Why Is #MeToo Being Branded As Anti-Men?

No smartass title. No lengthy introduction. Let me cut straight to the chase.

Why would some people think that something that is pro-women has to be anti-men? Why are so many men lashing out at something that is helping women bring out their horrifying secrets? Why hasn’t nobody noticed that there’s a hashtag that’s doing the rounds along with this that includes men, too? Why doesn’t anybody pick up on this?

For so many years, women have been subject to rape, molestation, and humiliation. Yes, men go through it, too. I do not deny it. But if you don’t come out and talk about it, you have no right to yell against those who do! It is only now that women are being empowered to talk about it, against it. And if, instead of supporting them, you decide to belittle them by calling them names like attention-seekers and anti-men, then you are less human than anyone ever found you.

People, in this time and age, think everything is inflammatory. If you don’t like it, diss it. If you like it, defend it with all you have, no matter the language and people’s feelings. There is no opinion now. There’s only “you are wrong” and “I am right”. Why does it have to be like this? Have we lost our capacity as understanding, compassionate human beings? When I look at all the hate being spread over social media, it doesn’t take long for me get the answer.

The hashtag #MeToo was supposed to help women come out and talk against what they’ve been through. The men who thought not could have merely changed the ‘women’ in the status to ‘men’ and updated it. But no. So many of them had to cry foul, go on a rant, and bring it to feminism stomping down on men. When all those women needed was support, these men decided to accuse women of merely looking out for themselves and ignoring men.

This class of men thinks on the lines of ‘if you want feminism, do it yourself.’ Or ‘if you are so strong, open the jar yourself,’ or ‘if you are so independent, change the car tire yourself.’ Then why now, do they need women to bring their problems to the forefront? We are doing it ourselves. You do it yourself, too. Why pile on the hypocrisy?

Forget feminism. Be human! Help each other out. Just stop with the self-inflicted hate and self-pity! #MeToo is NOT anti-men. Open your eyes and ears, read, and listen. Most of all, listen to yourself speak. It doesn’t even make sense when you look at it in the larger picture. Years from now, when you look back, it will be what defined you at one time. And I’m not sure that’s a good thing to be proud of.

The Jasleen Kaurs and Kangana Ranauts of the world don’t deserve any support because they took advantage of and misused their identity as women. But we are more than that. When you say ‘Not all men are the same’, why don’t you apply the same rule to women? Maybe it is futile asking this question. But we would love some sanity in your arguments.

The anger behind this blog post had been simmering since morning. But this picture popped up in my Facebook news feed, shared by an acquaintance from college, and I couldn’t control my anger.

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How unfair is it that when men oppressed women for so long, it was considered tradition. But when women are now trying to break free and fight for their rights, it is looked down upon as anti-men. Many traditions have been misogynistic, if you pay attention. But when you compare that number with those that have been misandrist, the misandry is almost negligible.

I am not saying that men aren’t subjected to the same trauma that women go through. I am as sympathetic to men as I am to women. And that’s how it should be. But when many people from one gender start dissing the other for standing up, I feel ashamed for humanity.

I had written against the ‘My Choice’ video directed by Homi Adajania and that starred Deepika Padukone. I still think certain points in it aren’t good. But does that mean everybody starts taking offense at narrations of horrific experiences?


It is in times like these, that we need compassion, understanding, and a ear to hear us out. And when we don’t find that, where else can we go?


Short Story – Indian Traffic is Karma

[Or vice versa.]

[All incidents occurred in Hyderabad.]

Let me tell you a story this time.

So last week, on my way to work, I encountered a red at the Indira Park signal, which happens more than half the time. Most of the roads in India are fraught with potholes, speed-breakers, and uneven, back-breaking stretches of tar. And the road from Indira Park to the Telugu Talli flyover is no less. Especially on the left, just in front of Ramakrishna Math. Because I value my spine and my vehicle (a Honda Activa), I keep to the right, driving behind a white Maruti Swift till the Telugu Talli signal.

Anybody who’d overtake me would have to overtake the Swift in front to find a clear road. And that is also not guaranteed. So until then, we’re going pretty peacefully.

The peace, however, is shattered as a highly irritating honking sounds from right behind me. This man in a huge silver SUV (didn’t catch which) is impatient to go ahead. I chuckle, because there’s no place on my side, like I explained earlier. If he wished to, he could have gone on from the left. I swear there was enough place there. But he didn’t.

When we reached the signal there, this man, I don’t know why, decides he needs to wipe the road with his car. He doesn’t leave silently either. He takes a large, obscene curve while honking, and turns onto the flyover. I frown at the audacity of the man, driving alone in a big-ass SUV, and treating the roads like his personal dusting ground.

Soon after he climbs the flyover, I do too. And what do I see? There’s a lull in the speed and Mr. I-Deserve-To-Go-Ahead-Because-I-Have-A-Monster-SUV is stuck in that traffic. I’m not even kidding when I say I laughed out loud. A see-what-you-did-now-karma-has-you kind of laugh.

As I near the SUV, I see that the man is trying to claim every nook and cranny to himself, even those that can only accommodate a two-wheeler. The globally accepted code for when there’s space and you hear a honk from behind is that someone intend to occupy that space. And that’s exactly what I did. I honked one long blast, because I know this guy doesn’t listen to anybody but his own car. I drove past him, looking straight ahead. I think I hurt his ego while doing so because he started honking the moment I passed him.

Using the same logic as before, I drive on the right while descending the flyover. Lo and behold. Mr. I-Now-Have-A-Bruised-Ego comes over and has something to say to me. I feel special because he has rolled down his window and all. [:P] But I hardly pay attention to him, looking stoic as I stare ahead. But what have I done! I have mangled his ego this time. Of course, Uncle doesn’t take kindly to being treated like this. So what does he do?

Of course he does! He swerves sharply towards the right and ends up in front of me, missing my vehicle by a hair’s breadth. I am now incensed. I did not (might have) yelled at him this time, because this was taking it too far. But I needn’t have wasted my energy. Because Mr. I-Will-Obliterate-Everything-In-My-Way got stuck in traffic just as he was off the flyover. And I swear yet again, I smirked the hell out of a smirk.

This time, as I passed him, I glared at him. And he did not look at me. Bruised-Egomaniac was looking ahead. I guess he was looking forward (I did not make a pun!) to a clear road (impossible). My final vindication was when I took the U-turn waaaaayyyy before he did. One more glare and I was on my peaceful way again.

Moral of the story: What goes around, comes back around – St. Justin Timberlake.

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P. S. My rant on Indian road sense coming up soon.

Picture Courtesy: Pinterest.

Why Is Sensitivity Stereotyped As Representing Weakness?

With the advent of modern TV commercials, the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of sensitivity is the ad for Sensodyne toothpaste (“Masoodon mein jhanjhanahat” or “numbness of the gums”). Now that these advertisements are everywhere, the world sensitivity has been relegated to a mere joke, though what the ad is trying to say is anything but a joke.

But sensitivity as a trait is so much more than the emotion it explains. As with some others, the way sensitivity is seen as a trait is completely twisted. It’s not exactly what it actually embodies. It is seen more as a negative quality than as a positive one. And that is, in no way, an encouraging statement.

This might be a little vague. Let me explain.

Sensitive people are mostly viewed as those who cry or get angry easily, or in more general terms, those who are affected easily, at the tiniest provocation. They are branded crybabies or short tempered people! But the point is, these are not the only things that define sensitivity as a human trait. It is much more than that.

Sensitivity is the quality wherein a person can gauge what’s going on around them without putting in much effort. This could include gauging emotions, behavior, or situations in general. Such people have the capacity to be sensitive about things that happen around them. They observe more, they understand people better (sometimes in eccentric ways), and they know better than to pick a fight and disrespect others. They may cry without replying. That only means they respect you more than their own arguments mean to them. They may leave the room if they get angry. That only means that respecting you and maintaining that respect means more to them than their venting their temper and saying hurtful things.

Sensitivity is misunderstood in the common world so much that it becomes difficult for one to explain anything about it. Mostly because many people are very unfairly dismissive of sensitive people. They prefer not telling sensitive people anything. “Oh, don’t tell her anything. She’ll get angry and explode!” Or, “Him? He’s such a control freak!” Or, “You react too violently.” And all this, while sensitive people are merely trying to point out the obvious while trying to have a normal conversation that involves information exchange and explanations. (Sensitive people -> more observant. Remember?”)

Many-a-times, a person’s sensitivity is used like an insult – as if it is a bad thing. But once you understand the meaning of the word sensitive, you will be able to see the infinite depths that the quality possesses. You will be able to understand that sensitivity is not just being provoked into tears or anger, but it is also being understanding of the emotions of the people around you. The empathy that you see in them, you build in yourself.

All a sensitive person wants is to people to understand them for who they are, rather than judge them for merely two of the emotions that make up sensitivity.

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Picture Courtesy: Linnea Butler, LinkedIn!

Idiocy – A Rampant Trait That Is Pulling The World Down

It is unfair to expect that everyone in the world behaves the same. It is also unfair to expect that human beings don’t make mistakes. But there is nothing that can actually beat the hypocrisy and the lack of basic common sense that millions of people seem to be afflicted with. While you calmly sit back and look at it from the outside, it is when these qualities touch you that you wonder: Why is the world filled with such idiocy?

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Picture Courtesy: irontreedesigns.co.uk

This isn’t a random question that popped up out of nowhere one day. The question has been simmering at the back of my mind for a long time now, accentuated with incidents that somehow strengthen the feeling with which I ask such questions. There was one incident not too long ago that sort of angered me. But first, it shocked me and numbed me. I wondered why people are such idiots that they have to go to such lengths to put an unsuspecting innocent bystander down.

The incident happened when I was sitting in office and talking to colleagues. I looked at the screen and on seeing that it was an unknown number, answered the call, because who knew if it was from some delivery guy asking for the address to deliver an order? So I answer the call and this woman starts talking without preamble.

“Ma’am, my name is Sunita and I am calling from the blood donation camp…”

That does not sound right. How did the blood donation folks get my number? Because I would never in my life donate blood. And that is not because I don’t want to.

I ask her the same. “How did you get my number?”

She gets all offended for some reason, as if I was the one calling her and irritating her. “Madam, aapka number hamare records mein hai, toh call kiya.” (Madam, your number is there in our records, so we called you.)

I interject, because there’s no way my number could get into their records. “Wahi toh pooch rahi hoon ki mera number aapke records mein kyu aaya? Maine toh nahi diya kabhi bhi!” (That’s what I am asking: how did my number get in your records? I have never given my number to you.)

She is coming up with all sorts of idiotic explanations by now. “Aapke koi friend ne diya hoga jab wo blood donate karne aaye the.” (One of your friends might have given your number when they donated blood.)

“Mere friends mujhse pooche bina number kyu denge?” I ask, exasperated. (Why will my friends give my number without asking me?)

At this point she literally verbally explodes. “Hamein kya pata! Ab aapko call kar diya toh kya paap kar diya kya? Abhi agar kisi ladke ka call aa jaye toh chatak kar ke phone uthake baat karengi. Aap jaisi ladkiyan toh hoti hi aisi ho. Kuch toh sharam karo!”

(How would we know? Did we commit a sin by calling you? Now if a guy would call you, you would answer the phone in a jiffy and talk to them. Girls like you are always like this. Have some shame!”)

I was so incensed by this time that I told her that she was the one without any shame and cut the call while she was talking. I was fuming for days afterwards. I noted her number down and tried to file a complaint against her on TRAI’s website but it almost always redirects one to the Do Not Disturb page. But when I tried looking for her number on Truecaller, it showed that 162 people have marked it as spam. As I check again now, more people have got on the bandwagon. 237 people as of 6 PM on March 13, 2017.

Here’s the woman’s number: 7065173775

And here’s the link to the Truecaller page:


Women like these are the reason why women who want to progress are pulled back. With their small minds and filthy thinking, they wreak havoc on what could be a progressive world. I just hope that she learns that demeaning other women does not make her a goddess. In fact, it makes her one of those people who bring society down and make it stay at the bottom of the ocean. Like a negatively wired anchor.

Idiocy like this needs to be curbed, but then, how do we sift it from our society? How do we banish people with thoughts like these to the extremities of the world so that they don’t dump filth on whatever progression we are making? It’s a crossroad that we are confronted with, but like in reality, we need to choose a path so that we move forward and progress!

It’s Time We Stopped Discriminating Our LGBT Fellows!

The Universe as we know it is a bouquet of multitudinous, constantly revolving, constantly moving objects. In the largest scheme of things, we figure as nothing but mere specks. God, the one Creator of everything that exists, made sure that existence didn’t show bias. Everything, from the brightest star to the dullest meteor is allowed to take its own path. Occasionally, there are explosions from them running in to each other, but who’s complaining? There are after all, certain laws that keep them away from each other most of the times. And that’s just how the Universe works. If God is content with watching the Universe learn on its own, how does one planet’s haughty rebellion even matter?

The problem here is the planet itself. Us. The Earth. We think we are the whole soul that keeps the Universe together; that without us, nothing can exist; that we are the saviors of the world, when in fact, we are responsible for destroying it. We are responsible for destroying what lies around us and what lies within us. We fight in the name of religion, discriminate based on caste, gender, and sexual orientation, and thrust manmade traditions and rules on everyone in sight. Anybody who doesn’t conform to our idea of “perfection”, we detest. We hate, we ridicule, we shame. Like our existence on Earth is the only thing that matters.

But we need to get over ourselves. There was life on Earth before us and there will be life long after us. Remember the dinosaurs? There are two quotes from my favorite book, The Fault in Our Stars that I’d like to quote here:

We’re as likely to hurt the Universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either.

There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will be no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything.

This couldn’t be any truer. We are going to die. All of us. So if it is inevitable, why discriminate? Why fight? Why can’t we live and let live? A lot many of us say that God resides in every one of us. So why can we not actually find that God, respect Him, and do what He does every day? Be kind and patient with our fellow humans? Why can’t we just look at each other as human beings with varied interests? Why is it so difficult?

The people who get the worst bargain in this world of hypocritical discrimination are those who belong to “socially unacceptable” sections. Though times are changing (even if it is at a snoring snail’s pace), there are still those that are subjected to rude behavior every single day. Especially in India when it comes to their sexual orientation.

The LGBT community is looked down upon, for reasons I can never understand. Aren’t they human beings, too? Who is anyone else to judge them for their orientation – something they cannot control? What makes the discriminators the barometer of propriety in the world? Just because some people are attracted to people from other genders, you are not entitled to treat them any differently. The worst part of it all is that the people who discriminate cannot stand being discriminated. Treating people from the LGBT community differently shows your true self. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people are as much entitled to living a life of their own based on their sexual orientations and terms, as much as anybody else is. Just let them breathe!

Rainbow Painted Hand Shape

People who have come out of the closet find it difficult, with so much unreasonable hate revolving around them. Not all of them are ideal role models but everyone can learn a lot from what their stories have to teach.

Take for example Caitlyn Jenner, born Bruce Jenner, an Olympian and now arguably the most famous transgender in the world. She has made insensitive remarks now and again and faced the ire of the global transgender community. Yet, many people view her as a role model, maybe because she had the guts to go ahead and follow her heart.

Back in India, Karan Johar came out subtly in his autobiography, An Unsuitable Boy. Harsh jibes and barbs were common against Johar, but post this episode, it’s probably become worse, though he’s apparently taking down trolls like a boss.

People in the public eye do have difficulties, but it is those who remain unknown – common people like you and me – who have to go through worse everyday hell, thanks to the lack of awareness on such topics at layman level. I hope that one day, all of this will change, and everyone can live in peace without taunting or getting taunted based on gender, caste, creed, color, religion, or sexual orientation.

I don’t intend to hurt anyone by this post. I just want to reach out to all those people and stand by them in solidarity, even if they refuse, even if they don’t notice me. These thoughts have been with me for years now, simmering beneath the surface. And I finally found a way to put them forward.

The world as we know it is bound to end sooner or later. How and when is a mystery. So until we are faced with impending oblivion, could we not give each other the courtesy that we expect from others? Could we not love, live, and let live? Could we not stop behaving like everything in existence depends on us? (Because seriously. It doesn’t!) Could we not accept the fact that there is an unbiased God watching over all of us?

After all, we aren’t the center of the Universe, you know!


Picture Credit: playbuzz.com

The Fear And Thrill Of Turning 27

I turn 27 today.

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I’m not sure how to feel about it.

Has turning a year older made me wiser? Or is the milestone a mere marker in this bag of more-shocks-than-surprises called Life?

To be truthful, I still don’t know. Maybe life will catch up with me or I will catch up with life. Soon.

But the past year has taught me one important lesson: to not give up once you have a goal. Of course, terms and conditions apply with a big asterisk hovering over them. These goals – the ones you put up on your whiteboard at the top and can’t seem to erase – are too over your level of achievement. Life has done pirouettes and violent MMA-style moves to drill ACHIEVABLE GOALS! (all in caps) into my head.

And yet, the heart remains as cryptically incomprehensible as ever as it sees bright meteors raining down in the future, through all the translucence that shrouds it in the depths of uncertainty. Secretly stashed away wishes, lovely pinpricks of hope, and a radiance that resonates deep within the persona come prancing out of the shell in response to the mind’s investigations into the heart’s dealings.

What would the heart know of heartbreak yet?

How could I tell the heart to aim lower – especially when it is being so uncharacteristically buoyant?

How can I quell the panic rising from within at the mere mention of 27?

After all these years of associating the number with 27 Dresses and a very charming James Marsden, it has finally arrived at my doorstep and all I can do is tentatively gape at the ill-packaged gift (sort of) that is staring back at me with earnest eyes.

My eyes bug – it’s like that saying that has been doing the rounds on the Internet since I don’t know when; something about friends getting married and having babies and posting to social media about it all while I am still stuck on why F.R.I.E.N.D.S ended the way it did. It is not a bad thing, per se, but is 27 just a marker or is it a milestone? I am confused.

Or rather, was.

In the light of recent revelations that my mind decided to spring on me, I realized that what they (debatably varying from person to person) say is true. Age is just a number. Instead of the whirlwind mania that gripped me until not so long ago, I am now calm and composed, descending into a Zen-like state that somehow succeeds in reminding me of what I have, what I’ve achieved, and the excitement of what lies ahead.

I’m sure that the upcoming year will be full of surprises as well as the fair (not so!) amount of shocks. Not unlike last year, which was valid until yesterday. But what is it but just another year of pushing forward? If it does not come upon me, could I be termed human? The dread of 27 comes in, but so does assurance, in abilities, in life. And this time, I know better how to feel about it.

I turn 27 today.

And then maybe some more.

But until life goes on, just hear me out, 27.



Here are a few introspective articles I managed to rustle up in the past year of my life:

Let Me Have This Moment…

Is Courtesy Going Extinct?

And You Call Us Intolerant!

The Oyster I Fell In Love With!


GIF Courtesy: giphy.com!

Roads or Deathtraps? Can Courtesy Save Indian Roads?

I’ve always maintained that if someone wants to learn driving, he must come to India. Turns, reverse, brakes, swerving – he’ll learn everything at every moment he is on the roads. While others in the world consider slow driving an irritable habit, in India, it is an art form. The guy in front of you is being maddeningly slow for some reason, or you are stuck in a traffic jam for miles together. What do you do?

Drive slow, of course!

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But the problem does not lie with the traffic jams alone. The crux of the problem is the Indian roads and their condition, the laziness of the officials to correct the deathly condition of them, and the attitude of the drivers. The worst among these is the attitude of Indian drivers, with many thinking they own the roads!

If you have ever driven a vehicle or sat in an autorickshaw on Indian roads, you’ll know the back-breaking pain that accompanies every bump and pothole that comes under the wheels. After the electricity board officials dig up the road to lay a new line, they forget about it for 6 months. And then someone realizes that a new road needs to be laid. Two months of comparative bliss. And then the water department decides to repair the pipes. Gone is the road and gone is the bliss, replaced by a dread every time you think of driving through hell. This cycle repeats over and over again till your last wish on your deathbed is for your great-great-grandchildren to see India with good roads!

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If you though, “Well, that’s just the roads. At least the flyovers are in good condition,” you are sorely mistaken. Every flyover in the city has bumps, potholes, patchy roads, not to forget their brilliant narrowness and sometimes ill-constructed forms. Sometimes, I wonder…

Then there is the absolute dedication to making the city’s roads neat and clean, courtesy the authorities. [Sarcasm fully intended!] Roads lying neglected in a barren condition are common to see, but what is most disheartening is the callousness with which the people responsible for road maintenance treat their duties.

And finally – the drivers. Right from those who drive two-wheelers to bus drivers – everyone thinks they own the road. Swerving across from extreme left to extreme right, or vice versa, or cutting across paths of unsuspecting vehicles, two motorists talking to each other in the thick of traffic – they do it all. They spit on the roads – large quantities of it (how do they collect so much anyway?) – and drive away, watch a vehicle coming onward and turn into the lane anyway, glare at anyone who tries to question them, and begin hurling the choicest of abuses at those who have the guts to question their skills. These people are heavily misguided by their pride of I don’t know what – maybe of their feeling of ownership of a vehicle.

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Many drivers on Indian roads are full of an ego that I didn’t think I’d find here. But who am I kidding? Ego is universal. And technically, I shouldn’t be surprised but I am. Here’s an example:

I was driving home from work one fine evening when I happened to overtake an SUV cruising along at a low speed. Bristled, the driver of the car sped up, brought the car close so that I noticed, looked me square in the eye, and overtook me. I watched as a few other guys on bike overtook him; he did not react. When it so happened that I unintentionally overtook him again, he sped up yet again. I frowned and rationalized it as a mere coincidence, but I can’t help but think: Is it because I wounded his male ego? [This is about a few people only on the roads and not to be generalized.] Since I am not inclined to race (like, ever), I let the matter go.

All in all, the combination of all these factors is a potent deathtrap and might contribute to taking lives – and the thought itself is unpleasant.

Since the condition of the roads is not in our hands – not even after the countless petitions, dharnas, and hunger strikes – it is the least we can do to keep one’s courtesy towards the rules and towards co-drivers intact as we navigate the roads. Think of the roads as your home – would you spit on them, then? The next time someone does, I have half a mind to stop them and ask them to clean it up with their clothes. Maybe then, some sense will prevail!

Maybe then, our little world will become more civilized and cleaner than what we have brought it to be. Maybe then, automobile technology will not just be something to show off, but instead, be used for intelligent navigation as originally intended!

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GIF Courtesy: giphy.com

The Yearly Ritual Of Celebrating Womanhood Was Here!

Another year. Another day dedicated to women. And yet another instance of the world exploding with wishes for women and going back to being the same patriarchal society it was before.


A lot has happened between the last Women’s Day and this. The country erupted into fierce debates of intolerance that are still going on. In the midst of this craziness, the issues of woman empowerment and gender equality are somehow lost. Why is it that when a woman is the most important and the only creation of God that can carry forward a legacy, she is jeered at, trampled upon, and used like a thing that is dispensable? Her intellect, her strength makes her the world’s strongest pillar. Without her, you wouldn’t have any history. She makes it!

It’s a shame that the world needs to be reminded of that one aspect before it can sober up and behave respectfully. This is applicable to everyone across the globe, but it is especially important that the point is put across in the case of women, what with the number of crimes against women cropping up with an alarming frequency.

I must admit that I foolishly assumed that since the country has had a spurt of awareness, there would be lesser rapes and lesser crimes against women. But every time I read a piece casually describing how a woman was gangraped in U.P. or how a teenage girl was set ablaze in the capital, I am horrified.

Yes, I am adamantly hopeful all the time that common sense prevails. Change doesn’t happen in a day or success doesn’t arrive at your doorstep in a day. Boy, don’t I know that! I know that there are many people of the same mentality as those who advocate the crimes who are still out there. I know it will take a long, long time for the country to become safe. I know that as long as people like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Asaram Bapu in the country, there will not be any significant marching forward in the right direction. Oh, how I wish the world did not have to be so difficult for a woman to live in!

It is not that the world is difficult for me. My sitting in the comforts of my home and write blog posts does not mean that I am not disturbed by what happens to other women.

We are crawling by at a snail’s pace, every hour bringing in news of a cruelty. More than the news that comes to the fore, there are the atrocities that are stamped down upon, some because one cannot reach into the bowels of the country and extract these reports, and some because of power-hungry people and their henchmen.

Amidst all the stigma that befalls the country every time a countryman commits a crime against a woman, there have been incidents that have heartened me each time I see a woman rise above everything, spread her wings and take off with spectacular panache. Every time a woman puts her foot down against injustice, my heart swells with pride. I bask in the glow of being a woman.

But last year saw a certain section of the female community abuse the privileges showered on us by slandering perfectly innocent men. That disgusts me too. Doing that turns you into filth. What is the difference between you and the people who attack us? Unimaginable!

Do not abuse the respect or the privileges bestowed on you, dear women. You who do that, you are pulling back the fight for gender equality and women empowerment by several notches. Stay on the sidelines if you don’t want to fight. Don’t worsen it for those who will benefit from the struggle. Please.

Either way, more power to the fight against gender discrimination!

Happy International Women’s Day!

Picture Courtesy: freepik.com

Is Courtesy Going Extinct?

In times when thoughts of marketing and promotions for my book, Of Knights and Lilies plague my mind, there are also a few unwelcome questions that I unwillingly entertain. But some incidents claw at our insides when we don’t want them to, clamoring for answers. Something like this happened a few weeks ago when I was out for coffee with a friend.

We were sitting at one of the small, round tables at a Café Coffee Day and chatting while sipping on our coffee. In the meanwhile, a couple came in, a cup of ice cream in their hands and trying very hard to hide it from the staff and spectacularly failing at being discreet. It is common knowledge that most cafes and restaurants do not allow outside food to be brought inside. But it was not our place to be lecturing them about store policies, so we just smiled and went back to our chat.

About ten minutes after they had settled into the chairs at the table beside ours (they place tables too close together), a staff member came up to them and politely told them, “Sir, outside food is not allowed, Sir.” He looked plenty apologetic to me and I wondered if he actually needed to. He wasn’t doing anything wrong by telling them about the policy of the chain of cafes he was working for. My friend and I paused our conversation, listening in. (I know it is bad manners but the tables are too damn close!)

At this, the man said, “We will order from here in a while,” as though that settled the matter. But he was being courteous at this point. So we still had a smile etched on our faces.

“Still, Sir. Outside food is not allowed. Please eat outside and then come inside.” Still polite.

“We are just sitting here and I’m telling you I’ll order from here.” Uh oh. This was turning ugly. But not as much as the smile that had taken its place on the man’s face.

By this time, the manager of the store and other staff had come to stand around their lone warrior; as though to support their general in their fight against the stubborn.

Several voices sounded echoing on the same lines as: “Sir, it is our policy. Please eat it outside and come back.”

This man was getting angry and the woman was visibly embarrassed. And this, ladies and gentlemen, was the point where the smile was wiped off my face and I glared daggers at the man.

“You want me to throw it? Why don’t you throw it?” he says, with a short laugh, obviously thinking he was being funny. He glanced at me, giving me a smirk that screamed, “I’M BEING FUNNY. DON’T YOU THINK THAT’S FUNNY? LAUGH, YOU UNWORTHY MORTAL!”

I raised an eyebrow. He averted his eyes and mumbled something like, “Alright.” The staff was dispersing by this time and I looked at the person who had pointed it out and shook my head.

My problem was not with the guy having a problem with the store policy. My problem is with his thinking that he can ask someone to do something that is not their job at all. The couple’s surreptitious entrance into the store told me pretty clearly that they were trying not to catch the eye of anyone who would point out that they were doing what they were not supposed to. His arrogance could not be masked by the smile on his face. In fact, the smile was making matters worse for him.

This incident raised a few questions. Is courtesy no longer a concern? In a time when we are heavily fighting for rights, is the gap between the servers and the served so severe that it is alright for the servers to be mentally kicked around? Is there not something called basic courtesy that emerges through one’s veins when conversing with another? I shudder to think what the world will come to if it keeps filling up with people like Mr. Superiority.

I might be overreacting, but that does not mean these questions turn irrelevant! Be courteous if you expect courtesy in return. If people moved around thinking that politeness is not their prerogative, then courtesy will surely go extinct. Much like the dodo. And that, in my opinion, will amount to the heights of stupidity.


Picture Courtesy: lovingenergies.net

And Another Year Ends!

It has been a week since 2015 ended. A year that before it started was heralded as a new morrow. We entered it with new hopes for the country and for the world, determined to stop negativity from creeping into all avenues of our lives. But how successful were we in taking ourselves to the point where we wanted to be? Personal goals might have been achieved; pride over the accomplishments is not uncalled for. The question we need to ask ourselves is whether or not our individual work has contributed to making the world a better place to live in. Agreed, it is not easy to make an altruistic and a socially responsible splash on the world scene. But we have a choice. If we cannot do good, then we have the option of staying quiet and disallowing negativity from expanding in the country.

Unfortunately for us, 2015 was a year that took us through so many downs that it is hard to count them on the tips of our fingers. Paid media and its selective coverage is still a rampant issue, what with its cries of intolerance still ringing in every corner. The year was purposefully made dark by news channels crying at the top of their lungs of the intolerance. I wanted to hit back with so many arguments that it made my heart burn, but at the end of the last year and the start of the new, I didn’t have to. Their bias and dirty politics was put forth when not a single channel (except Zee News) covered the riots in Malda, West Bengal, when in comparison, they got their throats dry after Dadri happened.

Of course, the issue of intolerance was not limited to these news channels feigning national interest at heart. The return of the Sahitya Akademi awards by scores of artists was in itself an insult to the country that bestowed such honor on them. The reason behind their returning the awards was difficult to understand, seeing that these so-called “intellectuals” saw India through spectacles of religious bias. Journalists being murdered and riots across districts in Malda did not bring about reactions similar to those following the Dadri murder. Why are the other incidents not looked upon with the same passion and hate as the one in Dadri? Why the selectiveness when it comes to supporting people who are wronged? Scores of people have much to answer when it comes to “intolerance”.

At the end of the year, everyone’s only prayer was for a silent exit from 2015. But apparently, that was not to be. Nirbhaya’s sinner was released, much to the shock and disgust of the country. Yes, the juvenile law was strengthened later on, but this only meant that the Members of Parliament failed to pass the Juvenile Law on time. Intentional or unintentional failure to amend the law on time ensured that the juvenile was out within three years, as the earlier law directed. Is there not such a thing as responsibility towards society? Why should someone who committed such a heinous crime be released, even if he was underage? Such rage and hate towards the offenders boiled within the nation that it was blinded to see ways to let off steam.

The Congress has never been a great administrator. Corruption crawling through its very veins, Congress spokespersons have turned every TV debate into shouting matches, either shouting incoherently or fuming without a reason; both were almost always done to drown out the voice of other panelists on the shows. They have, time and again, proven their inability to provide justification to their every act. And how can we forget their self-righteous acts of showing nonexistent national heroism? They demanded results from the Prime Minister in mere months of being in power while decades of their being in power showed no results. To add to their already vast humiliation, their “Pappu” constantly put them in a soup and is still the butt of myriad jokes across the country.

In addition to the aforementioned, there was one other party that blew its trumpets one way and walked down the opposite route. Showing moral justification on certain issues only showed their true colors. Joining hands with the (in) famous Bihari politicians, hugging them and then giving a shady explanation; let us say it was never going to be a wise move. Calling the Prime Minister names and yelling at the media at press conferences are, I think, AAP’s only claim to fame. In addition to this, I cannot help but notice how chubbier their Chief Minister has gotten since the time he ascended the state throne in Delhi.

We lost Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam along with many other eminent personalities this last year. But we will always remember them with the fondness and the respect that they deserve.

The positivity that some events in 2015 brought within us can be taken forward into the New Year and spun into inspiration for every one of us. Multiple satellite launches, barely given enough coverage by our media, has proven our might, telling the world quite calmly that we are now a force to be reckoned with. Strengthening our bonds with countries across the world and putting even more clearly on the map, was our Prime Minister, with his extensive visits and charismatic and hard-hitting extempore.

There are many other national news that captured our attention, shocked us, made us look in consternation and brought to light the path on which the “sickulars” are leading India. But should we start the New Year with such a grave outlook towards life? Can we not dwell on the positives from 2015 and take them forward? Would it be such a bad thing to remember the negatives, just so that we can be wary of such occurrences in the future?

On the personal front, 2015 was a good year. I took a vacation abroad, left my job for my passion and now am watching a dream come true. And I can only look forward eagerly, to the 366 days that 2016 offers and hope that most of them will be happy.

In the end, I have only one thing to say: 2016, please don’t prove me wrong!