Monday, November 16, 2015

Mourning Paris, Prejudice and Intellectual Snobbery

I have been pouring over reactions and news reports in the aftermath of the terror attack in Paris all weekend. Everything about the attack was chillingly similar to the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. That is why, despite having taken place in an entirely different continent, somehow this attack hit home. I almost felt personally affected by it.

Now, before you dismiss me as yet another bleeding heart fairy or haul me over the coals for my selective mourning and remind me of Beirut and Baghdad, Kabul and Kashmir, Aleppo and Assam…before you label me a pseudo-intellectual, sickular Conghi…take a deep breath. Think before you vociferously accuse me or any of your fellow Indians, coloured residents of the third world, of having dissociated ourselves from our brown cousins to favour the ‘white first world’.

This article was published in TheQuint. To read the entire article CLICK HERE

I am a Feminist. And it is not a bad thing

... Now let’s take a look at Twinkle Khanna’s arguments about female fetuses being stronger than male ones, and therefore likelier to be born alive. Here’s the thing Mrs Funny Bones. While you have your science right, our country still has social evils like female feticide and infanticide. You say women tend to live longer than men. True. But that’s only if they are not burned for dowry or killed in the name of ‘honour’. I understand you are all empowered women, but please recognize the fact that most girls are deprived of education, proper nutrition and equal wages in our country, this despite legal recourse. It isn’t just poor and uneducated women who need feminism. Highly educated women from privileged sections of society also need feminism in India.

This article was published in TheQuint. To read the entire article CLICK HERE

Hillary Rodham Clinton: She Is Not Shouting, She Doesn’t Need to

I love people, powerful people. I’m fascinated by people who are go-getters. Needless to say that I feel increasingly drawn to Hillary Rodham Clinton a.k.a HRC who famously declared, “I’m a progressive who likes to get things done”.

I’m drawn to her because she is not afraid of facing the truth. HRC has been through several trials by fire, the most recent being the Benghazi hearings. I like how she always stays calm and never fails to make a point. She does not pontificate or mouth coma-inducing platitudes. HRC always has real solutions, a solid plan and hard arithmetic backing for everything she says or does, minus drama and melodrama. That inspires confidence.

This article was published in TheQuint. To read the entire article CLICK HERE

Radhe Maa’s Piety and Why We Are Offended By Her

I have always been intrigued and enamoured by powerful yet flawed women. Whether they are tinsel-town goddesses or every day mango-women, I love the magnificent, confident, captivating creatures that they are! As a young boy I gave my heart to Manju from Chaalbaaz, a lovable rogue and a complete badass. I grew up to fall hard for Jab We Met’s Geet who was at once careless, carefree, sensitive and talkative. I’m also madly in love with reality television’s gift to India, the boisterous, bombastic and very real Rakhi Sawant. I refuse to be hypocritical like most people, who probably binge watched Rakhi Ka Swayamwar in private, and then had the gall to call her a drama queen in public!

This article was published in TheQuint. To read the entire article CLICK HERE

It’s Not About What Does or Doesn’t Make Gandhi Great

They say, a herd is only as fast as its slowest member. A predator always attacks the last animal in the herd. This helps improve the health of the herd by weeding out the weakest. Now think of social evils as predators and our society as a herd. Socially and economically disadvantaged people always suffer more than those who are more in control of their lives and finances.

But we are (supposedly) evolved animals. We cannot leave this lot behind, so that they can be weeded out of our lives. We cannot wish poverty and misery away, just because its unsightly existence contaminates the beauty of the landscape we want to paint for ourselves. We have to empower those who are challenged, because we are human. And, Gandhi, both note-wala and Rajkumar Hirani-wala taught us this.

This article was published in TheQuint. To read the entire article CLICK HERE. 

Why the Meat Ban is Misguided and Difficult to Digest

Bans only antagonize people, sometime so much, that they will purposely do the banned stuff anyway just to further antagonize the people who asked for the ban in the first place. They think, “How dare he tell me what to eat? Now I will eat in front of him... Rok sakko toh rok ke dikhao”. It’s a messed up version of the boy eloping with the girl, just after the girl’s father has forbidden them from ever meeting again, in a cheesy Hindi movie from the 80s. Suddenly I have Neelam, Govinda and Amrish Puri on my mind… but I digress.

This article was published in TheQuint. To read the complete article CLICK HERE.  

To the Australian Boy With the Tattoo – I Am Ashamed

Dear Matt,

This evening when I read an article, I couldn’t stop myself from writing to you. And since what happened with you was in full public view, I would not be a coward and write you a mail, that would coyly land in your inbox.

Matt, you must have heard that my country is known for its pluralistic values. You must have read that India is a land of varied cultures, enshrined in the value of unity in diversity. I belong to a country that has always taught me - ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’, which means, ‘Guests should be treated like God’.

This article was published in TheQuint. To read the entire article please CLICK HERE 

Baba Ramdev, Families of Choice and the Middle East

... In fact, I decided to give Patanjali products a shot to see if they could actually help me get rid of my homosexuality. I wondered if Baba’s concoctions could un-gay me. Far from it. Not only did they fail to kill my libido or my interest in men, they made me feel a special kind of spiritual connection with my own sexuality. I was never a Vaasna ka Pujari, but now I’m actively looking for my Mann Mandir Ka Devtato put a Var Mala aound his neck! I want to do ‘Haath Peele’ before I do ‘Mooh Kaala’. Infact Baba Ramdev’s Yoga positions have made me more flexible. I’ll be sure to send him a thankyou note after my Suhag Raat, if my Pati Parmeshwar is pleased with my performance (wink! wink!)

This article was published in TheQuint. To read more CLICK HERE

Love, Sex Ed & Prejudice in the Age of Innocence

“Tch tch… What is this world coming to?” lamented an old man sitting next to me on the train to work. “14-year-old children are… are…”. He couldn’t even bring himself to complete the sentence. He was reacting to a newspaper report on how the average age of first sexual intercourse in India is 14 years.

Love starts brewing at a young age, so does the understanding of sex.
But instead of angrily dismissing it as “14-year-olds have no business having sex”, it is important to educate and disseminate information regarding sex and sexuality to children and young adults. Mainly because it is a wild perverted world out there and one needs to have good control over the mind and body during the growing up years.

This article was published in TheQuint. To read more CLICK HERE

Here’s Why I Am Turning Vegan for a Month

...November is ‘World Vegan Month’ and I am giving it a shot. I’m vegetarian, but have decided to take another step forward to fulfill a promise made to every furry friend I have had. I’m going vegan. To be vegan is to rid one’s diet of not just chicken, meat, sea food or eggs but all animal products including dairy and even honey!

I owe this to Jimmy… to his love and how it has been a blessing to me and my kind for as long as I can remember. Jimmy was my dearest friend and confidante. He was a bow-wow, who helped me deal with my insecurities and fears of a disturbed childhood ridden with several rapes, financial crises and loneliness. All it took for this loving canine to heal me, was listening to me with commitment and compassion as I unloaded some of my heaviest burdens.

Whenever I came back home, Jimmy would greet me with unbridled joy. But when he could sense that something was weighing me down, Jimmy would gently lead me to my room and insist that I shut the door. He would rub his head under my chin and urge me to share my anguish with him....

This article was published in TheQuint. To read more CLICK HERE

Of Devious Devis and Devilish Divas

...Yes, the Sheena story was responsible for Indrani finally losing sheen, but it also highlighted our typical Indian tendency to humiliate women who have had more than one male partner. “She had so many husbands, she was shrewd,” the neighbourhood gossip would wonder aloud as her kitty-party friends nod their heads meaningfully. Indrani has already been pronounced guilty by a section of the news media and society on account of her allegedly colourful personal life even before the actual trial begins. We are judging her on account of her alleged indiscretions! Our collective ‘decency and morality’ demands that all women be (to quote my favourite red-lipped-trident wielding Radhe Maa) “Pure and Pious”. Women are as capable of both good and evil as men or transpersons. Gender or even sexuality does not determine your ability to uphold the law. Why should it be so difficult for us to digest that?

Not so long ago, I read about the case of a boy being sexually abused by his mother. There again, social media was replete with posts asking, “how can a mother do this?” It is almost like saying that fathers as abusers are more palatable!....

This article was published in TheQuint. To read more CLICK HERE

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