Coffee, Paper and a whole lot of repressed thoughts…

Don’t take anything for granted!

I belong to the generation that was raised on that principle. Perhaps the last generation to be raised such. But, perusing the newspaper seriously for the past few weeks, realisation dawned that I take several things for granted. Here is a list…

I take for granted that in India:

  1. People have the right to marry out of their caste
  2. People have the right to consume alcoholic beverages or socialise without inviting a sexual assault
  3. People will be given first aid in case of an accident
  4. The police are actually there to protect my rights and dignity
  5. I have the right to a fair trial and the governance will deal with me in the same manner as the rich
  6. Our taxes benefit us or the general public in some way
  7. The choice of clothes I wear, accidentally meeting a person’s eye, smiling, wearing a shade of lipstick or saying “NO” to advances will not be misconstrued as an invitation for rape and torture
  8. Crimes where children are victims will be handled with utmost diligence, sensitivity and the strictest punishment given
  9. The entertainment and sportsmanship we witness and learn is not an orchestrated drama
  10. My merits would primarily help me secure jobs, placements or subsidies

You must think I’m crazy

P.S: People who have been encouraging and sometimes downright pestering me to write (my husband J, mom, Guppy and Sathish) – Thank you and I’m making Vanilla Walnut cake this weekend if you want to drop by 🙂

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…

Archie… Bounty Hunter Extrodinaire! (part 2)

Img Courtesy: Fire-Designs.com

Img Courtesy: Fire-Designs.com

So this is where I die, bludgeoned to death by a Neanderthal off his meds.

“Ulle irukaanga” He grunted (they are inside)

In all this commotion I failed to notice a man by the door, watching us… Anger rose up inside me, like I was about to throw up lava.

Deepak Debnath, scum of the earth. In high school he had asked me out twice and had been turned down. This resulted in him exploiting his artistic license on bathroom walls, with anonymous paper copies of the same being left on lunch bags and homework books.

Ex-Nothing held out a hand I took it.

“ AJ? I don’t believe it! How’ve you been cupcake?”

“Don’t-call-me-that” I said gritting my teeth.

I’d made fists. He turned to Ex-Nothing “Leash your cat bro”

In a flash ex-nothing lunged for him only to be bodily lifted off the ground by mammoth himself.

“Inga no fighting” (No fighting here) he growled.

“Fucking mammoth” ex-nothing obviously didn’t enjoy being man-handled.

Suppressing a sudden giggle, I waddled in after them and found Silva* on the couch, wasted.

“She wants to stay with me.” Deepak Debnath, putrid dog turd.

“I want to hear her say it” “Then come back tomorrow cupcake”

I looked to ex-nothing for help. He was busy with mammoth’s X-Box. What is it with men and X-Boxes?

After a lot of argument and name calling,(Mammoth keeping Ex-Nothing from maiming Deepak or worse) he stirred Silva*. She sat up on the couch and promptly spewed her last meal. A few minutes and a glass of water later, she came to and sat cross- legged, groggy, swaying…

“Tell them you won’t go home” Deepak Debnath, gutter slime


“Silva*, It’s Joycey, look, I’m gonna take you home to your mother now ok?” “No” She sulked like a five year old

“What? Listen your mother is worried about you. Call her. I’ll let her know you are safe ok?”

“I’m staying with Deepichoo… We will have parties and two dogs and three little girls…” Hacking cough. “We are a couple now.”

She rocked back and forth outlining her dreams… She seemed so vulnerable.

“Err… Boo… your mother is more important, go home tonight. We’ll talk tomorrow” I turned to Deepak, was he sweating? Ex-Nothing and I exchanged an amused look.

“What’s the rush?” Guess Ex-Nothing will get to land a sucker punch after all.

“We’re leaving. Dogs and kids sound lovely” I pulled ex-nothing away and realized he was half-smiling. Obviously enjoying the way things were turning out.

“You can’t leave. Her mom’s worried about her, get ready boo, you have to go home” He shot us a murderous look “can you wait outside?”

“You can’t force her to do anything against her will dude” Ex-Nothing faced him squarely.

“Wait-the-fuck-outside” he was sweating and profusely at that… Debated with himself and added “Please” through pursed lips.

I pulled Ex-Nothing outside and we flopped down on one of the stairs leading up to the terrace. My eyes felt like they were filled with sand and a thousand trolls swing danced in my head.

“My neighbor’s cat is an FTA. Wanna take up the case Ms.Bounty Hunter?”

“Shut up”

Raised voices inside the house. Silva* high pitched and obviously crying… Deepak Debnath, pimple on the… well, I hated him and everything he stood for. MEN!

“Wanna get some dinner once this is over?” “I’m not hungry” He took out his mobile phone and got busy. Watching his ever familiar features I had a moment of what the Japanese call… Satori

There are men in my life that I love and despise with equal fervor.

Arun, who is talented, predictable, irritating, loving. Thomas, mature, silly, respectful, trustworthy, reliable, annoying, the look in his eyes when he picked me up bloody and disoriented in the accident said it all. TK, silly, lazy, affectionate, funny, and sweet, putting up with my phobias, he sets my heart racing conveying more in his “take care” and “you too” than in our entire conversation. Sathish, struggling between two extremities, of having to be human and his call to be super-human. John who is nothing short of a miracle…

Men, whom I respect, men I love, men I’m friends with, men I simply hold in awe…and then there are the Deepaks , freaks of nature, rude, ill-mannered, despicable, perverted, virulent, no respect for self / others…

“How about if we skipped dinner and went to that Donut place by the beach. Two friends talking over a…a…Strawberry Glaze and a Mochachino if I remember right… How about that?”

Damn, “Yeah… How about that?” I met his eyes and smiled.