Monday, June 28, 2010

All that she wants

When I came across the announcement of this brilliant Blogadda contest theme(what women want) the first thing I did was to ask myself what I wanted at the moment. All sorts of things came to mind like for instance-a zero maintenance hairstyle, a self-organizing closet, a painless form of waxing, a boyfriend who says 'at your service madame' instead of 'it's always my fault isn't it?' see this particular fancy list of mine has endless number of items. But then I realized that my 'what I want' list reflects the mindset of the urban,working,independent woman of today who can afford to have big dreams and make them come true.
What about the women of the past? or the women who are not as fortunate? what do/did they want?

From the perspective of my 72-year old grandma we should be thankful that this question is being asked at all. 'Cause if we go back some hundred odd years we'll find ourselves in a society which neither cared nor spared a thought for what women wanted. A society which had ridiculed Anandi Gopal Joshi or Kadambini Ganguly's lifelong efforts at gaining medical knowledge. A society which was vehemently opposed to the idea of a 'female doctor'.

Grandma says that back in her days the women only desired to be married off as soon as possible. The question of who she was being wedded to was the least of her concerns. If the age difference between them was reasonably small then she considered it as an added bonus.  Roughly translated it meant she had a chance at a happy life without having to be torched alive alongside her husband at his pyre all too soon.

In simpler words the woman of yesterday did not ever pause to think about what she wanted. She believed it to be her moral obligation to follow the orders issued by the patriarch of the household with unquestioning faith-the patriarch being her own father,her husband or her son.

But then times changed.

Right at this moment I feel thankful to have a voice of my own which can speak out loud and freely.
But what about the less privileged ones of our society? She who works zealously from morning till evening as a labourer at a construction site or making incense sticks and candles? She who often has her hard-earned money snatched away from her to be frittered away on alcohol or gambling? I'm certain all she wants is a chance at a happy and normal domestic life. Or maybe to see her child being imparted the education that she was once denied.

Without any intention of dragging this discussion into the forbidden territory of feminism I'd like to quote these few lines from a poem by a young Caribbean activist-

"You wonder why I say I'm feminist
Don't I know that's out of style?
Don't I see when people don't challenge me
Just shake their heads and smile?
You wonder why I say I'm feminist
And what it really means.
Don't I get fed up all the time
Of having to defend my dreams?"

                                                            - Gabrielle Jamela Hosein

I feel that the answer to the question 'what women want' is concealed somewhere within these lines.
Part of what a woman wants also includes the things she doesn't want.

She doesn't want to be the only one who is expected to hold a family together. She doesn't want to be stereotyped as the 'irresponsible wife' if she makes work her first priority. She doesn't want to be thought of as a commodity which changes ownership from the father to the husband and later to the son. She doesn't want her dignity to be violated only because she is physically weak. She doesn't want to be killed in the name of fake 'honor' if she chooses to marry according to will. She doesn't want to dress provocatively in hopes of climbing up the corporate ladder. She doesn't want to be looked upon only as an object of lust. She doesn't want to be labeled a 'slut' if she sports a mini skirt with spaghetti straps. She doesn't want to be forced to conceal herself from head to toe behind a heavy padding of black clothing. She doesn't want her neighbors to start gossiping if she comes back home late. She doesn't want to be mocked or laughed at if she speaks of 'feminism'. And most of all she doesn't want to hear people say 'women don't have what it takes' when she faces failure.

She wants to have the right to decide the course of her own life. She wants others to acknowledge the fact that she is a human being first,a woman later. She wants to be held and comforted by her partner when she is facing her darkest the same way he wants the same thing from her. She wants to have the right of giving her child her surname. She wants to be judged for the person she is rather than the way she looks. She wants a man to look deep into her soul and discover the immeasurable beauty within. She wants to love unconditionally and only be loved in return.

And most important of all...a woman wants a man to understand her feelings.

Whew! I know what's on your mind right now-'A woman sure wants a heck load of things in life'.
True. Although I think I'm nowhere close to listing all of them.
So I'll borrow a few words from Cyndi Lauper's smash-hit and all-too-well-known song to sum it all up-

"Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I want to be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls they want to have fun"

P.S: On a less serious note a woman does NOT want a man to say 'I hate luv storys'. Ever.

P.P.S:If you're still clueless I suggest you watch Nancy Meyers' 'What Women Want'. :)

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The good and the bad of it

Even twenty years back when the print media was restricted to a handful of newspapers and monthlies and digital media hadn't seen the light of the day it was infinitely difficult to keep in touch with the happenings of the world. Difficult not in the sense as impossible but keeping yourself updated with information on politics, sports, celebrities wasn't as easy. Now-a-days news is practically being shoved down our throats...although it goes without saying that journalism of today thrives on sensationalism more than anything else. Events are blown out of proportion all the time. Somebody falling down from his scooter on the road and getting his say, knee scratched could turn into somebody dying in a road-accident of catastrophic proportions with ample mob fury thrown in. Not literally but you get my drift right?
Gone are the principles that a news item should consist of the plain truth or fact devoid of a biased perspective.
There's also the issue of delusional thinking on the part of media people that Rahul Gandhi reverting back to his clean-shaven look is newsworthy.
Well in any case I'm coming to that later.

What's relevant is now people are more aware of the world they live in. The advent of the internet(although a minority of the population have access to it)has made it possible for news to travel lightning fast.
Satellite images came directly into our television screens/desktops, mac-books, cell phones almost as soon as the Gaza flotilla ships were attacked by Israeli commandos. Horrifying as it is I still can't help be thankful to the media(plus the technology) for this.Atleast we know what's happening in another part of the world and are in a position to form an opinion about it. And it's a well-proven fact that a strong public opinion, if mobilized, can topple the most despotic of governments or get justice for the wronged. Who can forget the Jessica Lal or Priyadarshini Mattoo cases?

The point I'm trying to make is now-a-days the people at large are well-informed. Even if somebody doesn't have the time to read a newspaper in detail, there's always a news channel or the online editions of most papers which contain a shortened version of the articles. The news invariably reaches you one way or the other.And this would've been in no way possible without the pivotal role played by the media.
However it is to be observed that the quality of news has depreciated considerably alongside the spread of the media. Sometimes an international supermodel's mole gets more attention than an important political event in our country. Or the heated of exchange of tweets(yes,virtual words not real) between the Who's Who of Bollywood gets a place in the online edition of a major daily.

Yes all of us know that celebrity news sells faster than gutkha packets near a taxi-stand but since when did journalism become indistinguishable from business?

An equally perturbing fact would be the way terrorist attacks, bloody wars or devastating accidents get live coverage for days. The journos do not rest until the last remaining, if I may be so bold enough to say, 'juice' has been squeezed out of the incident. Without genuine sources confirming the statistics most channels make up their own number of casualties. With gory images of blood-spattered corpses, relatives of the dead howling in the's like reality drama playing out before your eyes. And no need to mention we,the people,lap it up.Isn't a little discretion or subtlety in such matters desirable?

Now that the World Cup frenzy is in full swing I find most Indian news channels bringing in experts to analyze what kind of formation the Argentinian or Brazilian team will opt for in the upcoming match.(And I'm not even going into the detail that John Abraham of all people is explaining the intricacies of a match to us)
Uh hello there we are a soccer-crazed nation no doubt but shouldn't we be worrying about the fact that India has never played in the World Cup so far and has like zero probability of qualifying for one anytime soon? Shouldn't the media be highlighting the pitiable condition of the Indian national football team, the lack of sponsors and government involvement?

I could go on and on since this is a never-ending saga. But I'd like to hear your say in the matter as well.
What do you think of the media of today? Are they being responsible enough or is ethical journalism on the verge of extinction?

Image courtesy: Meera Sapra and

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Monday, June 21, 2010


Right now I'm about to rediscover the joy of something that I sorely missed doing these 4 weeks.
Seven or eight years back when my writing skills were limited to forming well-structured sentences while composing 'A Memorable Bus-Ride' or let's say 'My Favorite Author' I had no idea that writing would become such a precious part of me later on. That it would gift me with a joy so great that nothing could even come close to being compared to it.
Yes I'm back to blogging. Exams are a thing of the past now.
Well not quite fact I'll be facing other exams soon. Tougher, more difficult ones that will test my strengths like no other.
But for the time being I'm going to allow myself a little break. And it goes without saying this break will see a lot of blog posts (hopefully).
So what does this post hold?
If you're expecting a piece of fiction or a serious rant then prepare to be disappointed. I'm just going to do a tag that has been doing the rounds across the blogosphere lately. And despite the fact that I don't like tags too much I like this one. So here goes-

  1. Graduated high school.
  2. Kissed someone.
  3. Smoked a cigarette.
  4. Got so drunk you passed out  (hello, teetotaler here)
  5. Rode every ride at an amusement park.
  6. Collected something stupid.
  7. Gone to a rock concert.
  8. Helped someone.
  9. Gone fishing. (done lots of it in fact)
  10. Watched four movies in one night.
  11. Lied to someone.
  12. Snorted cocaine.
  13. Smoked weed.
  14. Failed a subject.
  15. Been in a car accident.
  16. Been in a tornado.
  17. Watched someone die.
  18. Been to a funeral.
  19. Burned yourself.
  20. Run a marathon.
  21. Cried yourself to sleep.
  22. Spent over 10,000 bucks in one day.(well that wasn't technically my money though :P)
  23. Flown on an aeroplane.
  24. Cheated on someone.
  25. Been cheated on.
  26. Written a 10 page letter.
  27. Gone skiing.
  28. Been sailing.
  29. Cut yourself.
  30. Had a best friend.
  31. Lost someone you loved.
  32. Got into trouble for something you didn’t do.
  33. Stolen a book from the library.
  34. Gone to a different country.
  35. Watched the Harry Potter movies.(duh)
  36. Had an online diary.
  37. Fired a gun.
  38. Gambled in a casino.
  39. Been in a school play.
  40. Been fired from a job.
  41. Taken a lie detector test.
  42. Swam with dolphins.
  43. Voted for someone on a reality TV show.
  44. Written poetry.
  45. Read more than 20 books a year.
  46. Gone to Europe.
  47. Loved someone you shouldn’t have.
  48. Used a colouring book over age 12.
  49. Had a surgery.
  50. Had stitches.
  51. Taken a Taxi.
  52. Had more than 5 IM conversations going on at once.
  53. Been in a fist fight.
  54. Suffered any form of abuse.
  55. Had a pet. (I want to but I'd be thrown out of the house if I did :P)
  56. Petted a wild animal.
  57. Had your own credit card & bought something with it.
  58. Dyed your hair.
  59. Got a tattoo.
  60. Had something pierced.
  61. Got straight A’s.
  62. Known someone personally with HIV or AIDS.
  63. Taken pictures with a webcam.
  64. Lost something expensive.(lost a whole lot in fact)
  65. Gone to sleep with music on.
Needless to mention the crossed out items on the list indicate things I haven't done or experienced. Easy isn't it? Not tagging anyone in particular.Do it if you like it :)
There that's done. This should do as a comeback post (albeit a shabby one). But I'll be back with more.
Oh and before I leave an update for the readers - I WON the Blogadda's Mother's Day contest organized last month.(Okay I know most of you already know but I had to blog about it :P)

Winning the contest in itself was a prize. But I got this lovely t-shirt as an added bonus. :)

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