With my mom arriving in Dubai and family coming home for dinner we thought we’ll bring out the Christmas Cake that we aged. We’d aged it for over 10-11 weeks now and it was perfect! Moist and fresh, melt in the mouth delicious You should seriously try the recipe…
The Delhi Rape case has barely faded from the news much less our minds. Here we have more women reporting heinous crimes (Ref: 15-year-old gang-raped in Bengal , Father held for sexual assault on six-year-old daughter ). As a nation we seem to be on a roll here. Wait… we always have been.
One thing commendable is the fact that many women speak out these days. The wife of the 36 old paedophile stated that she was afraid of social stigma and that kept her from reporting the crime for a few days. She found the strength to rise. The older generation cannot be expected to come to terms with the ‘Taboo’ subjects such as Child Abuse and Rape as quickly. Kasturi (58) was embarrassed over being questioned about her son’s whereabouts in connection to the abuse of a child. She was humiliated and chose to end her life. The case is still open and her son has not been convicted or booked. She just couldn’t bear the stigma.
Our country is struggling with the birthing of a generation. There are so many walls to be taken down; it doesn’t look even the tinitest bit possible. A country in transition is like a ship in rough water. She is overwhelmed by waves. Look at us as a nation… There were protests for Women’s safety; there were protests for Vishwaroopam… No matter what the issue is, if we believe in something strong enough… we are a people who rise.
We rise as one when India plays International cricket, we rise as one when onion prices soar. We rise on Republic day; we rise on the day before Gandhi Jayanti. We rise when statues are moved, we rise when Rajinikanth Sir’s movie releases. We came together on Durga Pooja, we came together after Tsunami.
We are social beings… and the society cannot be exclusive. Exclusivity is for cults and a cult is not the building block of humanity; society is. A society will have to be inclusive. Every individual should have a voice before a collective consensus can be reached. Neither should violence be a means of asserting dominance nor the only way to raise a plea.
There is one more sustained rising in order, which when happens will take the world by storm. It will make people sit up and take notice… We shall rise as one and stare down the barrel of violence; Violence against women is violence against humanity. People will know that they cannot just get away with violence anymore. They cannot refuse people what is rightfully theirs. Man, woman or child, everyone deserves to live with dignity and respect. When one by one the victimised join in, there will come a point where they cannot be ignored.
Today we rise so that tomorrow we will be heard. In our own small way, for the benefit of all hu
manity… as women we rise. We hold the miracle of life in our wombs, we hold the mystery of birth in our veins… We are harbingers of the generations. A child who is exposed to weak women grows up thinking it is ok to oppress wea
k members of the society. When a mother is a mute spectator of violence the children grow up with courage to act viol
ently, or be a victim him/herself.
I’m rising to say it is not ok to wrong me. I know you. The world will bring you your due. Yes, you whose guilty heart just twitched, I know you. You cannot hurt me, my family, my friends, and my nation. The men and women of my family will rise up to defend me , and I – them.
We Rise. You… who wrong me… You should know – We Rise.
Mr.Hassan, You are not MF Hussain
Mr.Hassan , in a very moving interview you expressed that you will leave your Tamil Nadu like MF Husain left India. You sir are not MF Husain. Let me tell you why I arrogantly say so…
We as Tamil people are quick to draw judgement. We have our own opinion about our neighbours, our relatives, people from one state over, people in the neighbouring countries, our siblings, people who belong to other religions, other caste, other community, other languages the list is endless. So it is difficult for us to even imagine that a movie can be about more than just an opinion drawing battle or a no-brainer rom-com.
You should know that, my mother still cannot bring herself to watch Mahanadhi again, it shocked us into reality. You brought us Mahanadhi back in the day when the ‘Child Trafficking’ topic was considered taboo. In our grill gated homes and air conditioned theaters you brought us Abbas in Kurudhi Punal. I’m here to tell you that I haven’t forgotten Amjad Ali Khan In Hey Ram. I remember every stereotype you broke. Some subtly, some not so. In Sathileelavathy you broke stereotypes by grooming Pazhani to be independent. Neither are all Indian men shallow chauvinistic pigs Raja reminded us and nor all saree clad Indian women pious.
Sathyamurthy and Shakthivelu strive for justice, equality and peace in our communities. Unnal Mudiyum Thambi and Thevarmagan broke the stereotypes of youth just loitering around in Tea Shops and wasting lives. You are not the first to discover young men and women who shoulder enormous responsibilities beyond their capability. You are not the first one to understand that they may not always make the ‘right decisions’. But you did give them a fighting chance to be as real as possible. I cannot deny Virumaandi his dues, or Raghavan his accolades.
Movies have been and will continue to be one of the most influential media tools our state will ever have. Look at our politics…littered with politicians all of whom we know via media. There are plenty of movies have been feeding our diabetic society with what we desire and not what is healthy. Movie makers like yourself and a few others have been our insulin. Movies like yours draw us out of our catatonia. There are a precious handful of movie makers young and old whose movies make us stop and think , with characters that condition tolerance, respect, wisdom, faith and hope in our people who are mostly at the mercy of inappropriate songs and painfully boring mega serials.
Take it from me Mr.Hassan, you may alienate yourself from Tamil Nadu or Tamil Cinema or Tamil people, but you can never take Tamil out of you. That is why you are not M F Husain. You, Mr.Hassan, are a Tamizhan and that makes you, like the rest of us Tamizhars, weirdly unique. You will endure and you will survive and as long as you do, you just cannot get away from us in essence. Don’t you see, as Tamizhans we are genetically conditioned to outlast every pillaging king, every natural calamity, every change of socio political climate and every war. Every Tamizan is like an embassy, wherever he/she is, that place, that four feet of his/her personal space is Tamil Nadu. That is how we have survived for centuries and that is how we shall endure.
Take heart sir, you will never leave Tamil Nadu, you will simply take Tamil Nadu wherever you go!
There has been plenty said in colourful detail about rape cases in Delhi and in the rest of the country. Many a girl has radically changed her prayer request en route to a Saraswathy temple or Velankanni Church from “Please help me pass my exams” to “Please keep the bad men in the bus away from me”
In 2011 alone, the National Crimes Record Bureau of India reported a record 24,206 Rapes. While the Charge sheeting rate for rape is the highest (93.8%) next to Dowry Deaths (92%), the conviction rate is 26.4%. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we run around with bloodlust in our veins at the mention of the word ‘rape’ itself. But the trials are so drawn out and emotionally exhausting that the victims in hundreds of cases, stop pursuing justice.
While many Interest Groups keep blaming women for not speaking up, think about the post-rape trauma that the victim suffers. The long wait at the govt hospital for the ‘two-finger’ rape test, recounting the most horrid hours of her life to the nurse-in-charge, doctor, constable, head constable, writer, Sub-Inspector, Inspector, magistrate, lawyer and whoever else just about needs to know, facing social branding, ridicule, sympathy, blackmail, depression, anxiety; we haven’t even reached the deeply embedded psychological trauma and physical health yet. When a rape is reported, believe me, the woman knows the battle has just begun. A brave woman is not one who never got a chance to take that decision. She is a victim. A ‘brave woman’ deserves a medal, a victim deserves justice. She deserves justice, not a medal for getting raped and killed. Please don’t insult her memory.
The attitude of certain ‘worldly wise’ veterans from different social groups, which I have named ‘Asharmattitude’ is certainly appalling. One Mr.Aasharma has stepped up to the challenge, offering his course ‘Three step Anti-Rape Workshop’ : Module 1- Praying loudly, Module 2- Adopt a brother – stop the rape midway! Module 3 – Defensive begging-when all else fails. Don’t forget to stay for the guest lecture where an advocate Mr.Sharma talks about ‘Rape and the Respectable Woman’. If you miss it, here’s the content “Rape and the Respectable Woman – It doesn’t happen, everyone should live in villages and if you don’t you are probably asking to be raped. Thank You Good Night”
What does this mean for the Aaam Aadmi, the common man? Cattle Branding. That’s what. All men are lecherous looking for women to mutilate. Women are helpless and if they wear jeans they are just begging men to take it off them. Men are murderous, sadistic psychopaths with a constant need to hurt women, feel up little girls and oh yeah rape women who are not ‘respectable’.
I will have you know Aasharmattitudist that I for every rapist I can show you ten men who’ll treat me with respect, men who will be my friends, men who will let me fix my bike because they know I can handle it, men who will not treat me like a dainty doll that can be broken any second. There are men in the world, if you care to know, who understand that masculinity is not measured below the belt. A gentleman is not someone who carries a lady on his shoulders but offers an arm for her to walk beside him. There are things that men are good at besides harassing women and peeing in public.
An increase of 24.0% was reported in incidence of crime against Children in 2011 over 2010. We hear so many comments about ‘Indian Govt is always like this, India is not safe anymore, the govt is corrupt, the politicians are corrupt, and the police are still in the Stone Age’.
Let us crunch more numbers, in 2011 the actual strength of police force was 12, 81,317 against sanctioned strength of 16, 60,953. However, there were 83829 Women Police against a sanctioned 49566. While it is grossly inadequate, it is still a faint glimmer of hope. The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) currently connects 27 states and helps in sharing useful information and in inter-state investigations. While this is a drop in the ocean, it is a drop all the same.
We have to go from a wanting the change to being the change. Not all of us can take to the streets and not all protests are heard. Then what in the world can we do? Whether you are in the country or afar, you can continue to encourage and support the reforms not just the reformists. Help more people realise that their work is not futile. We hang these rapists and then what? What India needs is a sustainable model, one that can be replicated, one that is just and one that is swift.
I was heartbroken to read one person ranting about how the police were determined to prove that all the rapists were ‘Caste-Hindus’ and trying to hide the name of one Muslim offender. He was vehemently calling this whole case as oppressive to the ‘upper caste’ Hindus. While he may feel that his outrage (I don’t know if it is the genuine case or not) is justified, It seems like he is shooting off on another tangent (You can read the article at asansolnews at wordpress dot com) Hate mails are popping up everywhere from people hating men, India, buses and the west.
India has some of the most talented and admirable minds in the world. If only we could get all this admirable energy to focus on the issue at hand, we certainly could get the ball rolling. Our battle is against the rapists, but our war… our war is definitely not against individuals or religions or other countries or the media, it is against Asharmatittude…
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” — Robert Fulghum
It is 7.30 in the evening and we are waiting out turn as the cashier is ringing up a person in front of us… We have three items on hand and have been waiting patiently. All of a sudden two children, they can’t have been more than 13 push past people standing behind us, past us and dump armloads of chips and candy right in front of our items and push our items back. No one says a thing. Even I venture to say in a low voice ‘well they are kids’. Ji firmly looks at me, picks up our items and places them in front of the kids’ items and fixes them with a steely stare. ‘What if they are our kids? Would you let them behave this way?’ I cringe. The cashier doesn’t care. People behind us in the queue are throwing the children dirty looks and whispering behind their backs but don’t step up. This is one of many many incidents where we have witnessed children being allowed to misbehave, be disrespectful and utterly oblivious to any form of manners or control. On the other hand many children are reasonably well behaved. Please understand by well behaved I do not mean pre-programmed robots, but children who do not spit on European ladies in skirts, punch another kid just for the heck of it, call an adult bad names, make obscene gesture to adults, go around saying ‘Oh S***t’ and push a housemaid out of the elevator kicking, spitting and pulling her skirt up while the parents check FB on their blackberries.
In India there was a time when if your parents don’t teach you to behave the society will. Respecting adults was an important part of our culture that we learnt from a very young age. In UAE it is alarming to see the number of kids (of different nationalities mind you) throwing tantrums, showing no respect for self or others and parents who simply want to look the other way.
We all love children but no one cares for a spoiled brat. No, we don’t care that your child is ’usually’ well behaved and it is his/her ‘off day’. We know you are covering up your inadequacy to teach them manners. Yes we smile politely when your child turns up his/her nose and refuses to greet or say thank you. Everyone has bad days. But there is a big difference between bad days and bad manners. Good Manners cannot be learnt in a day. The learning depends a lot on parents and how they treat others, the responsibilities they take up in the house and how polite they are in the first place.
I have a cousin whose parenting skills I admire. She never lets up when her 2 yr old does not respond when called by name. She is not only dedicated but consistent. Unlike parents who discipline for convenience, her parenting methodology focuses on Character Building and not the acceptance of the child. In other words, she does not want to teach her daughter the things that the child may like or the things that are convenient/easy for the parents to teach but things that build her daughter’s character.
Jill Righby’s book ‘ Raising Respectful children in a Disrespectful World’ begins thus:
Today’s children are angry and rebellious at rates higher than any other generation. They are the first generation to do worse psychologically, socially, and economically than their parents. But they’re not rebelling against rigidity and rules as the hippies of the sixties did; they are rebelling against the lack of structure and adult guidance.
Our children, from ghettos to gated communities, are desperate, searching for someone who will tell them the truth.
You, parent, should be that person
We really should. It is possible. The book is a great read for parents who would like to explore balanced and consistent parenting techniques without it taking an emotional toll on them.
To conclude my rant, I’m reminded of a couplet in Thirukural (Tamizh Literary Masterpiece)
ஒழுக்கமும் வாய்மையும் நாணும் இம் மூன்றும்
இழுக்கார் குடிப்பிறந் தார்
Meaning: Noble men (People born in respectable families) do not lack manners (Good Conduct), honesty and modesty
Kids will be kids, but I sincerely hope parents help children discover what is acceptable social behavior and what is not.
Christmas Of 2012 was memorable. This was the first Christmas we hosted after our wedding and it was so much fun!