Friday, August 23, 2013

The other side of the story you never wanted to hear

I'm sure by now most of us have read the CNN report titled India: The Story You Never Wanted to Hear. The report talks about the horrifying experiences of a young American woman who had come to India for three months as part of her South Asian Studies program at the University of Chicago. It goes on to describe in first person the extreme sexual harassment that she faced during that period which ultimately caused her to have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and has been granted a mental leave of absence from her University. It was after the diagnosis that she connected it all back to her experiences in India. But for her, it was not all bad, although every good memory was tainted by some horrible experience. She cites that she was 'stalked, groped and masturbated at', despite which she had adventures beyond her imagination.

Sexual harassment has somehow become synonymous with India and along with the diving rupee, India has become a place everyone wants to run away from. Being a woman, I have experienced sexual harassment since I was a young teenage girl. Honestly, there isn't a single woman in the entire country who hasn't. To be clear, by sexual harassment I do not mean rape. Staring at someone constantly and making them uncomfortable is also a form a harassment. Women here are constantly advised to not stay out late after dark, to always have a male companion, to have a ride back home, to carry pepper spray, to have knowledge of basic martial arts to get out of a bad situation, to dress conservatively, to not communicate with strangers and the list goes on. Even the Delhi Metro has a dedicated coach for women, which when you think about it, is very shameful. Women don't feel safe anywhere, be it while traveling by public transport or walking on the road.

I've failed to understand what goes on inside the heads of such men. It's possible to be a man and still be a decent human being. I have seen such men, I know such men. However, I do not understand the need of some of the human beings of the opposite gender to treat women as objects. Is it an ego issue, or is it because Indian society from the very beginning has been disproportionately skewed in the favor of men. I can rant endlessly on this topic, but the motive of this post is something else.

The woman from the article referred to India as a 'traveler's heaven and a woman's hell' and yesterday I chanced to meet a young German woman to happened to disagree with her completely. It was a refreshing change to know and understand the point of view of a foreigner. Someone who has actually experienced India as a foreign country and might be able to relate to that woman better. So this young German woman had visited India in 2012 for about two months and was now back because she loved the country so much. I was curious as to what brought her back to a country which has apparently been described as a 'woman's hell'. It was quite refreshing to hear that it wasn't the Taj Mahal or the Golden Temple or Leh and Ladakh, but actually the people of Indian that she had come to know and love.

She beautifully spoke in fluent Hindi which completely knocked my socks off. I patiently listened to her point of view for a good half an hour without being unbiased. She completely disagreed with the woman from the article. According to her, it was true that men started at her because of her blue eyes, fair skin and blonde hair, but simply because she was exotic to them. She was no stranger to lewd remarks from men, but that was not something she had experienced in India, instead in her home country. She told me that men over there had often started at women and passed remarks and treated them like objects. She said that rape was not a problem faced by India alone, it was actually quite prevalent in the west. Sure she sympathized with that woman because of the extreme circumstances that she had faced but her experience of our country was completely different.

The report talks about how there might be innumerable photos of her but according to the girl I was talking to, foreigners often come to India and click pictures of people, men, women and children alike. These foreigners too seldom take permission to click the Indians. She told me how she felt exotic in our country, but in a wonderful way. She had traveled most of South and North India and some parts of East, West and Central. Everywhere she went, she had fortunately encountered people who were more than happy to help her and make her journey and experiences easy. She had found the people to be extremely genuine and helpful and was completely in love with country.

I must say that its refreshing to find some light in this time of darkness. :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I'm a hypocrite. So sue me.

Hypocrisy (n): The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.

A few days ago while in the middle of an important discussion of targets and timelines for the new project, my colleague brought up a very simple question. He asked us why all of us were so afraid of being hypocrites. Why we got offended when someone accused us of being hypocrites. I thought about it for a minute and responded that it was simply because it has always been used in a negative context and my first instinct would be to deny it right out. He very simply then replied that every person is a hypocrite, which actually is not a bad thing. When one does a business, a little bit of hypocrisy is essential, so one must proudly embrace it.

This conversation got me thinking about the whole idea of hypocrisy, about how it is there in all of us and how we refuse to admit it to anyone. At least, I do. If someone would point out that I was being a hypocrite, I would immediately defend myself. I think one of the reasons for this that whenever someone points out something I've been trying to hide, not consciously, but just because I feel that it is a very personal part of me, I quickly take offence. I feel as if the other person can somehow read me completely and that scares me. I think all of us have a part, however little, that is just us. We don't want to share it with anyone, not because we are ashamed of it, but because its just personal to us. Known between just you and yourself. Alright now I can feel myself digressing from the topic.

So the conversation got me wondering as to why I was afraid of being a hypocrite.Maybe because deep down I'm afraid of being found out. I'm afraid that the other person will see right through me. Every so often I think of someone I know as a hypocrite and it makes me a little edgy to think that they might be wondering the same about me. This thing in itself is hypocrisy.

I talk about chasing your dreams and always doing a job that makes you happy. But I worked for a corporate for over 9 months, hating every bit of it and willing myself to stick it out for 2 years. (Well, I couldn't do it and just quit one day and instead joined an organization I actually like working for and doing thing that I feel could actually make a difference). But the point it, even on days when I would have to drag myself to get out of bed and go to work, I knew deep down that I am someone who always puts emphasis on doing a job that you love and unconsciously thought about what Steve Jobs once said,

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma -which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
 However, I couldn't bring myself to admit that this wasn't right for me. I kept trying to force myself to be someone I just wasn't. We always find it easier to preach about things instead of having the balls to follow them ourselves. 

Bros before hoes. I swear by this day in and day out. It's very simple, boyfriends will come and go, but friends are the ones who will be there to celebrate with you when you start dating someone and they will still be there when the whole thing crashes and burns. But you have to balance your priorities between those two periods. Often I complain about some friend of mine being too much into their relationship and not giving enough importance to his/her friends when I myself have been guilty of doing the same. I sometimes cancel plans with friends just to have a quite date. Then why is it so difficult for me to excuse someone else of doing the same. Sigh.

I talk about how we should put our egos aside and not think about what others say, when I myself sometimes lay awake at night wondering about this very thing.

I talk about my support to homosexuality. Don't get me wrong, I do support it completely. I think we should be with someone who makes us happy. Irrespective of their gender, nationality or color. But when I see two men holding hands and walking on the street, it makes me slightly uncomfortable and truthfully, I find it a little amusing. Guilty.

I talk about how money and materialism doesn't matter, but at the end of the day I find myself craving for these very things. 

These things and so many more. The truth is, I am a hypocrite, sometimes. I'm just not afraid to admit it anymore.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The days are long, but the years are short.

The title is taken from a book I'm currently reading, titled 'The Happiness Project'. Normally I don't like reading such books, in which the author sort of preaches and I feel that they are trying to force their opinion on me, their opinion about life and values. So I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up this book and just couldn't keep it down. It talks about how one day the author has an epiphany that she doesn't have enough happiness in her life. I've never though of happiness as something that you consciously inculcate in your life, but this book changed my thinking. 

The days are long, but the years are short. Such a simple thought, yet so very profound. Its been a really long time since I've sat down and actually written and I hadn't realized until recently how much I missed it. Each day of each year seems so long, we move on, we change, thinking every moment that everything is the same and then looking back each year and realizing that in fact nothing is the same.  I'm a graduate and have been working for about 3 months now; I live away from home, well mostly and about a dozen people have told me lately that I've become a lot mature. (Ugh! How much I hate that)  When exactly did this happen? When did we become office going, hard working, earning ADULTS!?  It's not all bad actually, I'm really enjoying this phase! :)

Okay, so coming back to the title. This book talks about how the author makes a resolution for every month of a year to consciously make herself happy. I think I really need to try something like that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not unhappy or lonely or any sort of emo crap, but I feel that there are few things in my life which I need to change. I've gotten back to my reading, to exercising and I make it a point to spend some time alone everyday. I hadn't realized that between working, and living away from home, and meeting new and interesting people everyday, I hadn't had a moment of peace in months. So now I sit back each day and read and give some time to myself, it has made me so much more calmer. 
The book also talks about the little lessons that experience has taught the author, called 'Secrets of Adulthood'. I've been an adult for a mere 3 years so I guess all I can talk about is my ' Secrets of Teenage'- doesn't sound so profound with the word 'teenage', though. :p 
I think I'm still young to talk about 'life changing lessons', I'm still discovering myself, trying to figure if what I'm doing is something I really wanna do or not, and figuring out my next step. Guess I've a long way to go, I'd still give this some thought. I've picked up a few from the book itself, can relate so well to them. 

• Love more  
• EAT more :D 
• Say a lot of shit 
• DO a lot of shit, don't think too much 
• Try not to have any regrets 
• There is nothing more important than family 
• But, some friends become family 
• Sing in the shower, it does improve your mornings 
• Try not to judge people when you first meet them 
• Be stupid 
• Work for a cause you believe in 
• Dance randomly 
• Blaming doesn't work, own up 
• Have faith (not necessarily in God only). It keeps you sane 
• There is a whole lot of bullshit in the world, deal with it 
• Laugh more 
• Read more and as often as you can 
• Traveling is of the most essential things in life 
• Meet new people  
• Make mistakes 
• Remember, this too shall pass 
• Keep it simple 
• Let it go 
• You don't have to be good at everything 
• Break some rules, you'll remember the things you weren't supposed to do, but did them anyway. 

Wow. That's a long list. :p 

This reminds me, I've to start planning a vacation, too much of routine gets to me. I need to visit new places and meet new people. It helps keep me sane. :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

She said goodbye too many times before.

It seems like just yesterday when I first stepped into Ramjas, got scandalized and ran in the opposite direction. I didn't go to college for a good two weeks and even for months I was convinced that I would get admission in a different college. But fate is a funny thing. Fate? Something I'm not sure I really believe in. I think we lead ourselves to believe that some other power controls us, just to give ourselves the assurance that every day is just a piece of the puzzle, the puzzle that fate or destiny has made for us. Three years later, the feeling that college is over hasn't really sunk in. For one, we all are again at crossroads of life, trying to figure out what to do next and preparing ourselves to face the big bad world. I've been so caught up in deciding my plans for the future that I haven't really had time to think that college is over. The college and people I have come to love in these three short years are going to be left behind.

Change. We all hate it, don't we? Try so desperately to hold onto time, refusing to move on. We fear it, fight it. But we all have to adapt to it. Stepping into Ramjas was tough but I never imagined that stepping out of it would me so much more worse. I think of college and I see myself sitting in fag lane, wasting time, talking about just anything. If someone had told me three years ago that I would meet people in the halls of these very college that would change me, I would have called you a fool. But thats the funny thing about time, tends to prove us wrong. First came dramatics, and with it our play, Fools. I am filled with memories when I think of fools and of Kanpur. Sophia, Lenya, Japanese guy, Agra boy, Mumma bear. These friendships would never have formed if it weren't for that one week in Kanpur. Those late nights in SAC and those morning walks and photographs have given me memories for life.

Then came SAESM and with it Rishikesh, three amazing days with beautiful weather have again given me friend's from all over South Asia, college has been such a mixed bag of experiences and just one post on this blog shall not to justice to it. But today was the last day of college and my tearing up and I'm just totally overwhelmed with memories.

Ramjas gave me Nikita.Aakash.Rashi.Raja.Jatin.Shivam.Priyank.Sanchi.Uday.and sooo many more. Ramjas will remain really special to me and I for one am terrible at saying goodbye's so this is a start.

It's a Wo(MAN)'s world.

I have been a feminist since I can remember. If someone told me that I couldn't do something because I was a 'girl', I made sure I did it. I learnt Karate for 3 years and I don't want to blow my own trumpet, but I have broken bricks and glass (I have pictures to prove it). What I'm trying to say is, I have always been at par with the men around me and I'm used to that. I firmly disagree when people say that we are the weaker sex. What annoys me most are male chauvinists, they make me want to rip their skin off and beat them with it! (I'm usually not that violent but this is something that really, really annoys me). I guess you've got the basic idea about where I'm going with this.

I've been driving for over two years now and I'm a pretty good driver if I say so myself. I've never been fined for driving and I haven't been in any major accidents which is an achievement in itself (you would agree if you've ever driven on Delhi roads). So basically, it just makes my skin crawl when some men say that women are handicapped behind the wheel. According to them, women should just sit in the passenger seat and look pretty while they brave the traffic monster on the road. I’m not saying that all women are perfect drivers, but I find it ridiculous when it is a man’s fault on the road and he refuses to accept it because he believes that he has been blessed with magical driving powers just by the virtue of being a man and the poor woman driver’s brain is just way too small to contain the difference between a clutch and a break. It’s just RIDICULOUS! My ex believes that it has been ‘scientifically proved’ that reflexes of men are faster which obviously makes them better drivers. I think this is all a piece of shit, justlikehim.

A couple month’s back I met my friend’s flat mate on his birthday and I had the unfortunate luck of driving with him to pick up a few things for the party. It was a twenty minute drive and throughout that time he constantly kept criticizing my driving, my sense of direction and said that I lacked respect for my car. I wanted to drop him off on a highway in the middle of the night and drive off at full speed. I controlled my natural instinct to abuse him profusely and politely told him to shut his pie whole. He kept saying, and mind you, this is a direct quote, “You have been living in Noida for four years right? Wow! And you know the way to the market? That is very impressive. I’m not trying to be mean but whenever I see someone breaking traffic rules on the road; I always assume that it’s a woman.” I fail to understand why men have these preconceived notions about women and find it against their manhood to admit their fault on the road. The same guy got drunk that night and almost crashed my car, I’m just saying.

Yesterday I was driving my sister to the mall when a man came on a scooter from the wrong direction, almost crashed into my car and started shouting, ‘Females can’t drive’. Hello! Need I point out that you are on the wrong side of the road?!. I wanted to get out the car and give him a piece of my mind but then I wonder, what the point of it would be. Some men have become so rigid in their thinking that they refuse to admit their faults, and women continue to take the blame for their foolishness. It’s a sad world we live in.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Upside down world.

Yes, It indeed is one of those I-shouldn't-have-gotten-out-of-the-bed days. What makes it worse is that it's a Sunday! I feel like I'm trapped in a square box and have been cursed to run in circles. Weird.

I have these purple coloured shorts which I adore. I wear them when I'm sad. I wear them when I'm ecstatic. I wear them when I feel loved. I wear them when I feel down in the dumps.. you get the point right? They came out of the drier today, and long story short, they are ruined! :(

Mom got me this tee the other day that says, "Beer. It's not just for breakfast anymore", and um... I spilled oil on it. Ugh! Why am I so clumsy?!!
Also, birthday is less then two weeks away and I don't have anything planned.

So the thing is, I've been trying to lose some extra killos and mom dad are NOT helping!
I tell dad that I'm on a diet and he hears, lets order butter chicken!

This is what happened in the evening today..

Mom: Do you wanna have a samosa and dhokla?
Me: Mumma... I'm on a diet.
Mom: So... ya?
Me: Mom!!!!

Ya, I know. Mom dad are funny :P

Rakhi was last week and my cupboard is full of chocolates and kitchen is full of my favorite sweets. And mom makes it a point to offer me rasgullas after every meal! Limit!!

September is around the corner.. and so are the new seasons on HIMYM, Grey's Anatomy, Castle, Desperate Housewives and 90201. I can't wait! :D :D

Also, the department trip happens in September. (Barney styles) Right? Right?! WRONG!
Because an obscene amount of freshers (144! I know!!) turned up this year the faculty is not ready to take the responsibility of the trip. So, NO trip this year.
Do I really need to add more?!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Everywhere You Go You Always Take The Weather With You

No, Bombay did not work out, but I'm all set for a vacation in Hong Kong this October. :)

College started a month back and for the first time I feel that I'm actually studying. First year's result was not upto my expectations, but second year, watch out! We have classes everyday from 8:40 every morning (I know, that sucks) and tuitions in the campus itself and along with that, danceworx twice a week leaves me with hardly any free time. Also, I got promoted (No, I'm not talking about college :-/). I'm in Basic Elementary now which is so not a cake walk.

Me and the better half FINALLY got our certificates from NCAER :)

It's been raining like crazy and for a change, our very own noisy and dirty Delhi looks bearable and maybe a little appealing on some occasions.. The amazing weather has put me in such a wonderful mood.. I smile all day long without any reason (well, maybe i do have a small reason). Life is good and my birthday is around the corner.

P.s. I love surprises, take a hint ;)

Monday, July 5, 2010

BOMBay ..

I'm sooo excited. I need to do something to get a little excitement out of me..



*Comes back to senses*

The weather is beautiful. It's been drizzling since evening and I'm in the most perfect mood.


I was sitting on the hammock in my lawn, rocking it back and forth when I randomly asked mom if I could go to Bombay.

5 hours later.. the plan is all set!!

Beaches. Booze. Snaps. Shopping. Sea food. Booze. FUN!!

Some very few minor things need to be paid attention. But if all goes well..

Bombay, here we come!!! :) :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Misty eyed.

I'm going through a health crises. No, nothing to worry about, but one thing is happening after another and it's taking a toll on my patience.

Got severe stomach cramps and had to leave from British council in the middle of the class because I was on the verge of a break down.
By evening, I started feeling better, but by night I had developed a cold. Stupid heat stroke. :'(

Cold had taken a bad turn and was accompanied by his companion, cough.

Head ache joins cough and cold in their attempt to make my life miserable, but sadly, I couldn't be defeated.

Cold is STILL there, and I've *Achooooched* like a hundred times while typing this.
ALSO, I sprained my left arm during dance class. Must have stretched too much, and now it's hurting like crazy!! :(

And apparently, crying is not helping the cold.. :( :(

Monday, May 31, 2010

Living life a day at a time.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they're here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday...

I agree with the Beatles when they say that they believe in yesterday. I too dwell in the past...
"Yaar, yaad hai jab humara vo mcdeez waala get together hua tha...?"

"Don't you remember? That angry face and kiss face was supposed to be our thing!!"

There is no end to these memories.. and I don't mean in a bad sense. It's good to remember all the happy times of our past.. every today is going to be a yesterday tomorrow.. and we make memories every minute of our life.

Here comes the philosophical bug.. I find this side of mine really annoying!

Anyway, so a month of vacations is already over. Cut off lists are going to be out soon, and I can't wait to see whats in store for the current batch! Well, what can I say.. the ocean does seem like a pond once you are on the other side.. :)

The danceworx classes are going on.. leaving me sore every monday morning. On a not so interesting note, I've joined NCAER ( National Council for Applied Economics Reserch) *YAWWWN*
Me and the better half are working on a project on... wait for it... Micro Finance! (Was just trying to add a little thrill to the otherwise boring situation we have gotten ourselves into). The only consolation is the Certificate that we shall get by the end of this.
Sitting in the eerie library me and the better half were lost in thoughts over how our dreams of Mumbai Beat's like office were over :(.. Maybe as "Economics students" we are now destined to explore libraries and do research work! If you ask me for my honest opinion, it makes me wanna puke!!!

*Deep breath inhale.. breath out..*


This is going to keep us going! :P

About that journo thing, applied at several places, no luck :(
They just want mass comm students. Open discrimination if you ask me! Anyway, might hear from PTI, keeping my fingers crossed!

On a completely different note,
Just got done with all the seasons of Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy.. Loved every bit of every season. Can't wait for the next seasons.. gonna come sometime in September I guess. Next stop, LOST! :D

Oh. And guess what? I got hate mail! :P
Was really disturbing at first, but the more I think about it now, the more amusing it sounds.

And on a completely random note,
I'm craving Tiramisu!