Myopia is not just a problem of the eye, as I have recently discovered, it is a lifestyle problem. Lifestyle, insofar, that you let people/things overshadow the larger being that you aim to be, when you let issues become a part of life rather than parting with them, when you think that you have failed before realizing that you haven’t even started trying. This is what myopia is, when you can’t see beyond the Now and the Problems.
It is at moments like these, when you need to step back, take a deep breath, crane your neck and see the wide horizon ahead of you and not let stones feel like mountains in your path. Easier said than done, eh? I am the first one to agree to this, how are you supposed to look beyond the cover of Now and the Problems, beyond people and things that you feel you simply can’t do without? Life is as fair as it is unfair my friend, rude awakenings and a false sense of security, you are doled out each in equal measure. And that is when comes along a post like this and preaching like you have been subjected to for the past 30 seconds (I am sure few lines and words must have been skipped, and I don’t really profess to be a Rowling, to be able to grasp attenion and imagination for more than that time span).
And when something like this happens to you, you have two choices - either to sit and wallow in grief and mull over the Ifs, Buts, Whats and the Whys, or to sit up and realize (as again one of my very learned friend once told me) that oceans are not crossed by looking at the islands, but at the horizon. What may seem as the end of the world, might just be the temporary break in the path which gives you the strength to choose a different one. And then the choice lies with us , are we too comfortable and insecure to change the way we had been travelling till now? Or do we believe that paths are meant to be explored and made and thus do not shy away from taking that small step in a different direction?
We all question if we know life enough, everytime forgetting that life is meant to be explored and not questioned, and along the way knowledge will come itself, through the crevices and cracks that we thought were our weakness but which enabled the enlightenment to seep within. It is when we stop questioning the Now and the Problems, and instead focus on the destination, that the present and future start to make sense. If we dwell only on the present, the future will always be blurry, and always frustratingly beyond our each.
Before looking around, look within and once you have, look as far ahead as your eyes can..stretching beyond the obvious.
A modified version of the article was published in The Viewspaper and can be found at http://theviewspaper.net/to-all-the-mothers-with-sonsand-to-men-in-general/.
Rapes happen because men and women interact freely - Mamta Bannerjee
90% of rapes are consensual - Some obscure Congress walla
And I won’t bother getting into what the Khaps say everyday. If you think about it, the Khaps are actually doing us a favour, with the lack of good comedy shows, they ensure that we get our daily dose of over the top, nonsensical humour. And now they have targeted one of my favourite foods - Chow mien! But no publicity is bad publicity they say, and turning Chow mien into an aphrodisiac is sure to increase its sales substantially. My Chow mien is safe, albeit with a bit of a tarnished reputation, but safe nevertheless. Who is not safe are countless women like me who go to work daily, travel, and get increasingly afraid as the dusk approaches.
But we appreciate the concern that is going around, from Mamta Banerjee to the khaps to netas, all out to get their two minutes of fame. Never in our whole lives have we received such concern and suggestions to solve our problem. Come to think of it, even our parents allowed us to live our life as we saw fit, never advising us not to eat Chow mien, or not to talk to people. But yes, our world travelled, erudite netas have the grip on the problem, never mind that they themselves have been embroiled in sex scandals (I just wrote the word sex, does that mean I am inciting the opposite gender, I wonder? ). But no sir, they know what they are talking about.
And that scares me. As much as the the guy who stands and leers on street corners, as much as the guy who thinks it is within his right to stare and make lewd comments. If the netas do know what they are talking about, then what can we say about our democracy, and our culture? I can only take consolation in the fact that these netas are a minority in numbers, and the general public knows better.
The mother, with a boy, I now talk directly to you. Don’t let women become an object in your son’s eyes, don’t let him think that the length of clothes is directly proportional to a woman’s modesty, don’t let him believe the women ever asked to be raped (if a woman wants to indulge in intercourse with someone, she has other ways than to get mauled in this way, trust me), don’t let him believe that a woman who speaks to men is loose. Most important of all, tell him that a woman is as much entitled to work and to be free as he is. Tell him that a woman has a right to say no, even if she agrees to talk to you and be your friend, tell him he need not become a beast in order to become a man.
And to all the men in general, well don’t you feel angry when your name is maligned in this way? When your fellow gender-mates turn rapists? When women every where ridicule and curse your gender? Why is it that women have to speak out against this? Isn’t it your responsibility too? Is this a gender related problem only? Why don’t you say that clothes don’t matter, that you don’t think there is any such thing as provocative dressing, that all of this is the making of a cheap mindset? We need you to speak out, to rant and to feel angry. More than us, it is you who is being laughed at, because the netas are indirectly implying that our boys can’t control their libidos, and hence it is upto the girl to protect herself. Is it so? Please don’t tell us about not going out at night, and lecture us about how to dress. You don’t get it because you have never faced it. It is not just about night clubs and clothes, it is about how you see and treat a woman. Please do not shame our intelligence by chiding us for being careless. And how careless? For trusting you and thinking that you are not an animal? Well, if that is the case, then I ask every girl to apologize to you, profusely. It was indeed our mistake then.
And to girls everywhere, I salute you for living in this society that harbours such low creatures, I salute you for going out and being independent, and I salute you for fighting back..day after day. Fight on! They can’t crush us!
Proud of being a woman, and proud of having men around me who know how to treat a woman. To the men I know - thanks! :)
Image courtesy - Newslaundry
So here I am, after a long hiatus. I have no excuses for being absent for so long, what excuse can you give for not doing something that you like? Yes, for while you may blame your work, your parents, your friends, your…well life in general but for how long? As JK Rowling rightly said, there is an expiration date to blame your parents (in fact, we can’t always keep on blaming the extrinsic factors forever). But we do it. Why is it that we hesitate to take the plunge, while always yearning for it, but never wanting to leave the shore?
Before I start sounding didactic, I must admit that I have been a victim, nay, a perpetrator of the aforementioned crime. Postponing and re-thinking and procrastination, the three best friends I develop whenever I know that Life isn’t going as I wanted it to. It is spreading everywhere, this particular crime of not doing, of staying put firmly where we are, of being afraid to move forward.
Well, this post was written after a very dear friend sent this very disturbing picture which read - you are always haunted by the idea that you are wasting your life. There it was, put into words, and graphically so if I may say, what we feel ,daily being badgered by the doubts inside our head. How much should you listen to these voices? Are they friends or foe, designed to keep us from getting complacent and smug? Well, if that’s the case, mine sure as hell keep me on the edge, fingernail biting and all.
People expect, once you are out of college and are working (naukri, that requires a different blog altogether!) that you have your life figured out..nice and easy. College, job, MBA, marriage, kids, country houses and apartments and a cigar smoking, committee chairing, club hopping old age. Perfect! Except for one teeny tiny detail, I don’t have a goddamn clue about what I want to do. There. Saying it aloud is very liberating, I recommend it to everyone who is assailed by doubts. Because once you say it, another thing will hit you hard, if you will not know, then who? We are not machines where someone else is supposed to direct how we work and fix us up when things go bad. No sir, we are humans, brain and heart and more often than not, they both lack coordination. But that is how it is.
So if we are incharge, shouldn’t we begin to take charge? Why wait for something monumental, life changing, earth shattering to happen to find our calling? That happens, in movies and the biographies of the awesome people we read but in reality all that is expected from us is to trudge along, with our weakness and strength, and never lose the hope of finding what we yearn for on the next bend on the road.
From tomorrow, don’t be afraid to question yourself, relentlessly, day after day about what you are doing, what do you want. Don’t hesitate to pick that pen to write that poem that you have been thinking about, don’t feel embarrassed to tell someone how much you like them, don’t let the bleak future prospects ruin your present..because what do you have to lose? Failure and Rejection? Failure and Rejection are, my friend, only pit stops in the journey we call LIFE.
We don’t have to find ourselves, self is something we have to make, brick by brick, from the scratch.
Well, the title might lead you to believe that you will encounter around 20 bullet points instructing/advising ways and means to survive The Office and I mean, survive. I don’t know about the more experienced people out there, but for people like me, the-freshly-graduated-and-idealistic-about-job-and-all, it is a big deal. I strongly support the idea of handing out an Office Survival Guide along with our degrees when we finally graduate. How else are we supposed to know what awaits us? (Might I add, we should also get an Office Survival Kit which should include the ever so faithful bottle to drown away our miseries.)
That sounded scary, even to me! Let me assuage your fears, it is not that scary, the whole process of gradually being a “professional”. If you follow the simple steps I am about to illustrate (I might have to actually take the help of the bullet points), you might be able to exist and persist.
So first thing first, never befriend the people you work with, no sir. If anyone approaches you with a friendly look, run as fast as possible in the opposite direction. It has many pitfalls, this habit of getting cosy with The Colleagues, imagine liking them and worse still having a good time with them! Oh the sheer horror of actually liking your Office Space!
Next, never go for coffee/lunch breaks. Limit the time, go alone. And if you are with other people, maintain a stony silence with a dark brooding look on your face. Growl occasionally if you have to. And God forbid if you have one of those people who are still stubborn enough to try and talk to you, and that too with a smile! Pretend to have a coughing fit and gallop like horse out of the coffee room.
The biggest folly is to take pride in you accomplishments at The Work. Don’t try patting your back when you do something good, your hand won’t reach till there anyway, so why bother? This action will only result in you working more and harder, and seriously, do you want to? I mean is all that worth a few moments of appreciation from your Boss/Colleagues?
After-office get togethers and parties are also a strictly off limits. Meeting The Colleagues when your guard is already down is a risk that you rather not take. What if you actually like them! What if you start having fun? Can you imagine what it will result in? It will make the goodbye difficult, it will make you realize that however much you might curse and crib, you would still want to go back to The Office, because you have an amazing set of people to laugh away the sorrows with.
Under no circumstances should you deviate form the path shown above. Otherwise you may actually start having fun at The Office, might actually start admiring your work, and might find wonderful people there.
PS: This is for the amazing people I met at The Office, who are more, much more than just Colleagues. You make it fun and worthwhile, and I hate you all for making it so difficult to leave.
The article was published on Viewspaper and can be found here.
To be begin with, I never shy away from telling my age. Hell, I would even scream it out loud from roof tops, what is there to be shy about? I have managed to live 22 years’ my life, more or less on my terms, have managed not to make a complete and utter mess of it, and have managed to pretty much be in a place where the craving for more is certainly there but at the same time there is a satisfaction of being in a happy place, a safe place.
Everyone has their own bete noire , mine was being so far away from home that coming back becomes difficult. I exhibit the typical Cancerain trait of wanting to be close to home, to be close to my comfort zone. And it was with great trepidation that I ventured forth into the life of a working woman at a place far away from home, too far in fact. It is now more than one year since I embarked on this great adventure and looking back I can proudly say - ‘it wasn’t bad fellas!’
I am not ashamed in admitting that I am impatient, the impatience for which the youth of today is blamed, the same rush to reach somewhere so soon that time seems like a blur and the only thing visible is the ultimate goal positioned oh-so-slightly out of reach, the reward dangling tantalizingly in front of us, if only we could go through the haze. Yes, I admire and respect patience, the wait and the belief that things will happen in their own time and that our main focus should be on doing what we want to. My point is, what if we don’t know what we want to do? What if the mist, the haze does not let us see clearly what we yearn for? Isn’t it natural for us to be eager (some call it being restive) to race ahead and see what is in store, what fruit our labour bore?
Yes, we are the 20-somethings, we go out for dinners, we wait for the sale season, we drink and make merry but we are the ones fiercely discussing and defending our ideals over those glasses of sherry, we are the ones who go out for dinner with friends but most of us lose out appetite on seeing the general apathy around, we are the ones who make promises of meeting after 5 years not to show off our wealth but to meet and do something worthwhile for everything that we feel strongly for.
Yes, we are the 20-somethings who encounter skepticism at every step. What do we know of struggle? Of the battle for survival that millions face daily in our country? The relief when the day is over because they made it through it? Well, we might not. But we have seen, if not faced; we understand the anguish, even if we have no magical solution; we want to help, even if we don’t have the power to do so, yet. But the skepticism, it will never leave. It bothered me, the naysayers, the constant negativity and disbelief. I wondered, what does it mean to be 20 something, a fashion college graduate, working in the fashion business and idealistic in a country that is strictly orthodox and progressive in equal measure? Well, I am trying to find out…
I will not write about eve teasing and molestation, I have decided not to. Being a girl, and especially someone who is prone to verbosity, I presumed that very soon I would stop resisting the urge to pen down the thoughts for the world to read. But I won’t. Why should I write about it? To tell everyone how disgusting it feels to have scoundrels sneer and leer at you, however dressed you are? Or explain, how just for a moment, even we doubt whether we provoked them? How clothes don’t matter, AT ALL? How violation doesn’t necessarily mean only rape, how it is every act by which a woman is demeaned? How molesting a woman doesn’t make you more of a man (it is the opposite actually, the more insecure a man is, more likely he is to indulge in this pathetic act)? Or how we don’t want to keep shouting about our right to go anywhere we please? About why aren’t men ever questioned for being outside bars at 2AM? Is it their prerogative, considering they are the male species?
I will not write about it. I will just hope that my brother gives women the respect they deserve. And knowing him, I know he will.
Let us be humans first, we can be men, women, adults… later.
Okay, so you get a chance to do something that you have wanted to do since, umm well since you joined the world of employed men/women… write and write and then write some more. And what better to know that there is someone out there actually interested in reading all that gibberish (makes you feel like a superstar in front of a fawning crowd). Yes, I live in my own world where (as evident), as Barney Stinson says, I’m awesome!
So, the thing is, when you get what you wanted, what do you do next? Of course after all the gloating, self aggrandizement and smirking is over, then what? Finicky as we are, how long it is when something captures our attention only to whittle away at the next instant? How many of us actually go on cherishing what we have achieved even after something big and better comes along?
The first job brings accolades, but does it bring the pay we want? The second job brings a fat pay check, but is the work as exciting as we want? Questions, for which we can never give ourselves a satisfactory answer but we always seem to want one.
I am not too good at introspection, it is too scary a prospect, imagine delving deep inside your head and heart and facing you deepest fears, weakness and fallacies! Spookier than the recent crappy horror movies I saw (though I have to admit, I get spooked by the silliest of things).
So what do we do? Do we get satisfied with what we have or should we go on wanting and yearning? And how much wanting is okay really, without bordering on greed and avarice?
It is not that we don’t know what we want from life, but it is wanting too much too soon that is the problem.
We are have reached a point in The Great Indian Democracy where we have started questioning our leaders, their views, agendas…everything. Of course, we have not really received satisfactory answers but the point is, we are questioning. And we should, because it is a well known fact that without accountability, power runs amok, unquestioned and unchecked.
All this bodes well for a democracy which is pulsating with vibrancy, with a diaspora so diverse that we can actually call ourselves a mixture of civilizations, and not just traditions. Yes, it is now very important for our “leaders” to be answerable to The People, we have discussed and debated, ad infinitum, about the importance of having responsible “leaders”.
But what is equally important is having responsible followers, where we realize the the great role we have to play as a part of The Great Indian Democracy.
I read an article about how excessive deference to our leaders corrupts them and it struck it me how true it is not just in the context of politics but everywhere where we follow a hierarchy. The article also went on to point the Other Side - how we always attribute moral correctness to the victim and never to the person who wields power.
It is true that if we were to meet the leaders we ridicule as a normal person in any walk of life, we would have admired them as accomplished personalities. The leaders have to work in an environment where they know that the power they wield is corruptible and more often than not, the power they have overpowers rational thoughts of right and wrong.
But that does not mean that leaders can be absolved of charges of negligence and mismanagement (wherever applicable). What it means is that excessive subjugation and awarding God-like status has always led to leaders being reduced to tyrants, where they start believing in their absolute superiority. We have had leaders who have inspired greatness in the people, but more often than not, leaders are surrounded by sycophants who eagerly give food to the ever increasing size of their ego.
We have to learn the art being a responsible follower, one who is skeptical of the leader’s intention but always for a reason, who questions but with humility, who disagrees but for the greater good, the one who follows but cautiously .
The tendency of the followers to worship the leaders makes them less human and leads them to believe that they are above the people they have to serve -ultimately leading to the demise of the Idea Of Democracy.
We don’t have incapable followers, the problem is that we underestimate our position and our ability to constrain our leaders by not allowing them to misuse the powers inherent in their position.