Category: Musings

#MeToo

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I tried writing this blog from the POV of a sexual predator but I gave up after a few attempts. I couldn’t get myself to think like an entitled imbecile who throws himself at women and believes that their gratitude for this attention should be paid by servility and sexual compliance.

This grey zone of sexual harassment is a judgmental space. It’s a zone of judgement and opinions. Men and women both get summarily dismissed by colleagues and observers for the ways they behaved or failed to behave at work.  From allowing a hand on the thigh to drinking with a male colleague to being someone’s favourite at work to consistently dipping into the office pool to hone their marksmanship… the list is nuanced and long. The enforced bonding on projects and long hours at work have made the workplace a hotbed (pun intended) of potential exploitation in this desire for power and possession.

However, what constitutes sexual harassment? In my considered opinion, it is anything that involves :

  • Stalking
  • Preying
  • Luring
  • Baiting
  • Using aggression, blackmail, power, promise of retribution, fear, undermining someone’s spirit … All for sexual dominance.

So, to clarify …. Gentlemen predators,

  • If you believe that you own the women who work for you or with you …
  • If you believe that women are basically dumb props and have made themselves available because they stepped out of their home to earn a living
  • If you believe that women exist for your pleasure
  • If you believe that women cannot achieve their goals without your proprietorial hand on their ass
  • If you believe that your female colleagues need sex education
  • If you believe that you are populating your personal harem while employing young, fresh ’talent’ then …

You are about to have your mask ripped off. And the world will see you for the self-entitled oaf you are. Because your Time is Up and you had it coming.

This applies to predators across the board, irrespective of gender or their leaning. 

To Love or Not to Love,

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Bright curious eyes. Expectant. Childlike. Alight with dreams.

Reality. Insidious, unpredictable, dramatic, inexplicable.

Two parallel lines of dreams and reality rarely ever destined to meet.

Simi was forced to accept reality. To swallow the bitter pill. To learn anew the walkway between illusion and fact. To question her dreams. To doubt her gut.

She learnt that love can be a lie that trips smoothly off a tongue. That promises are made to be broken. That avowals of love can be made to more than one. That love can be a string of beautiful beads. That the string can snap in two and the beads scatter across the floor in different directions to never come together in the same magical way they once had. That love can mock. That love can be a facade. That hate can be love. That causing pain can be love. That love can hurt. That feeling is illogical. That, sometimes, you just don’t have the stomach for it. Or the heart for it. Because you dread the emptiness it may leave behind. That love can be a one way street. That words are not love. That retaliation can be love. That love cannot be hidden. That love can let you down. That you can let love down. That love makes you vulnerable and powerless.

Simi’s eyes remain bright. Curious. Expectant. Hopeful. But there is a wariness now. Doubt.

Till love comes along again. Wearing a different costume.

And she holds on fast for the ride but this time, she keeps her eyes open.

 

Dear Sexual Predator,

You stealthy, hungry, compulsive groper, you! ‘Kaate nahi katati yeh din yeh raat, jab tak nahin rakhta hoon tum pe haath…’

Running empires, having the world at your beck and call but unable to control your primal impulse. How does that make you feel?

When you reach out to grope someone’s ass or push someone into a corner using your position of authority, does it make you feel good?

Does it make you feel good to enter a party knowing that a room full of people dislike you for having ‘submitted’ to you but haven’t found the courage to kick you where it hurts, yet?

 

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Does it make you feel good to know that men and women alike talk about you in hushed whispers and no … it’s not about your sexual prowess.

When you fall from grace and people call you out for the creep you are … does that still make you feel good?

This ripple effect thing has really got the ‘house of cards’ in a free fall and its fascinating to watch the wide variety of so called respected leaders and influencers (as of now, the entertainment industry in LA plus one ex-president of the USA) being stripped naked. As more and more people realise that it’s safe to speak up, that their voices will not be dismissed with a chuckle, that they will not be made to feel smaller than they already do … the ripple effect will continue outwards … it may even infect the Indian sub-continent with this rampant virus of ‘Baja bajaana’.

Eventually, you may end up feeling not so good … but then you have it coming. You ‘asked’ for it and as is the norm … what goes around …. eventually, comes around.

Adios Amigo,

Contemptuously,

Mother of the woman who had the courage to stand up and speak before the world. Judgement be damned.

Dear Friendship,

We learn cuss words. The best ones. From friends. We speak freely without censure and judgement. Come to think of it … almost anything and everything is without judgement.

The pranks. The madness. The wild cackle of laughter. The passionate debates. The lunacy. The impulsive travel. The movie marathons. The whirling dervishes we transform into. The gluttony. The wisdom and the sage advice. The falling over and picking each other up. The celebration and the tears. The sharing of fears.

The circle is tight.

High Five!

Member of the tribe

Dear 2017,

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Hope is the word that drenches every new year wish. Desperate, urgent, heartfelt hope that the world will be a better place, all lunacy aside.

These are 10 hopeful, anxious requests to the year 2017.

1. May we never again have to deal with whimsical people hijacking our hard earned money only to dole it out to us in rationed amounts.

2. May we find the voice to counter fiction with fact … it’s that little detail that checks out consistently across time and documents.

3. For the love of God, may the Air Traffic Control at airports get their spatial assessment right … each and every time.

4. May news channels discover a conscience and give the people a fight worth cheering for, a truth worth aspiring to and an idealism that inspires the nation.

5. May the underprivileged stand up and demand their rights, leave fatalism to the past and broker a brand new future for themselves.

6. May we, the citizens of India, not have to pay for silly statues and the lavish lifestyles of our illiterate … uhh … hard working netas … until each and every citizen gets to experience the basic human dignity of living.

7. May we acquire special powers that can stop the flow of stupidity from the mouth of leaders.

8. May we find the cure to chronic ailments so that hospitals are no longer the sought after destination hubs.

9. May people allow themselves to be better, more compassionate, kinder and more generous souls.

10. May new item numbers flood the market and fill the world with joie de vivre. The nation needs to be inspired to sing and dance and laugh and love.

Yours hopefully,

A speck in the vast humanity

Dear Grief,

Hello. You have become a more predictable friend now. I met you when I was suddenly introduced to loss. The sharp, sick taste of loss. Metallic, angry, harsh, incomprehensible and gut wrenchingly sad. There was no formal introduction. You just entered and settled down like a blanket. You enveloped me for a long time, so much so, that I didn’t realise you had become my second skin.

And one day, I recognised you clearly in my daily routine and my comfort food and my weight gain and I felt strangely relieved. At least now I knew. From that point on, you would drop in from time to time, but when I least expected you. In the middle of a hearty laugh or a brilliant book or a formal dinner, you’d deliver a sucker punch in my solar plexus and I’d double up in pain. Gasping. Screaming silently. Reeling from the hit. And then you’d disappear again and I’d go back to life that would stop by regularly asking me to hop on and get a move on.

So, I alternated for a while between grief and life. I learnt that as you grow older the losses pile up and the wheel turns again. And again.

Now you come and go, as and when you please. I learn to ride your crests and troughs. I learn to embrace life and treasure the love I have.

Still warily,
Your host.

Dear Visitors,

I await with dread the incoming traffic today of all nature of emissions destined to take place in my space. Its strange but i rarely feel clean and i never feel any respite from filth. I’ve been mulling over my predicament and figured that its time i spoke out. I’m ubiquitous, almost. Airports, railway stations, bus stands, market places, multiplexes, highways, towns, cities, some villages, the list is endless. My presence is necessary and mandatory but basic respect unfortunately, eludes me.

As a public shauchalaya i feel abused and angry. My job is to be welcoming, clean and a haven for those who desperately seek release. I would like to take pride in what i do but I’m dependent on the management which seems to be managing every thing else other than its KRA.

The management does not have the basic material required to keep me spic and span. Not even cheap disinfectant.
They don’t have enough to hire cleaners so stains grow and residual matter collects and the rot sets in.
There is no maintenance provision so if the tank leaks or the tiles are coming apart … so be it.
There is no provision for hygiene education so most of the management and the public remain ignorant and, if i may say so … unwashed.

I’m tired of my own stench. You walk in and turn up your nose but i have to live in it!

Then the public walks in. Some of you don’t seem to know what a WC is meant for. It is definitely not a ladder with a hole on the top. Its a seat. Please do NOT climb on the WC and release your innards all over the place. Its offensive.

Sometimes, I’m able to offer tissues and wipes and all things nice. Sometimes, i can barely offer water. In all cases, it should not stop you from doing the right thing by yourself … and that is to follow basic hygiene.

There is something called a flush. I understand you cannot do anything if there is no water … but at least check once! The function of the flush is to pour a whole lot of water down the drain so the sewage gets carried along and the next person who comes to rest their ass is not confronted by a large turd or some floaters. I have, however, noted that an unflushed toilet does not deter some people …. they come right along and happily add to the collection. So now we have a pile up. Flies start buzzing and i have a whole new situation to deal with … the public no longer walks in. Stray animals do. All of you have by now contributed efficiently to converting me into a disease plaza. Which one would you like to rent today … i have on offer gastrointestinal afflictions, dysentry, bird flu, dengue …

You see where this is going?

Its not going in your favour and that’s for sure! If you want a swachch bharat … please get off the seat, pull the flush and wash your hands … for starters.

Reprovingly yours,

the shauchalaya union