Of friendship and hope

It has been so long since we spoke that I’m concerned. If anything’s the matter I trust that you will let us know so it can be resolved.

You know how to reach me, us or…

Take Care 🙂

Hands shaking, she hits the ‘send’ button and feels her throat close, enveloping the light

around her.

‘Message sent View or undo’?

She blinks trying to get her eyes to focus. Undo… Dear reader,  if only it were that simple, you and I would have found a cure to cancer . If only she knew what the hell there was to undo. (more…)

Asharmattitude and the Aam Aadmi

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.

Have a look see at the numbers for 2011Image

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…

The only thing…

Courtesy Anne Geddes

The only tears worth shedding are ones when you are laughing hard.

The only song worth singing is the one that puts a smile on your face.

The only thing worth your disaapointment is the absence of hope.

The only thing worth dying for is your country.

The only thing worth killing is an innocence hunting predator.

The only thing worth stealing, is a kiss from a sleeping child.

The only life worth living is one where you leave the world more beautiful than you found it.

We get one shot, one time to live it right… to love as much as you breathe, to laugh like it sustains your life, to say “I love you” as much as pleases or thank you s…

We get one lifetime to walk in the rain, to hear the crickets at nights, to fall asleep in someones arms listening to the pitter patter of rain on the window sill, to wake up to freshly pressed coffee and sleepy lips in search of yours.

We earn one set of close friends to travel the world with, to stand by you when the world thinks you are wrong, to drag you out of your shell kicking and screaming, to share the last bowl of soup you can afford, to take the buses with you when your mercedes breaks down, to share your silence as much as your tears…

The only thing worth your indomitable spirit is to live like you deserve it all 🙂

I ran to you…

I half opened my eyes and grunted… The sky outside my window was ominously dark. I scrambled to find my phone which had disrespectfully trod on my dreams.

Managing a thin smile at the doorman, I walked unsteadily towards the restaurant where the famous breakfast buffet was in full swing. 12 hours had passed since Uncle S had called and invited me to breakfast.

Uncle S, as I call him, is the father of my late love J S. It has been 5 years since we lost him to Leukemia and the wound is as raw today as it was back then.

I stood there amidst the invisible bustle of a 5-star breakfast buffet, my feet held ground and surely by slowly hardening industrial concrete.



Uncle S rose to greet me, built like a linebacker, he stood six feet two and gently ushered me into the chair he held out with all the grace of a 70’s gentleman, which only he can pull off.  He patiently answered my inquiries about his family and health and I offered excerpts from my life, which I was sure he held no care for.

Half way into buttering our toast , we stared at each other, small talk exhausted.

“How have you been?” he asked for the second time. I stared at my piece of toast noticing how thinly the butter was spread and yet the piece of toast seemed very heavy in my hands.

Placing the offensive piece of toast on my quarter plate, I assured him that I was fine.

Scooping some beans into his mouth he looked at me. His onyx eyes glistening, betraying the tempest within… I paused and listened to the kettle drums in my ears dreading his silence, the most eloquent herald of bitter tidings.

Fortunately he just sighed and we went back to pushing the food around in our plates for a decent time.

“Do you still miss him?” He asked, staring stiffly at his knees.

An imperceptible drop in room temperature led me to draw myself together. “Yes” I answered knowing what was to come. The chill would spread to my spine and I would go into that subliminal state of shock where I would want to escape into J S’ arms; the only place in this twisted universe and the next, where I would find the warmth to sustain me. It was how I have dealt with it all these years.

Men in crisp hotel garb walked back and forth in the periphery of my vision, in the distance Uncle J was asking me a question that didn’t carry over the table, my fingers were curled around the arms of the chair… I was battle ready.  A shiver passed through me and I fell back into the comfortable warmth of strong arms. Horrified I opened my eyes; those weren’t J S’ arms.

Excusing myself I ran to the powder room and looked at the mirror long and hard. Staring to my eyes, looking for guilt, betrayal… and they were as elusive as a sweet rain drop on a hot summers’ day. That instant I knew my answer.

With renewed strength of spirit, I walked back.

“I miss him every single day Uncle J. But, I also know that loving and caring for someone else does not mean that it is a betrayal to his memory. I love your son very much”

Choking up I stared at the man across the table. A single tear tracing the rivulets of the worry lines in his face. It wasn’t clear when the salty drop had escaped its confines or why. But the knowledge that we both crossed a barrier, which had held our hearts captive for a long time, restored every thread of hope in my weary mind.

Bidding good-bye I walked back to the parking lot, hitting the number 4 on my speed dial to see the contact picture pop up… “I ran to you” I whispered to the picture… “God help me”