Monday, December 31, 2012

The Delhi Rape Case - My Vent

What would you do if you saw someone getting molested.

Chances are that every sentence that you are going to read below has no connection with the other. I am angry but, and I want to type. I want to write. I want to share. I need a vent and you will have to read it.

thank you Google for the candle doodle. It is but necessary that we grow beyond symbolism.

Having said that, considering that we are a nation that follows the herd. We should also see to it that there is a big herd of people championing the cause, so that there could be a bigger impact.  We  don’t lead, we only follow. We are on the lookout for leaders.  But not all issues need someone to lead. It should be in our instinct to respond to any form of abuse with a kick, with a shout, with a complaint. But we don’t. we are too scared.  

We provide a society for women where they could just be a scared sacred deity put on the isolated pedestal of shame.

We see it all the time. Women in trains and busses being ogled at. We see women being beaten by their husbands in our vicinity. We see children being beaten. We do nothing.  I have been witness to many such events. And mind you, I can say with utmost pride that I have done something at least. And I have shamelessly shared my doings on facebook. Hoping that of the many people who brand me as attention seeking, would also follow suit and do something when they see something wrong happening to women, homosexuals, transgenders or children. And believe me, they do. Every time I post something on facebook, I get ten  fifteen emails of people who share their hearts deepest secrets with me. Some do it publicly in a fit of rage as comments on this post today. LINK .

This morning, I received a call from an angry girl who wanted to kill all men. She kept screaming her lungs out. I listened. Quietly without uttering a word, I heard. She ended her verbal marathon, with "thanks for hearing me harry. I was molested. I was also molested"

The delhi girl has stirred the nation. She has helped people get their trauma to the surface and deal with it. Those who have suffered sexual violence, can't really forget. They should not pretend to have forgotten. Some angers need a desparate vent. The wounds need healing. The braveheart of india has kindled a spark that will result in a forest-fire of reforms. It has to. A survivor of sexual violence, and I know what it means to receive so much support. What it means to have the whole of india enraged for a common cause. Sexual abuse survivors know. I know. Sometimes I feel I should shut the TV. Sometimes I feel I should shout. Sometimes I feel I should not look at the newspaper. No matter how "healed" you are. No matter how far you have come ahead of the ghastly incidence of sexual assault in your life. Your emotions would take a churning. We are all bound with fine-threads of empathy, so. Thank you India. Thank you media for your sensitivity. We still don't know the name of the girl. Thanks for protecting the girl's identity.

I know, a survivor can't get unraped, we can't get un-molested. And un-sexually assaulted. But we can look now at a window called "change" and breathe. It refreshing to know that India cares. This girl has kindled the spark of empathy. So overwhelmed I am with emotions that I just don't wish to stop typing. Thank you girl. Love you delhi-girl. Love you.

I had a friend writing to me that he is pissed of the people asking him – “aaj raat ko marine drive challenge. Udhar mast protest karke party mein jaayeinge”.  He was fuming  with anger. He was telling me how these so called “concerned” lot were  making a mockery of the whole drama.  

I can sit cushioned in my air conditioned office and speak about woman rights. But there is another India in my house, where my mom gets coffee on order for my dad. there is another India in my neighborhood where my neighbor slaps his wife because she doesn’t give him blow jobs. There is another India within us that wouldn’t shy to call a woman a "chinaal", "randi" or simply say the very affable "chutiya", like it was like whispering some sweetnothings into someones ears. There is another India where we worship women, and then treat her like a rotten apple when she starts menstruating after the initial “coming-of-age-and-now-in-the-Marriage-Market”celebration. We live in two India’s. And these two india’s are a manifestation of our deep rooted culture.

Lets accept it. We are a species of self-righteous  idiots who want to change the world, but not change ourselves.

Lets accept it. We are all ass@les.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A little more than boosting India's "Candle Economy"

We are a nation with a brutally blooming candle economy. May be that's the best thing we could do after the collateral damage. You want to do it when you don't know what to do to give your frustrations a vent - Brilliant. Do it. How many candles would it take to lighten the fury that is brewing within? Use it all. Burn it all. But don't be wicked. Dont let the flame die with the death of the wick.

I have a problem; a big problem with the way we think. We feed our children with stories about how women are either the devi or the daayan. How women are either the sati savitri or the slutty savitri. If things have to change a woman has to become human. You can't speak of human rights when you are thinking that the woman is some celestial being.

And we are a society that manufactures rapists in wholesale. We need to really get into the mind of our society to understand that is we who make rapists. It is not as much  about the sexual act than it is about the desire to dominate and oppress. We teach our children - "jaake usse mazza chakka de", "Beta usko sabak sikhaa de". Our religious books are all written by men. And the morals that we take out of the books is of male chauvinism, which is usually sugar coated with "the supreme sacrifice of a woman".

Its about the delhi girl. Its about women rights. But it is not ONLY about the delhi girl. It is not ONLY about women rights. It is about the larger issue of dominance of one over the other in a society that breeds inequality.  And also, the man is not always the sinner, the woman needn't always be the victim. Parallelly as the news of delhi rape case and the national agitation picked up, also there were hate crimes against men and small children.

So, it is proactive educational and sensitization measures that would help. Large national strategy meetings would not help if we spend too much time and debate on the method when we actually should be doing small deeds to seed tolerance in the society of un equals. The issue is not just about rapes, it is a subset of the larger issue of dominance, and hatecrimes. Let's start building a more tolerant society, in whatever way we can. Using whatever methods or expertise or art form we are best at. The world is not bad. Some people are. Delhi is not bad. Some people there are. We need to look at the larger picture. And start furthering the cause towards a tolerant society. Towards a society where you don't live with the fear of being dominated or hated for what you are or what you choose to be. Misogyny, homophobia

Let this dance for change be at a high tempo always. The dance of rage against domination and discrimination. 
Let's not wait for rapes and then contribute to the candle economy. Let's keep the fire lit. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Akanksha students feedback :) (session date : 09 Dec 2012)

i had the good fortune of interacting with students of akanksha foundation on  09 December 2012. The topic  of discussion was  child sexual abuse and sexuality.  I know this may seem narcissistic that I share this here. But i want you to know what emotions emerge as an aftereffect of a simple  heart-to-heart talk. 

I have heard you even before but it was a long time ago. So I don’t remember it and, true be true, I wasn't so focused last time. I really like the session and I had many things to ask, say and confirm after the session but at the end I was totally silent and I really want to salute you for your courage.
I am totally speechless about your courage, to openly share something so painful about your life.


While the session was going, I almost was nearly to cry, but later on the emotion changed and felt like doing something for any of my friend who is going through something like this and help even if he is not my friend.
You are truly an inspiration. I am not able to write everything I want because I am speechless but will definitely add next time. I am lucky I had a session with you. Proudly salute you man. 


मुझे आपसे मिलके अच्छा लगा और आप जिस तरह से अपने बारे में सब कुछ हमें बताया वोह भी बिना शर्म के . कुछ लोग अपने बारे में खुद के साथ क्या होता है वोह कुछ बताते नहीं हैं। लेकिन आपने जो बताया वोह अच्छा लगा और आपके वजह से किसी और गे को चिड़ाते है वोह भी बंद हो जाएगा। ऐसा मुझे लगा। मुझे दूसरो का पता नहीं, लेकिन आपने job ही बताया वोह सुनकर मुझे अच्छा लगा।sorry भैया मैंने आपको ऊपर GAY ऐसा लिखा है। 


Dear Bhaiya,
I really liked the session. One thing that I like about you is you are so friendly and open gay I have seen in my life.


मुझे आज का session  बहुत अचा लगा, क्यूंकि मुझे सेक्स  के बारे में ज्यादा information मिली। और थोडा emotional भी हो गयी। पर आज  आप आये इस लिए मुझे बहुत अचा लगा। और आप आये तोह बात करके बहुत अचा और FREE  लगा। मैं चाहती हु के आप फिर से आये। 


मुझे ये session सुनकर बहुत अच्छा लगा। कुछ नयी story सुनने को मिली। story  के बीच में इतना दुःख हुआ की मैं सोची की  बैठ के बहुत रोऊ । लेकिन एक हिम्मत भी आ गयी की इसी समय रोना नहीं चाहिए। दुसरो की बाते सुनानी चाहिए ताकि उसकी हिम्मत बढे। अगर मेरी ज़िन्दगी में ऐसा कुछ होता है, मेरे गर में या मेरे फ्रेंड के साथ तोह मैं भी उसकी मद्दद करू। 


Dear Harish bhaiya,
After listening all about you, I feel very bad and very sad for you. Whenever you say that I am gay, I was feeling that why were you saying that you are gay. Actually you should not say because I thought whenever you said it hurt me. I was not getting attracted on you (initially) but more attracted to you feeling how you had expressed yourself to us.
Bhaiya, you know that I always like to tease the gay person because I think they only like boys and they like to be with them but after doing session with you I got to know that it’s all about likes. If I like girl I am ok and if I like boy still I am ok because it’s my right.

Liked to hear your story and feelings with (your) sweet voice.
Your fan


I liked this session a lot because I had very different thinking about gays and I thought that gays are gays because of their hormones and because they wanted to become a gay. And I also thought they don’t talk to girls and they behave in the manner that if they see any male they just go and stick to them. But I am very grateful to bhaiya that he came and told us the truth of his life. I also know the cases like this in my community. I would like to share it to you. I have a cousin brother and he always try to misbehave with my own brother when my dad was in hospital, no one was there at my home so my brother used to be at my cousin’s house. And he used to say do it with me and I will give you money or I will hit you, so in fear he used to go in bathroom and my brother was abused. It happened many times and once I got to know about this. So I asked my brother about this and he was so scared that he was not saying anything. But however he said when I started telling him tell otherwise mom will beat you. Then he told me. And now it has stopped happening.


Today’s session with Harish is very nice. I learnt too much from this session. I feel first time that what the other person think when we tease them. I think the session was very nice. And I really appreciate Harish bhaiya’s courage that he fought with this huge problem.


The session was very good, interesting and useful. And it was also informative. And this was the first time when I came across such a speaker who gave us a lot of information about how the world looks at such things which they think that it’s different from their society. And I realized that if somebody is teasing someone as gay, it can affect the victim a lot and this can lead for them to commit suicide.


I like this session very well. When Harish bhaiya came I never thought that bhaiya was a gay. He look like a dude as well. He told us about what happen in his past. He said truly about his past.


The session was very interesting and created awareness. I got to know and learn about gays and transgenders.
This session has taught me how to behave with others and after listening to their problems how to come to the conclusion and solve problems.
I enjoyed the session very much.

Thank you.


To हरीश भैय्या 
आज का class मुझे अच्छा लगा क्यूंकि मुझे वोह सब के बारे में जानना अच्छा लगता है। मुझे आपके बारे में पत्ता था, पर मुझे देखना था  की वह इंसान कौन है। आज आपको देख भी लिया तोह मुझे बहुत अचा लगा।  आपने जब आपकी  story बतायी तोह थोडा रोना भी आया।
Thank you bhaiya.


Dear Harish bhaiya,

मुझे आजका  class  बहुत पसंद आया। अब मज्जा भी आया हरीश भैय्या के आने से पहले मुझे  gay लोगो से बहुत दर लगता था। लेकिन आज के क्लास के बाद मुझे उनसे कभी दर नहीं लगेगा। बल्कि मैं उनकी इज्ज़त करूंगी। 
Harish  भैय्या के कारण मुझे ये सीख मिली की कितनी बड़ी ही क्यु ना  problem  हो उसके सामने हमें डटें रहना चाहिए। 
Thank you भैय्या .


I liked the way when Harish bhaiya was sharing his stories with us. 
जब वोह बोल रहे थे मेरी आँखों में सच्ची का आसू आ रहे थे। जिस अन्दास से वोह बोल रहे थे मैं उनके दर्द को सचमुच feel  कर पा रही थी। पहले जब उन्होंने अपने को gay  बोलकर introduce  किया तब में 10 मिनट तक डरी हुयी थी। 
पर जब उनकी बाते सुनने लगी तोह वोह डर भी चला गया। 
उनकी हिम्मत तोह काबिल-इ-तारीफ़ है। 
मानना पड़ेगा उनकी हिम्मत को। 


 बहुत अचा लगा आपके experience  सुन्नके। 
एक और learning मिली। . I am very happy after hearing your story. Whatever you did, it was a great inspiration for me. I got inspired from you.
Thank you very much for being with us and sharing your real life experience with us.


I like this session very much because I learn much more about child sex abuse. I like many things in this session and one of them is that Harish bhaiya told us that if any child tells you that he/she is suffering from child sex abuse, we should hold his/her hand and listen him/her.
So, thank you Harish bhaiya for coming here and next time please come with Juhi chawla J


I had come when the session was getting over but I got the last part of the session and I was very surprised that you were so courageous to share your story with us. But I still don’t know your story which I will ask my friends. But I feel that you are doing a good job by sharing with us your experiences. Thank you…..
Also by coming late I could quickly understand what were you talking about so your presentation skills are very nice.


मुझे येह बातें सुनकर बहुत अच्छा लगा।  
 gay के बारे में, lesbian के बारे में,  –  की कैसे होते हैं, जब मैं सोचती हु इनके बारे में तब मुझे बूरा कगता है। हरीश भैय्या आप बहुत अछे हो की आपने लेस्बियन और गे के बारे में बताया।  
आपकी कहानी बतायी। आपने ये सोचा भी नहीं के आपको कोई चिदायेगा। बिना डरे अपने बारे में बट्टा दिया। 
Thank  you  भैय्या। 
हमें बहुत अचा लगा और हमें इस बारे में बहुत सीख मिली। 


After this session my thinking towards homosexuals has really changed and my respect towards them has grown more.
Thank you Harish bhaiya

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I can't stop thinking about the delhi girl

I am not a person who gets too engrossed and serious. 
But I can’t stop thinking about the delhi girl.

I am neither her gender. 
Nor from her state. 
But I can't stop thinking about the delhi girl.

I know she is now bleeding.
I know we failed in up keeping her dignity - her birthright.
I can't stop thinking about the delhi girl.

Who were these many men.
Who travelled with her in the bus.
They raped her innocence and left her stark naked. 
I can't stop thinking about the delhi girl.

Would she be crying now.
Would she be brave.
Would she be waiting impatiently
To reach her grave.
Would we allow her a decent life.
Would we not kill her again and again,  after being killed once.
O! I can't stop thinking about the delhi girl.

Would she be hungry.
Would her pain now be any less.
Would her parents be beside her.
Or would she be kept isolated in a bed.
I can’t stop thinking about the delhi girl.

Would she be fighting for justice.
Would she be too scared.
Would she be cursing herself,
That on ominous night, to venture out alone,
She should have not dared, 
Would she be hating her city,
Like the rest who are hating it for what it didn't do.
I can't stop thinking about the delhi girl.

Would she be muzzled by our society, 
The society that asks her
“to attract rape on yourself - what did you do.”
I cannot stop thinking about the delhi girl.

I can't tell you o girl - that everything is alright
I can't tell you that life would be the same.
I can't tell you that your life was never maimed. 
I can't ask you to pretend that it never happened.
I can’t stop thinking about the delhi girl.

Every page of every newspaper is sold with your distress,
I can't tell you to be brave, 
To be brave is the only option left, 
I can't stop thinking about the delhi girl.

I want to tell you that I wish to hear.
Hold you close and hear you say.
As tears would spread your gloomy eyes.
I would have nothing, to comfort nothing that may,
I can't stop thinking about the delhi girl.

I want to tell you delhi girl. 
That they did what they could and left without regret.
I know delhi girl the pain of yours is a national tamasha,
And not possible to forget.
Wish you recover, that’s our only asha.
I can't stop thinking about the delhi girl.

The day you were raped,
A little bit of me died too.
I wish to tell you delhi girl, 
I couldn't do anything for you.
I failed delhi girl.
I failed with the rest of india.
I can’t stop thinking about the delhi girl.

But I hope delhi girl.
Your pain would be the strength to dare.
To create a new india,
where criminals don't go scot free and victims like stark naked and bare.

I wish delhi girl that what happened was just a bad dream.
But how I wish things were not worse that what they seemed. 

I can't stop thinking about the delhi girl.
I can't stop thinking about the delhi girl.
I can't stop thinking about the delhi girl.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

OPEN UP! Kyunki dilli ab door nahi!

Think we have a fundamental problem.
We don't speak about sex, we do a lot of it.
We think of women as devi, or if not - a whore.
We romanticise the idea of respect, than actually respect people.
We see sex as a power game and not a mutually enjoyable act.
We breed, we don't bring up our children.
We weigh religion over logic.
We respect Gods with questionable existence, over visible people and nature.
We love to hate, than loving to love.
We hero worship the villain, more than respecting the hero.
We are not averse to violence, we are averse to sex.
We wean our children as the habitants of the land of hate, (we live in a big bad world) we tell them to "be smart", (a synonym of "be selfish").
We teach our girls to dress up well and blame her if a guy gets attracted, we don't tell the boy that he cannot touch her without her permission.
We think our girls are things, that are made to satisfy man's desire; we don't tell a boy that he should respect a woman's desire.
We treat a menstruating woman as diseased, we don't ask the masturbating man to wash his hands.
We judge more than we live.
The problem is with us. 

NOW! We need to open up. Not just in matters of sex, but for the larger issue of equality in humanity. And that sans our prejudices, and heartless customs. Then alone will there be change.

The rape culture in delhi was not born yesterday. It is the illegitimate child of our unruly upbringing. Delhi hasn't failed. We have failed. If you argue that delhi is an epitome of rape. Let me tell you that this is beyond region. There is a delhi in each one of us. A delhi that throws fit of rage, a delhi that believes in the power gamble, a delhi that believes that if there is a position that's "me*on*top".
We need to open up. Wider. Wider than ever. Wider to a point that we don't shun issues that make us uncomfortable. Wider that we open up to each other, aware - and not weary.
We have strict laws, we don't have proper implementation. More than stricter laws, we need a more open culture. What kind of culture is this where sex is a bad word, and rape is a norm.
What would it take for us to understand that "to address an issue, you need to undress it"
Wake up. Open up!
Kyunki Dilli ab door nahi.

(Written in context of the recent gang rape of a girl in delhi)

Friday, December 14, 2012

A clean slate

You left me alone
In the sinking night.
To hold his hand
In broad day light.

Today you ask
"What if we again tried".
A daunting task,
To re-kindle the flame that has for ever died.

"I wish to lay", you say
"On your heaving chest".
You can anytime, old flame,
But nothing more you can expect

I am not angry with you now,
I am not upset.
I feel no love rather
"indifferent" could be the word unsaid.

To the clean slate I would stick.
Stick To where you left.
You decided our fate.
And today, all I can say is "all the best"

Sent on my BlackBerry® from Vodafone

Monday, December 10, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dear Uganda

Dear LGBTI friends in Uganda,

we would not silently watch you die.
And organise intellectual mourning discourses after that.
picture  from the internet
Consider India a part of your struggle for a decent life.
Consider us a part of your struggle. 
Consider me a part of your struggle.
The struggle  for a life free of discrimination.
We understand your pain. We empathize.
We know how it feels to be considered a criminal in your own country.
We know how it feels to be discriminated. 
To be made fun of. 
To get married without consent.
And to live a life of lies.
A life where you can tell no one about your feelings.
we know the sounds of silence.
We know they could be deafening.
We know how it feels to be the subject of ridicule.
And not finding the strength to object it.
We know how it feels to be unloved in a fraction of a second.
To be hated.
To be spat on.
To be discriminated.
We know how it feels when you witness bloodshed.
We know how it feels to see our loved ones dying.
We know how it feel when even after death,   the reason of their death is not revealed.
It is not revealed that they died of shame because they couldn't deal with the pang of societal prejuidice against their sexuality.
It is not revealed that the dead know that death was not the answer.
But they would rather die, than to live a lie.
We know the word Murder is a reality, not just a mystery novel idea or a film genre.
We know how it feels to be seen as the OTHER.

We know.
Hence we know that there are no two worlds - that of yours and of ours.
That's why we know that the world is one, and our struggles are one.
 Just the difference is that you are called Uganda, we are called India.

With you, all through.

In pain,
and In Joy,
Your Indian Friend


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Creating Kasabs

"We were told that our big brother India is so rich and we are dying of poverty and hunger. My father sells food on a stall in Lahore and we did not even get enough food to eat from his earnings. I was promised that once they knew that I was successful in my operation, they would give Rs 1,50,000 [almost USD 4,000] to my family. Please do not tell anyone that I am caught alive otherwise they will kill me. They had told us that they would shoot us even if we returned to Pakistan. If you give me regular meals and money I will do the same that I did for them. Jihad is about Killing and Getting Killed and Becoming Famous. Come, kill and die after a killing spree. By this one will become famous and will also MAKE GOD PROUD 

Confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab, the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack convict who had been sentenced to death and has now been hanged at 7:30 am today. 

Yes the devil is hanged. Did he deserve it? - yes of course for the deeds he committed - are not pardon able by any stretch of imagination or human sympathy. And as the supreme court mentioned that. death sentence is awarded in the rarest of rare cases, and if this is not that case then which one". It also made no sense spending lakhs to house a prisoner, isolated with extra security in an event where our police force is extra stretched in bandobasts and seasonal local dramas by fanatics.

Having said that, I would also like to add that there are several kasabs breeding in our midst. And we are feeding these kasabs with our malicious thoughts. It is easy to get starving impressionable indoctrinated minds. Kasab is an example of the ill effects of indoctrination and how it could kill the innocence of a child forever. Every moment, we kill several young minds throbbing with enthusiasm with our thoughts and practices. We poison their minds using twisted base less unproven philosophies of religion which, if we look at it from a different angle, is nothing but "batman-superman-spiderman-tarzan-the lion king" stories of the pre historic era.

As my friend Hardik S says "honestly, religion was supposed to a unifier. Now all it does is divide humans."  Nothing wrong in following a good regime as set by religion. All of the religious practices that stems out of the intent of putting good  science in practice is indeed good. The problem is when religion rules over science. All the religious drama is a good "moral of the story" kind of children's book. No wrong in following fables of myth and taking the good values out of it. But when we take a twisted logic of mythology, kasabs are born, humankind is doomed. The big question is "How many kasabs would it take for humankind to realize this?"

(Kasab quote and pic chorried from Indian Quotes on FB) 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Divine Misogyny Marathon!

 I'm not an atheist. I am a realist. And I am picky and choosy when it comes to the gods who come in all colours and shapes and sizes. All my childhood I have been raised on a staple diet of God Movies. Temple was my playground. And bhajans have always been my lullaby. When I was scared hanuman chalisa came to my rescue. I dreamt of hanuman flying in from the branch that protrudes into my house  to drive my fear away.  You know, those little childhood fantasies! He never came to my rescue in reality. But the illusion did help me. When I had my exams, I suddenly remembered saraswati. And I was damn sure that taking 108  rounds of the siddhi vinayak temple would give me what I want from exam results to my man-mandir-ka-devta boyfriend to the guys whom I wanted to make my tan-badan-ka-swami. When I got what I wished for, I gave my brisk walk around an idol the credit, when I did not, I either blamed myself  for getting deviated,  or simply changed my brand of god.

Thank god I didn't have any psychologist in my family, else I would have been called a schizophrenic.

So basically I was shoved in with a lot of divinity about every god in my vicinity. Much that it is somewhere engrained in my mind. I like god stories. Rather, I loved every story. I was a good hindu boy. All was fine, until I developed sense and logic. I realized that god stories were only as exciting as spiderman or he-man or Giant Robo that came on TV. I hated the asuras. And the kauravas. But hated the pandavas more for being as blind as the public that watched keenen reuben being stabbed. I remember playing draupati at home roleplay with my sister and brother. I would drape a saree around me, my brother was dhirdharashtra and my sister was sometimes dushasan and sometimes krishna. For fun sakes, when I lived the character, and while there was joy in playing draupati, there was also sinking feeling. That's when god stories that demean women went off my list.

My dad is a frequent visitor to ayyapa mandir.  A few days before visiting the temple, my parents used to start distancing themselves from each other. As one of the essentials - the male visitors need to abstain from sex. I always thought that women were not allowed as men having suppressed their sexual desires, would be high on libido and will pounce on any woman. It is also said that this god is a bhramachari, hence he stays awayy from women. Fair enough. But I fail to understand how gods with magical powers couldn't moderate their sexual prowess. Menstruating women arnt allowed to enter the temple. My granny tells me that they are said to be impure.

I'm sure there are a hazaar million more anti-women rules as the number of gods are many many.

Muslim god Haji Ali is the next to ban WOMEN from entering the mosque.
Mmm. So, Hindu god Ayyapa type diktat. 
Looks like a divine misogynist marathon. 

If i were to believe that our (mostly imaginary) gods made women, why did S/He/T/it make them. 
Just to be prayed and preyed upon?
Just to be put on a pedestal as a devi or to be a whore?
Just for sex and making babies and helping in domestic chores?

when myth-o-logy rules over science and logic. 
when religion rules over empathy and humanity... 
the world becomes a dangerous place.

Have my questions caused discomfort? I didn't intend to hurt any religious sentiment. But I believe India is a free country. And I have excersised my free will to share my perceptions. Whether you are a rational person who would sit and listen and reason and share or be one stupid religious fanatic who blabbers with no base to your logic in my comment section is up to you. Everyone has all the right to be foolish. How can I take it away from you?

(P.s. Pardon typos. This draft is : Thought-to-type will edit later)
Sent on my BlackBerry® from Vodafone

Sunday, November 04, 2012

People talk, they always will #justtoldsomeone

It may take you years to do it.
It took me years too.
It took me years to find my ground.
And stand there with a different opinion,
But with confidence and elan.
Even  if I was  Standing alone there in front of a mob.
A mob with a contrary view.
I had been quite quiet for quite some time.
My voice was lost in the chorus.
And now it was strong. Loud. Loud enough that it echoed.
After that prolonged silence, when I spoke, they thought I was arrogant and that my new found success has given birth to some air beneath my wings.
But my confidence, in reality, was and is the result of them.
I yearned to feel the music of my words.
To stand true to what I feel.
And to not lie to myself and the world, just to sound unanimous with the world.
The yearning was always living in me. to speak my heart out on issues that I heart.
But the confidence, and the power to say " And though I respect your opinion. I think differently. My view is..." I got after I found success.
Success gives you confidence to say NO.
Like a "No I am busy can't join you"
Or a "Sorry! I have other engagements"
And yeah ... a " I disagree with you. And I dislike that place. Sorry can't join you"
And when you suddenly say "no", like I did, you will be labelled as someone who is "arrogant" and someone who's "success has gotten into the head".
But chill, you can't submit yourself for eternity.
They would call you names.
Gain  energy from it. Let it not bog you down.
And don't be a sissy. If they know you. They will understand.
They will stand with you if they understand.
And if they don't, remember that they are not obliged to behave good with you.
People talk, they always will, they always do.
Let me end with this popular quote, that should become your email signature, just copy-paste it, I say -
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

YASHasvi Bhava : Benchmark Moments In Hindi Cinema by Yash Chopra

The son of Lahore is no more with us in flesh and blood. But he lives on in his films and in the sweetest emotion known to humankind – Love.  Not many have the ability to make a movie completely on emotions. In his films emotions are the essence, actors are simply the medium to deliver them. (In comparison, many of today’s actors idea of enacting  true-to-life emotions is shaking some parts of your face almost like they are suffering from a minor attack of epilepsy ) The lavish sets were mere props, not the heart and soul of his film ever.  But he was not just a film maker who made romantic films, though that was a branding he very happily accepted.

Yash Chopra was an offbeat film maker, he thought of issues at a time when those issues were not spoken about. In fact when he debuted as a director under his brother BR Chopra’s banner, he made a film that spoke about a Muslim  Couple bringing up a Hindu child. (Dhool Ka Phool) And a couple of years later making a film about a Hindu family bringing up a Muslim child. (Dharamputra). Both the films he had the same heroine, in Dhool Ka Phool  Mala Sinha was Hindu, and in Dharamputra she was a Muslim  Yet no brows were raised. He believed that the script is the god of the story, and the characters are mere navigators that help take one scene to the other.  The series of films that we experience today with similar themes is a trend that was initiated then. 

Yash Chopra didn't merely reinvent the wheel. He made new sturdy roads to run those wheels on. How can we forget the film in which Asha Bhosle croons “Yehi Waqt Hai Karle Poori Aarzu…" the song is a mood-enhancer. From the pen of  Sahir Ludhianvi this song from Waqt is immortal, revered for several generations thereafter. This film was a lost-and-found-after-many-years tale. Yeah, the same tale that became “run-of-the-mill” years later. This also started the trend of having multiple "stars" in one film.

The first truly love story film could well be Aadmi Aur Insaan, I say so, because love, lust and jealousy was the central theme of this story. This is where the real branding essence of the “Yash Chopra Romance” began. Though Aadmi aur Insaan, a triangle love story, was not as a big hit as the films that followed.   Aadmi aur Insaan marked the entry of a hero – FerozKhan, who got his first film-fare award for Supporting Actor. Then in his tribe of romantic films,  followed the much popular Daag. The Rajesh Khanna  starrer Daag,  spoke  about illegitimacy and Bigamy without making an issue out of it. It was a film about a kind soul who gives an illegitimate child his name when the world thinks he is dead. Only to realize that his first wife was pregnant when he was presumed dead. Only to have a blast-from-the-past years later. Again, this film won Rakhee the best actress award. What’s interesting to note is the fact that Yash Chopra, introduced the character “Chandni” with this film. With Chandni yash initiated an  association with Juhi Chawla in the song Lagi Aaj Saawan 

Yash Chopra was fascinated by the lives of innocent convicts. The theme of his film Joshila  where he directed Dev Anand and Hema Malini was based on the aforementioned setting.The film also touches upon themes of poverty and disparity of wealth. The film has a very complex story by Gulshan Nanda, it almost looks like Yash Chopra wanted to put all the genre’s together in one single film.

Then came Ittefaq that was of a totally different genre. It was a murder-suspense mystery staring the then superstars – Rajesh Khanna and Nanda. The film was remake of an American film. It was remade with high emotive value and with great dialogues and a water-tight screenplay. The essence storyline was copied. Though not a happy copying trend that followed later. Ittefaq was “inspired” in the true sense of the word. This film helped Yash grab his first ever filmfare award which was I think the only award that honoured film talent then.

After this Yash Chopra focused on issues and family stories he connected with best. Deewar is a film that we all know about. The family feud, and the drama of the good son, bad son is something that most of the houses could relate to. How could one every forget “Mere Paas Maa Hai” when mentioning bollywood. With this, I could say that Yash Chopra films were becoming more real. It was no more something that happened in that house with that person, this was something that happened in our own household.

Kabhie Kabhie was a film that set the box office on fire. It is a film that grows on you. A film about a child’s quest to meet her biological mother is a complete bollywood masala. This move has a time span of 20 years, this film is trans-generational. Half sisters Neetu Singh and Naseem are still remembered.The same kind of s fervour is displayed in Trishul which was all about family feud. Drama, illegitimacy and complex human relations.Taking more complex causes cinematic-ally, Kala Pathar focused on the lives of Coal Workers. The film was largely issue based, It took up the rights of the aam mazdoors who were not given basic medical attention. It also focused on the difficult lives of naval officers. 

Then came the real silsila of bollywood. Silsila was of the romantic genre and marked the beginning of the alleged Rekha- Amitabh romance. Many stories were floating around about the film and the leading ladies. I remember of having read a film glossy that said that Silsila was a competition between JayaBhaduri and Rekha. I wondered though, how could Amitabh base his judgement on the on-screen performances. Yash Chopra’s character – CHANDNI came alive in this film. And it was Rekha after Rakhee who was given this character to play.

Three years later  Mashaal was released. While most of Yash Chopra films focused on the mother-child equations. With this film Yash Chopra was focusing on a different area. This film focused on the intricacies of the relationship between the father Dilip Kumar and the son – Anil Kapoor. This was where Yash’s association with Anil Kapoor started.

Yash Chopra made some films that are forgettable too. No one remembers Faasle. Faasle is a film starring Rekha and Farah Naaz ( Actress Tabu’s sister). This film was a total dud in the box office. May be the timing was not alright.

Then was the time for Vijay. Yash Chopra loved the character so much that he named Amitabh Vijay in many films. Finally, when he made the film titled Vijay, he did not have Amitabh Bachchan in the cast. In fact, the film doesn't have any character by the name of Vijay. The film is an expansive family drama with Anil Kapoor playing an important role. The film marked the beginning of the relationship of Yash Chopra with Anupam Kher who plays an aged widower and Sridevi who has a little guest appearance in this film.

The relationship that Yash Chopra forged with Sridevi in Vijay, was taken  forward with a full length author backed role in Chandni. Yash Chopra made two films back to back based on his favourite screen characters – Vijay and Chandni. Looking back, he named Rakhee, Rekha, Farha chandni. But when he finally made a film by that name, he gave the honour to Sridevi to essay the character. And the film is still known for it's pristine whites - depicting moonlight.  It is said that years back, before the phenomenon called Sridevi entered the scene, It is said that, Yash Chopra had shared his desire to cast Rekha in this author backed role, which she refused.

Lamhe was the film closest to Yash Chopra’s heart. The film was way way ahead of its times. The film was about a man falling in love with the mother and the daughter. Well, it was not unusual in the hindi film industry, with the age difference between people like Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu being 24 years or even Rajesh Khanna and Dimple who could easily be father-daughter. The film was a complete dud, despite having a wonderful and an original storyline. The film won Sri her second hindi filmfare award. And is counted amongst one of the favorite love stories of all times by many.

After suffering huge losses in Lamhe, Yash Chopra produced and directed Parampara. Not many know, that it was actually Yash Chopra who introduced Saif Ali Khan. This film starred Aamir Khan, Neelam, Raveena Tandon and was quite a family drama. This film flopped as well. Yash Chopra was at the receiving end of critics for this film. His direction abilities were questioned too. It was necessary for Yash Chopra to come up with a hit film.

And Darr happened. This Sunny Deol – Juhi Chawla starrer would have actually had Aamir Khan, juhi’s QSQT star playing her obsessed lover. But Aamir is reported to have had several differences post Parampara, it is also reported that Aamir wanted several changes in the scriptand Yash was not willing to make those changes. Aamir’s loss was Shahrukh’s gain. Bollywood got the superstar – Shahrukh Kkkkkkkkkkhan.

The Journey with Shahrukh continued. All the landmark films that made shahrukh khan what he is today could be attributed to Yash Chopra and Karan Johar. Yash Chopra continued his film making with shahrukh in "dil toh paagal hai". Dil Toh Paagal Hai was a musical treat. And there was a huge song and dance about it. Yash Chopra teamed up with ShaimakDavar for some wonderful dance moves, that won shaimak a national award too. Yash Chopra faced a lot of issues in finalising the second female lead. The role was offered to Kajol, Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala and finally it landed in the lap of Karisma Kapoor. And though Karisma got the role that was rejected by many, she immortalised it just as her sister Kareena immortalised Jab We Met. Much that it won Karisma her only national award.

Veer Zaara was his next where he made a film on the India he was born in and the india that he is in now. He was born in a part of india - lahore, which was now in Pakistan. He placed Zaara in pakistan and Veer Pratap Singh in Punjab, India. And created this hindu muslim and india pakistan film. Incidentally, the religion of the  real life and the reel-life characters  are just opposite. Preity Zinta a hindu plays Zara- a muslim, and shah rukh a muslim plays Veer Pratap Singh – a hindu Punjabi. It is rumoured that Rani’s role was originally written with Aishwarya Rai in mind, but Aishwarya turned it down.  Also, the gossip is that Preity's role was offered to Kajol.  The film also had Madan Mohan’s music that was produced posthumously. He had left the notes that were re engineered by Sanjeev Kohli, who besides being Madan Mohan’s son is also the CEO of Yash Raj Studios.  Another interesting fact about this film is the fact that this film was supposed to be called “yeh kahaa aa gaye hum” which is a song from the iconic film of Yash Chopra – Silsila.

The last offering of Yash Chopra is Jab Tak Hai Jaan. The film has music by A R Rahman, and is a emotional thriller. The film storyline is very similar to that of Daag and an Italian film starring sophia lauren, that i would rather not name to keep the suspense on. 

It is interesting to note that all of Yash Chopra films had very strong female characters. Several of this themes were about illegitimacy and orphans. He showed us that it was not necessary to strip to your bare minimum for orgasmic pleasure. Fully clothed actors holding hands in love and sharing a love moment could be more seductive than a hip-gyrating love making scene. He made several careers. His storytelling abilities made several characters larger than life. Though he was much respected and revered, he did face a lot of difficulty in getting people to play the author backed roles he designed. Heroines kept refusing the roles that he approached them for, but finally everything would fall in place.  He is one of the most revered directors. And would always be. 

Long live Yash Chopra.

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