Evolution of Feminism

Recently there has been a lot of talk about the feminist movement in India and how we are warming up to the idea. I wanted to outline the evolution of feminism and how with age my opinion has changed about the movement.

For the record, I am not a feminist. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in equality for women. I don’t have to be an archeologist to deny fossils. For that, I’d have to be religious.

Most of the recent wave of feminist movement are on the lines of “Ladke rulate nahi hain”, “Dear Men, stop beating your wives”, “Dear Men, don’t discriminate against women with dark complexions” etc…

Now I am quite comfortable with the first two agendas, even though the second one seems to be a little antagonistic. To draw a parallel, it is like telling “We should inform Islamists that they shouldn’t terrorize people”.
The message in its basic essence, isn’t inflammatory and no one should indulge in anti human practices. But it somehow leaves a bitter after taste.
The whole Delhi rape incident was a catalyst that probed deeper questions in our society about safety of women. A lot of not so intelligent ideas were thrown about and most of them must be rightly ridiculed. For example:
Home Minister: Well, women should not wear revealing clothes and wander about after sunset. You are an affront to our culture and inviting trouble.
Female Reporter: Sir, this is SEXIST.
Home Minister: (Whispers to his aides) Oh ho she is also looking quite sexist in them jeans.
My effort in this blog space is to bring to attention some of the ideas which seems righteous but are down right daft.
Stop with the metaphors:

If you ask any politician, what a woman means to him. It would be almost impossible for him to describe without metaphors. He would go on an eulogy such as “Our culture is quite respectful of women, they are our rivers, our oceans, lakes and mountains”
Right off the bat, this is down right daft. Drawing a comparison between the contours of a river and a woman is well, just soft core pornography. It was the valmiki’s way of saying, Wiggle wiggle wiggle. I consider myself to be an avid connoisseur of Indian history, so let me elucidate how the River Jamuna got its name
Poor peasant girl: Oh mighty king, our master does not allow us our fair share of access to the bunds. As a result, our farms suffer and we always remain in a debt.
Macho dude King: That is outrageous and I will implement a practical solution. From now on, the river would be called Jamuna and be given a feminine identity. So that, the evil slave owners become answerable to conscience before treating women unfairly.
Poor Peasant Girl: Oh noble king, thank you, that is a spectacular idea. Also while you are at that, could you pass on that joint?
Analogies and metaphors are nice, but if we refuse to humanize a gender it would be difficult to emphasize with their tribulations. Metaphors should be used to describe not justify.
 No Means Not Yet
One of my favorite pastime after getting hammered is to watch old  cheesy indian movies. The common theme in the movies is something like this.
Guy: Hey, that girl looks cute.I just saw her feeding cookies to puppies and buying balloons for slums kids. This proves that she has a heart of gold, because logic. Hence, I think i am in love with her and I am going to win her heart.
Hero approaches the girl
Girl: Fuck off, don’t harass me!
Hero: Challenge Accepted.

Also the common themes of these movies are that,  a girl doesn’t dislike you. It is just that she doesn’t know it yet. No shouldn’t mean not yet. Ideally, you could cut your losses and move on. But again that is not seen something that the culture encourages.
As shocking as it is to believe, in my yore I have been rejected by a couple of girls. But I wizened up and moved on, because I knew there were plenty of fish in the sea who could reject me later.
Even our epics such as Ramayana are filled with ridiculousness.
During Swayamwara
Ram: Sita, babe, I think I Am the most suitable guy for you and I am in love with you. So will you please take my hand in marriage?
Sita: But there are other dudes who are good looking. That arjun fellow looks like an abercombie model for pete’s sake.
P.S: If you study Ayodhya’s history closely, you can clearly see that Abercombie & Fitch outlets used to exist in Ancient India. They were dimly lit and played jagjit singh melodies at 150 db.
Ram: But I have mad archery skills.
Sita: Swoons, I am all yours.
Mother- Sister Analogy
The other day, on a Indian sitcom it is shown that a couple of roadside juveniles, glance mischievously at a girl. An elderly man passes by and reprimands them by asking “Don’t you have any mothers or sisters”?
First of all that is a terrible logic, unless you are Tywin Lanninster. Wait, especially if you are Tywin.
Hypothetically any male can be attracted to any woman, you could have all the sisters from an Alok nath family and still heave if Gisele Bundchen walks by you at Bandra. It is perfectly normal. Let us criminalize harassment not sexuality.
Sexual Depravity
This is going to be a controversial topic because I am going to raise a speculative yet scandalous allegation that teenagers will try to get laid. In India, apart from a few select metropolis, segregation of sexes is often rampant in smaller communities.
As a teen you can’t officially ask a girl out and most relationships have to be discrete affairs. And funnily enough, parents flip the fuck out when teenagers exhibit interest in the opposite sex.
Mom: Enna da, talking to that girl from your class ah?I see you always glued to the phone! You want to be a skirt chaser or what rascal! Focus on your studies
Me: Mom, but she has my homework.
Mom: Why did you give it to her? I know you want to discuss homework only with girls, don’t you have any guy friends? What about that vikram, he always gets first rank.
Me:  Sigh! Whimpers But vikram doesn’t have boobs.
As a teenager all you care about is getting groovy. If you can ignore the sex aspect of it, juvenile relationships teach you a lot . You learn that there is no perfect one and accountability is more reliable than just impressing someone. And you become quite tolerable as a person in your twenties. Case in point

Zach
And in the event that the girls family finds out that their daughter has been dating, the father hilariously slaps the shit out of the mother, spouting the glorious phrase.
“Is this how you raise a daughter”?
Look, I understand that sex education might still be tricky topic, so if you want your kids to embrace celibacy I have two suggestions.
1. Wean them on a diet of quiz shows such as Bournvita quiz contests. So that your kid grows an allergy to silence and vomits them upon the earliest opportunity possible.
Cute cashier girl: Sir, here is the remaining balance 34.50
Me: Hmm, Did you know that Camels have 3 eyelids to protect themselves from sandstorms.

Cute cashier Girl: Next in line please

Me: God Dammit! These dumb girls will always go for losers.
2. Axe deodarant is available for Rs. 140 at your nearest Sakhari Bhandar.
Vigilante Feminism: There was a recent viral video (Rohtak Bravehearts)which went around. In which a couple of girls are caught on camera bashing two guys in the name of justice. Of course the mob joined in, without any questioning. It was later proved that, their claim was completely false.
The same with dealing with people who harass in the streets should not be dealt with vigilante mob justice. It just reeks of jingoism and misplaced patronage for women.

Sadly the new age feminism sounds divisive and accuses men for all problems women face. If you look up the news, you could always find one or two groups being officially offended because they found a sound byte inflammatory. Being offended doesn’t mean you’re right. It means that you cannot deal with your emotions.

False rape accusation, false dowry harrasment case, alimony claims, child support, eve teasing, you name it. It seems that the claim alone is enough to frame a guy, again, because logic. The court views men as guilty unless proven innocent.

Dear feminists, the world isn’t against you nor are men sitting in smoke filled rooms conspiring to stifle your progress. The world, simply put, is indifferent. As Kurt Vonnegut put it brilliantly, “So it goes”.

It is widely acknowledged that women’s emancipation through education is the surest way to eradicate poverty. Both the sexes must be symbiotic in the society to move ahead.

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Why do we get Offended?

My friends and I were heading to an Indian restaurant the other day and we saw a car swerve around us. A guy flipped us off screaming something like “curry Indians” and sped away. I was pissed but my friends and I decided to shrug it off. But I realized if that happened to an American, god forbid a gun lover; things would have gone from weird to George Zimmerman in no time.

So I thought of listing things that get easily offended and decided to pen about them. But I thought well what if I end up offending more people? I kind of buried that instantaneously. Because when you think of it, you’re always forced to be nice and say nice things about people and places. Think about it.

Say I visit Delhi for the first time. And I undergo several unpleasant things such as being spat on from the roof, getting robbed, having to listen to Honey Singh in a stuffy taxi or worse encountering Rahul Gandhi at a mall (while he attends “fuck the poor” convention). That would leave a very unsavory taste for me, right? So don’t you think I should reserve a right to say “Delhi Sucks”? Imagine if I had some mileage as a socialite and I uttered those words. Mobs would be all over me.

So that being said I will assume a right to have my opinion and exercise it poor humor in space below. I think there are three entities which are constantly offended.

Women: Whenever there is a discussion about Women’s role in the society, A lot of men resort to whipping the rhetoric by saying things like “All women are my sisters or mothers and I have a moral obligation to protect them”. Some men even push the envelope and go from being apologetic to I-hate-that-I-have-a-penis.

The agenda shifts from solving a problem to Worshipping/Respecting all women. I think to myself, Well isn’t that is cocky? Why should we generalize, I mean I am sure there are a lot of good women out there. But respect all of them? Why? Jokes apart, I highly recommend reading this article by Shoma Choudhury titled “Women in India, Sluts or Goddesses”.

I think on an average, an urban woman gets more offended than an urban guy. And I think a lot of men are at fault here.  You see growing up in an orthodox south Indian middle class society taught us men boys to be non-confrontational with women.

Punching a boy in the face and splitting his lip-

Social Reaction: Oh boys will be boys.

Having a fierce argument with a girl

Social Reaction: OMG, ZOMG Your son is going to grow up into a wife beater/rapist.

I remember this vivid incident, a few years ago. I was walking down the road the other day from my school and there was this fire truck going past us and a whiny girl in our group said “Why the fuck are these fire trucks and ambulances so loud. Ughh, they’re so loud & dumb”

I so badly wanted to grab her by the arm take her to her father and tell him that he should sue the school and get a refund on the fees he spent on her.

But I didn’t, I just nodded along. So when women go through their best years without any arguments from men (man bitches) like me. They take things for granted and get offended when people don’t agree with their opinions.

You see as a guy, I know my limits. My friends wouldn’t spare two seconds before pointing out that my argument is flawed, I am stupid and I shouldn’t be such a jerk. But I don’t think women have that feedback mechanism in them. And no grown man ever confronts or argues with a woman over a fallacious discussion because, uhm how should I put it mildly

………

……

.because they want to sleep with them.

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Governments

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One thing that I love about United States is their freedom of speech. I mean Anthony Weiner got into so much of humiliation for sexting and got kicked during the mayor election. And we have rapists in our legislative assembly. Imagine this conversation between a female reporter and a male politician.

Hot Bong Reporter: Sir, why do think women get assaulted on the streets.

Random Wannabe Politician: Because when women wear seductive clothes like salwar kameez, jeans & t shirts they know that they create attention and want to be teased.

HBR: You are such a sexist!

RWP: *Blushing and pushing the microphone aside*, Aap bhi looking very sexist madam, kyun party warty ho jaye?

You can’t even pass a bill that says criminals can’t contest in election. I mean that’s like allowing repeat sex offenders to become pastors and hang around altar kids. Oh well, you get the idea.

In order to scrutinize governments let us revisit one of the pillars of our education which went by the name Discipline. All of us wore the same uniform, studied the same kind of subjects and proceeded to carve similar careers. It felt more like being a part of an industrial supply chain rather than schooling. More importantly we were taught to think ‘ALIKE’. Respect your elders. Don’t talk back to teachers. Aberrations to the norm set above were punished.

So when we become a spineless generation that was raised from the same ground, this fear of being disciplined is ingrained in us. We do not question authority, we do not ask ourselves why we are way we are. It behooves all of us to respect the authority and even questioning/reasoning it, is seen as a mark of disrespect.

And when anyone questions the authority they are jailed or as they call it in China “Government Sponsored Holidays”. It is easier to control people when they are united in fear. So when people question the authority; they are vilified. But my argument isn’t absolute and must be taken with a pinch of salt, especially after the whole fiasco over authenticity of “Syrian Rebels”.

Religion

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Religion has been getting offended since the dawn of humans. (Insert Darwin joke- Check!)

Talking about religion isn’t my favorite hobby, but as a confessed atheist I definitely have a morbid curiosity to learn how it affects humanity.

They say criticism of religion is the beginning of criticism. But I haven’t come across a single religion which promotes reasoning. Each religion only allows questions that glorify them. It’s like every networking session I have ever attended at school. Q&A sessions were reserved only for sucking up.

I’ve always wondered why do religious people get offended so easily and react with violence when reasoned. From stoning the heretics in the black ages to blasphemy laws in a few Islamic countries in the middle east.  When scientists like Galileo, Copernicus proposed their theory on our solar system, the church didn’t condemn them for being wrong, but for being offensive.

The reason why religious people are so insecure is because religion happens to be an Idea which is seemingly immutable. Which means we can never edit it or nurture it. We can’t even add stuff like, child marriage should be banned or men shouldn’t control reproductive rights of women. They seem like good ideas right?

We won’t be here if we didn’t question ideas. The idea of energy, language, evolution, music, food etc… All of these theories were tested, improved and perfected.

Ideas are powerful and sometimes immortal. They can masquerade as ideals. Ideas are hard to give up especially when an idea grants you power over your fellow men. And that is the reason why some people want to treat them with impunity. Say what you want but all the religions have always worked in cahoots with the government in one way or other.

*Profanity ahead*

I agree that people must have freedom to have their own opinion, but not facts. So when a clusterfuck politicians discredit Global Warming to pacify Big Oil companies. It affects ALL OF US. So screw them, if they’re offended.

The same goes with gay marriages. If you are not for gay marriage, I am sorry; fuck you. You know why? It has nothing to do with you. Although you are allowed to be a homophobe within your community , you cannot ostracize a legitimate part of our society just because of their orientation.

What irks me most is when religion claims copyrights to morality. So even if a belief system is flawed you can’t question it because you can’t derive morality without it. Now this is the single reason why I chose to become an atheist. My mom used to say that when we were not so advanced, religion is the reason which taught us to be good and not kill each other.

I refuse to accept that humans who are capable of tremendous feats such as stem cell research and interstellar travel can’t figure out that killing others and beating the shit out of your parents is wrong.

We’re living in an environment which is increasingly becoming hostile to people who question the norm and attempt to hold organizations accountable. The riots in the middle-east, collapse of oligarchy’s in South America after legalization of drugs and Europe’s exoneration of the financially irresponsible are few but telling tales that there is a movement in motion. We should raise the next generation on how to learn and not force them what to learn.

If you find yourself offended all the time, I want to end with this quote.

“If you run into an asshole in the morning. You ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all the time, YOU are the asshole.”

P.S: I have heavily referenced this article. So if you’re offended please realize that you are pissed off over facts, not opinions.

A Cultural Quick Fix to RAPE

Of course most people reading this need no introduction about the incident which happened in Delhi, where a woman was so brutally raped that she now needs an intestinal replacement surgery. This incident has given diet pepsi wielding, Rang De Basanti patronizing self-confessed vigilantes who think they have a solution to this heinous act.

Following is a ten step program which girls can use to avoid rape.

1. Do not travel late into the night, traveling places which are poorly lit is a strict no-no.

2. Women should not drink or smoke as either of the acts exhibits promiscuity.

3. Women should not dress provocatively and must adhere to cultural garbs to discourage unsolicited attention from men. Must take fashion cues from Jayalalitha and Mamta Bannerjee.

4. The ideal age to marry for a girl is 21. It may be increased to 23 if she is pursues MBA, because the father has to recoup his losses. If she is married and has kids, then maybe she might not be prone to privy eyes.

5. Girls should not frequent bars or disco theques as they are filled with vile men under the influence of alcohol. It would be akin to dancing with the devil if you chose to party. And immoral, remember god is watching you

6. Sex education must be implemented in schools. Of course by that we would teach them 99% about cross pollination and asexual reproduction and 1% about human anatomy. Also we should insist that casual sex is hazardous and masturbation would lead to global warming.

7. Men and women are equal; however we should treat women like  Sisters or Mothers. It is not patronage but a tribute to our maternal society. And since a girl should be married by 21, it doesn’t give any man a chance to think about women under any other context.

8. We have forgotten our tradition; most women in the name of empowerment go out to work where they are under severe gender bias. On top of it they have to work at home to being a wife to a husband, a mother to the children and a dutiful daughter-in-law to the husband’s parents. A woman’s prime responsibility is to champion the household than struggle for independence by working.

9. Women should always travel in company of men, ideally their brothers or husbands. Because even if you befriend any other male you can never be sure about their intentions, hence it is always better to be safe than sorry.

10. Some of the younger generation might feel rebellious after listening to their elders. But they have to understand as Kareena kapoors grand father from Jab We Met said “Ek akeli ladki, khuli hi hui tijori ki tareh hoti hai” which translates as “A single girl, is akin to an open safe”.

Because a girls only treasure is her character (Read virginity), once she loses that she brings shame not only to her but also to the family and the community. Hence the girl should be responsible about her behavior as it affects a lot of people.

How to fix rape?

  1. Death to the rapists, hang them by their balls over light posts in public.
  2. Marry off the girl to the guy who raped her, because no one else will accept her afterwards
  3. The home minister should retire, politicians should be fired. Fire all the policemen, they can’t protect the public
  4. Create a Facebook page which talks about punishing rape by death sentence
  5. Write a song about how women are mistreated in this chauvinistic male society; since AR Rahman is busy we will let Pritam compose the music. It should be catchy so he should be allowed to be inspired by Korean pop bands.
  6. Women should no longer be objectified in movies; they should be no longer depicted as saucy vixens dressed in skimpy clothes. There shall be no more beach scenes and all movies should be shot at the mines of Karnataka where even partial nudity cannot be justified.

I am a huge fan of satire and I love exaggeration, however none of the above points are fiction. I have merely regurgitated the opinions voiced by many on endless TV shows and column inches on newspaper.

Now that Sachin Tendulkar has retired many columnists are going to vomit verbs from their dictionary and the focus will shift from Delhi to Sachin’s legacy. We are a bunch of indifferent and pathologically passive pedestrians with a very short attention span. And that should scare us more than anything!

Thought Crime

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I owe the readers of this blog a narcissistic apology for not writing more frequently. But I intend to repair it; I promise I will be more frequent. The past couple of months have been electric. I yearned for a super-fast/hectic lifestyle when I was applying for my master’s degree. And I am happy that I have it J

I wanted to be surrounded by assignment schedules, late night discussion over project and seriously missed the tension caused by never ending exams. For those who are making fun about this, wait till you start working!

The atmosphere here in United States is very topical to say the least at least with respect to the election. Both parties are leaving no stone unturned to make sure they get their hands on the next term. I believe the United States government has behaved irresponsibly in the past however it is the only country which is capable of repairing the global crisis both economically and politically.

My friends and my family tease me for taking interest in US politics as they quizzically ponder whether I become another “Wannabe Immigrant”? My answer is No. Not yet.

The reason I wasn’t very interested in Indian politics was because of its stymied nature. When I walked past roadside tea/coffee shops there used to be a sign which read “Discussing politics is not allowed”. Even in social situations when people began discussing politics there used to be an elder in the crowd who would say “Now, let us not spoil this wonderful evening by discussing politics”.

I empathize with everyone who has a disparaging view about politics but I feel it is morally and intellectually irresponsible for an educated adult to ignore politics. Media proliferation is a huge factor as I am amazed by the brazen nature with which each political issue is being dissected.  Every politician up there is at the mercy of the viewers which makes the competition fun to watch.

I find it funny that people are so uptight that they hold “values” more than people. These ideas or borrowed morals are so revered that they voluntarily override the basic humanity which I like to believe we are born with. Take an example

Right to Second Amendment: The right to second amendment states that every American has a “right” to carry a weapon to defend them. My humble question is if United States has the largest army in the world (More than 16 countries combined) why can’t it protect its citizens? Why do fellow Americans pay tax money which goes to defense but still have to acquire firearms to defend them? Is the amendment more precious than someone’s life?

Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Hoax: It amuses me that US is one of the very few countries which still has this debate going. I understand that in democracy you must agree to disagree. But how far is far enough? What’s the next great debate going to be about, Gravity a hoax?

Homosexuality/Atheism: I had a very naïve impression of what homosexuals suffer as they were always a subject of ridicule in India. They are at best, a last resort to an expletive in my country. People still cannot fathom why they should be given equal rights. And I think media has a huge role to play in it. For example how do you make a bald-well built-tattooed all over the body-psycho maniac even scarier? The answer: Make him gay.

And the people who defend homophobia say that they don’t feel right about it and that’s why they don’t approve of it. Pardon my French but when your feeling impedes another individual’s way of life, you have progressed from being a douche to a c*nt.

The same goes for people who cannot identify with a religion or a god. As far as I know no atheist/agnostic takes offense to the fact that the other person is a Hindu/Christian/Muslim/Jew or whatever. In that case why should religious people take offense to the ones who cannot or won’t identify with one?

How come when it comes to healthcare, politicians scream personal rights but when it comes to their belief, sexuality or abortion it’s a government policy?

Values: There is something very interesting article which was a part of our course work. (http://userhome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/irudowsky/PM/articles/TheExperienceTrap.pdf)

It talks about how managers assume that their cumulative experience makes them the best judge of the situation, even though the circumstances have changed.  And how it has been identified as the chief reason why experienced people fail at IT projects.

I don’t know enough to comment about the values that the founding fathers in US preached. But I certainly do when it comes to my country.

As a kid we are taught that the greatest contributions by India to the world are our values. From family bonds to social architecture and that we have been at the pinnacle of civilization at every turn of the century. And we take that fact for granted and somehow it’s misrepresented across generations. Should these values be shielded from reasoning?

I think most of us happen to believe that these traditions or values somehow have a life and would wobble and cry if we scrutinized them. Or somehow our forefathers would take offense to our curious nature and fart upon us during our nuptials.

Look at any social justification for rape, dowry, caste discrimination, genocide, war or nepotism the underlying reason is “It is our tradition and it has worked for us so far, so don’t question it”. People would go great lengths to defend thoughts which aren’t theirs to begin with.

The real reason I am proud of being an Indian are not the values but the effort of thought that went into them. Indus valley civilization, contribution to mathematics, medicine and literature, Gall of individuals who went against the grain like Gandhi, Bose, Ambedkar, Vivekananda, Ramanujam, Chanakya, Valluvar, Rk Laxman, Verghise Kurein etc… They empowered several others to think, question and act.

We don’t have to achieve greatness, but the least we can do is commit our reasoning to the values that are forced upon us.

I could very well end this post with an inspiring quote which would amend my exhibitive pretentiousness which was omnipresent. But these are my thoughts and I don’t require an oracle’s wisdom to approve it.

Go ahead, commit a thought crime.

Satyamev Jayate?- An Insight

It’s been a while since I wrote something new; I want to accuse my cruel Graduate studies for that. It sucked the life out of me and kept me running from pillar to post.  I had to dress up formally almost every day to college, suit up occasionally yada yada. I was very sincere with the whole thing you know? I would even iron my shirt and trousers, spray deodorant over my socks the previous night. Gosh! My mother would be proud of my preparedness.

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Anyway a new television phenomenon seems to have hit our Indian Telly. I have respected Aamir for his gutso, dedication and sincerity to art with a faint disregard for commercialization. Dhobi Ghat, Taare Zameen Par and Lagaan were testaments to his caliber. And it is refreshing to see him take on Indian television with the same attitude.

I believe gender bias is the reason for whole female feticide episode. It has many causal effects, reduced sex ratio as shown is just tip of the iceberg. As the gender gap widens, it creates logistical problem for men. It is like studying mechanical engineering in Anna University for the rest of your life, no girls for you.

I think the issue is by large a projection of our society, our values and our culture. I want to tie this issue to my generation which grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s.I feel the change agents are my generation; hence I feel it is our moral responsibility in some way to uplift the image of our society.

I in some way was brought up in a gifted society. My parents were very educated, secular and the educational environment they provided was orthodox to say the least. My schooling was from a government school, nothing fancy. To share an example our extra-curricular activities would suck, they wouldn’t even let the boys dance with the girls in the group dance events. And mind you the dances won’t even be mildly provocative; the regular Daler Mahendi marries “My India the greatest” albums.

Let us look at some of the rules that our well educated, progressive yet orthodox society had set for us which could plague our social outlook towards women in the future.

Study well: For a majority of the guys like me who hailed from an  orthodox middle class family, we didn’t have the luxury to easily befriend girls and date them at a young age. Not that the 16 year old me would send the ladies toes curling. Girls were seen as distraction to boys and parents infuse a sense of guilt if a boy is spending time loitering with girls, irrespective of the academic performance.  Our teachers would report us to our parents if they found we were fooling around with a girl. In summary we were promised that girls would come eventually to us if we were successful with our academics and career. Isn’t that incredibly sexist? I bet you didn’t think so when they summoned you.

As girls are seen as an end product of success, it becomes a mild mental block to think of them as individuals. To be disappointed with the newlywed wife is akin to saying I bought this toy and it doesn’t listen to me anymore. Most guys who seriously believe that studying well is the cardinal rule to marry a hottie think again.

Imagine this scenario(Arranged marriage): Sincere boy abiding by their parents rules studies well and is at the girls house to seek the girl. Guy fantasizing that though the address is Anna naga there might be a Megan fox in this house hold dressed up in madisaar. But when ”homely” looking girl shows up and churns out dialogues like “Got 97% in tenth standard, strong communication skills and ability to make coffee while discussing editorial in Hindu” How heartbroken the guy would be. It is the same feeling that suicide bombers face after they discover that the 72 virgins are actually World of Warcraft nerds with sweaty underarms and ample acnes.

No wonder they turn out to be assholes during the marital life. (I think I might have offended both feminists and terrorists in one go. Never thought I would do this. Again.)

Think about this, we are taught to respect girls as our sisters and mothers but never as equals. We mask a hidden sense of disparity and indifference under the cloak of respect.

The problem with Elders: The show depicted women being cruelly dealt by the inlaws, some of them so uncharitable to mention in the space of this blog.  Now those in laws used to be children once, what changed; what exactly went wrong? You would find sapient 50 year olds writing columns and columns of how we need to improve as a generation, but what can they say about their conduct?

We are taught to treat our elders with veneration and adulation. There is nothing wrong in that, but when respect is transposed as unquestionable faith in their decision making; it bothers me. I had a huge tiff with my parents growing up where my parents and uncles were teaching me “manners”. Often they would go about how “parents/elders know what is best for their children”. I think to use todays jargon, I trolled them big time. I was forced to attend Java and VB classes. So I asked them which language do you think would be more productive, Java or VB? The fact that I didn’t know jack shit about programming nor do I know now is not the issue here.

The “elders” stood flummoxed but I do remember hours and hours of drama after that question, because I had proved to them that elders do not know best. They know only what they have been through and even then it doesn’t grant them any authority in my decision making. There is this untold fixation with authority that plagues our elders. Now I am in no way giving tips on parenting for it would be as pointless as reading an erotica written by L.K Advani.

The social divide: In the first world countries the only place where I see a gender divide is in the public restrooms. But take a look at our country, from ticket counters to public transport to election booths. We have separate lines for men and women. Shouldn’t they be more comfortable around us as we should be around them? How long do we need moral policing and forced guidance in social etiquettes?

Societal Pressure: I am talking about dowry system. This used to be the prime culprit for female feticide as poor people couldn’t afford to pay dowry to get their daughters off married. And they thought them of as burden as they couldn’t work with them in farms. This pathetic condition still holds true in many of our villages. But are we as metropolitan cities any better?

And if you ask the parents or the girls why they agree to it they would say that in order to be a part of the society we need to do it. If your neighbor spends X amount of money on wedding, you should at least spend X+1 on it. This social imbecility has to stop sometime, but I reckon it won’t.

Educating and empowering women has shown to be a great solution to eradicating poverty and as a majority of our population still lives in villages we should embrace it. Aishwarya rai’s apparent expulsion from a movie prompts a twitteranche (avalanche + twitter) but would they hike the salary by the merest of margins if their maid got pregnant?

http://www.oceanofweb.com/bollywood/aishwarya-pregnancy-bhandarkar.html

I want the show to put us at unease and ask uncomfortable questions which we have been avoiding for a long time. Under the aegis of technology and industrial revolution lies many a skeleton which haven’t seen the light. I hope we work towards a society where we are treated on basis of our behavior rather than our gender.  Good luck Aamir and Team!

Questioning a cause: KONY 2012

KONY.

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Yes the same child thieving, smug mafia man who had committed untold atrocity over the past thirty years without being brought to justice. But this piece is not going to be about that. Call me cold, but what astonishes me is the way people have been reacting to it. You may argue that pen is mightier than a sword. I say unless you have a desert eagle in your holster.

In the past pen has proven to be mighty, but it was also a time when people were ready to get to the streets and get the work done. However now everyone wants to be inspired not inspire. There is a global want of more governments and less governance. But I won’t beat the hammer into the old nail of “In our old days” v/s “You internet fed yuppies”. For two reasons

  1. It has been done to death.
  2. I want to be fair to imbeciles from both generations

When I saw people suggesting that more needs to be done rather than just “sharing” the video or mocking its sincerity and direction, they were treated with contempt guile and shock something similar on the lines of what would happen if Dalai Lama would shows up at the opening of Mainland China.

So back to Kony, the wave of pedestrian morality overwhelms the cry of reason and logic. This is what I am going to speak about.  Being a nihilist I have long conformed to the notion that everything that people do is for their happiness. From mothers love to a soldiers sacrifice. There is no shame in admitting that.

In this viral era, where every second click counts, the longevity of feeling good is very short lived. Growing up the smallest of things would cheer me up for days; a joke would keep me going for days. But now nothing lasts more than a few seconds. I constantly read memes, cartoons and blogs which are funny to make myself smile. It is as if I am scared of not being amused every second.  There is a constant need to feel good which I find very unhealthy.

And this is the exact sentiment that has been exploited for years by quacks, TV evangelists and now marketing professionals armed with inspiring music and sharp editing. A quick share here and like goes a long way in feeling good about ourselves.

But how many of us would want to do more substantial than that? You might fend off this plea of responsibility by repeating the most disturbing cliché of all times “It is not the effort but the intention that counts”. So why am I being bothered by something that seems innocuous from the outside? If sharing pictures, quotes and emotional videos brings some solace to people? Why should I be a party pooper by blaring sense into them?

Unfortunately the ramifications are multifold. While we celebrated Indian army’s bravado in the aftermath of 26/11, they left to their stations hungry in a B.E.S.T bus fed by measly Parle G biscuits. The attention was more towards which celebrity had to say more about terrorism than the actual people who fought against them. They, the soldiers didn’t see montages of bravery, fear or any emotion that the television channels indulge your cathartic heart. They see responsibility, an urge to be DONE WITH IT.

Agreed that social media was a great enabler of the revolution in the Middle East. But it merely informed them of their duties. If everyone sat in their couches tweeting and re-tweeting about the movement, nothing of substance would have been achieved. All the agents of acceleration such as music, videos, speeches and articles wanted to propel the angst into something substantial and boy it did.

Right for freedom of expression is okay, but would there ever be a right for responsibility? Which would call for action and not just words?

One of the most potent solutions to world’s problem such as poverty, unemployment, crimes against humanity is empowering and educating women. It is time tested and proved method which makes sure that there is no sudden surge in population, better sanitary habits and a general awareness towards better quality of life. Yes of course you would have to listen to the sometime god awful feminist speeches and hen picking. But at the greater scheme of things I think that is excusable.

But beyond the stupidity, naivety and erroneous application of humanity what is more dangerous is cynicism. Missionaries with vested religious interest, marketing companies targeting viewership or just plain teenagers trying their best to get attention are arrows shot at a cause. Most of them miss completely, a few of them brush and a couple hit.

Let us not stop that, even if a couple of kids are saved from the treachery of child slavery and early adoption into crime. I unwillingly, unemotionally and unsympathetically still support Kony 2012.

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P.S: I do stay true to my words and in my attempt I saved up to 100$ for the cause of Kenyan girls education through BAPGSU. Three girls will get access to graduate level education through the ten thousand odd dollars collected at our fraternity.