Click on the image to read about the interview and more!

Friday, 30 June 2017

Safer a cow than a woman!

HEADLINES: A photography project featuring a woman wearing a cow mask created furore nationally!

Photos featuring a woman wearing a cow head was featured as a part of a photography project went viral and many Hindu nationalists seemed to disapprove the insult that was being cause to their 'gow mata' and demanded that the pictures be taken down immediately.



Well, a few more incidents that took place over the past few years that has enough offending material to qualify for the headlines:

NEWS: A girl raped in a bus on her way back from the cinemas with her friend.

Yes, this is the Nirbhaya rape case which provoked the ire of almost every human. The accused were caught and yes, punished too. But did it lead to mass murdering or any kind of lynching? No.
In fact, even after the horrid incident, the rapes and harassment or women didn't seem to subside.

Well, Nirbhaya, who seemed to have enough evidences against her offenders took so many months for a judgement just enough that she couldn't see it happen.

Another news just a few weeks before the Nirbhaya rape case:

NEWS: A Muslim man lynched for storing and consuming beef allegedly at their home.

A man and his family were rumoured to be consuming beef, meat derived from a cow, at their home in Uttar Pradesh, India. Well, that man was killed and his son was left seriously injured as a group of more than hundred men barged into their house smashing everything in the way including doors and windows.
Though it was later confirmed that the family hardly had any beef in their fridge, it was mutton, the so called justice didn't take any more time to be rendered than the rumours took to spread.


Most of the Indians regard cow as a sacred animal. We pray to her, she is our goddess, she gives us milk, she is a meek, soft animal who shelters anyone who comes to her. So whenever a cow is hurt or is killed by anyone, we think "How dare they insult and kill our mother cow?" 
But these same people also regard many women as goddess and pray to them day and night, Kali, Saraswati, Sita, Mother Mary, Mother Earth and so many others. Women protect anyone who is around them, their family, their children, also, these are the same women who feed their babies with their milk just like cows,  women are also human if any of you had failed to notice.

Why don't we get as aggressive when a woman, a form of these goddesses, is torn apart and scarred for life? Where do these nationalists go then?  How are women any less? Are we even supposed to compare a woman with an animal? Is this where our humanity has brought us? The furore over the cow masked lady? And when harm is caused to a woman, we all go inside and sit quietly in our homes waiting for the drama to subside outside.
(No offence here, I'm a veterinarian and I'm definitely against animal slaughter.)

Well, what do we understand from this?
Cows in India are safer than women.

There are so many things wrong with our society here that all of us have failed to notice.


This post was featured here!

[Image credits: Sujatro Ghosh, the man behind the photography project mentioned here. More about the project here.]

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Just another vexed question

Is it just me who finds everything wrong with the present society, its subservient norms, and all the hypocritical attitude, or does any one else also joins this squad against the swells?

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Haww! Your Lingerie Was Stolen? You Only Have Yourself To Blame!

NEWS HEADLINES:  A village in UP suffers the wrath of a lingerie thief this summer. Women blamed for drying their lingerie in the open.

This weekend I came across weird news of a strange series of incidents happening since 90 days that had left the women of Prabhupur village of Chandauli district in Uttar Pradesh, India, baffled.
Why baffled?
Someone had been stealing their lingerie whenever they hung it to dry in the open.
Who you ask?
A 11 year old boy seemingly suffering from an unsound physical condition is the culprit.
Why didn’t they report it sooner?
Well, because of the stigma attached to it, the stigma attached to women wearing lingerie.
What is even more surprising is that even after the women upped their courage and complained about it to the village pradhan, who is also a woman, she didn’t take any action and waved it off.
It shocking how many sets of valued lingerie must they have lost, but they didn’t even discuss about it because they were shy, scared and apologetic that they even owned one.
Why were they conscious, intimidated and ashamed of accepting a basic fact that they are human and like anyone else, they would definitely wear garments of all types to cover themselves and their body parts.
Men wear lingerie; it just has a different name. Well, they shouldn’t be guilty of that because A. they are men, B. everyone knows the need to wear it, why hide, C. any other sexist reason
Women wear lingerie too;  but they shouldn’t reveal it, the same lingerie that is openly advertised on the television, on bill boards on the roads, in malls, and in porn. It is considered an open secret that everyone knows but nobody talks about it.
Why is everything about women considered clandestine?
Their dreams, their achievements, their passions, their needs, the clothes that they wear, their periods, the problems they face and the violence they suffer in silence. Everything about women is considered unholy and embarrassing.

May be that’s why the village pradhan didn’t report it to the police officers. Eventually when all the women had lost all their pretty pieces, a anonymous old man did gather the courage to report it to the SHO who later found out that a local adolescent had decided to trouble the women by stealing their lingerie as it hung dry in the sun and later dumping them in the village sewers.

Did they find a solution to the problem?
Well, they did. They blamed the women for hanging such shameful items out in the women. They should have dried them somewhere in secret, preferably in their homes, in the dark, according to the SHO.
Hats off to the police authority for such an incredible and errorless solution. None of the officers, not even the best in the country could have thought of such a magnificent idea.

Is this the only village when women are facing such issues?
I live in a city where I often see women and girl as young as 8, hiding their clothes under a towel as they go for their shower.
I have travelled many places and everywhere I witnessed sanitary napkins being wrapped in news paper or black plastic before being sold. A friend of mine would rather bleed through her dress than go and buy a pack for herself on her period.
I have seen girls being morally educated by random strangers and friends as their bra strap decided to slide a few inches into the open.
Is this the only country where this is happening? I doubt that.
We, women exist everywhere on the planet and account for nearly half or more of the human population. Yet, we, women have to fight for our rights as humans and for our peaceful existence among men.
This post was featured on Women's Web too! Click here or on the image to read it there!

Saturday, 24 June 2017

#ALetterToHer

'This letter/story is based on a real life incident.'

Yours wasn't a love marriage but everything about it made it look like a match that God and you had conspired together. You had never seen him before you saw his photograph on your dad's phone when he asked for your hand in marriage. Both were smart, educated and had astounding compatibility, your likes, choice of food, nature, it was a perfect match. Nobody would admit it, but many women were in awe of the solidarity between you and him while many of our men acted snobbish and superior to us. You got married half a year later and moved to his city to live with his family.

You were versatile. You were good at sports, academics, cooking and socialising. You loved having nights out with your girl friends. You believed in God. You loved to party and watch movies at home along with homemade popcorn. You were creative. You were retro. Your parents had taught you every skill there was, they never discriminated between a boy and girl, and taught you that you both were the same. You had your dream graduation.You had the best of friends. You strived to achieve what you planned. You even got to marry the man of your dreams, one that many of us dream of marrying. You had dreamt of joining the police forces. You wanted to study. You wanted to work. You were pretty and humble. But you had given it all up for him because he wanted a 'homely' wife which meant you had to stay at home with his mom and manage the household. Yet you were happy and you didn't regret giving up your dreams because you now dreamt of having a family with him, loving and living together, till death did you part. So adjusting in any environment must have never been difficult for you. Right?

After the marriage, you decided to wear sarees because that was the norm his family was comfortable with. You agreed, you buried those pretty dresses and heels deep inside the closet. In fact you carried sarees way confidently and with ease than most old women did.

It all began with the slow and soft verbal abuse made of seemingly harmless comments. Then came the disapproval of your housekeeping skills and and then something else. Slowly, it began happening in front of his family and friends. After that it wasn't about disapproval, you couldn't see it turn into clear cut insult. Initially they laughed it off, but slowly, things got serious and he would sit there and derogate you while the onlookers stowed themselves behind his abusive noise.

A month later you came back to visit your parents. While you looked, laughed and talked the same,  your smile wasn't reaching your eyes. Something wasn't right, but you decided to keep it to yourself, maybe because it wasn't that serious. You thought it was all about settling in. You thought it would soon be alright. You wanted him happy and were ready to do as told in the name of 'adjusting' and being a 'responsible' and 'loving' wife.

Then came the demands. He told you had to do as his mother says otherwise it would upset him. You cooked three meals a day and stood beside the table each time while they had it, not matter how tired, hungry or busy you were. You had to dust and wipe the house for hours every morning, no matter how squeaky clean they were, you had to clean the toilets with hands not brushes, it was disgusting but you did it anyway. You had to wash brass utensils with bare hands and ash, even if your nails split down the middle. You gave up your phone and all your jewelry. You did everything they asked to avoid their tantrums, didn't you?

You began to realise something was wrong. Your room didn't have a latch and the lock was open to everyone in the house. You told him about this but he waived it off saying you didn't need a lock while you stayed with family and your own people. You weren't allowed to rest at noon or sit in your bedroom just because. You didn't complain because you didn't want to upset him by making him feel he wasn't doing enough for you. His brother visited the room every so often, while you slept, washed yourself or changed clothes. This time you told him about it and he called you a liar. You told his mother and she blamed you for alluring her little son.

The gas lighting started from here.
They told you weren't cooking right and no matter how hard you try, you would ruin a meal because it would always turn out to be too salty, spicy or bitter. You, the girl who cooked lip smacking dishes couldn't hold the frying pan in her hands now. You once saw her spoil your dal after you left the kitchen. Then they told you had developed the habit of lying because their little brother/son could never lay his dirty eyes on you. You were asking too much of them, even if it was just a short rest after a tiring day or a visit to the doctor when you fell sick. They made you believe that your family, friends and cousins were bad people and didn't allow you to talk to them for months. She would too often hide behind the door and listen as you worked or tried to talk to them. You weren't allowed to visit the temple or meet the local relatives unless they accompanied you there and back. No one spoke to you for days because it was your fault.

You began to fear them from this day.
You were left with nobody but a mirror to talk to until the day he smashed it before you. That was the day when you found out about his alleged affair. You dared to confront him and he responded by smacking the belt on the floor and threatening to beat you. He made you feel that it was your fault he was having an affair, you cursed yourself for being a bad wife. You tried to forget his disloyalty and his affair, you loved him just like before.

From that day on, it kept getting worse, it wasn't verbal abuse anymore.
It was that night when he slapped you because he was intoxicated. You forgave him because he was not in his senses. One day he got you a pretty dress. He asked you to wear it with his friends. You were confused but you obeyed because you didn't want to upset him. Later he blamed you for being slutty. He got you drunk even though you didn't want to, clicked pictures of your bedroom that night and laughed at them with his family and friends. He threatened that he would send them to everyone if you didn't do as told. A few days later his father began to eye you as you worked in the kitchen early morning. You tried to unsee it because they said it was your imagination, until one day his little brother came and tried to force hug you before his mother. You tried to push him away while his mother said you were at fault by not letting him express his pure love. You got slapped that evening again for expressing your ingratitude towards them. His mother began to drag you out of the house by your hair because she was angry. You wouldn't let go. You got punched this time.
You were confined to the four walls of his house, with occasional social gatherings where you were forced to look happy, otherwise consequences. One day he took your hand and forced it unto the hot pan, because you bled the earlier night.

Soon, you began to distrust yourself.
You still believed in him, he told they were straightening you and your ill-mannerisms. May be you felt that he still loved you. You tried to adjust with whatever scraps of love and warmth you could get until one day they didn't let you eat. They would throw away the leftover food and made you sleep hungry for days. Anybody wouldn't talk to you, you craved for the touch of another human being, you wanted someone to hold your hand, brush your head, or at least ask how you felt.

You were like the frog in a pot on fire who bore the heat until it was too late and couldn't jump out to save itself.

The day you decided you wouldn't succumb, the day you left.
Then came the day when he decided to abuse you with words no one should hear. You kept silent until the moment when you couldn't take any longer and decide to break off. You asked them why they were torturing and abusing you? He had sent your video everywhere. Something didn't feel right and you knew he didn't deserve you.
The next day your father came and took you back home. You both had met after months and he couldn't recognise you. You had marks on your face and body which were proof of the torture they put you through. your saree hung on your shoulders like rags on hangers. You looked malnourished. Your nails and heels bled as he softly held you back. Your eyes cried out loudly tearless. You had imagined your death here. He seemed an angel from heaven when he said he had come to take you back home.

When you returned a year later, you were no longer the girl you were. You were weak, you were not ready to believe what he had done to you, you had given in to your fate and your heartless in-laws.
Yet here you stand against all those who tried to silence you.

You always wondered why it happened to you, haven't you?

It wasn't your fault.

They were the one's with the wrong goals, trying to achieve the wrong things and hence, you were like a mountain of obstacles to them. You showed them that their possessions were not enough to lure you in.  You were too strong for their weak minded games.  You were too much of a valiant before their cowardly and spineless nature.  They were typically pissed because you exposed their unduly adolescence.  It was just that you reminded them of the lack of substance and truth their hearts possessed.  Every time they saw you, they felt an invisible smack on their face.  They couldn't stand your veracity and truthfulness. 

Now you know why it happened to you - It was them! 

All those who want to bother you for the rest of your life, tell them not to give up! You've always been working towards perfection. And you'll need someone to pull you down so that you can slingshot yourself even higher. You're not going to stop loving yourself. 

And you'll do it even more now because- Now You Know!

Did you love  him and break your heart? Try loving yourself now and mend those pieces forever.
Did he drag you by your hair? You grow that mane and don't you dare cut it short.
Did you try to confine you in a cage? You'll break that cage and let the world know about the fierce lioness that you are.
Did he hit you? You shall hit them back, with nothing but confidence and triumph.
Did they abuse you? You don't need to remember those words but one thing - 

- You will now be the power they feared of rising. You are a woman, a goddess in herself. You will not let those scars deform you, they will be motivations to those who are on the verge of succumbing to theirs. you must rise up and shine and work harder to achieve what you dreamt of.



Note:
Meena Kandasamy's book, 'When I Hit You' is a must read for all those who feel that domestic violence must be silenced and that it's a man's right to hit every once in a while. Why should domestic violence have marks to prove its prevalence? Words can break and kill a human as equally. Domestic Violence should be reprimanded and condemned in all its forms.


This is #alettertoher , to every girl out there who is fighting the evil in their homes, and to all the women who have survived the atrocities that these heinous people put them through.
#riseandshine #chinup #neverbackdown #AFightAgainstDomesticViolence 


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Bottled Fragrances

I love perfume!
To be precise, I love fragrances and the way they trigger pheromones and spark a memory out of nowhere.
Scents are always enticing and intriguing. I can't stop wondering how certain smells make you feel, they're so distinctive.
Anyway, there are certain smells that put me off, I hate those floral fragrances that are so sharp, they either make me dizzy or give me an instant migraine.
There are scents that I smell everyday and on everyone as they pass by. I see them on hoardings and on the TV. Scents are meant to be unique and if everyone smells the same, I want to at least try and be different.
One thing that I have noticed is that everyone sorts them according to gender - perfumes for men & women, I mean why do you have to sexualise perfumes? I wouldn't do that.
I sort them according to seasons. On cold days, and evenings, I wouldn't mind a heavy perfume. But on sunny days and mornings, I'd rather go for something that's airy and fresh.

Here's are list of a few of my favourites, some of them were given as gifts, and some I bought, also, they might not be the best, it's just a matter of personal preference:


Burberry London

I bought this a few years back.
A mixture of bergamot orange, lavender and warm cinnamon, mimosa flower and oak moss, this one gives a perfect tone of distinctive and refines fragrance. And I never miss to wear this when it rains!







Armani Code Ice

Well, I got this one for my dad, but I use it every so often.
This one has an aromatic woody flavour, with tangy citrus notes and sweet spices, perfect to wear in winters or in the evenings.




Guess Girl

This one was a gift.
It has a seductive floral fruity fragrance, that many people call it a feminine perfume. But I don't like it that much since it has very strong floral notes. Just tipped it here because I have it. If I had to, I'd never wear it while I'm travelling, makes me nauseous. My review - don't buy it.





Carolina Herrera 212 Men NYC

I found it in a lifestyle store and just couldn't get off. Finally ended up buying it online.
A woody fragrance, but with fresh notes. I wear it whenever wherever. No doubts about this one being my favourite favourite. Also, it has a perky magnetic cap!


Bvlgari Aqva Marine

This was a gift, ever since, it's been my one of my favourites.
For a whiff of unique, crisp and vibrant freshness of water in all its purity and vitality, this is what I reach for everyday, every morning and even after so many years, I still don't seem to get off it. The bottle looks like a fresh drop of marine water, so cool right?







Calvin Klein In2U

I got this one a few years back. It was a favourite, but I don't fancy it that much now.
It has a woody tone again, but with a mixture a floral and fruity and juicy tones. It isn't strong, yet stays for a long time. I like it, but I don't use it, because I broke the bottle somehow! :(





Bvlgari Jasmine Noir

I'll be honest, I only bought this because I liked the bottle with a poof.
It's definitely floral, but woody too. It's strong, with tones of gardenia flowers, sateen almond aromas and licorice absolute. Suitable to wear on evenings.






Givenchy Play

I don't quite remember, but I think I got it for mom, but it has always been in my closet and she doesn't use it much.
The composition combines floral and fruity aromas and leaves behind a sensual woody trail. I wear it all year round or whenever I feel like having a change. Definitely one of my favourites.



Versace Eau Fraiche

This comes in a classic bottle, I bought two of these, one for a friend, and one for me.
Like the bottle, the fragrance is classic too, aromatic, woody and awesome! I use it anytime, but always on the neck.





Sandalwood Essence


This belonged to my grandma, it has sandalwood oil and pure essence in an old corked bottle, and she had had it for years, preserved safely. I have it in my closet now and whenever I happen to open the drawer, the room feels so fresh, I'm sure I wouldn't find such pure and strong sandalwood extract anywhere now.

Well, that was all, I do have a couple of fragrances on my wishlist which I'll definitely let you guys know once I own them.
If you've tried the ones above and if there are any other favourites of yours, do let me know in the comments.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Old Wives Tales!

We all love those sweet old ladies who freely give their advice when it comes to sickness, marriage, studies, or any endeavour to bring us good luck and save us from setbacks.
And they swear by their predictive power so well, that we can’t help but sheepishly heed to their warnings.
There are some pretty entertaining old wives tales whether you buy them or not!



Here are some amusing tales, true or not, that our grannies told us, and so did mommies, just to have some fun:


A mole on your tongue means everything you say will come true!
If you call your husband by his name, his lifespan will decrease.
Cutting nails at night summons ghosts or bad luck.
A tree will grow from your belly button if you happen to swallow a seed.
Seeing a broom first thing in the morning will bring you bad luck.
If a woman has a longer second toe, she’ll dominate her husband.
If you choke on food, someone’s remembering you dearly, or well, someone’s cursing you.
Having the last bite off your plate assures that you’ll have a loving husband, or in some cases, you’ll get married soon, or could even remain a bachelor for life.
If you pull out a grey hair off your head, ten more will grow in its place.
A person becomes a dwarf if you walk over their legs.
Sprinkling salt over your shoulder brings you good luck.
You turn into a python if you sleep immediately after having your meals.
Peeing on your foot in the shower will prevent athlete’s foot.
If you’re unable to fall asleep, you are awake in someone else’s dreams.
Picking your nose makes it bigger.
If you carry high, it’s a boy, if you carry low, it’s a girl.
You must hold your breath while going past a cemetery or you will breathe in the spirit of the deceased.
If you cross your eyes, they’ll get stuck that way.
Knuckle cracking causes arthritis.
A dog howling a night, or an owl crying at night brings bad luck, or death.
If you see a rainbow or a comet and make a wish while looking at it, it will come true.
If anyone sneezes while you are leaving the house, it brings bad luck.
Drinking too much tea makes you darker.
Having curd and sugar before doing something important brings success.
You will grow horns if you don’t bump your head twice after bumping your head once.
Hiccups mean someone is missing you.
Laughing too much before going to bed means you’ll be crying the next day.
Travelling in a company of three is unlucky, so carry a stone as the fourth.
If your child has two whorls on his head, means they’ll have two spouses or, two more siblings after them.

And if you have come across any funny ones that I might have missed here, do write them down in the comments section :)

Monday, 5 June 2017

The Scariest Question

Last night when I was about to sleep, like it happens to all of us, my mind began pondering over the most trivial issues and up popped the scariest question of my life:

The memories that I have made, will they be the best ones I'll ever have?

So much for a grim past huh!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The woman next door.

It was Sunday morning, beautiful weather, cool breeze through the trees. She woke up and lazed over the balcony wondering what a gifted day it was after a hard week at work. That's when she saw the woman next door who was just back after dropping her kids to their gymnastics classes.
She waved at the woman, "Good morning, what plans for the day?" The woman smiled back, "Guests from his office are coming over, have to make a lot of preparations, got to go!"

She sighed as she walked back in, what a blessed life the woman next door had- she was highly educated, but she had a hectic schedule at home and didn't have time to work elsewhere, from getting her kids ready for classes to preparing for parties with her husband, to going to tours abroad, she had it all. She was smiles all the time and couldn't be happier when her husband smiled back at her after the evening party at their home.
What more could she want, she yearned- a loving husband, pretty daunting kids, house always filled with friends and relatives, not even a hint of depression or loneliness, a perfect family.
She looked at herself and lamented at her accomplishments, an astounding degree, an esteemed job, extravagant pay, a luxurious house, she was beautiful inside and outside, she could do what she wanted now, but she was alone. Loneliness and depression haunted her day and night. She craved for a family like the woman next door.

Meanwhile, after the guests left and the party, the woman was back in a bedroom relieved from her husband's smile which was proof that everything went well, she rested, but wasn't at peace. Deep inside their picture perfect life, there was a dark world that killed her each day. Though they were all smiles in front of everyone, they hardly talked to each other at home. She wanted to establish her career but her husband was only interested in his, and though she was highly educated, she wasn't allowed to work because reasons. She didn't like his parties but went anyway for her husband. Her kids were growing up with no regard for her and she wondered who was she sacrificing all this for?
The woman yearned for a life as successful as her neighbour. She was educated, had an exciting job, good pay, had a big house, wasn't married or had any kids, she was single. She could pursue her dreams with no boundaries, no one to stop her and question her. She was free.
The woman wondered when would she be able to free herself from the shackles of her homely pretentious life. She thirsted for love and freedom.

These women lived their lives but craved for the one next door.
They didn't know the dark realities of their neighbours' life.
Had they known would they still have been envious?
Would they still crave for it?

This shows how harsh women's lives are.
Whether married or not, a woman is always expected to give up something to get what she wants.
But does she deserve it?
They say- "Kuch Paane ke Liye Kuch Khone Padta Hain", "No Pain, No Gain"!
But men aren't expected to give up anything for the sake of marriage or career, then why us?

Thursday, 1 June 2017

HEADLINES: PC's leg showoff!
- Feminism for all!

Click on the picture above to read this post on BlogAdda!

When men wear shorts and show their legs, its okay, no one even bothers to look at them because he is trying to be cool and comfy. It's no big deal.But the moment a girl wears anything above her mid calves, she has to face moral disgrace and slut shaming. She has definitely no respect for anyone around her.

When boys put up shirtless selfies, its definitely not to arouse women, (it's again your fault if you are), it's to show their ripped abs and their shoulders. they're showing their masculinity and their hard work in the gym.
But the moment a girl wears a low neck line showing her cleavage, "they" are the ones feeling aroused and it's her fault. She is doing this to attract them. She is just asking to get raped by showcasing the breasts to all these masculine men who are now turned on by it.

HEADLINES again: PC was slammed today on twitter and other social media for 'showing legs' to Indian PM Modi!

Why do we keep sexualising women and their bodies and why is it okay for men to roam around as naked as they can?

As far back as in 1936 did the officers of marine corps began the movement of 'Free The Nipple' in the US after which it was legalised only in some of the states for men to be allowed to roam topless. In many parts of the world and in the US, its still illegal.
Did we expect to see the naked torso of men in public before 1936? Why not?
It seems so normal now.

What do we understand from this?

Its all a matter of time when we regard certain things appropriate or not.
So if women in the world today are fighting for equality in freedom and power, it isn't too much to ask for.
For many, this may seem to be a demand out of the world, but let me tell you, it won't be a few years from now.

PS, those of you who feel this is all about only allowing women to be naked, it isn't.

It's about letting women do what they want, be it a matter of travel, marriage, work, fashion, clothes, language, empowerment, authority, justice, education, sex, appearance or lifestyle, it's her wish.





It is about gender equality.
It is feminism.
It is for all of us.