Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Honestly? I am scared.

I don't want to get raped. I don't want to carry a pepper spray.

I am not even angry. I am just scared.  What if I get raped? Rape is scarier than most people realise. 

I don't want people telling me how to be safe. What to do so that I don't end up facing such trauma. What to wear, where not to go. Please stop doing that. Just start telling men not to rape. Tell your brothers. Tell your friends. Tell your fathers. Remind them everyday. Teach kids in school. Tell them to talk about it openly. Regularly.   I feel, this should become an important part of everyone's education. 

Men need to come out in the streets to give support to the woman in their lives. 

And yes, understand this. Media adds to rape culture. You favourite actor pinching his heroine's butt; your favourite rapper objectifying woman; men in movies not taking no for an answer; all of them encourage this culture of sexual objectification of woman. Unless we stop objectifying woman, rapes will keep on happening. 

Do you know what causes rape? Rapists. 

How long will the outrage in the media last? One week? A month? Learn to be outraged everyday. By lewd comments, by stares, by catcalls, by unwanted attention. Protest at the smallest instance of sexual harassment. Talk about it. Start a debate. Tell people-"I got harassed. It's wrong and I am outraged. I will not stand it."

Today I make a promise to point out every instance of objectification. I will not keep quiet. I will shout, if I have to. I will not shut up, even if people give me looks. 

Steaming and in your face. 

Because I want a safe world for all of us. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dealing with different

I must have been 11 when I encountered the concept of "gay" . It was new year's eve and we had all come for a drive. Me and a cousin saw a guy give another guy a peck on the lips. I looked at my cousin and we both went "eww". I am sorry.

I was in a girls only school.When I was 15 some girls teased others by calling them "lesbo".  It became the cool thing to do. I must have teased someone too.  I am sorry.

When I was 17 I started reading up on homosexuality and wondered why anyone would be attracted to the same sex. I didn't get it. My stance was let them do what they want to. Their choice. I wasn't an ally. I am sorry.

In my 2nd year of college a girl proposed to me. It was weird that she didn't realise that I didn't swing her way. I was freaked. Now I know what it must feel to live in a world where you have to pretend to be someone you are not. All the time. I am sorry you have to go through that. 

In the beginning of 2012 I read up more on homosexuality, took part in online forums and discussions and tried to understand the LGBT community better. There is so much more to learn. I am sorry I didn't start earlier.

I am sorry for judging. I am sorry for not understanding. I am sorry for the ignorance. I am sorry for the indifference. 

I am sorry. 

I have been recently told by a friend that he is gay. His sexual orientation does not change anything.

Today, I am an ally

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Ideally I should be able to walk from point A to point B without being subjected to a single cat call,  comment or whistle. Without a single stare. Ideally I shouldn't have to worry about this when I step out of the house. I should not have to think twice before getting onto a crowded bus, because some man may "accidentally touch my breasts or behind. I should not have to worry about some guy following me. 

And when it's dark and I am walking back home I should not be scared that an unknown face will try to thrust his penis into my vagina even though I was repeatedly shouting "No". I should not have to worry about the police telling me-"You asked for it." Or some woman telling me I was wearing the wrong clothes or took the wrong route. Or the uncle across the road questioning my lifestyle. Ideally.

I am tired off explaining that you should not question the victim but the rapist. Catch the criminal, don't victimise the person going through the trauma of being raped. Set your priorities straight.

Safety. The right that most cis-heterosexual men get but which everybody else has to fight for.  I want to be safe without having to fight for it. 

It's not that complicated, you know. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

We shall meet again.

I hate goodbyes. I know it's a very cliche thing to say but yes I said it. I am not the kind of person who can't let go or move on when the time is right. I didn't cry at my school or college farewell. I know I won't cry when my current course ends. Because I know from the beginning that this end will come. But when it's sudden and unexpected I find myself not liking the feeling. It's uncomfortable. It leaves a lump in the throat. It makes me sentimental. 

The word goodbye is dreadful. A simple bye seems less final. I like the idea of saying "I am coming back" instead of saying "I am going." Bengalis and Maharashratrians have this tradition. 

In Bengal when we celebrate Durga Puja and when Maa leaves us on the 10th day, we chant "Asche bochor abar hobe. "- This will happen again next year. " Maa is not leaving us, she will be back next year. 

In German there is a saying that says you don't meet a person just once. So if you're saying goodbye , know that you shall meet again. 

This  cheers me up. Goodbyes need not be forever. We part so that we can meet again. 

The next time I need to say goodbye  I will say instead "Until we meet again."

Update: To read my poem on Goodbyes and letting go "And then sadness prevailed click  here
I have also written a piece on trying to cope with my granddad's death. Read it here

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Of whatsapp and helplessness and LDRs

The most important thing in any relationship is communication. But for people in a LDR it IS our lifeline. It's the only thing that keeps us going through days, weeks and months apart from the person we love. 

When communication fails because of technical  problems, it is frustrating. Not only frustrating but greatly annoying. I depend a lot on whatsapp to talk to A. And for some network problem, my messages are delivering really late, for the last few days. We haven't been able to chat properly. Phone conversations everyday are not possible. 

It is still possible for us to call each other up. A friend of mine is also in  LDR. His girlfriend is in USA. They can't even call each other up every time the net is down. 

Technology is apparently a great boon for people like us. But we are so used to it that when it fails we tear our hair apart. One feels so very helpless. 

The internet is vital. It makes talking everyday easier. But it does in  no way replace the security, the warm fuzzy feeling of us being in the same city. Of being able to meet whenever we want.

Communication is important. It sucks to have to depend on the moodiness of net for it. Hopefully A's whatsapp stops being moody and works properly again. Soon. 

P.S I hope that the long distance part is temporary. It's not something I had planned o. But things don't work according to our plans,  do they?

Here's a cute youtube sog about goodbyes by  regular indie youtuber Bryarly Bishop Hard to say goodbye

"And I won't lie - it's hard to say goodbye

 It's one of those things that won't get easier with time
But if you wait, I promise I'll wait, too
Until the day that I can make my way to you "

Dating sucks: My entry for the Get Published contest

"Love is a four letter word with infinite power"

I don't like cheesy love quotes but I like this one. I can relate to it. Love definitely has a lot of power. Things change when you fall in love.

Though I have written fiction I have not written a lovestory yet. And now I want to. Lovestories seem simple right? Boy meets girl; they fall in love; live happily ever after(or not). But I don't think writing a lovestory is that easy. There is a lot of emotion involved. That is why I have never really attempted one. I think I will, now that HarperCollins has a contest on Indiblogger. Bloggers can write about "Real Love in New India. " Good incentive right? And since I do have a plot...

My story revolves around Kaashvi Sahni, a 21 year old drummer who wants to form her own band. Its about how her journey of discovering love. Its about having to kiss many toads before you even have a shot at finding your prince(Failed dates, first kisses, bike rides, long walks, phone calls, facebook chats. A little hesitation and loads of confusion. That's what finding love is all about. 

Kaashvi's search for "the one" began when she was 18, when she decides to go on her first date. And now, at age 21,  a couple of break ups and countless dates later, she hadn't found her special someone . But she is determined. She decides to chronicle her experiences in her blog. The question she wants an answer to is something all of us have asked at some point of time. Do we need to find love or does love find us? 

When I was  thinking about what kind of lovestory I want to write my mind wandered and I recalled all the stupid blind dates I had gone through, all the jerks I had encountered, all the confusion and all the heartbreak I went through.  Just to find that "special someone". The things we do to find love! I think the whole process of dating is stressful. And this is what inspired me to write about a girl my age who goes through all of this(like everyone else.) Being a blogger myself I decided to tell Kaashvi's story through her blog. 
Sounds interesting? I call it old wine in a slightly new bottle.

Extract: Kaashvi's first blog entry-Dating sucks. It really does. I am not saying that love sucks and that I don’t believe in love. All I am saying is dating sucks, The whole process of dating. The mind games, the trying to impress a person; the trying to understand if the other person as emotionally involved as you are; all this is too stressful. I don’t know much about love but I have been on too many bad dates. I have been in a relationship in the past but right now I am single. I think for the last few years I have been trying to understand what love is. I still haven’t been able to figure it out. In the process of finding “love” I have obviously gone through the motions of dating. I now realise that I hate it. I hate the whole proceed of dating. I used to blog about music and will still do but now I want to write about my experiences and what I feel about love.

This is my entry for the Harper Collins-IndiBlogger Get published contest which is run with inputs from HarperCollins India and Yashodhara Lal

P.S If you think you would like to read my story when it's done, do vote for me here