Thursday, March 16, 2006

Giving up

I always thought that people should not start something that they cannot stand by. I believe in taking a decision and standing by it. No matter how hard it is. I also thought people who stopped blogging after a few months were weak and unable to stand by their decision. Blogging to me was more than just spending time on the internet. It was a window into people's lives and beliefs. It was a window that let the sun come into my life. And let me be myself.

Have you ever given up something that you really love because you think your sacrifice might make things right again?

Will be unavailable......indefinitely.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Blank Noise Project

Read about the Blank Noise project and wanted to support it by putting in my two cents. I know I am late, but they say "Better Late than Never". And after all it is never too late to do something good.

Street Harassment.
What can I say about street harassment that hasn't been said by hundreds and thousands of women all over the country? We've all been victims at some point in life and we've found our own ways of dealing with it. We've been jostled, prodded, groped....anytime the perpetrator felt the need to and was reassured of his getting away with a crowd.

I can't even remember any more when it first started. Or how I learnt defensive techniques of evading these men, by squirming or moving away at the last instant, or by holding my bag behind me so that it would form a barrier between my bottom and any unwanted visitors. I never gave it back to these creatures by calling out their bluff. Because I was embarrased that this was happening to me. Because I was nervous. Because I was the kind who hates drawing attention to herself. And yes, there are women like me. And year after year, these men get away with it. And women go on being victims.

The one incident I would like to share is something that happened on the streets of Calcutta. A city that has been touted as being safe for women. I was walking down the road to the bus stop near the Tollygunje Police Station. Now how much safer can you get, right? You have the P.S. bang in front of you. And it was around 4:30, so it wasn't even dark outside. There were people out on the street, taking a stroll, chatting with each other, children playing. You get the scene. And here I was walking down, trying to make it to the bus stop. I spot a group of young men coming towards me from the other side. Now my natural instinct put me on my guard. You adapt to these instincts if you are a girl growing up in a big city. Right when these guys came across me I could hear them passing comments and smiling at me. I kept on walking trying my best not to look at anyone and pretend like I didn't see them. And then one of the guys decided to get a little bolder. He reached out, touched me and grabbed my dupatta and bag. I tried jerking his grip off and fought to break free. Now there were atleast twenty people all around us on the street. Some even stopped what they were doing and stared. And while I was crying for help and fighting off this guy, not a single person intervened or came to my help. And all the while his friends just laughed and cheered him on. When I finally freed myself and got away I remember running the rest of the way with tears streaming down my face. When I reached home I wept. For myself for not being strong enough to hold my own. For every girl who has to face this kind of harassment. For the city that prides itself on being safe. For the myth that Calcutta is a city with a heart.

Eve-teasing has become a way of life in India. We live with it and grow up with it. And I truly believe none of the guys who read my blog have ever done anything so gross. Yet, there are hundreds and thousands of men who do harass and take advantage of women on the streets. The one time I saw anyone take a stand against eve-teasing was on a crowded bus where a man was trying to shove his hard-on into my backside and this young gentleman who saw what was happening started shouting at this man and made sure that he was forced to get off the bus. I salute men who stand up for the harassment women go through everyday on the streets. And I salute the people who are taking a stand against street harassment. And if getting on my computer and posting this prevents even a single incident of eve-teasing, then I will consider this my most significant post ever.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Choosing my day

It started off as a really bad morning. Well, first I lost my ring. Then I spilt coffee all over the place. I ended up leaving the house late hoping to still make it to the train station on time (considering the traffic is always lighter on Fridays). Unfortunately there was a trailer that had an accident and was on fire on the interstate which meant traffic was backed up both ways for miles and people were taking shortcuts through the by-lanes. I not only missed my train but was beginning to doubt if I'd make it in time for the next one. I would have missed the next one too because there was this freight train stalled on the tracks that I needed to cross before I got to the station. I finally got through and made it to the station. It took me exactly one hour and ten minutes to get from my house to the train station. A distance of 2.5 miles. Ridiculous, wouldn't you agree? And that means I am in a really bad mood. Grrrr.....

It started off as a morning that could have been bad, but turned out pretty great after all. Well, I lost my ring. But I found it again hiding under the comforter. Then I spilt coffee all over the place. But I was lucky that I had a tray and all the coffee split on the tray, sparing the brand new carpet in the bedroom. I missed my train. It took over an hour to reach the train station when it should take less than ten minutes. Ridiculous, agreed. But I still made it to the next train and reached work before nine. I mean, it could've been so much worse. Right? I think it is going to be a beautiful day.

Strange isn't it how we look at things? React to them in different ways. Someone sent me a very nice email about a 90-10 principle in life. Things that we do not have control on, that happen to us out of the blue make up about 10 percent of the situation. How we react to them makes up the other 90 percent. We can choose to be angry, we can choose to be in a bad mood, we can choose to blame everything around us and have a bad day. Or we can choose to look on the brighter side and realize how lucky we were that it wasn't any worse. We can choose to have a beautiful day instead.

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