Being alone is not the same as being lonely #L #Loneliness #AtoZChallenge

We’re all a bit scared of loneliness – of being alone. Of being left. Of not being loved. Or needed. Or cared about. “Lonely” hits a spot of fear in all of us even if we don’t acknowledge it.

Being alone is a state of being by oneself without others around. It can actually be a healthy phenomenon, as everyone needs a little time away from others to plan, to think, and to rest.

However, being lonely is a different matter entirely. We are especially prone to loneliness in the modern society. Social media like Facebook, Whatsapp, or Snapchat may allow more convenient communication, but all these ways of communication neglect the importance of face-to-face socialization.

And at the end, despite many “friends” we have on the online media, they don’t really have anyone to talk to when they need friends most.

We prefer online communication to face-to-face conversation because online communication is less committed, if you don’t respond instantly, it’s okay. But face-to-face conversation doesn’t really need to be stressful. When you’re with someone who you can be comfortable with, silence is precious too.

Audrey Hepburn once said:

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others”

This quote highlights the importance of helping others, and also highlights the fact that most of the time we are the key to many problems we are facing; in other words, you can cure your loneliness.

Giving others a hand will help you realize your value, as you discover you are capable of doing so. And helping others also open up opportunities of deep friendships, as very often, a deep relationship is forged in adversity.

When we talk about “helping others”, you don’t need to always save others by risking life. You can just pay attention to details.

Write your colleague a card if he or she is unhappy. Read out loud for the old man living next to you. Or help a child to reach the top of a rack

#SpeakingCinema

Charulata –  Charulata, a beautiful saga of loneliness by Styajit ray himself  is based on a story by Rabindranath Tagore, Nastanirh (The broken Nest) and set in Calcutta in the late nineteenth century. Bengal Renaissance is at its peak and India is under the British rule. The film revolves around Charulata / Charu (Madhabi Mukherjee), the childless, intelligent and beautiful wife of Bhupati (Sailen Mukherjee). He edits and publishes a political newspaper. Bhupati is an upper class Bengali intellectual with a keen interest in politics and the freedom movement.

Charu is interested in the arts, literature and poetry. Though Bhupati loves his wife, he has no time for her. She has little to do in the house run by a fleet of servants. Sensing her boredom, Bhupati invites Charu’s elder brother Umapada and wife Manda to live with them. Umapada helps in running of the magazine and the printing press. Manda with her silly and crude ways is no company for the sensitive and intelligent Charulata.

Amal (Soumitra Chatterjee), Bhupati’s younger cousin comes on a visit. Bhupati asks him to encourage Charu’s cultural interests. Amal is young, handsome and is of the same age group as Charu. He has literary ambitions and shares her interests in poetry. He provides her with much needed intellectual companionship and attention. An intimate relationship develops between Charulata and Amal. There is a hint of rivalry when she publishes a short story on her own without his knowledge. He realizes that Charulata is in love with him but is reluctant to reciprocate due to the guilt involved.

As a respect to Satyajit Ray, we will discuss Charulata only in detail.

In Charulata, Satyajit Ray explores the emergence of the modern woman in the upper-class of colonial India. One can not help drawing parallels with Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

The opening sequence is a piece of cinematic poetry. We see the young wife Charulata moving from one window to another in her house. She observes the activities of the outside world through the window blinds using opera glasses. She is like a caged bird in her mansion. We sense her curiosity and desire to know the outside world.

As she moves to the interior corridor of the house, we see her intellectual husband. He is too engrossed in a book and walks past her without even noticing her presence. She watches him as he walks away and stands reading. Charu raises her opera glasses and looks again as if he too belongs to the outside world. As Bhupati disappears from the view, she is expressionless and lets the opera glasses slip down. The camera is pulled back sharply, “like a flourish with a pen at the end of an essay …” in Ray’s words. Without a dialogue being spoken, we know Charulata is condemned to her loneliness and boredom.

In the final sequence, as Bhupati returns home after wandering aimlessly, Charu opens the door. Gently and with hesitation, she asks him to enter. A wavering Bhupati enters the door and reaches toward her hand. The shot is frozen and is followed with still images of Charu’s half-lit face, Bhupati’s half-lit face, a servant holding a lamp, a mid-shot of Charu and Bhupati and finally a long-shot of them. As the music rises the words “Nastanirh” (Bengali, The Broken Nest) fill the screen. It was ray’s cinematic answer to Tagore’s original ending in which Bhupati has to go out of town and Charu asks him to take her with him. He hesitates to which Charu says “Thak” meaning “Let it be”. As Ray explained later, it was his visual equivalent of the word “Thak”. “The two are about to reconcile and then prevented from doing so.”

Hail Satyajit Ray.

#NotAllMen and #WeAllWomen

One fine night when i was partying with my friends

My smartphone flashed the #BengaluruIncident

Yes we were partying and having a little fun

And then i looked around to find some men

It was New Year’s and everyone was jovial

jumping and hugging and clicking pictures

A “what if” splashed and shuttered me from inside

What if someone says they want a little more fun

What if someone gropes me just because it’s a new year eve

What if A little cleavage leads to a big scene

What if my choices turn into causes

came a volley of moments and barrage of discomfort

A man asking for my “rate” on the traffic signal

A man who made me feel naked by just his stare

A man who pushed in the crowd just me a little more

A man who got his manly boost by calling me a whore

A man who takes Bollywood too seriously and stalks like a crazy

A man who calls up as unknown and talks dirty

A man who flashes in a dark corner and still thinks its fun

A man who calls me names from behind, all of them the same

What the fuck does it matter if you stand in the crowd

What the fuck does it matter if you made some brave choices

what the fuck does it matter that you need to earn

What the fuck does it matter that you need a break

What the fuck does it matter that you too have work commitments to keep

What the fuck does it matter that you wear a burqa or a robe

What the fuck does it matter that you are high or sober

Just one incident will make you naked

Just one short dress

Just one date night

Just one vodka shot

Just one party invite

Just one evening when you are late

Just one taxi driver

Just one hour past your limit

Just one flickering street light

Just one risk that you took

Just one stranger that you mistook

Just one mob that rips you off

Just one life as a girl for which you have to pay off

Between FB discussions and twitter shares

You shrug off your responsibility

And say “Who cares”

Yes #NotAllMen are molesters

but why do #WeAllWomen face harassment

because between the divides  of

#NotAllMen vs #YesAllWomen

You actually let it happen

#NotAllMen: there is a world beyond your maa

your sis,Your baby, your honey, your sweetheart

Your bestie, Your daughter

Can we make sure that they live without fear

It’s just this small thing that really matters.

I was hit by a man in Patna and why I chose to speak about it

This Sunday night, me and my bestie Remya decided to celebrate Friendship Day. I am back in Patna after a brief stint last year working with an organization that’s striving to improve the health care services of Bihar.

So we were going to Hotel Maurya for a coffee on a cycle rickshaw (Please note that Maurya is considered a 5 star hotel) and we spotted two men peeing right in the middle of the road. My friend in signals told them that they should not do this. Yes told them that they should not pee right at the public place. We didn’t make fun of them, we didn’t laugh. We just told them that it’s wrong.

Few minutes later, these men came from behind on a bike and the one sitting pillion tried to hit me or slap. My hair was falling on my face and that is why he missed. But he had to hit me, the plan was to teach us a lesson, so he grabbed whatever hair he could grab in his hand and pulled me off. The first thing that occurred to me after realizing what has actually happened was to look for the vehicle number. The brave duo were smart enough to cover it with a gamcha before coming to hit me.

I was shocked, I was stunned, I was scared. Yes I was scared, for the first time in my life I was hit. I was scared to tell it to my papa who hates the fact that I work in Bihar. I was scared of the fact that what if he had gun and decided to take revenge the other way.  I was scared to accept it publicly but when I thought over it, i decided to speak. The first thing that I did was to make a police complaint and thanks to cctv in adjoining shops I was assured by SP Patna that they will be nabbed.

The whole incident is not important in terms of what happened but the mindset behind it. The mindset that’s rotten, that’s disgusting to its core when they think “ Wait, I will come back to teach you a lesson”. How dare you not accept my proposal , Wait, I will come back to teach you a lesson with a bottle of acid. How dare you say a no to my untoward advances, Wait, I will come back to teach you a lesson and rape you. How dare you say a no to sex when I am your husband, wait I will teach you a lesson. How dare you pointed out that I should not pee in the middle of the road, wait I will come come back to teach you a lesson , wait I will hit you

I have been told that Bihar is a wrong place to speak up, Bihar is a wrong place to take a stand. But then if we shut up just because a pervert has the guts to slap me in the middle of a posh road in the capital city of a state, every place is a wrong place to speak up for any woman in any part of the world.  I had to speak up so that they don’t think it’s so easy to go off after a show of masculinity. I had to speak up because in my small town called Bhilai, I have two niece who want to be like their bua when they grow up and I don’t want them to grow up in a world where we live in fear. I had to speak up because in Patna women’s college when I spoke at their event, hundreds of girl said they wish to be courageous like me and I simply cannot deny that trust. I had to speak up because I have a conscience to answer. I had to speak up because I share the bond of a friendship with a girl who has no second thoughts about standing up.  I had to speak up because shutting up is not me, because I want that shutting up is not the way out for any woman.

For the brave men who ran away speedily after taking that “manly revenge”………..Dude someone needs to tell you that you are fucked up big time and hope you have brushed up your ego and gave it a boost, this very time it has gone wrong. For years, when everyone asked me if it was difficult to be an independent woman travelling alone, going to difficult places, living by myself I brushed them off, saying you needed to know the rules, Don’t fear, stand up, speak loud, and enjoy. Most of the days I am  proud of being one of them but one fine day incidents like this strip you of all the mettle that you think you are made of.

People told to always be cautious and to shut up (I myself did that the same day). Others will tell me that what happened to me was normal because we live in a patriarchal society. Others said that I should not get involve in FIR jhanjhat and let the man go. It is bizarre that my options in this situation involved letting go off the perpetrators to release myself of conflict or standing up to them.

Do you really thought that there are any options? I shouldn’t ever be asked to let go, to bhool jao, to stop thinking about it because standing up against an assault on your liberty is not even a choice at all. We owe it to the same society we live in.

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She was happiest when i told her i am registering a FIR……Strong women have ripple effect, believe me

 

Hey BRO AIB…..There is something called Adult Woman……ouch you forgot that

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Diyar AIB Dudes

I just saw your “Adulthood in 100 seconds” video and whoa till the 99th second I was waiting that will you atleast show a snippet of a girl attaining adulthood. You understand that na? No? That happens, too much of “Yo bro” and all the cuss words make you forget that an adult woman is also in real. See how can you even  forget us yaar, all the cuss words start from Maa and end at behan.

Chalo koi nahi, I will tell you. Beyond your beer, weed, maa calling, condoms & ipills we the girls too have some adult woes: the menstruation, cramps,mood swings and all the hush hush talk about it. Adulthood comes to us with people advising us to “atleast take a dupaatta” or whispering in our ears “Indira Gandhi is out” (That refers to the exposed bra strap).Adulthood brings with it some sweetheart girlfriends which bond over  the late night talks in hostel rooms and the mandatory spilling out of our dark secrets.

It may disappoint you dude but we the adult women are much more than A calling mother, An ex to block, a girlfriend with ipill, a nagging wife and the spoilt diapers. Actually we too have work woes on Mondays, we too pay EMIs, we struggle hard to maintain balance between an incoming salary and online shopping packages. Very very sorry to say that we can hold that beer mug too instead of just a ring. We do party, we smoke, we have a life other than calling you cool dudes in your boys night out.

Dude, you have no idea that we too have a mom who tells us over phone “Shaadi kab karna hai” “tumhare saare friends settle ho gaye hain”, “shaadi karna bhi jaruri hai” “Had me raho apni” and yes how did I forget all the aunties that remind us of a time bomb called biological clock.

Our adulthood also comes with eve teasing, being called “Aaye haaye kya maal hai”,” Chalegi kya” with that irritating sound of kiss in air that we always come across in public places, with an online abuser that sends us obscene images of you know what……..The bro things. I seriously don’t have any problem with your idea of adulthood but the snippets where adult woman come for once or twice seriously reeks of sexism.

A man……. I repeat a man once said: It’s hard to practice what you preach. With all that feminist bashing you have been doing and the kickass videos you have been making, this one was downright sexist. Adulthood comes to girls too and they too turn into one hell of a woman. You skipped that conveniently.

P.S- Bad mockery of Buzzfeed’s video “Your childhood in 100 seconds”.

With Love

An adult Woman

You can watch their video here:

 

Q : The Question #AtoZBloggingChallenge

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David was again late today, rushing from his bed, he huddled up with the school uniform. Running towards the breakfast table, he saw his Father having his breakfast and immersed into the newspaper.

“Shit! Again a lecture today from dad” wondered David.

He sneaked into his chair and quietly started eating his meal.His mother poured him a glass of milk, to which he said “I don’t like milk mummy”

“You have to drink milk David, it will make you a stronger man, remember….Be a man of the home”,said his father.

Today was his favorite teacher’s class Miss Priya’s. He enjoyed thoroughly and so did other students. Miss Priya took the children in open field, narrated some stories and talked with kids. She never gave homework, told them about art, poetry, painting, nature and never scolded any of them. She was obviously the most favorite teacher of almost all the students.

Today she observed David a little lost, so she asked everyone to draw something related to nature and took David for a walk.

“What happened David? Is something troubling you?”

“Miss can I ask you something?“ said David hesitatingly.

“Sure beta , go ahead” said Miss Priya in an assuring tone.

“Mam, what does being a man mean?”

Oh! Where did you hear this David.”

“Mam, my father always says to me, be a man.”

“Ok David, I will tell you what does being a man means and then you will write a few lines on what you understood. Is that a promise?”

David nodded in affirmation. He was finally going to know what “being a man “ is.

“ Listen David, a man is a person who feeds his family, looks after their needs, takes care of everyone around, protects them if any difficulties arise, is always true to his word and never fears of anything. Do you understand David?”

David was thinking something, he knew Miss Priya would never ever give a answer but then he uttered something in a confusing tone “But Miss……..”

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“No David, I told you what is meant by “Being a man”, now you have to write a small  essay on it. Let’s get to the class back”.

David and Miss Priya walked back to the point where everyone was busy painting the beauty of nature around.

After Dinner, David took out his notebook and wrote:

 BE A MAN

A man is a person who feeds his family, looks after their needs, takes care of everyone around, protects them if any difficulties arise, is always true to his word and never fears of anything.I think :My mom is the man of the home………………………..

I am participating in #AtoZBloggingChallenge with www.blogchatter.com.

 

 

Dear Maneka Gandhi, Marital rape is not Achhe Din, It does exist

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Image courtesy- Theviewspaper

She was 21 when she was married, he 25. They both were educated and professionals. In an arranged marriage with a man she barely knew, she didn’t think that he would demand sex on the night they got married. He did. She wasn’t ready for it. It didn’t matter.

And then the ordeal of marriage started, almost trivial issues from in laws to dowry, she was beaten up, abused and shouted upon. But the point is sex went uninhibited. It was important for him, he said. He needed it , he demanded, whether she wanted it or not.

She was my friend. She still is my friend. She is in the same marriage.

Who all remember that scene in the movie “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” where in a refugee camp Milkha singh’s brother in law forces himself upon his wife played brilliantly by Divya Dutta and she afterwards cries near a handpump. Yes my fellow countrymen, that scene showed what a woman goes through when there is no consent involved in sexual act in marriage and this concept very suitably applies  to India.

 

Today Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi said in a written reply, “It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors like level of education/ illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament etc.”

Are you serious Maneka Gandhi?

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Image courtesy- Policysamvaad

Let’s see some figures Miss Minister. Domestic violence has emerged as the single-largest crime against women. In 2013, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported over 118,000 domestic violence cases, which made up a third of all crimes against women, far ahead of molestation (70,739) and rape (33,707). The number of reported domestic violence cases also shot up from a mere 50,703 in 2003 before the passage of the Domestic Violence Act of 2005. a 2014 study by the United Nations Population Fund and the International Center for Research on Women. The study found that 60% of men admitted to using violence. The belief that they are entitled to sex even without their partner’s consent is a common motivation, the study found.

These findings tie in with the 2005-06 National Family Health Survey, which found that the commonest source of violence for married women was spouses

Basically Mrs Gandhi, you are saying that it is perfectly ok to rape your wife and when you are a wife your rights take a back door? when a government whose stated intention is to secure women’s safety inside and outside the home, starts talking about culture and tradition to justify a crime.

If there is legal backing for marital rape, women who are victims of sexual assault by their husbands have little hope for justice. The exception in the law needs to be repealed urgently, as recommended by the Justice Verma Committee in 2013. The committee argued that the “relationship between the accused and the complainant is not relevant to the inquiry into whether the complainant consented to the sexual activity.

The problem is not marriage . The problem is not men or husbands. The problem is our ability to tolerate any buulshit in the name of religious beliefs, mindset of society and social customs. We fail to question anything that is challenging to our rotten norms. The most saddening part is government doing the same. The problem behind a man beating up you in morning and forcing upon you in night saying mere liye jaruri hai deals with patriarchy.

Are we ready to challenge it or this concept also does not apply to Indian context?