Silence 

We sat in silence for the longest time. The comfortable kind, where nothing needs to be said. Words, in that realm of love and understanding often fall short in their service. And nothing had to be said really. It was a moment that an artist couldn’t capture, a musician couldn’t sing about yet here I am trying to immortalise it. To everyone else we were two people sitting there but I was so much more than that. Something only we knew about. Or probably just me, I question my judgement of the world sometimes. I give the world way too much credit than it deserves. The people mostly. I don’t know why.
“What do you want?” She asked, breaking my chain of thoughts.

“Me? I want what anyone wants.”

“And what’s that?”

“I want to wake up next to the love of my life every single day. Nothing else will do.”

“And who is she?”
I smiled, she smiled with me. To the world we were just two people sitting there but it was so much more than that. Something only we knew about. The silence returned surrounding us like a warm blanket. Nothing needed to be said. Words, often fall short in their service.

Trust

My heart is pounding in my chest so hard that it physically moves me. It makes me oscillate with every beat. I feel it banging. It doesn’t want to be here. I’m far away from home, questioning my life choices and wondering how I got here. There are no answers. It’s a mix between something I have to do and something I decided to do long ago and I continue to do so. Logic and reasoning don’t work here. They don’t apply right now when I’m in a state of pumped up emotions. I can’t control them and try as I may, I cannot commandeer them. I sit on this hotel bed looking out the window knowing that any second the phone will ring and I’ll be put in a cab and driven to the ship. I don’t know how I got here. I’ve been numb since I left home. Reluctant feet have walked and walked and have taken me further and further away from my own little world.Nothing appeals right now, nothing can change how I feel but my own reluctant acceptance of my new surroundings. For the first time in months I find myself alone and the silence that I craved back home now haunts me. It’s all I can hear and i cannot unhear now. It acts like a constant reminder of where I am and what I’ve done.

It is a long road ahead before I can even think about returning back to my old life. Yes, the heavens and all the signs from the universe have been helping me so far. I feel there is something or someone out there who is watching my back while I deal with what’s ahead of me. The same driving force that stood with me while I ran my first 5k, the very same that made me win the football tournament. I feel it around me. I’ve been feeling it for a while now. Like I’m being pushed in a direction and something out there wants good things for me. Trusting that same force, I have brought myself to the other end of the world. While my emotions destroy every dam I build, the force behind me continues to make its presence felt. I feel it.

I feel a change coming. Of course in obvious terms there is a change coming but I am talking about a change in me. A different way of looking at things. For now all I can do is trust the process and put one foot in front of the other and see what happens. Trust is all I have right now and that’s what is keeping me going. My heart still beats loudly, yearning for that friendly face.

Any ideas?

I see broken hearts all around me. I see wounded souls breathing, but barely living. I see conscience numbed with pain. I see the fear of falling in love and being vulnerable again. I see the skepticism. I see everything.

I’ve had tons of examples of such stories and instances with people around me. I too was once a part of this conglomerate. I sense an inertia, an unwillingness to reach out and stand out in the sun again. I see it everywhere. I feel it all round me.

These are wounds inflicted by people themselves to each other. And the brave wounded souls who do manage to get past the tunnel of darkness, emerge only a shrivelled version of themselves. Living in the safe comfort of isolation. Living untouched and under the shade.

But are you really living? Are you really happy? Yes, you’ve managed to find a shortcut to short term happiness through social media and like minded friends who stick around for now. But confusing this with something real is a mistake. It is an artificial hit of dopamine and it quickly turns into an addiction. Yes, being hurt sucks and it is a risk you take every time you make yourself willingly vulnerable. I have been at the receiving end of this so i know that very well. But, it is only when you rehabilitate yourself and build yourself again that you feel indestructible against the forces and the people of the world. If you decide to remain broken and refrain from any form of intimacy then you will forever be broken.

It is sad really. All i can do is hear them out and offer my support. I do understand how they feel and why they do what they do. I cannot rush them or force them to change their ways and snap out of this fear of relationships. I cannot even get through to them. It isnt in my nature to leave something unfixed and unattended but this time i dont really know how to go about fixing this mass epidemic that has seemed to infected everyone. I am sure that something needs to be done because this is far from ideal but i am not sure what exactly it is and how to go about it.

And ideas?

The Indian Woman

Some would argue that women today have reached a point where they enjoy the same freedom their male counterparts have. And they would be right in saying so as the evidence is right in front of them. Compare the lives of women now and a hundred years ago and the difference is obvious. In fact we dont even have to go back a hundred years to make a comparison. Talk about the last 20-30 years and there has been a paradigm shift. Women have made some incredible leaps and bounds and they alone should receive all the credit. But that’s not really what i want to talk about here today. Surely women have accomplished a lot by themselves and their talents; we as a society have almost always been a hurdle in their path. Every success story has met with resistance at some point or the other.

The image that people have of an indian woman is that of a simple person who “enjoys” domesticated living. The roles aren’t specified here really but she is expected to pick up the slack domestically where men have the freedom to do whatever. And the sad truth is that if there is any deviation on her part from this expectation, society is quick to stamp a stigma on her. That she is somehow at fault for not willing to be confined and perhaps her parents must not have raised her well. While she may be “allowed” in some cases to pursue her dreams and get the level of education she wants; deep down it is seen as a boost to her profile for marriage suitability. It is not met with the same seriousness as a man’s ambition to succeed at work. It is often seen as something she does, but eventually gives up post marriage. because thats where her focus should be. Having babies, raising a family, doing everything alone and never raising any questions.

What troubles me most is that women themselves forget to fight for their own daughters. It is quite the opposite. After having lived a life of oppression in the past, they force the same life right back on their children. Women themselves want their own flesh and blood to give up on their dreams and bend to the patriachal ways of the society. Just to avoid jabs from onlookers and worrying about what people might say, they join the ranks on the opposite side and add to an already tough life. People who have no business interfering with her life and who have no direct consequence to her. Forget family members and relatives, even the people you live around start talking about this person if she refuses to get married by a “respectable age”.

Our mindset and the mindset of our judicial system and law enforcement is outdated to say the least. There was a case in New Delhi a few years ago where a young girl was physically abused inside a moving bus for hours. This caused a large scale rebellion and everyone was outraged. However, we had government officials, holding important posts saying,”It was her fault because she was out late at night. She had no business being there. Women, in doing so, invite rape upon themselves.” And this isnt the first case. And that’s the problem. If we refuse to acknowledge a problem, if we refuse to see that no one invites rape upon themselves then what the hell are we doing? Safety of women isnt really a problem for them because they believe that a woman should be inside her house before sunset. We live in a country where women have to fight to be heard. What troubled me the most is that when the accused was questioned, he was puzzled and he had no idea what he was being held for. In his opinion he had done nothing wrong and that’s where the problem lies.

When you view women as objects then the crimes committed against them become invisible. A young lady was very recently threatened with rape for speaking her mind on social media. It was all over the place. The police were handed the names and details of those threatening her but in the end nothing was done. Eventually she had to withdraw her protest and disappear. Another victory for the patriarch, another crushing defeat for women everywhere.

And the trouble begins at home. Right there. It is right there where these values are neglected and children aren’t taught respect and sensitivity right from an early age. It becomes a problem when women themselves force their own daughters to wilt away under pressure from society and accept their outdated ideas. It becomes a problem when you see don’t take their ambition seriously. It becomes a problem when you see the modern indian woman with the same eyes as she’s always been seen. It becomes a problem when you refuse to grow up and move with the times. It becomes a problem when you sit back and enjoy your freedom and do nothing while women worry about their safety every single day.

The indian woman has a lot of pressure riding on her shoulders and it is considered her job description to appease everyone. Her husband, her kids, her in-laws, her neighbours, her relatives and it appears no matter how much she tries, there is just no one on her corner. The world stands against her with judging eyes, careful scrutiny and a moral whip. Yes, times have changes and the things i have written here dont apply to everyone but this is the large scale demographic.

When you acknowledge a problem, when you start realising that basic human rights are being denied, only then will something be done about it. Turning a blind eye to issues such as these is root cause for their sustained survival. Educate your children to treat women with respect and then when you are done with that, take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror and change the way you see women. It is time to change your perception and it is time to defend your daughters against these parasites who contribute nothing but devour every single ounce of human spirit. Bring about a change, and start with your own household. Start with yourself.

Indian parents.

it is known world over that indian parents have a tendency of being overly involved in the lives of their children. while some would argue that it is good thing because there is a constant support system available all the time, others would say that being too protective often interferes with their freedom. It is hard to say which is right and which is wrong. In the end i suppose everything they do is out of love. Who wouldn’t want to see their children succeed and prosper in front of their very eyes? It brings about a sense of pride and accomplishment for them as well. On the other hand though, it may not come across as the same way.

Right from the start, there is an extreme parental pressure for doing well at school. Trouble here is that parents just want their kids to learn what is taught in school and very little emphasis is laid on other activities like say learning a new language or taking up a sport seriously. While they may act supportive and play along to let you indulge in their whims and fancies, deep down they see all of this as time wasted because it doesn’t feature in as a career option for them. Thats the thing again, everything is about planning your future and preparing for it. Any deviation from that is a waste of time. There is limited freedom provided for a child to develop his/her skills outside the realm of textbooks. And parents will go to any lengths to have their children do well at a school. Even if it means burdening them with additional coaching classes after school that pretty much leaves no time for anything else.

Talks about career and future feature early but they pick up traction right around the time you reach the 10th grade. Parents push for a stable safe career option which involves engineering or being a doctor or something. With a total disregard for the child’s aptitude and interest in those subjects. and the children, who have never had the chance to make a call about their lives till now, just blindly accept what they say, assuming they know whats best for them, which isnt always the case. I have known instances where parents have stopped talking to their children and disowned them for choosing subjects they didn’t approve of beforehand. This in my opinion is being a bully. They withdraw support and unload a constant barrage of taunts and demeaning jabs. There is no self confidence left in the end but parents dont see that. They only see mistakes and provide criticism without taking a second to analyse and provide encouragement.

Stepping into college is another major hurdle. While earlier they dictated the choice of subjects, this time they insist of choosing your college for you too. And again, you run the risk of facing their wrath if you dont make it to their choice of college or if you decide to join a different college instead. Kids at this age enter a rebellious phase and may take a wrong decision based on pure rebellion. Since making a choice for themselves was never really an option; when it does become an option, the choices made post that become reckless. Indulging in drugs, hanging out in the wrong crowds etc are acts of rebellion in most cases and those smart enough soon withdraw from these but there are many who continue.

The next step is marriage. It is much more difficult for an indian woman in this case. Right after entering your early twenties, the topic of marriage suddenly pops up out of nowhere. Parents add enormous pressure and they are backed with relatives who had no role in your life till now but will show up giving unsolicited advice. Not only do they want you to get married early, they want you to get married to someone they approve. Some one they pick. And their checklist and yours for a suitable partner may differ drastically. While parents focus on religion, parental backgrounds, income, looks, caste etc, you would rather focus on compatibility, intelligence and well, looks too i suppose. And you cannot talk them out of it. You cannot even try to explain your side of the story. You cannot get through to them that maybe your point of view should also feature in this process. Again here, i have known cases where parents disowned their children for marrying someone they didn’t approve because of some bullshit reason. In many cases in north india parents have gone ahead and executed their own children and their partners just because they went ahead and did something that was against their wishes. these are of course drastic and lunatic cases but i have known cases where parents have stopped talking to their own children because of this. I honestly fail to understand this. The modern age refuses to even consider someone else’s religion before falling in love with them but apparently that is a deal breaker in itself for parents. Right off the bat, even before meeting someone they out right reject the idea of marrying someone of a different religion. How important is religion really? And what if you’re the kind of a person who is born into a religion but dont give a damn about it? Should it still factor in? Or is it something stupid like rejecting someone based on the colour of their eyes; because in both cases, you’re born with it. Then why? Parents seem to have it all figured out but if you really dissect what they say, you’ll find that there is no sense or meaning behind it. It is true for them because that’s what they were taught before and thats what they are teaching you now. Divorce rates and unhappy relationships are off the charts. And women are pressured into continuing in an unhappy and unfulfilling marriage out of more parental pressure. We live in a very chauvinistic society and a woman is expected to endure everything and not complain. Her own parents turn against her which is the saddest thing i have seen.

It doesn’t end there too. While parents tend to relax and back down after you get married, shortly after that they want you to have children right away. Because it is the right thing to do apparently. Because thats what they were taught so that must be right. And with no logical reasoning they yet again turn up the heat to force their agenda. So now you’re in a loveless marriage which you didn’t want and there’s a kid who will grow up neglected because you didn’t want that either. Days go by, months turn into years; nothing changes.

But all of this happened because you listened to them and gave in. You were the one who decide to sacrifice your own freedom just to make them happy. Their happiness lies in you making choices in your life that they think are correct according to them, based on what they think is right and that may not necessarily be right for you. But they dont care do they? You risk being bombarded constantly with criticism from them and your relatives. All for nothing.

I am sure no parent wants to bully their children but thats pretty much what goes on in most cases. If you chose and unorthodox career, they aren’t happy and want you to switch. If you spend time learning new skills or indulging in something you like to do, they think its a waste of time. if you love someone they dont approve, its wrong and you’re naive. If you dont have kids right away after marriage, you’re making a mistake. It just seems like there is no pleasing them no matter what you do. And if you do follow their lead then you end up somewhere barely recognisable, next to someone you may not love or have anything in common with, living a life you dont want, unhappy and lost.

You can either choose this life or design one for yourself. And if in doing so you piss off some people who dont understand you then why not? Why the hell not? Living in fear gets you no where. Saying yes under parental pressure, gets you no where. Being a coward gets you no where. Believe in yourself and the choices you make. Do what you want to do, not what someone else wants you to do instead. Marry or date someone you want to and if your parents dont approve then it is their problem. They are the ones who will have to deal with it, not you.

you can do anything you set your mind to…

Movie review : Hidden Figures

I think we take our freedom for granted these days. We only hear about the hard times that existed earlier. We hear about the struggle, the uprising, the revolutions and we enjoy the benefits of the change brought by them. But we today cannot possibly imagine what life was like only a few decades ago. I’m of course talking about a time when racial profiling was backed by law and only the privileged had the right to the best facilities. And i being “privileged” i mean being a white man. Any other combination would bring the house down for you. In times like these three African-American women stood in the face of adversity and proved that the colour of their skin doesn’t not overshadow their brilliance.

The movie focuses on the hardships faced at work where even getting a cup of coffee or going to the bathroom can be a challenge. They highlight how difficult it was for women to get quality education, respect at work, equal pay and how things become just a little worse if the woman in question is an African-American.

Women everywhere must never forget how difficult times have been in the recent past and must not ever forget those who fought the system and brought about a change. There still are places on earth where women don’t get to enjoy the same benefits as their counterparts in neighbouring countries. While things have largely changed, there is still room for improvement.

An inspiring movie based on true events. Hidden Figures inspires you to believe in yourself and not accept things “the way they are”. A must watch for everyone.

OUT

Everyone’s an activist,
A narcissistic pessimist,
A godforsaken anarchist,
His own protagonist,
Slimy little opportunist.

Writing up those blacklists,
Is on everyone’s checklist,
No intention to co-exist,
These anti-social colonists.
Acting like columnists.

World is full of confrontationists,
Anti-constitutionalists,
Sad and lonely escapists,
Racists and rapists,
Fake facaded feminists.

Where are all the humanists?
Hyper modern ideologists?
Out with all the materialists,
The melodramatists,
The outdated moralists.