Outrage is the new ‘vogue’

Disclaimer: I am human and I am not perfect. The views expressed herein are just my opinion and I do not mean to impose it on anyone. I respect the fact that everyone has their own point of view and theirs might not necessarily be same as mine.

Last evening, while scrolling through my facebook timeline I came across a video shared by one of my friends. I am pretty sure that by now most of you would have either watched it or heard about it. Yes, I am talking about the Vogue Empower video which features 99 women-of-note from India, featuring a piece written by Kersi Khambatta, recited in the voice of Deepika Padukone and directed by Homi Adajania. If you haven’t watched the video yet, then watch it here.

Since the video went viral, a lot of strong reactions have been stemming from people all over the social media. The reactions are both positive and negative. When I first watched the video I reshared it on my facebook timeline stating “This is powerful”. The video has that effect on women. But looking at the flak that it is getting from people, I feel it has not gone down well with many, women included.

I was not aware of the furor caused by the video until my brother pinged me asking about the video. He said he wanted to watch the video and wanted to know what the hullabaloo is about. He said that the video has created quite a controversy and I replied saying “some people just need some topic to outrage and I don’t find anything controversial in that video.”

When I asked him what he thought about the video, he said that it is bound to offend male ego. He said on one watch it seemed that the video’s sole purpose was to kick men’s ego and boost women’s ego. It was then that I realized that the video will obviously have a different impact on the two sections. It is definitely very strong.

My brother clearly explained me that just because he feels that the video hurts men’s ego, doesn’t mean that he is against women empowerment. As well as I know that guy, I know he is one person, who holds women in high regards and well agrees with the evils that women around the world are being subjected to. We have had long discussions on these issues many times and never once has he come across as someone who is in favor of male dominance.

He went ahead and explained me that, if a person looks at the video as a piece of art, the narration especially, then it will serve the purpose. This got me thinking. I guess the part that hurt the people most was the narration which talks about women being open to sex before marriage, sex outside of marriage etc. which are a taboo in our society. If only people could realize that the piece is more symbolic than literal in nature.

What I understood from the video was that, it is a message to both the men and women in the society. It asks men, not to take the women in their lives for granted. If one listens carefully, it asks men to value the love of the women. It also goes ahead to caution men to not be a fool to think that a woman who comes home early is all virtuous and the one who comes late is not. It also sends a message to women that, no one can really empower them unless they themselves work towards empowering themselves.

But, let us chuck discussing and outraging about this video. Personally I feel it’s frivolous to spend our tempers and time over fancy awareness videos. Yes, Vogue Empower is investing and roping a lot of eminent people for their cause. I am not belying the work that they are doing. But, the main irritant for me is the unnecessary importance that is being given to this video. Why can’t people rather talk about the real actions that are being taken towards the social issue of women empowerment?

Another point that had cropped up through this video factions the society into feminists and menists (fairly a recently coined word). Few people think that being a feminist means bashing men all the time. I don’t know how exactly feminists are supposed to be, but irrationally bashing men is so not feminism. If asked about feminism, I would like to favor the opinion given by Emma Watson as a UN ambassador for #HeForShe campaign. She has aptly put that feminism is not about man-hating but more about achieving gender equality.

I have myself gone through a myriad of changes in opinion while witnessing all the outrage that has been going on out there. At a point of time, I was skeptical to even put up this post as I was not sure whether  what I am trying to say would be taken in the right spirit or not. But then, as I said earlier, everyone has a right to their opinion.

I am now tired of discussing this video. In fact, I never understood the point of outrage in the first place. As I have said earlier, I would rather concentrate on reading, hearing and talking about the real actions that are being taken rather than a publicity campaign. Also, I want to say that, whoever has watched the video are people who are educated and have access to technology. Considering these two facts, I feel I can safely say that all such people are capable of rational thinking. And if the same is true then I guess such enlightened minds can decide what is right for them and what is not.

I don’t think the video is going to alter the cases of adultery or extra-marital affairs in any way. If a person has to get into an extra-marital affair, he or she will get into it irrespective of the fact whether they see the video or not. Moreover, half of the oppressed women for who such campaigns are being run might not even be aware of the video. Do we see the pointlessness of it all now?

There are few questions though, the answers to which I wish I could figure out.

Why the social media junta of our country only pick at the one negative point of any social efforts that are being made for any social cause?

Why the positive always gets shadowed by the negatives?

Why people take so much pleasure in talking about negatives rather than positives of anything for that matter?

I really would like to find out some answers to these.

And just so that I could end my post on a positive note, I will talk about something really heartening that caught my attention more than the vogue empower video. I want to share the story of the village Piplantri in Rajasthan where daughters are celebrated. Here, every time a girl child is born, 111 trees are planted in celebration and taken care of. And that is not all. Read the entire story here, if you want to know more about it. This is what makes me happy. This makes me more hopeful. And mind you, here are people who might not even be aware of the Vogue Empower Video. Let’s take some lesson from them.

This is another story

Anika was late. She got caught in the web of the web and got late. She had not planned to put on the dress she had put on. But while pulling out her choice of dress she chanced upon that soft, cotton heap of peach and out of sheer whim she pulled it out and wore it.
When she looked at the mirror she was delighted with what her reflection showed. She dropped the idea of putting on too much makeup and ended up just applying kajal.
Satisfied with the final look she picked up her phone to click a few selfies. She was loving the way she looked. It’s got to be the perfect date look, she thought to herself, he will be totally floored when he looks at her.

It had been years since she had actually made so much effort on her looks for any meeting. She was hoping that he likes it. She was doing it all in order to impress him. Right then her phone rang. It was him. She picked it with a panic.

“You already landed.”

She was supposed to be at the airport by that time. She quickly wrapped up the phone call, picked up her handbag and looked at the mirror for one last look. Something clicked inside her. She picked up the red tube kept on her dressing table and pulled out the brush. One stroke. Yes, now things were perfect.

The kumkum shimmered on her forehead. This time, she wanted the world to know that the guy who held her hand while they walked was the one to whom she belonged.

Questions

Today I feel as if I have lost a part of me. I try searching it, but the search bears no fruit. I have been making these efforts for a long time now and I keep failing and today I feel a strong bitter twinge that has my heart in some kind of clutches. It squishes my heart and I can literally feel it.
Yes I mean it when I say that I can literally feel it. I have lost my stories. I have lost the verses of my poetry. I have settled myself in a mediocrity from where my subconscious and conscious don’t seem to be coming out. Is it somekind of writer’s block? But am I even one?

Life… as we know it

and at times you have to satisfy yourself with the fact that even though it got over, it did happen.

that they lived every second they were given and touched the sky every chance they had.

The day will grow on you
so will your shadows

the person you meet at the end is you.

Few words will remain unsaid,
few will be written but may never see the light of the day,
and rest will be wasted

in the end, everything is overcome and a life is lived.

PS: Lines 2,4 and 6 are by Mr. Irfan Kazi. Many thanks to him for making it so beautiful.

The Brinjal writes…

What do you call a person who has not committed himself/herself to any particular political party? Who is not a bhakt or a “tard” of any party? Do you call them “thaali ka beingan”? If so then sir/madam you can call me so.

I am not a politics fanatic. I don’t have strong opinions, be it positive or negative, for any leader (except ‘few’ congressis). I cursorily follow the news and the happenings around the political scenario of the country. I often keep quiet and listen to the opinions of the people around me. And I often find them getting excited and perhaps a little aggressive too when they opine about their favourite political party or leader, even though I don’t say anything to contradict what they have to say, as my only purpose is listening to them.

At such times I really feel like holding them softly but firmly by their shoulders and telling them “calm down dude”. I can’t really question such fanatics. Mind you I have genuine questions and genuine doubts because I really have no pre-conceived notions or opinions about any party or leader.

If you ask me what is my opinion about Manmohan Singh, you might probably not like what I have to say. But then it is my opinion. Honestly I feel he was an extremely learned and educated person, who, if he would have really wanted and dared, could have turned the economy of our nation. Yes I do believe the popular notion that he was a puppet. And that was the biggest black mark of his career.
I ofcourse do not favour his puppeteer nor her pseudo-leader son (who I really feel is spineless). But then again we cannot ignore the fact that Congress has some really learned politicians (here I tread on caution as I really have no clue about their ulterior motives).

When it comes to the current ruling party of BJP, I really admire the work that our Prime Minister is doing. He is an excellent marketer and I am sure by the end of his tenure the premiere management institutes around the world would have incorporated lessons from his work model as part of their management case studies. I admire his work, as atleast he is doing “something” compared to the last 10 years of governance that this country has seen nothing but scams and more scams. For that I support him. Yes, I do support him, but I am not his ‘bhakt’. My funda is very clear — I will support anyone until he is working (even if they be baby steps) for the development of my country.

That being said, I want to continue with the point saying that yes, the PM is working. But I don’t hold the same opinion for all the leaders of that party. The party in question at times seem too “Hinduvadi”, not to ignore some of its so called leaders, the “babas and sants”, who go on jabbering utter non-sense day-in and day-out. Presence of such dimwits really makes me question the credibility of the ruling party. I really woe at the kind of blasphemous mouths that are  leading our country. Deep within I really wish that if only Mr. PM could get rid of such half-minds. As it is not being done even though being so obvious, I presume it might seem politically damaging to them. Once again here I see an instance of personal benefit taking precedence over the national health. But hey as they say nothing and no one is perfect and I am sure Mr. PM will have pretty strong and well fenced reasons for not doing so.

Let’s talk about the new kid on the block. The Delhi-Winners. Their leader seems to be an educated administrator, but he really has a lot to prove after the last stint. He has, in the real sense, got a second chance. I have no clue what lead to his victory. Was it their excellent freebie filled manifesto or  was it their intelligent strategies? Was it the over-confidence of their competitors or the sheer confused state? Or was it sheer luck? I really have no clue.  When he first came, he was a revolution, but he turned himself into a joke. Even after that Delhi has given him a chance again this time, which I hope he takes it seriously and not blow it away in hasty decisions. I, like millions, had instilled a kind of faith in him during his first stint. He had seemed young and dynamic and full of a zeal for revolution. Really don’t know what got to him later. That was when my opinion about him dwindled. But Delhi has decided, so once again I will convince myself and prepare to watch him perform. Yes, the expectations are back as I feel Mr. Kejriwal would have learnt from his previous mistakes. All we can do now is wait and watch what the show unfolds.

I am not an expert on politics. I am the lamest in that aspect. I dont belong either to the Right-Wing or to the Left-Wing (Hell I don’t even know what they stand for). I am not a Hindu or Muslim or Christian. I neither belong to any scheduled caste or minority or OBC. I am just another middle class Indian, who just likes to be informed about what is happening around. And all I want from these warring political parties is development of my country. I am not difficult to be convinced. And if you give me even a little assurance of betterment of my country I will support you. Mind you, I will support you, but not blindly follow you.

Before I close this post, I want to word this crazy thought that I had in my mind. All throughout school I was taught that it is important to participate, winning or losing is secondary. We should never stop making efforts. So the crazy thought of mine is why can’t the political parties and their respective leaders follow this. Just imagine, respecting their differences, if the leaders co-operate to work with each other for the betterment of the country, if only Modi and Kejriwal enter a kind of treaty and start working alongside each other. The thought kind of gives me a contentment. But as I told it’s a crazy thought and I know that I won’t see such a scenario in my mortal life. If only they were mere competitors and not enemies. Power is a dangerous thing of which I don’t have slightest of idea.

What I have put here is just my thoughts and ideas. I don’t mean to offend or oppose anyone by them. Infact you are free to correct me if I am wrong anywhere. But only correct me, don’t preach about your favourite political God to me. Because it would not change me and you would only end up wasting your time and energy.

After all I am a mere Brinjal.

Kickstart

Start writing again eh?
But what should I write about? It all feels empty in there. Or may be I am just a sad writer. As in, I write only when I am depressed or in going through a painful phase. That is not the quality of a good writer. That is how attention seekers write.

Chuck it. Someone yesterday told me I have this bad habit of deprecating myself. And I guess I am onto it again.

I have picked up this space after a really long time. A lot has happened in this long time. A lot of travelling has happened. A lot of shopping has happened. A lot of phone calls, a lot of messaging, a lot of crying, a lot of bonding, a lot of many things has happened since the last time I was here. And in other news I also got married.

No I am not going to preach about married life over here. I feel its a person’s very own experience and I have no rights to incline them to think in any which way about marriage. So let us just not dwell over that. Yes, there are a lot of experiences. A lot of feelings too. But once again I choose to keep them to myself. I may be saying that I am not putting it here because I don’t want to cloud anyone’s judgment but it can also be because I don’t have much to write about it yet. Or may be everything is just too haphazard in there that I am finding it difficult to give them a proper shape.

Haphazard – this has got to be my favourite word. Whether happy or sad, turbulent or calm, this is one word which never fails to describe the state of my mind. I have got to find another word. Or else I am just going to turn into a monotone soon.

I have been doing a lot of reading off late. Thanks to a very spl gift from him. Hmmmm… I guess now I have to give him a name. I don’t want to call him S, although his name starts with S. Shall we call him Mister or will it be just too OTT? Ok let’s call him BF. Best friend, boy friend or may be both. So for all purpose, from now on whenever I mention BF/Bf/bf and unless otherwise specified, it will refer to the one I am married to.

It’s almost been 3 months since we got married. And things and me in particular have been better. I have been travelling a lot. And I am in Bangalore to finally wind up everything so that I can give a proper kickstart to my life in my new hometown now. I have lots of new friends to make. I have a few old ones to be mended. And I have to give chance to the new me.

The new me? She is in a new place. A very busy one on that. It scares her. So she keeps hiding inside the house all the time. But she has to get out, otherwise how will she survive. So I have to probably make her recollect the stories of her initial struggle and remind her that she is not as coward as she makes herself to believe. Moreover it is a life that she chose for herself so she should be ready to face up to it.

She is once again the girl in the new city.  She has to survive. She has to live. And she has to do it fearlessly. Just the way she kickstarted it all. Wish her luck.

Step Two

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“970, 980, 990, 1000.”
He completed counting the books stacked in the corner and made note of the same in the notebook he held. Keeping the notebook beside the desk littered with old newspapers and plastic bottles, he sat in the broken moulded chair.
‘A thousand books’, he thought. ‘Is it enough? It should be.’
When the clock struck 1 pm, he stood and pulled the shutter down from inside. He carried the books to a room inside, in small sets. Once he had carried the last stack in, he flicked a switch on. The room was flooded by warm yellow light.
The room surrounded by steel racks. Racks in which numerous books were kept. Books of all kinds. From sleazy superflous pulp fiction to thick bound volumes of outdated laws and acts.
A week from the day, Badhua, who had never read a letter in his life, put up a board over his shop which said “Library For All”.

Outcast

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“I am the better one. You can never be as good as me. You were born grey, you were born ugly.”
These words, dripping of pride and arrogance, were never actually uttered. But the eyes said it all.
“The world sees you in colour because the creator desires you to be so. But for our greys, your colour would not have meant a thing. Your pride is hollow. Your color nothing but the chaos in our calm. You really don’t fit in. Can’t you see that?”
“You are the outcast.”

Hauslein

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“हम अपना महल यहाँ बनाएँगे।”
“पर भाई, यहाँ पानी आएगा तो महल बह जाएगा।”
“अरे हम पानी पे ही तो महल बना रहे हैं।”
“पानी पे महल!”
“और नहीं तो क्या। हमारा महल पानी के बीच होगा। सबसे अलग, सबसे अनोखा।”
“पर अगर महल बह गया तो?”
“और अगर नहीं बहा तो? अरे तू ज्यादा सोच मत। अगर बह गया तो हम फिर से दूसरा बना लेंगे।”
“और अगर नहीं बहा तो हमारा महल सबसे अनोखा होगा ना?”
“हाँ, सबसे अनोखा, सबसे सुन्दर।”
“पर बह गया तो कितनी मेहनत बेकार हो जाएगी।”
“अरे जब तक बनायेंगे नहीं तो पता कैसे चलेगा।”

Ye Dosti!

Since few days, rather weeks, nah… I guess its apt to say months. Yeah! so since few months I have been craving to write a story. I have been reading a lot of blogs, Micro fictions by my friend, stories by others. In short, I have been getting a lot of small doses of stories. And my fingers have been itching to pen down one myself. But I am not in a mental state (yeah the same old attention seeking drama) to write one. I haven’t been able to hit upon any idea. I know if I sit down to write I will do a pathetic job of penning down something nauseously dark and negative.

But today I have hit upon one idea. I have no clue how well it’s going to turn out but it sure does sound good in my head. It is infact total random nonsense.

Anyways…

Once upon a time there was a happy kid. On his special day he was presented with a slick, cool mobile phone of latest technology. The mobile phone came with a set of swanky white earphones. The kid, the earphones, and the mobile phone became best buddies. They were inseparable.

Two years went by. The three friends saw a lot of ups and downs. The kid started doing poorly in exams. His friends got blamed for the same. But the kid didn’t want his friends to go away so he worked hard and bettered his scores. The phone fell down a lot of times. It was ageing faster. And was burdened under the expectations of his best friend, the kid. It wanted to fulfill everything that the kid wished for. The earphones too didn’t have it easy. It had its own tangles to deal with. So many times it lost its earbuds, but the kid always got a new pair from somewhere and replaced them. So went on the days. All three of them looking out for each other and supporting each other until that woeful day.

It was a sunny afternoon. The kid, along with his buddies, was returning home from school. All three were enjoying each other’s company when suddenly out of nowhere a two goons on a speeding mobike whizzed past the kid nabbing the mobile phone in his hand. The kid was shocked. The earphones fell to the ground. And the mobile phone was gone.

The kid stood up, still in shock of what had happened. When finally the incident registered, he started crying. He looked for the earphones and saw it lying in the dust. The kid picked it up. The earphones were mauled due to friction. Once again one of its earbuds were lost. The kid started crying even more hardly looking at its condition. He stuffed it inside his pocket and ran home, tears still flowing down his dust stained cheeks.

Days passed away. The kid’s parents could not see their child all sad and broken. A new friend was brought home for the kid. The kid was happy again. He doesn’t miss his old mobile phone now. And the earphone. It still is lying, forgotten, in some dark corner of the kid’s bag.