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For the misfits living in a paradox, you are not alone.

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Indian Subcontinent

My fellow progressive compatriot …

I’m privy to a lot of conversations, particularly amongst mothers, and women in general from south asian backgrounds. And whilst every one of them is complaining about how rotten the society is, I hate to break this to you, but the problem is YOU.  Continue reading “My fellow progressive compatriot …”

About the apple and the tree

We seem to be surrounded by assholes of every age imaginable. If you’re wondering why, some or most of it probably is to blame for the kind of parenting that’s practised in the Indian subcontinent.  Continue reading “About the apple and the tree”

Saree … oops NO Shari!

On a number of occasions while speaking in English I remember other native speakers correcting my pronunciation of certain Bangla words. Once I referred to saree and was vehemently attacked for calling it thus with a quick reminder that it was in fact shari/sharee. Continue reading “Saree … oops NO Shari!”

B for Bollywood

The default screensaver at the back of my head is not exactly what one would describe as fun. Continue reading “B for Bollywood”

The sex-talk in conservative societies

At a time when conversations around consent is taking place, I want to broach an icky topic – marital rape. The number of cases I have heard of in this lifetime, and not just through work but first hand descriptions from friends and family, are ridiculously high. The lines are so blurry in this legally bound relationship that I have often seen confident law abiding citizens feeling clueless in deciding what is right and wrong. What is considered prudent and prude. Continue reading “The sex-talk in conservative societies”

Safe Sex please!

Upon returning to this country, I proved myself absolutely right in thinking ahead that in the absence of a more organized form of entertainment, dialogue tends to become far more interesting and has an old-fashioned salon feel to it. Thus in an absurd revelation of a conversation at one of these recent gatherings, I was privy to certain very private information that shocked me to the core. This is a snapshot of a conversation between two married females discussing the level of sexual activity in their individual relationships: Continue reading “Safe Sex please!”

Homosexuality

This one word raises uncomfortable questions, invites undesirable dissection and contention. However, it has existed for as long as we can remember. My attempt is not to gain support in favour of homosexuality, but more from an educational and informative perspective, raise awareness. I wish to shed light on facts and observations  derived from history, personal experience et al. While it is true what we do not know cannot harm us, it is also true that lack of knowledge and information is the biggest culprit behind most derailed perceptions we hold in this world today and misconstrued anger and frustration. Opportunists always tend to take advantage of these emotions and fuel it to satisfy their ulterior motives. Thus, should you have any confusion, reservation or pure curiosity in regards to homosexuality, please read on, as you would only be doing yourself a favour, only if not to let people take advantage of what you do not know. Alert: myth busters ahead! Continue reading “Homosexuality”

Come let’s discuss Men!

Chivalry is a concept I have often struggled with. While the vast majority of times, I see women eyeing the ‘gentlemen’ qualities in a man admirably, a notion creep up at the back of my head to contaminate the hunky dory features of an otherwise commendable phenomena. Fast disappearing in certain parts of the world, you still manage to glimpse men volunteering to vacate their seats for their women counterparts, either refrain from or immediately apologise, if apprehended at expressing profanities in a lady’s presence, unwilling to share certain kind of jokes, only considered appropriate out of the ranges of a lady’s earshot. This is an act widely in practice, without the interference of any other disparity such as age or physical location, solely based on gender differences. It is avoidance in fear of ruffling a fragile female façade. It is an epidemic.
It all goes back to the medieval times, a more chivalrous era so to speak, where this code of conduct evolved partly from knighthood and partly from the trend and ideals of courtly love and based on my readings so far had been established with the noblest of intentions – to respect the honour of women! But just like all other ancient customs, the viability of such a tradition in today’s world and perspective is debatable. It poses an important question of whether or not an idea of this nature should be entertained by a group of modern women striving for sexual equality.
In my last post, I have hinted slightly about my sardonic sense of humour being quite un-ladylike and hence widely unpopular. While most often it draws a chuckle or an entertained gasp from the male sector, it almost always draws a frown of annoyance from my women audience. This is solely because it is considered to pertain certain crudeness, unexpected and unsolicited from females. This takes me back to the 3 F’s – fragile female façade – and how the emotional status of a woman is often confused with her physical abilities and there seems to be a need to protect the women psyche as well. Does it remind anyone about any other scenario, where often we resort to using euphemism so not to offend a particular group? Yes, you are right, the only other group is children!
Without further ado, allow me to make my point: in a world where we are so caught up with empowering women and fighting for their rights (quite rightly so), is not there a part of us that neglect the fact that progress can only actualise when all the relatable wheels are in motion together, i.e. empowerment of women alone would not suffice until or unless we spend time trying to understand the male psyche as well.
See, bluntly put, men are the sperm bearers. They are equipped with the biological responsibility to impregnate and as a result quite naturally their sexual drive would be much more active and rash compared to that of females. Why should we hold it against them? If women are not held responsible for their ability to fall pregnant ‘easily’, why should men be humiliated for their natural need to procreate? A man’s more pressing sexual needs is a fact and finding it offensive or denying it is the same as crying over how, as women, are stuck with the childbearing duties! These are natural phenomena and instead of having a war with nature, we should accept what has been given to us, and look to achieve a mutually beneficial balance.
I am a firm believer in the practicalities of human nature. There are certain traits that make us human and surpass time, age and eras – love is still love, hate is still hate and greed is still greed. Generations have had no effect on these traits and they have outlived all others. So when a person is caught lying, he is only acting on the impulses he was genetically manufactured with – where is the surprise element – he is just being human, with warts and all. We spend all our lives in a dilemma, killing ourselves over thwarting the evil in us – an evil whose presence is as prevalent and tantamount as the goodness. Thus, let us not beat ourselves over a slip and accept that we can never become the perfect person because in truth, each of us are already perfect – it is our flaws that make us perfect human beings.
Beginning of this year, when the Delhi rape created headlines all around the world, I remember having an argument with an older female relative of mine, over the popular meme shared on facebook that showed a woman holding a banner that read ‘Do not teach us what to wear. Teach your sons not to rape.’ Her argument against the meme was that we as women could not shun the responsibility of dressing decently. In fact it was vital to ensure we do not attract the wrong kind of attention and to follow it up she said ‘offering a fresh stack of meat in front of a lion and expecting it to walk away responsibly is an act of foolishness.’ I found this comment, especially coming from a female, extremely derogatory (to say the least) and disillusioned merely because our men are not lions and I would like to think we are more than just a stack of meat. Our men will always be expected to exercise restraint from an act of coerciveness because they are not animals – they are human. I think men are misunderstood here, and given a label through incorrect social messages to appear more like an ape – still stuck in phase 1 of evolution. Through such messages from women, we are not only further deteriorating harmony between the two sexes, but also endorsing something heinous as violence.  This is what I mean when I say there is a need for an increased interest into the male psyche from us females before we can hope to achieve a drastic development in this area.
I mentioned in my last post on women power about never wishing to come back to this world as a male and I meant it for more than one reason. Firstly, because of the lack of romanticism in not being the natural hero but also because of the pressure of expectation every man is born with! From the moment they are conceived expectations are embedded into their system: the immense pressure of displaying physical strength – if you are weak you get bullied in school – followed by an inherited form of responsibility whereby the fathers set a certain standard that the successor is expected to equal, if not exceed, as part of carrying the name forward. The pressure just keeps building on – once they are done proving themselves to their families, then comes the wife and children and the expectation mongers constantly cheering or booing in the background – there is never a moment of peace. Women on the other hand, mostly in the South Asian societies, are completely exempt from these responsibilities. This is a form of male discrimination, whereby they experience a sensation of living inside a pressure cooker, both from family and society to prove themselves in terms of being successful and earning a truckload of money and women in our society to a certain extent contribute towards creating that pressure, by taking the nonchalant or borderline flippant role in their responsibilities toward the earnings of a household. The absence of the peer pressure on females automatically adds to the men’s burden! And consequently contributes toward shaping their perception of women in general.
Back in my university years, I remember a female friend blatantly putting forward that she could never ever settle for an unsuccessful man. My question to her was simply this- why was it important? Her response was quite simple too – it was disgraceful for a man not to be successful! The memory of that conversation always make me wonder if some of us are not, after all, a little childlike deep down and perhaps mentally disabled too in certain leadership areas which allow us only to accept successful and powerful men into our lives. But men are expected to look at our 3 F’s (fragile female façade) and accept us for better and for worse. It is perhaps not chivalry then that has survived in the form of displaying honour, but this eyelash-batting, helpless dame-in-distress attitude that still make men vacate and offer that seat to us.

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