Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The men in our country spit an awful lot, with or without reason. If a guy is walking in front of me, I deliberately keep a safe distance by walking slower or faster than him. You never know when he’ll spit, or which side he will spit. It’s the same with autos, taxis or any vehicle parked on the road. There’s always someone inside who will spit out of the window, or who will spit very nicely sitting on his bike or moped. If I have to walk in the middle of the road to avoid these people and their missiles, I gladly will.

At a cybercaf√© near my house, someone had put up a sign on a corner at the staircase, “Please Do Not Spit Here,” and below that sign is a framed picture of goddess Lakshmi. On my subsequent visits, I saw the ubiquitous red stains from pan/betel spits. And on my last visit, the sign had changed to “Only Bastards Spit Here”

There was a time when Christianity used to fascinate me so very much. But growing up, I began to see that Christians, especially people working directly in/for churches, tend to go overboard most of the times. How else do you explain their over-enthusiasm for converting people, the “Jesus Loves You” signs everywhere, and the pamphlets they hand out at malls, airports, railway stations and traffic junctions?

Near my office, at a road crossing signboard, someone had painted “Jesus Loves You”. After a few days now, the word “Jesus” is only visible because someone else had pasted a big sticker with “Bastard” on “Loves You”.

Jesus Bastard; not very far from the truth if you don’t believe in that shit about the Immaculate Conception.

The sheer stupidity and gullibility of men when it comes to God and Religion. Amongst our Hindu Gods, there is that junkie on Mount Kailash, always high on grass/charas even though he has someone as hot as Parvati by his side. And then his stupid dance of destruction.

The one with the flute and with legs crossed, because there were no undies at that time to hide his perpetual erection. The God who fucked everything and everyone in a skirt.

The mama’s boy of all time, the God who never loved, respected or trusted his wife. Ram actually started this whole Indian attitude of discrimination and harassment against women, especially the wives.

Forgot the one on the lotus. Or was that an over-sized sofa-cum-bed?

And who can ignore the one and only Prophet? The most political of all Gods/Prophets. 11 or 13 wives, and one of his wives was a 6 year old girl and the marriage was believed to be consummated when the girl turned 9. For each single voice that says he preached tolerance or God is one, there are a zillion other voices that say he preached the exact opposites. No other Prophet’s teachings have been debated or understood differently by different people all over the world. If it’s love everyone in one page of the Quran, it’s kill everyone who’s a non-believer. If it’s respect woman in one page, it’s beat your wives or divorce them whenever you please, in another.

And there must be something horribly wrong with a Prophet whose beliefs and teachings spawned generations and generations of people who can’t take a joke, who can’t tolerate other faiths/religions, and who fight and die in every corner of the world for 7 virgins in some bloody heaven. He even beats Ram black and blue when it comes to discrimination against women, and all those stupid cruel laws and traditions for Muslim women.

Monday, June 11, 2007

You have a woman who gets into a live-in relation with a married man because he told her that he will divorce his wife and marry her. And when the man doesn’t, the woman takes him to court and she won the case.

You have a woman who has been divorced by her husband for adultery. She had begun to live in the same house with the other man. The woman takes him to court and demands alimony. She won, with the judge saying that living in the same house with the other man doesn’t amount to adultery.

These are the basics of the two cases. If we go into the details, the debate will never end. And I’m sure these cases must have made many feminists ecstatic. Don’t.

Take the first case. The woman had been going out with the married man for some years before he suggested a live-in relationship. Anyone with some common sense would have never gone out with a still married person. Whether they live in or not, almost all couples nowadays have physical relations. If she’s the type of person who equates a live-in relationship with marriage, how about telling the man a very simple “NO” when he asked her to move in with him?

The promise to marry, or the simple belief/statement that we will get married and live together forever, is something that’s implicitly understood when we get into a relationship. But all of us know too, that it may never happen, that couples break up.

The man promised to marry the woman, but didn’t. Ask yourselves this, how many men and women do this same thing everyday? Next time, someone’s going to get sued because he/she promised to buy a watch/car/house as a gift for a lover, but didn’t.

Take the second case. It’s one of those news/stories that always pushes the whole concept of women’s equality and liberation a few centuries backwards. I will never ever understand why educated women with all the privileges and freedom can’t earn for themselves instead of begging/demanding alimony from their ex-husbands?

How many of these wives have spent money and time on their husbands’ education and career? And when you consider the fact that most of the marriages in India are arranged, when the men already have stable and well established jobs, this idea seems even more ridiculous. So, on what grounds are they asking for a share of their husbands’ salaries? If they fuck around with other men, why do they ask money from their husbands when they are served with divorce papers? If that’s not bad and insulting enough, they usually won these cases in the name of women’s equality and liberation. At least, when we men fuck around we don’t ask money from our wives to buy condoms or whatever!!

And in most of these cases, the reason for asking alimony is – to maintain the lifestyle that she has been used to. Doesn’t that remind you of a dog?

As for that judge, please send your wife to live in the same house with some other man. No sir, this is not adultery at all, this is just harmless fucking.

I agree that women have been exploited for ages. But let’s not get carried away. Times have changed, and the trends and lifestyles we see everyday speaks volumes about women’s equality. So many of my friends are married, and they have kids. And all of them, I repeat, all of them, pamper and love their wives so much. They cook most of the times, they buy the groceries, they take care of the kids most of the times, and most importantly, they respect their wives a hell of a lot. I’m talking about friends from Delhi to friends in Tamil Nadu; friends from all over India. So when one of these women from a similar background gets successful in her career, why do the media always come up with that phrase – a perfect balance between career and home? It may have been true decades back but now, most of the household work, sometimes the entire household work is taken care of by the husbands, or the men.

I also agree that life in rural India is a totally different story. And for that, we don’t need all that bullshit debates about alimony and live-ins. We need to make sure the education and awareness campaigns reach and benefit these women.

If urban, educated middle class women are so serious about women’s equality, I hope they do a little bit of these instead. Whenever someone in your family mentions dowry, make him/her drop that sick idea/so-called tradition. Whenever someone in your family or friends circle makes a derogatory remark about women, make him/her feel ashamed. Whenever your housemaid talks of an alcoholic abusive husband, support her and fight for her. If she sends her son to school but makes her daughter work with her, make your maid change her mind about women’s education. Or better still; sponsor her daughter’s education by cutting down your trips to those ridiculously priced coffee shops and pubs/restaurants/hotels.

Don’t try to change the world, don’t even think about it. Just try a bit to change the people you know, the people you meet everyday.

Monday, June 04, 2007

dust clouds swirled
outside the glass doors
there's chaos all around
there's blood on the streets

the ragpickers marched
with their bottomless body bags
there's room for one and all
they whispered

the clowns stood
the applauses came
too late and died
too quickly
the smiles slowly turned
upside down

as egos grew
hearts and homes
became smaller
as greed and jealousy
consumed us all
we became all alike
just like brothers

the funeral song played
the drums beat
while we walked together
to early nameless graves
under a bloody divided sky

and as the sun went down
the eerie glow
from an oversized plasma TV
hypnotized a whole world
of zombies