Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Don't make a big deal out of it, deal with it"

The first time was when I was 19,  in a BTS bus from KR Market to Jayanagar. Men were sitting on seats which are normally reserved for women. There was this 70+ year old woman standing next to me, and I wanted her to sit. I asked the guys to vacate. "Are you women to be sitting on the ladies seat?," I asked. "Come outside, we'll show you how much of men we are," they taunted. I am not making this up. I went and complained to the conductor of the bus, because I was still a firebrand then. The conductor said, "Madam, don't make a big deal out of it." I still remember it, because this was the first time I was scared for my safety and life. I knew the threats were real.  I reported it to my mother, she said, she'd been through this, it's normal, and I should carry a safety pin, poke them or pinch them hard. But I need to deal with it.

The other time, imprinted firmly in my memory, is when a friend said, "Women need to be made to feel cheap."  He was three whiskys down, I'd just had a beer, non-kosher for women.  I got very angry, obviously, and stomped off the pub.The other friend who was with us, he begged me to come back. His response was, "Don't make a big deal out of it." Deal with it.

Yesterday, someone posted something excruciatingly misogynistic on my FB feed:  that women should dress "decently", so as to not "tempt the monsters," quoting "indian culture" and all such things thereof. I argued all I could on FB, and the chap said, he'll "allow" his wife to wear anything in Singapore, India is a different story, "I won't be comfortable". "We must be decent". "India won't change, but we must be aware of our safety ourselves". When I pointed out that in Singapore, women wear what they want, he replied, "Singapore doesn't have monsters." I've been quiet through everything so as to be age appropriate, but I just couldn't take it and ranted in person and said that I wanted to slap the chap, and explain with the fact that,for that girl, her innards were mutilated and she may not be able to have another meal, and the fact that it's december in delhi and she couldn't have been more than covered. I was received with the now familiar response, "Don't make a big deal out it." And. Errrrr, "Deal with it."

Why shouldn't I make a big deal out of it? Tell me one good reason not to. Tell me one good reason why I should deal with it. In this day and age, people have lost jobs because of saying something remotely racist, this-ist or that-ist, and if you think I should keep shut because this is normal and I shouldn't be making a big deal out of it ? Why shouldn't this guy lose his job? Why shouldn't he be publicly shamed?

I've been molested, I've been pinched and groped and grabbed and abused. Tell me one Indian woman who can claim to not have been through this. But we never make a big deal out of it. Because we shouldn't, we can't, we must not. Because being born a woman means you accept that this is a part and parcel of life. And deal with it.

I am thoroughly saddened now. I am sad I can walk around  wearing anything in Singapore, but I have to endure this every single time I visit India. I am sad I know such people. I don't want to talk to them. And as far as India is concerned, I don't ever want to return, even to visit. I want to wear what I want, say what I want, do what I want. I am tired of dealing with it.
 And you deal with it.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Murder, she wrote.

Long overdue, and hence I will keep it brief.

Two thoughts. One from a friend, "Most people aren't really happy with where they are, but aren't really unhappy enough to do anything about it. That's a bad place to be in. Don't fall into the trap"

Second from Gordon Ramsey on Hell's Kitchen, where he asks a team to select who to 'nominate for elimination' and he gives a very interesting piece of advice to the team - to get rid of the dead weight. "It doesn't matter whether you like or hate them", he says, "what is important that you get rid of stuff which is dead weight on the team."

What a brilliant thought. Usually it's the most difficult thing to do, because of the sheer number of things we carry with us as albatrosses around our neck: nostalgia, relationships, things, clothes which do not fit anymore, old pencil boxes, broken pens. It is hard to get rid of things we're sentimentally attached to, but sometimes you're left with little choice.

This blog has become just that: dead weight. I keep thinking I will write here more, but this space and the mood I've set here just prevents me from doing anything worthwhile with it. And I hardly see any point dragging it on forever.
It doesn't mean I have stopped writing, but I doubt if I'd be writing here anymore.

I guess that's that.

So have you killed a blog today?

Friday, January 07, 2011

Dirty One

Being firmly on the wrong side of thirty and hanging out with all early-20s kidlings on the eve of your birthday means you take a stock of your life. You think of how you used to be. To add to that, all your friends, including the 'complicated' ones -- the drunks, the chimneys, the yummy mummies, the divorced, the single-after-thirty -- also come to celebrate. All this makes you take a stock of life, of what you have, what it could've been, what you've done, what you've left behind. And you come to one conclusion, that even if you're given a choice, you wouldn't want to change where you are and how you are, perhaps. There are things you'd perhaps change in the journey, but not the fact that despite your warts and transgressions and murky past and the Annus horribilis, you're here, now, blowing 'a' candle, cutting a cake and licking the icing off your fingers, and just feeling very very loved.

Something will perhaps never change -- that I love receiving phone calls at midnight, and jump with joy each time I rip open the wrapping paper to discover what's inside, and stare at my phone waiting for the phone calls. Some people ask me to grow up, some people ask me to change, they can go, umm, fuck themselves, because now, being this old, I do know that the moment I lose that excitement, that nervousness of what lies ahead, I might as well die.

This year, I gift myself a re-solution -- something you'll see tomorrow or day after.
Right now, I am here, now.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A year in bad movies

I watch one bad movie each year. This year, there have been one too many. In no necessary order of preference. Note: It contains nothing that hasn't been said before.

Tees Maar Khan:

I have the unique ability to sleep through movies. It's subject to much jokes among friends, but sometimes it serves as a boon. If the movie seems too boring, my brain automatically shuts down, and I can't really control it. So yeah, I slept through a better part of the second half of TMK, which some of you would've liked to do.

You could ask me why I went in the first place. Having watched "After the Fox" just a few days back, I was just curious to witness the massacre, given the bad reviews. (A was particularly offended by the fact that the credits don't mention the original anywhere.)

Either way, from what I watched, the Priyadarshan-ization of Farah Khan is rather depressing. While they ripped the jokes from the original, they really stripped the joke of the humour, and they're left to being wimpy lines like "day ho". People still laugh in the theater, so it should work out fine for the monies, but it really insults the intelligence.

The so called saving grace of the movie, 'I am Sheila's flaming youth', comes much too early in the movie for anyone to want to wolf-whistle. I am a huge fan of pep-uppy item songs, but they always seem nicer when you already know the character. (A good example would be Rajini movies, where even the non-contextual songs are often awesomely placed.) But then again, if I'd heard Katrina speak, I would've pelted rotten eggs at the screen (or perhaps, slept through it). Ms. Kaif would undoubtedly win the fingernails-on-chalkboard for me, if it wasn't for a certain Ms. Kapoor who drives me insane.


Hated it. HATED IT.
With Abhay Deol being on the cast, one would hope that the movie was redeemable despite the presence of unbearably annoying Ms. Kapoor whose lisp (or whatever the weird accent is) makes me want to kill her. From the beginning, you never quite warm up to Aisha, though you buy her rich spoilt brat act, as most of her is hidden behind layers of fashion and froth. In a movie like DCH, about rich spoilt brats, we liked them because there was a semblance of connect. Here, nothing.

Which seems to be the problem with most Hindi movies - over-stylized to an extent where you don't seem to know where the story lies.

The movie drags on and on. And on with this: Shopping. Party. Shopping. Races. Shopping. Camping. Shopping. You get the drift? In between there are a couple of songs, and it ends with some monologues.

The only good thing that come out of the movie, for me was the fact that inspired by Aisha, and her black nailpolish, I decided to experiment, and since then, toenails have been painted blue, purple, green etc.


Ah, 16 part YouTube uploads, how I love you.

Yet another over-stylized movie, hidden within layers of froth and curtains. The movie had a huge potential of exploring relationships: of the love-hate relationship between a bed-bound person and his sole provider (who is his sole companion), or that between the magician and the apprentice (who comes across as a counterpoint to the nurse in intelligence and spirit), or that between the nurse and her husband (who should be insecure about her devotion for her master.)


Instead we see, Curtains, bedsheets, tall windows, and long monologues. And the red to match. The emotions and relationships, we're left to guess. Inspired by 'Prestige', my ass.
Hritik Roshan is a very vain actor. Here he delivers his dialogues believing he's has a role in a character/arthouse movie, when it is simply a masala potboiler. The effort just shows.
Aishwarya Rai flits in and out of the frames, wearing some weird attire that no woman who's functional around the house should be caught wearing.

The memory is kind of vague, but I remember it was funny. Vaccuum cleaners have undoubtedly been the preferred gadget off late - with the 3 idiots baby delivery, and here, in this movie, helping with the heist.
And code cracking is of the order of "five letter password for a man obsessed with susan"

"I'm in, it's time to win" 'nuff said.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I know, I know..

Dismal failure.

Not that I didn't write, but as always, I never finished what I wrote. Like a lot of life's grand plans, once those pieces were raised from infancy until adolescence, I sort of expected them to grow up by themselves and figure themselves out and make a mark in the world.

Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Everything, everything seems to need the nurturing even through its adulthood. Abandoned verses are aimless. And that process of being, for lack of a better word, a preserver, treads the thin line between being boring or exhausting. A preserver mostly has to be a persevere-r.
Either way, this time of the year scares me - with the top ten lists and the amount of festive cheer forced down my throat. It's the time when I squeeze the truth and truce into my now tight jeans, and hide the much analysed and much handled-love within warm wintry layers of wistfulness, while the secrets get stuffed in the front pocket, so no one can pickpocket them.
I am not making any sense, am I?
Yes, you're right. It's all tripe.

To cut a long story short, past few months have been not-that-great. They seem to have passed off in a daze, without any peaks or landmines to mark progress or to remember life by. Not that there haven't been any. There have been many, but none of them give me the happiness or rebound I seek. And I don't like the feeling.

You see, there are two kinds of tangible wants: the ones you really want and the ones which you want so you can brag on facebook. I choose to believe that dig the former, those are the only ones I want. They've always been important, so much so that as a friend points out that that I'll never be happy thanks to my obsession with rockstars and rockstarriness. Nothing pleases me, nothing amuses me, nothing but people pushing themselves beyond what I think is easy. Unfortunately, these kind of wants are a moving target.

If only joy and cheer could be an ornament on a Christmas tree, and Santa would leave me a note saying "you're doing just fine" in the stocking hung on my doorknob.
So I attend this event where people showcase how they are not ordinary. Speaking there are surfers and climbers and the guy who aborted his summit attempt to Mount Everest to save a life. In the audience is a whole bunch of 40+ year olds who have a sub-4h full marathon time, telling me that I have a lifetime ahead of me. I make no secret of my envy and turn to this friend of mine and tell him how their spirit stumps me. (A man-child at 44, he always gives me the feeling of being young, because he is still making those mistakes that I hope to have grown out of by then.)

"Well", he says, "Only 40 somethings do all this shyte. At your age, I couldn't have been arsed to climb even the Bukit Timah hill. You're doing just fine."

You're doing just fine.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


... I lost my way. Sowwy.


Just because someone else doesn't point your faults out, doesn't mean you don't have any.
It perhaps just means that they are nice enough not to point fingers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nepal, redux

So looks like my post a week project has nearly failed. Nearly, not totally. I have three perfect drafts waiting for me. I have no idea where this odd perfectionist comes up from. I think I am just afraid to post what I write, and usually, the hard task of thinking of the title and the act 3 of any post has me exhausted. Either way:

One year after it all started, I feel it in my bones that I need to go back to the place which altered my life in a way I can't describe. That long winding painful trek to the Everest Base camp last year. Yes, the one I haven't told you about. Yes, the one that's beyond description. Yes, my ankle is not that strong anymore.

Save for the memories of the horrendous toilets, the pain has all but vanished. All that remains of the trip is the memory of the nip in the air, the euphoria of having made it, and the distant but happy strains of Resam Firiri.

And after promising "never again" a hundred times, all this while I've been wanting to go back.

So yeah. As luck would have it, I will be off to Nepal until Tihar (Diwali) starting tomorrow. On work, yes. I am in no physical state for a trek. It's alright. I'll deal with it. This time I aspire to write about the place more, and rediscover the favourite spots in Kathmandu.

Also, I am superstitious. I leave tomorrow morning without much notice. I still don't have tickets, I don't have hotel bookings. I have new shoes, but my new suit is not altered. Packing, oh well. I am almost afraid to press publish, lest I jinx it.