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.

Can I live please?

bloodI went to Barakhamba Road yesterday. I was standing at the exact place where the bomb blast happened last year. I moved my right ankle in a semi circle to displace the dirt on the road. Maybe I was trying to see if it was still red? I went there to meet my very old friends whom I was meeting after a gap of 7 years.  While standing there I realized how fragile my own life was. I have a lovely family, adorable friends, a good job and some dreams, but someone can press a button and everything will vanish in a second. I just have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Moving around in Connaught Place yesterday gave me this creepy feeling. I loved that place! I have some beautiful memories of C.P. but now there is always this fear that its not a safe place. The old warm feeling has died. Its gone.

Whom should I blame? Whom should I blame for embedding this fear in my heart? The fear that I might have to see a mingled, limbless, burnt body of a family member one day? The fear that I, who just want to lead his normal life and live happily ever after with his family and friends, might be blown apart the very next second?

Should I blame the Indian Government? Indians have a “Get used to it” attitude towards everything. Someone is littering on the road. Get used to it! Spitting? Get used to it! Corrupt policemen? Get used to it! BOMB BLASTS? Get used to it! Ofcourse, the Government officials also suffer from the same disease. It took thousands of people flocking the roads of Mumbai and carrying derogatory posters to wake up the government and to make them realise that there is a difference between butchering humans and butchering goats, to make them realise that they were chosen to protect us, to make them realise that “Get used to it” is not going to work this time. We, the citizens of India, choose politicians and give them bullet proof vehicles and 50 black cat commandos each from our hard earned money, not because they can feel safe and forget about the common man who is as vulnerable as he always was. Thinking and mulling over something is good but there comes a point when action is required. How long did the Pakistan Government took to sack its National Security adviser after he confirmed that the lone surviving terrorist is Pakistani? And how long did the Indian Government took to decide “something” about what Mr. A.R. Antulay said? The difference is stark and naked, and THAT is the problem with us. Having a pessimistic and defensive approach does not work when your neighbouring countries are a breeding ground for terrorists. War can never be an option, but can the  government at least come strong on our own security agencies and the police force? 

Or should I blame the Pakistani PM? He is trying every trick to make the world believe that its an internal problem of India. Infact, after his latest statement today, which says that – Why is the world more concerned about the Mumbai attacks than the killings in Palestine? ‘‘We have to see that the world does not have double standards. See how many innocent women and children have been killed in Palestine. Why is nobody talking about that? Why is the world silent on that?’’, I have decided not to follow the buffoonery anymore. Its tormenting. I think its high time that the Pakistani PM stops using the forced and mindboggling euphemisms and tell India to go to hell. That would be at least honest, if nothing else! Whether it may be Mumbai or Palestine, you would be glad to know Mr. PM, that it is me, the common man, who is dying.

I don’t care about the political mud slinging matches which Indian and Pakistani politicians are indulging in right now. I don’t care about and I am not a part of the various religious groups which are fighting their mindless and stoical wars by killing innocent people like me all over the world.

I just want to live happily. I want to love the city I live in. I wan’t to roam fearlessly in C.P. I want to believe that I will live to see my dreams fulfilled and will not be shot through my head while celebrating a friend’s birthday in a hotel or when I am at a railway station to receive a family member. Am I asking for too much? Is it too hard to achieve this? Is it too hard to stop fighting over pieces of lands, stop turning terrorism into a profession, stop waging wars in the name of religion?

Or is everything too complicated now to move it backwards? 

Mumbai Attacks : The week that was

It has been a week now since the ruthless attacks. Public anger has never been so omnipresent and neither have our politicians come under such a heavy scrutiny(no wonder they have been royally goofing up and giving tactless statements which is doing nothing less than fuelling the fire). Targeting foreign nationals in the attacks was one foolish move by the terrorists because the whole world is now upon them like red ants. Statements which included words like “Stateless actors” which intended on shrugging off the responsibilities were not bought by anyone and laughed at. Incidences like a movie director taking a walk in the burnt down Taj were blown out of proportion by the media while the public gulped the news in disbelief(Sometimes the media do comes handy).

THE GREAT INDIAN FUMBLE

It had been a week of revelations. A coup de theatre beyond an equal. Two days into the ghastly event and three statements made by our politicians were elemental in converting the tide into a tsunami. 
R.R Patil made a juvenile statement about the incident being a “small one” and dug the grave of his political career. 
BJP Vice President Abbas Naqvi puddled in troubled waters when he made the “women wearing powder and lipstick and burning candles” remark. The audacity of it was that he himself was wearing a coat while he defamed the Indians for aping the west and its an entirely different story that he was asked to comment on something else.  
The icing on the cake came from Kerela’s CM V.S. Achuthanandan who ended up making a statement which could be considered the worst insult someone can inflict on a martyr’s family. Of course, a lot of pressure went into making him apologize but the harm was already done. Sample this:

mumbai

On the other hand, the attacks opened up the Pandora’s box and everyone from the Intelligence Agencies to the Maharashtra Government and the Center turned a beetroot red. Our PM mumbled a few inaudible statements about setting up a federal spy agency and creating four NSG hubs while the nation came in terms with the fact that the Navy and the Coast Guard ignored the intercept from RAW that these attacks were expected, that the intelligence agencies had informed a year ago that such an attack was in the pipeline and that the U.S. informed India twice about the upcoming sea attack on Mumbai. The Government gave a jaw dropping performance making the citizens realize that their lives really don’t matter. The word politician ended up becoming a swear word and the nation realized that human life was the cheapest commodity in our country.
The way the whole operation was handled also came under the scanner. A minister taking 90 minutes to respond to such a critical situation, the NSG commandos transported from airport in BEST buses and shoved in the 1500 room Taj without any night vision equipment knowing very well that there was no electricity in the hotel and policemen wearing outdated bullet proof jackets was something which the common man was not ready to watch on live television. The crudity of it all was hard hitting.

THE REACTIONS

Israel offered help but India denied it without a second thought. Pakistan Government and media were busy vehemently denying any connection with the attacks. It was not surprising that Pakistan rejected the list sent by India stating that they wanted more proofs. I am sure that even if we dance in front of them with proof in our hands, they will even go to the extend of putting hot rods in their eyes to ignore us. The main accused of the 1993 blasts is still to be handed to us, even after ample proof of his involvement and whereabouts in his plush bungalow in Pakistan, so we can expect some action on this recent event in another 20 years. Ofcourse, there were some sane people who understood the gravity of the situation. You can read three very balanced articles by eminent Pakistani columnists here.

Although people have been dying left right and center in India since ages, the whole world suddenly woke up to the fact because this time the target were foreign nationals too. Atleast 26 of them lost their lives and although Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmadabad had gone through such similar attacks this year, the repercussion which the Mumbai attacks created were something else. Its good in many ways because this time, the “Rice” boiled with a lot of pressure over Pakistan. Lets just hope that the pressure mounts instead of subsiding.

WE THE PEOPLE

I don’t think India has seen such massive reaction from the citizens since a long time. People flooded the roads and the media projected the anger beautifully. For the first time I thought that they were doing something constructive, no matter how melodramatically. Its not just that we are condemning Pakistan(maybe we are too tired to do that now, because its of no use), but this time we were questioning our own security system. I just saw an operation done by a news channel where they were checking the security at one of the Delhi Railway Stations. Nothing has been done and its as vulnerable as it was earlier and that too when there have been reports that Delhi is the next target. A similar operation was done in Mumbai and the policemen were caught napping as a revolver was taken inside the railway station.

We have been pointing fingers at the politicians about being irresponsible but how much cliched it might sound, we have to be the change we want to see. We, as citizens of this nation, are also irresponsible at the grassroot level. Leave alone taking responsibilities about important issues, how many of us don’t bribe traffic police officers, litter of the road, do illegal constructions and break traffic rules? Did we succeed as a generation who considers themselves as Indians first and then something else? Isn’t it ironical that we need a tragedy of such humongous scale to unite us? Oscillating the Government from BJP to Congress and back to BJP is not going to play the trick and we all know that. Both the parties have an equally bad track record. Its the “people” of this nation who have to change, and those “people” include the “politicians” and “all of us”. 

Lets not become this guy who spit all his venom on a Jet air-hostess. Generalizing and putting a whole community in a box is the last thing which we should indulge in right now. Hats off to all those who stood up and actually did something to help the victims. I know one of them and you can find her here

FINALLY

Even though India has a go ahead for the air attacks in case the Pakistan Government fails to raise the terrorist camps to the ground, I am not sure if the Indian Government might actually take the step. I hope we don’t forget this incidence like so many other and our Government take the necessary steps without wasting ages to ponder over them. We don’t have that liberty left and it definitely doesn’t work when we end up being called “a known softie”.

Some interesting reads:

Dear Mr. Terrorist

Reflecting on Mumbai

For Heroes of Mumbai, Terror was a call to action

[photograph courtesy Times of India]

NCR – Nightmare Capital Region

Do you believe that Mumbai is the worst city as far as traffic jams, water logging and crime is concerned?

Do you think Bangalore is very chaotic in the peak hours of traffic?

Then think again because NCR (The Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon belt) is here to beat both the cities. Gurgaon and Noida were slated to be the upcoming satellite towns which were supposed to elevated the National Capital region to another era of development. A few years down the line and you can hear horrifying stories of people stuck in endless traffic jams, power cuts, muddy water supplies and people frequently robbed off their belongings using brand new methods.

My Own Sob Story

Ever since I have shifted to Delhi from Chennai, my nightmare never seems to end. Chennai was paradise in comparison and I can’t stop being nostalgic. Anyways, on 14 August there was an announcement in my office that the buses would leave at 5 pm instead of their regular 6 pm timings because it was our Independence Day on the next day. I was hopeful that I might reach home on time. Around 4 pm it started raining cats and dogs. It was such a heavy downpour that I was quite sure of the impending doom.

That day I reached home at 12 am.

Yes, you read it right. It took me 7 hours to reach home. In fact for the first 2 hours the bus was not able to move even an inch because of the jam and it took the bus 5 hours to reach the Gurgaon Toll which is a 2 minute drive from my office during happy days. The streets were water clogged and there were vehicles parked in all the wrong places on the narrow roads. Result – Utter chaos.

The Mouse Trap called Udyog Vihar

Udyog Vihar is a huge area in Gurgaon where many Office complexes are situated including mine. Its just on your left as soon as you cross the Toll if you are coming from Dhaula Kuan. The whole area is a trap specially when its raining or during the peak office hours.

I would really like to meet the planner of Udyog Vihar and kick his sorry ass with so much might that his next seven generations are going to reel in pain. The foolish guy designed the whole office complex as if he was designing a residential colony. Narrow lanes and huge offices. Its something like this –

So you can very well imagine what would happen when it rains very heavily and all the narrow roads are water clogged and more than 50 office buses and hundreds of cars wrestle for space to reach the main highway. I could never understand why it was planned like this. Leaving aside people who stay at far away places, if you are living in Gurgaon, it might take you anything between 1-3 hours to reach home in peak time. And all this is happening when Gurgaon is occupied only upto 40% of its capacity. Imagine the plight when it would be 90% occupied!!

The toll is another sob story. If you are fortunate enough to get away from the narrow roads, you can easily waste 15-30 minutes at the toll if you don’t have a tag. Huge snaking rows of vehicles can be seen there even at midnight.

Waterlogging and Delhi

MCD is one department which I fail to understand. Water logging is nothing new in Delhi but this is one department which have been very consistently successful in not providing a solution. Delhites have one

option now – Pray to god that he stops sending rains towards the city. We don’t want them anymore. Let us live in peace.

According to this report, even the water logging near the Prime Minister’s house a day before the Independence Day celebrations could not move MCD in action. They blamed it on Gods and told that its not their fault that there was too much rain in such a small span of time.

The Growth and its disadvantages

India has been developing at a phenomenal rate and the number of people who have the money to buy a car have increased many-fold. Result – According to this report, Delhi already has 51 lakh vehicles on road with 950 vehicles being added daily. I won’t be surprised if one day we won’t have space to walk. What is now required is a robust public transportation system so that people don’t find the need to take out their cars. Its a distant dream but lets not give up hopes.

Water Water everywhere, not a drop to drink

Whenever I ask someone about the problems about living in Noida, the first concern which is raised is – Water availability. I was shocked to see yellow coloured water in one of my friend’s house. People have to store water in their houses because there is no definite water supply available and the water is generally muddy and inadequate by all standards.

Another problem is public transportation. If you are staying in Noida or Gurgaon and you don’t have a car, then you are doomed. There are no public buses or autorikshaws(in Gurgaon) available and all you can depend upon is your local rikshaw wala. The situation is severe specially in Gurgaon.

Solutions anyone?

Electricity and water are two very basic necessities which are the responsibility of the Government authorities but we have to make sure that we are not misusing them. We all know this but sadly, knowing something and implementing something are two different things. Pool vehicles whenever possible and save resources whenever possible.

Three things to be realized –

  • As Spiderman’s uncle said – With great power come great responsibility. The government needs to understand that.
  • The past always has a tricky way of coming back and biting you on the ankle – Zadie Smith.
  • We need to stop multiplying like cockroaches, otherwise there is really no solution which could help us.

And, oh, before I forget in all my frustration. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!! 😀

[All the photos are taken by me while I twirled my fingers stuck in the jam. The diagram is created by me]