Category Archives: thoughts
It breaks my heart to read about the Guwahati incident on the news. Then I follow the outcry over it, reading all I can and realize, the men are silent. I am not one to get on a soap box for the usual petty issues but calling Sexual Harassment petty is again something we have been trained to do. We are taught to turn our faces from stark, evil realities – the reason being that we can not do much about it. Sorry uncle, but not anymore.
This is my India. This is my country. No matter how vile and corrupt you claim it to be, I love it still and wont take abuse against her anymore. We call India, our motherland, the earth is dhartimaa, the Ganges Ganga maa and then our politicians fight about which city is the rape capital of the country. We reserve seats for women, in buses, in trains, in colleges making them inferior on the one hand and superior on the other. Women are finally getting their place in the limelight and we push them down. We laud a female astronaut of Indian origin, using her to show an example of the woman of India. Then you go and strip a girl in public on caamera, showing the true colors of the Indian man.
I have objectified women, I accept it. Through school and 4 years of engineering when women were demarcated as a different species, I have ogled at them. Bangalore changed that for me, the freedom to interact with them, to sit with them without drawing stares, to drive them home without being the object of questions, to contest them face to face in debates and arguments, to enjoy silences together and to make the right kind of noises. This also happens in India. This is the India I love, no matter how much you call it an influence of westerners.
Now Guwahati has just ripped to shreds what little was left of the Male Indian Hero, let us get over the shitstorm of media that will discuss everything but what needs to be addressed. We need strong laws and stronger policing. Castrate the bastards that are guilty of rape, not after years of courthouse drama but immediately. If a woman is felt up in your view, raise a voice. Make them, as Amit states here, carry a stone. I live in an Arab country and see women covered up and protected. They live a secluded life behind Abayas, their lives controlled by one man. I think of India and feel proud but now I wonder.
With Guwahati, we have outdone ourselves. We have taken India to the next level of lawlessness. Mothers, sisters please stay at home. Men, go grow some balls or as they say in Hindi “chudiyaan pehen lo”. As for the f***ers on cam, I am not likely to visit Assam anytime soon, but if ever our paths cross – I have a punch with ur faces on it.
The day has finally arrived. The rebel in me has waved a white flag and is now on display. The mother has finally won.
So here it is. All that fighting, all those posts amount to Zilch, Nada, Zero. So if I never blog about this ever again let this be my final statement. I am not against marriage. I am however completely against the system of arranged marriage in its current shape and form. This blog is going to start off what is going to be the search of a lifetime (for me ) for that partner for life. I am simply going to write who I am and then hear out your comments.
History first, born as the eldest into an Orthodox Christian Keralite family, you would think I was a goner from day one. Luckily for me, I was born in Libya, to parents who were educated and in a scenario where my mother used to earn more than my father. That changes the way one sees the roles of the male in the family. He need not be the breadwinner, and all life decisions are made by both the husband and the wife. There are fights but they don’t mean the end. So born outside India, in a community that was predominantly Indian, the state wise break up was too small for any group to be independent, which made me fluent in Hindi.( I speak it without the mallu accent.) The school I went to didn’t differentiate between the genders because they couldn’t afford to, I grew up considering all women my equal. Moving back to India was the shocker. Schools seated boys and girls separately. A girl cried because I touched her shoulder. I almost was weeded out because I talked English than Malayalam. I adapted fast. Girl became the enemy, then the object of boyhood crushes and it wasnt until 11th and 12th that the walls started breaking down. Some of my best friends are from that era, the wonder years, when as a unit the class gelled. I have seen friends falling in love, falling out of love and some staying in love still (married and with a beautiful daughter).
Then came the engineering years, 4 Years in a village in Tamil Nadu where Keralite boys are at the top of the pecking order, where the women dont talk to you because the college doesnt allow it, where women 2 years older than you come to teach you and you have the biggest ever crush on them, where we bent the rules, broke them and some times just sometimes got them abolished.
Then came Bangalore, the city that stole my heart. 3 Years that went by in a warm fuzz. I love that city and its people, for Bangalore belongs to everyone that is in it, it doesnt differentiate between the states, it recognizes talent and it gives you opportunity. I plan to settle down in Bangalore and spend the rest of my life in whats left of its gardens. Plus most of my friends live there and I would like to be in Bangalore closer to them than in Kerala closer to relatives that are always trying to find out whats wrong with you.
Then came Hyderabad, a job with a software major that went kaput due to millions stolen by its owner and chairman. The city failed to impress me but again the friends were many. This city taught me what love really is, how it doesnt see caste , creed, color or any other division you name. It also showed me how friendships are often wasted, how someone you trust can have priorities one doesnt understand. This was the city also where I was supposed to be when I had that fateful accident on Valentines day in Cochin. The accident almost took my life. I was in a coma for 3 days, then at home with broken bones for 3 months.
Now fully recovered physically, the only thing that remains is a voice that is straight out of a bad movie. I have only one of 2 vocal chords left in my throat and it cant be fixed. Apparently there is some experimental surgery going on in the US but by the time it can be replicated, I might be dead.
Oh before we forget the important stuff, I smoke but I am cutting down, I drink but I am not an alcoholic and I love to party. I dont dance (2 left feet is an understatement) and I am not a person who loses his temper (used to but now I just go silent). My cousins are close to me and we speak more in Hindi than in Malayalam. I have had previous relationships (Yes , more than one. I am a sucker for love). I have had my heart broken and I have broken a few hearts. I am looking for a woman who will be a friend, a lover and a confidante. A person who will be with me in the good times and the bad. A person who wants to travel the world like I do, who wants to see the arctic lights and also see the jungles of africa. A woman who doesnt have any qualms in staking her claim on me but gives me the freedom to be who I am. Someone who is protective but not possessive. Someone who will love my family and hopefully try to be the daughter they never had, the sister my brother would have loved. Oh and love animals of all sorts because if I could, I would adopt all the strays in the world (am planning to settle for a dog for now)
There you go. That is it. The matrimonial ad that is never written, the truth as it is never stated.
The fairer sex is an enigma..
I dont understand even the one i call maa..
In their grace and beauty hides something..
of which i fathom nothing..
Speaking the same language as we do..
Their meaning i still cant undo..
Over and over to know i tried in vain..
how their power over men drives us insane..
We love them for every little thing..
For just looking at them makes our heart sing..
We secretly like them making us wait..
We like to watch their lovely gait..
One they say is made for me..
Wonder where n who is she..
The search is on and forever it will be..
Till i find the angel meant for me..
I posted this one on orkut a long long time ago and got quite surprising responses.. including a “To men” right back at me..
One without the other always damned..
Physical and mental differences i ponder..
Oh, the almighty did play a wicked plot..
Dividing us amongst our own lot..
A knight stands strong fighting his side..
On the other a lady scorned and weapons drawn wide..
Both in eternal battle engaged for now..
What attacks and counterattacks, and oh how?
One without the other incomplete..
Each in the other their match do meet..
From time immemorial to future unending..
One to the other is bound , body and mind..
Try as we may to escape it..
The thing is thats the only way we fit..
Two pieces of a puzzle simple..
Two faces of a magical coin till we wrinkle..
Fight it or embrace it choose u can..
But lie not to ur heart and to ur own clan..
For even in the deepest of hatred..
A little care and love has somewhere bred..
I have my reasons to choose my path too..
But logic gives me reasons few..
To ensue in a fight ages old yet new..
As always i stand by as i have no clue…
Sunshine in the month of may..
Another one of many such days..
But somehow i feel out of place..
But today seems a little too long..
There are things to do and places to go..
But my heart somehow says No..
And yet i have an inexplicable frown..
If everything is as is meant to be..
Why is something bothering me?
Answers for questions unasked..
Words to dreams unseen..
As my thoughts spill beyond time..
Is silence an actual crime ???
Tara Nambiar is your average urban girl except for the fact that she was a star. A rising star in the world of TV, Tara hosted a popular travel show for one of the hundred channels that are usual fare for the Indian diaspora. The camera loved her, the audience loved her. She was a darling of the masses, an angel in human form. Her career was taking off and bigger names in the industry watched her rise carefully. Protective but liberal parents had given her the freedom to make her choices. There only condition was that in becoming a well known face, she should also maintain the reputation of the family, like her brother had.
Her brother was the first kid on the block to establish his own business. He was famous in the locality as a bright one, the one child that grows in the hearts of all mothers of the neighborhood as their own. We have met him earlier, this boy wonder. Vijay Nambiar. Yes, the yin to the yan that is Hari, our lead. And it was Tara that Hari was helping across the street. Tara had always been a fixture in Hari’s life. Hari and Vijay were used to her being somewhere in the periphery of their existence. Both the men were fiercely protective of her and Tara enjoyed making them tear their hair out.
Tara had innumerable suitors, most of them ended up wishing they never asked her out in the first place. The two men in her life from when she was born set the bar so damn high that no one could match it. Tara worshiped Vijay and Hari, and couldnt (didnt want to) bring in another who couldnt compare to her knights. Also, Tara had had the biggest crush on Hari and still silently was infatuated by him. The few men she did take out were used as objects to draw his attention. Hari was oblivious to the fact that Tara had grown up. He still saw a tiny girl in ponytails dressed for school. For Tara, Hari was the man she saw her brother admire, her mother love and her father speak proudly of. For Tara, Hari was the only man for her.
She had watched silently the various bimbos and intellectuals that had passed through his life, first with hatred, then with jealously and now with pity. She knew they were just passing fancies. They had stopped worrying her. Plus they also opened up a side in Hari she didnt know. Tara was the confidante Hari needed whenever he had girl troubles. Tara had learned what this man liked, what he hated and what he plain didnt care about. Tara had Hari to credit for making her a woman that men fell head over heels for. Through the long coffees and conversations, Tara had transformed slowly into a woman that most men find irresistible. Most men that is excspt for Hari.
Today was no exception. Hari had invited her for coffee and had poured his heart out. Where Vijay was clueless, Tara had always had answers. Tara would know how to find this girl. Tara would know where to look for her.
Tara didnt want to. Tara had met Hari and had seen in him something she never expected. She saw that this time Hari was gone for good. Her Hari, the one true love of her life, was not hers anymore.
Tara’s problem was she didnt have to find her. Tara knew Maya.
Chapter 3: Here
Chapter 2: Here
This post is a result of multiple dialogues I have seen between my father and his friends/acquaintances over religion. My father is a staunch Atheist and hasn’t been inside a Church expect for the occasional marriages of cousins/relatives (in those instances for never more than 5 minutes). Most of his friends though are staunch believers (or claim to be so). I am an Atheist by choice, thanks to the attitude of “question-everything-even-if-you-believe-it” that my father and some very special teachers cultivated. I dont strut around saying it to everyone I meet but most of the poeple that know me, know I dont talk about religion or faith. This post is supposed to list the reasons why I dont.
As the Heading indicates, the three things above are very different from each other. I was born a christian, I will most probably die one. But I dont believe in Christ. I dont believe in any of the multiple names that have been created and are still being created for that invisible hand that people claim exists out there.
Religion first. Religion was set up as a method to create moral guidelines for the people. I mean when you move from hunting gathering to a more neighborly system you needed to lay some ground rules. The Gitas, the Bible, The Quran were all byproducts of years of refining the rules and regulations. It is pretty evident too that they have been altered as time moved forward. That is because as humanity and countries evolved, some of the rules had to change. New religions evolved too making moral guidelines that were easier to follow in the present time. So the question most people ask me is “Do you really not believe ?” most of the times with something bordering on shock rather than surprise. I tell the more intelligent ones that ” I believe, I just dont believe in God.” , an answer that leaves most people perplexed at best. Am hoping this post will shed some light, if any of them reach this far.
Atheism defined as a belief that God does not exist, is pretty close to what most people today understand atheism as but there is a big school of agnostics that get clubbed in. For all the so called agnostics that get here somehow, make up your mind. Grow a pair and pick a side. Unless you are a politician, in which case your party most probably will help you with it. Being an atheist does not necessarily mean you question everyone’s faith, make loud statements in public renouncing God, priests and other god men, or that you need to explain your stand to someone else. Atheism takes balls, the open admission that you have not external power to depend on, no magical being to blame, no hero to worship makes it a tough living. Which is one reason why most people prefer the cocoon of religion. Moral dilemma are easily solved, right and wrong defined. Please note that it is this definition or the permutation thereof that is used by various activists – left , right, hindu, muslim, christian for their own particular agendas. Not subscribing to any of them makes it no easier to watch what happens. It is just as hard. So why am I an Atheist ? I like to be held responsible for my own actions. I dont need someone to blame for my failures (not God, not my family, nobody). However my success does get shared. It is my effort, but it is the recognition that gets me the success.
Faith. Now this is a totally different ball game altogether. Having faith in something or someone is easily the closest I come to any form of belief. Faith is necessary. Faith is sibling to my other favorite Hope. Together they make life a lot easier, a lot brighter and a lot more fun. Faith keeps me going day after grinding day. Faith that someone will read this, hope that someone will understand. Faith that somebody else feels the same way, hope that I will meet some of them someday. Faith that someday religion will transcend boundaries set by its creators, hope that it happens in my life time.
Chapter 1 : Here
Chapter 2: Here
Everyone hates an encounter with the police. In India, this possibility manifests itself at every traffic signal in the form of a potbellied cop in an ill fitting uniform, mad at the world for keeping him standing in the sweltering heat. Maya though had to contend with something far worse. She was in a police station, that dirty, ugly building which is always busting with pimps and agents who sell every kind of service that is supposedly free. But none of them could coax Maya when she had walked in her head held high. Megha, her best friend, needed her here and here she was.
Megha was going through the rigors of a tumultuous marriage and after three years of unbearable coexistence had decided to end it once and for all. This report on harassment was the first step. Police constables in Bangalore are very accommodating to women like Megha, they knew she meant serious business when they first laid eyes on her. Maya, who had seen her go through all the crap, was sitting by her side (just as she had when Megha needed a shoulder to cry on), awaiting further instructions from the uniform in his pompous, broken English. Maya, you see, was a witness.
She had watched her friend try to fix what was a broken marriage from day one. The black eyes, the bruises, the pain had all been shared and Maya had stood up for her friend a couple of times. That ended when Megha got beaten up again for telling Maya about their “family problems”. The husband, perfect on paper, had turned out to be a monster of a man. The high profile job was excellent cover for a maniac, who expected total obedience from his wife. She was not to work anymore, Megha accepted. She could not talk to any of her male friends, Megha cried but agreed. She was not to wear jeans or T shirts, Megha had bought an entire wardrobe of salwars. Things started turning bad when He told her she didnt need to use the internet and cut the connection at home. She had protested, she loved the internet. It kept her in touch with friends, she skyped with her sister in the states and blogged incessantly. Without that Megha would not have survived. Thats when the beatings started. The first time, he had apologized the very next day, and Megha had felt he was just getting used to living with someone. The second time, the apology was shorter and half hearted. The third time, there was no apology. The fourth time, Maya had stepped in and this brought around a fifth and sixth attack. Megha had packed her bags and moved in with Maya. The very next day they were waiting to file the FIR. Today.
“Men are dogs.” Megha stated with a finality that made Maya almost accept it. But her mind flitted back to a face from yesterday night. Those eyes had stared right at her, in to her. She had felt a butterfly in her stomach. It flitted about again now.
Maya Rebello, decided this was not a train of thought that suited the occasion and let it be. That skill was what made Maya, Maya. Maya born to a couple from different backgrounds and religions, had been brought up like that. Her father often questioned her about random things that seemed absolutely normal.
“Why do you think the color green is connected to Islam ?”
“Why are there so many sects within Christianity?”
“If women are equal to men, why are there no female F1 racers ?”
The questions seemed random but had cultivated in Maya that curiosity to go beyond accepted norms. It had made her question the basic principles. It had given her the ability to detach emotion and personal bias from an argument. Which had worked pretty well for her. The best orator that her school, in fact the entire district had seen (as proved by the medals mom displayed at home), Maya had become an effective debater. Her joining mass media was not surprising for her parents or her teachers. The PR job for a small time NGO was a surprise. The company was unheard of, the role seemed to involve a lot of what could only be defined as sales pitches, it somehow didnt fit. But Maya had accepted the offer for one reason only. That reason was her boss. Ms. Monica Pande was the kind of woman Maya wanted to be. Strong, confident, successful and more importantly the kind of woman who was noticed when she spoke. The NGO worked to empower rural women, enabling them with skills and then supplying them with the raw materials to create products that had never ending demand.Maya had found a place where she felt she belonged, a job she loved and a boss she admired. Things were going good. Except this.
“Well, not all men and dogs are actually very faithful.”, she replied.
“Hmmmph !!! Maya, what the hell are you talking about ?’
“Nothing. There he wants us to sign something.”, Maya said , pointing. They duly signed in the form and equipped with a copy of the FIR exited the building. Sunshine never seemed so welcoming.
“Home now ?”. Maya asked. She needed a bath after the station.
“You go ahead. Dad lands day after tomorrow. I need to be in control before he gets here. Lots of things to do.”, Megha replied and was already waving goodbye as she started moving towards her car. The freedom from the shackles of marriage had given her a skip in her step. She seemed to be in a hurry, wanting to make up for lost time.
Maya headed home. The auto was at a signal when she saw him again. He was crossing the street, deep in conversation with a girl. He held her hand as they crossed. Sigh, maybe she had mistaken the look. Everything is not as it seems.
Drinking too much has its after effects. The eyes betray what chewing gum and a long bath try to hide. Hari however didnt have the long bath or the chewing gum. He was walking around in auto pilot mode. His lips were speaking, his hands and feet were doing their jobs in perfect synchronicity. In all appearance, he appeared normal. The only thing missing in the whole picture was his incisive mind and the undertone of sarcasm that was his signature. Vijay was the first one to notice it.
“Who is Vijay ?”, you ask. No ? “Who is Hari ?”. Ah ! Forgive my manners. Lets roll the camera back to the beginning. Harikrishnan Nair, aka, Hari is your typical run of the mill Mallu who roams the vast concrete jungles named Bangalore. Oops, Bengalooru. He is 5′ 11″ (an inch short of the 6 feet that he believed was his birthright), fair (thanks to a bloodline that should be purple for all the royals that adorn the walls in his ancestral home in Kerala) and one of those few gifted designers in India (his websites are among some of the most shared on Facebook under varying adjectives like cool, awesome, etc..His brilliance made him pretty famous among the more talented of the designers around the city. He was also known as a stickler for quality and time. He wouldnt be rushed into anything and he would always deliver on time. Designing was a passion for him, which was fine except that when the client is a nincompoop who has no sense of color or aesthetics, he went ballistic. That is where Vijay comes in. Vijay was the guy who kept the company from going bust. The guy who kept he genius of Hari’s designs under constant control. He had learned enough through DIY books to make the minor changes which made their brilliant creations, more acceptable, more corporate, more boring (according to Hari).
Friends from a tender age, it is rarely that two minds gel so well. They were the perfect partners, Vijay the face for all the terrors Hari could dream up and boy could he dream them up. Both mothers were blamed equally and took all of it with a smile. A smile that knew they were destined for greatness. The growing up years saw them develop distinct personalities. Each a compliment to the other. Where Hari was impetous, Vijay was restrained. Where Hari was a perfectionist, Vijay liked to compromise. Teachers always wondered how long it would last, this friendship that was stuff of legend, not something real life could sustain.
While Hari excelled in Math , Vijay tagged along through the humanities stream in the same college. Brothers from different mothers, they were just too used to each other, that the absence of the other was a thought that never occurred. The move to Bangalore was also together, Hari got that first job as a newbie designer, while Vijay had joined an NGO. The social streak in him made him seem gullible but he had a knack for closing deals that was seldom predictable.
Now 5 Years later, they had quit their 9 to 5 jobs and joined together with seed money from the mothers and had set up shop. Vijays network got them loads of requests, Hari’s wizardry on the computer made them the duo that everyone wanted. They could deliver the perfect blend that you wanted. Add to the medley, random designers and coders that Hari found from everywhere, they finally were growing. Both in numbers and in revenue. This was going to be a good year. Last nights bash had been the celebration of 150 websites signed, sealed and delivered. Monumental yes, memorable yes. But Hari was distracted.
“Whats wrong ?” Vijay confronted Hari, “What scheme are you dreaming up now ?”
“Nothings wrong. All is well. We just hit 150, the team has come together,” said Hari as he closed the door to the apartment,” and… and I think I am in love.”
“Ah ! There it is. Again.” Vijay said. Lets go back into the black and white flash back mode here. Hari as you have seen by now was a man driven by passions. Matters of the heart were a constant ailment for him. He had had numerous encounters with the female kind, each time declaring that this one is different. Vijay had stood by his side through them all. Watched him float on clouds in the beginning, then slowly get see him fall into a spiral of complaints (mostly regarding his freedom, to go wherever he wanted, to drink, to smoke and to not be dragged around town on trips that seemed to be absolutely pointless) ending finally in a couple of weeks of drunken nights, crying and laughing, shouting and silent, till the storm abated.
He never let his work fall during any of these many encounters and Vijay felt relief. This was another of those poor women who had been attracted to the magnetic energy of a man who was absolutely confident of himself. The guy who seemed lost without a care, the kind that every girl wanted to take into her arms and shelter. It will pass, Vijay thought and let it go.
Vijay had fallen in love once, still was in fact, with a girl who somehow decided to love him back. Tina was HR team lead for one of the companies Vijay had pitched for in his NGO days. He had stuttered through the entire meeting and was completely surprised to receive her call 3 days later.
“When are you going to ask me out ?”, she had asked,” Its not good to keep a girl waiting.”
That statement gave him courage. A courage that he had never felt before. ” When should I pick you up tonight ?” he countered.
“Tonight ? Isnt that a little too ambitious of you ?”
“I think we have both waited long enough for this moment. Lets make it Lunch. Right Now.”
“Nooooo.” She said, wondering how he seemed to know what she wanted and cut the phone. He walked into the office 45 minutes later with a bouquet of roses and a smile that was irresistible. Both off them didnt return to work that day.
I digress. Sorry. Back to Hari. He was going mad , he decided. This girl was different, he knew somehow. He was trying to figure out how to find her in this city of teeming millions. Creating plans and scratching them out almost immediately. There had to be a way. “Wonder if she even noticed me ?”, he thought.
She had. But Maya had a bigger problem right now.
Chapter 1 here
PS: Bring out the Red ink, Usha and Sashu. Dont have any others I can call regulars who will be ready as soon as you two.
Their eyes met and the surroundings melted into mist.For the length of a few seconds it felt incredible, incredibly so.Then, as always, life pulled them back into its big bountiful, fold. The music blaring from the speakers, the smoke from a hundred cigarettes, the loud clinking of glasses and mugs, all of it made their presence felt. Noone seemed to have noticed how that fleeting moment had touched two lives, possibly forever.He looked for her after, discreetly searching the crowd for one more glimpse. She tried to stay longer, coaxing her friends for one more drink. It didnt work.
Even when he stumbled out of that neon lit universe of a disco, his mind was filled with that single image of the night. That haunting face, that smile below eyes crying for help, that little fringe she was trying to tuck when they had frozen in time. They say such is destiny, it gives you glimpses of something you have dreamed about without knowing what it was all your life. She, Hari decided, was his.
She had been silent all the way home. She laughed at the cues from others, mimicking the rest of the gang. No one noticed that she was replying in mono syllables. As she combed her hair before bed, she saw his face in the mirror: not the usual hunk women faint over, but there was an intensity to his eyes, a confidence in his face as of one who knew where he was heading in life. She slept fitfully, twisting and turning, held in that gaze that didnt break even after all these hours. He, Maya decided, was trouble.
PS: The beginning of my work of fiction which has died and resurrected over and over again. Am hoping this time making it public will make me being it to more than a few chapters. To what end ?? I have no clue