Why Write a Journal

I was a whimsical kid. I had imaginary friends, superficial conversations where I’d hallucinate taking further the actual situations and I was super emotional. At one point of time (about 4th grade) our English teacher came to talk to us about Diary Writing. She said that one must maintain a diary where they pen down their thoughts. I thought it was a great idea to take the madness further. I used to write one diary every year. Luckily, I was the only child at home and no elder in the house was interested in peeping in my diary. I used to lock it in the locker anyway. I guess it all went down post 10th grade- the years when they ask you to grow up.

Growing up is partially an involuntary activity. Also, there’s no choice left after a point. So you crush the childhood behind you and get yourself into the world of adults. There are various points in life when we are unable to express ourselves to others and ourselves. When one loses the ability to communicate with oneself, that’s when you should begin writing.

Continue reading “Why Write a Journal”

Jan-Feb-Mar: Top 6 Books So Far

 

Reading is a solitary space which gives you as much as you are ready to receive. Every book you read, there’s a risk that you are missing out on another. But I try and not regret it. Regret makes you suffer twice.

I believe it isn’t enough to read. It is a reader’s responsibility to spread the goodness as far and wide as possible. So here am I. Here are my recommendations for the books I read in the first three months of the year (March is almost gone!):

 

A Long Way HomeA Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I decided to read this one before watching the oscar nominated movie based on this book, ‘Lion’. The movie was amazing too. This book is such a beautiful story of hope and what it makes it classic is the fact that it is so real. No one is going to tell me that, ‘ah! this is just a story. The reality is much worse.’

I feel so heartened. It was just a 5 hour read, like an emotional super fast train journey to the past!

Continue reading “Jan-Feb-Mar: Top 6 Books So Far”

Dear Nahid Afrin, Here’s a Short History of Fatwas on Indians to Cheer You Up

Nahid Afrin, a 16-year-old girl from Assam, who received fame through her singing talent displayed in Indian idol, has a Fatwa issued on her name by some Muslim clerics. This fatwa bans her from performing at any public entertainment event. She has come out boldly against the move saying ‘Singing isn’t anti-Islam’ and has confirmed that she will never stop singing. She has also been supported by the CM of the state.

Nahid Afrin Receives Fatwa

Feeling like an elder sister in this scenario, I thought to compile a list of Fatwas for the unstoppable you, Nahid.

What is a Fatwa?

It is a religious ruling passed by a qualified jurist or a mufti against someone who goes against the Islamic principles. A fatwa cannot create a judicial havoc, though. It gets dangerous when a fatwa states that a person may be killed if it is not followed.  Continue reading “Dear Nahid Afrin, Here’s a Short History of Fatwas on Indians to Cheer You Up”

Tell Me Your Dreams, Girl

In my experience of interviewing freshers, I struggle to take out important information like ‘what are some of your goals’. They just don’t know. Our education system doesn’t motivate us to ‘think’. Here in India, we are just taught to believe in what is being told. While interviewing girls, most of the times, their goals are defined in the next few years (before marriage). We have an increasing breed of girls, who do a post-graduation only to postpone marriage.

“What do you want to do in life?” is a daunting question for most. Having that answer is a luxury, they just hope they get a family which ‘lets them work’.

“The guy is very ambitious” is generally a compliment. It means that the guy is focused towards career and wants to grow. Ironically, “The girl is very ambitious” means she is rude, selfish and family is not her priority. To prove that she is not selfish, she will quit her job for her brother/sister’s wedding preparations/quit her job before marriage/quit her job to “settle and plan for a baby”/quit her job after she’s had a baby. And a lot of people are too petty to link it with money. “We have money so she need not work.” If a person from marketing background comes for an HR interview, we ask them an obvious question, ‘Why this sudden change of field?’ We don’t ask the same question to our daughters. Why does she want to quit everything and be a homemaker? Even though it reflects heavily on our societal culture, there is nothing wrong in wanting to be a homemaker. It is everyone’s personal choice.

But we must genuinely ask her, “‪What are your dreams?” to be sure, we are not walking on the debris of someone’s dreams.


This piece was first published in City Bhaskar, Ahmedabad. It was translated in Gujarati. I keep writing things on Gender, Social Issues, Travel..and sometimes Poetry too. If you like my writing, FOLLOW my blog so you can get it on mail every time I post!

Poem | Kesa Mehsoos Hota Hai | How It Feels to be Molested

I had first written this poem in English and then translated it for a poetry recital at Conflictorium, Ahmedabad. I also got a chance to recite it at a panel discussion at Gujarat Literature Festival and at a research exhibition event conducted by Centre for Urban Equity, CEPT University, Ahmedabad. Here’s the Hindi Version of the poem.

Kesa Mehsoos Hota Hai

Hindi Version (English version available below this one)

Esa nahi hai ki mene koshish nahi ki
Koshish karna zaroori hota hai
Mene bi ki hai koshish
Koshish surakshit rehne ki
Jab ghar se bahar niklu
Kyu ki Ghar bethe toh guzara nahi hota!

Ese toh surakshit rehne ka brahmgyan muje hai
Kaafi suna hua hai
Esa karo, esa na karo

Atit ki almaari mein se
kuch kisse nikal rakhe mez par.
Kya pehna tha mene uss roz?
Sleeveless t-shirt aur Shorts
Hmmmm
Theek hai, iss baar
Kuch poora pehena jaaye
Continue reading “Poem | Kesa Mehsoos Hota Hai | How It Feels to be Molested”

Stuff You Don’t Say About A Molestation Case

I remember talking about TVF to one of my older friends just yesterday. I was talking about Permanent Roommates (an online fiction series about a quirky couple in a live-in) and how it struck the right cord in the right places- it was gender sensitive, even feministic at a lot of places. There are several other concepts by TVF like tripling which is either gender neutral or very sensitive. And then I opened twitter, only to discover there was a huge controversy going on. Early morning yesterday, there was an anonymous post on Medium alleging TVF’s founder of molestation.

What began was a thread of responses from comedians at AIB, other comedians and inconsequential people like me. But what’s more shocking is that even other girls from random places came out to say that they had gone through molestation by Anurabh Kumar on varying levels. The Quint has done a compiling piece on the other allegations by different women.

Anurabh Kumar, TVF CEO and Founder

We don’t know if any of these women have filed a police complaint yet and investigations will happen. But I could compile some of the disgusting responses that people/mostly men gave in response to what happened. I even got into arguments with a few of them.  Continue reading “Stuff You Don’t Say About A Molestation Case”

Can I Please Have Your Undivided Attention for Some Time?

It was a morning session, aimed at orienting students to our startup and the methods of career counselling. This was an International school. We got into an intense discussion of how to recognise one’s interests, and how to decide whether to pursue a career on the basis of your interest. Just then there was a phone ringing in the room. It wasn’t mine or my crew’s. And this girl got up almost naturally looking at her ringing phone and politely excused herself. Although it’s just been 8 years since I finished school, this was truly unthinkable for me. I made a mental note:

  • She was 11th grade and she had a phone. (which is nowadays very common)
  • She got the phone in her school and class.
  • Her phone wasn’t on silent mode and when it rang, there was no horror or embarrassment on her face (which generally is the case with decent people). Nor did any of the other children react to it.
  • She decided to pick up the call, did not seek permission but excused herself.

I want to be the super-cool person here and say that I understand this behaviour and every generation has their way of living. But I can’t. Although, it’s not like this is new and only in our generation. This one time I went to a friend’s place after a long time and were talking about things. He asked me if I checked this particular event on Facebook. I said I wasn’t on Facebook anymore. Continue reading “Can I Please Have Your Undivided Attention for Some Time?”