An open letter

Dear Mr Terrorist,

How the hell are you? Rhetorical question. Don't answer that. Why do you do this? What do you hope to achieve killing innocent people? I believe you are not aware of this but the majority of the world's population is allergic to a condition called death, and you're helping spread the infection. (Okay, maybe not majority, but these studies use sample sizes).

Do you even realise the amount of discomfort people have to face because of you, other than losing their limbs and lives of course? Air travel has become a torture. The endless security checks mean a 10-hour flight becomes a 16-hour ordeal of intrusive pat downs with straight-faced airline staff asking us to honestly reveal if we are carrying bombs or other incendiary objects. (I wonder if they run into honest terrorists who admit to such a thing.)

Anyway, I digress. You kind folks are the reason they don't allow liquids aboard flights anymore, barring the contents of your bladder. An old uncle who suffered from a bizarre addiction to cranberry juice cursed your lot till the day he died as he couldn't carry his precious juice with him on flights. I believe one of his expletives started with nincom and ended with poop.

Forget flights, even the neighbourhood movie theatre now frisks two-year-olds for explosives. Sure, some of it is justified in case people get violent after sitting through a Sajid Khan film, but you sir, are to blame for this state of chaos and distrust on the streets. People worry about going shopping in case there are blasts in the market. Well, husbands are not too unhappy about it but it takes a toll on the economy, you know.

Our VIPs need so much protection from you that our roads get jammed whenever they travel. Even terrorists can't be so cruel that they subject people to the torture of a traffic jam. That's just inhumane. If you had a conscience I'd appeal to it right now.

Another grouse I have with you is the villains you are giving Hollywood. Remember the good old days when the villain was usually a slimy, ugly alien? Well those times are gone. Now our movies show terrorists attacking the White House instead of aliens, and we have to sit through that drivel. You and your AK-47s are to blame for this.

Frankly, I feel euthanasia with a heavy dose of barbiturates is a pleasant alternative to a suicide bombing. You guys should consider it.

I'd urge you to reconsider killing people to satisfy your prehistoric craving for fame and power. Besides, as my late grandmother used to say (God bless her soul), killing is just not a nice thing. 
Think about it.

To paraphrase Rumi, out beyond ideas of terrorism and religion there is a field. I'll meet you there for biryani.

Yours truly,
I am not a Khan

Neither I am a terrorist

Graphics : Debojyoti

My Faulty Fairytale

When I heard Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City say, "Some people are settling down, some are settling, and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies," I felt compelled to write something. The majority of single women whom I see are struggling with wanting to get married and wanting to hold out for a man they feel terrific chemistry for-nothing less than butterflies.

Initially, I found them stupid, sentimental and full of fictitious characters revolving around the heads. Then one day I thought I found him. On certain occasions, surrounded by our friends, I looked at him and felt certain I had met the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with. Quite simply, he was my soul mate. We were desperately in love and had our future life together mapped out.

First we would save to buy our own home, then would come a romantic wedding ceremony and children would follow. You see, I never did find another man who offered everything he did, who understood me and loved me like he did. Someone who was my best friend as well as my lover.

Pic: Random
Then one day, a friend of mine, sends me pictures of roads. She writes: 'Wouldn't you just love to walk down this one? Just to see where it would lead you?'

They are long and leafy and often there is a curve round which you cannot see. It felt like I was watching him turn the corner in the road, leaving me and going somewhere else. And then, although we were still together, I lost him completely. He had fallen out of love with me, and I didn't fight for him.

Our relationship is like a great fat book, a soap of the highest caliber. I had got to know and love all the characters within it. I wanted to know what they'd do next. My heartbreak was like losing the only copy in print, when I'd been so gripped, so enthralled by it, and knowing it will lost forever.

The dawn of A Nation Without Women

‘All women actually want is you to fuck the shit out of them.’
‘Women have always felt lust for rapists. It’s a fact that is easy to back up.’
‘Is it possible to rape a girl in a respectful way?’
Pic: Behance

These are just some of the shockingly vile statements I've seen online this week, as I delved into the world of so-called Men’s Rights forums, where young male users come from across the world. The horrifyingly aggressive face of modern misogyny, which appears to have taken root among our young men and boys, and the fact the internet not only provides a forum for such deep-seated loathing but increases the likelihood of it spilling over into real life.

Before I even attempted to look at these vile sites, I needed a crash course in a language that was entirely new to me. For starters, the ‘manosphere’ refers to the blogs, message boards and various sites where men specifically go to vent their resentment against women and/or learn how to successfully attract them or ‘pick them up’.

Like the latest smartphone or designer sunglasses, sex is increasingly viewed on these sites as yet another commodity there for the taking. In this warped world, young men believe themselves entitled to have sex with whomever they choose. The objectification of females is such that a girl who’s ‘up for sex’ with one person is necessarily ‘up for it’ with everyone. The sexual liberation of women has become distorted into something terribly dangerous.

My daily chores starts with reading newspaper and shockingly, there’s always something or the other about violence against women all throughout the globe. Even in the wake of 21st Century, it’s the women who face the maximum outrage from the society. The actions of some of my fellow 'men' makes me sick.
Pic: Google Images

Whether she is a college student travelling in some train, a working woman returning home or a housewife walking on a road, from a child of tender years to a lady 65 years of age, no one is safe. My personal experience as an independent working woman staying in a different city seals the fact more. We talk about women liberalization, independence, equality et al. but one of the main reasons of violence against women is the mentality which deems women inferior of men and merely limits their importance to the maintenance of the household, the upbringing of children and pleasing their husbands and serving other members of the family. Every woman you meet, know or related to has been a victim of gender inequality – be its home, workplace, transport or just, anything! You will say not everyone feels the same. Yes, time has changed, yet attitude towards women have never been changed. To understand better, one has to get to the root cause of the problem. It has all started ages ago, where men are thought to be gods and powerful and women to be just like slaves for household works.

Everyone asks me to carry a pepper spray, some even suggested to take some martial art classes and others simply instructed me to carry knives in my bag. My question is why? Why do I have to carry so many things to remain safe in MY country where I pay my taxes and adhere to other norms just like any other MEN? Why I can’t smoke in a public place but a man can pee on the roads in a broad day light? Why can’t I wear shorts and go to my local grocer’s shop and not a single man will look at my legs salaciously? Why can’t I go for a walk late in the evening? Why should women or feminists have to fight this battle? This isn't a feminist battle this a battle of HUMANITY. Granted, it is women who are being humiliated, but in essence their tormentors are both, men and women. Carried out by men, but assisted by other women's silence and acceptance. The depravity is nauseating. As for “boys will be boys”, it sums up the prevailing attitude towards females.

Pic: Behance
Police don't care, bureaucrats are indifferent, politicians find women seductive — it's the entire regime. Every time, I read some attacks on women I think thank God! It’s not me. I often ask myself, am I safe in my own country? Why do I need to extra careful while dressing up, walking across the streets or lighting up my cigarette? Is it really an offence to be a woman? No. I AM a woman and proud to be one! But those myriad questions still haunt me whenever I step out of my house and read about obnoxious attitude towards us. Enough of Women’s Day and all that jazz. Give women what they need the most – respect, love and equality.

The actual need of the hour is a revolutionary change in the mindsets and conscience of every men around the world and just not in India, so that they stop seeing women as objects of sexual pleasure. Don't teach you daughters what not to wear, rather teach your sons how to respect women of all ages.

A Never Ending Story

It was few days back on a lazy afternoon at work, I was reading an article on Smita Patil. Her sister Manya Patil said, she died because the people she loved most chose to break her heart. Quite simultaneously my colleague forwarded me a link on how to deal with heart break through the instant chat.

The vermilion sun played hide-and-seek behind silhouettes of leafless trees outside my office. I got up, lit up a cigarette and took a deep puff. I desperately wanted to get rid of his memories from my heart with every puff. I thought that would ease my pain. I was lost in the sepia alleys of memories. Ashen and asymmetrical, abandoned buildings cover the place. Every lane is the same...the same grey in colour. Smoke fills the air... I feel claustrophobic.

I sat by myself looking outside the office window as time drifted away into oblivion. My empty cup of coffee seemed as desolate as the state of my mind. I scribbled on a notepad, ‘Life is but a fleeting memory, fading minute by minute’.

It’s been over few months since we had some real conversations. Yeah you kept on asking me how I am or how am dealing with this “situation”. I was never honest with you everything you tried asking me how I am. Maybe you read through me, maybe you didn’t, but maybe we both just got tired of hearing the same answers from each other.

When we stopped trying, I thought I was okay already, and I thought we were both alright. Then one night everything just turned on itself, it hurts, and it brought up a whole load of emotions that I thought I already resolved. I was really confused and angry that the past few weeks I’d spent trying to move forward were for nothing at all. That night, like rest of these days you kept silent, you refuse to utter any word – your silence bore a deep hole inside my soul and I kept on digging deep into it like a mad woman tries to dig out some unknown treasure from a garbage. I thought you’ll understand, I thought you will hold my hands and wipe my tears and tell me like you used to, “ I will never leave you alone.” But you didn’t. When your words were important to me, you chose to remain mum. You didn’t utter a sound, you watched me grieving, you knew what I wanted and you also knew how badly I wanted – but by this time I realized that its only me to wants them. Because for you, it’s a whole new world of decision making.

Today, while sipping my morning cuppa, I realized that I still love you. This is me, raw and unplugged, unashamed of saying that I still do. Just not necessarily romantically, but I do have feelings for you. And that love I have for you is probably the purest kind I’ve ever had, because even though you hurt me, even though you’re already living without me, I still pray for your well-being and that you’re okay. I still want the best for you and still see only the best in you. They usually say that “the first love never dies.” And it confused me because you aren’t the first person I thought I loved.

True love, they say, is a one way street. When you love someone, you never expect anything in return. And good relationships last because two lovers meet in the middle. Maybe we were both just too afraid to not be enough for the other, and so instead of expecting, we just held ourselves back and never really met anywhere.
You think I've nothing better to do than to wait for you Pic: Beahnce

You can talk with someone for years, every day, and still, it won't mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known the person for forever.... connections are made with the heart, not the tongue. – And that is all I felt for you!