Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sluts are us!

I avoid writing about issues being discussed in the media and at large. I am simply scared of voicing my opinion. I hate being wrong and hate being told so. More than that, I hate sounding pretentious. However, this issue has annoyed me for far too long to not write this. For those in India reading this will assume this is about Anna Hazare (and rightly so!). But no. This piece is to air my opinions on the possibilities of Slutwalks in Mumbai and Bangalore. And obviously the debate around the Delhi one.
I have read so many pieces, pro and against the slut walk that I now know with no doubt what my stand is. My darling sister, Pratham showed me a video that made me realise how silly I am being for not saying what I feel. So here goes:

Why I think Slutwalks are important..
It is essential for everyone to know and understand that eve-teasing is not part of our imagination. It has happened to most women, some men, various number of times. I have been teased or groped on the streets (or buses) in attires where you would have to guess if I had any breasts. I have been lucky to have only been groped. Lucky I say cause nothing else has happened yet. Despite it never being my fault, I have felt for most of my life that I attracted that 'unwanted attention'. I want to stop feeling like that. Reason number 1: Women and men need to talk about harassment of all kinds seriously. They must raise their voices about it. Together. We shouldn't, needn't be ashamed or afraid to say 'it has happened to me'.
The statistics about rape in India will alarm anyone. Even the educated. But honestly, how many report it? Not all for sure. It is still regarded as shameful, don't forget that. Things are changing and more have come forward to talk bravely of their experiences. But unless we are bold enough to discuss rape openly, it is surely not going to end or reduce. After all, anything taboo seems more alluring it is said. But, most women don't bring it up to avoid the attention they receive hence forth. To get a sneak peek into what could possibly be the life after rape of a victim, read this post by a blogger. What comes when the worst is overReason number 2: The women and men walking are willing to discuss the issues at hand and in detail. And will continue to do so. They will assert their opinions as the issue is one of importance to them.
The debate during the Delhi walk focused on the word 'Slut'. This I feel totally avoided the bigger picture (trust the media to find a way to always miss the point). By making a big deal of it, the point of the 'Slutwalk' was reduced to 'Shhh. Don't say slut, it is a bad word'. Forgetting the original point behind the walk to remove all such notions.
Here I would like to paint you a picture. I have what they call a night shift in the media organisation, a sub-editor's job. So, I leave work usually after 12. Since I joined, I have always been dropped home first in the car drop we have. Out of the blue, one of the women wanted to be dropped first for the past week or so. So we changed our route. This meant I would be dropped last. I must admit I was scared. I had my phone in hand and had pre-dialed the number of one of my colleagues. Nothing did happen. But I still clutch my phone dearly and cannot even enjoy the beautiful silence enveloping the city at that hour. I don't dress provocatively to work so I had nothing to worry about eh?! The driver just had to be a man, that frightened me enough. I just want to not have to be scared to be alone in a car with a strange man. That isn't too much to ask is it? Reason number 3: If 'Slutwalks' mean we will continue to discuss the issue of harassment and not pretend its nothing or hush it up, then I am fine with that. I might be a fool to hope this, but I hope for the day that I don't have to live in fear like this. Always playing the worst scenarios in my head. Just for that, I want to walk in any of the 'Slutwalks' to happen. I will walk with my head held high too. I encourage all those interested to look beyond everything else and march with style in the 'Slutwalks' to come. I think the cause is definitely worth fighting for.

I will leave you with a few interesting links:

  • An article by Nandita Das- The sound of silence 
  • A post by my darling sister on the same topic. It is well linked so do read all the links she provides.
  • Finally, the video I was talking about earlier. A hilarious talk by a lady stand-up comedian.

                 Luce Tomlin- Brenner- Slutwalk DC 2011 via Slutty Feminist

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The end?

I dial your number,
but never call,
we agreed it
would end,
this relationship
of ours.

I feel your pain,
I even understand why,
but there are so many
things left to say,
even a proper goodbye.

We agreed it
would end,
this relationship,
of ours.

I write and re-write,
all my thoughts,
my wishes for you,
oh, my prayers too.
I just need to say,
at least a proper goodbye.

It isn't goodbye
I'm telling myself,
But a lie that is,
I know now.
I know very well.

we agreed it
would end,
this relationship,
of ours.

I am left holding onto you,
I am left thinking about you,
Counting down days,
till I hear your voice again.
It is all a nightmare to me,
for this separation unreal it seems.

it is over,
isn't it?
The relationship that was.

On a totally different note:
The song of the day.. :)


Thursday, August 25, 2011


So I was given an award recently by Priyanka and I was absolutely sucky at passing it on. I have the longest list of blogs I want to give it to. Earlier I was a blogger who wrote. Now, I read much more than I write. The new blogs I follow are the reason I spend hours browsing and reading. It is now an addiction more than a pass time. SO, I came up with a way to award all the new blogs I follow all at once. I decided I would put up a list of blogposts of theirs that made me realise what versatile bloggers exist out there.

Listed below is the list of posts that are definitely worth reading. In absolutely no order at all, here they are:

Confessions of Chocolate obsessed (Priyankya): A fellow Arian who writes about everything with a passion, from food to fiction they all make me wait for her next update. :) I suggest you read this honest and apt post of hers, an open letter to god.

Prathma: She writes about stuff she connects to. She voices her well constructed opinion after much research. The links in her post add more charm to her writing. I am linking this one in particularly cause I love the thought in this and girlfriends are very important to me.
Where are the girls?

Red handed: Her funny, no wait hilarious posts are numerous in number. I could add a long list of must read links in that genre. But what turned her writing around for me was this post,
no more.

Spaceman: She writes about things affecting her and the world around her. Her writing is clean and straight. Love her thoughts as much as the way she puts them into words. This post of hers is a MUST read,
answer my friend.

D!! Her travel writing always transports me to the place she writes about. The perfect blend of humor and sentiments make her writing a joy to read. This particular one cause she usually writes prose, but her travel writing in poetry was astounding!
Namaste Nepal

Kneehara: Confessional writing is something I am a big fan of. Her writing is just heart wrenchingly beautiful. This post cause I think a lot of people have had similar experiences.

Parth Jhala: Mostly poetry, this blog is refreshing and profound. Beautiful writing. But, he doesn't update as much as he should. This post cause it is almost perfect.
So much more.

Soumya: She was a revelation to me. Her honesty and confessional writing touched a chord in me. I love and wait eagerly for her updates. I envy the honesty in her writing for I find it too difficult to be that way.
Chaotic truth was chilling yet beautiful. :)

Aishu: A funny and often confessional writer. But this post is written very well and needs to be read. Flows smoothly and leaves you guessing all through. Hence, Tiger tails

R-A-J: I love the different topics he writes about. To see him write a mush post about love baffled me. I did not think he had that side. Too quick to judge I guess. But his Change, yours is here post was something people our age would relate and totally get.

Chintan: I do not remember how I came across her blog but I am glad I did. Something about the way she writes makes me feel like "Hey, I have felt that!" I love reading her updates and keep going back for more. Her
post on Anna Hazare is very profound :)

Psych Blabber: She is a psychologist who writes about a wide range of topics. Occasionally even poetry. I love reading her posts cause they are always profound. This post is my favourite till now, Why Harry Potter is not just a kid's book

Hope you enjoy the posts as much as I did.

To all those mentioned, I love visiting your blogs. Keep updating :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5 reasons I wish I could turn back time

This is long overdue but I recently realised I had not written about my a wonderful last year. Hmmm. Strange. So this post is a sort of an ode to my college. The one place, till date, which I felt inspired for the reasons I will be stating below. Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, was an experience I will never forget. It had its ups and downs, inevitably. But in the end it was worth everything.

Here are the top 5 reasons why that place changed who I was forever.

1) N Kalyan Raman, writer and translator: If you know a little bit about me, you will know why he is reason number one. ACJ was a bit boring the first few weeks. I found myself questioning if this was the right course so often. Then, I met him and my stay at ACJ changed drastically. He was a breath of fresh air. His sarcasm and detailed remarks have pushed me to work like never before. Now, I double check my statements before moving to the next one. I always research before I write about a topic. And I read and read more than I ever have. But all this any other teacher could have done and accomplished. So why is he so special? Cause he was smart, geeky and cool, all at once. He inspired me to be me, which was so rare coming from a teacher. But importantly, our conversations were what made ACJ so special. They were varied and always interesting. He was so well read, I was always left speechless. And he never made our relationship of one superior to the other. He was and is still very important to me. He no longer teaches at ACJ. ACJ lost out on a beautiful man.

2) Covering Deprivation "trip": The students of ACJ are all taken on a "trip" to a rural-falling apart place in the country. The class is split into groups and each group goes to one place. Our team went to Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh. This trip was amazing. I know India has its rural roots, but travelling there and listening to their woes is really heart wrenching. Suddenly, it was no longer about the stories we needed to find. It had transformed into just listening to them. I was moved beyond expression. I realised that maybe rural reporting is what I want to do. I have always felt a connection to development issues and this seemed to be the right place to channel it. To add to the joys of learning, I made three friends on this trip. One of them went on to be a man I would have multiple great conversations with.

3)Lessons I learnt from moving away from home: Some of these I might have learnt in any situation away from home. But ACJ hurried the process, I choice to think. For starters, I learnt how much I loved my own company. I learnt that I loved reading and writing the most. I learnt my weakness. I figured out who matters in my life and who doesn't. I learnt the power of having a loving family and a few great friends. I learnt that I was not a sissy girl and my parents had done a pretty good job bringing me up. I learnt to adjust and live with three different people. I learnt to try to love myself. :)

4) A girl and a boy: This is the story of two people. One I met only because of the other and one I met purely by accident I would think. I will name them soon, but for now Il just describe them.
The girl: She was a discovery in that place, where I had given up the hope of finding people who thought like me. But she was like me, in some ways. And we were poles apart in other ways. That is what made us click. We spent hours discussing the world, Chennai, our thoughts and our cynical feelings. I read what she wrote and she read what I wrote. Our writing confessed emotions we were too scared to talk about. Somehow, she always understood. Over time, our relationship matured. I know her well now and I love her quite a bit. I guess she is fond of me too. He!He. She is Janani. <3
The boy: We till date have the most up and down relationship I have ever known. He is talented, smart and opinionated as hell. Those are the reasons I adore him. There I said it. We don't keep in touch with the other, and now that he is miles away, its going to only get worse. But whenever we do talk, it is always great and the conversation just flows. So, I try to not complain about keeping in touch and let our relationship stay that way. I miss him a lot. And sometimes I wish we had spent more time together. Nevertheless, I can easily say, he is one of a kind. Did I mention he can be frustrating? Yes. And his name is Ananth. :) <3

5) Dissertation: I might be the only soul at ACJ who loved her dissertation this much. It required lots of hard work and many hours of reading, writing, editing and re-writing. Something I have learnt I am really good at. I loved my dissertation. The topic was new to me and the amount of work I put into it, seemed so easy and natural. Topic: "For I could not wait for death. An analysis on suicide". I worked through literary and non-literary suicides. I discovered my love for literature and confessional writing. I learnt how intricately different lives of all those writers who committed suicide are. I spent oodles of time discussing my topic with reason number 1 (which made me love my topic and him all that more). I learnt to do what I am good at. It was disappointing the grade that followed, but I would never exchange the work I put in for anything else. It made ACJ liveable and I am positive I suffered withdrawal symptoms right after the submission.

So, that was 2010-2011. The year that changed me and my life forever. It also made me see the world differently. There are multiple other things that I should probable have added here, but i refrain from extending the list and boring you. These are all the things I remember when I think of ACJ. My fondest memories of why that place will change anyone who goes there.
It might not be the best Journalism school in the country. But it will definitely be a place that has a lasting effect on how you view writing and journalism.
Peace out. :)

P.s Thank you Priyanka for your award. You are far too kind. :) Link back here. Will do that post next. :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cold and Calculating, Chanakya's Chant.

I loved the cover!
For me the name Chanakya symbolises kind, generous and insanely intelligent. (I had a childhood friend named Chanakya who was so dear to me!) Boy-oh-boy was I in for a rude shock.  ‘Chanakya’s Chant’ helped me remove my own personal bias towards the name and took me down a wonderful historic lane.

The almost 500-page book broadly comprises two parts; one which is present day and the other 2,300 years ago. The Chanakya’s time is what great Indian history lessons were about when I was growing up. Full of war, revenge, culture and dharma. In the Gangasagar’s (read Chanakya’s present day form) time is an excess of political drama, money, power and some temporary scarring. The last one was only for me of course.
But my favourite part of the book has got to be Chandini Gupta (sounds even like Chandragupta). Yes, feminist me loves her. She represents so many good things we need in the modern world. But depressingly, her being single at the top, is another debate altogether.
The description on the back cover reads, ‘Cold, cunning, calculating, cruel and armed with a complete absence of accepted morals’. I tried, but there is no better way to describe this book. It is apt in describing the mood and feel of the book. I was often tempted to shut the book and calm myself for what-just-happened in the book was too ghastly. The warm fuzzy moments are a bare minimum. Instead expect tonnes of entertainment and drama.
Drenched in History, this book is very well researched and clever. The sourcing of suitable quotes weaved into the conversations might have been a tad bit overdone. In some places. Morally, I am far from going to agree with even one-tenth of the plots in this gripping book. But I must admit, I was warned.
The present time scenes for me were slightly less convincing. More ruthless than I imagined or thought necessary. As in, I ended up hating Gangasagar way more than I hated Chanakya. My soft corner for the name is still the problem? I think not.
The flitting between the two parts is my second favourite part. It is smooth and beautifully done. The two stories ran parallel and they developed together. It never made me expect what would happen next in the other one though. However, when one part ended I always ended up hating it. No matter which era it was. I take that as a sign that the book was a great read. 
This switch also kept me going as I was too involved in the parts and craved to know more. Literally.
It did drag a little in the middle but the last 100 pages more than made up for it. It was a refreshing read in terms of genre. It was a draining read in terms of what it symbolises.
I felt pretty cynical when I flipped the last page and read the last word. Despite this, I will suggest you grab a copy and read it. I would love to know what you thought of it.
It has its glitches, but its pace and thrills kept me thoroughly entertained. But just remember it is fiction. So do leave your morals behind. Else you are not going to like chunks of it and sure as hell are going to curse Gangasagar and Chanakya straight to hell. 

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Happy friendship day! :)

I have ran out of
excuses to call,
to say hello,
to ask how's it all.

I have ran out of
reasons to say,
I wish you would
talk to me someday.

I would have never believed,
I could hurt you,
this way,
or push you,
Oh so far away.

I know words will never say,
how sorry I am today.

I can't say I would have done
it any other way,
But I still wish you
would have stayed.

I know that is
too much to ask,
So I will leave it
unsaid, unheard.

I will always miss you,
for you were a friend,
like very few.