Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Smoking Women

Some men have many problems with women doing stuff. Little things, big things and sometimes just anything. And it’s not only just men, but sometimes even other women who have problems with other women doing stuff that they cannot or did not do. This is much more conspicuous in the Indian society since we have this moral code of conduct for women that was established somewhere around the time of the birth of Christ.

According to this code, which has not been revised since then, women only have to do things expected of them and taking the road less taken is considered an obvious sign of bad parenting and entirely too much freedom. A woman roaming with men is BAD, a woman talking to a group of men is BAD, a woman staying out late at night is BAD, a woman who dares to love is BAD, a woman who takes pleasure in life is BAD and a woman who has what one may term a ‘bad habit’ is definitely out of hand. Somebody control that woman!

One such problem that the Indian society has with women is that they smoke. Are you shocked too? Did you not know that some women do hold the stick of death between their fingers and gloriously inhale the waft of tobacco that helps them forget your lecherous stares and absolute disgust? Well then you too need to revise your morals (and general knowledge) to the 21st century edition.

Let’s face it, women do smoke. And there is nothing one can do about it. You know why? Because India still is a free country where people can still do what they want to with their own bodies. And this is not a new phenomenon, women have been smoking for hundreds of years and in some cultures, women actually smoke with their men from pipes attached to burning coals, water and tobacco.

So why are people today surprised to see a woman smoke?

Because they are taught so.

Men have observed that women of ‘good standing’ do not smoke or drink or get high in any way. It is just wrong. They are supposed to inhale only the smoke that emanates from the biryani they are cooking – in the kitchen – their rightful place!

It is disheartening to see that even people of this generation in India continue to feel this way about women. I’ve had some encounters with such people and although it is quite disgusting, my lady friends and I take great pleasure in scandalizing these people; makes for a great story over the next day’s ‘chai-sutta’ session.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Blowing in the Wind…

So yesterday, Ahmedabad experienced one of its worst rainstorms since the year 2010 and I know that not because I read it in the news, but because I was stuck slam bam in the middle of it and had to walk back to my college hostel in water up to my waist. Wish I’d gotten that motorboat then! Sigh!

But that was all alright because it happened in monsoon and because it was predicted. The swimming in waist deep water wasn’t, but I just chalk it up to the awesome drainage system management in this fair city of mine. Mohenjo-Daro seemed to be more developed to me right then. But these rains? Whoa! These were really something.

So here I was, minding my own business in the sweltering heat, in my sweltering outhouse, in my sweltering body and scalp when it got all cloudy and the weather turned into what my Dad just likes to call ‘sexy.’ So I like out the window and wonder how long the weather would hold before the sun scorched the clouds out of the stratosphere. I was even going to call my friends and take bets on this but before I knew it, it began drizzling and was that heaven!

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

Within moments, the drizzling had turned into a torrent and before I could step out onto the terrace to receive Zeus’ blessings, my windows and doors were flapping like gulls in high tide. I looked out my door to see a rain storm in full gale, blowing sheet upon sheet of rain into the setting sun, which was still hidden by the way.

All that was good since I could just close everything and sit in the comfortable dryness of my room, but no, that wasn’t to be allowed. The aluminum roof of my room started shivering and the wooden panels started creaking so loudly that I thought they would give away any moment. And three of them actually did so, peeling away from their joints and going down the five floors onto the street below my building.

This storm escalated so fast that I hardly had time to pack up my essentials and scram into the apartment before the whole enchilada actually blew off the roof over or on my head. Fortunately, my friend was kind enough to take me in for the night and so ended my night of sudden horror. I now realize somewhat how it must be to lose one’s everything in a hurricane or typhoon, even though I lost nothing.

Well played global warming, well played.

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Illusion of an Enlightened Populace

Election time is here again and though it will be my first time at casting the ballot, I’ve seen many an election since I started getting a sense what it’s all about. And I’ve seen a lot in these few years, it’s actually hard not to. One would have to be totally cut off from the real world to not notice what happens in India when the pan-Indian ‘Musical-Chair’ game begins.

I notice nothing different this time around. Maybe it’s early to say so, maybe it isn’t, but from what I’ve managed to gather from here and there, it seems that our beloved khadi-dhoti mantris are up to no good as usual. They haven’t changed their tactics one bit and what’s more, they’re all adopting the Gujarat Election campaign module – dividing people on communal lines. Yay! Good old religious divide; it never ceases to amaze me.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

Now I know that India is a multi-cultural society that can never live in peace and harmony, which was the main reason to divide the sub-continent into two nations, but seriously, it is 2014, not 1950. One might think that living in such a large cauldron of cultures and traditions, the people might have decided to finally mingle together to make a Superpower-ed soup, but no, that hasn’t seemed to happen yet. And this is not my perception; it is that of our uneducated but sincerely experienced and seasoned politicians who still think that telling the masses that it was ‘only’ Muslim soldiers who won the Kargil war for India will ensure them the minority vote bank.

But that is just one example, allow me to state another. So this guy who rides a Bicycle in the most crime-ridden state of India, run by his son; says that rapists should not be hung because boys make mistakes. It is their ‘hot blood’ that gets to them I suppose. I don’t mean to malign the name of an entire state but when a politician campaigns against the death penalty for rapists in a state where it is wildly rampant, one begins to wonder about how this guy is planning to win an election. If you’re going to get votes by forgiving rapists, and the next time around God-forbid murderers, it does say something about the state you’re campaigning in.

And so it is that the largest democracy in the world goes to the polls amongst strong and decisive campaigning by everyone: Parties who do not have suitable candidates, parties who have only one candidate, parties who have too many candidates and parties whose candidates resign and sit on the road, because that’s what the common people of India do.

Best of luck India! Sigh!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Insolent Interfering Imbeciles

Nobody needs to be told how skewed the Indian society is. Amid tall claims of modernization and criminal charges of westernization, it is clear to any person how perversely orthodox and unbending this civilization is.

There are a number of examples wherein this backward mindset can be seen, heard and experienced in everyday life. It might not always become glaringly obvious, but that is only because we have accepted these things and taken them in our stride as things that ‘just happen’ in India. Is it such a surprise then that we have songs that go like, “It happens only in India…?”

One such problem of the Indian people is their indefinite problem with the youth of the country. They believe that today’s youth is irresponsible, useless, unemployed and indecent. What they apparently do not realize is that if they make such allegations, they malign themselves and not the youth, since their accusations revert upon themselves as to what morals they've passed down to this generation.

This however, does not mean that I’m pleading guilty to those charges. In fact, I believe that the Indian society’s problem is their fear of accepting change. They are scared of losing what they have been brought up to believe is true. What they do not understand is that their society will ultimately stagnate like the Sanskrit language, without the change that the next generation stands for.

The incident that has driven me to write this post is a classic example of the skewed morality that Indians posses and are incredibly proud of.

My colleague and friend, a woman, offered to drop me home after a very long day of film shooting and we were both half dead. The area in which I stay is pretty well developed and is near to some very reputed institutes of the city, there’s a lot of traffic and so she dropped me right into my lane. I had a couple packets of chips and so we decided to sooth our ravenous bellies before leaving for home. Now as we were eating and discussing the next day’s schedule, this woman in a night dress comes to the gate of one of the houses and asks us our business in sitting “near” her house in the night. We explain ourselves, albeit grudgingly but she still pushes on, mentioning that times are bad and the “things” that happen to woman nowadays. Ultimately, we had to leave before she woke up half the lane.
Image Courtesy: Google Images.
This is what one means when they say, “People in India can piss on the road but they can’t kiss on the road.” Two people, mutually respectful of each other, sitting on government property and eating a packet of chips that is the only thing gone into their mouth since the start of day, are chased away by a by a half-naked home owner because it scandalizes her morality. Brilliant, isn't it? Praiseworthy even! She has proved herself to be the keeper of women’s honour and the guardian of Indian morality in this time of great evil.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

India: An Island

India has long been the butt of international jokes relating to how she is so weak, so vulnerable before her neighbours.  How she cannot even fend for herself despite having the second largest land army in the world after China.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

India has, since her independence in 1947, been a staunch advocate of not having a first strike policy against aggressive nations. She has also almost always maintained a neutral standpoint on international hostilities between other countries, including the Cold War. However, this restraint is now being mistaken as a weakness by her allies and most importantly, her enemies. This is why she is now facing danger from all four of her borders. However, the others do realize what a great power she can be and in fact is; hence the constant opposition to her taking a permanent place on the United Nations Security Council.

It is possible that this weak nature of India’s defences is due to a lack of strong leadership at the centre. But whatever the reason, these threats to India do exist. This forced me to do a wee bit of research on the subject after writing a post in August on the same topic: India under Attack.

I came up with four articles on all four threats that India faces from all sides:

Today, it’s not like India doesn't have allies, it’s just that they aren't in her vicinity and hence she has effectively become an island today, in spite of being one of the two major powers in South-Asia.