Tag Archives: My thoughts

Wanderlust.

Thank you google images!
Thank you google images!

Let’s get wonderfully lost
Ditch the map
Forget our phones
Follow the stars
Penniless pockets
Unfamiliar tongues

Let’s catch the train
And go where it takes us
Along slopes of hills and valleys
With the smell of tea
Lingering in the air
Along the ocean
Can you feel the salt coating your lips?

Let’s eat dishes
With names we can’t pronounce
And meet people
Whose words will be etched
In our hearts forever

Let’s stop looking at the world
From our shiny tour buses
With giant binoculars in our hands
And faces pressed against tinted windows
Why not jump off the bus
And just wander?
Let’s lose the intinerary

Let’s revel
In not knowing
Where we are or
Where we’re going
Let’s get beautifully lost

Let’s fall into Wanderlust

Find My Presence

Look for me in the trees
Midst the lush green foliage
I promise you will find more memories than one
Of times when we would go there, and sit in nature’s lap
Or pretend to be lost adventurers, seeking concealed muddy paths

Look for me in the fall
When the leaves have turned amber
They drop like the rain, covering your path
See these leaves, and think of love
Think of sunshine, and happiness
And of the months gone by, devoid.

Look for me in the trails that we once left behind
On those sandy lands, lined with cobbled webs
They are worn out and dusty, but here, answers you will find
Hidden under those golden grains
Lie the solutions to all your darkest troubles
Hear them in my silenced voice

Look for me where the ocean clears
Where blue meets white, and white meets yellow
Build your sandcastles
But forget me not, for the stories we have made on these salty shores
Are the ones you will remember forever more

Look for me when the snowflakes fall
As you shovel this white beautiful mess
In these intricate designs, you will feel my call
Reminding you of heart-breaking has-beens
Think of me, each time you see this shimmering sheet
And shed those silent tears for those Christmases gone by,
With no presents from me.

Look for me in the pages of an old diary
Cry, as you feel my fingertips, brush across the paper
For a mere second, let go of what is lost
And hold me in your embrace as if I were there
In flesh and blood

Look for me in the years gone by
You have aged, as time has worked on you
But I, rest as I always was
Kept alive by your memory
Still young, and fresh. Smiling.
In those dog-eared photographs

Look for me in every corner
Of this ghostly land
Green and gray, stones everywhere
And corpses lie below your feet, rotting.
Run your fingers over those letters and say them out loud
Let the wind catch your words and float them my way
For nostalgia will strike even those who wish to forget

Look for me, and you will find
My lingering presence.

I Woke Up

While you were asleep,
I woke up.

I woke up
To a world of tales,
A mosaic of lovely stories,
Woven together by me.

I woke up
To a life of happiness.
Of  joyous colours.
Stunning alchemies
Endless hopes.
Held together only by my fantasies

I woke up
To a world of dreams
More vivid than any you have ever seen.
More real than the ones you currently dream.
I woke up to bridge the gap
Between my dreams and realities

I woke up
To see the white in the black
The beauty in the plain
The laughter in the happiness
And the joy in the pain.

I woke up
To the wonders of  a smile
And to the excitement of  a surprise

I woke up
While you were asleep.

Women’s Safety- A possibility or mere hope?

In war torn Afghanistan, a journalist observed that women were walking ahead of men. Assuming this to be a symbol of women’s empowerment, he asked one of the men if this was a step towards equality. The man replied, “No. Landmines.”

This small incident is a very realistic representation of the bigger picture. Women, even today, are often viewed as disposable commodities. We believe that we live in an era of equality, where men and women are equal in all walks of life, be it employment, education, lifestyle or financial independence. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Even today, the levels of discrimination are shamefully high.

Historically, the idea of ‘The Woman’ was used to symbolize strength, justice and independence. A popular example of this would be the French revolution where ‘Marianne’ was introduced into the freedom struggle as an allegory of liberty. Closer to home, people like ‘Mirabhai’and ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’ have assumed a similar role.

The idea of equating women to ideals like liberty and strength is quite ironic, simply because, in reality, women are related to qualities like dependence and servility. This representation has dominated the mentality of people everywhere and as a result, women have assumed the tag of being ‘the weaker sex’. Most men believe that women are weak and cannot take care of themselves, or fight when necessary. Men regard themselves with power and authority and often believe that women can’t or are in no position to stand up to them.

This notion transitions itself as well to the woman’s mentality and this in turn resonates a feeling of inferiority which translates into an insecure environment for women caused by both a mindset that’s submissive amongst women and a thirst for power in men.

Women’s safety is an issue of major concern, all across the world. Cases of rape, domestic abuse, abduction, murder, etc are countless. Women are viewed as powerless beings and are seen to be dependent on men.

In a country like India, women’s safety has become a raging problem. It isn’t just rape, abduction or murder. The root of the problem lies in something as mild as eve-teasing or hooting. It is sad that our country has come to such a state that these things seem mild to us, however that is the status quo.
Eve-teasing has seeped into our mindsets to such an extent that it seems quite normal when it happens. It has become ingrained in our minds that it is not ‘wrong’ or ‘unjust’. The most common reaction being, “It happens to everyone” or “He stared at me, he didn’t actually touch me”. And thus, we end up looking at the matter in a purely physical sense. We tend to think that some wrong or injustice has been done only when the woman’s body has been violated. Nobody treats a woman’s dignity or self-respect as a part of her that also requires protection.

Women’s safety is a broad term that refers to the security of women in general. The term covers both physical and mental aspects of safety. It is not just the woman’s body that requires protection, but also her personality and mind. Experiences like rape or physical abuse, not only violate a woman’s body, but may also cause mental trauma and may result in psychological or mental disorders. At the same time, it also taints her image in the eyes of society. It becomes hard for her to lead a normal life, or to be accepted as a normal human being in the eyes of society. She is shunned for no fault of hers. She loses her dignity.

We see that, in recent times, there has been a hike in the number of cases of rape, domestic violence and physical abuse towards women. To add to this, there are many cases that go unreported. The current situation is ruefully dismal.

To understand the gravity of the situation, we can look into the rape case that took place in Delhi on December 16th 2012. Two people, a girl and boy, boarded what was believed to be a public bus, only to find that the bus already contained six men, who were not afraid of getting on the wrong side of the law. The boy was beaten up brutally and thrown aside, after which they took turns and raped the girl. They did not stop there. As if that wasn’t enough, they physically abused her. They broke her, made her bleed and left her, with her guts spilling out. She and her friend were then hauled out of the bus and left on the roadside, naked and bruised. Nobody came forward and offered them any assistance. All the passers-by just went by them without being bothered enough to stop for a second, even if it was just to contact the police authorities and medical facilitators. The police men themselves, when they finally got there, had an argument about jurisdiction.

This incident unified the people of India in a manner like never before. Protests took place all over the country. People went on strikes, made demands and fought for the rights of their sisters, wives and mothers. The battle raged on for several days, with support from all corners of the country. Soon, the matter went international, with protests taking place in London, Melbourne, Toronto, etc. It was the first time that the matter of women’s safety was being taken this seriously.

The girl, who battled for her life for nearly two weeks, could not make it. However, her struggle became a personal matter for every Indian. She was given the name ‘Nirbhaya’ for her fearless attitude and for the bravery that she displayed till the very end. As mentioned in the examples before, once again it was a woman who was given the role of representing the struggle for safety and freedom.

It was this wave of much-needed anger that pushed people forward to make themselves heard. It was the wave of change that India needed.

A woman’s attire, conduct or company cannot be blamed for the injustice that is inflicted upon her by the doings of such men who turn to rape and murder as a manifestation of their power over the weaker sex. A woman’s behaviour or choice of whereabouts cannot be questioned. Her rights are equal to that of a man’s. A woman has as much freedom of choice as her counterpart.

What must be done to ensure women’s safety? Who is to be blamed? How can this issue be solved?

Just as you cannot kill a plant, unless you cut off its roots; to solve this problem, we must take a look at its basics or ‘roots’. The basics of the problem, in this case, refer to the mindset and attitude of the entire population. How can we expect to stop graver violations of justice like rape, if we continue to let the smaller ones like eve-teasing prevail?

The first step towards ensuring women’s safety is a complete change in the mentality of the people. Actions like eve-teasing, verbal abuse, hooting, wolf-whistling and the likes must be taken seriously. Incidents of rape, domestic abuse, physical violence, etcshould not go unreported. Sensitization, education and exposure will mark the way ahead. Boys must be taught to respect women from a young age. All women should make it a point to learn some basic self-defense techniques. The situation must not be downplayed. The law should ensure that offenders are heavily punished for their wrong doings.The mentality of the mass needs to be altered, with time. These are just a few of the many measures that can be taken to ensure the safety of women in future. This is just the first step, over time, we must look into the workings of all sectors and see to it that necessary policy changes are implemented to pave the way ahead for a safer country, and eventually world, for women.

As Alice Sebold said, “You save yourself or you remain unsaved.”

It is in our hands now. We must keep the momentum going and ensure that WE bring about the change that we need. Only we can save ourselves.

(Written for an assignment on Women’s Safety)

Beauty

They walked on the mud road.

Their sandals, slapping against the wet red clay, made soft by the rains.

The girl, on one side. The boy, on the other.

They maintained this distance, of an arm’s length, throughout their walk.

A minute…

Two minutes…

Thirty minutes…

An hour…

And then two…

The boy couldn’t break through the wall of her musings.

Her concentration was impenetrable.

He finally asked her that, which had been on his mind for far too long.

“Are you beautiful?”

She looked up. For the first time, he had managed to break that barrier.

She did not meet his eyes.

When she spoke, her voice flowed out, musical and soft. So soft that had it not been quiet enough to hear the crickets chirp, he might have never caught her words.

“I’m as beautiful as you want me to be.”

He looked at her.

He really looked at her.

He looked at her dark eyes.

Her luscious black hair, braided into one thick plait.

Her face, dabbed unevenly with talcum powder.

The gap between her two front teeth.

Those golden hoops, dangling from her small ears.

Her wrists, lined with glass bangles that shone in the light.

The saree, that was draped around her.

The smell of jasmine, that he knew only as her own.

The sound of her laughter, echoing through the air, resonating with unfathomable happiness.

He smiled.

Her’s was a simple life.

The pleasures that gave her those moments of happiness, too were as simple.

The sweetness of a mango, as she squeezed its flesh, while biting into its pulp, juice dribbling down the corner of her chin.

The laughter when she saw the children play on the street.

The innocence with which she looked at men.

The honesty in her eyes when she spoke to him.

The trust which she had sold to him, at the price of her life.

The reverence that she associated with only family.

The fear of loss. And, of regret.

The wonder when she looked at the stars, scattered across the night sky.

The playfulness with which she gathered the cool water in the palms of her hands and splashed his face.

The naughtiness with which she climbed trees.

The awe with which she spoke of her big city dreams.

The care with which she added spices in the food she cooked.

The love in her eyes when she smiled.

The childishness that she embodied.

The unadulterated glee that he heard in her voice, whenever she spoke.

And how he wished that she would speak more often.

The musicality of her voice, and in her words.

The colours that burst out of her, more colourful than the brightest hues of any Holi celebration.

The bravery, coupled with kindness.

The lives she inspired.

The pale shadow of the moonlight, on her face, when she snuck out on full moon nights.

The sunlight that illuminated her face in the early mornings.

The life in her when she danced under the crying skies, during the first rains of the monsoons.

“They are only tears of joy”, she would say.

The little quirks that defined her.

Her spirit that said nothing would stop her.

Her ideas that were far beyond her age.

The simplicity that underlined her upbringing.

The determination that she would be someone.

The ethereal sight that she was in the depths of darkness.

The lessons that he had learnt from her.

The friendship he had found in her.

The need that she had instilled in him.

She looked at him, and smiled, barely.

But that alone was enough for him.

“How beautiful am I?” She whispered.

“As beautiful as beauty can be.” He breathed.

What am I?

 What am I?

 

What am I, but a gentle whisper?

 A lone tree, in a rain forest.

A star, hidden by the glow of the moon.

 

What am I, but a humble servant?

A tiny drop in the ocean.

The dot on the ‘I’.

 

What am I, in this sea of souls?

A tiny toe on the footprint of mankind.

A single page in the book of eternity.

 

What am I, in this universe?

But a single speck on the expanse of nothingness.

 An action. A choice. A decision.

Can they really change my place?

 Will I make my mark in history?

Or will I fade away like words written on sand?

Confined Creativity

Image Courtesy- Google Images

I have a brother who is twelve years old, and like any typical twelve year old, he spends all his time playing video games, watching TV and annoying me. I remember asking him what he wanted to be when he grows up once- about five years ago- and he promptly told me that he would be a super-hero. When I ask him the same question now, he confidently says,”Either a game designer. Or a professional cricket player.” And I believe that maybe when I ask him the same question five years from now, he will tell me that he wants to become an engineer. Or some other mundane, safe career like that. Of course his bank balance will see some action. But where’s the fun in that? The adventure? The stories to inspire his own children? They say, throw a stone at random and the chances are that it will hit an engineer. And there is no doubt about this. Every second person is one of them.

In another instance, I asked my cousin the same question today. Being seventeen, she is about to make this decision herself. I have asked her this before and her answer has always been the same. It is today, what it was even three years back. I don’t know whether to applaud her on her keen sense of decision making or bang my head against the wall in frustration. YES, ladies and gentlemen. She wants to be an….. ENGINEER!

And then I begin to wonder what the world will do with about 4 billion engineers. There are after all only so many technical problems to solve. What is the fun in living like that anyway? You spend roughly four years getting your degree. Then you get a fancy job from the campus recruitment, usually. Earn some money. Marry an engineer/bank manager/doctor (yes, those are your only options). Earn some more money. Have two kids. Earn more money. Spend all this money to buy a house, on education, insurance policies, vacations, etc etc etc…. marry off your kids… work work work and finally retire. At the age of 65, your life FINALLY begins. But by now you have arthritis or diabetes or some other problem. Hence, you buy two rocking chairs and all the newspapers in town and spend every single day in pretty much the same way, reading newspaper, drinking coffee and rocking away!

Where’s the excitement?
“Oh hi honey. I’m home! You know what happened at work today? A server crashed. And I fixed it. Woohoo!”

Where’s the risk?
“Guess what? I decided to take an extra hour off during lunch today! What an adrenaline rush!”

Where’s the fun?
“I sat and typed out twenty different codes today. And now my wrist hurts, my back aches and I’m pretty sure my eyesight is going to the dogs. But I like the noise when I type.”

Oh. And most importantly. Where’s the time to… live?
“I have a holiday tomorrow. Which means I have to work only from nine to four! YESS!”

See. This is what I’m talking about.

I’m saying ‘engineer’. But it could refer to any other such career, requiring only a degree and a willingness to give up your life.
Yes, it is safe. If you get fired today, you’re likely to find a pretty decent opening very soon.
Yes, it’ll give you financial security. Your pay hikes will come faster than those mounting expenses.

But the real question is, will it make you happy?

All I’m saying is, don’t confine creativity. Don’t be afraid to dream. Dare to do something different.

Make mistakes. Crazy ones. But be happy.

If you really want to do something, whatever it is,  give it your best shot and do it. You can never be bad at doing something you love because you will end up giving it all you’ve got. If you want to become a painter, dancer or writer, then do just that. Don’t waste your life sitting in a cubicle, doing something you don’t love, enjoy or aren’t good at. Because, you might never be happy.

I’m sure that if you’re doing something for ‘the heck of it’ or because ‘it’s what everyone is doing’, then someday, you will wake up miserable and you will think back on those days when you dreamt of being a… An astronaut or  a writer or maybe even… a superhero? Then the realization hits you. Your dreams have died. The child within you is buried so deep inside that you cannot even feel its presence. It is probably the most terrifying feeling. Like something within you has died.

So wake up before it’s too late. And let your creative juices flow. Do whatever you’ve always dreamed of doing.

And even after all of this, if you still want to be an engineer, then go ahead!

I, for one, am taking the unconventional road. I might never be ‘The Richest Woman on Earth’, but I will find happiness.

Because I refuse to bury my dreams.
Because I refuse to kill the child in me.

Because I refuse to confine creativity.