A Foolproof Guide to Women’s Safety in India

  1. Never step out of home at odd hours, not after sunset, not before sunrise. Only Surya Dev is responsible for your safety not the police.Screenshot_2017-08-08-00-26-18-452_com.android.chrome[1]
  2. Don’t dress provocativelysalwar-kameez and saree makes you invisible to the prying eyes of good sanskari men. Be conscious and never let your duppata or pallu slip. Chunni hati, durghatana ghati!
  3. If you are eve-teased/stalked/harassed/raped, don’t go to the police station, you are inviting more wrath on yourself. Just forgive and forget.
  4. If you are driving and being followed don’t use your phone and call anyone for help. It’s a crime to talk on the phone and drive. Give up your life/dignity but never break the laws of the land. Chances are you’ll be serving a severe sentence than the guys stalking you.Screenshot_2017-08-08-00-19-45-610_com.twitter.android[1]
  5. Don’t be friends with a guy; you are sending an open invite to people to harass you. All keys get automatic license to open a previously opened tijori. Don’t be that characterless tijori.
  6. Never entice your boss/colleague/neighbour with your sexuality. You are a woman, you aren’t supposed to be a sexual being.
  7. Don’t be poor. You are expected to give a huge dowry to the good people who are accepting you as their daughter-in-law. Don’t be stingy and force them to burn/drown/shoot you.
  8. Don’t say no. As per Bollywood’s first law of attraction, a girl’s no is actually a yes so just go along with anything that is expected from you as a wife/girlfriend. Always remember that marital rape is a myth.main-qimg-97304d8df59ef1534d55244fe6961973-c
  9. Don’t drink/smoke/ party.
  10. Don’t wear heels/make-up.
  11. Don’t use mobiles/internet.
  12. Don’t eat chowmein.
  13. Don’t speak.
  14. Don’t see.
  15. Don’t live. 

Side note to a sperm: If by any chance you have an X-chromosome. Don’t be foolish and swim to fertilise an egg. There are very high chances that you would be killed in the womb itself. Even if you survive you’ll have to follow the above 15 points and that is too much work. Just be wise like a girl and let the mighty Y-chromosome win the race.

Thank You.

*****

*all images from newspaper headlines,twitter and google.

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Five Years Later ( Loving Against The Odds)

It has been a long time since I wrote this post and to be honest I am a little astonished by the traffic this post still gets. This has been the most viewed and most commented post on my blog and may be the only reason I get any amount of hits on my blog. A lot of people search for inter-caste and inter-religion relationships and land up on my blog which makes me wonder how many couples in our country are suffering from the inter caste marriage syndrome (ICMS)! A few of them even mail me either to sympathize with me or to ask me for suggestions on their own relationships. And that my dear friends really scare me because five years later I am still with the same guy.

I wrote that post when I was 21, fresh out of college and in a long distance relationship with a guy for two years. I never really got to leave the guy because such an event never cropped up in my life. Neither my parents decided to marry me off, nor did they get to know of my relationship. My mom to be honest most definitely knows about our relationship but still tries to turn a blind eye to it. She has now met him and even told me that she liked him but I know that deep down she prays to Lord every day that we should just be friends. This is after she practically expects him to drop me to stations, help me when I am sick, accompany me anywhere I have to go alone and totally be my knight in shining armour. May be she’s still living in Satayuga and expects guys to be that friendly and expect nothing in return. (or maybe she is aware of a term called friend zone)

In fact, sans my sister my whole family has now met him and know that we are close. And the fact that they still try to brush us off as friends, that ladies and gentleman is a big problem, because that shows the blind trust they have put on me. I don’t hold grudges against them anymore though. I know where they come from and why they have certain thoughts and beliefs. They are the reason I am able enough to have an opinion of my own and to respect other’s opinion.

So the next question is why I am still hiding this relationship?

That is because I really don’t know if I even want to get married. Marriage fails to interest me. Yes, I do like all the fun and festivities associated with weddings, taking pictures and posting them on social media. I turn green on seeing people getting the opportunity to freely express their love, and would like to have children someday but I don’t know whether the concept of marriage is my cup of tea. There are too many expectations, too much home-bound politics and too many roles to play. This could be because I’ve had many bad experiences with married people or because I don’t see many people around me getting married for the right reasons.

So what is the point of making the relationship public and hurt everyone when I don’t know whether marriage is what I want. Let’s just keep everyone happy for now.

Of course, I can’t be sure that my views won’t change in the coming years. It is very much possible but right now at twenty six I find myself too young to get married. (But in a country where around 90% of females get married before the age of 25, I might be wrong.) Anyway, if the situation comes down to choosing someone between the two, I can honestly say that I want both. In five years I have come far from crying about giving up on my love on the internet to announcing my hatred for marriage, who knows what’s going to happen in the next five years.

For now, the goal is to make something of myself, stop being jealous, try to write more, and to learn Kannada and Bengali. Let me focus on the small things and let the bigger things fall into place.

(To the folks who have landed here to find a solution to their relationship woes, sorry to disappoint you but I am not a love guru. I am just a girl in my mid twenties who writes her own story here. I wish I could bring a change in the society and relieve you of your miseries but that my friend is what you’ll have to do yourself. If is it important enough you’ll find a reason, if not you ‘ll find an excuse)

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That Thing Called Marriage

This February when I got the news of my best friend from high school giving birth to a baby girl, I looked at the disheveled pile of notebooks lying on my chair, the cobwebs adorning the corners of my study table, the always-ready-to-fall-down clothes in my cupboard and asked my roommate, how is it possible that people my age are taking out an entire human being out of their bodies and taking care of it while I am barely able to take care of myself! When I asked a mutual friend of ours the same question she texted me this,

Mujhe lag rha hai logon ke bachche bhi ho gye, bas mai hi peeche reh gayi, meri shadi bhi nhi hui ab tak. Kab basaungi mai apna ghar?

I was perplexed by her thoughts. Was I the only one who thought we were too young? I mean we are just in the 24-26 age group, what’s the hurry? But apparently everyone is in a hurry as is evident by the constant wedding updates on my Facebook feed. It’s like everyone I know is getting married. That innocent girl from secondary school who never talked to anyone, the Punjabi sherni from high school, all my south Indian classmates from college, almost every day I wish someone on Facebook  to have a happy married life!!!  And then I go into this deep depression mode… yaar hum itne bade kab ho gye? Seriously, I can’t imagine myself getting married.

Falling in love – OK

Having a boyfriend – OK

Live-in – OK

But Shadi- Kaise yaar!!!

There is this thing in our community where as soon as the bride reaches her sasural, she has to dance or show how to play a dholak, or both. No one considers that she has come there after spending hours, even days in those torturous wedding rituals. Everyone is interested to see her dance or sing. Every time I think of marriage, this dancing scene comes into my mind.  She is going to be a wife, not a reality show contestant yaar!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I love weddings- new dresses, shoes, gifts, all the dhama-chaukari. One can actually see me teary eyed while watching those mushy wedding videos they make these days, and what can I say about the magnificent photography (simply wow)! It’s like if I could get married for a day, and then say goodbye to everyone, including the husband.

woman

          A Kumaoni Bride…

I can be in a relationship (much better be single) all my life, but marriage frightens me. I am in love with this guy for five years, and yes we used to talk about marriage and all when we were teenagers (hence stupid), but right now, I just can’t imagine myself in that red bridal dress.

When a childhood friend of mine got married two years ago, I kept staring at her pictures with that big kumaoni nath on her nose and a mangalsutra on her neck, and I was like,

Oh My God!! Why is she wearing a nath? Isn’t that for old people? She is just a kid like me. How can she get married so early? And so on…

I couldn’t get out of the shock of her marriage. I guess this is somehow related to my fear of growing up. I think I was twelve when I came to know that girls have periods upon reaching puberty. From that time, every single day I was scared to be an “adult”. While I heard stories of it from my classmates, I secretly prayed for that “period monster” to never show up. Alas, it knocked on my doors (hehe) when I was fourteen. And me, being an idiot didn’t tell anyone, hid myself and kept crying.

Well, that was the first phase of the process of growing up, upon which I had no control of my own. It was a natural process and it happened. But getting married would be like, aa bail mujhe maar, and I have no intention of doing that. I can’t get married and grow up again, not so soon, and hopefully never.

*****

Pic courtesy: here

The Little Girl Who Has Gone Away

I didn’t know her. She was born after I left my hometown. But I knew her dad, her uncles, her cousins and everyone else in her family. I never saw her that is until I saw her pictures all over my Facebook feed: pictures of a dead girl, raped and tortured, left to die in a jungle.Her body was in the jungle for five days and no one found her… neither humans nor animals in the jungle. And that picture is engrossed in my mind since that day.

I was in the same town when I was seven: that was seventeen years ago. Seventeen…the number of years she would have lived to be my age but she didn’t. Instead, she was brutally murdered. I have no intention of glorifying the death of a little kid. All I want to do is to get these feelings out of my mind. I don’t want to imagine the seven year old me going through everything she did.

What is it that make humans turn into monsters? How psychopaths who rape kids, people who molest girls on roads, uncles who sexually harass little kids stay amongst us yet manage to hide their intentions? How do we tolerate such things? Do we think that it could never happen to us? At least I thought so, until this time. Yes, I do get affected every time I read about a rape, I discuss it with other people, I curse the criminals, talk about the inefficiency of police in our country, and in another two- four days I forget about it, until the cycle starts again with a new case. But it isn’t the same this time. Is it because she was someone I knew? Is it because I never thought that such a thing could happen in my small, peaceful town? Was I thinking that Uttarakhand being devbhoomi ( the land of the Gods) is above these things? Well, I  guess I was wrong.

If there is something that is above everything, it is evil. Sexual crimes exist every where, whether you are roaming alone in a dark street or you are inside your house. Any person, regardless of his/her age, class, caste or nationality could be a molester, a psychopath. You need not be wearing a short dress to invite unwanted attention, even 7 year olds get raped. I can never understand what goes inside the mind of a molester, what makes them do what they do? Why is it that evil prevails over sanity? I don’t know if anyone could ever answer these questions for me but I know that time and again I’ll be forced to ask these questions. And every time I’ll hear about a new case, the pictures of this girl will cross my mind taking me to the small town where I once lived safely.

Life, Memories, Realizations…

Well, I guess I am back… Its been such a long time. I wrote the same thing last time too, but this time, trust me, I am gonna write regularly.To start afresh I’ve to clear out my mind of the things that have happened in my life in the past three months. If you are not a fan of personal posts, you can quit reading here. Its gonna be long and boring…

Here we go….. FLASHBACK!!!

1. College ( Socha tha kya, kya ho gya) : The very day I stepped into my college, I knew it for sure that the first structure to collapse if an earthquake hits Bengal would be my college building. The Biotechnology department brought back memories of those dark, holy caves in my hometown. There were more spiders than microscopes in labs. The autoclave (an equipment used for sterilization) is kept on the terrace, as there is no space to keep it inside. Every time it rains, we have to abandon the experiment ( yes, it does feel like India Australia cricket series sometimes). Such is the condition of one of the so called best engineering institutes in our country. Initially, everything was depressing, nowadays I’ve replaced that tragical feeling with comedy, I laugh at it, and enjoy. This is our condition after securing all India ranks within 400. Life’s good. 😛

2. Hostel ( Chan se jo toote koi sapna) : Surviving the attack after seeing the college, I stepped ahead to see my new hostel. Thankfully, it was a new building. I hove a sigh of relief. I had always wished to get a single room during post graduation, as was the case in many colleges. Well, all my dreams were broken when I had to share one room with 3 other roommates, and all of them Bengali, haling from the same place, class and having the same mentality. Unlike them I didn’t get any cupboard, table, study lamp, as I was the last one to join hostel, I had to adjust. That’s what I am doing from 3 month: Adjust. 🙂

3. Love ( Kabhi haan, kabhi naa) : I broke up, I patched up, I broke up again, I patched up again, and the cycle continues. The condition is so complicated that my friends ask my relationship status everyday, yes, every single day, as one day I am single, another I am not.( Of course with the same guy) Saala pyaar na hua, Jharkhand ki sarkaar ho gyi, tikta hi nahi.

4. Life…etc (Zindagi kaisi hai paheli haaye, kabhi to hansaye kabhi ye rulaye ) : The day I reached here, I saw girls, and even boys around me with their parents.  I came here alone, travelling for 40 hours by train, with my huge luggage bag. Even now, girls in my hostel identify me as the girl who came without her parents, carrying a bag almost her size.All my life I thought I was the only girl who was bounded by family, traditions, hypocritical rules, and now I see a different world. I am free, independent, and strong, girls around me are not. They don’t even want to be. Yes, there are things I still can’t imagine to tell my parents, things I don’t dare to do but I am taking one step at a time.  I go out, I meet strangers, I travel by myself, I scream, I break rules, I rebel, I lie. And they are changing too. Initially they would never let me travel alone. Now I scream aloud that I’ve grown up, and ask them to let me be. I ask them to give me a chance, to show them that I can do something, as and when I prove myself right, I am free to experiment again. I’ve come to a conclusion that if you are an Indian daughter from a conservative family, you have to lie to live your own life. Otherwise you are just passing your time, you are not living, you are breathing. Oppress unhi ko kiya jata hai jo oppress hona chahta hai. I know its wrong to cheat your parents, but trust me you can’t argue with them, you’ll always be proved wrong. I am not asking people to turn into criminals, to be alcoholics, or spoil their lives, just do what you feel is right, what is the right thing to do. A friend of mine gave birth to her daughter recently, got married last year, against her wishes. She’s just 22. Other people are getting married, engaged, sometimes forcibly, sometimes because they were programmed to follow the set of rules laid down for good Indian daughters. What the hell! They are my age. I can’t imagine myself being a mother. I feel pity to see smart, highly educated girls being emotionally forced into marriages. Am I being irrational here? Do people actually want to get married at 21-22?

Anyways I’ve gone beyond the topic. Coming back to my life, I don’t know if I am happy, I am screwed professionally, but I am trying to figure it out. I am confused as always, I miss home and my mom, that one year I spent there and did nothing, even that makes me cry sometimes.  I laugh with people, I crack jokes, to them I am the happiest person they have ever seen. My roommate once told me that she wants to be like me. haha… and I still don’t know what I want to be. I am living it, smiling, procrastinating, crying once the lights are switched off, trying to find out a purpose. I guess, I am okay.

I’ll be 23 in the next 3 months, and as I look back to my life, I realize that I have come a long way since the days when I was a little girl running in the lanes of my small town, to capture the cut kites drifting in the sky. I feel, I’ve grown up. 🙂

Aur jabse maine badiyan or aachar bnaya hai tabse to meri maa ko bhi yakeen ho gya hai ki mai badi zimmedaar ho gayi hun. Sachi…. 😛

Death and Destruction in the Land of Gods

Being a kid, I used to be terrified watching videos of floods in the northern plains of the country, and my mom used to assure me that mountains are exempted from floods, we can have earthquakes, landslides but floods, they are out of question and I believed her till 6 days ago when all those myths were broken by a tragic catastrophe in our state. None of us, neither me nor my parents have ever seen something like this, a disaster of such a large scale when four of our districts are washed away in the water of our own holy rivers. The place which used to be a pilgrimage for millions of devotees around the world has turned into their burial ground.uttarakhand_floods_rains

Thousands have lost their lives and more than 50,000 remain stranded waiting to be rescued. The videos in television seem to be from a Hollywood movie, something we witness in those end of the world films. The local newspapers are filled with heart wrenching stories of people, a couple who saw all three of their children wash away right in front of their eyes, a family who has lost 9 of its members, a husband whose wife was washed away from 2 stairs below him, stories of loss, tragedy, damage. There is nothing left except debris and dead bodies in the land of Gods.

uttarakhand_flood2--621x414And it hurts me, to witness this tragedy, to see the level of destruction, the amount of lives lost. And more than being angry, frustrated, sad, I am scared, because I don’t know when I’ll have to encounter something like this, I fear that someday I’ll see my own hometown in ruins. Pithoragarh, where several lives have been lost, and several villages have been washed away even this time, may have to encounter something bigger like the floods in Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Rudraprayag. Because I’ve seen it grow from a small town with few houses to an over populated region, filled with hotels, multistory buildings, tourist spots and what not. I’ve seen the declining forest ranges, the burnt jungles, the encroached lands, and I fear that my own place is inviting nature’s fury, something yet to be seen. Having spent my childhood there, being a pahaadi, I can’t ignore it anymore.

Uttarakhand-Floods

Who is responsible for this? Was it nature’s way to revenge the damage man has done to it? Was it the result of excessive encroachment, illegal constructions and commercialization of pilgrimages and tourist places? Each one of us is responsible for this destruction. Every time we overuse our natural resources we must take the blame of a life lost. We have disturbed the ecosystem and so the same ecosystem is keen on destroying us. For it is taking revenge- the hotels and houses we made on the banks of rivers are taken away with it, the roads we built encroaching mountains are damaged by the same, are all washed away, we cleared forests to built dams, bridges, so, rivers have cleared all those constructions. We commercialized God, temples, we made different queues for poor and the rich, but with this tragedy, God has shown that each one of us meets the same end either rich or poor, there is no discrimination in His place, neither do we bring anything with us to this world, nor do we take away anything with us.

***

With more than 5000 people presumed to be dead this is going to be one of the worst disasters of our country. Nearly 50,000 people are still stranded and with warnings of fresh rains, the rescue operations are only going to be hindered. We all need your prayers and your help. Pray for our people, our mountains, the Land of Gods. You can also make donations to the Prime Minister’s National relief fund here. This is the least we can do.

The Independent Girl

Past

She was an ordinary girl with ordinary dreams, aged twenty one, she faced each day with a smile on her face. She was the prettiest and the eldest among three sisters.

He was a rich, spoilt brat and a college leader. With a property worth millions, there was nothing he was deprived of. He was a budding politician and with his political links and his money he had the power to get anything he wanted.

He liked her the day he saw her and in spite of announcing his love publicly, following her everywhere and showering her with compliments and gifts, he was unable to convince her to marry him.  She was the only thing he couldn’t get in life. She was a challenge and he took a vow to make her his wife someday.

He attempted suicide and wrote her name in his suicide letter. There was a police case and they were the talk of the town, the matter was discussed in colleges, in every house hold, and with his political influences, even in the local newspapers. Fearing he might attempt suicide again his family contacted her parents and fearing the society and that no one will marry their daughters ever, they accepted their proposal.

She married him, accepting her fate, ready to face life without a smile on her face.

He married her, proving it to everyone that there’s nothing he can’t get in his life.

Present

I am walking down the road with my mom as I see her strolling in her garden. Her daughter, now two years old, is sleeping peacefully resting her head on her shoulder. She greets my mom and they start talking. She doesn’t know me but I know her story. She looks happy today, I’ve never seen her smiling before. An arrest warrant has been issued against her husband in a murder case and he is presently absconding. If caught, he would be jailed for a minimum of seven years; I’ve heard people talking about the case.

In my thoughts, I equate his arrest to her independence, and I pray for it. I look at her daughter, she is her exact replica. I wonder how different her fate would be from her mother’s fate. She is the sole owner of the entire property; she’ll live her life like a princess but with a regret of having a criminal as a father. I cast away the thoughts of her father from my mind and pray for her better future. Suddenly, she wakes up and gives me a warm smile, as if saying amen to my prayer. I smile back at her and then, we walk away.

Symbol for a change…may be!

Image from here.