Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Privileged Indian Male

I am not you.
I am not you.
For… I am a privileged Indian male.

I was but a bubbly toddler when I first heard,
“Oh no, let him be, he is a boy…”
I was but an acne’d teen when I first heard,
“Here, I will wash your plate.”
I was but a confused youth when I first heard,
“Boys will be boys, let him play a while more.”

I was but a wobbly toddler when I first heard,
“Look how he pushes and fights! He is a boy…”
I was but a hormonal dude of a teen when I first heard,
“You must be hungry, let me cook you something.”
I was but a raging drunk youth when I first heard,
“He is after all a boy, he is supposed to be this way.”

I was but a drooling toddler when I first heard,
“Lucky for you, he is a boy…”
I was but a silent teen when I first heard,
“Home Science? That’s not for you; cooking and what not!”
I was but a temperamental youth when I first heard,
“Be a man! You can’t let girls affect you like that!”

These voices, they grew; all around me,
They grew every day, in numbers
And in tone.

The voices were always there…
Each of them feminine,
An aunt. A mother. A sister.
A grandmother. A cousin.

A mother-in-law. A wife.
A sister-in-law. A mother.
An aunt. A grandmother.
All feminine. Mostly feminine.

I hear them speak the same words.
The same words from decades ago.
They speak it to my son.
They speak it to my nephew.
They speak it to my little brother.

Why can’t you stop?
I don’t want.
I don’t want to
Be defined.
I don’t want.
I don’t want to
Live… live the life
Of a privileged Indian male.

You make me lean on you.
You make me incapable
Of looking after my needs.
You never set me free.
Yet, you treat me like
I am privileged.
I want these voices to stop.
Can you make them stop?

I can feel my chains giving way,
Tearing away…
From the reality that is mine,
Weighed down by your words.

I don’t want.
I don’t want to
Carry this burden.
I don’t want.
I don’t want to
Love… love the life
Of a privileged Indian male.

[Female voices of ancestors in loud whispers and strange tongues]

Innocence. Tie she up. Kill she. My boy. Want boy. No she want here. Please see me. Destroyer of dreams. My boy. Want boy. Jewelry… pretty, we like. Parade she front of neighbours and relatives. My boy. Want boy. Red dot, we no like. Hate we be woman. Sit she down. Tie she up. Give she away. My boy. Want boy.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Stirrings of an Ineffable Soul

She closed her eyes,
As she felt every part of her being
Immersed in a consciousness, alien to her.
The voices in her head, faint whispers
To begin with, rose to a cacophony,
As the consciousness reached
A crescendo of its own!

Suddenly, it was all over;
She could hear the crash of silence
Against her pining soul.
A silence so loud, she wished
For the cacophony of the voices
In her head again.
Unknown to her, every bit of her soul
Transformed, mutated and altered
To soak in the silence,
Silently creating a sound of its own.

Exhausted, she lay, waiting
Patiently, for the pain,
The angst and the clarity
Of the unknown.
She relinquished her ego;
She relinquished her name;
She welcomed the unknown
With open arms and
Closed eyes.

In darkness of the sun,
It crept up on her,
Shrouding her being,
Purifying her soul,
Lightening her mind,
Brightening her body, and
Freeing her dreams;
Until all there was left
Was a single unity;
An unknown one.

There was no her;
There was no soul;
There was no light;
There was no pain;
There was only
The pureness of being.

Friday, September 16, 2016

No More...

If you gave me something today,
I would give you something for tomorrow.
If you broke it tomorrow,
I would give you something for the next day.

If I thought you'd give me something today,
I would dream of what I'd give you tomorrow.
If I thought you'd break it tomorrow,
I would dream of something to give you the next day.

If I saw you breaking something I gave you ever,
I would stop giving you anything...
Today, tomorrow and forever.

Right here, right now, it's just a muddle of words;
Contradicting emotions and
Ramblings on a September afternoon,
Nothing more, nothing less.

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Teenage Girl's Open Note to Sunil Gavaskar:

This is something my 14 year daughter wrote as an essay for her English homework. The angst she has felt over 5 years comes out with deep clarity and she wants to do the best to make sure this reaches Sunil Gavaskar. Her hope is to ensure first that people like him are able to see and accept this as a deeply ingrained cultural problem for young girls; Second, that someone in his capacity and influence in this sport does something to ensure girls from every part of the country have access to the same facilities and training that boys do with ease today.

So without further ado here goes... 

An Open Note to Sunil Gavaskar:

Cricket. Some believe this sport to be a religion, and others believe it’s a job that pays for athletic people. I believe that cricket is a way of life for those who choose this path. However, in this essay I will not be writing about the details of how the game is played, but in fact, what women or girls face when they choose to be cricketers. I believe that the hardships that these women face are not related to sports but actually related to a cultural issue. There have been several instances in my short life of fourteen years where I have experienced such prejudice and I would like to discuss them as we proceed with this topic.
I first fell in love with cricket when I watched the ICC World Cup in 2011, and ever since, I knew that this wonderful sport would play an important role in my life. Only recently did I have an epiphany that I definitely want cricket as a life-long career. An observation I have noted of in these past few years is that only girls who have brothers are excused to play cricket in common society. If a girl actually has an interest in playing cricket and wants to pursue this sport, the next step is to enroll for a coaching camp. This process for boys is quite simple. The parents check if the camp is close by and fees is moderately cheap, and the deed is done. Whereas for a girl, the parents need to check if the camp accepts girls, if it is close by and affordable. Quite commonly, if the camp accepts girls, it is not at a convenient location or the fees are too high.

As the years go by, and the girls have completed their education, they realize that cricket does not pay the bills. Many women go through a decision-making point in their lives. Their options are to either stop the pursuit of cricket and get a full-time job or continue their cricket journey and get a part-time job; few women opt for the latter.

The strength that all sportswomen possess, both mentally and physically is much more well-balanced in comparison to men. These women go through years of bullying and teasing, but they shine over the harsh words ultimately. I would like to conclude this essay by addressing women who are breaking stereotypes all across the globe:

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Vedha (a hopeful 14 year old)

NOTE: Here's a recent article in Deccan Herald that talks about this issue "Raising Sporty Girls"

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Journey

Austrian Landscape

Lost everyday
In the mundane,
In the living;
The soul gladdens,
Expands and accepts;
That which is lost,
Deep within us,
At the center of the cosmos.

I look into myself - 
Surprised, amused and
Nonchalant at what I see.
"This is being."
She tells me.

I close my eyes,
With my eyes
Wide open.
I see myself
As I unsee myself.

What, you may ask,
Is this contradiction?

You see, this is
No contradiction.
This, is coming undone,
When you are so together.

Looking up, I see,
Truly see, the expanse
Of the universe;
Yours and mine.

Let's put a dent
In this universe,
That's neither yours
Nor mine.

Let's be. Let's truly be;
In this, here, now,
Together and alone
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