Amazing people who make me go on n on n on:)

29 December, 2012

Dear People in Power

Dear People in Power (for I feel quite Powerless),

I have been quiet from a while on something that is conspicuously gnawing at my fabric, as the modesty, life and aspirations of a young girl have been slithered and sacrificed at the altar like goats slaughtered to please the deities of ancient times. I noticed but turned away as gory details of a gruesome crime flashed across my screen via Twitter, Facebook and messages. A coward’s attempt to close the eyes to feel that a problem does not exist-a lame mechanism of self defence! I gave up on the newspapers and the news a while back. Some people chose not to be a part of certain things or speak, for in words they live and words allow the realization to sink in. But sometimes peace that you seek creates a chaos within.

I have a three years old daughter. She smiles with impish beauty, she prances about in her loveliness, she dramatises every situation with her adorable whims and looks like a divine flower that I embrace at every possible opportunity. She attracts attention and people with her non-chalant allure. When I look at her now, I fear. I think of the parents who painstakingly brought up that twenty three year old for so many years. I think of how she would be just as precious, weaving just as many dreams in her parents’ eyes, being just as much solace to their weary minds, meandering in the worldly cares. How she must have been a responsible adult, working towards some goals! How one moment of a decision taken, turned her life irrevocably to death! It matters little perhaps to them whether the daughter's rapists are hanged or life imprisoned, their own life is now like an every minute death.

I shudder within. I cannot be around my bundle of joy 24*7. Someday she would move out of my domain and watchful range, into a world that is unknown. She would tread to live her own experiences and face the wolves with hidden agendas. Would I be able to make her brave enough? Even if I did, would I be able to ensure she is safe enough and her strength not tested beyond the limits of endurance like happened with this young girl who succumbed to death for no fault of her own?

What must be passing through her mind in her last moments? “I wish we had not taken that bus? What if we had got a little more delayed and that bus just passed by? I wish there were more people on board? I wish one of them would have listened to my pleas and be moved by my helpless cries of pain...” My mind goes numb thinking how God allows a young girl to face what she did.

As I took a shower today, the news of her death could not cleanse me off the muck that is leaving me disgusted. Flashes of a girl who wants to live because like all of us, she had just one life too, kept playing on my mind. How a hand that must be wanting to reach out just fell on the side of the bed, giving up! The thought every time chokes me till I have to breathe deeply to be able to breathe again.

Rapes have been occurring in this country since forever. Something a woman protects and treasures, her body, is just snatched away by brutes, without her consent, by greedy, lust driven men who know no gentleness but cruel force. A man cannot imagine how this could scar her body and a woman who has just experienced happy, consensual sex cannot imagine how it kills the mind. But then one can’t either imagine the brutality here of the savage minds that did not get satisfaction enough by ripping apart her body and had to insert a rod through her to satiate some beastly urges. How can civilization turn so grim and such an oxymoron? What can be done to such deranged minds? How can someone even possibly think of giving them a fair trial?

A part of me has always wished for super powers. Today I wish I had some by which I could pick up these hard-nosed characters from the protective government walls, strip them off all clothes and put them up in some open ground, allowing the hungry and enraged common man to do with them in front of one and all, whatever they like. Sadist it may be, I want to watch as angry men, women and children alike, come forward with knives, belts, stones, acid bottles and whatever else in their hands, to do these scavengers. I don’t want to think of them in terms of somebody’s sons or fathers at the moment, for they never can really be.

How would a private death sentence serve as a deterrent to an uneducated, unread man on the street, who gives in to his baser instinct any time he sees a woman he can latch on, to derive momentary bodily pleasure? These men don’t read the newspapers, they don’t know of what MIGHT happen to them if they are caught. They just know there’s a helpless woman out there and they CAN get away. Such people form the crux of these repulsive crimes. The punishment needs to be just as brutal and public so that it makes news just as the protests are. Everyone should talk about it. So that even someone like me (who gave up on reading newspapers because they only spoke of how little girls as old as a few years are raped) knows just as well as the milkman who comes to deliver milk at my house and watches my daughter with supposed doting eyes playing in the compound. I don’t trust any man, neither should you.

I agree with women when they say “Don’t tell us what to wear, tell boys not to take them off our bodies”. Totally accepted, but then can we honestly expect a government officer at each street corner at each hour of the day to ensure some letchy eyes do not get away with stripping us of our dignity? We cannot compare ourselves to the Western countries and expect the same amount of securities just because we are being educated in the same way or being flooded with brands in our markets. We must remember that till a decade back, this nation still had women covered up and men on the street possessed eyes that were adapted to watching the same. I am not justifying the rapists, I am trying to explain to you their psyche.

In the recent times, the almost-elite who have easy and ample access to skin show in movies, advertisements, porn, etc, also have reasonable sex education and exposure to girls they meet at social dos. The lot that gets provoked to hideousness often constitutes the sweat-drenched, grubby man on the street, who perhaps has all the clippings in his cheap mobile but looks at these clean women from far, waiting to catch one in a vulnerable moment.

I am not saying that rapes and molestations do not occur in richer or other stratas of the society or with three year olds, the burkha clad or the sixty years ones. But then we need to understand and work on the deranged mentality of some who get excited seeing flesh for they are not used to it. We need to warn the girls to be careful. Yes, it is totally their fault and not ours if someone eyes us with vulgarity in his vision but we must not forget caution.

It would take a while for mentalities to change even if awareness spreads and laws are passed. Till then, the girls must not expect to be protected but learn to protect themselves not just with weapons but with sensibility. I have witnessed how it's being upheld that all girls must carry pepper sprays or knives in bags. I was recently travelling by train with my family when a group of marriage revellers had some twenty year olds indulging in merry making. Suddenly one of the girls, who lost in a battle of words with one of the guys, decided to make the score even and used the pepper spray in her bag to ward him off. The entire coach within a few minutes was coughing and we had to rush out to catch breath. My daughter vomited and an asthmatic aged man had almost hit an emergency point just because a young girl wanted to prove some whims. That spray could have come in the hands of a child too.

Don’t mindlessly suggest solutions. Don’t limit but do set borders. Don’t mock the efforts of the government to shut off discotheques post 1a.m. Whatever can be done must be done to first ensure order. Once established there can be organisation. Individuals can only express their wrath, it is the government body that can act. Provoke them to act, not to suppress. Speak against corrupt leaders but check yourself too when as men you crack lewd jokes or as women allow men to objectify you. And I so wonder about the politicians-not satisfied with filling their corrupt pockets, how do they manage to live with such guilty consciences of having the power and yet do nothing?

Delhi boasts of the infrastructure but not structuring of minds yet. It is a city reeking in show-off, youngsters willing to seek attention at all costs and people moving at too fast a pace of life and morals to catch up. Teach your daughters to dress according to the time and place. Till we can’t really be safe, at least we can try not to be sorry. It’s NOT the skirts that get girls raped. But we won’t let them use it as an excuse to let go of those who do it. I will wear skirts but I will also be responsible enough to see if it is not attracting the wrong attention at the wrong time and place.

It is not the time to point fingers but time to join hands. As women accept awareness, caution and sense; as men accept respect and responsibility of being the stronger sex (at least physically) and protect. It’s a sad state of affairs if we have to fear for our girls every time we have to have them away from our eyes even for a few hours. We must talk of abuse at whatever level we face at the hands of men-at schools, colleges, workplaces, etc. Every time we let go, we let them believe they can get away with it. It only makes them more confident. Speak out. Reach out.

Here’s hoping against hope, things will change and during our lifetimes so that we live to see it happening. I pray her death does not go waste and this case serves as an example for generations to come.

Just Another Common Voice. 

16 December, 2012

My New Grown-Up Drug.

Once upon a time, I read books, dedicatedly, painstakingly, like a pilgrim at the threshold of his pilgrimage. Books consumed me, as I would devour page after page, lost in translation. Then along came people-with speaking faces and myriad feelings, with mincing grudges and obsessions, with overriding affections and affectations, with intense emotions and motions. Their moving hands, the receptive ears, beholding the tingled skin, the eager or hesitant mouths which round and widen, taking shapes of smiles and frowns, as words flowed out of them effortlessly and sometimes, post great deliberation!
Yes, I had found the more grown-up drug.

Faces can beam and rot you know, taking from blossoms. Not due to age, but experiences. It’s not about ‘Does the face make you swoon?’ It’s more about ‘Does it make you smile?’ Faces tell stories, they are an index of our minds, of all that is otherwise latent and sublime. Not eyes, they just need an empathetic heart. Have you noticed someone getting goose bumps on their skin post something you said? Yes, priceless! Sensual pleasures are just not restricted to bed-they can be derived by receptive senses, anywhere and anytime.

The voices, ah! You see most by listening. You could travel up and down an entire scale of passions with the voice that perhaps could personify character itself-the way it ranges from sometimes jingling with excitement like a fresh water spring to soft whispers, like falling into a bed of cotton caressing you with gentle taps till within. Voices don’t lie, people do. Voices entice, beckon, ensnare-like little magical spells that are woven by their mere echo on a person’s hearing. Eargasms, anyone? A soft, passion-smeared whisper in the ear can often be equivalent to the adrenalin rush received by wild searching fingers on the body, the chill down the spine.

I began to study people as though with a voracious starvation, live little lives and learn little lessons. They come wrapped in bundles of expectations and a cartload of disappointments, helping them evolve every minute. Sometimes they live, at other times let-live. Real, breathing, heaving, sighing human beings-they brought along with them hitherto untold stories, of lives they’ve led in bodies and mind. They respond to touch, whether or not there is any skin contact and they embody drama that we only hear of, for like they say, truth is stranger than fiction.

Words are potent, as books prove. However, when they emanate from voices separated from us by miles, generations and no relations, they just touch or instruct us. But when they stem from a person we know and look up to, how quickly they take, to not just touching but clinging and mingling in our very fabric. Words become you. They fill the empty specs, some voids that need to reverberate with some words, magnetically searching each other in the noises of the world. Romance, you ask? Well, yes, to a certain extent. For when he fills your mouth with his words, it is also a kiss or something like that.

I took to people-fascinated by the realms of lives unravelling layer by layer into a common man’s grand saga. How like a bud someone slowly opens to you and how like the petals then slowly encompass you within an embrace of trust! I took to being a co-passenger with some, lighting their path with whatever wispily shone within my own horizon, lending a listening ear to a mouth that craved to be heard, or just giving the complacent pleasure of the knowledge that someone’s there to care.

It’s a more long term gratification that a book could compete to concede. They say you live lives with books-fall in unadulterated love, climb lofty, indomitable mountains, dive into the alluring depths of oceans, conquer countries, travel path-breaking journeys and the likes. Human experience is all that and more.

Reach out to people. Be interested in their stories than in relating your own woes. For in un-knotting someone else’s tangles, you derive solutions for your own. Get outside of books, get into people. Find those worth drenching in, for such are the showers of communicating with brilliant minds that leave you wet in ecstasy of an unheard kinds. Books could help you search your soul, people could end your search for the soul mate.

As I write, I look wistfully at three freshly bought books lying beckoning on my writing table. The scent of a new paperback how like the scent of a man, tends to sneak in your insides to pull from within. Perhaps, I would return to my old love again. Or perhaps, there’d someday be someone to read to me the same. A cold winter evening, a balmy fire place, hands curling onto a simmering coffee mug and a huge bean bag wanting for us to give it shape. Come, let’s glow in this fire and as I sit looking at you mesmerized, read to me from a book and then from a life!
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