It’s Acceptance! Not Equality!

ae5b12f915ff847f0b04569410a9b86f (2)

Yes, indeed! But, in ways that differ.

This week, women and men the world over took up the cause for gender equality  up, close and in certain cases, very personal. Women’s Day had arrived yet again! Hallelujah! But was it here to stay? The bitter truth is most obvious. An optimistic ‘Yes‘ and a doubtful ‘No‘ would be the most apparent answer in the present tense. In view of the United Nations effort to bring about a change and, to champion the cause for gender equality, it had launched its campaign for ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality‘ under the watchful eyes of the UN Women; the organization’s entity that looks into the cases for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Prior to a recent panel discussion that I was fortunate to have participated in, which, revolved around the theme as highlighted above, I had a round of insightful dialogues with my fellow colleagues,  teammates and, those within my peer groups. These primarily included the self driven, self nurtured employed women who belonged to categories such as the ‘married’, the ‘to be married’ and, to the ‘I have no clue what’s going on here‘ kinds. The question that I had put forward to them mostly revolved around as to what stopped them from moving further and to run head to head with their male counterparts. And, in the majority of cases, what I’ve noticed was a far out cry, not for the cause of equality, but rather for a state of acceptance of the individual that they represent; for respect; for kindness; for politeness. I have felt that this is also the true underlying principle that gets overshadowed in the very act of feministic views which, in recent times under the advent of extensive role that social media has to play, has been taken in for a ride.

Equality by itself, by definition, is a dangerous term to be put forward, especially in cases involving the sexes. Under the present context we see the two sexes being portrayed as two powerful opposing forces. I for one, is of the strong notion that the cause for equality without the traits of consideration and acceptance is a recipe fit for disaster in the longer run. The reason I believe that gender equality has taken up centre stage in many a cases is because that it can win you elections. As plain as that. It can be termed as the icing on the cake, the cherry on top or the well fabricated halo that seals a book of propaganda, which ever way you wish me to say it. The bedrock of the issue is that, we as a society have invariably and saddeningly have forgotten the act of interaction; of conversing and of actually listening through all the noise that is being played about.

The equality of the sexes cannot be considered on the same tasks at hand. Yes, it does depend upon the individual in person, but things which men are good at cannot be in all cases be replaced by women and the same goes the other way round. I say this with utmost due diligence and respect for both parties at hand. For, a mother can never be replaced by his/her father and in the same way a mother cannot be the best replacement for her/his father. The keyword here is not equality, but acceptance. Feminism is a powerful force in itself but, it should not be channelled in ways by which roles have to be taken up in one’s individual capacity but should be channelled effectively in cases of injustice, mistreatment and, cases of abuse against women in it’s righteous form and principle. And, as an evolving society it is an absolute necessity to listen and not just be heard.

One sees what she/he looks for.

 

Advertisements

My Review: The Boys in the Boat.

It is hard to make the boat go as fast as you want to. The enemy of course, is resistance of the water, as you have to displace the amount of water equal to the weight of the men and equipment, but that very water is what supports you and that very enemy is your friend. So is life: the very problems you must overcome also support you and make you stronger in overcoming them.

– George Yeoman Pocock.

Daniel James Brown had put together the essentials of how and what constituted the American rowing crew which went on to become the champions of the Berlin Olympics of 1936. Up until I picked up this book, I was unaware of the adversities that had to be faced when you bring together a bunch of men, put them on a boat and simply asked them to row. The physical strain is undoubtedly one but, how it actually fosters a sense of brotherhood and moulds the whole crew as a single entity had been brought to life by the author rather splendidly.

Each chapter starts off with a few words of wisdom by George Yeoman Pocock; who plays a pivotal role in moulding up the American crew for the Berlin Olympics and also the man who was responsible for bringinging to life the best racing shells in production at that time. The book doesn’t entirely focus on the disciplines of the sport which might not be of great interest to readers who are not acquainted with it. But, rather it explains how boys of average and below average upbringings had to wrestle it out to earn their mark. It emphasizes on the bridge of trust that has to exist between men. One of the best parts of this read was where the author explains about what is referred to as the ‘Swing’ in terms of rowing jargons which he goes onto explain as the most beautiful and enriching experience that rowers experience when the entire racing shell functions and steers ahead as a single living, breathing soul; where, the rows dip in and out of the water in unison and where the entire crew breathes in as one.

The book also primarily points it’s focus on the life and times of Joe Rantz, who is portrayed as the lead protagonist in the book. Having lost his mother at a very early age, and having a troubled childhood in his formative years, Joe was left to fend for himself. His decision to join the University of Washington’s rowing crew helped him regain the lost trust he had in others and helped him revive his outlook on life in general. The case of Bobby Moch who steered the American shell is another yet inspirational character in the book where his unquestioning attitude as the coxswain is worth mentioning.

The book throws light on the state of Germany right up to the point of the Berlin Olympics as to how the Nazi propaganda was being played out at that time and on the works of Leni Riefenstahl’s involvement in documenting the Berlin Olympics. The American crew’s win in the Olympics of 1936 has been beautifully portrayed as challenge of might against fascist Germany where the Americans rowed head to head with their German counterparts and eventually to outrun them; and, all this when the Fuhrer himself was overseeing the waltz at play. Perhaps, a prequel to what he was to expect in years to come with the entry of the Americans into the great war which eventually threw him off.

The part that intrigued me the most of this book was how the author describes the state of comradeship that continued to exist between the men even after the Olympics. The book truly very much upholds the axiom that, sport builds character; as, it is evident from the transformation that each of these oarsmen of the American crew had underwent. This is inarguably a great read for sports enthusiasts or even otherwise for that matter. On the case of the language or the literature that is being used, it is simple and lucid for the average reader. Definitely a must read as per my recommendations.

– Row!

Peek-a-boo!

mirror-reflection-hd-wallpaper-picture-d01-1024x576 (1)

Boo!

Mirror! Mirror! On the wall! Who’s the greatest of them all!?

This post is in relation to an incident that had happened a couple of weeks past. I was asked to present a brief speech on an object I would best like to immaterialize into and, to tell the whole world about what I would like to shout out if I (this object that I’m now impersonating) was given the gift of speech. Given the little time I had to brood over the topic at hand, the only object that materialized in my mind was that of a mirror. And, I feel I had a pretty good argument as to why I chose this above all others. And, this is me speaking to you, the reader, in the shoes of a mirror.

Your reflection is by far, perhaps, the most beautiful and the best impersonation of you as the individual that you truly are. I don’t merely reflect to you, your form, but your entire train of thoughts in it’s truest self. Mind you though, I’ve only seen this behind closed doors. I’ve seen you swear, I’ve seen you weep, I’ve seen you on your knees, I’ve seen you slump, I’ve seen you smile, I’ve seen the worst of you and the best in you, I’ve seen you play an air guitar, I’ve seen you be the rockstar and, I’ve seen the Princess in you. But, what captured my imagination the most was that little twinkle in your eyes. That little spark deep within you. The real you, unadulterated. I’m sure you too have seen that in you, through my eyes; but, alas! The moment you notice that sliver in your bedroom door, I’ve seen it all wash away. I see you impersonating someone else in place of the individual that you truly are. You tend to forget that, what truly excites you. You tend to forget me. You cease to exist! This is perhaps betrayal in it’s worst kind.

If I had the chance to strangle you and to not knock you out of your senses, I would have. In all honesty, I would. For, you see my friend, in reality, you’re not betraying me, but in truth, it is you who stands betrayed in the longer run. I encourage you to fly, I encourage you to step up and play your air guitar, I’m urging you to step in and walk the walk of that Princess in you, for, I have never seen anyone else like the true you when, you look into my eyes. You tend to believe that this part of you where you tend to pretend is euphemistic, but sadly, it isn’t. Pretending to be whom you’re not is simply synonymous with you being put up as a mannequin.

The only justice that you could do to me is to make a commitment. Not to you, but to me. To not let what defines you to be set on fire but rather to set yourselves into one to define what you are. Do not be afraid of that little sliver in the door for, it isn’t a demon nor a dragon and if it indeed be one, it can be slayed. Stand tall my friend. Fret not.

So, who stands as the greatest of them all!?

– You do!

25

Oh Homer! That feel!

Oh Homer! That feel!

Dear Conscience,

How have you been? I should’ve returned your call sooner than later. I deeply apologize; I really do. This perhaps is the first time I’m returning you a reply despite your repeated knocks at my doorstep. I write this out to you as I stand here at the cusp of realization; as an adult whom I would say has lost his way traversing the well trodden path rather than cult one up for himself. One among-st the many. Yes, I agree; ironic indeed. I sit here, brooding over all that you had whispered to me over these years past. Of all those thoughts you’ve shared, of all those times when you’ve asked me to hold back and those times where you’ve asked me to fire away. But, in all those moments, I fear, I’ve failed you miserably. I should’ve not. Retrospection, rather than regret would be a more apt way of viewing my reconciliation towards you. I would like to let you know that I now hold you in the highest of my regards, just like those many voices like mine who’re gearing up to treat you the same as they turn 25 this year and in years to come.

The shout outs of a 25 year old is in every way, a very lone voice of descent. He shouts his lungs out but, none to lend him an ear. He stumbles, but none, to pull him back up. He becomes an idol of not worship, but rather of mockery and sarcasm. His every step, his every move, scrutinized for reasons most bizarre. The longing for a voice as surreal as yours to take up a form in person is immense. It’s not a question of a choice of good over evil but more of a question of right over wrong, for in most cases what is good needn’t always necessarily be what is right. The mind is troubled indeed. It lacks the sense of direction it once had.

I write this out to thee, to where ever is it that you may reside to lend me an ear, to pull me out, to idolize my very train of thoughts, to galvanize it from whatever it is that may turn it to rust.

Truly your’s.

On the Question of the Sexes.

Yes, she can.

Yes, she can.

A point in time where opinions and remarks can get easily twisted, and where social judgments can be made to sway in favor of viewer-ships for mainstream media houses; this, probably is one of the most touchy topics of the present age; second only to those on the grounds of theology, perhaps. The question that I would like to pose is not on who’s getting it right and who’s not; but, rather on the very question on the idea of the ‘equality of sexes‘, for, I find that it lacks a sense of conviction and a direction as far as gender equality is concerned. In most debates and discussions on the acts of sexist views and on the grounds of equality we find individuals fighting it out to make themselves heard and mixing up the discussions with their personal emotions of hurt or despair rather than highlighting as to what the course of action needs to be.

My question is rather very simple, and straight forward. Equality literally translates to ‘the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities’; this is what Google had to say and, I believe it has a point there. Ironically, I feel that this is not the case when it comes to gender perhaps. Why? I’ll quote a small instance for example, to validate my point. In every hostage crisis that takes place, what do you think is the first demand put forth by authorities to strike a common ground? Does this ring a bell? As always, the demand would be to first let go of the women and children who are held captive. But, why ‘women and children‘? Why not men and children for a change? I mean, Isn’t that the very essence of equality, as to what Google teaches us? Isn’t this pure broad day light discrimination on the grounds of the sex to which one belongs to? In literal terms, yes (mind you, I said literal). The argument that would be posed immediately by those opposed to this would be the fact that, men are physically and mentally more prepared to handle the trauma that would unfold in such crises than women are. The counter argument that I would like to pose in response to this would then be on the question of the demand for reservations for women in the armed services of this country where, the argument raised by the same individuals revolve around the lines that women are in no way subordinate to men in terms of carrying out tasks which is demanded of them. This can be in all terms treated as hypocrisy, none the less. Such double standards do not go hand in hand, if a consensus has to be attained.

The ad that you’ve seen above was part of Del Monte Ketchup’s 1953′s ad campaign. The gist of the campaign was to highlight the fact that their new bottle of ketchup’s were far easier to open up as in comparison to the conventional ones at the time. This had invoked a lot of hysteria at that time (as what sources from the internet points out) stating that theirs was a campaign of sexist vandalism. Agreed. But, not during the 50’s perhaps. I would agree to this notion if this ad had been released in the present times, where women are more well versed with opening a bottle of beer with their bear teeth than men are, which is a good sign (mind you, on the context of opening a bottle, not turning alcoholic ). The point I wish to make over here is that times are changing, and fast. But, so needs the quality of arguments. Acts such as undermining the achievements of Dr. Matt Taylor, the brainchild behind the Rosetta mission and the scornful media outrage and spats against him for wearing an offensive t-shirt are not worth appreciative. These can be bluntly stated as shout outs for garnering attention by isolated so called ‘feminists’ who portray themselves as advocates of female rights who wished to be heard and those who later joined the chorus and later on promoted by media houses owing to its ‘trending’ status.

Social injustice exists. I have never said no to that. I have not touched the topics of rape, molestation and other forms of injustice that is predominant against women, especially in India, and those that needs to be addressed in the strictest of means. The idea that I would like to garner here is to put an end to using equality of the sexes as a mere excuse and as a tool to gain mileage in arguments. Be it political or personal.

– Mind you.

Resource’d’ and Outsourced.

image

Bottom’s Up!

‘Today, we have two new “resources” who’ll be joining us from here on’. It was with these words that I was led into my team by my manager on day one. I still remember those lines to this very day. Why? It felt rather very awkward, that’s why. It’s more appropriate to refer to an individual; a being that’s merely human by his name rather than refer to him as a mere blender! It struck a wrong note somewhere and, something definitely didn’t sound right. It even had me wondering whether if it was some unsaid and undefined protocol that was upheld all throughout. This was my first project; all excited and at the same time, jittery and downright nervous. I saw curious fresh new faces everywhere; in that small conference room, right in the middle of nowhere in the Deccan city of Hyderabad. When I say ‘in the middle of nowhere’, believe me, it really does mean nowhere. Faces that were curious; sizing me up from head to toe. Some had smiles on their faces with a pinch of sarcasm in it (new guy in town, boy! you have a long way to go), a few who weren’t the slightest bothered (the kind I prefer the most) and a couple of others who were genuinely excited; fresh blood I guessed, maybe from last week’s intake; all smiles and jumpy.

It was with this welcome note that I had started off work in the corporate poop chain. The ‘Great Ugly Indian Software Dream’ as I call it these days. If someone came up to me and asked me to describe myself in a line or two, this would be my best answer: ‘A job level 3 Systems Engineer who prefers not to work on weekends‘. It’s as simple as that. I’m that one in a million young lads in this country  who got lured into this ‘promising’ rat race. The money smells good. I’ll never say no to that (when has it not?). Satisfied? Obviously No. I’m but only flesh and blood!  But like many others, I sin myself everyday, waking up and going about the same mundane tasks day after day, year on year. Well, if the non Indian reader wonders out loud as to why we keep at it; well, it’s because this generation of mine is cornered to use such opportunities as mere lifebuoys. We make use of these to survive not our marriages, but those of our kin, our close aides, colleagues, friends, acquaintances and so on. For you see, the moment you’re 22 in this country (I speak from a male perspective), and if you happen to be unemployed, attending your best friend’s/sister’s/brother’s wedding or any other occasion for that mater, will be your exclusive access to hell or a dimension that’s closely parallel to it. I’m sure anyone who’s gone through it, agrees best. You’ll find yourself alienated among-st the mob of people who jeers you at the back of his/her head. You find people embraced in unison, laughing, making merry, but, somehow you feel the jokes on you. You try to converse, but conversations don’t last. People don’t seem interested in you anymore. In short, you smell money everywhere, and for once you despise it. Society is by and large a devilish reincarnation of the devil himself. Period.

And, that my friend is why, those like me sin myself everyday; and, not because we embrace it. Because, for you see, as long as I have this lifebuoy on, my next door neighbor won’t shoot me point blank for stealing a wink at his daughter, to name another, I’ll always be treated with respect and courtesy the moment I step into a bank. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter if you the reader happens to be a Job Level 1 Gardner preparing a bed of roses or a Job Level 1000 President of some Third World Nation planning to nuke someone; the idea is to keep marching forward. To keep searching for what truly excites you, to what you desire the most and to persevere until the day you reach the blessed shores of what you had been yearning for and on that day you’ll finally get to shed off this lifebuoy of yours for all of eternity.

– Just another blender.

The Nineth Semester.

image

Shout. Out. Loud.

It’s said, that a picture speaks a thousand words. And, if I go by just that, this one shot speaks volumes of a time that once was. It can’t be pened down in words; for, words will fail me if I try to describe it out as to how and what it felt like to be amongst these guys. If you knew them, I can bet you down to my very last penny that your days in college were nothing rather short of being termed as epic. Period. Those stretch of four years starting off from somewhere down the month of July 2008, all the way up till mid May of 2012, was a prime highlight down the rather mediocre timelines that one mostly gets thrown into thereafter. With each day that passed us by, we were never close to the obvious but rather oblivious to the fact that we were all creating memories; memories that I believe would suffice to last a lifetime.

It’s been close to two years since we all parted our separate ways, each with his own sense of hopes, ideals and aspirations to fulfil. Times were different back then, it was simple, plain, lucid. Eat outs, getaways, college festivals, fights, parties, and so, on and, on and, on. It had the right mix of everything in it to make your day right. There was never a time when you had to think twice before you had to shout out loud. Times, lives and the very train of thoughts have changed drastically since then. Our’s was a generation that witnessed the transition between the erstwhile Nokia expressMusics to the rise of the green alien. The fall of the much loved and hyped social frenzy, Orkut and the advent of Facebook.

Times have changed, and most of us seem to be picking up forms and perceptions that contradict the one’s we embraced and cherished the most at one point in time. Even amidst all the madness that I get thrown into each day, this part of the story never fails nor does it cease to bring about a smile to my face, for it’s only thoughts like these that truly bind us to what we once believed in and what we wanted with ourselves. Feeling nostalgic is rather too little a word to describe as to how it feels like at this point in time as I pen this down. I hope, I pray and I wish that once, for once I would get a chance even for a day for that matter, to be amongst these guys. I wish the semesters could start all over again.

Relive.