Equality. Really?

If equality is what we seek and that’s what is the call of the hour, then where are the stories on women abusing women and women abusing men, when they are in power?!

I find it extremely difficult to live with the fact that each time a woman is abused by a man, the entire globe feels a need to come together and raise an alarm. But where is the same globe and it’s alarm when a woman is abused by another one from the same gender?! And even worse, where are the men who are victims of abuse by women in power?!

Just as all men aren’t saints, all women aren’t saints either. And then when we do get down to getting it all equal, then why aren’t we talking about the abuse that happens right in families, starting with women and other women being silent spectators of it?! Why aren’t we tagging and naming the women who have gone behind to ruin careers of other women at work?! Why aren’t we talking about women who have abused other women at every given point in their house and in social circles?!

If a man checking out a woman counts as an ‘assault’ then a woman checking out a woman too should be counted as an assault. Not all women check out other women out of compassion and sisterhood. Mostly, it is to compare, discard and to judge. So then, if equality is what we seek, let us seek it completely and entirely .. This partial seeking of an equal world where I am a woman and therefore all men are self centred bastards won’t really work.

Celebrity link ups / break ups. 

This Hrithik-Kangana case is fairly interesting. If I bring them down to being two plain individuals and not the celebrities that they are; just as two random individuals, then this forms the basis of what I am going to write next.

Why does it have to be a damsel in distress and a monster man?! Why?! Why does it have to be a powerful man and a not so powerful woman?! Relationships between humans happen all the time. Some last long, some don’t. Some bring out the best in you; some bring out the worst in you. Like a heartbeat, relationships too are conditioned to both the genes and the environment.

There’s no big deal in having sex with whoever you fancy because sex itself is mechanical and is overrated in a relationship. Sex, on its own doesn’t make or break a relation; similarly, promises of marriage or promises of any kind don’t make or break a relation either.

Whether you allow yourself to be an object in any relationship, is a call that you take and a choice that you make depending on your own conditions and circumstances. Like for example (my favourite example), in Sonagachi, a sex worker doesn’t exercise her right in choosing her customer; its money driven. A sex worker’s entire focus, even while she is in the act, is on the money that she’s going to get and her plans for her future. Similarly when you allow yourself to be an user in any relationship, that’s also a call and choice that you make based on your conditions. Like no one can stop anyone in this very world to not have an affair or not to go to a sex worker. It’s like can you stop those men trading women in Sonagachi or can you stop them from abusing or using women?! No. It’s their call, their choice based and hugely driven on and by their conditions.

In a world where on one hand, I have known and seen young girls, as young as 5 years old being sold under a broad umbrella of glittery promises and stability; I find it hard to even read through a woman’s complaints and accusations around promises and uses; especially from a woman who is well established, is educated and is financially capable to earn her bread and butter. More than that, I am disgusted by the media for labelling her as a role model as someone who has spoken her mind and stood up against injustice.

Injustice?! Sleeping with someone by choice and not forcibly is no injustice. Partying with someone by choice and not forcibly is no injustice. Even if all those hanging, kissing and making out were under some kind of a ‘promise’ umbrella, that didn’t work out the way one expected it to be, none of it gives the right to call out words like ‘rape’ or ‘cheat’ or ‘injustice’.

All it does go to show and to learn is this that in this very world, what goes around comes around. The only person that you owe is you and no one else. So when you set out choosing from the vector of choices, you get some right and some are not so right. None of that gives you the right to turn around and be a role model for a man or a woman. None of that gives you the right to play the woman card or the man card either because truth is, you still sit on a broader couch with the right to choose whereas ‘abuse’ is a lot silent and is dealt with in isolation and silence, not through long media interviews or posts.

I keep reading so many opinions on empowerment all the time. I keep reading so many posts that question rituals and find religions baseless. I find it extremely sad and disgraceful that no one has the time and the energy to go and study the roots on which these rituals and beliefs were set up. Most people tend to question the derived versions of the truth and they are also the same ones who mock it, who disregard it too.

Imagine someone waking up in the year 2080 and finding walking on roads to be the most stupid act that humans can possibly do. But natural, by then flying would be so obvious that walking would appear stupid. Think about it, is walking really crazy?! It does serve a purpose to this body that we all live in though!

Hence, while most of us are happy thinking and praising our own egos on how much of a voice, opinion, troll and media coverage we have and get; truth is, it’s all based on derived knowledge. If one literally spends that much of his or her wake time in engaging with and in the real knowledge, one wouldn’t have time and also wouldn’t be interested in indulging or entertaining opinions or judgements of humans around.. Because the more you know, the deeper your desire for silence and stillness is.

And to end this super long post of mine, which I don’t even know why I wrote, but I’ll leave it here saying that it’s about time we move beyond the gender and societal definitions of ‘respect’, ‘status’ and ‘positions’ cards for each of us, with each of us. Turn around and count the number of things and people you love for who they are barring everything! Even if there’s one, you’re human indeed.

Mother or no?

It’s natural. To have a child. To reproduce. Humans making humans. There isn’t anything abnormal in this. Institutions such as marriage, relationship status’s, emotions such as love and all others walk in, surround and play their respective roles in making another human but it’s all so very natural. It is even said that birthing, the process itself take you deeper into your essence than any that you have ever been exposed to.

What is this intense and obsessive need associated with making another human? Perhaps it’s a wrong question to ask. Maybe it’s not need, it’s a desire. The strength of this desire might vary from human to human, circumstances to circumstances, bedroom to bedroom but the honesty that governs this desire never dies.

The questioning of capabilities, the doubts on status’s and the breaking of rule books often leads one to ask one fundamental question – do you want to feel what it means to be a mother at all?

The set of responsibilities, the changing paradigms of self, the fine threads of bonds that you seldom took notice of, everything perhaps changes meanings and hands once you become a mother. Hence, even more crucial than the desire is to know what you feel from your core?

Time and again people have expressed sadness over not being able to be parents, expressed great determination and passion for choosing not to have a child; probably each one of them is right and holds a validity in their own space and time. The bigger question that goes unmasked is this, isn’t it the feeling that runs all these desires that we put on the front and choose not to answer?

When you do get fo the space of answering a question as blunt as this, why don’t you feel like having a child? Or why do you feel like having a child? The answers would themselves find their anchors in your life. Perhaps then you wouldn’t want to even talk about this because healing from the brokenness that’s within, is hard to hold and to pretend.

Defying the natural laws, compromises and adjustments, we all more or less know what they mean. What we need to go back to is to feel what it makes us feel. To be a mother doesn’t necessarily equate to being related to someone in blood; to be a mother perhaps means to be responsible to who you are in your feelings when the odds are low.

Abuse. End.

When I first asked this prostitute in Sonagachi, why didn’t she raise her voice against abuse, she said to me that she couldn’t because she is a prostitute and has to deal with it. I resigned to the fact that perhaps ‘abuse’ is driven by profession. Maybe if she was qualified enough, she would raise her voice against the abuse that she has been subjected to, is what I thought to myself ..

Years later when I asked myself the same question as to why didn’t I raise my voice against the mental and physical abuse that I was subjected to in my own personal space; I realised that education plays no role in raising your voice against anything 😊 Well, I am far more educated than most people on planet earth but I chose to suffer silently than raise my voice.

To suffer, perhaps came pretty naturally to me because maybe somewhere I started believing that I deserved to be abused. Maybe this is when my educated mind took a backseat and boy! It’s been seating at the back for way too long 🤣🤣🤣 I doubt that I have ever loved that back bench in life while I was being given all that education on rights and life but clearly when life happened to me, I comfortably chose the back seat and suffered.

It took me a real long time to open up to my own self and to accept that I was being abused and that I didn’t deserve it 😊 The next thing I needed to do was to either let it continue or put an end to it. This part was where I struggled massively because I was used to it and then suddenly getting in that unknown zone was pretty daunting and of course, I was skeptical of everything and everyone by this time of life.

By this time, mistrust and self doubt were my best friends. I had a strong pull towards putting a stop to this in order to breathe without fear. And I took the long unimaginable nine years to shout my lungs out and say I have had enough of this.

Hence, as I come to the end of 2017, I have a massive learning to share that to recognise the fact that you are being abused might take a while, accepting it might take even longer but then putting an end to it or to carry on with it shouldn’t take you your entire life! And of course, the fear of the unknown will always be there, but then once you stand facing your own fears, I guess a path is bound to appear ❤️

I wish you all, a very best 2018 and an abuse free, humiliation free 2018 in every form and in every space of your being ❤️❤️❤️

Me too ..

When I woke up to the #MeToo hashtag, my first reaction was to type out a status with the tag. But after going back and forth a bit, I decided not to tag along. 

I don’t think sexual assault or sexual harassment or even sexual violence need tags or even that they need  victims of these assaults to unite. They literally don’t. I was reading the book ‘The Spy’ by Paulo Coelho few days back and in that when Mata Hari confessed how she had been assaulted by the headmaster and how it took sometime to realise that he had assaulted other girls too, it did seem that unity and talking about it in open did matter. However, that’s the case of one woman who was thought to be ahead of her times or perhaps that’s just a reflection of how the society is and how the society has been towards women by and large. 

Assaults that happen within homes, within extended families, within friends, within protected boundaries of schools, colleges and universities, don’t necessarily make or break the relations. Just that ‘be careful’ and ‘be watchful’ are added to the victims vocabulary. A long list of ‘don’t’s’ follow soon. Who to mingle with, who to talk to, who to confide in, and more importantly who to trust, then become questions of paramount importance thus paving way to a greater impact on the human mind. 

In this entire whirlpool of thoughts, feelings and emotions, somewhere thinking about your own self takes the front seat and everyone else follow; thus marking empathy as a long distant cousin who is perhaps better if avoided at all costs. Sympathy takes a seat in the front row. Rightfully so because it’s this sympathy that the same individual has received when she or he was a victim of someone’s ego, of someone’s vulnerability or fell prey to someone’s power show. And hence, when it was his or her time, sympathy is what he or she could rightfully provide. 

Rising up for causes, tagging along the existing ones, has always left behind a large proportion of individuals who have forgotten what it feels like to be cared for. They surely know and appalaud the courage of those that choose to relive the dark moments or spots from their lives; but they don’t necessarily know the value of empathy and the importance of their own voice because they have been left in isolation. 

Until of course, like that headmaster of Mata Hari’s school, or like Harvey Weinstein, or like some person A or B or X, we are able to tag the name along to the suffering, I don’t see much point in uniting saying ‘Me Too’ just to add to the fact that sexual assaults happen all the time, all around us, to a majority of us. 

If this has to stop, we need to know the individuals on the other side. The victims side of the story has been spoken about, written about and has been in the media for long. The list of Don’ts have significantly increased over the years. We must be doing something wrong! 

Perhaps we don’t need to unite and raise our voices to say ‘yes! I have been sexually assaulted or harassed’ .. Perhaps we need to unite and say ‘this man or woman has assaulted me or has harassed me’ .. Whoever it is! Even if it’s in your own family, that’s what we need to unite against .. Empathy can only be rebuilt if we know the face of who are fighting against. 

We can’t be fighting against the entire human race! There must be an abundance of goodness otherwise how is it that we wake up everyday in hope and in love?! 

She..

She, died giving birth, 

She, got raped last night, 

She, questioned her salary,

And she, set her washing machine speed right. 
She, quit her job, 

She, mopped the floor,

She, did the dishes,

And she, folded her hands to pray. 
She, looked out of her window at the rising sun, 

She, poured coffee in her mug, 

She, picked the newspaper to read, 

And she, put on her lipstick for the world. 
She, packed tiffins for her clients, 

She, did the same for her kids, 

She, brushed her daughter’s hair,

And she, checked the market shares. 
She, picked up new dance moves, 

She, practiced a new scene, 

She, set her sails right, 

And she, checked her car gears for the night. 
She, crawled in bed next to her lover,

She, put the book aside, pulled her cover,

She, anticipated the money that he would give her,

And she, closed her eyes to let her body feel. 
She, knew she could make her choices,

She, didn’t know she had a choice, 

She, knew there were laws that would protect her, 

And she, didn’t even know she had a voice. 
She, ran independently; as though the world was her play ground,

She, walked watching her footsteps; as though she was being carefully watched. 
She, was fearless in her heart,

She, was timid in her soul,

She, was the woman, she, perhaps never wanted to be,

While she, was in all the women, she had ever known.

What did I learn when I did my first 10k run?

I don’t remember exactly what prompted me to register myself for my first ever 10k run. I don’t know if it was the social cause of rape and gender violence against women in the democratic republic of Congo or if it was a deep inner desire to do something that I had never done before, I don’t really know. 

The race was in London’s Hyde park on 3rd June and there were professionals and regulars too. There was hardly anyone who was a first timer like me or even someone who had never run before. 

I am not sporty and I don’t exercise. Exercising doesn’t come to me as a part of my existence and it doesn’t come naturally to me at all. So after I registered for this 10k charity run, reality hit me and I sat down counting days and thinking of ways to get through to it in my mind. 

I read a lot of posts online on how to get from 0k to 5k in a week and so on and although they all made perfect sense, I had a body that was completely out of sync with everything. I could barely run. I had no sense of time and I was extremely extremely slow. I remember my initial runs, I wouldn’t know where my breaths were and where I was! I was a mess and a diaster at the same time in equilibrium. 

Then came the race day.

It was time to run.. Everyone started running, so did I. People overtook me from right and left and in no time, I was left on my own at the very end. I seriously felt so silly that I wanted to run in the opposite direction and not follow the crowd in front. I could neither keep up with the crowd and neither could I give up. I wanted to give up but then something was stopping me.. 

Turns after turns and at one point something inside me told me that it was just my race; I wasn’t there to compete with the rest. I was running for the first time in my life for a cause that I believed in. I couldn’t give up! I might be slow and walk and run and finish last, it would still be my race. 

I ran and ran and completed my 10k race officially.. And I didn’t come last. I finished my 10k in 1.20.44.. I know it is not the best of timings for a 10k but I am happy that I did it.

So today while I sit and sip my coffee, I remember the race from June 3; and it makes me smile.. I completed it despite me telling myself to quit at the start, I completed it despite what other runners thought of me. I completed it when I got out of my own way.

And my biggest lesson learnt that day was .. It always is our own race, our own pace.. And most of the times, we are the ones standing in our own way 🙂