Friday, July 27, 2012

today, you are not here..



today,
you are not here.
so i will
kill time
with the cloves
... in the kitchen
drive out
the chameleons
in the garden.
flirt with the
neighbor
who has been
eyeing me coyly.

i will
send a perfumed letter
to the boy who sent me
that letter with his blood
last week.
ask him over maybe.

today, you are not here
only so i may realise
that when you are not here
it doesnt matter
whether
it is the chameleons in the garden
or the boy with the blood soaked letter.
if its not you,
its all the same.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Can't protect women? Dont tax them either - No Taxation Without Representation

"No Taxation Without Representation" - You may not remember this phrase unless you are a history buff.

It means, simply, that if we are not represented in power, then we will not pay taxes. Fair point. Lets turn that around a little for India.

Taxation is not the right of the State. It is payment for services rendered. These services include but are not limited to - security, infrastructure, public health et al. The assumption is that the "Fees for administration" that is paid by the public to the state is a tax.

So, when we have an administration that goes out to say that it cannot prevent:
I want to understand why a woman should pay taxes to an administration that cannot provide her a basic service like physical safety.

So, if you cant protect women, no problem. Just dont ask them to pay you big, fat taxes to do something you... profess you cant do.

If you want the taxation, women want the following representation:
1. In government - from Panchayat to Parliament.
2. In Execution - from IAS to IPS and everything in between.
3. In basic population - our gender ratios speak for themselves.
4. On the road - why are the roads out of bounds for half the population after "dark"?
5. In schools - What is the enrolment and dropout ratio for boys and girls?
6. In employment - What is the percentage of women in the organised workforce compared to the percentage of women in the population?

Give us representation, and we will pay taxes. Payment of taxes for non performance of basic administrative functions is not acceptable. End of story.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

to all those parents who oppose "wrong" "love marriages"

why are love marriages wrong? our children are choosing who they want to spend their lives with. why do we think that our decision will be better than theirs?

माँ बाप को अक्सर लगता है की बच्चे अपने फैसले लेने के काबिल नहीं हैं। उन्हें समझ नहीं है.

हमारे बच्चों का फैसला सिर्फ एक ही सूरत में गलत हो सकता है - अगर हमने उन्हें बचपन से सही शिक्षा नहीं दी है  तो . अगर हम ने उन्हें बचपन से सही गलत का भेद करना सिखाया है, दुनिया की अच्छाई  बुराइ  सिखाई है, तो हमारे बच्चे गलत फैसला नहीं लेंगे

जब हम ये कहते हैं की हमारे बच्चे सही फैसला नहीं ले सकते उनमें समझ नहीं है, तो दुसरे शब्दों में हम ये कह रहे हैं की हम अच्छे माँ बाप नहीं हैं। हमें अपने बच्चों को तालीम देना नहीं आता . हमने उन्हें सही वक़्त  पर सही चीज़ें नहीं सिखाई।

जिस का मतलब ये हुआ की हम माँ बाप होने के काबिल नहीं। तो अगर हम सही वक़्त पर बच्चों को सही तरीके से तैयार नहीं कर सके तो हम क्या कर सकते हैं?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

So, what is "good" news reporting?

Life 365 and The Better India are positive news papers. One loves that about them.

other "general" news papers/channels believe(rightfully) that nothing sells like gossip. and crime. and other negative stuff.

Then, there are the investigative journalists who risk their life (and sometimes lose it) , go out on a limb to track down and write stories of oppression, of discrimination, in the hope that someone will hear about it and do something.

At the same time, the near salacious spread of the egyptian protester who was stripped on the street, and the recent Guwahati case, makes me hang my head in shame. Do we need to see the video to understand what happened to this girl? do we need to go viral with it?

Because of social media, we are news generators as much as we are news consumers. The kind of news we choose to consume pays a lot of salaries in the media industry. The kind of news we choose to generate goes a step further - it defines the very nature of the society that we are creating around us. The Guwahati girl's humiliation was made even more public because we chose to spread that video. With the intention of shocking and spreading awareness and making people angry, of course. But the girl doesnt know that. All that she knows, is that someone taped that video, and thousands of people shared it. Would you have liked to be that girl?

So, both, as a news generator and a news consumer, what is "good" news reporting, according to you?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One Minute’s ‘Silence’ for Barun Biswas at rimibchatterjee.net

This post here... is one of those posts that makes one rub eyes in wonder.

Can someone really do this? change an entire set up just by talking?

and my favorite part from the blog post :

So let’s have a special kind of silence for Barun Biswas.

 For a designated period, which could be one minute or one lifetime, you choose, we will not say, ‘She asked for it’, or ‘What was she wearing?’ or ‘Men are pigs’, or ‘What can anyone do?’ or ‘You have brought shame on this house’, or ‘Be more careful next time’.

We will not say, ‘Men can’t understand/don’t care what a woman goes through’, or ‘That doesn’t happen in our neighbourhood’, or ‘You have to understand the frustration of today’s youth exposed to television’, or ‘Ban pornography’, or ‘Get them married off, it will solve everything’.

Because all this stuff is predator-talk. It’s the gabble of the prey lining up to be preyed on, and the snarling of the predators getting ready to feed. Let’s not be either. Let’s shame the criminals, not the victims, let’s say ‘Rapists are thieves of happiness and freedom’, or ‘We will not be cowed by violence’ or ‘We won’t forget you or betray you’. Let’s say, ‘I’m glad you survived’, or ‘Well done, you’re still here,’ or ‘Yes, we will help you file an FIR’, or ‘Yes, we will conduct a post-rape examination and bag the evidence correctly’.

Let’s tell the women, ‘Don’t cry, get angry, tell your stories, join together like you did when you picketed the police station and yelled slogans against the killer. Check on each other, stay in touch, keep tabs, be vigilant, don’t be afraid to call for help and report, report, report. If they get you, submit, go limp, scream but don’t plead for mercy. They feed on that shit.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

is it ok to "insult" your elders ?

Confession: At the ripe old age of 19, i stood up to my father and dared the patriarch to marry me off without my consent.
Over the years, yours truly has been guilty of multiple such "insults" to "elders". but ihm's blog, over a period of time, got me thinking.

Why do we ask our children to respect age for its own sake? other than staying alive, there is little a person has done to deserve respect because of sheer age.

When we stand up for a senior citizen, a lot of it is because they need the seat more - because of their age. But respect is not in the same category as helping someone because they are physically more in need of that seat.

And somewhere, i think, we need to teach our children the difference between "help" and "respect".

When we respect age, some assumptions are implicit:
a. The person has more experience than us and is therefore "wiser".
b. The  person has , over the years, acquired qualities that deserve to be learnt. Therefore, we respect the person for having those qualities.
c. The person has, over the years, loved us, or taken care of us in a way that we should be grateful for them.
d. The person has, at some time, helped people who are important to us, and therefore, they deserve our gratitude.

Now, think hard. Look at all the random people around you. Take away the age factor. How many people would u respect if they were 10? or 12? Everything else being exactly the same, how much would u respect them?

Why is it important to stop respecting age?

Because, this respect severely hampers progress forward. "it has always been this way" is a lame defence that has been used by age ad infinitum to stop any new action. But the world is changing - not by the day, but by the minute. We have never had it change so much so fast. Patterns are being broken everyday and the only defence of these patterns is "it has always been this way."
Not all patterns merit to be changed or broken. My problem is with the universal "it has always been this way" defence.

This is really hard for one to say as they approach the age where ahem.. age starts to be respected for its own sake, but here it is :
I think we should teach old age to respect youth as much as teach the youth to respect old age. Children and grandparents are natural allies for one reason - they understand each other . They have a lot to learn from each other

What do u think?

Sunday, July 08, 2012

positive images, anyone?

i know, this blog hasnt had an opinion for some time. but this is itching to get out. so bear with me here.

look around you. like, in a 360 degree angle. how many positive images do you see? how many negative ones? like skulls, jolly rogers, evil looking aliens et al? let me guess.. a lot more than you'd have seen even 10 years ago.

And thats the gripe. Why so much negativity in the images we put around us? Tattoos for instance - they are just images - they can be positive (smileys) and negative (jolly rogers). So why dont i see any tattoo studio advertising with smileys or positive images?

Why are childrens shows so gory? Why are children's play figurines so ferocious? Why do our TV channels not mind the most disgusting twists in the plot? Why is everything fair play for TRPs? Violence, gore, manipulation, anger?

I wish, really, that more companies would have old style packaging - like Yardley or M&S. I miss the roses on the packaging.. the soft hues and blushing colors..

*end of gripe*

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

थी एक रात की ये ज़िन्दगी गुज़ार चले...

why we will never be a superpower, no matter what..

let me share an experience here. i was at the passport office, with all the documents, trying to finish my work. this was my third day. i had been sent back twice for some document or another, but when i asked them for the list of documents needed for my application, they did not have that list. which means they were inventing documents on the go.
all of us there were facing the same issue. they did not have a displayed list of documents, were not accepting the list of documents given on the website. most of us were there for days on end.

on my second day there, a lady , who was being sent back yet again, asked the clerk why he wont accept annexure F on a printed letterhead. The clerk replied that they dont accept computer printouts of letter heads. The lady then asked the clerk to give her this objection in writing, and to write that her application is being sent back for this reason. The clerk refused to give anything in writing. She asked for the rulebook. She was told, to her face “we wil not write anything and we will not accept your papers. you can do whatever you want about it.” She created some noise and asked for the manager.

They refused to call the manager.
But this is the interesting part:
EVEN THOUGH EVERYONE IN THE ROOM WAS FACING THE EXACT SAME ISSUE AS THIS WOMAN, NOT ONE PERSON IN THE ROOM RAISED A VOICE TO SUPPORT HER.

ALL OF THESE PEOPLE WERE EDUCATED, REASONABLY WELL PLACED AND DEFINITELY KNEW THEIR RIGHTS ENOUGH TO SPEAK UP.

And that, imho, is why we will never be a superpower, no matter how much IT money we make. A country where the empowered refuse to take part in governance.. where they are more focused on buying their convenience than anything else.. a country like that, cannot be a superpower. or any power at all.

The reason we were able to wrest our independence from the British is that thousands of us were willing to give up property, court arrest, suffer financial hardships et al, for a principle.

Somehow, they took our spines away and left us a country of cripples.