No Comment!

When a girl of 6 gets brutally raped and beaten and hangs herself, her parents would like to bury themselves under “no comment.”

When a husband beats his wife, comes home drunk or rapes her, she’d like to look at her best friend or inquisitive neighbour and hide under “no comment.”

When a politician makes comments about how women are responsible for almost urging men to rape them, those in power who have the power to ex-communicate such people, look a reporter in the eye and a mic thrust under their noses and conveniently say “no comment.”

When right thinking people ask a motorbike rider why he’s riding on the wrong side of the road, he looks nonchalantly at you, waves his arm like you’re the one who’s guilty and you can shake your head ruefully in disgust and shrug your shoulders in defeat and “no comment.”

When a daughter looks at her bruised mother and questions the wisdom of being trapped in a loveless, respect-less, fulfillment-less marriage, a mother can only look at her daughter with grief-stricken tearful eyes that cry “no comment.”

When people, women, innocent children and men are slaughtered every single day of every month of every year for simply being born, you look away from gory TV screens and your heart jumps in your throat as you want to cry out at the inhumanity and the insanity and the insensitivity of it all but all you can get is “no comment.”

When corporations blinded by the megalomaniacal aspirations of power, commit crimes on the rest of us in the smallest and most insidious of ways, you wonder why is everyone heartily singing “no comment.”

When your freedom of expression is muffled, and those in power, flesh and blood human beings like you and I, whom we democratically elected, try desperately to gag your freedom to choose, think, speak, act, express, you don’t know whom to turn to, because everyone is wearing a label of  “no comment.”

When your heart is broken, because you just discovered that he’s had a roaring affair and the other is now going to bear his child, your heart lets out a silent scream,”bastard”  but what you hear is “no comment.”

When those rich, super-rich, super super super rich who are regularly featured in the Forbes 100, Forbes 500 and other such lists keep agglomerating their wealth and gloat about it, and you think, but couldn’t they do something more than merely making money, all you get is the sound of your own smirk, “no comment.”

When that man with a different sexual orientation is heckled and hooted at because he’s expressed his love for another man, you look at the eyes of those who are intellectually eloquent at other times, but magically lose their voice when it’s needed most, and all you get is a vacuous “no comment.”

When you see your child’s young, innocent body, ravaged by something incurable, you turn to modern medicine, doctors, surgeons, faith healers, alternative medicine, with hope and a prayer, but all you get is a resigned  “no comment.”

There’s this whole debate going on since the past 2 days about a documentary made by an English documaker Leslee Udwin, on one of the goriest rape cases the world has ever known. The girl died after a battle. Her rapists are today, in jail. There were protests then unlike any this silent, hypocritical, dirty, creepy, supposedly soulful, vibrant, culturally rich, noisy, ostentatious, depraved, morally bankrupt society of ours had ever seen. Reams written, more spoken. Not much has changed since. This documaker interviewed the rapist. And also revealed the identity of the raped and murdered girl. With the written permission of her parents. The documaker allegedly followed the protocol to the T, with letters of permission from the jail authorities, the Home Ministry et al. The rapist allegedly revealed in the film, how he thought that the girl deserved to be raped. After all, she was travelling at night and with a man. And more to that effect.

The debate? How can you air this documentary? The reasons against:
a) it will show India in a poor light and affect tourism (no one, but no one except a wily politician could have thought of this completely laughable excuse)

b) it is contravention of the Indian Constitution article 288 A which states that the victim’s identity shouldn’t be revealed (or whatever that article # is)

c) would BBC have made a documentary about the ISIS beheading one of their own journos and recorded the excruciating details of the beheading and then aired it on their own channel or on other channels?

d) it’s a hidden agenda against the death penalty as it shows the interviewed rapist in a more, what’s the word, in a more sympathetic light.

e) it’s about ethics, about decency, about this and that and all that baloney

Think for a moment.

If the young deceased girl who was mutilated, savaged and brutalised was, by some sliver of a chance alive today, would she have not wanted to hear what and how these rapists thought?

Wouldn’t she want to drive a knife in the hearts and minds of people who defend the right to ban a documentary, but don’t defend a woman’s screams for help?

Wouldn’t she have wanted to rage and rave and rant against those who, are supposedly defending her dignity(even though she is no more) by wanting to ban a film which shows how depraved and disgusting the men in our society are?

Wouldn’t this young girl have got some semblance of normality when there’d be an awakening of the real danger to Indian women, through her story? Where every woman and man (if that’s possible) hung their head in shame?

Wouldn’t this young girl who is now one with the Earth, be proud to tell the world that she fought and fought like a tigress against not just the physical presence of these sub-human creatures as they were tearing into her, but she fought against that very mindset that thought this was how women should be treated?

Wouldn’t this young brave woman have wanted to bring attention to the malaise affecting Indian society? To reveal the denial that we live in – that women are (not) Goddesses and (not) worshiped – and the men are Gods in whose service we must eternally resign ourselves to?

Egos are fragile in our society. The unwillingness and the sheer insecurity of the Indian male to look a woman in the eye and say “Sorry, I treat you bad, I treat you like the shit that’s stuck on the soles of my shoes, I burn you, I beat you, I hang you, I treat you like the sewer that runs beneath my toilet, yet I also need you to spread your legs and accept my yoni and delight in it, whenever, wherever, how much ever I want, because fuck you, I’m the Indian male”, is audacious in its depravity and pathetic in its outlook.

Of course, we must remember that the men are the way they are because they’ve been suckled and nurtured by the very woman who allows him to believe that he’s superman and can actually get away with wearing his underwear outside his pants and everyone will gape with wonder and anoint him God. And guess what? Everyone does gape and he does get away. And all a woman does is gloat, “look, look, my glorious son”.

It’s all very well to point the finger that way, but if only we as life-givers could realise that our responsibility doesn’t end with giving birth. It’s the delivery of the human being that’ll ultimately define us, the woman.

So should the documentary be banned? What say you? “No comment?”
Should we as women, take a large part of the blame for instilling in our male children ideas that eventually come to bite us in the vagina? “No comment.”
Should men stop feeling so wretched about themselves and show a lot more spunk about standing up for who they are and not crouch behind dictatorial penises that lets all hell break loose? “No comment.”

Can we live with men or without men?
Can we live with women or without women?
Can we hope for Life to be fair and just?
Can we hope to be tread as equals?

“No comment.”





Cocooned In A Cafe

Sumatra Coffee

Exotic coffees

The phone range. Young boys, wanting desperately to be men, wanting to make good, wanting some assurance, some help, some advise? “Could you meet us? We think you could help us.” In the age of start-ups, the excitement is palpable. It’s a level playing field and technology has made paupers into kings, and kings into paupers. Believers into agnostics and agnostics into believers. Tomorrow is here. Yes, technology can do that to you.

So these boys wanting to be men asked in earnest. Could I really refuse? Did I want to? It’s a Sunday. Was my rule of not working, taking calls and doing everything that dealt with that 4-letter word that ends in “k” going to be broken? (It’s work you goose, what did you think? Naughty, naughty!). Yes, will meet.

Starbucks. The upmarket American coffee shop has come to town. It’s like any other home-grown coffee shop, just that it’s American and can boast of Regular, Grande, Vente with prices that are actually US$ in conversion mode.

Ambiance Middle-aged women in their kitty-part best. Uncomfortable chairs, high stools which were even more uncomfortable, young men and women with their Apple laptops, other younger girls looking moonily at their unshaved, unclean looking beaus. A buzz. No place to sit. People coming, ogling, wondering, going, staff shouting out names. Girl dressed to the hilt in her high stilettos, a tattoo on the side of her calf, a nude coloured lacy dress and her fashionably unshaved boyfriend on a date? A 35-something woman, looking alternately out of the window and her phone, swirling some brew in her styrofoam Starbucks cup.

The Cafe Cocoons. I get a place to sit by the window just recently occupied by said Ms.Bored Out Of My Skull. Two bucket seats and one settee. The boys wanting to be men are yet to make their presence felt. And my mind wanders. To all of us sitting inside this cafe. Cocooned in our lives. It seems we’re all floating on a cloud that is 30,000 feet above reality. That we in this country of mine are really leading such schizophrenic multiple-personality lives. We’re so wannabe. We’re so insulated. We’re so full of ourselves. Here in this cafe, wearing American branded jeans, talking American, (my bad, true that, you got swag, huh?), using American laptops, drinking coffee that may be coming from our own backyards but it’s Starbucks dude!, to wearing Converse or Nike, with perhaps a slight American twang, we send out the “oh-so-bored” vibe. The money, the style (or lack of it), the desperation to belong to the swish set, and in this melange of the haves, “I’ve arrived” is insidiously working its way into what we call the ‘new normal’. Yes, I know, I’m so boring to even remarking about this. Grow up…don’t be such a hypocrite, what’s wrong with you? I can hear some of you say. There’s nothing wrong I guess. But something about this whole scene gets to me. I don’t know why. Something ain’t quite right about this. No siree!

The real world is far away. The real world of a hunger for education, opportunity, learning, justice, belonging, dreams, is actually such a hazy idea that it’s not real. Cocooned as I am in this cafe, smothered in the pungent aromas of Sumatran coffee (fuck it, who cares), trying to make sense of what that aspiring young man behind the counter, speaking to me in broken English is painstakingly explaining to me about the different coffees, my heart wanders away in some pain. I don’t why, but something ain’t quite right about this. No siree!

Maybe another day, another coffee house with the wonderful name of Kumbakonam Coffee House with an unassuming door in a small building could throw light. Maybe the pretentiousness will give way to raw, unpolished, earthy brews and I’ll feel home again.

Aah home! Where the heart is.

What’s the life you want to have?

You’ve asked yourself this question a gazillion times? Yes? Okay, about a billion times? No? Truth be told, only a few million times. Oh ok, sure. But then, hey, you’re not alone. Who hasn’t asked this question of themselves or been asked this question at a workshop, a seminar, or heard it asked on a podcast, found yourself daydreaming when you see Oprah interview some of her Soul Sunday guests in her beautiful and serene Hawaiian mansion eh?

Well, I don’t know about you, but honestly I’ve been asking myself this question a lot. Not just lately, but for a while now. What is it that I want my life to be filled with? Now this can be looked at as glass half empty, or half full. When I ask myself what is it that I want my life to be filled with, it can mean that my life currently has some gaps and I’d like to have something that I don’t. There’s some lacunae that I need to plug and I’m unhappy about. So my glass is half empty from this perspective.

On the other hand, what is it that I want my life to be filled with can also be looked at as, what more of this life do I want for a future life that I’m envisioning? What’s filling me up right now and what do I really enjoy and love of what I have right now, this very minute. That’s my glass half full.

So let’s do this. Wherever you are right now, sitting, commuting, in the kitchen, on the pot, in a pub, with your folks, kids, lover, wherever, read this piece and do as I’ve explained here. Close your eyes. Imagine you are under a tree in a lovely field full of flowers. Imagine the sun is creating a dappled effect on your skin as it filters in through the leaves of this giant tree. Imagine you can smell the grass and the wild flowers gently swaying to a lovely breeze making them bend this way and then that. Just like a voluptous woman walking slowly to say hello to you in the bar where you’re sitting nursing a drink and thinking ‘woe betide me’. Smell the slightly sharp and sweet perfume of your body mixed with the smell of the earth and the grass and the flowers and the sky. Relax. Imagine. Imagine who you’d like to be with right then, what and who you’d like to be surrounded by, what is the feeling that rises in you when you imagine this. Not the kind of car, not the kind of house, not the kind of clothes, not the shoes or hair or pearls or what have you. F@#$ that! Imagine the feelings that you want to be filled with, when you see the people around you and you around them. Laughter? Stillness? Serenity? Tranquility? Excitement? Passion? Frustration? Joy? Abundance? Fulfillment? Contentment?

What is that feeling? If you can identify that, then you know that that is what you need to be going after, at this very minute, this moment, this millionth of a nano second. Now!
Immerse yourself in the feeling, breathe evenly, and relax for a few mins., or count till 10 and then open your eyes. What do you feel? Sad? Depressed? Purposeful? Determined? Hopeless? Hopeful?

What is the kind of life you want to have is I think about what you really want to feel. I know I want to feel blessed. How can I feel blessed? When I feel a sense of joy, gratitude, warmth and comfort in who I am and who I am with. Right now I’m chasing a mirage – of success and money – in the hope that that will somehow fill my life with the feeling of well being. But the more I chase it, it runs faster and I know I’m getting short of breath. I think I must walk the talk too :). I must let go and immerse myself in the life I want to have. Right now, right this very minute, right now, in this millionth of a nano second.


Changing Routine!

Started out with everyday, then went on to Tue-Thu and now am changing my routine again. Am going to come at you on Mon – Thu from next week.

It’s nice once in a while to change routine. Perhaps this helps avoid stasis. Sometimes it’s nice to kind of do a dance, a brisk shake, especially when those cramps take charge of your limbs when you’ve been stationary in one position for long. And when you stop, you feel the blood rush, your heart pumping a little more energetically, and you feel a smile tearing at the edges of your lips, pulling them apart. Yay! Suddenly life in that moment seems really good. Worth cherishing. All those little moments that we allow to slip by not bothering to give it a second glance, because they didn’t create big impact in the channels of our heart or mind. Memories, life, laughter, love, and happiness are made up of small moments aren’t they? That burst of a smile like a ray of sunshine on a cold wintry day from my 16 month old angelic niece and when she goes “Nenooo”, “Nenooooo” is enough to make me wonder about Life’s wondrous quality, sending a silent prayer and being grateful for everything that made that moment happen. Yes, even for me, usually given to slightly more somber thoughts, Life is about those moments.

So just a little change in routine can make Life seem so differently hued, leaning towards rosy. So there’s something about routine, breaking it and making it. Have you thought about the stasis of the mind? And how just a little shake this way or that could unlock, rejuvenate and set in motion a chain reaction that could in short change your Life.

Let’s go shake a leg. Come on Elvis, Jailhouse Rocks.