It’s Acceptance! Not Equality!

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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.

 

Shooting ‘Stars’!

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Your Honor, but!?

What exactly had been said:

For the last six to eight months, there has been a growing despondency, I would say. Kiran (wife Kiran Rao) and I have lived all our life in India. When I sit at home and talk to Kiran, for the first time she said, ‘Should we move out of India?’ Now that’s a very disastrous and a big comment to make to me.

What happened next was unprecedented. The actor, Aamir Khan, had become the most sought after discussion on social media news feeds and, yet another scapegoat for media houses nationwide. His statements had been in many a places misquoted, misinterpreted and served as a mouth watering appetizer for millions. What followed further were aggressive debates, discussions and so called ‘in depth’ analysis as to what the actor ‘might have’ intended. All of this in turn only strengthens, the actors remarks on the state of growing intolerance in the country that seems to be on the boil with each passing day. The statement that was made was only a concern that had been raised in public. He had never made a mention that he was indeed leaving the country nor does it point out to any anti national comments in any regards. But, the disastrous means by which reporters of various news channels had misconstrued his statements for rise in viewership is nothing but a new low as far as the ethics of journalism in this country is concerned. This indeed had been many a times highlighted; be it the case of the Nepal earthquakes earlier this year, or the disastrous turn out of poll predictions for the Bihar elections of 2015.

Earlier this week, in an interview that the Human Resource Development Minister, Smt. Smriti Irani had given to Barkha Dutt; she was asked to layout her thoughts on these statements made by the actor, to which she had responded stating:

Aamir Khan is a brand ambassador for tourism in our country – Incredible India – and that what’s incredible…that he can be a brand ambassador for our government and he can be on a platform in front of the Information and Broadcasting minister (Arun Jaitley) and speak his mind shows that free speech thrives.

With all due respect madame Minister, but, the way in which the whole situation was allowed to spiral out to such extremes has in itself, a scent of intolerance in every step of the way. But, what is more ‘incredible’ is the fact that how an individual who had filed false documents pertaining to her educational qualification still continues to hold on to her portfolio as a cabinet Minister in New Delhi. And, more bizarre was how the reporter had never touched upon these topics for the chance she had for this said interview. This again, reiterates how journalism is more or less being streamlined alongside those issues that are currently in trend in the present tense.

Aamir Khan is perhaps, the latest in a series of celebrities from the film fraternity who had been targeted for speaking his mind out. But, if this is the plight of individuals who hold such esteemed positions in society, it is rather easy to value the voice of the ordinary citizenry. Times have turned around so much so that, the Prime Minister of this country is eligible to carry out his ‘Mann Ki Baat‘ on national radio, unquestioned; and the rest finds themselves in a position were they cannot. There is certainly no doubt that there is an air of intolerance prevailing in the country. But, the manner in which facts are distorted and how news feeds are tailored to suit the taste of the end user is bound to have disastrous implications in times to come.

– Breathe.

A Date with, Hypocrisy.

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We stand by you Paris. None the less.

A summary of what exactly had transpired on the 15th of November, 2015:

  • 21:20 CET: A series of well orchestrated and planned terrorist strikes rips apart the heart of Paris, France.
  • 21:21 CET: The whole world takes notice.
  • 21:22:00 CET: Mark Zuckerberg does his part by putting up a brand new photo filter. What else can the man do? He had to do something, right? Admit it. Facebook isn’t as cool as it once was. He had to do something! He had to cash in. And, he did.
  • 21:22:01 CET: My entire news-feed page gets soaked in blue, white and red. They had to follow suit. How can they not?!
  • 21:23 CET: Modi tweets! A million others re-tweet!

In the end, around 120 innocent lives were lost; leaving many others wounded.

My question here, is as to why only the rich kids, in the block always seem to garner all the attention? Earlier this year, when Paris was previously attacked by the same terror outfit; that had claimed many a lives, on account of the clashes in views with the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the media was on a rampant reporting spree. What went unnoticed however, was how, another faction of such extremists, the Boko Haram with ideologies that are in parallel with those of it’s Paris counterpart had carried out a massacre of almost 2000 people in Nigeria. The world went unnoticed. Nobody bothered to paint their faces with the Nigerian national flag or no media bothered to report the state of affairs in that country. The simple reason being that, Nigeria sadly wasn’t ‘sexy‘ enough for mainstream media or for it’s viewers as a whole.

The same can be sited for the state of turmoil that had gripped South East Asia, where, a number of Muslims living as minorities were beheaded and massacred in cold blood by radical Buddhist Monks in Burma. Such riots and genocides have been a ritual taking place in that country for as far back as 1997. No one bothered. None. Then, why this special status for Paris? My argument should not be misunderstood with the view that terrorist strikes or any activity for that matter, that violate basic Human Rights should not be condemned. But, opposed to this, I argue that all such, should be condemned and responded to, equally on a war footing, as in the likes of Paris, as it is happening now.

Examples, such as these are in abundance, if one simply turns his/her gaze on to the African continent where millions upon millions die and perish each year. Are these breaking news anywhere? No. Did Facebook come up with a filter? No. Is this the definition of Hypocrisy? Yes.

– Look around Paris. You’re not alone.

Resource’d’ and Outsourced.

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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.

Rape? My Answer? Pepper Sprays.

Way back in school,  there used to be a popular character by the name Johnny Bravo. Out of deep felt respect, I would rather refer to him as Sir Johnny Bravo; respect, none the less. He was comical, a total wreck at being a heartbreak romantic, shunned and despised by all of womanhood alike. You might be wondering as to why I’m trying to make a show of mockery of the subject at hand. Well, actually no. Well, you see the women always managed to take matters into their own hands when it came with dealing issues regarding Sir Johnny. If, you remember very well, they either used to kick him up right in the groin, or if they chose to be more subtle and classy, pepper sprays were their answer.
Now out of immense respect for Sir Johnny here, I certainly do not want to portray him with an image of a serial rapist or anything even remotely close. For, you see I, just like many others adore this man for what he is, for the numerous ways he used to crack up each and everyone of us.

On December the 16, 2012, a female physiotherapy intern was beaten up and brutally gang raped in Delhi, thirteen days later she passed away in a hospital in Singapore,  while undergoing emergency recovery treatments. This particular issue had sparked off  widespread agitations and protests, in the whole of the sub continent, not to make of any special mention regarding Delhi, which happened to be the epicenter of the whole fiasco. Well,  as always, days passed, weeks passed and it’s been close to two months after the whole issue, as it is with any other, it’s all been wrapped up and forgotten, women as always continue to get raped, assaulted, abused, gang raped; until the next outrage rises up for the occasion of candle light protests, social media outcry, and all the chaos thereafter. It’s pitiful, disheartening and unacceptable all at the same time.

There was a whole lot of discussions,  suggestions,  rape laws to be rewritten, so on and so forth.  But however, it wasn’t long before the whole system fell once again in a state of trance to be clasped by the much flattered  ‘Oblivion’s Curse’. During this period in time, a series of changes, (minor, if you ask me), were being brought about, a series of new regulations were set aside that was made mandatory on the part of both men and women to adhere to. At one instance in time a few gentlemen even made the suggestion of making it mandatory for women to kick boxing for their own good, for which I, with all do respect  couldn’t hold back my comic side back, I mean, that’s a bit too far fetched over here in the sub continent, I would certainly not have disagreed to this if this was the far east, in the land of the Orient, but not here. Over here our women are known for their pious state of mind (one which I again would most certainly would like top add, that, is fast depleting.), saris and well famed for their mastery over some of the best appetizing dishes you can possibly find (again, fast depleting; and no, I’ have nothing against women. Hard facts none the less.).

In this particular context however, I would like to point out that if you feel like entrusting the whole business of  safety of women in any nation and typically in my own for that matter, upon the hands of the bureaucracy or the police force, it wont’t be long before you’re let down and left down to rot, it’s a hard fact, after all, all facts are sour and somber, specially for a nation obsessed with Bollywood.
As,  I conclude this post, the only advice I can conjure up is to watch your own back for your own good, and as for pepper sprays are concerned you can order them up in a snitch from healthkart.com, it’s somewhere between 250-350, they’re more reliable than your average government. Trust me.

Take care.

Misery Starts with Apparent Happiness.

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It’s true, Isn’t it? I’m pretty much sure that each and every one of us agrees to this particular line, as it’s been rightly stated in the book ‘The Book Thief‘, by, Markus Zusak. Each and every time when you feel that you’re at the epitome of popularity, recognition and in a state of absolute bliss that is being cherished up to it’s fullest, somewhere deep down inside you start having this itch of sorts, something that’s pulling you down. You start having this gut feeling that keeps telling you ‘all seems too good to be true’. And, before you know it, day by day you start feeling things falling apart, just before your naked eyes.

I’ve always felt that the point in time of your life that you’re most depressed, struggling and when you feel that you’ve been let down, is by far and undoubtedly the best point in time that there is. For, you see, as far as I can understand, success and recognition is only a split second theatrical act which plays out in one’s favor. When you’re down, crawling, fighting your way up, having a dozen fingers pointing at you; you’re being given the best opportunity that there is, the chance to prove yourself. At that stage in time nobody gives the slightest bit of care or concern, as to whether you make it or if you break it; but however all the more nobody knows it better than you do, as to where you’re headed. No expectations, zero pressure, but with a whole bunch of criticisms, which if taken up head on can only clear your way for further good if you ask me.

I, like any other, have had my share of miseries, disappointments and let downs; but it’s always the road you take that really counts and one that you’ll cherish the most. As for success is concerned, it’s always cramped up in your trophy cases, only serving thou as an ode to a mere second of triumph and appreciation, that once was. None the less.