Marriage Arranged

Two neatly dressed but visibly nervous people sitting in a cafe. The guy is firing one question after another and the girl is trying to be calm and answer one at a time like,

“Oh. To be honest, I am a sleeping beauty and I love sleeping. Actually, I work out once in a while when I think I am growing fat. Otherwise, I like to sleep. I love sleeping.”
Guy: “What kind of movies do you like?”
Girl: “Actually, I  love sleeping more than movies..”
Guy: “Have you ever been in a relationship?”
Girl: “Umm.. to be honest..yes.”
Guy: “Oh. May I know why did you guys break up?”
Girl: “As I had said before, I like honesty. And I found out that he was cheating on me. So I broke up with him.”
FAST FORWARD
Guy: “Do you have an Aadhar card.”
Girl: “No, I don’t have an Aadhar card.”
Guy: “May I know why?”
Girl: “No, no. I have no problem with the concept of Aadhar. I don’t even know what is all the fuss about. Banana baki hai. I am planning next week.”
Guy: “Achha..And do you have Jio?”
Girl: “Yes, I have a Jio number but not the dongle.”
Guy: “May I know why?”
Girl: “As I had said, I don’t need the internet as much while I am travelling. And I love sleeping..so..”
 
To be continued…
Few months of late night Q&A sessions and One Year Later, selfie on FB with the caption:
“No1 knows me more dan u. No1 loves me more dan u. Five Month Anniversary with d luv of mah lyf”

Why Parents Don’t Let Their Daughters Travel

Why Parents Don’t Let Their Daughters Travel

In 2015-16, I travelled once a month for an entire year. To begin with, it was just a carefree vow. But it took a great amount of effort, from all fronts, while executing it. There are some things you learn only through travel. You get to see a lot of beauty, learn so much about new cultures, make friends for life and you learn to co-exist. Most importantly, when you outside the safety net of your parents, you have a chance to be more responsible and take your own decisions. Budget travelling on your own money- is that beautiful feeling that is essential in growing up and making of a confident personality.

In our society, travelling can be a comment on a girl’s character. It extends to our homes too. What you say no to, says a lot. For a lot of my friends, it is unthinkable to even propose to their parents to let them travel with friends, forget solo trips. You either think that your daughter is not mature enough to handle herself or you don’t trust her enough. And it adds up to your daughter’s low self-esteem. Wanting your daughter’s safety is not your fault. The world is becoming an ugly place, yes. But if you think your daughter is not fit/mature/strong/smart enough to make these decisions, it is not really her fault either. It is perhaps you who failed to make her strong, smart or confident enough.

Serial Entrepreneur and Founder of Freecharge, Kunal Shah wrote something about the prevalence of arranged marriages in India, which strangely holds true for travelling too:

Prevalence of arranged marriages in India can mean one of the two things for parents:

1. Not trust the judgement of kids if they choose someone and have “love marriage”. But then why not train them all of young life to take good decisions?

2. Not like kids to have the power to choose for themselves and stay obedient or kids are incompetent to find someone?

Some of us love to have birds at our homes. They are colourful, look beautiful in the cage and keep your house lively. You feed them on time and give them love. It is said that birds once caged for a long time, can’t survive outside the cage for too long. That’s true too. And then we like to believe that we are keeping the bird safe by not setting them free. Most of it is same for the daughters too. They should be freed before it is too late.

Is It Okay To Feel This Way?

In a revealing essay by Abigail Matson Phippard called ‘Staring at the Ceiling’ from the book ‘I Call Myself a Feminist’, she talks about her experience of working with victims of sexual violence and how she linked them back to the violence of her past. She shares about how heartbreaking it would be for her to listen to some atrocious stories. What she interestingly points out is that it was a common thing in women to be confused about violence. Abigail says,

I didn’t always want to do it everytime he wanted it. I found it difficult to tell him because he would get angry and upset and take it on his ego. Instead, I would just lie there, stare at the ceiling, I would disengage, offering myself as a hole for them to use.

Image Via Wikipedia: How to Say No To Sex: http://www.wikihow.com/Say-No-to-Sex

Women often wonder if it is okay to say ‘no’ when in bed with their partners. This confusion comes from the fact that we are never empowered to make sexual decisions. Whether it is seeking love or giving, we are to be the ones who are ‘shy’ and ‘can’t speak’ or ’emote’ our feelings about sex. It goes to such greater extent that we forget; that it’s our decision in the end. Cases are worse when it is with your husband because, in a patriarchal society, husbands own the wives, and she should be ready anytime she wants it. Continue reading “Is It Okay To Feel This Way?”

The Other Woman

There is a red handkerchief
She stuffs it in my mouth

When I call for help

I want to talk

I want to seek help

A stranger will be better

But it is always too late.

The damage is done.

She denies me 

Of all the happiness or relief

Until I stop feeling anything at all. 

And so the poetry remains incomplete..

The other woman 

Inside me.

How Society Measures Ambition With Money

Just about when a child first begins going to school (these days: play school), we begin asking them, “What do you want to become in life?” The child is bewildered. “I thought life is just going to be as much fun. This was a trap! I will have to “become” something.” The child begins wondering. The easiest answer is fed into them. Either they should become something like their father or mother or someone ‘great’ in the family.
In middle-class families, generally, the one who has a lot of money is revered. At first, there are a lot of questions about ‘how that money is coming in’ but very soon the display of money shuts everyone up. This reverential character, unfortunately, becomes a role-model for the parents of the growing kids in the family.

Continue reading “How Society Measures Ambition With Money”

Shut Up When There’s Nothing To Say

It is amusing to live in a world full of people who find silence uncomfortable. So just to fill the void of silence, they speak. Even when they need not, should not, must not. Even when they have no idea what needs to be said when. They gulp their discomfort while making you uncomfortable.

I think kids in school should have regular exercises where they are made to close their eyes and are made to hear the voice of silence. So then perhaps they will grow up as sane and responsible adults. That’s the only way I guess.

Book of the Month: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Book of the Month: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Lady Chatterley's LoverLady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book. For reasons more than one. First of all, this is such an old book and yet it retains such an explicit sensuality. And then in spite of being sensual, it never crosses the line. Every single description of two people having sex has been presented in the most beautiful manner. Perhaps the writers of today need to learn the art of sensuality and subtlety from DH. Lawrence.

I love the act of rebel in Lady Chatterley, and how she falls in love with a sheer servant, without any inhibitions. I like how the conversations between Sir Clifford (her husband) and her have been woven into very explicit yet veiled debates about sexuality, pregnancy, etc.

More interestingly, I had bought this book from an 80-year-old bookstore owner in Mumbai, who proudly admits that her father was fined Rs. 100 (a huge amount then) for importing this book, banned by the government for its heavy explicitness. This book is a sheer act of rebellion, even today.

Here’s my favourite quote from the book:

“If only I could tell them that living and spending isn’t the same thing! But it’s no good. If only they were educated to live instead of earning and spending, they could manage very happily on twenty-five shillings.”

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