Not So Long ago, in an Antland Not So Far Away

Disclaimer:

A) A looooong post!

B) ***Purely my thoughts, my views on the topic(s) covered. Please don’t look for any hidden implication or outrage to feel outraged about**

A carnival was under way in the Antland. There were ants from all corners, some from Ms Deeps’ sink, some from Ms Smita’s shelf, some from Mr Hitchy’s tree, some from Ms Pixie’s land even, all the way from the US of A, gathered to celebrate.

What were they celebrating?

Well, they were generally celebrating life. Their life. Their freedom to live. Howsoever short that might be. It’s not as if they had found some elixir of life on one of their sojourns to Ms D’s house recently. Well they did manage to drag in back a few flakes of the carrot halwa that she had made and some crumbs of the choco-chip cookies from the box that her daughter Ms N had left open for them.

They did have plans to extend their holiday there just so they could thank Ms N when she would come looking for the cookie jar though, you know. But that could wait as they realized it was not so safe to go back to the region where Ms D was now planning a terrorizing attack on them.

Moreover they were sick and tired of being vulnerable to getting stamped and crushed by the human feet! They deserved to enjoy some time off the worry.

So there they were, some singing along to Let it Go in the karaoke station, some playing Ring a Ring o’ Roses in the field nearby, some even sipping a cuppa and having a good chat around the tree-cafe.

That’s when the sneaky Ms.D overheard this conversation

Ant A (raising her elephant-mug): So guys, aren’t we all happy that we are alive today! Cheers to us!

The ants gathered around the cafe, raising their mugs, squeaked out a thankful “Aye Aye” in unison.

Ant B: BTW, did you hear about Ant X? She got to taste some beef when she went clubbing in Mr. Rocky’s bar, the other day. Not to mention the wine that she got to taste too. Some guts I must say.

The ants all exclaim a WOW!

Ant K: Her religion doesn’t allow her to try any of that,right?

Ant B: Yeah! Yet she went ahead and tasted it anyway. Isn’t that great! What was even more amazing? That the priest of the ant-shrine that she visited to confess was so cool about it. Mr Ant-priest didnt care two hoots in fact! As per him, neither did our God.

Ant K: The priest is so right. Why would our God object? And why should we as fellow ants? X did what she desired to do, took that liberty, followed her heart. That’t it. That’s what we all should, right? Use our freedom as long as we don’t harm our fellow beings, violently or otherwise.

Ant A: That’s so true! Life is short, in our case its minuscule, so we need to make the most of it by living freely. How difficult is it to understand that? Oh I am so proud of Ant X. Of our entire clan!

And L: Absolutely! I think the humans can learn a thing or two from us. A similar incident like this happened in their world and it turned so awfully ugly, from what I read in one of the newspaper-tracks I went jogging on. And now there’s a famous actor who’s raking up a lot of flak from his own fellows, for speaking his mind, for expressing his views, personal views mind you and there’s a whole lot of idiots hounding him for that. 

Ant A: These humans I tell you! They talk about being tolerant and all. They can’t even tolerate us being around, or even those cockroaches for that matter. We don’t even harm them, do we? Ok ok, we do creep up on them, and try to nibble at them but we just do it for fun, for ant-sakes! We can be friendly too you see! And how do they react? As if we are Dracula-reincarnated! 🙄

Ant K: I know! The just don’t get us. Oh and have you seen some of those girls screaming their lungs out when they spot a lizard? Gosh height of over-reaction! They say they are scared of the lizard, but do they really know how much more frightening their own shrieks are? The poor lizard ends up getting scared and runs for its life! I have invited some lizards and cockroaches and their families too to join us in the fun. C’mon, they deserve a chance to let their hair and tails down too, you see.

Ant B: Of course they do! I’m glad you invited them, K. These humans, they fail me! Going by the way they go up in arms against their own lot for expressing their views or exercising their basic right to expression, wonder what they would do and where they would hide if and when we were to become intolerant and bloat up to attack them for invading into our right to existence!

Ant J: Hey hey,hold your horses, B. Did you know that Ms Deeps was in serious consultation with Ms Smita on how to drive us away! What nerve I tell ya! I even heard Ms S suggesting some flour as a remedy! And as if it wasn’t enough, Ms D was seen zooming off to the nearest store to get a poisonous ant-killer to spray at us. She couldn’t afford to leave any ant-corner unturned it seems. So while it’s laugh-worthy, their intention to wipe us off the face of this earth, let’s not get carried away. Let’s not behave like them. They know in their heart of hearts that we are just as significant to this world as them. So let us celebrate while we can for the life we have.

On that note they all got up to shake a leg or two on the dance floor near the lake.

As for sneaky Ms D. She was seen walking back  home meekly, feeling a little ashamed of herself for wishing those ants’ end.

She switches on the comp to log in to her space, and right there she spots him jaunting through her keyboard as though he was in Switzerland….

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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!

 

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..

Does marriage change a person?

**For the long rant, blame me not, but PNA :D. Her post prompted me to write it 😀**

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Let me rephrase it and ask that question to myself. Has marriage changed me? Well, I’d say it will depend on the way I look at change. If it means change in the way I smile then I’d say no, marriage hasn’t changed me. I still smile the same. If it is change in the way I walk, then no again. I still walk the same- very fast! If it means change in my choice of clothes, then no. I like to wear my saris and suits just as much as I love to wear my jeans and tees. And I still wear them, albeit the size has changed though :D.

Thats the kind of change the society normally expects a girl to undergo as soon as she attains the ‘married’ tag, right? She is told, ‘Ok, now that you’re married, this is how you should smile, this is how you should eat, this is how you should sit, this is how you should talk to your husband, this is what you should be wearing,” ” What? Jeans? Nooooo, you should only wear sarees” so on and so forth. She has to endure piercing glares from them if she is heard addressing her own husband by his name and not ‘ettan/chettan** or A-ji, O-ji Sunoji. She is expected to change her approach towards her parents and give more importance to her in-laws. She is even asked to seek permission from them if she wishes to see her parents. Oh yes, I’ve come across households where such norms are practiced.

This is what bothers me. How can the society judge how a marriage should or should not work. Its for the people involved in the relationship to decide isnt it? If I choose to address my husband by his name, does it make me respect him any less? If I spend time with my parents just as much as I do with my inlaws, does it mean that I’m dishonoring my marriage? Or if I choose to put sindoor in my forehead can I claim that I wish for my husband’s well-being more than any other woman wishes for her husband? No. It will be so wrong on my part to even compare my love and respect for my spouse with anybody else. Its a matter of choice and understanding between the people involved. If my family and R’s family know what they mean to us and if R & I know and accept what we mean to our respective families, then I dont think any society can or should tell us how we should make our marriage work.

If thats what changing is then I can safely say I’ve NOT changed one bit. I’m fortunate and blessed to have grown up in a family which hardly paid any attention to these ridiculous societal norms as well as married into a family that didnt care for such norms either.

So when I was married some 10 years back I was accepted along with my giggly smile, my loud laugh, my brisk-walking style and much more. Not once was I made to feel as though I had to change myself. In fact R & my parents-in-law went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and welcome from day one.

My mother-in-law, who hated cooking, used to make my favorite dishes and wait for me to get back from work so she could surprise me! Imagine coming home after a hard day’s work, to the delicious sight of your favorite mutton-curry! When it was the season of mangoes, my father-in-law, who couldn’t stand the sight of the fruit, would go about in search of the ripest mangoes so I could gorge on them.

When my mother-in-law, an ardent follower of Mata Amritanandamayi, expressed a desire to take me to her ashram in Vallikavu, I agreed to go, despite having my own reservations about ‘Amma’ because I felt for someone who cared so much about my happiness, my likes and dislikes, this was the least I could do to make her happy. No I was not forced to change my beliefs, I still maintained my reservations. I went there out of my own will, purely because, to me my mother-in-law’s happiness mattered more than my staunch beliefs. A mother-in-law who cared about my happiness just as much. Believe me, when she was showing me around the ashram, introducing me to her friends there, the glee and excitement that I saw in her eyes is indescribable.

If this is what change is then I’ve no qualms in saying that marriage has changed me. I have become more understanding towards relationships, more tolerant, more patient, more giving. And I can confidently say the same for my husband too. If I, who was a shy meek girl, am molded and pushed by my husband, into becoming this strong bold woman who is much surer of herself and if my husband who was a blunt and rough person, is molded into becoming a more sensitive and thoughtful person, then I’d say this change is totally worth it. If marriage changes you in a positive way, if a husband and wife help each other to grow as a person, then the change should be welcome.Of course it has to be two-ways. You cant expect only one person to change. The other person has to put in just as much effort and care to nurture the relationship.

So if I ask myself again, ‘has marriage changed me as a person’ I’d say it sure has. For the better 🙂

** In many parts of Kerala, malayali wives address their husbands as Ettan/Chettan as a mark of respect, which in literal sense means big brother