Friday, September 23, 2011

Damn Him!

I had to work late, so I stayed back at my parents’ place. It was 10 PM. The door bell screeched. Amma opened the door, a man in early 40s entered.

My face turned cold with the anger. His sight had fanned the dormant flame of ferocity. I stood there staring in his face! Bloody! He did not have the cheek to face me. My body language did lay a guilt trip on him. He lowered his head as he walked past me. (His head was so much bent that he might have licked the floor as he went)

A rush of memories came back to me.

We lived in a rented house. We were the only family who lived in the city. So, any soul from the family who visited the city would find an accommodation in our house.I was an eight year old girl. 

I came back home after playing cricket. (yes, you read that right)
Amma had gone out to bring provisions and vegetables. Then, a man in late twenties came home.A so-called relative. I used to hate this person. During earlier visits, he took me and my brother out to get us juice and chocolates. Then, he used to send my brother home and he tried holding (read touching) me in a wrong way. His grip was too strong for me. I used to shout, or find some other way to run away from him.

I was scared to tell this to my parents. What if they don’t believe me? I did not even know what his intentions were. (There was nothing like sex education then. It was a taboo.) I just knew that I was feeling uncomfortable. Whenever he found me alone, he asked so many questions of which I remember a few like “Do you know the part of my body which can turn hard with your help?” “Do you know why saree is removed in rape scenes?”
I did not know the answers to the questions then. I skedaddled literally.

That day, when he came I ran into the room; started reading some class notes. My brother was also coloring something in his drawing book. He came in, he said, he is the heaviest person there. Both of us ignored his comments. Then, he said he can prove it, he just put me down and fell on me. My brother was just 5 years old then, I don’t know what thoughts came into his mind, he just lifted a small iron chair and he hit on this man’s head! He cried in pain and ran into the bathroom. We both were shit scared, and we ran out of the house and landed in my neighbors’ (we thought he would die :D)
By the time my mother came, things were normal.

In the later days, I somehow managed to keep away from him.
After we moved into our own house, I rarely saw him. I did not attend any of the social gatherings which had a probability of him coming. Years rolled. He has two kids now. Girls!

Now, things make sense. I can comprehend his questions and intentions. I am sad, that I did not tell my parents then. But, I was really scared; of what? I don’t know. But, I am happy, that these incidents did not bear an impact on my innocent brain;to brand the whole male clan as sex-maniacs. I told Amma about the dirty man when I was in 15. She was extremely angry that I did not tell her at the right time.

After thoughts
I really wonder how many girls went through such abuses in mute helplessness. Now, that I have a daughter, I don’t know how and when I should start sex education. I really fret.

Some ideas which I can think of are,
1)      Train her on self defense.
2)      Tell her repeatedly that getting scared or acting like you are scared; is NOT girlish.   
3)      Tell her to keep distance when she talks to men. Not to encourage touch and talk.
4)      Encouraging her to share the most embarrassing moments also with you, may be then we can take them into confidence. (this did not work in my case)
5)      Never let your girl child alone with men (sans really trusted ones like her father)

What else can be done? What do you think I should do that dirty man?

Friday, September 16, 2011

The "Pro"crastinator

Sunday Evening.

I returned from my parents’ place where I had chosen to put my feet up and chill out.
As I stepped into the room, I was shocked to see a dull-colored hill of clothes lying all over the bed.

The mercury level in my brain shot up! My head turned into a pressure cooker, I turned around to see BH welcoming some guests at the door. ('aaj BH bach gaya' I thought)
Closed the door of the room, I did not want them to see what I saw.

Status: Like the cat hides its litter, I veiled the view of the hill.

Sunday Night

I did not want to clear the clothes this time. I wanted BH to clear the mess on the bed. I made some space on the bed, pushed the clothes to a ‘HIS’ side of bed and closed my eyes. He came, he cuddled, and he slept. We BOTH slept in ‘MY’ side of bed. (come on, It was not the moment to push him off. **Awww.. Those cuddles**)
Status: Now the hill had grown taller because the base area occupied was smaller.

Monday Morning

I decided I will voice it out.
Me: How long will these clothes lie unattended?
BH: Don’t start off on a Monday morning. (Typical ‘morning morning’ philosophy)
I zipped my mouth.

Status: His clothes, wet towel (yuck!!) added to the mighty mountain. (Hill -> mountain)

Thursday Evening

I thought, let me not nag, and let me lend a helping hand. He sat watching some sport on TV.
Me: Even I will help you; let us clear off the mess in the room now. Switch on your **Dhan Dhan** playlist on the computer. (Hard rock music is not of my taste, I feel someone is bombarding rocks on my head. By suggesting what he likes, I thought I am considerate enough)
BH: You don’t like to see me sit and relax. Do you? (A stare) I will clear that someday in this week.
Me: ‘Someday’ is not a day in any week!!
Then silence crept in. 
Status: The Mountain had grown bigger in girth and had risen few meters above sea level.

Saturday Evening

I don’t like nagging. But, when things don’t seem happening..
Me: Please, let us clear off the clothes today.
BH: I am tired. Had hectic work at office this week, this weekend has come as a blessing.
Me: I have read somewhere “Nothing is as fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task”
BH: Then, that is enlightenment. I don’t want to get more tired.

Status: The Mountain was almost touching the ceiling fan!!

I sorted the clothes and cleanly organized in his cupboard, put for a wash or sent it for pressing. It took me an hour. He came into the room after some time. He hugged. I expected a verbal admiration from him.(which I did not get)
I suddenly remembered, ‘We had to renew our car insurance. I think it is expired!’
He said ‘Don’t worry. The mountain isn’t over your head always’ *wink*

Post mortem of the incident made me understand him and others better.
  • Someone is hardwired to be procrastinator by nature, works only when the sufficient pressure is built.  
  • Putting off an unimportant task isn't essentially procrastination: it may just be good prioritization!
  • Someone may find a particular task unlikable. Hence, they avoid. Even if I tend to share the same feeling, may be we should work it out. Both of us should give-in alternatively.

Don’t tell me that you would do it ‘someday’:P

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Flesh Trade

This is a post by the guest of honor Sujatha Sathya.

About the guest
Sujatha is blessed with natural flow of writing. The topics she takes on can range from a microbe to a galaxy; such is her versatility. Following her for the past 6 months, I have known that she is good with the language, (so no turn-offs) and has the talent to project the thoughts, the ideas, and the observations that occur daily amazingly.(so guaranteed 'good-read')

About the Topic
Should the Sex-trade be legal? 
Sex is legal, Trade is legal, why is sex-trade illegal? A topic to ponder, let us hereby know the opinion of the guest of honour. :) 


Yes it should be.
I am not aware of the socio-political history of prostitution.  But I do know that prostitution has existed since eternity and will continue to exist for as long as human civilization does. So legal or illegal, it will remain; it is here to stay.
I also know that many of them are in this due to poverty or other unfortunate circumstances like rape/abduction/abuse/cheated by husband/lover/boyfriend or sold by father/husband or brother. There are countless women involved in it who run their families with the money earned & are in most cases the sole bread winners of the household.

Even if you say you can rehabilitate them, it’s an idealistic solution which is very hard to be implemented. Where will these women get jobs? And how many can you give jobs for? When skilled, educated workforce is still largely unemployed in India, employing these women would be a herculean task. And even if a few did land some jobs, do you think they would be looked upon with respect? Don’t you think their colleagues & others would proposition to them & harass them with words & gestures? The jobs they are likely to get are as maids. But will the exploitation stop there? They would become easy targets for lecherous men in the house while the lady of the house would conveniently put all the blame on them & they would lose their jobs & consequently, their bread & butter in no time.

When that is the case, and with little or no education to speak of, how does the government or the civil society plan to reintegrate them into the mainstream? And if that were the case, why hasn’t it been done in all these years. The truth is once they are caught in this web, there is no escape for these women.

I don’t mean to say that prostitution should be encouraged as a means of livelihood. All I am saying is, it has existed forever & will continue to exist till the last living man on the face of this planet. For those who are already in it for reasons that involved some form of betrayal from a trusted friend or family member, and have nowhere else to go, if they are faced with the choice of death or life as a prostitute, then what will she do?  
They are ostracized by society and verbally abused and treated as if they were not human at all. For the women if the sigma goes, then they can at least continue to live their life in peace. Otherwise, not only is there no escape for them from their existence but also they have to bear the brunt of being labeled immoral & called names.

Prostitutes are very vulnerable to repeated rapes & physical abuse. Who would sympathize with a prostitute who has been raped? The police would laugh & so would the lawyer. People would laugh too & think of it as a joke. It is not. They are easy targets for physical violence because of the nature of their work. For them it is just another work, something that gets them money to pay their bills & brings food onto the table. But since it is illegal, they have no rights whatsoever; no voice and no opinion.

When I started this post, all I wanted to get across was that maybe it’s time this particular segment of society had a means to get their voices heard too.
 If we make it legal, at the very least, these women can free themselves from the harassment & hafta vasooli of the policemen & the extortion by the criminals or the local goons. Being made legal is only a small respite for them from blood-suckers present within our social framework. It’s their livelihood now whether they chose it of their own free will (which is highly unlikely) or was thrust upon them by fate. Maybe, just maybe, at least that would stop, eventually, slowly, in due course, in time, sooner or later, some day, one day!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Courtship Birthday

This is an episode during my courtship period. 

28th August 2008, 11.42 PM – Eve of my birthday

I dialed his number frenetically. He had not answered my calls all this while.  Has he forgotten that it’s my birthday? Or has the sleep fairy taken him to the dreamland already?’ I was thinking.

'Ahh.. ! He answered!

Me: I thought you had slept!

BH: Yesss.(in a sleepy tone) I had. Anything important?   
Me: No (in a low tone)
BH: Ahh.. Don’t feel bad for small things. Ok.. Tell me, how was your day?

And the conversation went on. (Not really, one sided lecture I should say.) I spoke, he listened silently. I loved talking to him lying over my couch, watching the moon from the window. Anyway,  I knew, he would interrupt me at 12.00 AM sharp to wish me on my birthday.

Few minutes drowned into the night as I spoke, I heard snoring sounds. He was into ‘sound’ sleep! He hibernated again as I spoke? Without wishing ME on my birthday? Arrrghh!! I felt like banging my head against a brick wall! This is not the first time. How can someone sleep like that?

I could not even shout. Everyone at home are sleeping. Appa does not like me talking to someone on phone in the night. But still, I somehow manage to talk to him everyday.
I held the mike near to my mouth and tried giving maximum effect. ‘HELLLOOOOOO!! Anybody there?’ I squealed.

In one fell swoop, I got a knock on my head, and I heard a loud tone of ‘Nobody is there, but there is someone here! Happy Birthday!’ It was HIM!!

I was stunned. My jaws agape. I forgot to bat the eyelid!. I immediately switched on the light. My heart was racing. Would be BH in my room at 12.00 am in the night before marriage! How is this possible? Do my parents know? Or did he jump over the compound, climb up the balcony just to wish me? But, I have locked my balcony door. I was sure, that my parents or his parents would not approve of a night’s stay in the same house. (be it in different rooms) I had thousand random sparkling crackers in my head.

Me: What on earth brought you here? I mean, how could you? My parents know about this?
My younger brother entered the room at this juncture, he wished me. He said, ‘come downstairs, Appa and Amma are waiting for you. They haven’t slept’

I looked at BH. *Teary eyes* . Who does not like surprises? He understands my inner desires so well. I thought.

I cut the cake with family and would be BH.  What a moment! We ate delicious chocolate mousse cake. Sometimes, mundane things start looking so magical. I felt stars are glittering all over.

Just before retiring to sleep, I stopped at my room door, and whispered to BH.

Me: I never expected this. It was a wonderful birthday surprise. I will never forget in my life! I am overwhelmed with joy!
 **DAN DA DAAAAN** There came a filmy twist.
BH: Easy dear easy. I am not all that imaginative. It was your brother who requested me to come over here and he did all the arrangements. 

The halo over BH started wearing off.  I stole a look into my brother’s room. He was listening some music on the computer. I saw a halo over him now. He turned back, smiled and said. ‘Go sleep. You have office tomorrow’

I had hopeless confused expression on my face. (with Yash Chopras vocalists singing "aa-aa-aa" and musicians doing the background scores) I felt so guilty for not even thinking my brother as a candidate who could give me a surprise. I was anyway glad that BH had obliged to my brother’s request.

There are no words that would be worthy to sufficiently glorify you my dear brother. My Cute Handsome Devil.

With a pseudo frown expression on my face, I asked BH 'Did you bother to get me a  present atleast? (Shameless? Am I not?)

He said, I always practice and preach,
Don’t think about Past, you cant change it.
Don’t think about Future, you cant predict it.
Don’t think about Present, you will not get it.
*Wink from BH*

** BANG** the door closes!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Who does the baby look like?

‘Your baby has not got a thing from you! She looks completely like her father’

This was the remark made by a person who had come to see Bunni during early days of my post pregnancy. I was very happy with the second statement. (I still am) But, if someone is going to tell me that my baby who shared my flesh, who got all the nutrients required for the development of EVERY cell in her body, has not got ANYTHING at all from me. I am not taking it. 

Come on, it is easy for someone to say that I should ignore such statements. After carrying the baby for 9 whole months, after going through hours of painful labour, if one has to take such a statement, it is disgusting. I am not a saadhvi to overcome the emotional attachment or to abandon the worldly ties.

First of all, I do not understand why people make insensitive proclamations on a sensitive issue? If the mother is going through post pregnancy depression (courtesy: hormones) then the effects can be horrifying. I cannot even draw comparison to the hurt or the annoyance the mother experiences.

Second statement was not a problem at all. I had guessed that people would say that the child looks like his/her father. Because I had read a report that said 95% of the time, if asked, people will say ‘The baby looks like his/her father’. That is because everyone knows that the mother has popped out the baby, so to secure the father in the family. This is a social thing. This may be true, may not be; But the veracity of this case maybe quite unlike. But, I was prepared for that.  More over, I wanted my baby to look like BH.

On the closing note, instead of making such stupid idiotic statements, people can just SHUT UP! We will at least be happy that they came to see the baby.

I always believe 
“If I can’t make someone happy, I will at least not make them sad.”

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Acronyms and Definitions

BH: Better Half. Butter Half. Bitter Half.

BUNNI: Manufactured Daughter.

APPA: Role-Model Father.

AMMA: Near and Dear Mother.

CHD: Partner in Crime. Brother.


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