Silent abuse

Something that I feel deeply about— Abuse that women go through.. Physical, emotional or sexual. We need to stop being in denial and accept that women are being mistreated. And we need to take control.

There is nothing wrong in accepting that one has been a victim of abuse. But there is everything wrong in not doing anything about it. The poem below is a shout out for all the women who believe in themselves and the endless power they can have once they have confidence in themselves.

 

See not the blues of yesterday,

Fear not the hues of today.

There shall be a path, leading

From here to where you are heading.

 

Seek the truth, within yourself.

No blame upon him, none upon yourself.

Actions cause problems, yet

They cause solutions, you bet.

 

Look at your eye, beaten black and blue,

No shimmer left, no fresh dew.

Just bitter stains of misery and pain

You have endured, time and again.

 

The words have stung, your heart and soul,

Clutching at your life, carving an endless hole.

Scraping the shards of decency and shame,

You bow your head, fearing a black name.

 

Fear not the ghosts of today

See not the unreal monster, far away,

You are your charioteer, you are your reins,

You will triumph, till justice runs in your veins.

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Nostalgia

I was sitting on the porch one fine evening when wham!!! I got struck by a wave of nostalgia.

I was back in my lovely, cozy home with sunlight pouring in. It was dusk. I’ve always loved the sunset. There is something magical about how the orange hues, when they touch your skin, they titillate and tingle your senses, and make your eyes go woozy 🙂 Aaahhh, dusk….. How I wish I were sitting on the drab maroon chair with the rays dancing upon the walls creating a kaleidoscope of shapes and forming tiny patches of warm light. I used to just sit there, hugging my knees, eating chocolate perhaps (I tend to forget things, especially when I’m eating chocolates), marveling at the beauty of Nature and how breathtakingly beautiful the world is. Those were the moments when my mind would be completely at peace, which at other times is a whizz of confusion and random thoughts. I would trace my finger along the wall, along the shapes aforementioned (sorry, that word just took the romance away from the story), while humming a sad tune to myself (I’m a big fan of sad songs). I would intentionally let the sunlight fall upon my eyes, directly, even though it blinded me. I have a weird fetish for sunlight upon my eyes, I guess. It makes me feel one with Nature (always a good thing). It makes me feel warm and alive and at peace with myself. Anyway, back to the dusky evenings. So, there I was, soaking up the evening sun when, suddenly, I would feel uncontrollably sad and depressed. In the midst of all the happiness, there had crept in a tinge of fear. Fear of the end. End of the sunshine, the lovely dusk, the warmth in my heart and most of all the peace in my soul.  That moment would always coincide with the sun setting and night falling. I would be left with cold cheeks and a heavy heart. But, the night would bring along better tidings because I always had the people I loved, my personal bottle of sunshine, around.

Now that I am far away from the dull maroon chair, and nowhere visible to the people I love, I wonder, will I ever feel the joy and calm of dusk back home? Is this the end that I had always feared? As far as I can see, the setting sun here has done no magic on me yet. It remains to be seen if I can find my peace and keep it there. Hoping for the best 🙂

Opinion matters!!!

Sometimes people around you who are as clear as daylight seem hazy as the mist on Westminster Abbey. That’s when numbers don’t matter, colors look drab and the world seems a mundane place to set foot on.

Opinions are words of strings of ideas migrating from a reservoir of churning potions of thoughts to a void awaiting sensible streams of rational expressions. However, sometimes the ideas seem pointless when the receiving vessels are full of ideas preconceived in their natal fates and thus sealed to opinions not of their own.

Yet, sometimes the vessels are empty and void which makes it worse because if the seal exists on top of the empty vessel, the seal has to be broken probably by a bulldozer in order to unclog the pipe of transfer.

Sometimes this very block gives one, strength and motive to break through barriers no matter how impervious and fortified they are. It is this strength that the unbreakable seals feed off of. The seals grow stronger as and when the effort made to break those seals grows stronger and stronger. Therefore, the deadlock remains unresolved. Is there a way to break the seal without causing the seal to form layers of resistance over itself?

Sometimes these very vessels seem so warm and receptive that you forget they did some day shun your feelings and shut doors on your face. They seem so eager to smile upon you, extending their arms out welcoming your thoughts and opinions into their abode as though housing a long lost friend. You do seem to forget for that moment that this may be one of the stages of an ever-repetitive cycle of resistance and acceptance.

When do you decide to end this cycle? Is there an exit condition? Is there a vaccine for the next bout of disguised acceptance of opinions or is this just an overblown state of minuscule matters that don’t even matter?

Is it that at the end of a day, it doesn’t matter if your opinions got accepted or rejected but what does matter is that you had the courage to come up with the opinions and were foolhardy to speak them out and be shunned?

I would certainly liked to be called brave and be at the forefront of sharing opinions and ideas not giving importance to the seal of vessels. Because don’t we all know seals feed off of fear and closure? Lesson learnt? Hopefully, yes.

The Woman

You gave birth to me and nurtured me till i needed your care no more. You are my mother.

You held my hand when I cried and never let go till I needed your shoulders no more. You are my friend.

You fought with me for the slightest matters while all the time protecting me from myself till I needed your shelter no more. You are my sister.

You taught me the world and were my mother away from home till I needed your knowledge no more. You are my teacher.

You told me stories and tales of wondrous splendour and fed me with wit and wisdom till I needed your smile no more. You are my grandmother.

You promised to share my joys and sorrows and love me in spite of my follies till I needed your love no more. You are my beloved.

You gave me a new meaning and a better reason for living till one day you will need me no more. You are my daughter.

The lines above depict the roles of a woman over her lifetime. Some women may be lucky enough to fulfill all those roles. Some may be the most unfortunate because they’d get to experience only a couple of the above. The question is will the latter group of women be any less of a woman?

We as a people have always written verses and poems and songs in praise of our women. Most of them in praise of the loving mothers. But what of a daughter? We hardly give her any credit. What of a sister or a friend? They are never given a second glance. When a man talks about respect for a woman he always has an image of her as a mother. A mother in our society has a position and status unlike any other. But what of her daughter who may someday be a mother but now is just as woman as her mother?

In Hindu culture, there is a custom regarding married women wearing sindhoor or kumkum as a token of being married. When the woman is widowed, these belongings of hers are taken away from her meaning she has no right to adorn herself now that her husband is dead. When I was a child, my grandma used to tell me to wear a bindi everyday. That a girl should wear it everyday. So I had asked her if that meant I was married. I don’t remember what she told me but from that day onwards I stopped wearing bindi everyday because I saw no point in it. Of course I still wear a bindi when I feel like it 🙂

Now moving on to more serious issues and turbulent waters. An American colleague of mine was telling me about a book he had read which broke his heart about the condition of women all over the world and suggested I read it. As the string of conversation drove on, we discussed about the status of women in today’s society in India. Sure we have accepted women in our lives outside of our homes. But is there a change in our attitudes? In many workplaces, women are paid much less than their male counterparts for the same amount of work or more. In the biggest IT companies too which are the goliaths of today’s economy the female to male sex ratio is dismally low. Yes, there are some jobs men do better than women and vice versa. Then there are other jobs which both sexes can do equally well. Which do not require physical strength thus favoring men or delicate touch thus favoring women. These include daily household chores such as cleaning the house, washing dishes and clothes. Cooking is a different matter as it is an art. So if the menial jobs such as household chores do not require any special skill, why is it that we don’t see the men of our houses lend a hand? Why is it assumed that a woman should do these alone? Where is the much talked about equality here? And why don’t the women raise questions but instead toil away mindlessly when the work can be shared among the people in the house?

While we proudly cite instances of our country’s women outdoing themselves in their fields, there are ever more increasing incidents of female infanticide in our backyards. A girl is still stereotyped as being the coy, demure, delicate doll while there are women braving bombs on our frontiers. A girl is told to bow her head to the men around her as a sign of respect when there are women at war with their tribes against marital rape. While a boy is seen as the wealth of a house, a girl is seen as a burden to be married off when ‘she comes of age’. It is true that in middle class families women are better off than in the lower or the upper class. But we as  a country ruled by the middle class have a long way to go when we can truly say we have overcome our egos and false assumptions of status of a girl child.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I think it’s time for women to stop just giving examples of the great women who have excelled in their professions and start learning to do the same in everything we do. All the while not forgetting to maintain our dignity and uphold our rights. Be it right to equality or right to live.

Passing Tides- A Poem

How does it feel to experience the new?

Does it tingle at the slightest pretext of melting dew?

What makes the world go round, round like a spinning top?

Does it feel any better that our lives spin fast and don’t stop?

 

Yes, it is the blush of the skies that colour my cheeks.

The unending rhythm of the dove’s wings flap as my heart.

Yes, I sense my breath speeding at par with the brimming creeks.

Their waters rippling with joy that they unto my soul impart.

 

No, the heavens wait for none, none so more for my feeble being.

Awaiting the salvation the rains promised.

No, I know not the new or the old, what gifts they bring.

I know only this that my eyes have been touched and lips been kissed.

 

Maybe, I hope this shell unfurls into a blossoming tree.

A tree of love flowing in my veins, an abode of serenity.

Puppet beings – A short story

I have a machine unlike any other invented by man.  It’s a time machine capable of the most awesome and extraordinary marvels.  I am thinking of the direction of travel.  Fast forward or rewind.

The pastures and moors of yore beckon me with their untouched beauty while the gory battles and bloody wars claw at my grey cells, disgusting yet strangely enthralling in their stories.  Oh where shall I tread from the present?
The streets of the kingdom of Vijayanagara adorned with precious stones.  They beseech me to save them from the impending wrath brought upon by the Muslim rulers.  The temples of a thousand empires await their inescapable fate of fall and ruin. Will I, a mere human from the 21st century be able to make any significant impact on the tidings of the 14th century?  With all the blessings of all the numerous gods of the human world and all the planets turned in my favour I will be able to perchance set my footprint on the ever shifting sands of time and bring some solace to the denizens of centuries past.  Yes, the past definitely seems like the path to take.  As I turn the dials of my darling time machine and set the input mechanisms to point to a date 7 centuries before present, I can feel my heart pumping blood faster and my legs  going numb.  But wait.  What’s that ticking I hear?  It’s not before long the humming of my time machine becomes feeble as the ticking in my head envelopes my body.  That’s when I realize why it would be a bad idea to go to the past.  The past me wouldn’t have to make any efforts to change events because just by being there I would be altering the scenery and consequently imprinting my self in the past.  I do not know if it is going to make a huge difference but when a small change accumulated and mutated over time has brought about a whole new species, the possibility of the minuscule change I bring about blowing up to alter history as we know it is quite huge.

(tick…tick…tick…tick…)

The other option is the future.  What wonders await me in the distant wormhole of endless possibilities?  Will my great great great great grandchildren greet me with warm welcome or will the world have become inert to all concepts of human feelings of love and care?  Will my beloved motherland be as rich in culture and humanity as her past form or be rich as an economic superpower having a stronghold rivaled by none?  But what if the world has changed for the worse?  I will, perchance be able to warn them of the disaster that is going to be the resultant of our foolish actions today.  I will meet the people who I’m quite sure won’t be wearing white suits like a uniform as is often depicted in our movies.  As I contemplate on my itinerary of future, I sense the ticking growing louder and louder and I become aware of the alarm going off.  The alarm of realization that even if I went to the future I would be altering the end point of a path of events thus altering the point of space-time just before point zero and so on till I reach present day.  Which would ultimately result in the fact that this moment now, this moment when I’m indecisive about the direction of time travel is itself an illusion.  Therefore, the concept of time travel into future would be nullified.  If on the other hand, I could go into future then I wouldn’t exist today the way I am now.  How truly magical and ironic this entire situation is.  Is there some piece I am missing of this enthralling puzzle?  And what’s this incessant ticking?  I can’t stand it anymore.

(tick…tick…tick…tick….)

“I wonder if she’s alright.”
“Oh I’m sure she is.  She’s just hallucinating again.”
“Should I call the doctor?”
“Honey, I’m sure it’s alright.  It’s happened before and she recovered pretty soon.  She’s our daughter.  She’s strong.”
“I hope she gets well soon.  I’m very worried.”
“You’ll soon see that she’ll be as fit as a fiddle.”

(tick tick tick tick tick……..)

10..9..8..7..6..5..4..3..2..1.. Ignition

“Dr.Maya, congratulations on the successful launch of the 42nd space shuttle headed for our new home.”
“I’m very proud of our scientists and our leaders who have supported me in the past decade when I had initially conceived the idea of a 2nd home.  A home away from home.  Planet 30.  Today our dream has come true.  We have successfully relocated all of mankind to our new home.  I would like to thank…”(“We have received shocking news. The last space shuttle has crashed into the Sanctuary on Planet 30 causing a leakage of methane into the atmosphere.  As of now the fatality stands at 8.0 which means billions of people may be wiped out in the next 10 minutes.  Authorities are pointing fingers at the WSO for miscalculation of trajectory.  The Heads have ordered for a thorough investigation into the issue and the immediate arrest of Dr. Maya…….”)No…. This cannot be happening.  I’m sure we had the trajectory drawn out perfectly.  If I’m arrested I’m going to be executed immediately.  I stand no chance of escape.  I have destroyed mankind.  Oh what have I done.  I don’t deserve to live.  I have to go back.  I know what I should do……

“Call the doctor!”
“Why? What’s the matter dear?”
“Its Maya. She hasn’t woken up since afternoon. I think she’s hurt herself.”

“I’m sorry Mr.Roy.  Your daughter has passed away.  But I found this in her hand.”
“What is it?”
“It is a note.  You may want to read it.”

(I had to take this step in order to save mankind from extinction.  I have seen the future.  I will be responsible for the destruction of human race through my misjudgment.  I’m sorry mama and papa.  I let you down.  But this is the only way I can be sure there will come no harm to the world from me.  Forgive me.
Love, Maya)

“I remember that she had complained of hearing a ticking sound in her head. Looks like the hallucinations got better of her.  She seems to have believed that she had invented a time machine and that she had traveled in time to the future.  I also found this next to her.  It looks like a capsule of some kind. She had buried it in her wrist.  Have you seen it before?”
“No.  I don’t know what that is.  I don’t want to know.  My daughter’s dead.  Nothing can bring her back now.”

(tick tick tick tick tick……. Beep)

“Congratulations on the successful completion of Mission Control.  Looks like Z108 has completed it’s life cycle.  The ticking has stopped and the red light is off.”
“Please Dr. Smith, it would be nicer if you’d treat my clients as humans.”
“Oh believe me I would.  Only if they weren’t under our control.”
“Thank you Dr. Smith.  I appreciate your support.”
“You know that you have a dozen more clients to take care of right?”
“I am well aware of that.  I sometimes wonder if the humans realize that they are being controlled by a whole new species in a parallel universe.  I feel sad for them.  Puppet beings.”
“You showed us all that you have a heart when you named your clients after yourself.”
“We’ve all got something to learn from humans.  I learned sentiments from them.”
“Good luck handling those complex emotions there.  Well I have to take off now.  I’ll see you around Dr. Maya.”

I have done this countless times before. But why do I feel that I’m sinning? What are humans to us other than puppets born to serve us? Yet, I feel a strange void within me as though with her death, a part of me has died. But she’s just another human, albeit sharing my name. Sharing…. The thought of it feels good. How I wish I could bring my human alter ego back to life…….

“Mama…. Papa…..”

“I can’t believe this. Honey, look it’s our daughter. She’s alive.”

“It can’t be. It just can’t be.”

I feel strange. I shouldn’t be alive. I swallowed a whole bottle of sleeping pills. Why am I being punished like this? Is it so important that I be responsible for the destruction of humankind? Oh…… I get it now. The present me has to live for I have seen the future me. The future is true and therefore the present has to be true. I had it all backwards. I have to live….. I have to live…… But what’s that sound again?

(tick…tick…tick…tick…tick….)

 

Taboo about sex

When our parents told us not to eat mud we wondered what was so fascinating and prohibiting about that simple heap of dull brown grains of sand. So we got more curious and stuffed our mouths with the very same mud our parents had told us against eating. As years went by our curiosity was fuelled by the array of wonderful new sensations awaiting to engulf us in their sickening temptations. We are not the ones who would sit idle and do nothing about this balloon of questions and the insatiable thirst for new experiences welling up inside us.

Which brings us to our current topic. Taboo. What is taboo? Something or someone we are just not allowed by the society to be doing or experiencing. Well at least that’s the most crude definition I can think of now. This concept of taboo has been prevalant from ages unknown. It changes as per the current trends of the society or the factors that affect these trends. For instance, in the South Indian families, about a 100 years ago, it was unheard of for a woman to bear a single girl child. In fact it was looked down upon. It was not taboo but it received the same disapproving looks anyway. But  now, taking my parents example, it’s no more the case. I am the only child for my parents.

But there are certain things that have always remained taboo and perhaps always will. Alcohol, tobacco, drugs etc. If we observe the trend in these permanently tagged taboos, we see that they are not good for health and may cause addiction.

Now there’s another category of taboos. Those related to sex and sexual feelings. I am going to be dedicating ample amount of space for a discussion on them as follows. These are neither harmful to health nor are they a passing phenomenon. It is but natural for all the species on earth to reproduce. It’s a totally different matter if they do it sexually or asexually. For now let’s concentrate upon the human race. From the inception of man as a species sex has been an integral part of existence. Apart from dolphins and a few other species of mammals, humans are the only species that indulge in sex for pleasure. But that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It has been proven that this closeness with the opposite sex makes family ties stronger and encourages mates to stay together for life. Yet there’s this aura of uncertainty and discomfort when we talk about sex. It’s worse here in India than in say, America. What’s ironic is that we Indians have a temple complex dedicated to sex in Khajuraho.

You may argue saying we, the Gen X are more open to sex and talk more openly about it. I beg to differ. We as a generation have been exposed to only the lewd and crude aspects of sex. We don’t have proper sex education taught in our schools which is when the mind is most curious and plastic. We see and hear disapproval of youngsters indulging in unacceptable sexual behaviour. But there’s nobody who is willing to tell us what is acceptable. Of course it depends on who is telling you that. If you are going to ask an orthodox priest about what is appropriate about sex, you’ll very well get a glare and you’ll be out of there in no time.

The various ‘upholders’ of religion are making it worse by preaching the evils of sex pre-marital or otherwise. Because of this discomfort associatied with talking about it, people find it difficult to ask for condoms let alone use it.

Both parties involved in the conjugal process should be educated well about what is the most basic and frankly the aspect that connects all of us. On this day, World Aids Day, I implore you to see sense and make others see sense. It is high time we shed our inhibitions and talk openly about sex  and our lives that are as a result of it.