Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lynch the rapists

Now, what? The girl who fought the trauma inflicted on by rapists for 12 days finally gave up her battle. The government, giving in to compulsions from its people, may frame some more laws and wait for the Parliament's approval in the next session! Our daughters, sisters and mothers will keep falling victim to carnal desires of men. Some of the cases may reach the society through the media, some may not.

All at the helm of affairs, listen up. If you can't do anything, hand over the rapists to the mob. Let them be lynched, especially the minor fu&*#r. With what values is he growing up? What does he have to give to the society? None of them have any right to live in this society where they proved themselves be the last word of brutality.

We want a nation where police officers are not puppets at the hands of politicians. We want bold officers who are daring enough to come to the help of any sexual assault survivor and file a case without giving in to compulsions from higher offices. We want at least one politician who is daring enough to work for the nation, not for his family and the party bosses who made him a minister. We want a daring judiciary which can send a shiver down the spine of all who have any criminal intentions.

And, most important, bobbitise all rapists. Inhuman beings anyway don't need human organs.

Nirbhaya, you have left us finally. But the fire you have left behind is not going to leave us soon. Till this nation is free of atrocities against women... Hope your struggle pays off so that all women in our country remember you for ever... RIP.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Girls, time to wake up the Durga within you

It's been 12 days since Nirbhaya's (as media christened her) has been battling for life after the ghastly sexual assault on her by a gang of beastly men in the national capital.

Even as protests rage across the country to bring a stop to such crimes on women, the spurt in rape cases being reported from all over should put authorities to shame. All protests, debates on safety for women, dos and don'ts will be printed and broadcast for some time now. After that, things will be back to square one for us.

No police or government or activists will be available on call in the hour of our distress. Also, it will be impractical to expect police to guard women in all buses, workplaces, railway stations, every compartment in trains, all lanes and bylanes and even houses. For, danger lurks in every nook and corner for women. Those who ridicule the idea of imparting martial arts to girls as government's idea of washing its hands of responsibility should understand this.

All girls out there, your safety is in your hands first. Be alert always. Never regret even if you have to kill a rapist, for you would be saving many other girls. Don't be like Seeta devi who is a silent sufferer, but wake up the Durga or Kannaki from within you. Above all, when it comes to your safety, take your parents' words. For, no one else will be concerned about your safety as much as they are.

All mothers out there, tell your daughter not to be scared of anyone, not to be ashamed if she becomes victim of a sexual assault... Tell her, "I will be there for you". It will pass immense courage through your daughter's veins.

All dads and brothers, pass on the valour of a man to your daughters and little sisters. Treat them as any of you at home so that they will be bold enough to take on the evil hands stretching out to them.

And Nirbhaya, it hurts to know about the immense pain you endured to bring all these to fore again. I really wish your trauma doesn't go in vain and that something solid comes out of it for our mothers and sisters. Only offer we can make for you now is our heartfelt prayers. Lakhs of hearts are chanting the same, lakhs of pairs of eyes are shedding a tear or two for you and lakhs of invisible hands are blessing you from unknown corners... Come back, Nirbhaya, come back like a Phoenix. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A moment for the farmers

Just two days ago I happened to see a man pushing a cart full of tomatoes, calling out “Rs 20 for 2 kg”. In a hot afternoon, he was sweating and struggling to push the loaded cart forward. He looked as if he hadn’t eaten since morning.

Dressed in shabby clothes, torn in many places, all dirty and feet covered with mud, he would gain more sympathy than even a beggar on the street. His chappals too were broken and he was struggling to drag them along.

He was stopped by some buyers who demanded him give two-and-a-half kg for Rs 20. The other day when I bought 250gm of tomato, I got five big ones. Going by that 2kg would have 40 tomatoes. He was getting just 50 paise per tomato! Also 40 tomatoes would mean at least 3 plants which would have taken nurturing for months to be full grown and fruit bearing.

I hope many like me would wonder how farmers live considering they have to live with this money till they harvest the next time. Plants won’t give ripe fruits in a day or two. It needs toiling for months that too with favourable weather and rain.

People who bargain with them may have their reasons… cost of living, children’s education, ever rising prices… But I request you to spare a thought for the farming community to whom we should be ever grateful. Without them we wouldn’t be eating. Many of us wouldn’t dare live a single day of their lives. Those who know that parting an extra Rs 5 wouldn’t affect your life, please don’t bargain with farmers for their produce. You will be ignoring their sweat and depriving them of a meal, may be.

Why am I still single

Never thought hunting for a groom was such an idiotic affair. If left to my choice, I would have stayed alone happily ever... But need to fulfill obligations to family and mother’s wishes, I too entered the marriage market where people turn commodities.

My first run-for-life experience was with a guy who called me after seeing my profile in Kerala Matrimony. He introduced himself as Jayakumar, working with an event management company in Bangalore. Since I didn't want to compromise my job for a groom, I was willing to take it forward. He had called my mother and got my number from her. He told me about him, his family and his job, asked about me, my job... All seemed to be okay.

Then he asked me whether I stay alone. I said yes. He said he too stay alone and asked whether I get scared at night. I said a “No” with an added expression of “What? me? getting scared at night? No way!” And there comes our man's statement “But I get scared at night...especially after watching horror movies”! Now my expression was like... “Aiye...” How am I going to live with such a man who openly proclaims to his girl-to-be that he is scared to sleep alone at night! That will be the last thing a girl would want to hear from her man! But I thought I shouldn't give much weightage to courage.

So I went ahead with my conversation. I was insistent that whoever comes to marry me should know me well and should be ready to accept me as I am. So I told him that he can decide whether he should take this forward or not after knowing more about me. I had in mind many things to tell him, about a failed affair of mine, my health problems, family problems, the emotional being in me, and so on.
From my college days, I always expressed myself better through writing. So I asked him for his email id so that I can mail him in detail. He was more than willing and messaged me his mail id. Then came his another message “You can call me Bittoo... that's my nick name. What's yours?” There fell his image in my mind. I replied saying I don't have any pet name. His image in my mind nosedived again when he replied saying “ok i will call you mini”. That was my least preferred butchered form of my original name. I didn’t reply.

It didn't stop there. Again his messages kept coming to which I replied saying “I'm at work and that I don't have time to reply”. I was wondering with just a phone call and a message asking for his mail id, how can he be so attached to me! He kept on messaging until I decided not to even give a chance for that alliance to go forward. “I can't wait for your mail...” “Even if your working hours is 4-12, will it be okay if I come and pick you up if you finish early...” --- were some of his messages which never got a reply from me.

Next day I mailed him saying I may not be the right person for him and wished him the very best to get a better alliance. His reaction was quite unexpected. He freaked out as if we were going around for years and finally I said “no” to him! Losing my patience, I said I'm not good enough for him, asking him to hunt for a good girl. His reply convinced me that there was something seriously wrong with him... “I don't mind if you are bad, okay... I will make you good...”

He even went on cursing me for hurting him so much… as if I was in a serious affair with him and finally dumped him! Nothing ended there. I was in a more dilemma when I failed to convince my mother that he acted like a teenager. She thought that was too silly a reason to reject a proposal. Finally I had to upset her by putting my foot down and saying a strict “NO”. After a lull, I had to talk to another person who made me believe that Jayakumar was much better!
When I got a message in my Matrimony profile from a Kannadiga guy, I had to think twice and again. Finally I thought I should not confine the area of my partner search to any linguistic or cultural borders. After giving lot of thought to it, I finally decided to give a try and I replied to his message narrating all practical difficulties, yet expressing my willingness to give a try with an open mind. I was about to log out after work and was 12 in the night when I mailed him.

His name was Santosh and his profile said he is a happy go-getter who loves dancing, travelling, photography. Added attractions were his interest in spending time with grannies, grandpas and kids in family... He was a BTech-MBA from country's top institution and was enjoying a huge pay package too.
He called me immediately on receiving my mail. I told him that I was still in office and he agreed to call later. He wanted to see my profile again so I sent him my id. It raised suspicion whether he was normal enough when he sent his “like to take it forward” message to me. I was also surprised how a person working in normal hours was awake at that time when he called me after 1am.

He asked me about my job, including all minute details and sounded quite fascinated. After some 10 minutes of job description, he told me that he want his partner to know all about him and I said I too have the same opinion. Then he wanted to know if I was liberal or conservative. I said I'm liberal enough, and I doubted whether he sounded drunk.

About himself, he said only few things like he works with Wipro and that his native was Belgaum. He said, “I had an affair but for some reason it never worked out. I hope you too had your share of such things in life” to which I replied in the positive.

Suddenly he said, “Thank God... I was wondering what if I bump into a virgin.” I was shocked. Wanted to correct him saying, “But…”, but put it in a different way saying “by relationship, I didn’t mean physical”. He asked in a surprised tone, “But why?” I said I never felt the need to get into physical relationship with the guy whom I loved.

He was again surprised and told me: “But I want to get close to the girl whom I will marry in all possible ways and then decide...You should get close, enjoy with each other and then get married...” I was a bit reluctant to believe what he meant by saying “enjoy with each other”. I didn't express it though. Again he insisted on “getting close”. He said,” may be we will meet outside for half an hour once and later can spend time at my home.”

I was trying to make myself believe our conversation was real and not a nightmare! I controlled my anger even as he went on saying he believe so much in physical relationship. I said: “may be I'm conservative, I give least weightage for that.” Then came the last nail in the coffin which I was readying in mind. He asked “Do you masturbate?” I was shocked and disgusted. Never thought any guy with whom I was talking for the first time in life would ask me such a question! Cursed myself for having let myself hear such crap from an idiot.
I just said “Excuse me, Santosh. I don't think we have reached a stage to discuss such things. I don't mind even if you label me the most conservative. We have a long way to go before deciding on anything.”

He immediately said it was time for him to hit the bed and hung up the phone saying he would call the next day. Only difference this time was I didn't know what to tell my mother about the reason to reject this proposal! (A year later, the same guy called me again, not knowing he had spoken to me once. When I heard his details, I blatantly told him he was disgusting to the core and that I’m not interested.)

After this I didn’t dare talk to anyone for quite sometime. Later my relatives got a proposal from a person who is from Thiruvananthapuram. They told me earlier that he is not as educationally qualified as me, but he worked hard and landed a job with a software major in Bangalore. He went for ITI after SSLC and did some designing courses after that. Though I know how much ITI is looked down upon among my relatives, I wanted to convince them that it was not money or position or qualification that I’m looking for. So, agreed to talk to this person.

He called me and asked if I wanted to know anything! I said nothing in specific. He went on saying he was calling me as his parents asked him to do so! Least impressed with the very first conversation we had, still with all sincere intention to try my best, I asked him for his mail id so that I can write in detail about myself.
We exchanged mail ids and I asked him to write about himself. He wrote two sentences which I couldn’t figure out because of the innumerable errors in it. I was put off to the hilt. Later he called me once and I tried to put him off by speaking only in English. (Ignoring mother tongue can send a message that the person is arrogant for traditionally brought up guys from Kerala) I told him I was on way to work and was busy to which he answered “I will room by 4 o’clock”!!! (sic) I knew it would sound too arrogant if I explain these to my relatives. They would quickly infer that I’m looking for an Oxford educated guy!

I can’t explain to them that I didn’t feel anything for this guy. I wanted nothing more… just the feeling that this is my man… Had a tough time convincing everybody that I’m backing off from the proposal. Somehow that also got over. Thankfully it didn’t reach a stage of meeting.

Next came a proposal from an IITian who’s the son of an IAS dad and a KV principal mom. Enjoying a top managerial position with a software major, he was earning 20 times my salary! For the same reasons I told amma I don’t want this as their lifestyle would be so different from ours. She persuaded me saying “there would be good people even among the richest”. So I went ahead mailing him details about me. I understood he was a man of few words when he got back.

He was glad that I was so open about myself and made me comfortable saying nothing mattered to him. I too was happy. He called and spoke once and insisted on meeting me though I said meeting can be later. Finally I gave in to his persuasion to meet though reluctantly. For me, he had not even graduated from an acquaintance to a friend. Still agreed to meet in a mall whose noise and closed smell which I never enjoyed.
At first look, he appeared like a nerd. With a cross striped yellow T-shirt which was not suiting him at all, he looked like a miser with smile too. He wanted to have food. I accompanied him but politely declined his offer to have food saying I just had lunch. Over lunch he started asking about me.
After some usual, expected questions and answers he started proding into my previous affair. He asked if I had physical relationship with the person whom I had an affair with. I replied in the negative, feeling insulted that I had to face the query again. He went on asking “Not even things like kissing and hugging?”!!! I wanted to run away. I politely told him I was not comfortable answering such queries. After food, he said we will sit and talk on the top most floor away from the noise of games and events for the weekend crowd. I followed him reluctantly.

While going up the escalator, he put his right arm across my shoulders and held me close to him with a question “How tall are you” pretending he did it to see if our heights were matching! I wanted to run away in disgust. Didn’t even feel like looking at his face even as I wriggled out and made myself comfortable at an arm’s distance from him.

While sitting on the silent area of the mall, he went on holding my hand and reading my palm! He tried predicting my behaviour when I took away my palm from his saying I don’t believe in all this. Somehow ended the meeting and I walked almost half way home, almost 4km, as if to burn away the disgust and insult I faced!

I was depressed to the core for many reasons, the first being I was failing to convince those who put pressure on me to get married that I’m happy being single. Felt so miserable to having ended up like a doll trying to please selectors. I wanted to run away to a place no one will bug me for getting married. Can’t tell how I felt then.
After many months of this incident, a proposal came from a researcher in Delhi. Was glad about coming across someone from a field other than software. He was still researching and just have the fellowship amount as monthly income, which was much lesser than what I earned. It was a reason why I decided to take it forward… as an answer to all who thought I was never satisfied with the guy’s income or social status. After exchanging a couple of mails, I found myself so comfortable with him and we started talking on phone. He sounded very caring, understanding and loving. What more a girl would want.

He had major complex that he was a bit fat. I said I wouldn’t mind all that. Also in the photos he sent me he didn’t look too fat. Only fault I found was that he wasn’t smiling in any of the photos. When I told him that he said his teeth were bad. I said as long as you have teeth, you can smile. He obliged by sending his smiling picture two days later, which I found attractive. Seeing his Ujala-white smile I asked why he said his teeth were bad. Also, he didn’t seem to have a paunch about which he had major complex. I made him comfortable saying his mind was what mattered most to me.

Later proceedings were very fast. My mother and brother met his mother and brother and talked with each other. Only thing left was our meeting. At home, all were deciding when to conduct the marriage. I was even willing to go ahead for marriage even without meeting him. Not that I developed any romantic relation with him, but I was so comfortable with him. I thought he was the best person who would ever happen to me.
Finally after a month, he decided to fly down from Delhi to meet me.

We met at a close friend’s house where he and his family provided us with all facilities for a happy meeting. I was shocked by everything right from his appearance. Felt the person whom I saw in photos was someone else. The real person was so fat, at least four times me! His big fat tummy appeared to be choking him. His teeth were brown indicating a voracious smoker or pan addict in him. Still I thought I shouldn’t look at silly things. But the comfort factor started disappearing in no time. He seemed to show no interest in talking to me. After lunch, he even asked my friend if he can sleep for a while and went to sleep when I was still waiting for him to talk to me!

Also, he disappeared from home in between arising suspicion if he was going to smoke. He had told me he used to smoke and drink a lot, but stopped everything now. I had even told him that I don’t mind drinking once a while, but can’t stand smoking. I wouldn’t mind both, if he was open about it. Lying from the beginning wouldn’t go down well with anyone whether a guy or a girl.

After the deep afternoon nap, he got up and came to me asking if we can go to a pub. For him it would be shameful if he didn’t visit a pub after coming to Bangalore. I brushed it aside saying I have been in Bangalore for almost five years and didn’t find it any shameful that I was yet to visit a pub. He insisted in going out for dinner to a resto-bar, to which we agreed reluctantly.

At the restaurant, first order he placed was for two 60ml vodka. I didn’t have to scramble for reasons to reject the proposal. My mother and brother too were shocked with his behaviour, especially him drinking at our first meeting. That also ended.

Hence I’m still single and happy :)