Showing posts with label Law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Law. Show all posts

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Guest Post: It’s not what it looks like. Its me!


Over the past few weeks, India has latched on to its newest hashtag - #MeToo.
Dozens of women have called out men with any semblance of power and accusations of how they harassed, abused, molested, tortured, or in any way inconvenienced them.
The men who have been accused have predictably reacted with shock, denial, and counter-accusations. Some have even apologised. 

And as usual, the media has taken sides - We are pro-feminists. And as always, we have condemned the men in the courts of our consciences.

So in the spirit of coming out and calling out, I want my 5 minutes of fame too. 

I am a 36 year old Indian woman, born and brought up in New York. I was drugged and raped by my friend at a frat party. I’ve been ‘raped’ twice since then by men who wanted to be my boyfriends and then dumped. 

When I moved to India 10 years ago, I thought my past was behind me and I could leave the scars of my past behind. How wrong I was!

My first boyfriend was a wonderful man. Or at least I thought he was. Until I started to work late nights. His patience and ‘understanding nature’ wore thin and his suspicion grew. He wanted to know who I was with and why I had to work late every night. He couldn’t believe a woman needed a career for all the real reasons a man needed one. 
The first time he ‘raped’ me, it was after a miserable argument where he said, emphatically, how he didn’t need my money. He needed my body and that’s all there was. He apologised to me the next morning. 
A week later, it happened again. 
And again.

I thought my boss, a woman, would understand what I was going through. I guess I just needed a hug, an ally to tell me I’ll be fine. 
It didn’t happen. Pouring my heart out to my boss only appeared to give her more power over me. She camouflaged power over me as empathy and I misread her signals. We’d meet over weekends and drinks at a pub transitioned into drinking at her home. After one of those binges, we ended up in bed. Now, I never knew I was bisexual and I don’t think I’m even attracted to women that way, but I know she knew what she was doing. The morning after was confusing to me. She pacified me and suggested I let it go as a ‘one off’ and move on. 

Working with her felt awkward. She was patient and wanted me to let time erase the memories. Sure. But it didn’t. 
Her patience began to wear thin. She started sidelining me in meetings and projects and it wasn’t too long before I began hearing hushed rumours about me. None of which mattered because I knew rumours and lies have short legs. 

That’s when Raj (fictional name, ofcourse) joined my team. Being a previously married man who had to fight hard for his divorce, he could cut the animosity in the office with a knife. Gradually, he learned how to separate fact from fiction and we made a good team. 
We’ve been dating each other for the last 4 years and he’s been patient with me. He has learned to deal with my trust issues and we still make a great team. 

But that’s not what this is about. 

Indians have been great at shaming other people.
We wear our hypocrisy on our sleeves and we, childishly, believe shaming another person is the most appropriate punishment/encouragement we can give. Partly because we are on our high-horses all the time and partly because we feel entitled. 

I’ve heard memes and jokes about how parents would shame their sons into doing better than Sharmaji’s son. Daughters, of course need to cook, knit and learn skipping ropes before being sold to the highest bidder when they reach their 20’s. 

We have our priorities terribly mixed up.

India is a country where a woman is raped every 20 minutes.
We have an appalling conviction rate. And even when prosecuted, it is just a matter of money and time, before the rapist will walk free. And one day, even become your legislator. 

India is a country where marital rapes will happen. A fact that has been endorsed by the highest court of the country. 

India is a country where female genital mutilation happens. Google for it. If men were subjected to something even remotely heinous, they would have fought hard to stop this.

India is a country which has states like Kerala. One that talks tall about the sex ratio, their matriarchal society and more. But try walking in a skirt and a T-shirt in Thiruvanthapuram and you will be ogled, bumped into, and groped. It isn’t any different in any other district within the State either. I was once catcalled when cycling within Wayanad. And I wasn’t even alone. 

Our sanitation standards are poor, economical inequality all pervasive, adulteration is rampant in the food we eat and the milk we drink. We can’t seem to get our roads done the way it should. We can’t seem to follow traffic rules for the life of us. We don’t have the political or moral will to treat each other with respect. Yes, there are a lot of issues within India. 

Getting groped, molested, harassed is bad. But so are acid attacks and rapes. 
I know because I’ve been raped, molested, groped and harassed. I’ve also had consensual sex with men and sometimes that was that and we never explored the step ahead. I know colleagues who have had to sleep with men. Sure it was for getting that promotion (which might have never come). But it was definitely consensual at the time she chose to sleep with him. Do you think she should sue him in, say, 10 years from now?
Do you think I should sue all the men and my boss for sexually abusing me? 
The abuse does leave scars but that is why I am in therapy. 

This movement will gain traction. Because none of the men will want to call out the hypocrisy of the women. Doing so will paint a target on their backs. 

Men I speak to are terrified. I know men who have started calling their exes (going back 15 years) just to apologise. They call it ‘I am sorry for hurting you and leading you on’. 
I call it Anticipatory Bail. 

Women on the other hand have got a new weapon. It’s an addition to a repertoire of tools that lakhs of women have used in the past. Case in point: Jasleen Kaur.
Thousands of estranged wives have abused Article 498A and the Domestic Violence Act to exact revenge on their men and his family for many many years.
This revolution is the newest tool in the hands of women who want to take down men. Either because the sex was bad or the outcome was not good enough. 

This movement couldn’t have come at a worse time. We don’t trust our banks, we can’t trust our politicians and now, we won’t trust the opposite sex. 

Women never had it easy in our country. We’ve had to fight for everything we wanted. 
And now, it will be a heck a lot harder.

But then it isn’t only the men who can do all this to women, right?
There are an equal number of ruthless women who do the same to men and other women. Raj was raped by men when he was a child. He was harassed at work by a woman too. 

Shouldn’t we treat crimes against another individual, whether male or female, equally? 
What’s happened to the practice of filing a lawsuit when a crime has happened?
What happens when the accuser is proven wrong? What happens to the person who she/he accused? 

So like I said, men are terrified. And if they’ve abused a woman in any way. They should be. This is the beginning of the end for them.

But women beware. Because if your allegations are false and if the men you accuse could get to the powerful positions they are right now, you can be sure as daylight follows darkness, you will be hunted down and made an example. And unlike Jasleen Kaur, you will not be spared. 
But if what you say is true, more power to you. File a lawsuit if you have enough evidence to back your allegation. Seek therapy for the wounds within. You’ll come through this stronger than ever.

In the meanwhile, the Courts should sit up and take notice. Or else this will be beginning of another sordid saga that will spiral into a social nightmare that will hurt both men and women in ways that we can’t conceive yet.



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

While I was gone... Part 1/3 [April 2013]

You've got to admit it - the last 10 days have been as colorful as India could be on Holi.
Journalism is a strange bed-fellow. Virile, youngish men and women burn their midnight oil to write utter garbage.
But this I say 'Journos, we are no longer shocked by anything that Indian men will and can do. Atleast not after the litany of "brutal" crimes against women since December 16, 2012. We know Indian men will do everything (in)humanly possible to any women they can lay their eyes on. We cried 'No More' and we got more'.

But I will make a difference. I will not talk about how a dozen young men forced themselves into the house of a 21 year old lady, and beat her family up. Nor will I talk about how 2 minors were confined and raped. or how a man raped his own aunt over a property issue.
But this I will say, for all you girls who were wooed by young men with raging hormones, don't break up with them or you may get kidnapped, raped, tortured and even splashed with some acid of choice. This advice is also for men who could get raped like this poor fellow.
There begins a lifetime of therapy.

While the victims are sentenced to a lifetime of shame and pain, the accused will be treated and feted by our tax rupees.
Isn't it strange how the accused always threatens the victim(s) of 'dire consequences' if reported to the police. Isn't getting abused and violated, dire consequences of being a women in itself?

More food for thought - What can men who throw acid on women possibly gain? While I won't fight for Death to rapists, I will definitely lobby death for acid-throwers. About 90% of the rapes in India happen at the spur of the moment. Not too many rapes are elaborately planned or premeditated. While this won't absolve them of their crime, killing them is far too easy a punishment. On the other hand, men who throw acid in retaliation plan their crimes in great detail. They are aware of what acid can do to human flesh and do it to put 'her in her place'. They want to destroy her. They want to 'teach her a lesson'. What lesson are we ready to teach the two unidentified men who threw acid on 4 sisters?
At the other end of the spectrum, a brave victim at Patna delivered justice to her rapist. While I laud her courage and determination to do this, I wouldn't want the people to take the law in their hands. An eye for an eye will only make the world blind. We need to resuscitate our justice system and we shouldn't rest until she is up.

Last year, couple of legislators with plenty of time on their hands decided to check out mankind's best reason to use the internet, and the nation erupted. While the country has been strangely bereft of any sex scandals (of the consensual, non-violent kind) one young BJP legislator in the southern State of Karnataka decided to end the drought of no sex. While I haven't seen the hidden sex video yet, I wouldn't hold my breath either. Naked hairy Indian men are no fun to watch.

Last month, it was Cadbury. This time, it was Nokia. Looks like our IT dept just put up the 'Hunting Season' boards.


In 'End of the World' news, North Korea rattled with rhetoric. Russia and China, one time allies of the war-torn economy, warned the West against pushing Korea's buttons. The strange thing about rhetoric like this neither the US nor the Koreans will survive a full blown nuclear war. Korea can move their missiles any bloody way they please, but the truth is no one likes the barrel of the gun pointing at them.

Over the course of the last 10 days, it has shut down its only link with the South and has forced foreign embassies out. Did someone say Chernobyl? Gee! You think so! 

The pattern is evident.
The Americans who are daring the Koreans to fire the first missile have themselves invaded and devastated economies when it profited them. Case in point- Iraq, Afghanistan. No one found any evidence of the 'weapons of mass destruction'. Instead what they left behind was an economy in tatters. Am amazed at how the Americans now think that only the Koreans are engaged in bellicose rhetoric yet have indulged in plenty of bellicose rhetoric themselves. No ones the wiser.
The North Koreans have, on the other hand, had cozy alliances with countries that have been selling nukes for the right price. For all that we know, the Koreans may have a missile that could wipe off South Korea, Japan and the East Coast but lets hope the 'experts' are right when they say 'the Koreans can't possibly have nukes or the weapon systems'.

Financially and otherwise, a war between the two could suck the whole world in. For the Americans, this could be Vietnam 2.0 and for the rest of us - the end of human civilization as we know it. The Koreans aren't exactly looking at winning this war, but to just prove a point. What surprises me is not how the North has been behaving but how US has been cornering them. Despite their treaties, the Americans and the South Koreans have been taunting them with war exercises in the years since. The war cries don't seem to die and I have the funny feeling that we are headed towards the plunging end of a waterfall. Any last wishes?

The Indian Army announced an 'ambitious' programme to upgrade its entire fleet of 2000 infantry combat vehicles plus equipment. Rough 'back of the envelope' calculations brings the cost of such a massive upgrade to a couple of trillion greenbacks. Russians, Europeans and the Americans can now wipe the drool of their chins. Here comes another gazillion dollar scandal.
Maybe we should have privatized our Army and let our companies equip them. Atleast that's how our young IT companies have been arming our Maoists. Do the people who run these companies have any conscience?

The desi version of CIA, NIA announced with much fanfare that it was going to probe and punish the Italian marines. Italy twitched. I can almost hear the phones ringing at #7 Race Course. Sonia, where's your patriotic duty?!

Cyprus is sinking, but in a glimmer of rare hope thousands of prisoners donated their savings to help keep a voluntary clinic open.

Our lawmakers can probably take a clue or two from Washington when it put 2 fifth graders on trial for a foiled attempt in raping and killing a female classmate. They stand trial as juveniles. No ugly marches, no candle-light vigils and no 'castrate/hang the bastards' placards. What divides us from US, is how they trust the law to take its course.

India switched itself to Poll Mode, with BJP and Congress announcing their lists of candidates. In the next couple of weeks and months, we will get to hear of liberal dollops of freebies in the Indian version of the 'Joy of Giving'.
After his hectic 'Free Sanju' campaign Katju, helpfully pointed out how 90% of Indians vote on caste lines, like cattle and sheep. Well, what's wrong with cattle and sheep? Don't we travel cattle-class already?

Kerala, God's Own Country, continued to be in the spotlight after one of its more colorful State Minister was charged of domestic abuse, adultery and everything that his wife could possibly think of. What followed provided fodder for an entire society that has been fed on sleazy soap opera dramas.

While we are allowed to watch Sex and the City, watch what you tweet. Your David Dhawanisque joke could land you on your butt.

Big blow for big Pharma. Indians can now afford to get cancer after the country's apex court struck down a lengthy patent battle for Novartis AG's cancer drug Glivec

Uncle Sam wasn't happy about this.
Pope washed the sinner's feet, and raised the eyebrows of conservatives and orthodox Catholics around the world. 
Malya came, he tried, he lost. The flamboyant liquor baron lost another battle to stop his creditors from selling his crown jewels.
While our economy is in doldrums, we can rest assured that our apex bank is secure. A Keralite was arrested and detained for trying to enter the Reserve Bank of India. All this for publicity. What a Loser! Doesn't he know Poonam at all?

Yesteryear actress and all-round hottie Manisha Koirala is still the really beautiful lady that she was. She is back! No catchphrases, no ads, no tacky wristbands. Only sheer grit and determination. You go girl!


So while Mrs Koirala has been finding work and doing better, another Bollywood actor has been bed-ridden and forgotten. May we beg of your largesse here, please?
In other Bollywood news, Sanjay Dutt had a change of mind after his tearful PR exercise and filed a review petition. Bollywood and even a former Supreme Court justice threw their collective weight around the 'Free Sanjay' circus trailer.

I want you all to take a good long look at this- This is what ails India.
In a country that has been plagued with terrorism since its Independence, when its highest legal authority passes a verdict that is beyond review, what makes influential people think they can campaign for freedom and arm-twist the government (and the court) to reverse it? Is the justice system different for the common man and for those in the limelight? Dutt deserves to go to prison if for what he has done. Lesser mortals are thrown into prison for lesser crimes. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Not for me, not for you, definitely not for Mr Dutt.

India's poster boy for Boxing faced the music and had to give some of his hair and blood samples.  People in sport denying doping allegations are becoming old. I think we need sportspeople who will dope and then admit it. That would be something new and refreshing. See, in about a few years from now, Vijender will fail a dope test and then admit taking drugs. So why not save us all the drama, confess and join Bollywood.

Bad news for criminals starting this year.. our President, Judge and Executioner in Chief Mr Pranab Mukherjee had a busy day signing, and we all got a new Criminal law. So, unless you really want to live in prison for a long time, either get into politics or get a new career. And oh yeah. Stop whipping your d*ck out because he also signed a new anti-rape law.

For Obama, From Australia. With Love.


So until I'm back with more wonderful news of the incredible times we live in, here's some pearls of wisdom:
Women- Please electrify your undies.
Indian Men- err.. Nevermind.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

No green grass [320/365]

Many years ago, if you had a relative who worked in the Gulf, you'd be proud of the accomplishment. Then a few years later, if you had relatives in the UK, you'd know that they have achieved the pinnacle of good living.
And if your kids immigrated to the US, then you'd know that their lives are settled. India was never the place to live, work or play.

From the other side of the rose-tinted glasses, they would disown everything Indian. Accents are acquired, the sari and the churidars traded for business formals and mini-skirts, and your relatives in India become those village cousins that they knew once upon a time faster than you could say Namaste.

Parents and relatives would call their Westernized 'children' after 9pm IST to save on the long-distance phone charges but then came broadband internet and Skype.
After all, our western relatives - with two cars, two kids, two jobs, one dog, one house and seven credit cards - were living the dream.


We would never know that they are living hand to mouth, in mortgaged homes, driving in cars that were bought at a local used car dealer for discounted price, buying groceries using coupons, struggling to raise their children because daycare is too expensive and working in companies that will fire them without any notice. The grass is really not even a shade of green there.

Our disdain for our motherland is exceptional. Yet, the brain drain wont stop. Nor will the constant complaints about how India is 'so dirty, ugly, corrupt and yucky'.
So today, a piece of news struck me- A qualified Indian dentist who immigrated to Ireland after her marriage died due to complications from her miscarriage.
There are a few nuggets about this incident:

Savita was very well loved and respected in the community that she adopted.
She was denied an abortion since Ireland is a 'Catholic country' despite her repeated requests.
What good is a religion that professes to love life but ends up killing a person?
Why were the doctors reluctant to implement an earlier rule that mentioned they can surgically terminate a fetus if it was detrimental to either the child or the mother?

From a humanitarian perspective, this is an open and shut case. Save life.
Trouble has been brewing for the Catholics for a while now. Their utter disregard for life - in the form of pedophile priests and cover-ups and now abortion is a terrible irony and reminder of how the religion is indeed very archaic and needs urgent overhaul.
Savita's unfortunate and untimely death could have been the most high profile of such injustices but I am pretty sure this isn't an anomaly. For doctors to have refused abortion so strongly, it appears they have been doing this routinely.

If this were in India, I am quite sure a dozen hot-blooded fools would have smashed the jollies off the doctors responsible for this atrocity and then the case would drag on for a few years. Probably with an acquittal in the end. But in Ireland, after worldwide scorn and much unwanted attention, they are finally doing what they will need to do to ensure that this does not happen again in the future.

The doctors can thank their parents and the strange quirk of luck that they were not born in India and will live another day to refuse abortion, because Ireland is a Catholic country

Maybe Savita accomplished more than any one of us would ever have- Change the archaic laws of a mindless country.

RIP Savita.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

PG: Sex [116/365]

One of the most fascinating things about Indians is how we treat sex.
We know everyone's doing it. We invented the KamaSutra. Some more than the others. So every couple of months, our law-makers and it's guardians feel the need to revise rules on what is right and what is taboo.
A couple of years ago, the justice system rattled the hornet's nest when it declared 'live-in' relationships as legal.
Today, it achieved another landmark by declaring sex with a person under 18 as illegal. (Read the rousing news here)
But wasn't it illegal already? And if it wasn't, what took them so long?

There are two sides to this.
The proponents of this law, rightly, believes that a person under 18 does not fully understand the physical and emotional ramifications of intercourse.
And the opponents of this think they deserve to do whatever they want whenever they want to.

Now, let me think.
I support the theory that individuals below the age of 18 cannot make informed decisions that includes things like having wild sex. But then again, I know a lot of people who are 24 and still don't know how to rein in their hormones or make proper decisions. If this law is designed to protect children from being victimized at home or elsewhere, they surely have erred. In a land where adults who have victimized don't get justice, what hope can children have?
I also understand what the opponents of this law say, when they demand the right to do what their bodies are telling them to do. Stifling them leads to piles and constipation.
Surprisingly, all of the opponents are the 'victims' of this law - Students. One particular comment of a student who was asked why he thinks this law should be repealed was, 'We hit puberty at 13. What are we supposed to do for 5 years?!' My answer - 'Study, Einstein'.
source: abovetopsecret.com

While I still know of a lot of women and men who are virgins right into their late 20's, I also know of a lot of school going children who are desperate to loose their virginity. But there is something so disturbing when children demand to have sex even before they can vote. Not that the elections are something to look forward to, but aren't children supposed to be studying and excelling in their academics/sports or something? Yes, I'm really old fashioned. 

But what is the role of the Supreme Court of the country when it sits a bench to decide on legislature like this?
It appears that we never seem to learn from experience. Prohibiting something can only make it more rampant. Underage sex becomes the forbidden fruit.

Fed on a rich diet of sexual innuendos and movies, our children are dying to just do it.
Setting an age is counter productive. Shouldn't we actually be educating our children to make informed decisions? Setting an age of consent is never going to work. 

Conditioning them to think on their feet rather than their genitals will.


Friday, February 24, 2012

NCTC [54/365]

We love acronyms!
We love to shorten the names of our movies, our government agencies and myriad departments and mundane programmes.
Why we even 'acronym'ize our college faculties. I've had HVD, who taught me Statistics; DYR who taught me English poetry and DNV, who taught me Maths. Come to think of it, I've never really found out the 'real' names behind the acronyms.
So while the real world has agencies like NREGA and programmes like JnNURM and such tongue twisting terms, every so often if you are fortunate you'll hear of a new acronym.
The Dope
Congratulations! Today is your lucky day. In today's lesson, you'll hear of NCTC (aka National Counter Terrorism Center). While developed and supposedly secure nations like the US already have the NCTC in place, India hit a road-block called Democracy. (Read about the exciting new blunder here)

Okay, now what is the NCTC?
Put simply and in the words of it's creator Home Minister P Chidambaram: "As the name suggests, the goal is to counter terrorism. Obviously, this will include preventing a terrorist attack, containing a terrorist attack should one take place, and responding to a terrorist attack by inflicting pain upon the perpetrators."
Noble

So why is this bad for us?
While I am for greater security and a nation where we won't have to worry about getting killed by terrorists, I think having a committee like this is infringing on our freedom and privacy as a citizen and inhabitant, I believe we need to start customizing our security plans so that we win a consensus while still being effective in deterring any more attacks. While many of our States have rightly opposed the Bill, some politicians are simply stonewalling any attempt at progress.
Leaders like Mamata B appear to be rather starched against any Bill that the Center would like to bring in.

Our leaders pretend to be governing for our benefit, protecting us and shielding us from the unfortunate controversy that the beleaguered Home Minister has served. But this is not surprising considering how the national government has made all it's decisions in secrecy and with an innate sense of arrogance. But given the clout that many regional parties and the media hold, it is highly unlikely that the government or any of it's puppet masters will get away with laws that suit themselves more than anyone else.

All said, the NCTC may be the last Bill that a weakened party which is barely holding on to its dynasty reins will like to have during its last few months in power.

Recommmended Read: WikiLeaks!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Love thy Neighbor... Dirty his doorstep

If there is one advice that I have struggled with is 'Love thy neighbor'.
For an advice that is so simple yet in many ways the easiest way to resolve all conflicts, to love your neighbor is so difficult.
My neighbor is such fine example in my defence.
A family of 1, the lady of the house has a very simple way of screwing my mornings. She simply soaks my morning newspaper while washing her 4 yards of porch! And no, it didn't rain.
She allows all the dirt to flow so that along with the morning paper, I also get the muck.

Clever, I must say.
Vengeance had crossed my mind a billion times and it is so much easier to hurt back. But that is what Satan always wants us to do. Thoughts like: 'Why should we do any less?' 'I must show her who's boss' 'Two can play this game'
But what happens when we hurt back?
A few weeks ago, when I had the chance to go to court for urgent personal errand, I realised that there were tons of people there too. It's an ocean of humanity!Why are there so many people litigating and squabbling? 

Ofcourse the attorneys are laughing their way to the banks.
But if only we could set aside the temptation to retaliate.
All said and much done, it is difficult to not remember how hurt we got. It is like when you get an itch, you have to scratch yourself to satisfy it. And until you do, that itch grows to huge proportions that every thing else is less significant. We are led to believe that by retaliating our oppressor would feel cowered by our might,  would understand that we only hurt back because they hurt us first, and would probably hope that they do not retaliate back. Tall Wishes, young man! Because soon you are the oppressor.
We get drawn into a silly circle of revenge, vengeance and before you know it, you are the greater monster of the two.

I'm not going to wish for world peace and that poverty be wiped off the face of the earth. That's for beauty contestants to say at beauty pageants.
But I do hope that we learn to forgive one person a day.
Do one good deed to one stranger a day.
Give a little more goodness than you get atleast once a day.
Learn to step into the shoes of atleast one person you encounter and say a kind word, a day.

Smile!

And, on the brighter side, if you start loving your neighbor, you won't have to love your enemies, because you won't have any!
But in the meanwhile, I am still drying the soggy wet newspaper before I can read it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

When innocence becomes the Prey..

Picture this gruesome scene;
A beautiful young girl not older than 10 years, is lured by candy and free ice cream, by a 'nice uncle' so that he can have sex with her.
Having gone through a similar experience I can tell you that she would be confused at what is happening, bewildered at the way the nice uncle is removing her clothes without asking her and shocked at the physical and emotional pain of the act. No matter how long or what really happened after that, that young girl or boy is scarred for life.

He or she will harbor unreasonable fear of intimacy in relationships and would most probably pass the fear and phobia to their children..
All it took for the years of trauma was that one person in the child's life who took advantage of innocence.

Our newspapers are filled with daily instances of rapists.
They feign 'chest pain' after they 'surrender'.
Now, if you ask me, they need to feel the pain of the my swift kick right below the belt. Human rights and gull shit, I would have wanted him put behind bars and castrated in the most medieval ways. But thanks to how things run in India, where even News channels run on TRPs, where which Actress got slapped by which director gets more media coverage than real issues of the society, where news is sensationalized by corny montages of still images repeated in a loop, it is anybody's guess why an issue like this does not even get its 15 minutes of murmur.

As long as we have men and women living together in a society that chooses to sweep issues with sex under the carpet. Or possibly it is because incest and rape among family members is so common in the Indian society that a news like this would embarrass us and shame our own conduct.
I have known several friends whose relatives and friends who have raped or molested them, but the victims are too frightened to talk about it or against them, since their families would never believe them in the first place. My Mom didn't believe me when I told her that 'a man hurt me down and touched me down' and probably would never. The perpetrators will go Scott free living a completely guilt free life. Some of them get caught but a large majority will live the social high life.

Shakespeare once wrote 'The Child is the father of Man'

This saying resonates in so many levels with so much poignancy.
Rape and all kinds of sexual crime against children and women must be condemned more than other crimes. Capital punishment is so easy on the victims. Castration sounds like a good plan, but that's just my personal yet brutal opinion.

Why would an adult prey upon a child and rob him/her of their childhood memories?
How do we deter future predators from ruining innocence while still upholding human rights?

Deciding the quantum of punishments for rapists is a thin line, that must be thread carefully.
Making sure that our laws don't encourage future predators is as important as punishing that rapist now.
Setting an example that will deter and defuse the urge to commit the crime should be decided on case by case.

The judiciary must get beneath the skin of the predator and deliver judgments that will be exemplary and just while making sure they don't follow a template.
Most predators that I know, do the deed because they know for sure that they will get away with blue murder.
The legal system is so predictable that we breed corrupt politicians and smug offenders, and all the while, they know that they can live a charmed public life that is not tainted with shame.

Some Asian and Middle eastern countries follow the system of publicly caning the offender, castrating and a fairly long term jail term and statistics have proven that this has deterred future offenders while still making sure justice is served.

Everyone has a right to dignified living and the person who irreparably damages another life, forfeits his/her right to live a dignified life themselves.

But all said and done, the human race is perhaps the only species that loves voyeurism and enjoys playing the moral high horse while delivering punishment and pain.
There is really no 'cure' or remedy for sexual offenders.
Castrated dogs, in an experiment, continued to mate with bitches even if they didn't have a testes.
Castrating offenders does not mean they will never ever commit another offense, but a rather crude way of avenging than a effective means of deterrent.

In our collective conscience of whats right and what wrong, we often end up punishing innocent drug mules who get caught carrying ridiculously small amounts of a banned drug with death sentences while letting ruthless rapists go through a life sentence that in most countries are just 12 years!
What gets my goat is that we think drug trafficking is more heinous than raping a child or a woman!
A swift yet air tight judiciary that will execute its rapists in public is the only way we can deter and reduce the soaring number of rapes and sexual crimes in our country

But what ails our judiciary is the same reason why rapes are difficult to prove when we don't have documented evidence. Rapes are just one person's word against another, but what might work would be to sentence them to rigorous imprisonment for the rest of their natural life, unless proved otherwise.

We will forever debate the kind of punishment that rapists and sexual offenders deserve, because that is what we love doing the most: Playing God.

The prosecution rests its case...


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Living the Live-in


Woke up to a heated discussion on a popular News channel.
'Is Live-in a Sin?'
As predicted, 4 quasi experts plus the Anchor engaged in bitter battle for the sake of their nation.

The root of this heated debate is a recent Supreme Court judgment terming 'Live-in relationships and premarital sex legal'. The court contended that since Krishna and Radha of Mythology lived in, it is legal and hence Indian. Since when did the highest court of our Nation, start quoting Mythology.

Nonetheless, I bet all those teenagers and 20 somethings are celebrating with wild romps in their beds since.

Religion and Mythology are very often used as crutches when authorities lack the will to do the right thing at the right time.

But this decision shocked me.
Of all the major religions in the world, none of them advocate premarital sex.

Personally, I feel sex is more than the carnal and lust filled moments of passion. It is about 2 adults coming together to show their love for each other. It is about 'making love' work.

Modern media have sensationalized sex, to such a tantalizing point of no return that some of them are simply soft porn. Men and women are encouraged and tempted to experiment. Peer pressure does not make things easy. The Media glorifies Sex and Promiscuity. Hollywood rules the roost, Bollywood is catching up, TV channels use them to increase TRPs.

Though living in appears to be straddling the best of both worlds, I still believe in the sacrament of marriage. I wouldn't have it any other way.

While I still think it is possible for a man and a woman to live under a roof without any sexual relationship, are we so prudish to think that a live-in couple who profess their love for each to abstain from premarital sex? If the love was true, they would have rather married each other.

There could be many reasons why a couple in love decide to live in. Convenience and a fairly economical way of managing the household is a primary reason. But put sex outside of marriage and you have just opened a pandora's box of social ills.

Unintended pregnancies, abortions, sense of failure, intense feeling of vengeance and the vicious cycle just goes on.

I know a certain girl who lived in with her boyfriend who professed undying love for her that would last an eternity. She believed him. They took an apartment together. Had sex, got pregnant and his promise of eternity ran out. He dumped her, would not respond to her emails or calls. He changed his number. Bitter and disillusioned, she is juggling boyfriends just to overcome her growing sense of insecurity. She knows where she went wrong, but is too scared to admit it lest the world ridicule her.

Safe Sex is a myth. The psychological, physical and emotional scars that women, in particular go through take a lifetime to heal.

Live in, but do so only when circumstances disallow you to marry.

When a couple in love starts to live in, there is a lot of anticipation and optimism. Our body plots against us too. Endorphins block our ability to look beyond love.

The truth is love does wear out. We wake up to bad morning breath and body odor. We open our eyes to crusted lip corners and pillows with our drool.

But the fact is, that is when we need to make love work. More often than not, we believe that love is about talking sweet nothings for many hours, telling things that we know the other person loves to hear. But the real trouble begins when you start living in with a person only to realize that the person you loved is not the person he/she is.

Legalizing premarital sex is akin to allowing Men to exploit Women under the guise of love.

The women in the live-in relationship have a lot at stake; their chastity, their safety and well being. Most of the time, men who live-in see this as an opportunity for regular sex sans all the responsibility that a marriage would bring.

If only we removed that gene inside us that would stop us from cheating the person we profess to love abundantly and unconditionally...
If only we could respect our lover's body and soul just the way God does...
If only we saw making love as the physical act of a cognitive emotion and not just humping...

That would be the day that we can finally say, we are Humans. That is when we can truly understand why having sex is not the same as 'making love'. That is when we can truly understand how marrying can be many times more fulfilling than a many night stand.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chopping Block


India, 'Mera Bharat Mahaan'
Incredible !ndia, sold off to unsuspecting tourists and the unnerving backpackers alike.
India, the birth place of one of the most charismatic and powerful non violent movements ever in human history.

India, Seventy Eight Women are raped every hour.
Gandhi must be rolling in his grave.

If this was not enough to shock you, get a load of this; Only 1 in 70 cases are ever reported.
This means, of all the bastards out there that will rape a lady, only 20% ever get to see the insides of a court. And only 3 in 1000 offenders are ever punished!

So that means there are 997 of the monsters walking free, trumping their noses at the long arm of the law. I wonder if we ever realise that by freeing the 997, we've just raped the lady with the scales.
Sure, we have a lot of rules and severe punishment for those who rape/molest a woman, but the gory statistics reveal the truth.


In a society that prefers to brush topics like sex under the rug and alternate lifestyles are taboo, what would you expect?
Its a Man's world unfortunately and the MCP's win the battle nearly all the time.

So whats really plaguing our society? Why has the land which gave birth to such concepts as Kamasutra and Non violence suddenly become the 'Rape Capital of the World'?
Why are we so lethargic about laws that concern the welfare of our Women?

Crucial Questions that need serious answers.
People who blame young women who dress or behave in a certain way for getting raped offend my sensibilities. It is akin to blaming a victim for being murdered.
Should we crucify the woman for being at the wrong place at the wrong time?

Women are brought up to believe that male sexuality is an uncontrollable urge and unpredictable phenomena. They are taught by mothers that modesty and caution is your only defence against ending up a statistic.

To view all men as a rapist is a cruel punishment but we fail to punish the guilty when the act has been committed. Our society's patriarchal view of woman as pawns in our life, only distracts the real issue here.
Feminists rue about unequal career opportunities and representation. We celebrate if we get more quota reserved for women. We want our women to be modest but this is exactly what is plaguing our country. We need to sit up and stop ourselves from propagating a culture of tolerance towards crimes against women and being silent about them.

Its not like all our women are portrayed with modesty. We let our movie actresses titillate us with item numbers and clothes that show more than they conceal. Ludicrous stereotyping allow men to relegate women to the shelf, only to be taken for the sake of reproduction and housekeeping.

Sexual Assault is such a violently degrading crime that it repels me to think how the rapist could be aroused by the sight of a victim fearing for her life. It is more about the power trip and the sense of dominance that the act fulfills.

We let our rapists get away with a well greased system that protects and refuses to punish the guilty. Men know this, women use it to 'get back at' men.
Public ignominy for the victim, insensitive police and puzzling laws that allow the guilty get away free and refuses to stop future offenses are not helping our Women.

We need to have a revolutionary change in the way we think. We need to reform the system.
I cheered when I read a recent article citing a need to widen the scope of the law to include gender neutral sexual assault and molestation.
Statistics show that a large portion of the rapes happen at home. By people who the victim is familiar with. Then there are a portion of assaults that happen at dates.
And don't even get me started on marital rapes. I personally know a lady who was raped not only by her husband but by his brothers and cousins repeatedly for an entire year until she mustered enough courage to report this to her parents.

The fear of being ostracized by family and the society stops a lady from reporting the crime.
The braver ones face a lifetime of healing.

Laws that muzzle a woman's right to report crimes against her and the subsequent trauma and humiliation that she goes through while the law takes it's course deters future victims from reporting the crime.
Ironically, laws that are supposed to support and strengthen the poor and the weak who are victimized and exploited end up punishing them.

It's almost like the system is mocking at the victim who had the courage to report the crime, and laughing at the audacity to bring the guilty to book. How dare you?!
We need tougher laws that will warn future perpetrators and greater resolve to enforce our laws.

But as long as we have leaders that fear loss of control, we won't see changes.
As long as we have men who are paranoid about women who will control them, things won't change.
As long as we have gender insensitive laws that treat women as second rate citizens, our courts will be filled with rapists who (may) get tried and acquitted.
And in the time that it took me to write this post, 4 rapes were reported but given the statistics, none will get justice.
But if you ask me, then I would say, Castrate the Bastards.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Virtuous Women maketh Progressive Societies

Its that time of the year when the newspapers are brimming with feminism.
March 8th : 'International Woman's day'
Woman in India can be anything but international or have a 'Day' to themselves.

It is said that a Society can be judged by the kind of headlines that come in their newspapers.

Today's paper was no different. Infact I loved the irony. We had 70% of the pages devoted to celebrating women and then a bunch of well heeled, designer wearing, globetrotting, Page-3 celebrities extolling values like Education, Career and Sex. Sex? True, the 5 women didn't mind women having premarital sex as long as you are discrete and safe!
Call me old fashioned, but I was sufficiently shocked to stop reading the article any further.
But Sex sells! And if 5 'celebrity socialites' recommend promiscuity, what can I say about that girl who walked out of her husband's house, lived with her boyfriend, got knocked up and dumped? You go Girl!

Buried amidst all the feminist clutter and the brouhaha of female power in today's India, a particular 7 inch article caught my eye. A scandal that involved a spiritual Guru and a leading regional movie actress. Ofcourse, the Guru has vehemently denied it and alleged that this is the attempt of commoners to tarnish him and his organization. But the actress, perhaps out of guilt or pure stupidity, tried to commit suicide. Does the suicide mean she is indeed guilty?


When the reporters move on and the Headlines fade away, the victim is still left bleeding, wounded by hungry reporters who like vampire bats, latched on till they got the complete dirt and when they were done, left a wound that is difficult to clot.
I am not a feminist in the conventional sense but as a commoner, and with the 3 decades of existence, can confidently say that Women in India are still a neglected yet exotic lot.

Western influences have allowed greater freedom of expression.
Advertisements that tell you that a fair skinned woman is smarter, sexier and luckier.
TV Soaps have stereotyped Indian women.

While premarital sex was frowned upon just a shade of a decade ago, now, we have quasi role models advocating (premarital) sex as a symbol of freedom.
Like most issues that are  forgotten, 'she' is an item that sells. 'She' is our object of lust. 'She' could have been empowered had we learned to take care of 'her needs' rather than 'our wants'.

I have always had that sniggering feeling inside me, we are desperately trying to ape the West. But like how we learn the slang in the new language before learning the good words, we are aping the weekend habits of the West, while forgetting to imitate the weekday ethics of the Developed world.
People in the West work upto 50 hours a week and produce results that matter.
The West respect their women by not only framing rules that are women friendly but by enforcing them too.
In more ways than one, we are a few generations behind the West. Promiscuity, Public Displays of affection and Media induced frenzy about Celebrations are not Indian. Not that I am against them, but all these celebrations are so commercialized? What do celebrations like these accomplish? Besides shopping discounts and eloquent articles advocating love, friendship and vanity, is there a meaningful change happening to the lady in the street?

Virtuous Wives, Blessed Mothers, Brave Women... that is what our societies need.

In 2 weeks, when all the hoopla dies down, women in India will wake up to the harsh reality that it is a Man's world in India.

Until then, our Women are busy shopping till they drop!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Top Gun


No, its not about the movie, but about how most defence spendings is wasteful. Millions are spent on acquiring and upgrading weapons of mass destruction, a vast majority of all this is going up in smoke, quite literally.
Someone once quipped: 'Why does the Air Force need expensive new bombers? Have the people we've been bombing over the years been complaining?'
I agree.


Growing up, I lived amongst people from different cultures. I have lived with people from Pakistan and other parts of Asia. My parents were very good friends with a family from Pakistan and Srilanka. I have very fond memories of them. I remember their house used to always be spic and span and the family was a picture of magnanimity. Of all the other Indian friends that I've had, and the many times that we have visited them, I remember this family the fondest. While on one such visit, someone started talking about the political situation between India and Pakistan. I don't remember all the notions put forward, but I remember the father of the family point out a very poignant statement: "Underneath the skin and beneath the color, we are all the same.. we have the same aspirations, same dreams, same fears and same past. We don't want to hate Indians and we are sure you don't want to either. But decades of political upmanship and brinkmanship is profitable to the politicians who run our governments. They are able to put us both fighting each other with their rhetoric. All the enmity allows our leaders to let the other kill us"
This statement has stayed with me, through all the years that I have been in India.
I never knew or heard so much rhetoric about the ongoing strife when I was in the Gulf. But once in India, things were a lot different.
You constantly yet subtly live in fear and loathing.
Micheal Moore sums up the current situation in his movie, Fahrenheit 911. Our leaders, who we elect to lead us into greener and calmer pastures deceive us the first moment they taste power. They tuck the olive branch of peace far from thought and view and engage in very clever rhetoric that is designed to keep us on the edge. All through the day. We are kept in a state of perpetual psychological arousal; fearing the worst, loathing the unknown.
I pride myself on the excellent sense of morality that my parents imbibed in me, whether by accident or on purpose. This makes it a lot more easier for me to not jump to a conclusion and brand a person or a country evil.
All this war talk, is indeed profitable. It profits people who propagate it. Defence spending is at an all time high, I hear. Well, it might as well be. What with China throwing its hatchet into the fight. Three is company, after all. Thankfully, Srilanka and Bangladesh has too much in its plate to even bother.
Newer missiles, Great. Now we can hit even Beijing. Faster and more advanced warplanes, that's splendid. Now, we can show who's boss over our skies faster. Bigger ships, Amazing. Now, we can rule our waters with a iron fist. More poverty. Gosh, I just wish we could not mention this.


And yes, our leaders get to skim over the real issue pretty nicely. After all, how will that help us? How can I get my kickbacks if I spend more money on quality and free education? How can I make sure that I hoard up obscene amounts of money for the next 3 generations if I provide fair and equal employment opportunities to all?
How can I 'farm' my people if they know their constitutional rights like the back of their palms?  
One of my all time favorite Bollywood movie is 'Beta'. I love the movie so much that I have watched it from the opening title to the end credits atleast a couple of dozen times. I love the movie for a lot of reasons and the top reason is the way the protagonist's step mom stifles the freedom and opportunities of the protagonist, by not educating him. While at the same time her own son, studies (and grows up to be a swindler nonetheless). I admire the director for the poignant way he makes us understand education is not what will determine your inner being, but what will let you make a world of decisions in a way that is right. The lack of education didn't ruin the protagonist's character, rather he comes across as a innocent, extremely gentle yet respected and loving. Education allows a person to be informed. Which is exactly what our leaders in many decades of governments don't want us to be. They don't want us to know how to handle crisis intelligently while still being effective. They don't want us to know how much of what is spent is going into their personal fortunes. But all is not lost yet, we have tiny specks of hope, surprisingly, within our own country. Kerala, inspite of all the 'mallu' jokes around, I am proud, being a Keralite myself, to see how Kerala has grown over the years, both economically and otherwise. The stimulus of this growth was when the government decided to launch a localized 'Each one, Teach one' program, which took the State's literacy program to the stratosphere. The momentum has not slowed down and as a result of this, nearly every keralite are very active socially and politically. Nearly everyone spends an hour or 2 scanning the newspapers, gulping down huge chunks of information (besides the obituaries) Nearly every home has a Telephone, TV and a computer connected to the web. Progress took several years but the fruits are there for all to see, nearly all families have atleast one graduate/post graduate and almost 1 in 3 households have a family member who has or is working abroad. True, we have a typical sense of pride, but what is more truer is that you can take a keralite out of Kerala but you cannot take the Kerala out of the keralite. Every political decision taken in the State is debated several times, flipped over and dissected for flaws, and quite frankly, we don't care if the politicians make some money out of all the progress, as long as we get to enjoy the progress. The key word here, being 'Progress'.
Social progress is what we need. Free and quality Education, Health-care, and a fair chance of employment. Is that too much to ask for? I don't think so. We have done it. There are so many nations around the world who has done it. But there is a cost. We must not let our leaders lead us astray. We must grow a backbone and learn to stand up against leaders who promote hatred and so much agony not to mention money.
Give our children education that would enable them to make intelligent, informed decisions. Give our sick, the quality health-care that would enable them to relieve their suffering and pain. Give us the equal footing that we need so that we can earn well enough to educate our child and tend for our sick. Give our society all this and we will take care of progress. This is a cycle. But the spanner in the works, is when our leaders decide to be the Stepmother and choose not to let us grow within.
The movie had a good ending. But real life is vastly different.
I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope my candle of hope lasts my journey.



Tuesday, February 09, 2010

B for BT.. B for Brinjal.. B for Back Off !!

Just what is all the fuss with BT and Brinjal all about?
I don't even eat brinjal (not unless I start adding brinjal into my chicken curries!!)
I mean, this is all that is wrong with us. 
Sometime ago, I have heard this story about 'Kerala Crabs' and how we wouldn't need a lid to cover it. It so happens that the crabs won't be able to climb over the cage, since every time a crab tries to scale the cage, another crab tries to pull it down. Argh!!

With every advance of technology, we (particularly of the Subcontinent) appear to be taking a step backwards. I have known people fighting and then clawing their ways into Bio Technology engineering courses. Assuming that all of them are graduating and would be pursuing a career in BT (unless ofcourse earning a degree was a sureshot way of getting married wealthy), what are they going to research and develop if all that we are going to do is ban all their work.
Its BT Brinjal today, tomorrow would be the BT Rice and BT 'other food'. Are we missing the big picture here?
If BT is such a dangerous technology, why even venture into such research? 
Don't we have to stop, step aside and understand why people are so agitated?
If BT is filled with the risk of mutant genes, is there no way to ensure that the mutant genes are repressed and made dormant or ineffective? 
If BT can offset the financial and climatic woes of our farmers, and when our society still depends on good monsoon for a great year, why are we so against the idea of improving ourselves?
I don't know the hidden agendas that all the protesters have but we as a society are much more hypocritical and selfish than most other societies in today's world. We allow dumping and let our cities get polluted and don't do anything about it, but are quick to join the herd (mentality) when the fight seems glamorous.

So frustrating to see so many reams of precious news reams being wasted on such a open and shut situation.

Can the real experts please stand up?




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