Feminism, A and the Award

Ages ago, I was tagged by Nita and Sulz and till now I have been shamelessly ignoring the tags. But the guilt is killing me and I must finish the task assigned to me. Keeping the melodrama aside, I’ll start with Nita’s tag. This is what she tagged me to write about.

What does Feminism means to me

First of all, I was not sure what the word meant, so I landed up in an online dictionary and this is what popped up there : 

fem·i·nism n.  

1. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

2. The movement organized around this belief.
Ahem! Well, I think, the socio economic structure of the society in which we live plays an important role in determining the level of the “movement”. When the First wave came, India was still fighting for its freedom and there was no way it could have affected her. When the second wave came in the 1960s, India was all up and ready for it. Even today when we are in the third wave, an American society is much mature when it comes to a woman choosing the kind of life she wants to lead. In India, we still beat up the girl if she falls in love with a guy outside her cast. Infact, even if you compare the freedom given to women in a city with a small town/village in India, you would be shocked by the difference. After three waves, we still have to go a long way in India. Even after having laws in place, there are rapes, sexual feminism1harassment, forced abortions, forced reproductions, domestic violence etc and what not! People still think that women are vulnerable because they are weak but its just because of the kind of environment we are all brought up in. I am sure any woman who is a black belt in Karate can throw me two feet towards the sky with a single chop. 🙂
The problem is in our brains. We are wired in a wrong fashion from the time we are born. Women are not born vulnerable but are taught to be so. Similarly men are not born strong. They pick it up from what they see in their family and surroundings. I could never understand how we reached a stage where a human has to ask for her rights? And what surprises me is that we are still there. 
All these issues are way too big, but people need to understand the basic rights of an individual. I can understand when a father asks her daughter to return home before twilight because raping a girl is becoming an activity as common as wiping your ass with a tissue. But, I cannot understand when he asks her to forget the guy she loves because he does not belong to the same community. I find that laughable. Similarly, I don’t believe that a homemaker is worse off than a working woman. Its a very individual choice and depends on many factors. Equality of sexes certainly does not mean that a woman has to work to be a true blue feminist. 
It all boils down to the theory of Live and let live. We all make sacrifices in our life, but let’s not force someone to make a sacrifice because of her gender.

The alphabet A

aSulz’s tag. I have to write 7(?) words starting with alphabet A. I am putting up words which describe me. Here goes :

Absurd – Yes!Yes! I am ridiculous, illogical and senseless at times, but then even God is sometimes! So you see, no one is perfect. 😛 

Able – Leaving aside the fact that I am destiny’s favourite toy, I am quite able if I am left to my own means. If I find something interesting enough, I’ll take it up with perfect dexterity till the time I get completely bored of it. I told you I was absurd! 😛

Assiduous – I have obtained this quality from my Mom. Whenever I have to shop for clothes and I take her with me, she picks up clothes which are poles apart from my taste and then both of us “assiduously” attempt to disparage each other. 😐 Well, I consider it to be a good quality. Atleast I pick up clothes of my choice and I always win! 🙂

Aloof – I can be alarmingly aloof with strangers, so much that I am mistaken as an Egotist whose nose is always at an angle of 80 degrees from the ground. Many of my friends were surprised when they dared to know me better after that initial cold shoulder. 

Amiable – Well! That is what I actually become once I allow you to be my friend. 🙂 Its a difficult path and only a few daredevils have dared. 😛

Anchor – Whenever I become a part of a group, I end up becoming the anchor which holds the group together after everyone moves away to their new life/city. I met a group of friends recently after 7 years and again(!!!!) it was me who made all the phone calls and arranged the meeting. Good old Amit!

The awards

Finally, the awards. I was given the Friendship Embracelet by Kiran sometime back and the Garland Award by Kanagu. Thankyou both of you. 🙂

friendshipembracelet

 

garland

That is all guys and girls. Over and out.

The Journey and the Inspirations

On 29 August 2008, I complete one year of blogging. It has been an exhilarating journey of a world I was quite oblivious to, until last year when one of my friend introduced me to WordPress through her newly created blog. Although her blog is long abandoned at present, she passed the germ to me.
During this one year journey, I came across a variety of bloggers who inspired and awed me in various depths. I haven’t written much posts in the last one year. I haven’t even reached a count of 80 yet but I was able to reach a lot of people. I connected somehow and that is all that matters. So, I would like this opportunity to thank everyone who read my blog and provided their selfless comments. I know that there are people who read my blog without commenting and I thank them too for their support. I love it when someone who has been reading my blog from a while finally decides to comment. I remember Manoj did that and also Preeti. 🙂

I came across many bloggers who encouraged me to go ahead and not give up when things got really tough, because they amazed me with their knowledge and zeal and are now a part of this new facade of my life. There were posts which made me laugh when I was feeling low and there were posts which made me think and ponder. In such a short period, this place has become an essential part of my life. Here is a list of my favourite A list of Blogs –

Ruhi’s Time and Again – It was through Ruhi’s blog that I came in contact with this loony bunch. I saw Ruhi’s post on the Dashboard once and clicked on it. I was wide-eyed and amazed with what I saw. It was my first – most amazing blog visit (although I saw many after that) and I was hooked. She is not regular nowadays but she still pops up at times.

Ish’s Dead End – I still remember my first comment on Ish’s blog : “You are one hell of a kid!!!”. I was so amazed to see a kid maintaining such a fabulous blog. If you are in a bad mood then Ish’s rants can really cheer you up. I remember how I was in splits when I read his “The Ruhi” post. And yes, I was the winner of the PFHOI contest on his blog. How can I forget that?

Nita’s A wide angle view of India – This woman is amazing. She writes everyday and there is not a single day which goes without one of her posts being published. Everything is so diverse and well etched – The topics, the research, the writing style and the professional way in which her blog is maintained. She is a true blue journalist. And don’t even look at her Blog hits. Your eyes will pop out.

Poonam’s Visceral Observations – The Ms Best Blogger!!! She is also quite infrequent with her posts(like me), but writes very informative and hard hitting posts. Her posts are well sketched out and sometimes full of uncountable links(I am talking about her link posts) 🙂 . She writes on two other blogs and juggles between her job and blogging with ease. A true inspiration.

Ashish’s Thunder of the Dragon – He can drive you crazy with his loony posts and his love for Rock music. In most of his posts, I end up writing a comment which resembles a – 😐 but I must admit that his crazy ideas have inspired many posts on this blog. The Randomizer and the Nebula Mindspin were spin-offs from his blog. He calls me – Zero the Hero and he has an illusion(??) of being the Next Geeky Emperor of the World. Rock on My Lord!!

Reema’s My Random Thoughts – The most dazzling debut in the past year. She climbed up the charts very fast with her sometimes sentimental, sometimes bold and sometimes journalistic posts. An intelligent blogger which I feel is stuck in the wrong city (??? 😀 ) where people are too nosy to be believed. I remember how all of us almost pulled her out of Blogspot’s claws and landed her safely in WordPress. 😆

RamboDoc’s A twist of word and Mind – The father of all “Don’t take them at face value” posts. Believe me, you can’t dissect humor better than him. You might be fooled in the beginning by the seriousness of his posts, but a few visits and you learn to take everything with a pinch of salt. A doctor by profession, RamboDoc has huge female fans following him his blog. Not to be missed at all.

Shefaly’s La Vie Quotidienne – The owner of the most “profound” blog on WordPress (according to RamboDoc), she is one of her kind. Her posts are thoughtful, deep and scholarly and sometimes have the Tongue in cheek quality which makes them immensely enjoyable.

Nitin’s Nikhil’s Mirror Cracked – The Funny guy on the block. He can make you laugh with his simple daily life experiences served with a comical twist. I remember how I rolled on the floor after reading many of his posts. He is a writer too and his first book is already in the market. To read more about the book, click here.

Arvind’s An Entertainment Blog – The Entertainment Blog owner who is apparently a die hard cricket fan too. His blog was full of cricket centric posts once. 🙂 His blog is a nice mix of personal mumblings and latest news with Calvin and Hobbes splashed in-between.

Kids zone – After being surprised by Ish’s creative posts, I came across many kids who were maintaining some very interesting blogs. Come to think of it, I was not even aware of the meaning of a blog at their age. Be it Allirekha’s beautiful poems, Bharat’s touching short stories, Prarthana’s examination woes, Perx’s apprehensions about his new abode, Priya’s bubbly and creative posts, all of them have something special to say and share.

The Balancers – These bloggers are married(well…most of them), they have a job(most of them) or are in colleges and they still blog. They could have easily shrugged and said that we don’t have time for all this.They are the true Supermen/superwomen. Anand’s Musings, Balu’s Chupchap, Dinsan’s Blog(hopefully he belongs to this group), Mehek’s Mind Flirting with thoughts, Harshasrisri’s blog, Joel’s blog, Lallopallo’s blog, Liju(recently married) Philip’s blog, Manoj’s Vagaries of my mind, RJ’s Especiality, Suda’s Life Love and Logic and Xylene’s Crapbook are such blogs, to name a few.

More Girl PowerLekhni, Sakhi, Nova, Pr3rna and Sulz have their own unique blogs. Lekhni and Sakhi are majorly into Short stories while Pr3rna’s posts are inspired mostly by the current happenings. Nova’s posts are vivacious and spicy while Sulz writes about her own life experiences in her own interesting style.

There are so many other bloggers I wish to acknowledge, but laziness is creeping over me. So please don’t feel sad if your name was not mentioned above. It was due to the yawn dripped laziness I am swimming in right now. I also wanted to award each of the above person and I (almost)promised Shefaly, but the sheer volume of links I have created above sent shivers up my spine.

I will do that. Someday…. 😛

Till then, a huge hug to all of you.

GenX and the Dowry Demon

While my “extended” stay in Chennai I stumbled upon a truckload of some amazing facts about the Dowry system which I thought were quite extinct as far as the city-dwelling-and-riding-on-the-IT-boom GenX was concerned. An incidence in one of my friend’s office landed me back into reality. A few days back my friend saw one of his colleague making fun of another one. The talk went something like this –

Colleague 1: What??? You are getting only 12 lakhs? Nothing more?

Colleague 2: No. 12 lakhs in cash. That’s it. Maybe a car or a flat too and Gold ofcourse. But I am not sure about that.

Colleague 1: Do you know how much I am getting?

Colleague 2: How much?

Colleague 1: 67 Lakhs in cash with Gold, car and a flat. [*laughs out loud*] I really pity you [*laughs again*]

Colleague 2: [*Grumbles and becomes sad*]

When my friend told me about this, I just wanted to run into the bathroom and puke. No matter how unbelievable the chat seems to be, but it is true and it took place between two well established Engineers working in a top IT company in India. What took me by surprise was the fact that I always believed that our present, well educated, city bred generation is completely against this preposterous ritual, but this talk completely bowled me over.

What is the point of being educated when your brain still dwells into the Jurassic era? What is the point of being educated when you think that its a matter of pride to obtain a hefty sum of someones hard earned money? What is the point of being educated if you think that you can boast about your “Price” tag?

I talked to a few more friends about this and was surprised to know that in South India(*I am specifically talking about South because the friends with whom I talked to are South Indians, although this is equally prevalent in North India too*), parents spend their entire lifetime to collect gold and cash for their daughter’s marriage. There have been certain cases when the girls are not even asked whether they would “like” to marry a particular guy. They are just informed. And, yes, I am talking about girls working in an IT company.

There have been instances when the present generation has raised a voice against this. One of my friend told me about such a case when a boy refused to take in any sort of dowry. He was asked whether he has some physical anomaly because of which he is refusing?

Another friend of mine told me that her parents are really worried about her as she is past her marriageable age of 22 and will be soon going on an on-site assignment which means more delay. Her community is really worried and a very close family friend has stopped talking to her for obvious reasons, primary being that my friend has still not ended up being a child-generator. I asked her if she could bring herself to love a man who would be sitting on a substantial amount of her father’s hard earned money? Who thinks its his birthright to ask for Gold in Kilos because he is marrying you? She told me – There are many things in my life for which I have to compromise. And I am prepared for them. I told her about the case of the guy getting 67 lakhs in cash and she was not at all surprised. She informed me that there are certain communities where giving such huge dowry money is not a big deal and not to forget the kilos of gold which go with it. After the girl is selected, the second question asked is the amount of cash and the kilos of gold which can be provided. She even told of an incidence where the mother of a prospective groom asked her if she could sing!!!!

The worst part is that the present generation who have grown up in such an environment where giving and taking dowry is considered auspicious, do not think that there is anything wrong with it. Girls are not allowed to speak in front of elders and boys are “ok” with the process. One of my colleague told me that he might save his dowry money for his own daughter’s wedding, given the fact that he is still to get married.

I have started wondering if there is something wrong in our genes? If education can’t bring visible changes in our society then I wonder what will? We all know its wrong. Don’t we? But still we go ahead with it because that’s the way things have been and Ego is something very hard to kill. A social standing is more important than killing an age old ritual which is wrong? I have stopped considering India as an emerging modern society. We are still rustic at heart. What’s worse is that the virus is shamelessly passed to GenX and there is no antidote in sight. Not even education. Not even a growing economy. Not even an evolving Western Influence.

There is 1 dowry death every 4 hours in India. Can you beat that?

(the image is taken from : http://www.buy-oil-painting.com)