The message said that he fumed in anger and helplessness when his wife got lost in a crowded street and she was groped badly. He wrote that his wife cried in shock that strange men squeezed her breasts and waist in those ten minutes she got lost in the crowd. And what was her dress?A pardah!! He apologized for his earlier views on women.But,what I want to tell the world is why should you wait for something to happen to your dear ones to change your attitude? What is so difficult to think that women are human beings too? And I know, in India, men get groped too.

Don’t do such things because a girl should not do such things”. I grew up hearing this dialog round the clock from my Grand Mother.But, thanks to my parents for letting me grow up doing things from playing cricket with neighborhood boys to rolling in mud. I thought such mentality was only in Kerala but as I moved out of home and started meeting people from other parts of the country, I understood that it is a national problem. Here are ten rules which I have heard often.

1)Girls should not talk loud

2) Girls should not play with boys after 10 years old or getting her period, whichever is earlier.

3) Girls should not go out alone

4) Girls should not stay outside the home after 6 PM (This still exists in Kerala. Thanks to the men in Kerala)

5) Girls should sacrifice

6) Girls should obey their parents, elders and whomsoever who has the right to rule/shout at her

7) Girls should give more importance to her wedding than her education.

8) Girls are the honor of a family and should save it at any cost

9) Girls should not tell their opinions because they don’t know what life is

10) Girls should give more importance to her husband and his family than to herself and her family

Most of these dialogues are followed by a story from the religious books praising women in those books who made sacrifices, who were epitome of patience, who obeyed her husband without any objections, who grew up according to her parents’ wishes, who saved the honor of the family and so on. Now stop right there. First of all, it is dumb to force girls to grow up under such rules and force them to be examples of the so-called “the good girl”. Women are humans too — what’s wrong in getting angry and shouting? Why should we sacrifice things which we like just because we are women? Why should we suppress anger and be patient just because we are women? Above all, why should we be good girls, why can’t we be just girls? Imagine a society telling the Indian men to be like the ones in the religious books?

One of my friends was narrating the story of a movie. Then she said, “after that they will have this” and giggled.”They will have what?“. We asked.”You know, that“, she again giggled.”You mean they had sex?”, somebody in the gang asked. And she said, “Don’t tell it openly. It is a bad thing”. Yes, I heard this from a married woman who has a kid.Sex is one of the words which will spoil a girl’s name. People often forget that sex is a simple thing. Even when they celebrate a girl becoming pregnant, they conveniently forget that she became pregnant after having sex with her husband. It is a ubiquitous fact. The mankind still exists because people are having sex; let’s tell it that way than the rosy way of telling that babies are born. So why should a girl be bad if she talks about sex?If you want a baby then a woman should have sex with a man. This has been happening since Adam and Eve and how is a woman talking about sex a sin? (That too in this century!!)

I am in love”. How often have you heard an Indian girl telling such a thing openly?90 % of the Indian women don’t let this out because having a past relationship will spoil her chances of getting married(even if the guy who rejects this girl would have had many relationships and is not a virgin).Yes, pure-girl concept is prevalent in Asian and Eastern countries. The usual dialog from the family, “Guys can do anything. Even if he rapes girl, he will get a girl to marry” discourages women even more from telling out their feelings.Recently, one of my friends informed me that she rejected a proposal. The reason which she gave me was that the guy’s parents are dumber and my jaw dropped. Looks like the guy wanted somebody who hasn’t been in a relationship, so she politely withdrew from the proposal but his parents wanted somebody who hasn’t had any crush or infatuation so far. She asked me how they can even think of such a thing when she is already 26 years old. How does it matter whether she or he has a past? Infatuations are mementos of our teenage life. Having a relationship will only help a person grow better. I read this somewhere “Relationships are never a waste of time. If it didn’t give you what you want in life, at least you know what you don’t want in life”.

I saw a comment in a forum which discussed about the above problems,”Twenty years ago, I was reading articles on the same lines. Twenty years from now, we will continue to do so. Some themes never grow up!”

Related Read : http://tamilculture.ca/an-open-letter-to-young-tamil-men/

The Utopian Indian Society

There are certain moments in life when we wonder “Oops!! How come I missed that person?”

Amit is one among those wonderful and popular bloggers in the country.There could be only two thoughts – either you know Amit or you don’t.If you know Amit,you are going to stop reading rest of this paragraph and jump on to the post.If you don’t know Amit, by the end of this post,you will repeat the dialog which I have written above.

This is a guest post from Amit Sharma and he blogs at Mashed Musings .His posts are widely shared and discussed.He stands out in the crowded blogosphere mainly because of his witty sarcastic posts and his heart to call himself a male-feminist.

Thank you Amit for writing for me.You are simply awesome.

Sunflowers

Am I dreaming?”

Yes and No. It is difficult to explain. This is real but you are in a dream.”

Huh?!?”

Listen. I am bored. I called you here because I think you can make me laugh.”

Huh?!?”

I am giving you a power. Make a wish and snap your fingers. It will come true. Don’t do anything stupid. Just try to make me laugh. Okay?”

How many times can I make a wish?”

Till my stomach hurts.”

How will I know that you are laughing?”

A pause.

A lightening bolt will fall 20 feet away from you.”

I opened my eyes. Did I really dream of sitting on a cloud and talking to a light?

God is bored? Really? Jesus!”

The first bolt

I took a bus to my office. There was a van following us and its driver was honking uncontrollably. My ears were vibrating at an unacceptable frequency. I looked at my hand.

What’s the harm?” I murmured.

“If he honks when he should not honk, let him not hear the honk,” I said and snapped my fingers.

The driver kept honking for sometime but then stopped, visibly perplexed. I was suddenly scared.

I snapped my fingers many times that day. I applied the concept to all the drivers in Delhi in one snap. It was in the news that evening. A lot of drivers in the capital could not hear their car horns even though the rest of the world could hear it. There were discussions on television, scientists sat in panels, astrologers talked of doomsday. There was a deafening silence on the roads of Delhi. It was as if the city was put on mute. Suddenly everyone was scared of honking. That night there was a lightening bolt out of the clear sky near my house.

The Second bolt

Next night while watching television, I came across the news of a college principal fining girls in her college for wearing jeans. My eyes shone with mischief.

All those who think wearing jeans leads to molestation must be fitted with permanent jeans,” I said and snapped my fingers.

The next day when India woke up, 90% of it was wearing permanent blue jeans. People could not take it off completely in any situation. While relieving yourself, the jeans would come down till the knees but then will wrap up automatically as soon as you are done. You have to wash them while wearing them. You have to take a bath while wearing them. It was again on news. Some people were crying like babies. Some people were laughing like crazy. Jeans clad citizen thronged temples, churches, Mosques and Gurudwaras for help. There was terror on their faces.

There was a lightening bolt that night near me when I was walking back home. I looked up and smiled.

The Third bolt

News of another scam broke out next day. It shared the front page with silent honks and permanent jeans.

A tail should grow at the rate of 1 mm/10,000 Rs for all those who think public money to be their own,” I said and snapped my fingers.

In two days, a lot of influential people left the country for plastic surgeries in private jets. Some of them were not that fortunate as they had a kilometre long tail. They tried everything from axe, saw and acids, but the tails kept growing. No one had any idea why that was happening. Parliament stopped functioning. Top government officials went into hiding with their tails between their legs. Astrologers predicted that the end of the world was near.

The first set of people who understood what was happening were Police officers. Their tails grew slowly. Three lightning bolts fell near my house.

The fourth bolt

I was thinking of what to do next when I read the news of a girl being gang-raped in Haryana. How to tackle this in a way that it makes God laugh, I wondered. Then I smiled.

Make a permanent sunflower grow instead of the organ during an assault,” I said and snapped my fingers.

When the next rape attempt happened in India, which was like in the next 5 minutes, the girl came out of the ordeal laughing, wiping tears from her eyes. She went straight to the media and told them that the moment the guy opened his zipper, a huge sunflower protruded out and the guy fainted. Soon media started calling it the ‘Sunflower Curse’. Any form of sexual assault on women and children started producing Sunflower men. The situation became so comical that soon there were mischievous posters on internet showing nude, crying men with a sunflower between their legs with a tagline – ‘Someone please deflower me!’ Sexual assaults went down to zero. Sunflower men did everything from making cows chew off their flowers to running after surgeons but the flora was permanent. Suddenly everyone forgot the silent honks, the permanent jeans and the corruption tails. The sunflower men were the latest laughing-stock.

It rained a few days later with ample lightning. That night, I was again on the cloud, dreaming but not dreaming.

How the hell did you come up with that sunflower?” God asked after he had laughed enough.

From old pictures where they used to cover private parts with flowers,” I said with a smile.

What would you like to have in return?” God asked as he beamed.

Can I have this power permanently?”

I cannot do that dear boy. Ask for anything else.”

Would you revert things to how they were or will you leave it as it is?”

I have to revert. It was just for laughs.”

Ok. So here is my wish. Revert it but go and tell each of those people that if they ever try to go back to their old ways, the change will happen again and it will be permanent this time.”

Granted,” God said after pondering over it for a while.

When I woke up the next day, things were back to normal but India was a very different place. We were back to being humans. We were back to being loving and caring. Yes, it was out of fear but I was sure that after living like this for a few days, we would realize that this is the only true way to create a country worth living. I was sure that the need of God’s threat will vanish as time passes.

We had taken our first step towards creating a Utopian Indian Society.

Image : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sunflowers.jpg

Related Read : Amit’s posts which blew my mind

Can you be fair filmfare?

The horny Indian

Open letter to all the molesters and rapists

We like our virgins

The hitchhikers guide to a sane life

The Liquefied Indian

If Pune were India ..

Amidst the Presidential election,there was another voting process going on in Pune couple of days back and the election was for choosing the Brand Ambassador for the city Pune.Today I take this opportunity to declare Ms.Deboshree Bhattacharjee as the Brand Ambassador of Pune.This is a guest post by Debo who keeps the city Pune very close to her heart and she blogs at Of Paneer,Pulao and Pune.She could even find the nook and corner of this city even if we let her wander in the city blindfolded.When I wanted a post about “Imagining a city as India”,it took less than a second for me to decide the author.Debo,you are such a darling.Love you for writing this post for me.It is my pride and pleasure to publish your article in my blog.Happy Reading!!

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*picture from Pune Student Chronicle

 

…then the breakfast crowd at Good Luck Café would thicken further. They would need to stock their delicious breakfast buns nineteen by the dozen and get more people to lovingly fill them with golden butter. Come to think of it, the fragrance of fresh-bread would fill up the morning sky in even more delightful strands than usual.

Pune usually has a prank up her sleeve – the best part is that you don’t know it. She is capable of conjuring up a perfectly sunny afternoon, without a trace of cloud in the sky, and then, just when you have ventured out in your newly acquired shoes from Metro at Deccan, it starts to pour. By the time it’s night, you need to empty your cupboard to locate the sweater you had set apart for the winter which wasn’t supposed to be ‘anything like Delhi’s’. When you wake up the next morning, however, you are back under the Tuscan sun.

If Pune were India, the Bengalis would gatecrash luncheons at Oh Calcutta! and Rice n Curry. Much like the Marathis would crowd a Sharvaree, a Durvankur or the vada-pau bhaiya. When fairy lights would glow in sync with the music at Navaratras, Pune would dance to lilting tunes of celebration and festivity. There’d be faces sparkling with delight on Id, feet tapping to dhol when Ganpati is brought to Dabru Seth and Kalyani Bakery busy with orders for Christmas cake to be delivered by their in-house Santa.

The markets at FC Road would overflow with people of all ages, from all ages. The narrow, buzzing lanes of Laxmi Road would teem with gasps – “isn’t that just what we saw last month in Bangalore!” and admonishments –“how can you price such little cloth at 1200 bucks?”. The cloth, by the by, would probably refer to a pair of hot pants. The behaviour would be followed up by a “you are such a great bargain-er” or a “bargaining on the road is so middle-class!”, depending on whether the Indian we are talking about subscribed to a Monisha or a Maya Sarabhai.

The “kids” – freshly passed college and breaking into “working” – would be able to show their folks around the workplace. An SB Road, a Hinjewadi, a Magarpatta, you name it. “Look Ma, that’s the office I sit and code in!” How cool is that. The family would pass on the story to their friends who would pass it on to theirs and just after the kid has kissed his girlfriend’s hand proposing marriage, a Minu or a Pinky would call in and say –“hello Binnu, Aunty told me how you still remember the birthday parties we shared as kids…” If Pune were India, the kid could take the whole family out to a movie at the old-world Victory theatre. Or, the beach at Ganpatiphule. With the hope that the water would wash out all traces of the matchmaking gene his folks so prominently had.

A few hours from Mumbai, Pune learns its glitter and jazz from the big brother. But her calm and her maturity, her subtlety and her grace…who taught her that? Often when I venture out for a walk down Pune’s canopied lanes, I gaze at the wide roads in Camp, the hustle and bustle at MG and the long, winding queues of panipuri wallas at JM Road. The seats by the window at Crossword are always occupied – men past their so-called prime but rich in enthusiasm to learn, little kids devouring tale after tale and women stealing a few minutes from their super-Mom-super-employee routine. The restaurants teem with people too. There are young couples, hand-in-hand. Some older ones walk past, debating the merits of vegetable-shopping at Reliance Fresh.

For a city I love and where I have loved, Pune means the world to me. You should see her when she wears her dew-dropped rain costume… or even when she is all sunlit and done up in blue. She may be ‘small’ but she does not react when ‘snobby’ people from the rest of the large country keep their noses up in the air. They all come to her, for multiple reasons – education, work, marriage, the works – and somewhere down the line, they start to belong.

When Pune prepares to pack in for the night, there is an old lady who sits by ICC Trade Towers and brews steaming coffee. Fragrant, warm and strong. Much like Pune herself. The cups, on their part, keep jangling all through the night.

— By Deboshree Bhattacharjee

THE Day!!!

I opened my eyes and looked out of the window from my ragged bed.Oh no;it’s still dark outside.I hit my face on the pillow and tried to sleep.Why is the dawn still not breaking?

What time it would be now?I again woke up and searched for Lakshmi akka on the floor.She was snoring which indicated a sound sleep.I crawled up to her and touched her nose to wake her up.She didn’t wake up.I whispered in her ears,’Akka..what time is it now?’

Get lost was the answer for my question.I jumped back to my bed.Ram who was sleeping next to me had taken away all the space in the bed.So I went to the window and stood on a stool to reach the window bars.The moonlight,the stars and cold air took me back to exactly one year.

Last year this day,a lot of people came here with gifts and chocolates.A month before this day,we were asked to write in a paper about the things which we were in need.Unfortunately I wrote  for only pen and notebooks.Ram who wrote for car and train got them as gifts.So this time I made sure to make a long list of things.I wrote for a car,train,crayons,glittering pens which Saranya got last year and a jeans.Tomorrow again some people will come with the gifts.Looks like tomorrow is somebody named Nehru‘s birthday who was India‘s first prime minister and he is no more.But I love this day.It’s been past three years that a group of people coming here every year with gifts.Last year I sang one song and got a big chocolate which I shared only with Ram.We licked it in front of Saranya who was boasting about the glittering pens which she got that day.Phew!!you should have seen her fat face going red with anger when we mocked her with our chocolate.This year I will also get one glittering pen set.Yaaahoo!!

Last year one pretty akka had come to see us.She kissed me and made me sit on her lap throughout the day.I was so happy when she told that I was looking very cute.

But Lakshmi akka was telling me that those people are showing love to us only because we don’t have parents.I didn’t like her when she told me that because the pretty akka told me that she really liked me and even kissed me while leaving from here.I hope she will come tomorrow too.

‘Karthik..Karthik..wake up..Why are you sleeping on the floor?’

‘Don’t you know that there is a function today?Get ready soon.’

While applying the talc I thought about the jeans I was going to get.I was thrilled to show it off  in front Ram and Saranya.

The function started.I searched for my pretty akka but she was missing in the crowd.

One woman came to three of us and said,’oh poor babies..they don’t have parents..don’t worry kids..we have brought you a lot of goodies’

She smelled bad and I didn’t like her.

I was waiting for my name to get called out on the stage.I ran to the podium when they called me to give the gift set for me.

The bad smelled woman gave me the gift and she patted on my head and again said ‘oh poor baby..Happy Children’s Day!!

I felt like kicking her but I had better work to do.

I went and sat next to Ram.I noticed that my gift packet is larger than his packet.We got up and sat on the stone bench to open our packets.

When I opened my box there was little things inside it.There was no train,no glittering pens and no jeans too.It had some notebooks,some pens,pencils and a pencil box.There was a letter inside the notebook cover.

‘I am sorry Karthik.As I was very busy I couldn’t shop much and didn’t get time to buy the things in your list.Anyway happy children’s day!!May God bless you.We all love you and we are praying for you.

With love,
Rita ‘

I looked at Ram.Even he didn’t get the things which he had written for.I kept my head on his shoulders and we both cried together.

On the stage that bad smelled ugly woman was shouting

‘Happy Children’s Day’!!

And we silently cried.

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