Dear Women,

How are we today? Pretty upbeat and gung-ho, I’m sure.

Why, you ask? Well, the whole world is celebrating us. It’s OUR day afterall! So we’d better be happy. We don’t get to enjoy this status all that often, do we? C’mon. we can’t even boast of claiming a place on this earth because according to some ‘learned, highly qualified’ dolts men, we don’t even deserve to exist.

But who cares what they say!  At least not today. For today is one day when we can proudly claim our place and position, right?

A day when we are put on a pedestal, given all possible respect that we deserve even otherwise.

A day we cannot be running the risk of getting raped or ‘being taught a lesson’, right?

A day when our girls will not be killed in our wombs.

A day when we will not be commanded to stay at home and make rotis IF we don’t wish to

A day that comes once every year, ladies! So we better make the most of it.

Lets go out there wearing the clothes we want to with no fear of getting molested because we “asked for it”.

Let us perch ourselves cross-legged on our chairs or bed, on the floor or even on the road without the risk of getting picked on for being “unladylike” and scream our lungs out to the world in sheer liberation with our favourite songs on our lips, while demanding every onlooker to meet us in the eye and not gape at our breasts or try to peep in between our legs.

Let us tell the world that we don’t wish to be put on a pedestal on ‘a particular’ day, worshipped as a goddess on ‘a particular occasion’, rather we command the respect and appreciation to be treated as an equal, as human.

Let us the hit the streets without caring about the darkness of the night, for today we can be sure nobody, absolutely nobody, will point fingers at us for venturing out at  “an unsafe hour”, right? So what if we are in our own country, our own city, our town, our own locality, our own neighbourhood where we are meant to feel the safest? Rest of the day we cannot possibly hope to venture out after dark because that’s not the sign of a ‘good girl’. But today, we can, you see! Because it is our day. We will be ‘forgiven’ for our conduct.

Let us boldly go out there, cut our hair short, wear jeans, play gilli-danda, climb trees, play cricket, hang around with boys and still manage to keep the ‘tom-boy’ tag at bay and still be every bit a girl/woman with the heart of a human.

For today is the day when we are let be, right? And rest of the days? Well, let’s come back here same time next year and take stock of our position, what say?

Happy Women’s Day!

 

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A show that had me wanting something more out of it- Satyamev Jayate

Now I have been a huge huge advocate for this show. It has been a show which has had its heart in the right place from the word go. I remembering feeling immensely hopeful and positive after watching its very first episode in the previous season and then the subsequent ones.

As for Aamir Khan, the man behind this show, he is someone who has earned my respect for the sheer way he has chosen to use his celebrityhood in the right manner. For someone who has made a brand so bankable out of his own name by the movies he has done, he could have gone about using his stardom to endorse a cola here, a satellite TV network there, perform at a wedding here or do an item number there. But he has chosen to use his name, his star-power to set an example of a different kind, a more inspiring kind, IMO.

By touching upon some of the most pressing issues plaguing our country today, through his programme, Aamir has done his bit of shaking, if not all, but a lot of us from deep within our conscience and make us come face to face with our society’s crippling mindsets.

And for that alone, he deserves a pat in the back!

So, to come back to the show, when the promos of the second season started to show up on channels it was obvious that I was looking forward to it with some fair bit of expectations.

It ran its first episode yesterday. Oh no, I wont say that I was disappointed. But I certainly wished by the end of it that it had something more to offer. Unfortunately I could not catch the whole show. But I did watch it enough to make me wonder if focusing on so many rapes and retelling the horror stories was all that necessary, if by the end of it there was hardly any solution given.

Dont get me wrong. Yes we are well aware that women are not safe in our country. We have umpteen incidents to back that up. And I am glad that more and more survivors are coming out in the open to talk about the brutalities they had to endure. In fact I am all for bringing all those stories out in the open and making everyone of us aware.

But the show that I saw yesterday mostly seemed to focus more on feeling sorry for the rape victims and on wondering further as to why such incidents were on the rise, than finding answers to those questions. The show had me feeling sorry for the girls who had been mercilessly raped and left to die for, sorry for the families who had been tortured by the police time and again because they went to complain against their daughters’ rapists, sorry for the girls and their families who were harassed by some doctors who insisted on conducting some sickeningly intrusive tests repeatedly.

I wish that the show had also focused as much, if not more, on how to make the country safer for women instead of just drawing out statistics about the alarming number of rape cases registered, and some 89000+ cases still pending with the police. I wish they had, for instance, suggested about including a basic self-defence class in schools and colleges, or maybe introduced a martial-arts institute in their show, like how they introduce other charitable organizations, so that parents could be driven to send their daughters for a self-defence class. Or they could have provided a helpline number which anyone could access to when in trouble. I’m being pretty vague in my suggestions I know. But this is just to give an idea about what I was hoping to see come out of the show.

I wish, instead of zooming in on the rape victims’ families and their traumas (not to mention the teary eyed faces of the audience each time a terrible incident was being told), they had tried to capture shots of those culprits too who were responsible for those traumas. And by culprits I dont just mean the rapists. I mean each and every policeman, each and every doctor, each and every lawyer who went all out tormenting the girls and their families.

Let us not be vague in pin pointing blames on some random nameless doctor who insisted on the intrusive test or an unknown lawyer who had the most uncomfortably personal questions to ask the girl while ‘claiming for justice’ in the court or some faceless policeman who refused to attend to a complaint. If the show aims to make a difference, I’d urge them to bring that doctor out in the open, so he can be barred from practicing further, I’d urge them to divulge the name of that policeman who refused to lodge an FIR in the first place, so he can be stripped off his uniform. Bring that lawyer to the fore and disbar him.

Frankly I am tired of hearing about the sufferings of the victims and feeling hopeless and helpless. For once I insist on the focus getting shifted to the criminals, shaming them publicly and tormenting them in the most deserved manner.

Anyway I hope the forthcoming episodes will have something more conclusive to feel hopeful about.

I am an idiot to have hoped for a safer tomorrow…

I have given up. I do not have any hope  to see a safer world around. Not even a sliver of hope left now for the humankind. I am an idiot to have believed that the promises made to respect and be more sensitive towards women and children were genuine. They were all false promises, we didnt mean a thing we promised.

I feel duped by those petitions I signed to bring about more stringent law and order, to bring about fairer and faster justice. I realize now that those petitions were nothing but an eyewash. Our governing authorities never had any intention to acknowledge our petitions or pleas in the first place, much less read them!

I feel guilty when I watch my 6 year old excitedly run around with her friends, roam around the locality with her trust in people, in the world around her intact..I feel guilty because that is when I realize there is a 5 year old girl, some miles away, battling for her life with her trust in the whole mankind completely shaken and battered. And right then I feel blessed to have my child cocooned well in my care right beside me, away from such brutal surrounding. Gosh, what a terrible feeling, so mixed with blessing and guilt!

We are living in a sick, pathetic world that is beyond repair. Where are we headed? Arent we abusing our own conscience by resorting to such uncouth, immoral methods. I say ‘we’ because the man who tortured the little girl, has the same standing in my eyes as the man-in-uniform who offered to bribe the girl’s father to hush up case, as the man who slapped one of the protesters. And they all live in the same society, as one amongst us.

And we…we remain where we are, mum as spectators letting those savages breed in our community, letting them invade our girls, our children. So we arent any different, are we? We are just as devoid of our conscience as those barbarians.

Frankly I have stopped watching news for any update on the little girl. I hope and pray she recovers soon- her body, mind and soul. And she never ever has to go through what she has again. Hope no girl does.

However I would really really want the media and the ‘leaders running our country’ to shift the focus on the abuser(s) and give us a close up shot of the person(s). I want to see all those perpetrator’s faces on the screen and feel the rage boil inside me even stronger.

I dont know if the law permits to show the criminal’s face out in the open for everyone to see. Frankly I dont care if it permits or not. What I do care about is the look of fear of punishment- death or castration- on his face. That is the look I care to see.

Is it possible for the media or the authorities to pull that cover off his face and show him to us?

I didnt think so..

I have never felt so dejected..

One month on…

..since the gruesome incident in Delhi that shook us all from within, has anything changed?

Well, going by the stats, nothing much..

Every day there are more and more such incidents of brutality being reported causing us all grave concerns and making us wonder if ever there will be a time when our women would feel safer and freer in this world.

We are still as angry, as seething, as outraged as ever.

There still are morons amongst us who shamelessly showcase their narrow mindsets by uttering innuendos like, ‘she asked for it’, or ‘she should not have ventured out so late in the night’, or ‘rapes are on the rise because men and women are interacting with each other more frequently’ or ‘girls should stop wearing jeans, skirts or anything that is remotely western’, ‘girls must wear over-coats in order to avoid getting raped’!!!

What blows me off further and makes me cringe with disgust is when I hear people say that the 23 year old girl should have given up fighting while the rapists were ripping her apart since they were far stronger than her. “She should have just laid there and enjoyed the ride” was what an acquaintance had to say while we had a discussion on the incident. How pathetically sickening is that mindset!

Its a shame that even in today’s day and age we get to hear of our ministers blaming the ‘adverse positions of the stars’ for the crimes against women! Or those spiritual-gurus who believe that women could ‘save’ themselves if they addressed the rapists as ‘bhaiyya’ and plead for mercy..or those illusional sadhus who impart the message that chanting a few mantras would keep the rapists and the probable danger of getting raped at bay!

Here when the need of the hour is to impart the right kind of education to our children and creating more awareness in them about safety and self-defense, we are being urged to let our beliefs be governed by such regressive ideas like chanting mantras and getting our stars re-positioned et al? Are we in the 21st century still?

We still seem to be as helpless as ever.

The protests to bring about more stringent laws, the cries to treat our women with more respect and be more sensitive..havent any of this moved us in any which way to enable us to change the way we think or behave?

Well, I do see a small gleam of hope..

For one, the very fact that we are still talking about it, writing about it is a sign of change. It still is a major major talking point in my house, among our friends and family. So much so that I was surprised to see one of my friends’ 12 year old taking part in the conversation and putting her thoughts across. To my eyes, it was a good sign that our youngsters were as affected, aware and concerned too.

More and more of us are awakening to the fact that we cannot let the pressing issues of safety of women be swept under the carpet anymore. We are taking our right to question the authorities and demand answers from them more seriously which is evident in the way committees are being set up by the government to expedite the case, more policemen are being put on the roads.

More and more incidents are being reported which again a good sign because, while its extremely distressing that these incidents are still rampant, what is also noteworthy is that THESE ARE BEING REPORTED.

Yes, we need to move on, as I keep hearing from people. Life is about moving on, yes..but it does not have to be about forgetting, does it? Let us not forget what the 23 year old brave girl went through on that fateful night. Let us not forget how brutal those 6 rapists were. Let us not, for a second, forget how terribly weak we as her fellow beings, were when we just stood there as meek spectators while she and her friend lay on the road naked, mercilessly battered and bruised. Let us not forget that the one desire she had all the while fighting to stay alive was to see her perpetrators being punished.

Let us not forget that we are now beyond that stage where we could be complacent enough to think ‘such things would never happen to us’.

So yes, let us move on.. but with a purpose. The purpose to keep talking about these issues. To stop being weak. To keep demanding accountability from (ir)responsible politicians and authorities. To keep talking to our kids. To keep listening to them, to keep hearing their concerns for we never what they may have to tell us. To start teaching our boys to respect our girls, to keep telling our girls to command that respect. To keep teaching them to say NO to bullying, eve-teasing or any form of abuse. To keep encouraging our girls to defend themselves, get them to learn some form of self-defense. To keep demanding for more stringent law-enforcements, to start promising ourselves that we will speak up, raise our voices and reach out to help, even if the person in trouble is someone we may/not know.

I realize that I am parroting what has already been said, what is already being said. But I still do, because the way I see it, the more you talk about it, the more it will stay in your memory, the more you feel agitated, driven to change your own mindset, compel other around you to change their own.