Demons Among Us

D

Nirbhaya. 2 School girls raped in Badaun. An 8 year old raped in Bangalore. A nun here. A boy there. India seems to be taken by a storm of sexual abuses at present. Other countries issue warnings to their women visiting ours, telling them how to keep themselves from getting raped. Politicians utter nonsensical statements, media gurus hyperventilate over each and every case that gets discovered. A ‘panel’ of ‘experts’ sit in a studio and scream at the top of their voices, in a competition to see who screams longest. Long op-eds and opinions fill up newspapers, magazines and even tabloids, not to mention their online versions. Social media goes ‘viral’, with people spewing venom (without being entirely sure on whom, just the all-encompassing ‘They’).

And then? You go back to work. To the dal that’s cooking for dinner. To the insurance premium that needs to be paid by tomorrow. To the assignment that needs to be submitted next week. To the girlfriend who needs to be impressed.

‘They’ go back to their work too. Completely innocuous looking. Even making everyone believe they are compassionate and caring. Approaching the little 6-year old whose lying on her bed with an Enid Blyton in her hand, her legs bent at the knee, wide apart with the gay abandon of childhood, her skirt askew. They reach for places that shouldn’t be reached, and when the little bird squirms, they silence her with the promise of a chocolate or the threat of punishment. They touch her newly blossoming busts and tongue her slender lips, all the while making her believe they are doing her a favor.

They are not strangers or criminals conniving to inflict suffering upon the young girl. They are people the child loves and holds in great esteem. They are her grandpas, uncles, chachas and mamas.

How many of you feel shocked to read this? Not many, right? For this happens in every home. Believe me, every single, seemingly honorable, respectable home. In every city, in every state. And yes, in every single country on Earth. There was even a video sometime back that talked of the rate of rapes in UK, which seemed as worse, if not more, as our country.

The truth is – demons are everywhere, even in our homes.

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Then how do we save our children and ourselves, from them?

I am not expert, I can only offer suggestions. The solution is awareness, in ourselves, in our children. Awareness of what is going on around us, awareness of our own selves, awareness of the people around us. Being open with the child and letting them know they can open their hearts to us, take us into their confidence.

And hope, that we won’t be the next victim.

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What do you think we can do? Let us know in the comments.

This post has been written as part of the A-Z Challenge. Do keep visiting this blog on more gyan on life and my perception of it, all this month.

Choices, for Empowerment?

C

Moving on to the third day of the A to Z blogging challenge. Today’s letter is C. I toyed for some time with two topic ideas, two choices, both equally dear to me. In the end, I decided to go with the one with a positive ring to it. The other choice is important too, but let’s leave it for another day.

So, Choices. Deepika Padukone’s Vogue video has almost made the word evil. I saw it right before sleeping a couple of nights ago. At that time, it didn’t register more than a “meh” in me. Only the next day, when I thought about it some more, and read people voicing their opinion about it, did it strike me as bordering on absurd. When the video began playing, I had half the mind to stop it right away, for more than anything, it looked scary! Right out of the Ring series!

To be fair to the team that created that video, the intent seems to be right. Everyone, not just women, has the right to make their own choices. It is the ability to make one’s own choices that brings about real empowerment. Every man and woman must be able to make his or her own choices – to marry or not to marry, to have children or not, to become a doctor or a musician, to be a vegetarian or non-vegetarian. In our country, women are more tightly bound by tradition and culture than men, to be able to make their own choices (especially in the matters of marriage, sexuality or progeny), which is why they end up being less empowered by men. For real empowerment, choices need to be equal for both men and women.

However, proceeding to say that as a woman it is my choice to indulge in adultery, to run wild if I want to, to deny you the pleasures of a relationship because I so wish, seems to border on narcissism, or worse chauvinism. Like many people have ranted on the internet in the past few days, if the same words were to be uttered by a man, he would have been shot down with criticism for being backward and an MCP.

We all live in a society, and in order for the society to function smoothly, there are some strictures and rules that need to be followed. No, I am not talking about caste divisions or discrimination. For any society to prosper and flourish, values like honesty, integrity, trust and faith need to be upheld at all times and by everyone. A society is but a network of relationships, and in a relationship, trust and respect is very important. The culture or mutual collaboration, teamwork, integrity and shared success don’t belong only to the corporate world. It starts from the very basic relationship – between a couple, between parents and the child, between teacher and the student. One cannot leave these values to choice, for if one does, then that will only give rise to anarchy and chaos.

So what are the choices then, that empower?

The choice to not be bogged down when life pulls you down, and fight against all odds to succeed in life. Like Patricia, who braved poverty and loss to emerge as a successful restaurateur. Read her full story here.

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The Choice to be healthy, for yourself and the people who love you. Like Angelina Jolie Pitt, who underwent a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy to protect herself from Cancer, so that her children didn’t have to suffer the agony of an ailing mother.

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The Choice to stay at home and look after the children, while the other partner keeps his or her day job and becomes the primary breadwinner for the family. Note here that I have kept the words gender neutral, for this is equally true for both moms and dads. While I know a great many moms who gave up their lucrative careers to care for their children, I also know of an absolutely fantastic dad who decided to stay at home while his wife kept her day job. He only proves it that it is not a woman’s prerogative to give up her career or not; the choice is equally in the hands of both partners. You can read more about him, in his own words, here.

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Sid Balachandran – The New Age Indian Dad

Had Vogue’s video featured choices such as these, choices that really matter, perhaps they would not have met with so much ire.

Best Days of My Life

B

Its amazing how time flies by. You keep running and running to keep up with the churning of your daily routine, you get lost many times in the trivial intricacies of the mundane, that you fail to notice how far you have come from where you began. It is when life puts a sudden break in the motion, that you are jolted out of the monotony, and turn back to be taken by surprise – at how the scenery around you has changed while you were running, and how slowly, but surely, your life itself has changed too. Continue reading

A to Z Challenge

So I decided to participate in the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge right on the 0th hour. Off late I have only been posting book reviews on my blog, and this would be a good impetus to churn up newer and imaginative posts. I think. And hope that I stay aboard till the 30th of April.

My posts for the challenge are going to be loosely strung around life, and my understanding of it. Quite a broad theme, I know, but having lived this life for a little over three decades, and approaching the date soon when I will be ticking off another year of my lifetime, I can see how my life-view has undergone changes over the years. There are a lot many years to come, and undoubtedly, my perception of life is going to continue to change. Yet, these posts might serve as a repository, or a bookmark if you may, as to where I stand today, when I look back decades later.

You can find all my posts here –

A – http://wp.me/p41m7G-uz

B – http://wp.me/p41m7G-uG

C – http://wp.me/p41m7G-uL

Happy Reading!