Rant: The Continuous Absence of Courtesy

Before you read this post, please go HERE and read a previous post on the same topic that I’d written quite some time ago. The heartbreaking reality about the lack of courtesy still splinches my insides. [Yes, I’m a JKR fanatic.] The worst part, I will explain after I narrate the incident that triggered this relapse into topical thought.

I have the habit of sitting at the Starbucks closest to home for two reasons: amazing coffee, and decent Wi-Fi. I lost track of time when I work here and get so much done that I’m usually euphoric when I start back for home. So it was that I decided to go there on November 27 for a period of fruitful work.

As usual, I took out my notepad (which I use to note down review points while reading books) and pen, placed them on the table in front of me and settled down to read my book, The Tree Bears Witness. [You can read my reviews at The Melodramatic Bookworm.] I had vaguely registered a guy wearing dark goggles sitting at the table a few feet from mine. But I didn’t think much of it, except wondering whether he had an eye problem or was just an idiot who was showing off.

A few pages in, I heard a shuffling from this man’s table, and he was soon standing beside me. Startled, I looked up, my brows furrowed. At the very least I expected a “Can I borrow your pen and a paper?” But God forbid such politeness happens! How will the world survive!?

The man pointed at the pen lying on the notepad and said, “Pen.” I looked at him, the answer to my earlier dilemma veering towards ‘idiot.’ I nodded, my lips now pursed in irritation. Then he says, “Paper.” One of my eyebrows rose automatically. When I asked why, he merely said, “I want.” I glared at him, tore a sheet of paper, and handed it to him, after which he sidled back into his seat.

I could feel my nostrils flaring by this point. Is there no such thing called ‘language’? A simple ‘Could I borrow?’ would have done the deed. What has the world come to?

That wasn’t even why I was furious. After a few minutes, he stood up, put the pen on my notepad, and nodded imperiously as he walked off. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. My jaw had dropped open even as my angry eyes followed his progress out of the café. Annoyed, I rolled my eyes and went back to reading my book. The four gentlemen sitting at the table to my left noticed my expression, as I remember, but didn’t react further.

I don’t know what this man’s deal was but I had a lot of problems with how he behaved.

  1. First off, you can’t just walk up to a stranger and demand what belongs to the stranger.
  2. Secondly, have the courtesy to thank the person for helping you.
  3. And lastly, have the sense to realize what you’ve done and not repeat it later.

There will be people who think that asking for courtesy is showing an unnecessary amount of self-importance. But why is expecting courtesy bad? If some offhanded comment from someone in a faraway land can incite rage in you and make you say, “That person was wrong, they need to apologize,” why can’t I expect a simple sorry or thank you as I go about life? Why has hypocrisy taken the throne while courtesy has been relegated to the rank of mere slave? Why is it that megalomaniacal businessmen become world leaders while shooting their mouths off every day while common people keep getting trampled upon if they ask for courtesy?

We think that courtesy is something that is inbuilt. But very unfortunately, it is not. It is something that is cultivated from our childhood. If one doesn’t understand the basic tenets of courtesy, then I don’t understand how one gets through life after steamrolling everyone in the way.

In the end, there’s just one thing I would like to tell the “gentleman”, if I hadn’t been so dumbstruck:

If you cannot be courteous to people, if you cannot show basic decency, and you still think of the world as your space to rule without politeness, you are wrong. You cannot expect people to bend over backwards to give you what you want. You’re not entitled to the world. Deal with it and get off your high horse.

Thank you very much.

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Picture Courtesy: canacopegdl.com

P.S. Yesterday’s incident did not warrant such a long response, but it all starts with the small incidents.

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The Journey Between Simplicity and Drama – The Big Overhaul

People who follow my review blog were probably surprised to see a new blog called The Melodramatic Bookworm on their feed. I’ll get to what this blog is in a minute. But first, let me admit I did an unconventional turn to my blog by posting a couple of articles before writing up an intro to it. But hey! Better late than never! Isn’t what they all say?

Every once in a while in life, we get the idea to change things for the better, and also the opportunity to do so. And so it happened with me.

I hadn’t been able to do so earlier, thanks to my uber-busy schedule. When life presented me with both, the idea and the opportunity, along with the enthusiasm that such “ventures” initially provide, I grabbed them with both hands! It’s now or never, I thought.

I knew that I couldn’t keep going at the pace I was going at. I had to make it better. Put in more energy into what I wanted to do in order to see it through and put it in a place where I wanted it to be. Mere words of passion wouldn’t be enough. I had to channel that passion more and more into what I had started almost two years ago. And for this, change was required. A change that filled me with hope every time I thought about where it could bring me. I am never going to get this time back, so I must use it well, I told myself.

And because of this, The Review Lounge became The Melodramatic Bookworm.

The Melodramatic Bookworm

The name makes so much more sense than the original. In two ways. One, that I am a drama queen and a bookworm. Those who know me well will vouch for it. And two, the ‘melodramatic’ indicates that I dabble in movie reviews in addition to the book reviews that ‘bookworm’ represents.

There’s nothing better in the world than feeling pumped after reading a good book or watching a good movie. Okay, I agree. Not all books and not all movies are entertaining. But you get the general idea.

It is the anticipation that is most exciting. Will the story take me on a journey? Will the journey be a rollercoaster or a stomp in the desert or a swim in the ocean? Will I love the journey? Will I hate it? What can I take away from it? Will it live up to the hype? Will it rock my world? Will it bring me peace? Will I see the world in a better light after this?

So many questions! Just one thing to do to find the answer!

Thus it is that I embark on this re-planned journey, to put my thoughts out and hope that it reaches more people than ever. Yes, there is a possibility of a huge reform yet again. But there’s time for that and when it does happen, I will reach out yet again.

Because the world is small, admirers hard to find. So when I do, I’ll make sure to keep you all close and in the loop. The number is small, but the joy you give me is incomprehensible!

So if you like what I write, hit like, share the posts, and subscribe to email notifications so that you don’t miss out on articles that you might like!

Do spread the word, bring in more people, and who knows, there might be rewards coming up in the near future! (Read: There will be rewards. :D)

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And if you’d like to drop me a mail with your thoughts, address it to themelodramaticbookworm@gmail.com ! 🙂

 

Until next time, cheerio! 😀

Vicarious Living – The Temporary Sense Of Fulfilling One’s Own Dreams

Of all the versions of MasterChef that exist, it can be universally agreed that the Australian version is the best. No yelling, no insulting, no unnecessary drama. Agreed, the way contestants running around in a frenzy to finish their dishes in time is shown is dramatic, but that is what MasterChef Australia does right. In its 9th season, the contestants and the challenges have leveled up drastically.

Why I talk about MasterChef Australia in a blog post that talks about vicarious living, you might ask. Here’s why.

Even though Star World airs MasterChef Australia every day at 9 PM, I started watching it from the middle. As an unspoken, unspecified rule, I don’t watch episodes of any TV show out of order. So while this show finished in Australia way back in July and Star World is currently in the 30s of the episode list, I took it upon myself to start watching it on Hotstar, right from episode 1.

A 19-year-old girl, Michelle Lukman, was the first contestant of this season. With a dish she called the Golden Ball, she wowed the judges and me in an instant. In the moment she finished plating the dish, I started questioning myself. My vision blurred and I didn’t know where the emotion was coming from but I could feel my chest constrict. Whether it was from regret, shame, or joy, I couldn’t say. There wasn’t just one thing clamping my heart down. It was a torrent that threatened to deluge me if I didn’t take a deep, calming breath.

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All of us have dreams of reaching out farther than we can see – of gliding over the horizon, breaching the limits, and be satisfied with what we do. But until we have the means to fly there, we glean inspiration from as many sources around us as possible. Using this inspiration, we build up the courage brick by brick. Maybe one day, thanks to this inspiration, this courage, we can see the world in the same light that they do. Maybe one day, we can see our goals as achievable, the same way they do.

Until then, let’s look on in awe and appreciate their immense talent, and watch them make their dreams come true. Until then, let’s live through their realities to see our dreams through. Until then, let’s applaud as the worthy push forward and show the world what they are made of.

Because that’s exactly what I decided I would do. In the rush of the contestants’ flurry to cook up lip-smacking dishes, I understood the importance of composure in a time crunch. I understood the importance of levelheadedness, that of creativity, and that of loving what you do, so much that it brings joy to the people sharing in your love. And if you can make people smile while doing what you love, there is nothing that can beat the feeling.

I lived vicariously through Michelle Lukman’s stunning creativity that day. But the feeling that coursed through me when the judges applauded her – the feeling that I’d somehow won with her – is priceless and will remain with me forever!

 

Picture Courtesy: mediaweek.com

Compassion and Competition – Why Have People Begun To Confuse Them?

They say it’s a dog-eat-dog world. It is true. But the fact that this competitiveness extends to not only careers, but also emotional capacities is something to think about. Compassion is disappearing at an alarmingly rapid rate. “My problem’s worse,” they say, without a word about anything else. How do you expect to live in such a world, one devoid of compassion? In such cases, it feels better to live and remain alone than to maintain company that shoots you down without a trace of empathy. After all, what is the world without empathy? An empty, dull sphere is all.

But why does competition have to mean the death of empathy and compassion? When we are together in the ace, why can’t we support each other and come up to break the surface rather than stay under and bring the others down? Why has it come to the point where we have to best (for lack of a better word – oh the irony!) others even in our sorrows?

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Picture Courtesy: Camilo Diaz, World Photography Award Winner, worldphoto.org

It’s true what they say. In times like these, we engage in conversation to respond, not to understand and empathize. We hardly absorb what the other person is saying before we go off: “Yes, all that’s fine but listen to what I’ve got to say.” It is as though we hardly register what they are saying, give them the amount of time we feel appropriate (or not), and jump in again.

Why, though? Is it so bad to have to hear another when all we expect is for the other to do the exact opposite of what we’re doing? This competition, this unnervingly rude and harsh contest between egos will be the end of us one day.

This has happened to me on multiple occasions – this competition to one up sorrows and problems. “If you think you’ve got it bad, you should listen to what I’ve got going on.” Isn’t there a thing called perspective? Like someone’s rose-tinted glasses could be another’s Kryptonite? If it all comes down to ‘the grass is greener on the other side’, then what hope do we have for humanity?

It also comes down to hypocrisy. If we hardly listen to what the person we’re having a conversation with is trying to say, isn’t it unfair of us to expect them to listen to us? Them allowing us to steamroll them while we don’t let them get a complete sentence in – doesn’t that reek of hypocritical smugness?

The magnitude of the involuntary competition that so many people participate in – most of whom do so subconsciously – is huge and it rankles big time. If only the world were inching closer to shovel love into the gaps, we’d be far better off. But the hard truth is, the gap only widens with every passing hour, every passing minute. And the worst part is, there are so many who are merely willing to go with the flow.

Can we not do something about it? Can we not bring us together again? Stir emotions for the greater good?

If the people desperate to see the gaps filled come together, there could be a chance. A chance where we all live peacefully, content enough in our own skins not to compare our sorrows with those of our neighbors’ and belittle them with all we’ve got.

This blog post isn’t powerful enough to bring a sweeping change – far from it. But maybe sometime in the future, I will see it as the stepping stone that helped me see straight, that helped me structure my thoughts and start something – a spark that ignited a whole beneficial forest fire!

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Picture Courtesy: npr.org

 

P.S. Months ago, this concept had first hit me with a force that left me reeling. Then, as like now, I put my thoughts into words. But those words made up a poem.

This poem that I’m really proud of!

Why Is Indian Driving Sense So Bad?

I had recently narrated an incident that occurred with me on the roads. HERE’s where you can read the article.

On my drive to office every day, I encounter a number of F1 enthusiasts who look at the pothole-ridden roads as a challenge to simply zoom forward. It’s become somewhat of a habit for me, shaking my head as driver after driver crams into spaces they shouldn’t be going into or drive by dangerously close even though the entire road is open to them. Isn’t there such a thing as being careful?

While the rest of the world is busy making their roads safer for their growing population, India is simply making sure traffic slows down. This, by leaving gaping holes in the roads, placing more speed breakers on them than should be the number, and ignoring glaring traffic violations. Of course, a major chunk of the population considers themselves above law and take advantage of this, acting like the roads were handed down to them as part of their ancestral inheritance.

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Picture Courtesy: indiamarks.com

One of the major reasons why I dread learning to drive a car is the lack of common sense on the roads. Is there a cap on how much I’d have to shell out if some overenthusiastic idiot decided to overtake the car and dents the car instead? No, there isn’t. And it gives me the shivers.

Two-wheelers on the other hand, I’m used to. Of course, the number of people thinking of a two-wheeler as a machine to show off their nonexistent style, pigheadedness, and ego is way too high. I’ve seen Karizmas and Pulsars try to make their way through spaces that are merely a foot wide. And they are horribly mistaken if they think that that is going to earn them brownie points. I only feel like smacking them in the head. With a baseball bat. Attached to a wrecking ball.

At a traffic signal, common sense dictates that if you want to take a left turn, stay to the left. If you want to take a right, stay as much to the right as is possible. But India being Incredible and the drivers inhabiting it being even more so, there are those that cut across oncoming traffic in the opposite direction like they were born to rule them. To them I say: Someday, you’ll yell at someone who does this to you and I pray on that day that realization comes back to bite you in the ass. Oh, and that day, I will unknowingly smile, wherever I might be then.

Drivers feeling entitled to sweep the road with their vehicles are the craziest part of our country. Not its politics, not its cinema, not its roads. It’s the entitled-feeling drivers that show our country’s madness to the fullest. Imagine an auto-rickshaw swerving onto the road, a truck barreling on with no concern for traffic coming from either way, a car rolling through spaces it obviously cannot fit in, a two-wheeler bending either side as though kissing the road, and pedestrians crossing the road like they cannot see the traffic.

Oh yes. Pedestrians are at fault, too, despite many countries showering them with the status of King. Many stores call their customers King. But in India, pedestrians think of the road as their personal park. Many of them walk across the road like they have all the time in the world, or as if the drivers have all the time in the world. It does not absolve drivers of guilt and anger, but any sane person knows that neither driver nor pedestrian is exempt from using their common sense.

Despite the pedestrian-bashing, there is absolutely no doubt that India is home to more careless drivers than careful ones. It escapes my mind why ego and competitiveness take precedence over safety and courtesy. Or maybe this question bogs me down not only in this context, but in the larger picture as well. Either way, I know that neither question will be answered anytime soon!

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?

NO!

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:

https://www.truecaller.com/search/in/7065173775

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