By Invitation only

Asha Mirje is trending on twitter. So who is she ? Apparently a representative of women of Maharashtra, voicing their concerns. She is a member of Maharashtra State Commission for Women and a leader of a “National” party ( NCP is “Nationalist”)
So today while addressing a gathering of NCP women’s wing in Nagpur she enlightened us about causes of sexual crimes against women. She is so involved with women and their causes that she refuses to look at other things. She cannot be distracted and be engaged in solving men’s problem (like why they rape).
Quoting her,
“a woman has to think whether, mistakenly, she is not inviting or inviting (to sexual assault)” [1]
There are other gems of wisdom to and you can find them easily. (Media has done good coverage)
Thank you Ma’am for enlightening me that. After all why would a good man rape me without an invite from me. That is not the gentleman thing to do. What about gang-rapes ? I only invited two men but got raped by four. Can I accuse them of gate-crashing ?
There is a protocol for invitation. Make no mistake, rape is a serious event. You must not trivialize it. So here is my humble attempt to understand how and when we “invite” rape.

  1.  (Dress Code) Are you dressed as a woman ? You must be inviting rape.
  2. Are u standing alone ? Oh you must be looking to “invite” us
  3. Are u standing with a guy ? You must be “partying” with him. Thus inviting other men to join the party.
  4. Are you with another girl ? Its definitely a party now.
  5. Are you outside your house ? What are you possibly doing outside your house other than “inviting” men. I mean you do not really have a job or for that matter a life ?
  6. Are you inside the house ? Then you are a household object for use. Does the washing machine ever refuse to wash clothes. Then how could you possibly refuse to have sex with your husband or his friends or his relatives ?

All my understanding is from the newspaper reports of your humble speech. Alas I could not be there to fully absorb your extensive knowledge on crime against women. Kudos to Maharashtra State Commission Women for recruiting such erudite members. It is very difficult to find people of such profound views these days. Did you guys use a time machine to bring her from the Dark Ages ?



Valentine Blues

It is that time of the year, again. The roses are blooming and everything from chocolates to breads to boxes are heart shaped ( or “butt-shaped”, as you perceive it).  It is LOVE, cloying candy pink LOVE right in your face.

First it was just one annoying day, but Hallmark made it into one long annoying week. Those who are blessed with a partner see it as an evaluation of love instead of expression. And, people like me, single and blessed with happiness, fun, food and toothbrush on a no-sharing basis start to question our perfectly happy state.

Do you not see a conspiracy here ? To reduce human efficiency in the month of February, an efficiency that is already suffering from all the Christmas holiday family baggage, New Year hangovers, breakups and hookups.

Your email account is spammed with “find the perfect gift for your sweetheart” mails and your vision blurred by way too many red and pink balloons casually floating around. There are days I wish I had a shotgun and I would play “Pink Heart Hunt”. Then I realize, nos misérables are growing consumers of another market – The Valentine Blues. We end up over spending in clothes, jewelry, pointlessly expensive gadgets, spas, bars and fancy restaurants for a problem that we do not actually have. The world is an evil place , it makes you feel miserable, and then takes your money.

Somewhere, in this chaos, we have forgotten what love actually is. Falling in love is no longer like bungee jumping with butterflies in stomach, but replaced by definite expectations, more like a project with targets and valentine’s day, birthdays and anniversaries are inspection days. Love is actually pretty simple. Its the one person whom you want see when you wake up , and happiness is seeing that face and feeling the rest of the world melt away at that instant. 
I have thus warned you all of this sugary trap of red pillow expectations. To the couples, love each other like you do every day for the rest of forever. And the singles, Valentine’s day was to honor the saints that got persecuted for believing in a man with a beard that divided a sea ( read Jesus) over thunder weilding, fire breathing man ( read pagan gods). Nothing romantic here.

Can you be Pain free?

Rather feel pain than feel nothing at all

Pain. The sensation felt by all animals in the hierarchy of evolution. Happiness, jealousy, anger, compassion, these are the more complex ones observed in those with more complex gray matter.
Millions of neurons as “pain sensors” cover the human body. A reflex system designed to protect us from pain. A dedicated peripheral nervous system.

All lives are spent trying to avoid pain, both physical and emotional. But to be pain free ? is it a boon ?

Clinical psychopaths have there brains wired differently. They are incapable of experiencing emotional melodrama. Are they superior to people who battle with emotions like loss, guilt, and grief everyday ? Then these people should be happy, satisfied, contented in their perfect world. But instead most psychopaths are cutthroat competitors moving ahead ruthlessly in search of something. A few end up being really famous serial killers.  Is it the absence of pain that makes them incapable of understanding the value of the gift they have ?

History will be my witness as I say that it was not times of great happiness or prosperity that brought people together, but times of extreme hardships. Pain binds us, grieving hearts tend to come together. It is in extreme pain that people have found courage. All superheroes have their own personal traumas fueling their relentless pursuit against evil.

Why does pain have this ability to bring people together ? Why is it easier to share pain than happiness ?
When in Satyamev Jayate ( the weekly tv series hosted by Aamir Khan) victims of sexual abuse shared their horrifying stories , somewhere someone – a victim .. a survivor .. felt at ease. The inner battle , the grieving, the suffering is reduced by a margin knowing that there are others and he/she is not alone. Why does our heart ease out a little, our soul rests a little when we find someone else in pain ? Is it schadenfreude in disguise. Looking at other’s misery helps us come to term with ours. Is it because we feel – “oh look, it could have been worse, at least I am in a better situation than him”. Or is it more sinister, sadist – derive pleasure out of it. Morally it is outrageous to seek pleasure in other’s pain, but do we not do it secretly ? Ever felt a sense of comfort when you scored low in a test, but a fellow student (who probably even studied harder) scored lower. Made you feel lucky , even confident that perhaps you are genuinely brighter than him.

It is our reaction to not only ours but other’s grief that makes interests me. It is how our lives revolve around avoiding, denying or accepting pain. If for once we accepted pain as a way of living and happiness as bursts of fairy dust, would it be a different life ?

Do not stand at my grave and weep

came across this beautiful poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye
wanted to share with all of you 

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight.
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there — I do not die. 

the simplicity of the poem touched me… the last line being the most powerful…. it summed at once the immortality of the soul, how the existence of a person does not cease after his physical death. Loosing someone you love is perhaps the hardest in the world, but our memories and our love keeps them alive. We seek them in all beautiful things we see, in every smile, and in every tear. 

There is abundant use of imagery and although the poem is circled around somebody’s death, the poet has been able to create an atmosphere of hope, beauty and immortality. There is a certain lightness, even happiness in the poem, despite the fact that it starts right at the grave.