Monday, December 31, 2012

if you read my last post, you know I had been at the mall, and it was an eventful outing. One of the last things that happened before I got in my car was a simple little confrontation which was really not. Outside the mall stands a line of rickshaws, with the rickshaw drivers standing outside in a bunch heckling any passerby. Not sure if its the holiday cheer or them just being their usual selfs (bangalore is not really famous for decent courteous rickshawallas, especially to outsiders), but today they seemed to a be a bit more, well rude. Anyways, as I passed the bunch, heard the last few words of one of them passing a comment, couldn't make out, but a quick look told me it was to a north eastern couple. Looked (glared really) at the rickshawalla, and he looked back into my eyes and mouthed 'kya boss?', What stuck me was the sound of impunity in his voice, that grin plastered wide, that 'this is my right' feeling he had. He had no clue that what he had done was wrong. 
Ofcourse all of this happened in a split second, I walked on, no second reaction from me. But its always the case, where you get a split second to react and if not then a life time to brood over that inaction.

With all that has been going on after the her brutal attack and untimely death, emotions are running high. Couple of times today, in this incident and something that happened before, I was a bit more sensitive to those leechey eyes. 

There are quite a few things to think about...the impunity that rickshawalla felt, the right some men feel they have over women, our reaction to it, and ofcourse the reason for it all. 

Why do some men think they can tease a girl, pass a lewd comment, molest a girl as part of a crowd and get away with it. A lot of people say that our laws are not harsh enough. We don't have the death penalty for rape cases, well but we do. We do have the death penalty for the rarest of rare cases, and if the incident was a brutal as the one with Damini, then maybe it does come under that criterion. But I don't really think its the laws, the laws of the land are as good as anywhere, I think its the implementation of these laws which is missing. A lot of cases which have gotten highlighted, the police have decided not to take action. And it seems this is more true about rape cases because of the stigma attached to it. 

Giving a death penalty is not really a deterrent. One because, as some noted ex-lawyers are saying, it will just ensure that the rapist kills the victim, and frankly, I think rape is an outcome of insanity (or हैवानीयेत   which is an apt word) and in that moment on insanity, the fear of a death sentence won't help. But more then that, its not the right thing to do. I have my thoughts on capital punishment, and I won't go into them here, but I don't think that unless there is pure evil present without any chance of reform, should death penalty be given. It should not be given to soothe the wounds of the wounded, that will be revenge and we are better then that. That said, I haven't suffered, and so its easy for me to be principled about this. 
I also don't think castration or 'eye for an eye' is the answer. Because then there really won't be any difference between them and us, we will be as savage as they are, and in turn justify their savagery. 

the right men feel they have over women, well if you read some of my older posts, I have always maintained that women are better then men, if men were fair, women would have long back found a way of generating that 'y' and discarded men. But men, I believe have always have had this inferiority complex, have had this insecurity and so they somehow or the other want to oppress women to feel superior. A lot of what I have heard about rape as a crime (mostly from Law and Order really) is that more then sexual gratification, rape is about power. It is about nothing men trying to enforce their ego on a woman. that might also explain the husband and wife kinda rapes. 

Is this animal instinct, well no, I don't see it in animals. From all that I know, females in every species chose their mates, and have a right to reject prospective mates and defend themselves. But then we humans are the most evolved in the line aren't we!

our reaction to it all, well just the fact that we as a nation have reacted, in whatever way, is encouraging. There are people who are on the roads protesting, bearing the lathi charges and the water canons, then there are people updating their facebook profile pics with big black dots, and even more (like me) who are just watching the news, and a few cynics, who always will be cynics. But there is reaction, even if fueled by the news channels and social media. 

This is not the first case in India, this is not the first case in Delhi, its sad that the case needed to be this brutal to wake up the country. The cynics say this won't go anywhere, I kinda agree. A couple of laws will be changed at the most maybe. But I think what this will do is sensitize people more towards such things. It hopefully will be more difficult for men to make lewd comments and get away with it, it hopefully will be easier for girls to confront guys. 
but more then anything, I think the biggest change will be for people to realize that its not ok. People will realize that its not ok that a girl cannot travel alone in a metro late at night, that is not ok for a rickshawalla to gawk at a lady, for a college student to pass a lewd comment on a fresher. Like everything else, we, Indians will realize that its not part of life to worry about our sister, mother, girl friend or wife's safety all the time. 

and last, the reason behind it all, very few are talking about that. Its that basic respect for women lacking in us and here I mean from both men and women. Men are brought up to think that they are superior, or women are inferior. and frankly, its not just men, women also are brought up to think the same. I am amazed at the number of dowry / rape cases where the main culprit is a woman. Woman themselves think they are inferior, and this conditioning has to change. 

Another smaller reason is that men are not sensitized towards women, I remember a comment an ex made once on me, since I don't have a sis, i don't know how to be sensitive towards girls and today I realize she was quite right. Take that up a couple of notches, men who have never been around women, who have studied in boys schools or brought up in regions where women are separated from men, they either will end up being really shy or really agressive. 

I don't know if there is a quick solution to this, changing laws in my opinion won't go to far, what will is women standing up for themselves, and men standing behind them, with them and hopefully in front of them when they do. Long term, educate our kids, men and women both have equal right to this world, both have very differing but ultimatly complimentary skills. Educate our kids such that they don't even have the question of who is superior, they never have the notion of equality. 

And finally a heartfelt apology to Damini. Am appalled at the deeds of some of us (men), I cannot even begin to imagine your pain, in one way am thankful that you are a place where the horrors of this world cannot touch you again. 

I am sorry. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

last before the new year

and first after a long time...the thing about having a lot of things on you mind is that you don't really that empty space left to tie them all together into a blog post, its like filling up a hard drive such that there is no contiguous space left to process the thoughts...
anyways with that mindless tech talk, was in the mall today, sounds like am living in rural america, in a state like wisconsin in the 70's and saying, 'oh, nothing, just went to the mall'...guess thats what Bangy and most of the 'urban' india is like today. Anyways, went to the mall to do some more then just window shopping at a furniture store and then some clothes store...yea am getting married soon, so this is how lifes gonna be. Anyways (third time in one para), after a long time was just noticing people around, and saw some many different things in that half an hour I was there. 
Saw a group of 10 - 12 guys standing in a tight circle, laughing and making merry, and my immediate thought was is there a girl stuck in there who they are groping or sth of that sort. Checked and it was just guys fooling around, but then the instant thought was because of all the things going on today, everyone says that all the protests and all are useless, will die down with time, things will stay the same, but atleast now people and I, are looking out, noticing things. We have become so used to this stuff that its become second nature to be on call with your sister or mom or girlfriend or wife if they are out alone, travelling in a bus or a train or sth, and well why? 
so more about that later, don't wanna ruin another blog post, anyways short on ideas...
next stop was the furniture store, and this was not just a store, it was a imposing 5 storey building selling everything from door knobs to all leather lazy boy rip offs...nothing really eventful there though. Just a towering 5 storey building selling everything from door knobs to lazyboy imitations...such a long way from the days of the local carpenter seizing a room to design and make that TV cabinet mom wanted for a long time, and dad heckling with him on a daily basis. And I always ask, what was wrong with those days, what really was wrong with that furniture, it used to look ok, was functional (for most part) and durable, but the consumerism bought on by the humongous 5 storeyed stores still succeeded. 
went to Apple shop, have started telling Ado its my temple, but don't really believe that now, no more after god of design decided to shift base to heaven, but still, has the best product. It was crowded, but not like some other gizmo stores, in US, Apple stores are gauranteed to be choc-a-block crowded, not really sure why its different in India. 
As I was walking out (I did go there for a purpose btw, not just to gawk at the iPhone or iPad), as I opened the door, a small girl was blocking the door, shouting, almost pleading to her dad to come into the shop. She was wearing a very pink frock, had oiled hair, braided, was 12ish I think, totally out of place, but excited. Somehow very out of place, especially in the Apple store. She didn't have the greedy eyes of someone who wanted to buy and iPhone and couldn't, she just had plain excitement, and just wanted to share it with her dad. I looked up to see her dad, and understood it was not plain excitement she wanted to share, it was her dad's sorrow she wanted to share. He was standing by the railing, looking towards the shop, back to the 3 floor cutout, and he was wearing the simplest of white shirts and white trousers. Chappals. Face seemed to have a blank look, but really was hiding a deep pain, like he has lost someone close, like even though he wanted his daughter to be happy, like even though he wanted his daughter to get over the grief and enjoy, he himself couldn't. And his daughter wanted to do the same for him. Somehow she was able to let go of the grief, he couldn't. Guess with age we just like holding on to our pain more then our happiness. Guess with age, we have more to look back on then to look forward on. 
After a long time, a scene stuck me, and even after walking out of the store, was staring back to see...such is life today, miss out on these little scenes which have a whole story behind them. 
Moving on (it did take a long time), next stop was kalmane coffee, sitting alone, sipping on nice kappi premium, head this entire conversation between two guys and a girl, the girl hardly speaking. Childhood friends, the guys, born n brought up in the US, one guy moved to India, before or after marriage I don't know, wife an Indian, accent and mannerism told me had not lived in US for too long. Second guy moving to Aussie land and meeting an old friend after long time. Same old banter, about old times, old friends, married guy was a bit ahead in the family game so giving the other guy some advice. mend you ways...girl hearing all, but feeling totally out of place, must be an arranged marriage. and I instantly connected, was wondering, how ever much you want, you really can't have a unique life unless you go into the depths of it, if you see from a height, ur life is the same as the next guys!
Coffee finished, shopped a bit, somehow the people helping in shops, shopping assistants, instantly know whether your are gonna buy or not. and knowing that they, sometimes, some of them atleast, still give such awesome service. Am surprised how even after knowing that you are gonna fail, you still pursue the cause. 
Saw a phirang, three fourths and tee shirt, loafers, aimlessly wandering around. You don't really see phirangs stranded in foreign countries with no choice, they usually have the choice to go back to their homes, its mostly Indians who end up in phirang lands away from their families and friends on festivals and stuff, but well, times are changing I guess. 
event ful half an hour must say, it always is at such crowded places, be it hospitals or railways stations or well, malls!
Happy New Year folks, the year didn't end, but do ask yourself, what really will be the difference between Dec 31st and Jan 1st for you. Except for the fact that the YYYY field will change, is there any real difference. Still the same job, still the same schedule, still the same mentality. Wonder why the fuss about New Years, its not even a festival, but guess its just about new beginnengs, or that marker for new is such a long continous story, we need to break it into chunks to understand it, get a hold of it. A new year is as good a way as any!
Happy 2013 people, a day early, but then how does it matter. :)
Take care