Tuesday, December 23, 2014

@DNA, humanity beyond journalism

Yesterday night I had one of the most scary experiences of my life. I am a regular with the mumbai local and contrary to the regular criticism about the mumbai locals, I am in fact a great lover of my daily travels to work in my beloved Mumbai local.  Besides being economical, quicker and pollution free, it is also a great reservoir of stories of empathy, community spirit and in general, human nature.

But every service has its pit falls and slip ups.  I embarked on my regular late night train travel from Reay Road station. It was just another late day at work. I took the train at 1140 to panvel. I boarded the first class compartment which had a dozen odd  people. The train went smooth sailing in  complete steam till chunabhati station... A little beyond chunabhati it suddenly stopped. It didn't bother me much as delay is the middle name of Harbour Line of the central railways but as it took longer, it was getting frustrating. There were young commuters, presumably in their mid twenties who jumped down the train and walked from the deserted place where the train had stopped towards kurla station.  There was an aged  man who was in the train who was unable to jump and walk the tracks. I decided to stay with him in the train. In half an hour, the compartment just had the aged man and me, or so, I thought. I was wrong, just behind my seat was a young man who in all possibility was a drug addict who was in no control of his senses. He was continuously blabbering that he will kill, he will bomb and slaughter those who ill treated him.  The immediate emotion  was not of scare but of empathy, but as silences enveloped the compartment and his voice got stronger along with the the whistling of the untimely wind, the other emotion took over. It was 01:10 am  the dead of the night. I was glad that i was in a city that never sleeps, but the ones who were awake were better sleeping. I wanted to get down the train the train, but as I peeped out of the train, there were a group of drunken rowdies who were howling louder than rabid wolves. The thought of risking them did pass my mind, but then i looked back at the aged gentleman, he wouldn't be able to jump to the tracks and walk right till the station. We were clearly trapped between the devil and the deep sea. I chose to risk my judgements on the mentally unstable person rather.

A firm believer of "share it to diminish it, if not demolish it", I took to facebook to share my fears and that made all the difference. Within seconds there was an outpouring of empathy especially from my friends in the field of journalism.  What touched me most, was that I received an immediate message from Yogesh Pawar, assistant editor of DNA offering to speak to a cop he knows  at tilak nagar station. He further asked me to take a cab and come down to his place and that his wife and he would be happy to have me over and also treat me with some sambhar rice. It was 1ish in the night. It is easy to dismiss something as lip service, but he was serious. He also spoke to me over the phone and ask me not to be heroic but understand that anyone in such a situation could be vulnerable. As I took a few minutes more to decide the train miraculously started surging ahead. I dont believe much in god, unless I need to ask something from no one but the universe   and need to put a figurative name for an unknown force  there, but I am a firm believer in the genesis of good vibes and thoughts that manifest in positive reactions. Thanks to people like yogesh, in a world increasingly ridden with slaughter and hatred, the total sum of positivity will always remain a constant.

Thank you Yogesh. And congrats DNA and the Zee Media Group for having him as a part of your family.

Yogesh, you have covered many human interest stories in your life that have pushed the envelope of equality, empathy and justice, I thought the best way to say thank you for what you did yesterday would be to reply to your kindness in the same written word.

(I know this post maybe ridden with grammatical errors, but I'd rather keep it in its virgin heartfelt firstthoughts form)

Monday, November 03, 2014

Sometimes I wish upon a star

One of those nights where after nursing the wounds of the world, I find time to feel my own.

Sometimes, one does go through gloomy phases in life when you feel lonely in a world that you are way too known. Well, its a popular perception that people who are known are surrounded by people all the while and are lucky in matters of lust and love. Well, it is a myth. Most often the inverse is true.

I'm in no haste in falling in love or anything, (one mistake in haste is a good lesson) but I do feel the pang of lying alone under the moonlit sky. I do feel that one day, I find someone to share this space with.


Friday, October 31, 2014

The "Woh" is a Man

The Bangalore Case where the husband cheated on the wife with another man raises a few eye brows and many questions

Read about the case here : http://www.bangaloremirror.com/bangalore/cover-story/Sec-377-slapped-on-Infosys-techie-after-wife-catches-his-gay-acts-on-spycam/articleshow/44964745.cms

1) I empathize with the wife, I really do, but is slapping 377 on the husband justified?

2) Would we have slapped 377 on this guy if the guy cheated on his wife with another woman and the wife caught them in 'unnatural acts'...as per the legal parlance?

3) Would the trauma the wife suffered be any less or any different if the 'woh' was a  woman.

4) The media revealed the name of the employer and other details  which makes it easy to identify the husband. Would the case be any less serious if the husband worked at the barber shop and not an IT firm? Would they have dared to do the same if it was the wife who was the culprit?

5) We take a moral high ground when it comes to cheating on your partner, cross your hearts and tell me, haven't you ever cheated?

6) It takes me ages to argue with the police and get a simple FIR for stalking a woman registered. Who are these lovely policemen who register a 377 on a infidelity case?

7)I  stand for equal rights. If the wife feels cheated - grant her divorce. If the husband caused mental trauma - demand alimony. But slapping 377, isnt it stretching this too far with malicious intent?

8) Also the journalism stoops to a new low here. Why reveal the identity of the man?

I received a string of Whatsapp messages from a friend who championed women rights and thought the man deserved no sympathy because he 'cheated'. He stopped sending me messages when I asked him "weren't you in a relationship with someone when you were giving me a blowjob some years back? "

We are a homophobic and hypocritical society. Hence proved.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A bit of me on the stage, and a bit of you.

How does one feel when a part of your body stands in front of you live and alive  in flesh and blood?

Martin's play - the tricky part, trickles down your spine leaving chill and thrill down your spine at the same time. It is a play that has four characters on stage - a stool, a book, a photograph and Martin.

So human his play is that you dissolve in it completely.

While Martin inspires the world and people call it 'courage' , to me it is his way of therapy and finding himself by connecting the dots of the past and the present is what is most inspiring.

Post the play, martin and I took questions from the audience. Modesty has never been my nature, so while you make your judgments allow me my moments of pride.  It was happy to note from the counsellors present in the audience,  that some survivors read my posts and look up to me. While I scare some people by holding a mirror to their past that they would rather not address, I also am seen as the level , the benchmark of where people  want to reach in dealing with their abuse. I can tell you guys and girls and trans persons that we all set our own benchmarks. There are levels that you may reach that I aspire to be. Every case of abuse and every method of dealing with it is as diverse as chalk and cheese though it looks very similar in some angles. Martin's life or mine is a story, just a story that resonates with your life. Parts of it is true to yours, but a part of it is also unique. The paths you discover to deal with it, and rise from it will also be unique and independent to your life. Be the god of your story. Write your own happy sad story with a happiness in continuum.

I have been planning something with a friend I am very fond of-  Sapna Moti Bhavnani since quite sometime now. Rather to put it correctly we have been planning something together. But I should confess, i haven't found the courage to write down my piece completely. There are phases when I lose my train of thought.  Now I will. Martin inspires me to connect the dots of my past and present.

Do yourself a favor - watch The Tricky Part. It is empowering, but more importantly, its theapeautic.

Forced to lure - a case study

"I know what has happened. I know what you have done. I know you repent. I want you to know, no matter what has happened, whatever you have done or not done - I will not judge you. I will stand by you through this. I will love you. I dont want you to believe in me. I want you to believe in yourself. I want you to see yourself from my eyes, for you will see then that you are without sin"


Context : as a young girl she was forced to lure boys and girls her age then and get them to "play"with her abuser. It has taken her 8 years of talking-it-out to stop feeling guilty. In her late 30s now, she has put her past in her past. She is writing her memoir about her interactions with me. Which she intends to publish someday when she decides to go completely public about her life. :)

Happy I be.

*some primary identifiers have been changed to protect the identity of the survivor*

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Not the Tiger's fault

If a human lands in a tiger enclosure and becomes a meal, it is not the mistake of the tiger. It's his natural prey.

Condolences to the family of the deceased, but it is not the animals fault.

I want an india sans Zoos and circuses. At least, in India we dont deserve zoos.  If you want to look at animals go into the wild. Every school should get in touch with environmentalists for nature trails where they could meet animals at their home and also get educated about wild animals and plants. What does one gain by watching animals  in an ill kept badly managed filthy environment which is way far from being a simulator of nature's wilderness

Also, we make no effort in educating our kids against hooting and pelting stones on poor helpless animals imprisoned by human(un)kind for no fault of theirs. I call for a boycott of zoos. If we want to learn about animals, travel to their homes.... And more importantly, be a guest at their home, not a pest.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sushant's effeminacy upsets you?

Well, it is pretty petty of people in the LGBT community to pull down Sushant because he is effeminate. In your definition, He may be campy, over the top, drama queen... But he is himself. It takes immense amount of courage to be yourself in a world that wants you to be a clone of what they deem fit is 'agreeable' or 'representative' of their thought.  Sushant Divgikar is a real diva, and he is only competing with himself every time he goes on stage, every time winning over his own performance, exceeding his benchmarks of excellence every single time. Not surprising that it seems to have irked many insane minds whose business is to only poke fun or pass judgments. It is sad though that these livid tongues dont ever come on the stage and represent what they deem fit. They hide behind  silhoutes and tinted glasses holding a concave mirror to society, in which they hate to see themselves. I pity such naysayers, I really pity them because their shortsightedness and discriminatory attitude of putting down a gay man as feminine is in a way a  bad reflection of their own misogynistic mindset that thinks its okay to be gay as long as you are a man-gay. I pity them because they fail to understand that the gay world is as diverse as characters in sholay, each distinct, none totally representative of reality. I pity them because they could only see sushant's twisted arm, his lady gagaish dress, his queeny shorts... But they didn't see his talent they didn't see the strength and energy he brought to the screen. I really wish to see them grow, some meat between their ears, as much of it, is just between their legs.

And to end, I'd like to tell the whole damn world - there is no one representative of the gay community. Not me, not Ashok,  Not pallav, and not Ricky martin, Elton john or even Ellen de generes. We all are different as chalk and cheese.

I have always heard this phrase 'dont act gay, act normal'. What is normal? Aren't we defining a new stereotype called 'normal'.

- Normal is the biggest stereotype.

Sushant refuses to be that stereotype. Deal with it.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

#RakshaBandhan against Patriachy

Today many sisters will tie a designer thread on their brother's wrists. It is called Rakhsha bandhan. The girls will urge their brothers to protect them. The brothers will feel happy that they can control their sisters with the intention of protecting them.  Women have to be protected.

The He can't be weak, he has the responsibility of  protecting the She. The She can't be strong, but even if she is, this festival asserts the right of the He to protect the She. The brother will have to give gifts to the sister, and the sister will have to accept them, even if she is stronger than him and healthier in wealth.  Women have to be protected.
I am not only talking from the women's point of view. The HE in this country is expected to be strong, to be richer and to not go weak at any circumstance. The He is made to feel ashamed every time he cries or shies, for thatis the domain of the She. He is the macho being and is expected to be like that all his life, whether just out of cradle or closer to the tomb, immaterial . He is pressurized all his life to be strong. For women have to be protected.

So, it is not surprising that to assert his strength,  he chooses violence in place of benevolence.  He restricts and constricts the She to assert his right to protect. This  is re-affirmed with traditions and customs.  Yes, women have to be protected.

The pressure is so much on him that it goes beyond the confines of the home to women outside. He looks at himself and realizes that the thing that is different between He  and She is that he has the organ that can be inserted inside her.  He unknowingly starts worshiping the organ. Like in tradition, in sex, he is the giver, she is the accepter. So he chooses to thrust his manhood on anyone and anything that it would enter. He thrusts it on women, but also on any orifice in the body of transpersons, homosexual men, or even weaker men who in his opinion are woman-like. All because, women, need  to be protected.

It is a beautiful festival. But let this be against misogyny. I would appreciate if all genders tie rakhi to  each other.  Or better still, tie rakhi to the one who will protect you. Men, women, transperson – immaterial.  If protection is the essence of the festival, let's make it real. Protect the ones who need protection, but more importantly, empower them so that they don't need to tie you a rakhi tomorrow.

You know what I mean?
watch these lovely illustrations  from http://homo-club.tumblr.com/post/90290311170

Please show them your love - follow them. 

Friday, August 08, 2014

Set the bird free!

Hey did you want to tell me that you were raped?
That you would have died and had a narrow escape?
That you are angry and hate yourself?
That you have not felt happy feeling yourself?

You dont want to listen to advice, I won't give you,
I will not champion your bravery for that is not true,
I will leave you alone, and watch you cry,
I will not hold you close till your tears run dry.

Then I will put you on my chest and tell you nothing my friend,
I will not belittle your pain with words that can't comfort what you underwent.
I will be like a stone, and give you my ear,
I want you to know that I may be far, yet I am near.

I know you are scared, that you will be not believed, that your life will be called a pretense,
That you will be called a story,  that no one will believe your utterance.

I understand your unsaid, and all that you want to say,
I see the unseen in big wild bombay,
I understand you are outraged,
The emotions you have caged,
Even if it was not to open it to me,
It is time to uncage, set the bird free.
Set the bird free!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Someone Spat On My Face #Homophobia

Fucking Asshole!

Am at the station platform  an asshole just screamed  GUD from a train that passed by and SPAT on me from the running train.  It missed my face by a few inches. Heading home to wash myself and change the shirt.

I would have roasted his balls and humiliated him like no ones business if was on ground. 

If this can happen to me, so can it with anybody. But it is not the time to hide. It is  time to stand up the fight.

It also gave me an understanding today about the mawallis screaming AYE ITEM to girls at the platform.

Bullying  is on a rise.
Thank you India. Thank you so fucking much. 

You have to pay heavily for facilitating  the loss of dignity of a gazillion LGBTIQ people in india.

There is absolutely #NoGoingBack now. Spit on me you fucking moron. Spit one as I am right here going to light fire up your ass. Fucking asshole.

You think I will be ashamed, you thonk I will cow down and hide. I will get up you asshole. I will get up and wear my fucking sexuality on my sleeve now. You fucking deal with it.

I will wait for you to attack me again. And then I will get you screwed by the same public in the train.

Think I was taking my freedom too easy and was being too cozy and being complacent. In fact, I was just telling a friend that we should be doing something compelling and provocative with hard truths to get people to sign the petition and this spit happened. It was almost like being given a reason enough to share.

I am sharing not to scare you. Yes it is a difficult time. But women go through harrassment this every fucking day. I can hide my sexuality, can she hide her gender?

It is why all movements need to step up together. And stand up equally and unequivocally for the tenets of human rights. It is not gay rights anymore. It all stems out of the same mindset to impose the thought of the majority on the minority.

P.S. I am least apologetic for the language. I needed to vent. And I feel violated.
I drafted this post almost an hour ago but wondered if I should post it considering that I am known, would this spread panic. But  then I thought I need to post for my own selfish reasons. I wish to scream shout and vent it fucking out. That's my way of coping with anger and stress. You have a problem - go fuck yourself.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Humshakal : Rights of Admission Reserved

Yesterday, we had 4 hours to kill between the massive plantation drive at Maharashtra Nature Park that we were organizing. We didn't know what to do to in the interim. We came up with the brilliant idea of watching a film in the theater close by. We didn't want a heavy dose film rather we wanted a stupid silly film to watch and laugh our way back to our plants.  The result – we bought tickets for Humshakal.

We reached the theater almost half an hour after the show and left in less than 45 minutes, but we were really not feeling bad. The AC was good and cozy. We took a small nap, while occasionally wink-opening our eyes to catch this classic.  We all expected a silly film. A real silly film. This film is different, you need to qualify to watch it.  Here is the  qualifying criteria :  

  • ·         You are not offended by silly jokes.
  • ·         Reality makes no sense to you.
  • ·         You don't care if a mentally challenged are teased or the film propagates stupid myths in the name of humour
  • ·         you don't get into your activistic mode on seeing people given shock treatment because they are "PAGAL" -  just for fun.
  • ·         You are not a real cinema lover.
  • ·         You want to make out with your partner and you don't have PLACE.
  • ·         You are overtly empathetic and flaunt your superb sense of humour,  so you will excuse the director  for the stupidity because you notice that he jokes about his own film (himmatwala)
  • ·         Your idea of good lyrics is "Tere iraade hain bade hi shaitani,  Not available hai meri ye jawaani"
  • ·         You want to support Bipasha Basu and Saif Ali Khan's sinking careers and this film is your charity to them.
And if the reasons above are not listed above, you have no right to watch this film.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This Is How We Treat Survivors Of Sexual Assaults

In India we respect the victim of sexual assault only if she is dead. (well in some cases not even after death) If she is living, we rape her/him/hir again verbally. We ask "Look at the CCTV cameras does she look assaulted?" "O! That Bitch, she wants compensation" "huh! She was possibly drunk or drugged" "doesnt she kiss people and sleep with them otherwise... Randi saali". The victim has to prove that they are one. Like when they are getting molested, assaulted, raped ... they are supposed to think "evidence" "evidence"... "let me collate evidence". 

Like, when you have someone feel up your groin, fingering your vagina, pressing your nipples, pushing his penis on your rectum, you need to be thinking –"I should collect EVIDENCE" 

You are supposed to not waste time and run to the police. Even if you are bleeding and scarred for life and know that there would be the whole world turning its eye on you.. You have no right to wait till you attain a calm composure. Even if you are dying in pain, physical or emotional- you need to report. For you will be asked " why were you quiet for so many days, bitch, were you plotting".

If you seek help from someone you know could. And if the cheif minister has issues with that person... The victim will be called the enemy of the state. If she happens to be a "not looking" raped, not having swollen eyes and is seen in a party after the time of rape she is called a liar. She needs to look raped. If she is a film star and high profile, one thinks that she probably knows to fib and spin a yarn, like she does in front of the camera she does here.

Some of the others will be kind. They will call the raped one courageous. Send the person mails championing her move. Put the raped one on a pedestal. Make the raped one a wall flower - a piece of art for all kind souls to flaunt and fart. 

May be, the one distressed don't need all of these. May be they just need some space, some light of their own sun, sometime minus judgments, some time to regain strength. Is that too much to ask for?

Friday, May 09, 2014

Bridegroom - Review

Bridegroom is a poignant love story. A documentary it is, but it defies every stereotype you have about documentaries. It is the story of love that half the world has always shied from giving a name.  This is not a ‘cause’  film, it is a story everyone identifies with. It is a film about the perils of being a social outcast, an uneven minority. Bridegroom is a testimony of love by the ones who are different for the ones who are indifferent. This is about the indifferent group of a large number of people deeming it fit to impose their view on a minority. This Bridegroom is true to its name.  It leaves you dew eyed with so much hope that you just wish to run to your window to peep out and wave to your knight in shining armor, your bridegroom.  As the film beings to end, you are not filled with pity, but hope. You are not filled with remorse, but joy. You are not filled with resentment, but contentment. You are not filled with the fear of an unforeseen tomorrow, but with the will to celebrate your today and your yesterday.

Bridegroom makes you believe that life doesn't end with the end of it, it goes on. Shane and Tom bring alive even the one that isn't. All that you would say as the credits roll up is “long live the bridegroom  - Shane and Tom”

Bridegroom is a must watch for everyone – irrespective of whether you are a propagator of hate or a follower of love. If you are a cinema enthusiast or a cinema student, the one sure sin you will commit is to miss this screening wherever it is.  

Friday, April 04, 2014


I don’t think it is anyone’s business but ours to fight for our rights. I don’t think we can rely on anyone, lean on any support or be sanguine about having someone over there ever ready to fight our battles. It is our life, it is our ground, it is our game that we have to play.

There are some who consider you a number. A digit so small that you would use two words that mean the same to meanly define you – minuscule, minority. And there will be others, who will promise you of their support verbally, but will not put it on a document that could be preserved for posterity. You are made to feel so small, that you really think you are small. Like a dot in the map. A dot of shame that lives just to reinstate that we are no stain. That we have been restrained instead for ages. Our confidence has been maimed so badly, that we think we are jumping when we crawl in the straight lanes of life.

I wonder if that would ever change if we relied on others. If it has to, we have to take the plunge. We have to pass the test. We have to stand up for ourselves. We have to be knit closer than ever. We the LGBTIQ community, cannot be considered an insignificant number. We are people. Real people capable of impacting real change. Change within, and change in the world, as we see it.

I don’t have money. I have wings. I don’t have assets. But I have a fractured spirit that propels me further with greater velocity. I will do something that I thought I would never. I will stand up for the elections. Some party, Some day, Some time. I will.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

BREAKTHROUGH : Self-Confessed Online Child Predators To Be Caught

It is on the rise. We increasingly see gay dating spaces and also social networking sites being plagued with profile updates that state that they look for young boys. It is also important for people to know that insanity prevails in every group and every  sexuality. And just as the complete heterosexual community is not called promoting child trafficking because girls get abused and trafficked into prostitution (in larger numbers), we cannot hold the whole homosexual community responsible. In fact, as a gay person, I am more focused on child sexual abuse as an issue. And would stand up against child sexual abuse offenders – irrespective of what  sexuality they subscribe to.  Well, web patrolling is still at a nascent stage in India. the good news is that the police in Bombay does respond and assist you in every way possible. Yes, there are some trolls in the police, but that doesn't take away from the many who do their job very well. The truth is that it does take a lot of time for them to respond, and if it is an urgent case that needs immediate attention, the citizen needs to raise an appropriate alarm so that they could act more promptly.

I recently had a breakthrough in a child sexual abuse case. Of course the case took many follow ups and visits to police stations in distant corners of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. In May 2013, someone informed me about a status update on facebook that boasted about having sex with a 15 year old boy.   The profile was of someone who went by the name of Ajay Ahuja. If this status update was not disgusting enough, the comments that requested the child to be passed on to them after use, added to the repugnance.  I quickly recorded the complete conversation on my blog here with an open letter to the commissioner of police, Bombay. I also posted a copy of the letter to the cyber cell Mumbai through the online mode and the email ids mentioned here cybercellmumbai.gov.in/  I got a reference number from them.  After I had captured the post details on my profile. I highlighted this disgusting post on facebook in my profile, and urged people to complain and also report the post. The post was pulled down and my appeal to report this post was widely read by a lot of my friends and also shared. I asked the Cyber cell  of Mumbai at bandra to update me about the status of the case. I was asked to personally visit the Navi Mumbai Cyber cell and register a case there, since I am a navi Mumbai resident. I thought that it was absurd, because I am a complainant and I should be allowed to register the complaint anywhere, more so, because it was a cyber complaint. But I chose to not rant about the system but go personally for a human interface to the Navi Mumbai cyber cell at the Police Commissioners office in Belapur. The police knew about the laws of the land but had their own understanding and interpretation. The positive thing about the Bombay and Navi Mumbai police is that they are willing to listen to a counter view and correct their thoughts accordingly. At first, I had to meet their prejudices, they saw the case from the point of view of homosexuality. Their impression was that homosexuals have sex with minors. Though I had been to the police station to register a case of child trafficking/ child sexual abuse/ cyber crime, I ended up finding myself in a situation where I was debunking their myths and enlightening them with information about homosexuality.   I did so by coming out to the poilice about my sexuality, and told them that there are abusers and protectors in every community. I asked them to tell me how many cases of men abusing girl children they hear of. I then asked them how they would feel if I branded the whole community as rapists and child molesters because some are so. I made it more personal by asking them if they felt all heterosexuals were abusers, wouldn’t that generalization include them as well, as they are openly heterosexual. I had a three hour long conversation with the woman police officer there and explained the difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality and transgenders and how any one could be a child protector and anyone could be a child molester. The police took my complaint and told me that they will investigate the matter thoroughly. 

I followed up with the police for a while and then got embroiled in other issues of counseling that needed my immediate attention,  that this took a back burner. 8 months later, on  15 December 2013, I received a call from the police station of the jurisdiction of my residence in Navi Mumbai. The Kamote police station again had the same set of prejuidices about the Gay community. I had to spend around the same amount of time explaining that gays are not equal to child molesters. But human depravity is universal and cuts across all genders and sexualities. Again, as a serial coming-out person, I came out to them. They gave me a compassionate ear, they also told me that they have found a residential address to the IP address. They also had finer details of the person at the IP address , like his name and the number. I thought that the next process would be to just call the number and nab the person. But then came a rude shock. The police officer told me  that the case needs to be transferred to the Bangur Nagar police station, which is in Malad, more than 50 KMs away. When I asked them why would they not take cognizance of the case they pointed at a comment by the culprit Ajay Ahuja in the comments section of his facebook update in which he said that he lived in Bangur Nagar. I found it absurd and was immensely frustrated. I wondered how difficult it would be for someone to even follow up on an online complaint if you are thrown from one police station to the other. I was annoyed, but refused to lose hope. I had already spent 8 months following up, I had made a habit of waiting for justice. Through the feeling of annoyance loomed over me, I was pretty sanguine about the fact that the case was moving forward.  After this, I interacted the kamote police station a few times for other cases and checked with them about this particular case. Their answer was that I will hear from the Bangur Nagar police station.

On 20 February 2014, I received a call from Police Sub Inspector Deokhale from Bangur Nagar police station. The inspector called me over to the police station to understand what the case was and how he could help. I didn’t find time until 21 March 2014 to visit the police station which was 2 hours away by road from my office, given the traffic in the western line. PSI Deokhale was most compassionate. He assured me of complete cooperation and thanked me for taking up the case. He explained to me that the best thing would be to pursue the case from my jurisdiction because in case of follow ups and visits to the courts it would be more convenient, but having said that, he also assured me that he would take cognizance of the case if I intended to pursue it further. He and I had a long chat where I continued the rigmarole that I followed in the preceeding police stations. This one was different. He patiently wrote my complaint and had a discussion with me about the possible outcomes of the case. He said that he would file a case under the IT acts and then down the line,  take it up for further investigation under POCSO (protection of children from sexual offences act 2012) as the investigation proceeds. He was amazed at the perseverance and was also shocked that I had to go through so many police stations to pursue the case.  He gave me a case number and told me that he would call me back in a week to update me on the status of the case. He instantly shared his personal number with me. Now all that needs to be done is that the culprit needs to be called to the police station and visit the court to explain his stance. He may go off the trap as in such cases there needs to be a victim present. And to trace a victim in this case would be difficult. This could also have been a case of simple chest-thumping about having sex whereas nothing really could have happened. The fact, but lies that they would have to go through the embarrassment of cops visiting the house to summon them and a visit to court to explain the stance is inevitable.

the case number. 
I am immensely thankful to Madhavi Rajadhyaksha for taking this up not as a personal cause and not just merely a media interest story and dipesh tank for connecting me to her. Aamir, Svati, Satyajit, Advait, Vidhi, Prerna, Rahul , Lancy , Chandni, Subuhi –  the police has been raving about the episode on police reforms in  Satyamev Jayate. Mr. Deokhale from Bangur Nagar police station and others there asked me to thank you all for such a sensitive portrayal. They were very happy when they realized that I was a visible as a part of the family in Season 1.

I hope this post serves as a wake up call for dating sites which openly advertise about sex with minors. People making such requests could be nabbed and pushed behind bars. I will ensure that such cases are pursued till the logical end, even if it takes months or years to bring the culprit to book. If there needs to be a case registered against the dating site, shall look at that too,  that is only  if the administrators of the dating site don’t take action by disallowing/ banning posts that solicit sex with minors.

We cant stop child sexual abuse completely. But when we see something going awry, we could choose to do something about it. At least something more than simply intellectually masturbating about the issue, our first reaction should be to inform the police. Not be resigned about the issue and say “kuch nahi hoyega india ka”…. Or blame NGOs for it by saying “what is the use of so many NGOs when they cant keep a check on this”… let me ask you, if you are so damn concerned and your heart bleeds on seeing something like this happen – why don’t you fucking do something about it as a reflex action.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Side-Effects Of Shaadi Ke Side Effects

I had the august opportunity to watch this fantastic film called Shaadi ke side effects. Firstly, let me share that this is a breathtaking film, I am telling you with first hand experience, okay. It really took my breath. This is one of the very few film franchise models that India could flaunt about. The previous film by the same director (Saket whatever), was called Pyaar ke side effects, this one is Shaadi ke side effects,  for all we know the next film may be called Family ke side effects.  Though the films are not related to each other and are not a prequel-sequel  thing like Jurrassic Park, this film is as adventurous like Jurrassic Park. You get lost in the jungle of relationships. (o! I almost sound like a poet!)

The biggest and the most magnificent dinosaur of this film is the script writer. He has thought of a spectacular script that has never been thought before. Never ever.  Let me share - Married couple looking for spice in their  love life beyond vanilla fornication - wife nagging causing husband a lot of frustration - husband taking a vacation - while wife fakes a fuckation to win the husband’s lost attention - and the final revelation leading to the climax of true-love confession -  are not things that you have ever heard before in Indian cinema of this nation. Have we?  (Me poet became! Notice the alliteration {or whatever the figure of speech})

The treat, the delicacy of this film is the music. So what if you don’t tap your feet to it, you definitely would tap your head. The choreography makes you wonder if there has been a natural disaster – like an earthquake. The costume designer, takes the cherry and the cake , I read media reports that Vidya sat with her stylist Jayati and gave her inputs. So, you see Vidya donning a backless blue dress in the first short of her introduction.  The backless dress is so dangerously low that if it slipped any further, the film would end up as a sequel to Dirty Picture.  After this film, my respect for Vidya has grown four fold. Vidya doesn’t only pick up challenging roles; she picks up challenging clothes too.

Vidya,  I believe has sittings and sittings and sittings before she connects with the character in the film.  This she must have signed right at the first sitting. May be because her husband played by Farhan is called “Siddharth Roy”,  she must have been given to believe that this role was written for her. I want to marry the person who narrated the story to her. S/he/ze surely knows how to make the ride on a maruti 800 sound like a ride on merc. Super skilled, man, Super skilled to get both Farhan and Vidya in your net.
The actors bring finesse to the characters that they depict. Vidya and Farhan are established actors, and that shows in every frame. You also have names like Ram Kapoor and Gautami  playing (Vidya) Trisha’s sis and bro in law. You have Rati Agnihotri who plays  Trisha’s mom. The surprise package is Vir Das who plays (Farhan) Siddharth Roy’s messy roommate. He revels in the role of a Casanova. Though you wonder what he is doing in the film, the credit should go to Saket whatever for the etched out character though useless. Like, if you remove every single character of the film, you can see how beautifully Saket has hunted for second hand spare parts (read scripts) and made this movie vehicle.  Guess he picked up parts of the script from some garage sale for charity.

I know I didn't warn you about spoilers. But I am happy that I saved your money. But still if you insist on watching this film – please carry Saridon to save yourself from the side effects of shaadi ke side effects. So in effect, Shaadi Ke Side effects is about family planning.  It is an eye opener. Watch this film and understand how irritating heterosexual wives can be and how irresponsible heterosexual husbands can be.  And the core message that the film spreads is about children – and the turmoil in your love life- sex life - economic life they could cause when you bear one. It is a film that amazes you with the bitter taste. As a heterosexual rights activist, I propose a ban on this film. Or better still, a fatwa.  Or better than better, a dharna.

Rating :  are you like  ‘kidding me’?
Rainbow Quotient:   Someone mistakes Farhan and Vir Das to be a couple. To which Vir replies “NO”. though it does no harm,  it was not needed. A terrible forcefit.
Closing Words of Wisdom :  you have too much money, kyaa? Then please donate to a charity instead.

*the views expressed here are brutally honest and are obviously my own. I know you may find some comments in the review very insulting and that’s the intent – to not sugar coat. You can feel free to disagree with them. But rather than sending me a hate comment, I’d appreciate if you protest with another blogpiece.
 Ladaai ho toh barabar ki.  Poetic justice, honey, poetic justice! *

Thursday, February 27, 2014

An Ode to Veera

I am veera. I am the little child in the woods who lost her way in a garden full of daffodils. Just that I had to close my eyes and be oblivious to what was happening with my body. I am veera,  and I am 7 years old, I am told. And he was a man five times my age. He thrust himself on  me and  trapped me forever in a cage. I am veera,  I wanted to shout. I wanted to shout that one time. But I swallowed my words. I am veera, and I learnt then to swallow not just words but to live in two worlds. I am veera, on my body is a liquid, white and sticky.  What happened I didn't want to know. I didn't want to know what happened to me. I am veera, yes, I lived in two worlds. One when I was pushed and shoved, the other when the image in my mind was a garden full of daffodils. A garden where I played with butterflies, heard crow's cries, danced with the cuckoo and played with the doves. I am veera, there is quiet within me and there is din outside. There is din within me when there is quiet outside.  I am veera,  I am that girl who didn't know what was happening with her. Within her was a voice that spoke to her. The voice that uncaged her, and set her free. The voice that she longed for. I am veera, I am now old. The two voices are meeting. The real outside and the real inside. The voice inside is disappearing. I am getting more aware of what is happening. I am veera.  I am dying.  I am crying. I am thinking “ why am I bleeding and not pleading”. Not pleading to stop.  I am veera. Now there are four. Four men are here. And  I am lying in a pool of semen. I, but have learnt to not raise a voice. I am veera, I try to hint. But mummy didn't get it. She didn’t know. I am cold

I am veera. I am a scream. I am a dream. I am that voice that you hear. I am without fear. I am veera. Everything is hunky dory. I hide the gory in my visible glory. I am veera.   I want to go to the highway, spread my hands and dance away.  I am veera. I am older now. Much older. Now,  I fear no wilderness. I don’t mind flowing in desolate streams. I fear no violence, for all I have seen.  I am veera. I am not scared of your screams. I will listen to your voice. As I speak to my own. I am veera. I am someone who believes that every stone has a history. I think there was life in it too. I am veera. My middle name is empathy. I feel what you feel. I can hear the turmoil within you that even you cannot see.  I am veera. I am a stone. A stone unturned. I am a page. A blank one at that.  I am veera. I believe pain is a binder. I bind to it. I am veera. Deny me the riches. Leave me with the ones with glitches. Don’t bind me with your showy love. Leave me alone with my voices now. I am veera. I am living in a dream. I am a flowing stream. I am veera. I will flow out one day. I will flow out one day.

You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” Said  Friedrich Nietzsche. And Imtiaz Ali depicted it to perfection in his film – Highway. Alia Bhatt has acted so well that you don’t see her in the film – you only see Veera. As a survivor of child sexual abuse myself,  I could connect with the character that Alia brings alive. I felt a part of me had gotten out and was on screen. That perfect she was. Child-like but a woman who was world-wise much before she wanted to be. Someone who is not insane, though her definition of  joys are unbelievably ordinary and plain. And Randeep Hooda’s character need not even have a name to relate to him. He is that good. You carry him along,  the characters linger on you even hours after you have left the theater.  Rehman has underplayed his music. Which music director of his caliber would do that to suit the mood of the film? And cinematography – WOW. There are many frames in the film that you would want to capture as a wallpaper. 

The film – HIGHWAY is not real, it is either a fantasy. Yet, it is both. A reality and an unbelievable story. Ask me, if I would react the way she did, with patience, and tact and knack. My answer would be in the affirmative. Highway is a film  about the voice of the child trapped within a survivor of child sexual abuse, and the woman in real life. It is about the duality in the mind of a survivor  that she/he dodges away and refuses to acknowledge. It is that uncomfortable truth of conflict between the reality and the dream. Highway builds the bridge for me.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Decriminalize Love

I woke up today in disdain,
murky thoughts  of woe and pain

My thoughts wandered to pastures full of strife.
What do I do with this dreary life?

Some write right, some write left, some are ambidextrous,
the difference is universal, you want me to feel shame, you want me to digress.    

I love people, in nature's holy ways.
The law steps in but, judges me and showers dismay.

The body I am in, is the state’s property
what I do with it, is my country’s fantasy.

Tell me your honour, do I look like a criminal?
about my expression of love, why are you  being so anal?

Friday, January 03, 2014

14 Commandments For 2014

14 things that i need to keep telling my inner-voice all through 2014
#1. dont suffer fools. 
#2. dont engage in nonsensical debates with people who have all the time in the world. 
#3. use the time and energy saved in #2 for the kind of work that you wish to do.
#4. you dont need to explain to anybody why you love someone and why you dislike someone. you have your loyalties, your affinities and your hate lists. and you dont owe anyone an explaination for it.
#5. be direct. you dont need to "look good". you are not winning some congeniality contest, okay?
#6. if people think that they are the center of the universe. let them. in all probability their universe will be an island, with only them in it. you just chill in your pond swimming with your fishes in it. 
#7. remind yourself again and again that you are not superman. even superman fucks up. and you are allowed to too. 
#8. remember that the only thing that you should be procrastinating is procrastination. 
#9. never be disheartened by nasty gossips about you by the big-wigs. still respect them for their work. and respect the fact that they are human to be assholes. 
#10. start one campaign a month. something that will spread smiles and awareness on causes that you *heart*
#11. get a personal life. spend time with your new kids - Shiva and Krishna
#12. before you draw cash from the ATM to donate to some cause, remember, you could become a social cause tomorrow if you run out of a job, for you have no savings
#13. get hitched. have a love life. a sex life. and please delete people who write messages like "i want to have celebrity sex with you" from your life forever. if possible - shoot them. 
#14. read from #1 to #14 again. may be pin it up on the wall or something. because the fuck-headed that you are. you will do only what you have been doing. always. always. always.

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