12/25/06

perspectives, part 1

This blog has largely been a feminist blog, and most of my posts have been about women’s issues and so on and so forth. This is in all probability the first post I have written where I have stolidly picked apart women. Or certain kinds of desi women who go to phoren lands to study. The operative words here being certain kinds of desi women, not all.

I write this post principally from personal experiences and I have been distressed and befuddled by the attitudes I have individualized in this post. I have piteously been on the receiving end of such behavior time and time again and I am quite plainly, sick of it. I have racked my brains as to why these women behave in the way they do and I know that it stems from a deep seated fear of something. Fear of what exactly? I don’t know. But I sure as hell want to find out. And I refuse to stomach retarded comments from random self appointed bastions of all things feminism AKA pompous dipshits, along the lines of “you have violated the cardinal rules of feminism and you must be such a hoebag blah blah”. I had to act on an overpowering urge to vent and get this out of my system. If I don’t do that I am not being honest with myself and I cannot function without being honest with myself. So there.

And men are SO NOT off the hook. I am making this a series and the next post will be solely reserved for the men. You didn’t think I’d write about insidious desi attitudes and NOT dedicate a post (or posts) to the men, did you?

Anyway, let’s get on with it.

Dear desi-woman-from-the-motherland,

I respect the fact that you have taken the trouble to come to a phoren land to study. I know it must have been a trifle hard to break away from the extremely cloistered or at least pampered-to-an-extent (I assume) type of environment you must have come from in India.

I try to understand you. I really do. But try as I might I cannot fathom the complexities of your ever varied personalities, and most importantly your determination in squishing your real self into the bowels of your being and not letting it out even if your whole life depended on it. Why is that? Why is it that you work so hard at maintaining such terrific levels of hypocrisy with all your peers, even the ones who genuinely care for you and want to understand you? Does this stem from a nameless fear of not being accepted by other desi folk? Or is it a fear of not being looked upon as a so called good, pure, traditional desi woman? Do you seriously think that if you actually stand up for yourself, somehow, somewhere in our ever pervasive desi society (cough), you will be considered fallen?

So what I am going to do is to try and deconstruct you. I am going to try and pick at your idiosyncrasies with as much effort as I can muster. I may be wrong, but I will plough on anyway. And yes, no hard feelings. Snort.

1. It is time to stop dressing like a homeless dirtbag. I don’t know where you get your fashion choices from but I do know that wearing clothes your OWN damn size is NOT a fashion choice. That’s basic eye to brain co-ordination. Which you woefully DON’T seem to have the grasp of. And please tell me why do you possess this pervasive urge to shop for winter wear in the men’s department? Do you think that women enjoy the soothing effects of frostbite? Don’t you think that women want to keep themselves warm too? Open your eyes and look for the women’s department in a clothing store, for the love of god.

2. Yes, I know you like to have guy friends. Everyone does. And I totally respect that. But I am astounded at the sheer amount of travails you put yourself through to keep them. Like cooking for a bunch of drunken guys at 4 A.M. Or preparing food for 50 desi guys for one of your male friend’s parties which you are NOT INVITED to, because of some fuckwit reason like oh guys drink and stuff and what place does a girl have there. Or going to their apartments and cleaning it for them/doing their laundry/doing their dishes. Or buying stuff for your guy friends every single time you go shopping for yourself even when they evidently don’t reciprocate your generosity. Well, I’ll stop here, you must get the picture. So my all encompassing question is, w.h.y? Why this slavish pandering?

3. Everyone has their own set of principles. Hell, I do too! But if your ‘principles’ are based solely on what desi guys will supposedly think, then you have a behemothic problem. That crap about how it’s not lady like to say you need to go to the restroom when you are with desi guys because oh-they-don’t-like-that and you might as well wait for your bladder to fusillade, is utter and banal horseshit. Please woman, grow a backbone and empty your bladder already.*

4. Is it really necessary to call at least five of your guy friends to join you for every single unimportant activity? Is one bag of potatoes really that heavy? Can’t you carry a gallon of milk and a few other things by yourself? If you really are so frail as to break a bone while carrying a bag of onions or whatever, why can’t you call one of your roommates? Surely between you and your roommate, you could manage a bag of onions just fine. And why do you possess this perplexing fear of walking alone? Surely you must have walked alone in India. I really don’t think that you will get mugged, shot at, or raped while walking one measly block from your department building to your apartment complex. And even if you do possess a vague fear of walking alone, do you really need a battalion of desi men to escort you home? Really? Do you? Or is there something beneath the surface that I am missing?

5. You love to let loose your vast reserves of knowledge on sati savithiri-ism and unsullied chastity-ism to your unsuspecting minions (ahem). I can perceive that. But why do you try to force your ‘tips’ on people who are utterly disinterested in the way you function? I did not ask for you to advice me on how I should behave in front of desi guys in order for them to WANT to be friends with me. I abhor the fact that you are immensely judgmental and nitpicky about every single action of mine, while all I do is try to ignore your silliness and your foolish pandering to your desi guy friends. I will not listen to one more tedious sermon on how ‘Indian women should not swear/wear low rise jeans/wear sleeve-less clothing/laugh loudly/insert other horseshit here as they will be called whores otherwise’ or ‘how drinking is a veritable sin against humankind and it is so NOT lady like and the desi guys will spit on you if they found out’ while it is completely A-ok and fine for you to surreptitiously smoke in the restroom or drink furtively within the four walls of your own apartment, while constantly complaining that it’s because of people like me that you have fallen from your lofty pedestal of virtuousness. Please, get the fuck over it and enjoy yourself already.

6. Lesson time. Let’s see, what’s one of the most cardinal tenets of dating 101? DON’T introduce your boyfriend or the guy you have been briefly dating as your cousin, your brother, your rakhi brother (har har I can SO see through that one) or any other relative related to you by blood or otherwise. Why do you actively indulge in this fucking creepfest? It is utterly repugnant and nauseating that you would rather call the guy whose throat you have been sticking your tongue into, your fucking brother, instead of admitting that you have.been.dating. Oh wait, your name and your p-u-r-i-t-y in the university’s desi community will be tarnished, and isn’t that your whole purpose of existence? How daft of me, to not comprehend the bigger picture. Tsk tsk.

Addendum: This post is based on eye witness accounts (mine and many others), real experiences, being at the receiving end of countless culture and purity sermons, fights, many a late night conversation, prudery on several levels, perversion and double standards.

[Deep breath]

And I’m done.

And now you must head over to Jupe's blog for her take on the desi men.

You m-u-s-t.

* This was an actual incident. Really.

---X---

B.a.c.k.

Yello people!

After exiling myself from the trappings of modern living for over a week, it feels good to unabashedly admit that I am addicted to every aspect of technology. Woo!

Didja have a great holiday?

11/17/06

what is essential is invisible to the eye

In a harrowing precedent, the Indian Supreme Court has contemptibly and erroneously refused to charge a person for attempted rape under the IPC. In other words, unless there are glaring signs of forced penile/vaginal penetration, good ol’ violence, molestation, and other kinds of sexual abuse including the abuse by using fingers, bottles, sharp instruments and god knows other crap thrust into the various orifices of the victim just doesn’t cut it. So what IS a person who commits everything pertaining to sexual abuse and molestation on their victim EXCEPT inserting their sexual organ (of course), convicted with? Well, according to the Supreme Court, the offence is punishable IF the perpetrator/s intended to outrage a woman’s modesty or they possessed the knowledge that their actions will result in the tenability of the woman losing her virtuosity.

Wow.

What a steaming pile of horseshit.

And it gets better.

When asked about the nonsensical ‘modesty’ bit, the judges actually had the nerve to back it up by the most asinine statement I’ve heard all year; that a girl bears from birth the peculiarity of her gender, which is modesty.

Um hello, is this the court of Aurangazeb? Can someone please tell these judges that we are not, repeat not living in circa 17th century A.D?

Isn’t this another cog in the classic ‘blame the victim or if you can’t, at least protect the rapist - oh excuse me - man who wanted to rape but thanks to an extremely convenient imbecilic technicality - is not’ fest?

Isn’t that the case in most rape cases being reported today? A foreseeable accusation game follows the rape, where everything and its dog get blamed, except the rapist. To my mind it is unfathomable that the whole caboodle from the weather to the victims clothes, to her behavior to where she was and with whom she was, her stilettos, her short skirt, her drinking, her non-drinking, her very presence, brings about extreme scrutiny but not the rapist. The rapist is invisible, ignored even and his actions do not merit even a whit of criticism. Of course, even if there is a miniscule window of opportunity to vindicate the accused, the spotlight will instantaneously shine on the rapist and his life in order to prove how ‘normal’ he was and how the rape victim was just a whore who came along and pressured him into raping her or abusing her i.e. creating a wave of rapist sympathy just to show that the victim was ‘asking for it’.

How about shifting the onus of the blame to the actual cause of rape: the rapists?

That’s right, rapists cause rape. Not the length of the victim’s skirt, not the amount she’s had to drink, not the dark alley she chooses to walk in, not the place where she chooses to be, not the parties she chooses to attend, not the company she chooses to keep, but the person who actually commits.the.crime i.e. THE RAPIST, causes rape.

If you belong to those groups who ‘care’ for the woman’s welfare and dole out patronizing advice on how she ought to protect herself against getting raped then wake up, honorary members-of-rape-perpetuators because that’s exactly what you’re doing, perpetuating rape by focusing on how the victim moves, breathes and acts and letting yet another rapist go under the radar with your cloying concern. Do you actually believe that by taking away a bit of the woman’s freedom (which is what you’re doing, by the way), the raping will stop? What about the countries where the woman is covered from head to toe in a burqha or a similar kind of garment where you can’t even see her wrists let alone the shape of the dress or anything else? Even in those countries, rape happens AND the women are being castigated for it. So you can argue all you want about the victim and completely ignore the rapist and what the rapist does and THAT is why we haven’t moved towards a way of decisively reducing or ending rape. Instead, rape has become a quagmire of ifs and buts and what ifs and the only person who benefits from all these tedious discussions and deliberations is the rapist. It is ridiculous to constantly ‘advice’ the woman on how she should always behave as if there is a rapist lurking around every corner. It makes it look as if women are insensate, half-witted dopes who are moronic enough to not know that rape happens.

Frankly, it is insulting to offer women such pitiful guidance for the sake of their so called wellbeing and it completely disregards the fact that men rape women. It discounts the actions of the rapist as if his actions are so utterly normal and A-ok that it’s a fact of life and we can do absolutely nothing to stop him and so we must plan around his actions or plan to circumvent him.

Why must we act as if rape is so inexorable that we must find ways to work around it?

Is it because we live in a culture of ‘boys will be boys’, a culture where the bar is set so low for the men that they have nothing to prove, resulting in their actions being rendered completely and totally inconspicuous?

11/5/06

slimeballs, sex advice and universal idiocy

You know, I don’t read women’s magazines (err, I have displayed a weakness for glamour and nylon from time to time; only for the fashion though!) and I definitely stay away from the patriarchy 101 handbooks aka the men’s magazines, but there comes a time where I cannot ignore the blatant ludicrousness of some of the articles in the aforementioned men’s magazines, especially the cloyingly patronizing and male-ego stroking ‘sex tips’ they dole out to their readers (I pity you, you poor sods).

What really tickles my funny bone is the blatantly misogynist ‘sex advice’ parading under the shoddy cover of what women actually want from their partners during sex, when in reality its not about the women at all, its about pandering to the inner creepo-studmuffin which gives you a pretty decent picture of the male ideal which these magazines seem to wax eloquent about.

So when my friend sent me an article (gloriously titled 6 types of sex women enjoy) to brighten up my otherwise dreary Sunday, I balked and then my eyes flew open in an OMFGisthisforreal! kinda expression and then I laughed and laughed until I feared that I had contracted an aneurism from all that incessant laughter.

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, let’s look at the first type, aptly titled seductive sex.

Chances are that your first few sexual encounters with your woman will revolve around seduction. In other words, you're going to do your damndest to charm her right into your bed.
Look deep into her eyes and "sensualize" the conversation in order to seduce her mind and get the sexual energy between you flowing.

Once you have her eating out of the palm of your hand, take her in your arms and kiss her. Lead her into the bedroom and slowly undress her. Lay her down and make love to her while keeping eye contact. Maintain a constant, steady pace and refrain from using too many sound effects. After all, you're the strong, silent type tonight.

This type of set-up is also good for when you've been together for a while and want to feel like the stud that you are, and want to remind her of that too.

Maybe I’ve been undersexed or my extremely emotional ‘female’ brain refuses to comprehend the seduce her mind bit. Pray, tell me how do you seduce a brain? And of course, it’s not too difficult to have the weak little woman eat out of the palm of your hand, just look into her eyes long enough and your superhuman powers of hypno-male-studliness will quell her virtuosity and din it into her seduced brain that you* are THE STUD tonight; after all she does want to be controlled, you’re just doing her a big favor by generously giving her what she wants. Uh-huh.

Let’s move on to type 3: Animalistic sex.

Grab her and kiss her hard, and rip each other's clothes off; it doesn't even matter if some of them stay on. Go ahead and do it doggy style on the living room floor, or prop her up on the kitchen counter if you so desire. Do it fast and hard.

Grab her hair by the roots, yell if you feel like it; just be sure to check your inhibitions at the door.

I’m not too concerned about the ‘rip the clothes’ part but I must say that I found the ‘go ahead and do it doggy style’ part ab-fucking-solutely hilarious. I mean they’re not even pretending that this article is about what kind of sex the woman enjoys! Oh no no no, fuck her in a position where YOU get the best view and the maximum pleasure! Because ultimately, all women have the deep seated need to slavishly pander to their man in whichever estimable way possible, right? Right?

Oh and I totally dig the subtle way in which men are represented as holding back their quivering inner Neanderthal, only to be unleashed by causing pain to their possession woman and by yelling unabashedly like the cavemen that they presume to be, because that’s SO what women want: simulated rape.

This one's quick and to the point; you want an orgasm and you want it now.
Yeah, let’s just completely ditch what we’ve been pretending to do throughout this article and expose ourselves for what we really mean by 6 types of sex women enjoy AKA its all about what YOU enjoy, studmuffins.

You can also get her to wear some sexy lingerie and do a little strip tease for you. She can be your naughty school girl, cowgirl, French maid; whatever turns you on.
Hooo! Because that’s what SHE strives for! Slavishly ceding to your needs! Make her strip for YOUR pleasure! Because you know, when a woman knows that she’s adept at pleasuring her man, that knowledge in itself should be able to turn her on! But of course! Who cares about actually taking the time to know her body? Who cares about taking their time with foreplay? Who cares about women having orgasms? What a load of crock! Now that you know that whatever turns you on is the type of sex your woman enjoys, go grab your woman and SHOW her who the boss is, I say!

You know, this article is such a load of bullshit that it’s offensive to anyone who reads it; man or woman. The whole premise of this article is based on the sole conjecture that women can be manipulated into giving men pleasure and in turn she automatically gets turned on by the power of his pleasure. In every ‘type’ of sex that women supposedly enjoy in this article, there’s not one mention of the clitoris, the vagina or any kind of stimulation which involves the pleasure.of.the.woman. By fraudulently using the ‘what women want’ tag, these articles actually teach their readers to inculcate in the women how to give them pleasure and that’s pretty much it.

Unless of course, if you actually want to persevere towards cultivating a libidinous-slimebally-pseudo-studmuffin kinda persona; then well, this article is right up your alley.

* Generic ‘you’ used throughout this post. Please for the love of all that’s living, if you actually take this post personally, I’ll unconditionally devote the next post to laughing at your pitiful ass. You stand warned.

10/19/06

it's nice that you listen; it'd be nicer if you joined in.

There comes a time when we must give in to peer pressure. But the situation becomes a tad convoluted when you realize that through punk history, punks are the peer pressurers (I don’t prefer to use the word bully, for aesthetic reasons. Ahem). But I am known for having an altruistic side *cough*, and well, I digress.

Moving on, I’ve never really acted all OMGIHATEMEMESARGH! in the past. I still don’t abhor memes, but I must admit to feeling a teensy weensy bit overwhelmed at the sheer number of tags I’ve been avoiding, six at last count I think (eep!). But fear not O’ allegiant yet slightly elusive reader, I have finally resolved to work on my meme backlog and I can’t think of a better way to begin than to do a tag on feminism. And I must thank this relentless crusader, the person who single handedly forced me out of my TAG-A-BLOCK, Aishwarya of Kaleidoglide.

So the premise of the tag states that I must list five things which feminism has done for me. To be very frank, I actually found it quite daunting to bring down the large list I had conceived in my mind to a miniscule five, but oh well as people say, ‘don’t not follow the tag or you’re chopped liver’. Errrr…right, I made that up.

Alright, on to the meme.

1. When I was six, I set my eyes on the most bizarre object I had ever seen. It was a 30”x 27” poster print, and to my impressionable six year old brain it looked like two tigers being eaten by a horrible looking fish like thing and a naked woman with a gun sticking out of her. It scared me silly, but I couldn’t help but feel like I so badly wanted to draw like that. Day after day, I snuck that poster print out of my mother’s room and stared at it longingly. All my kiddie scribbles during that time was of tiger like creatures and sad looking fish, such was the influence of Dali, and yes that picture was Dali’s Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening. Fast forward to seven years later, and a morose conversation with my father. When I gleefully told him that I wanted to be a surrealist, my father looked at me like I had gone off the deep end. He told me that if I didn’t take up a career in science, he would never ever speak to me again. And after that I never picked up a pencil to sketch, heck I even stopped doodling for a couple of years. But I don’t regret that conversation, nor do I regret my decision to enter the murky field of pure sciences. Last year, my sister was allowed to choose whatever subjects she wanted in 11th grade and that makes me proud of my parents. They may have been hard on me, but the fact that they trusted her enough to make her own rational decisions without mollycoddling her or smothering her with over protectiveness is proof enough of their changing attitudes. And it makes me glad as hell to think about it, even now.

2. I HAVE an education. As simple and as clichéd as that may sound, being esteemed fit and capable enough to obtain an education is a big deal, considering the fact that for women of generations past, it was a luxury. In other words, I went to school, I go to university, I pick what I want to study and I am damned pleased that my options aren’t limited to home science or school for nannies or nuns.

3. My right to work. I can actually go to university and pick the subjects I want and pursue a job in the same field of study. My parents have never ever pushed me into getting a degree to make my future ‘matrimonial profile’ look appealing or to supplicate the arranged marriage meat market. Now before anyone self righteously jumps down my throat, I must point out that I don’t think arranged marriages are incapable of ending in matrimonial bliss or whatever. It’s just that, most of the arranged marriages that took place in my family (spanning generations) didn’t exactly work. It’s just a tad bit personal. But gosh, I’m digressing again. Quite simply, I’m glad that my job prospects aren’t limited to glorified whore, housemaid or a married baby making machine.

4. I have the choice to be single and to NOT be a mother. Now before you gleefully brand me a baby hating spinster witch, I'd like to stress on the word CHOICE. I have A CHOICE. I can get married or not. I can choose to have babies or not. I can choose to have an abortion or not. It’s as simple as that. A few generations ago, that was unheard of. A few generations ago, I would have been given in holy matrimony at the age of seven to a man who was twenty years my senior. A few generations ago I would have been expected to turn into a baby spouting contraption as soon as I hit puberty and that would be at the ripe old age of twelve. So yeah, hackneyed or not, I thank my lucky stars that I wasn’t married off at the age of ten or impregnated at the age of thirteen or burnt at the pyre (as a sati) of my middle aged husband at the age of sixteen.

5. I.can.vote.

I think that speaks for itself.

and finally I tag,

Neha

Deepali

Ragnell

Vijayeta

Mahima

Mumbaigirl

Jupe

Raindrop

and Primalsoup.

Post Script: Woah! The 25th carnival of feminists is up and running at Philobiblon and my post on witch hunting is featured in it under the 'horror file' (quite apropos, dont you think?) So hop on over to Philobiblon and be sure to check it out!

10/8/06

Old Witch, Old Witch; she lives in a ditch, and combs her hair with a hickory switch.

There are incidents and then there are occurrences.

Incidents are the little things that happen in your life, minor irritants or blessings which don’t really hamper your day. At the end of the day you are the same; none the richer or wiser, and life...sweet mundane life, goes on.

Then there are the occurrences.

It could be anything, earth shattering perhaps, significant enough to derail the monotonous cycle of your daily existence.

But then I see occurrences like this, and it makes me question my pain and my suffering through the years and somehow I can’t help but balk at the sheer futility of it all.

“It began with the death of two children due to malaria and jaundice in September. An exorcist told the father of the children, Mahavir Baitha, that the two widows, Jeetan Devi and Dubhan Devi, were responsible for the deaths. In front of the son, the mother was tonsured, beaten, paraded and burnt.
Earthen pitchers were broken on the heads of the two widows.”


When I first glanced over this article, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It seemed almost funny in a twisted, macabre sort of way and I honestly felt like I was being ferried to the medieval ages. The excerpt above was from an article about witch hunting, and no, it wasn’t a historical report, it was about the here and now (Y.e.s, I said the here and now).

I am pretty sure that most of us have a rudimentary idea of what witch hunting is. Witch hunting, with respect to the burning times was essentially taking a person accused of practicing witchcraft to task. Of course, as any other religious hate crimes through the ages (including the present), the brunt of it was borne by the women.

Taking a woman accused of practicing witchcraft to task, essentially opened the door for a horrific variety of tortures including rape, mutilation- genital or otherwise, forced coprophagia or the eating of feces, urophagia or the drinking of urine (not necessarily human), pulling nails out, plucking teeth, inserting hooks in various parts of the body and suspending them, inserting metal rods into their orifices and finally death by burning or otherwise, if the ghastly tortures haven’t killed them already.*

While witch hunting has become a thing of the past in the western world, certain states in India still revel in this appalling practice. The folks in the rural areas of Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh (specifically the Telengana district), Tripura, Assam, Orissa and Bihar still hold on to a ludicrous fear of alleged witches or ‘Dains’. What irks me more is the vice like hold the Ojhas or witch doctors have over the villagers psyche. Their word is pretty much the law and whatever they say is usually carried out without question.

But the actual problem is far more deep seated than oh-look-‘witch’-lets-mutilate-her-and-kill-her-because-we-have-nothing-better-
to-do-and-we-are-ignorant-people. The basic modus operandi is this: most of the time if not all the time, the Ojha’s palms are greased for branding a woman a witch. The reasons could often be disputes over land, jealous relatives, revenge for refusing a man’s advances or just a shoddy excuse to inflict violence on the woman (sexual, mostly). But a woman can also be used as a scapegoat for problems plaguing the village like sickness, famine, a failed harvest, a corrupt, sexist panchayat (surprise, surprise) and on and on. And god forbid if a woman dabbles in politics or actually tries to stand up for her rights. She might as well prepare a noose and stick a board on her forehead proclaiming herself a witch. The blind faith in the Ojhas and the foolhardy belief in the existence of ‘moste evile witch craft’ have made these villagers indulge in inflicting appalling levels of abuse on women seamlessly and I am positive that it has made them immune to base emotions. Various cases of men killing their own wives or mothers or get this, their pre-teen and/or teenage daughters in the name of banishing sorcery are quite common.

These instances lead me to wonder if our society jumps at any given half baked opportunity to oppress women by whichever means possible. Strike that, I am almost convinced that that is the case. Economic disparities and social prejudices play such a vital part in perpetuating this mindless cycle of gory violence, sodomy and murder. It almost seems as if there are different factors working together to ensure that these poverty stricken (dalit, in most cases), lower caste women are kept at the pits of the society including the apathetic government officials laboring hand in glove with the village heads and the general unwillingness of the village community to report such cases. To dismiss these occurrences as villagers ‘coping’ with superstition is not only horrifically callous, it’s just plain cruel.

And here are some numbers for the cynic in you:

In the last 15 years, almost 2800 women were slaughtered in the name of witch craft.

700 of those 2800 women were murdered between 2004 and 2005.

Let’s face it. Just because we don’t perceive or see or feel certain things in our lives, that doesn’t mean that they don’t happen or exist.

And on a parting note, I insist on/ compel/ urge/ insert suitable synonym here you to read this and this and this.

* all the grotesque tortures I have listed are carried out even today, often on a far worse scale than what I have described.

9/19/06

We don't care when or how many strong the foe; All we need are targets and thats all we need to know...

Smarmy tam-bram ophthalmologist (with a Thengalai Naamam* covering almost a third of his face, increasing my discomfiture and adding to the bizarreness of the situation enormously): Oh, I’m just going to inject this local anesthetic into your eyelid and your left temple. It won’t hurt at all. Just a little prick which will last for well, a minute and a half. That’s about it. And besides I don’t like to keep pretty ladies at unease for long, at least when I’m around, if you know what I mean. Hehehehehe.

[Insert shifty leer and an ingratiating simper/throaty chuckle]

Me, lying on a rubber mattress thingamajig, wearing a large, shapeless hospital shift cum mumu monstrosity (in pepto bismol pink, to make matters much much worse) and nothing else: A minute and a HALF??? Ohshitohshitohshitohshit…..

Smarmy ophthalmologist in a saccharine, puke inducing tone: Aww, I’ll hold your hand! Will that make the pretty lady feel better?

[After which he proceeds to grab my hand without waiting for an answer, knowing fully well that I would have vehemently refused]

Me: Just inject goddammit! I want this to be over and done with.

Err..ha ha…(nervous laughter).

After which he proceeds to jab the needle into my temple, and for several painstakingly LONG seconds which felt like years, he takes it out and squeezes my hand with his clammy, horrible hand (once again) and exclaims,

There! You have been good. So good. Now on to the eye lid, this will only be marginally more painful. Hehehehe.

Me (fighting down the bile which threatens to flood my throat and turn to puke): Please. Just get on with it.

Smarmy Ophthalmologist: Oh but we mustn’t hurry these things [insert shifty leer]. When I am around it becomes my paramount duty to make you feel comfortable, you hear? So no protests sweetie!

At this point the bile actually floods my throat but his holy smarminess picks this opportune moment to stab my eyelid with the needle. The shock and the pain momentarily confounds me, which in retrospect was actually a good thing as I would have puked all over his overly sterilized floor and he would have jumped at this golden opportunity to lay his hands on me (dear god)** in the name of offering ‘help’. And I don’t want to give him that cheap satisfaction.

Alright, on to the actual operation aka the saga of the defenseless punkster and the horrific eyelid squisher. The extremely powerful anesthetic for which I put up with excruciating pain and his mealy-mouthed clamminess turned out to be utterly.fucking.useless. And to make matters much MUCH worse, the super sensitive doctor who specialized in making people oh-so-comfortable actually exclaimed loudly to the nurse,

“Nurse, can you pass me the super fine blade, please? I need to slice this baby up. Hehehehe.”

And then he proceeds to turn my eyelid over (YES, you heard me!) and slice off a piece of flesh, all in a matter of seconds. I yelled out in pain, and he actually had the gall to say that I had no business reacting as the anesthetic should be kicking in. With sadistic pleasure he proceeds to pluck, pull, slice and nick the flesh under my eyelid, simpering (argh) horribly all the darn while. I bore every tug of skin, every nick and every scoop of eyelid- flesh in insufferable agony and I could actually see the shiny, razor sharp instruments being used on me. At least if he was cute in a Patrick Dempsey-ish: He’s a character from Grey’s Anatomy for those of you living under a rock, kinda way I wouldn’t even NEED anesthetic, thank you very much. Every time he sliced my eyelid flesh I would immediately grab his perfectly chiseled arm and look into his sapphire blue eyes imploringly and then he would squeeze my hand and not let go…… and OK, Ill stop my McDreamy-and-me-in-nothing-but-a-hospital-robe-fantasy right there.

Sigh, back to reality. Once the surgery was finally over and half my face was successfully swathed in white bandages and tape, his holy smarminess exclaims,

“Now that I have saved you, how about showing me your gratitude with a cup of coffee and I’ll let YOU pay. How’s that?”

I wanted to fling the tray of surgical instruments at him, but I exercised supreme control and tried to politely decline his ‘invitation’ while ignoring the fact that Mr. smarmy perv had fixed his icky gaze on my chest, and was actually talking.to.my.bosom (Ahem).

That was it. I bolted without even bothering to get a prescription. All I wanted was to get out of that blasted hospital and get away from his holy pervy smarminess, as fast as possible.

Oh, and eye surgery recovery and other horrific circumstances prevented me from posting. I guess I owe my readers (of what I have left) and all the super nice folks who inquired about my well-being an apology for not posting sooner.
Thanks y’all for asking! Sniff!

* I have nothing against Thengalai Iyengars. So dumbass comments like ‘why are you insulting Thengalai Brahmins yadda yadda’ will be put up for public humiliation, or better still; ignored.

** Yes, I have indulged in excessive bracket usage in this post. So, bite me.

8/13/06

We shall titillate with our calves.

I shall begin by apologizing….. oh whatever, I’ll cut the speechy crap. I actually wanted to apologize for not answering comments but I do realize that none of you missed me in the maniacal (and increasingly bizarre) comments section of my last post so boo-effng-hoo.

Moving on (clears throat), I wanted to revisit my love for self-appointed-culture-police-neanderthals in a congratulatory post, for surpassing my wildest expectations with respect to ‘cultural’ hypocrisy and all-purpose delusion when it came to ‘moralistically’ judging other desi’s (read: desi girls). This of course will finally lead them to their dearest target: ME and my equally raunchy pastime of swimming (whore!).

So this post is a bathing-suit instructional for the moronic, English-vocabulary-challenged, generally pseudo-sanctimonious, self appointed desi-culture police freaks at my university.

So let us dive into it (heh), shall we?

The tank suit of the 1920’s:






Look at this bathing suit O’ medieval freaks. This was worn in the twenties. You heard me right,the twenties. The tank suit was a figure hugging (oh the horror, THE HORROR) one-piece jersey suit, meant to aid a woman while swimming. Of course, we all know that you really don’t care about the fact that a woman stays afloat or drowns in the pool as long as she is covered from head to toe in flowing cumbersome material, and with your broad-minded views I know that you consider swimming as a degenerate act in itself, but may I suggest a happy medium?

This brings us to,

Victorian and Edwardian swimwear:



Wholesome, modest and utterly safe, on land that is. In water...well who cares about choking or drowning in those dark flannel (yes, flannel) bathing dresses, eh? Besides, this magnificent bathing gown is belted AND you wear pants underneath for a touch of style and class. Wearing pants under the heavy, dark flannel dresses also doubles as a covering for those titillating body parts that women possess and men lust over: CALVES.

So what do you say MF’s (medieval freaks)?

Obviously, I love to revel in my transgressions, so a tankini or a one-piece suit (like the ones below) are just unacceptable and plain wrong to you MF’s, but ogling at the swim team and passing lewd comments in Hindi like “Dekh, dekh! Itney saarey maal! Arey yaar, mujko kuch ho raha hai!”(Loose translation: oh look! Such yummy looking babes! Man, ahh! I can feel something happening to me!) followed by sniggers and lip smacking sounds, while we practice in the pool is A-ok and completely lucid and acceptable. Gosh, but I digress.

One-piece:



Tankini:



We have now reached a weird paradox. Evidently I cannot stop indulging in sin and quitting swimming is out of the question. And you will not rest until you spuriously gossip and spread vile well meaning rumors about me to every desi you come across (accosting desi’s you don’t know from Eve is not deranged behavior but a very socially acceptable and reliable method of passing on ‘important information’ about my pornographic one piece swimsuit). So how do we attain the elusive grey area or middle ground, so to speak? The answer lies in this ingenious conception: wholesome wear.

Example:



Because this is what I am supposed to be wearing to erm, preserve my modesty (although I do see a hint of knee, sigh) and a bathing suit which resembles a cross between a mumu and a cropped kaftan MF's, will fit your lofty ideals of purity and sinless-ness perfectly.

And you are not alone in your endless pursuit of misogynistic a-holeness making immoral women see the light. As Joan Ferguson (head of marketing for wholesome wear) says,

I'm very surprised at the men who call because they don't want their wives and daughters running around in their underwear.



Ahh, how caring! It must be nice to know that your degenerate brand of sexism is alive and well, in amrigaa no?

So what do you say O' medeival freaks? Will you leave me alone if I wear a bathing tent suit which prevents me from showing off my dirty parts like hips, legs, arms, back etc? Will it stop tarnishing your innocence (left at the door of course, while visiting a stripclub) ?

Please let me know MF's.

As for me, I'm off to indulge in a wild swimming practice session of pornographic propotions, what with 12 girls in tankini's and all.......

its practically an orgy.

7/29/06

And this one is for the bleach.

Incident 1:

Conversation between my aunt and me, at 14.

Aunt: Look at you. You look like a piece of charred karuvaadu (fish, dried to a crisp). At least wear sun-screen when you’re out playing b-ball in the sun with your thuggy friends.

Me: Who the hell cares? I like my skin this way. I’m not going to touch that icky sunscreen. Besides you know how crappy and rebellious my skin is. It loves to break out at any given opportunity, and I’m NOT going to give it that satisfaction.

Aunt: illai kanna (Tamil endearment, translates loosely to - no, dear), you used to be so fair and pretty. In the last three years, your skin has been exposed to the elements way too much and your skin color has become progressively darker. I don’t even recognize you anymore; you look like a dark boy (as if being dark was an insult).

Me: *stunned, hurt silence.*

Incident 2:

Conversation between my aunt and me, at 20.

Aunt: What happened to you? Did you camp out in the sun all summer?

Me: Huh? Why? I worked all summer with high-school kids! That doesn’t qualify as camping out in the sun all summer. So where are you going with this?

Aunt: You’ve become so dark di; I suggest you stay at home for the most part. The heat in Madras is merciless. I don’t want you looking like a piece of burnt wood.

Me: *Speechless*

My aunt, who is usually a paragon of sense and anti-prejudice (most of the time, at least), always caves in to what I call the unfair and not-so-lovely syndrome (I know it’s a cheap play on words, but go with the flow, will ya?) which most Indians seem to be afflicted with. And they indulge in this curious form of racism so seamlessly, almost as if on autopilot. You will hear someone praise Bipasha Basu’s beauty and her flawless olive complexion and then berate their own daughter for wasting time on useless athletic activities which will only result in her getting a dark tan (the horror), in the same breath. Besides, she has to get married no? You can’t possibly fill out a matrimonial ad along the lines of very tanned, athletic, loves team sports and competitive swimming.

In a twisted little way, the words that make up the matrimonial ad become the girl’s life. She must not do this or that for fear of deviating from the values that make up the archetypal ideal Indian bride i.e. Fair, beautiful, cultured, educated and homely girl from a good (insert religion/caste/sub-caste here) family and so on.


I mean, isn’t asking to specify your skin tone for a matrimonial ad, the most blatant and conspicuous form of racism around? And god forbid if you’re actually dark skinned, you get slapped with a weak ‘wheatish’ tag because oh-wail-no-one-will-marry-you-now. Please tell me if you have seen anyone calling themselves ‘dark’ in their matrimonial profile. Even a person with obviously dark skin will call themselves ‘wheatish’ (I have no idea as to what this term means), because societal pressure and the unhealthy obsession for fair skin deems it so. I will also go out on a limb and say that it affects the psyche of the woman more than the psyche of a man. When an Indian woman looks for one or two likable qualities in a future mate she is labeled difficult and unreasonable. But a man can have no personality, no hair and have bad teeth, and still expect a woman who is ‘very fair, tall, cultured and beautiful’ and that is considered perfectly lucid and unobjectionable. But I digress.

How did this anomalous ‘light skinned = beautiful’ bigotry come into place? Is this an influence of the ill-fated colonial hangover? In all probability I guess that’s what it is. This over romanticized blond hair, blue/green eyes, and aquiline features as the quintessential beauty ideal has been burnt into most Indian’s brains. I mean, didn’t we all learn nursery rhymes like,

Chubby cheeks, dimple chin,
Rosy lips, teeth within,
Curly hair, very fair,
Eyes are blue, lovely too,
Teacher's pet, is that you?
Yes, Yes, Yes.

in kindergarten?

Considering the fact that most Indians aren’t blue-eyed or very fair, this rhyme is laughable at best, but what effect does it have on kids in school? Without going to the other extreme and acting all OMGenglishnurseryrhymesareaccursed! a la Madhya Pradesh, wouldn’t it be better if the archaic and schmaltzy nursery rhymes we learnt as kids were revamped? Or better still, how about introducing new nursery rhymes in english with Indian characters? Personally I found them banal and idiotic even in school and if things worked my way (heh) I would just do away with them altogether, but that’s just my opinion.

I have always seen, while growing up in India that the most popular girl in my grade would also have the fairest skin, irrespective of how she looks. I have nothing against fair skinned people, but judging a person’s looks based on skin color alone is utterly moronic and ignorant.

When I was in 8th grade, our seniors, the 9th graders held an unofficial (hyuk), highly cloak and dagger kind of ranking system for the girls (only ninth graders) based on physical appearance alone. And I personally knew most of the girls in their ranks, but what took me completely by surprise at least back then, was the girl who was given the title ‘prettiest of 9th grade’. She was um, fair skinned to the point of being extremely pale and wan looking, and that was it. She wasn’t pretty by any given means and I know that a ranking system made by pubescent 14-15 year old boys is a little skeevy but it makes an interesting point as to how this fairness obsession transcends age barriers in India.

Numerous times while growing up, I’ve had people asking my mother as to how she was going to find a groom for me in the future as I reveled in ‘un-lady like’ athletic activities and a direct side-effect of that was extremely tanned skin. They even went as far as “I will pray for her to shed her tan and become fair and pretty again. Why don’t you stop her from all these sports?” My mother always used to answer scathingly, making sure that the officious question was never asked again. So, more power to her for that. What makes matters worse is the fact that you can openly taunt and insult a person in India by calling them ‘dark’. I have never been at the receiving end of this insult but I have seen it happen a gazillion times at least. I have heard words like kaalu or karuppu thrown around as taunts albeit casually and that makes it all the more shocking.

In the same vein I'd also like to mention the odious fair and lovely ads. I can’t even pick an ad I abhor the most; almost all of them are alike in their hatefulness. Even if I HAD to pick, I would probably say that the most appalling advert is the one where the syrupy father is beyond depressed because he is tired of earning money for his family. To add to his woes, he has a dark skinned daughter who earns a paltry salary. In frustration, he famously exclaims If only I had a son. Enter fair and lovely, the answer to everyone’s problems. No points for guessing where this ad heads next. Can an advertisement BE more racist and openly sexist? I think not.

Does fair skin confer some sort of um…for lack of a better word, entitlement in India?

If that’s the case, then excuse me while I drown myself in a pool of Emami Naturally Fair Pearl Cream. (Wonder fairness system!)

*snort*

Oh and men, you need not feel left behind (yay!). I present to you Fair and Handsome - The worlds number 1 fairness cream for men.

Thanks.

7/11/06

She is all that is born and what is to be.

Try typing out a post with blurry-one-eyed vision. Grah, bah, nyah and all the other ah adjectives take precedence in your mind, doesn’t it? Well, with a swollen eyelid bordering on a vivid shade of plum and a warm compress on the said eye, my determination to post something on my blog stands unimpeded.

* insert banal opening riff from the final countdown*

Um, right.

Moving on, I’ve been noticing with growing anxiety that in the past few weeks, feminism has been on the receiving end of the blogosphere’s malapropos attention. But don’t groan, I’m actually not going to be a part of it (yes, yes, you heard me). I was merely being a philistine on the sidewalk, so to speak. War with respect to women, equality and religion etc; were some of the pre-eminent issues slung back and forth in the altercations.

One school of thought shunned organized religion altogether, claiming that organized religion was a patriarchal institution in itself and it did not make sense for women to play into the hands of the patriarchy while fighting for equal rights within the trenches of pietism. And I have to say (albeit grudgingly) that there is an iota of truth in this particular argument, irrespective of the fact that I don’t agree with it completely.

Personally I’m no atheist (I’m not insanely hindutva either, a trifle confused maybe), but Hinduism as we know it today has left me in a state of bitter disdain. Overt sexism, bigotry and hate enshrouded in pseudo religious doctrines don’t do much for my personal politics. Religion as I see it is amaranthine, its purity based on fealty alone, and nothing else. A part of my feminism is intertwined with religion; and frankly I have secretly nurtured a longing for the simplicity and the edification of faith in pre-vedic times.

There was a time, before the Aryan invasions extended their web of patriarchy over the land, a time when a single Goddess was considered as the Mother of all, the Goddess of the skies and the heavens, the Mother who gave birth to the universe and She was called Aditi.

In the first age of the gods, existence was born from non-existence.
The quarters of the sky were born from Her who crouched with legs spread.
The earth was born from Her who crouched with legs spread.
And from the earth the quarters of the sky were born.
Rig Veda, 10.72.3-4


Aditi is this abstruse oft-ill represented figure in religion as we know today. The Aryans toned down her all encompassing importance and made her subservient to a man i.e. she became the dutiful wife of Sage Kaashyapa who had twelve other wives. She was however delegated the role of mother of the Devas and the Ashuras characterizing the Aryan stereotype of a woman being important with respect to her relation with a man; a mother (of sons) or a wife (of a great man, in this case it was Kaashyapa).

This adjuvant representation of Aditi stands for everything she is not. Aditi literally means 'free from constraints' or 'the limitless one', which in itself is a nod to the fact that she is above and beyond the bonds that fetter her, permeating the cosmos and the cognizance of all that is living.

Unfortunately her physical representation was obscure at best even during the Vedic times, although ancient Harappan tablets do show a goddess with a lotus for a head and spread legs, indicating fertility and/or sexual responsiveness and this image could be a strong possibility of bearing Aditi’s likeness. For one, the representation of spread legs can be construed as giving birth to the universe and all living beings, but there are a lot of tangential stories floating around as to why she has a lotus for a head. The most accurate stories however are the oral folktales (surprising, I know) passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth.

One tale takes precedence in my mind, and somehow its connotations left a resonant impression. The tale goes thus:

Aditi was also known as Renuka in some circles. She is beheaded by an upper-caste man because she openly flaunts his authority. Instead of wasting into nothingness, she grows a lotus for a head and becomes a Goddess.


This story edifies all that I hold dear: freedom, the breaking of social barriers created by man-made prejudices and the utter irrepressibility of the feminine spirit shattering the archaic ‘women are weak’ myth.

With the advent of the Aryans however, the idea of the all-powerful feminine was uprooted and many a goddess succumbed to the ritual patriarchal conversion and were turned into male deities and they were pushed to the background or they had minor roles as wives of the gods. Which upsets me, but it also leads me to wonder as to why this conversion was necessary. Was it because the Aryans were known for their pomposity, calling themselves the superior ones or the aggresives ones and the idea of an all-encompassing goddess was too diaphanous for their warrior-like sensibilites? Or was it because a powerful vanquisher god (Indra, as He was the chief deity of the Rig Veda) was more appealing to their culture of nomadic conquests, and a mother goddess seemed too grounded for their way of life initially?

It leaves me a tad nonplussed, but as I gave the Rig Veda translation a once-over I noticed that Aditi was represented with great importance albeit not too often, but represented none the less.

Oh and lest I forget, here's some food for thought: The oldest known statue (circa. 24,000-22,000 B.C.E) dubbed the Venus of Willendorf is of a woman with exaggerated sexual organs and a flower for a head. Red ochre was used to color the vulva of this statue, clearly indicating the importance of menstrual blood (unlike the sad downslide of religion as we know it today, specifically Hinduism which considers menstrual blood unclean). I cant help but wonder if this has any connection to Aditi, and her representation. It seems like a pretty strong co-incidence, doesn't it?

Venus of Willendorf:


Subsequent posts will probably be on the goddesses Usha and Surya. And yes, Surya was initially a goddess (gasp), blame the Aryans for the age-old patriarchal conversion, yet again.

I would love to have more information on Surya and I will be eternally grateful if you could leave ideas or suggestions in the comments.


Disclaimer :
The Aryan invasion theory is disputed and is yet to be disproved/proved (although scholars on both sides will claim otherwise, it's still being debated). That doesn't take away the crux of this post: the existence of an all powerful mother goddess, Her representation in the Rig Veda and the conversion of goddesses into gods by the Aryans or indigenous warring tribes. This information is not disputed.
Since I did mention that the theory is yet to be disproved/proved, I'll let this post stay as is.

*****


Post script:
I want to give a shout out to Neha for bringing this wonderful post to my attention. It's up at at global voices: Where is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child?

Be sure to swing by.

P.P.S: This is worse than painful. Please go here for frequent updates. Also go here for help.

We live in a scary world.

6/13/06

If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?

I am tired of receiving emails that start with the age old MRA cliché "I admire you for supporting women’s rights, but do you know that men suffer too, blah blah blah.” Do I look like I care? Do you want me to bellow from the rooftop of my apartment building that I am a feminist? How clueless can you get? Let me spell it out for you: I care a rats ass about your whiny *what about men too waaa* wailing. Comprende?

I may seem cold hearted or bitchy or whatchamacallit, but I don’t want to faff my way through a post highlighting 'men’s suffering'. I do not want to dabble in an issue which I have absolutely no interest in. If you choose to give me flak for the above statement, well then, I await the flaming.

I would also like to thank the folks who actually took the time out of their lives and emailed me with legitimate questions about rape and abuse. This post is dedicated to them.

Rest assured, I will name no names. I will only reproduce the questions.

So without further ado, let’s delve right into it.

1. Why do some girls go to a party and get drunk out of their minds, when they know that they can be in a position of compromise? Aren’t these girls, in a way aiding the rapist? And why don’t the men at the party help them?

Note: I would have dismissed this question as another chauvinistic stunt, and in many ways it does reek of ignorance and sexism. But I do have good days occasionally, and so I allowed myself to indulge in a rare act of benevolence.

First of all, I would like you to realize that women attend parties and the like for the exact same reasons as the men, read; to actually have some fun. Now, fun does NOT equal rape. Is that so hard to comprehend? Grasp that idea and feed it to your conscious.

The 'drunk out of their minds' phrase in your question unsettles me. Was that really necessary? Why do you have to attach sexist insinuations to your query? But I digress.

When we think 'rape' a leering man with messy clothes and shifty eyes usually fits our mental image of a typical 'rapist'. But blame the movies for propagating that far-from-accurate image. Usually the rapists in this particular situation you have envisioned (a party) are friends of the rape victim. These men use the trust placed in them by the rape victim and twist it to feed their own highly sadistic fantasies. If you still don’t believe me then this should convince you.

As for your 'aiding the rapist' part, pray tell me how? I am trying to be civil here without blowing my handle but WHY do you address the rape victim? Why can’t you question those sadistic perverts who actually perpetrate the rape? The fact that somehow she was ‘aiding’ the rapist by just being there is one of the most pervasive, sexist, and senseless rape myths floating around. Try to fathom the painfully simple fact that no woman in her right mind will show up at a party expecting or wanting to be raped.

2. Doesn’t rape ultimately boil down to sex? Isn’t rape almost equal to sex?

Forgive me for being rude, but I would like to answer both your questions with one word: Wrong. And wrong.

‘Rape = sex’ is one of the vilest rape myths propagated in our society today. Rape is and always has been an act of power. It is an act of aggression, of possessing the victim sexually. Sex is used as a tool to literally ‘own’ the victim. This stems from severe feelings of inadequacy and a driving need to control, to assert his authority, and the rapist uses physical and sexual onslaught to feed his obsession with power.

Trivializing an assault spurned by pure unadulterated hate fused with an absolute need to assert dominance on a human being and equating it with the normal act of sex (Yes, you heard me. Having sex is normal, you culture police freaks) is foolish and horribly inaccurate, to say the least.

I hope I cleared your doubts about the vast differences between rape and sex.

3. What about men who rape for pleasure?

Your query unravels a complete sub-species of rapists. I present to you the sado-masochistic rapist. These are the kind of men who rape for pleasure.

They indulge in tormenting the victim i.e. they revel in the pain, suffering, anguish and absolute powerlessness of the victim. And they derive a twisted gratification from the fusion of sexual aggression and physical violence. Quite simply put they get off on it.

To them the act of extreme violence (including sexual assault) is erotic.

4. Why does the abuser (in a relationship) always look calm and collected while the abusee always seems flustered? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Let me assume that you are talking about violence in a marriage or a relationship. Do you know why the abuser always looks calm and collected and several people around him will swear upon all the Gods that he is the friendliest/calmest/nicest/quietest person they know?

Mr. oh-so-calm abuser has taken out all his aggression and anger on his wife/girlfriend by verbally abusing her with the choicest expletives or by beating her senseless or both. At the end of each episode, he will be the poster boy of calm while his wife/girlfriend will be a frightened, whimper-y mess.

When you have your very own personalized punching bag at home to kick around and abuse, why wouldn’t you be calm and composed when you step outside the house?

The persona of an abuser has given rise to many a question as to ‘how can a person who seems to be so genial, resort to such acts of violence?’ This behavior, I believe is the split personality or the dichotomy of the abuser psyche.

So after all this, my answer to your question is NO. It need not be the other way around.

I hope these explanations cleared all your doubts.

Believe it or not, if you do have more queries I will be glad to answer them as long as you use an impassioned approach in framing your question. Questions reeking of sexism and 'oh so funny' digs at feminism will be ignored.

Post Script: Jupe left a link in the comments section that begs to be read.

Here it is.

Gut-wrenching, to say the least.


P.P.S: Title inspiration: T.S. Eliot.

6/8/06

On eating human flesh.

I have a confession to make.

I am a closet (errr) cannibal-ist.

Now before you start foraging for your lives, I would like to help y’all. Read my post in its entirety and I’ll consider sparing you oh-kay? I know, my benevolence knows no bounds. And also note the shameless witty methods I resort to........in order to make you read my post. [Insert ominous background mooshik here].

Now now, before your imagination runs amuck, let me elucidate on how I reached such a startling conclusion about myself.

First and most cardinal, I have to give credit to my unparalleled lifestyle coaches: The Save Indian Families organization.

Their profound observations about human behavior and the brilliant research they put in on breaking down the female psyche, quite simply put……..is eye opening.

Needless to say, when I chanced upon this exceptional article, I knew that it was my calling.

Caveat: Please leave any semblances of ‘logic’ or ‘reason’ at the door. I beseech you.

And now, without further ado I present to you:

Correlation between breaking families and Cannibalism in Europe.

This is the grandiose title of Sumanth prabhuji’s article.

Next time you go for a vacation to a picturesque place in Europe, Beware !! The people sitting next to you in the local trains can very well have cannibalistic fanstasies and may even have those instincts. There are scaring reports of cannibalism and ritualistic human sacrifice in Europe.
If you are a typical Indian who lacks Individuality and lacks a spine of his/her own you wont believe it.

Oh, where do I begin? Do I talk about my lack of err……individuality?

Come to think of it, that 45 year old gentleman sitting next to me on the barge in Petra (Greece) where I vacationed with my parents last year was a tad too friendly. He was also rubbing his tummy at accordant intervals. And he kept harping on his love for ‘all things Indian’.

I thought he was putting the moves on me then, but now thanks to Sumanth prabhuji I finally see the light.
Mr. Creepy Greek man was actually referring to his craving for Tandoori Indian flesh!

Damn.

In sessions with police experts, Meiwes said that his desire to "slaughter and consume a human being" dates back to as early as his childhood. After his parents had separated in 1969, his two older brothers moved away from home, leaving young Armin behind with his dominant mother.
"When the family had fallen apart, I felt very lonesome," Meiwes said, adding that he always wanted to share the love.

This nifty little anecdote about a man justifying his craving for human flesh has been inserted by Sumanth Prabhuji in his own article to drive his ludicrous, non-existent point even further. Observe the subtle manner in which Mr. Sumanth has highlighted ‘the dominant mother’ bit and the ‘family has fallen apart’ statement. Also note how Sumanth prabhuji has laid the blame squarely on the mother (the harlot) of the pitiable soul who happens to indulge in the unfortunate hobby of eating people.

I have come to the sequitur that SINGLE MOTHERS *GASP* and FAMILIES WITHOUT FATHERS *MORE GASPS*, are the largest perpetuators of cannibalism and other assorted western evil’s in our utopian society.

Screw imagined western utopias. This contradiction ridden, pseudo-religious doctrine following, hypocrisy worshipping Indian society is the real deal.

During his adolescent years, he began having cannibalistic fantasies. Out in the countryside where he lived with his mother, Meiwes had often witnessed animal slaughtering, which became something "normal" for him.

Aha. So this deranged innocent individual was initiated into the nuances of butchery and mutilation by his accursed sorceress of a mother.

How insightful.

Now, we need to wonder how the Europeans have gone to Cannibalism and Ritual Sacrifice all the while trying to modernise us.
Of course, we live in 21st century and we, Indians shamelessly desire to worship anything western. We invite all kinds of western activists to civilise us and make us modern. They become chief guests in our human rights conferences and they preach us how to lobby for laws to break families, how nuclear family must be replaced by single parent family.

Oh yes. We have to question the dinner rituals of the vile European families spearheaded by single (swoon) mothers. How dare they try to liberalize us? Those moste evile wenches, who ingest casseroles made of human innards and raise children on a diet of crunchy human knees should atone for their sins.

Feeding these mothers salted rye meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner should set them straight.

They will stave off food entirely and they will not possess the energy to advise us as to how to break a family and so the virtuousness of our ‘Indian nuclear family’ will prevail.

These western activists must be opposed as soon as they reach Indian airports. They should first culturally improve themselves before they preach others. Slavery, cannibalism, dowry (read article greek dowry), feminism, reductionism, judgementalism, patriarchy all are western diseases. We need immunity from all these diseases and the time is running out....

Alas. Our humanitarian Indian government will do no such thing. In fact, the inherent goodness of our government prevents them from seeing through these duplicitous activists.

But Sumanth Prabhuji all is not lost. You and I together will fight this war…..we will make it the paramount goal of our lives.

We will also give it a name: “The war against imaginary slave mongers, cannibals, chimeras, vampires, feminist sorceresses and other assorted mythical creatures”

As for your “we need immunity…blah blah” Sumanth Prabhuji……may I suggest a good strong dose of sanity taken along with regular shots of logic?
It might be painful at first but I assure you, the results are wondrous.

As for me, I’m off to have a scrumptious meal of mozzarella fingers, only…this recipe calls for real fingers.

And no, my tummy does not accommodate fingernails.

6/1/06

Misplaced love.

Disclaimer: I am addressing a specific person. They know who they are. Silly arguments in the name of 'you are discriminating against Indian Graduate Students!' will be laughed at and put up for public humiliation. You stand warned.

Dear Indian graduate student with the lavender tee, skin-tight jeans and bright white shoes,

First of all, welcome to the USA, the land of the free and the brave.

It must have been mighty hard for you to adjust to this alien concept of freedom, which people in the States seem to revel in. Back at home, in your little village of Jhumratalaiya or Gummudipundi (forgive me if I make palpable mistakes in naming your village) the wimmin’ folk would be sentient of their role in the household and they would respectfully slave away in the kitchen or indulge in other servile household activities. Back in your village, life must have been a blissful haven of ignorance and you must have been its poster child.

I know that you resent the women from the big cities or the developed smaller cities in India. Those vile modern women with the loose morals! They wear pants *shudder*! They speak to men *the whores*! They don’t cover their faces in the presence of their godly men folk! Chee Chee! And that is why you stubbornly resisted the idea of going to college in a big city because your non-existent self esteem would sink even lower (if that’s even possible) in the presence of the ‘city-bred’ women. If I may be so preposterous, I would also like to add that you have secretly coveted such women, but the hate you have nurtured for women exercising their right to be human seems to be a stumbling block in the way of your ‘feelings’ and it has also taken over your very being.

The States must have been a different ballgame altogether. Not only were women asserting their independence, the men seemed to allow this blasphemy! They did not beat their women around, nor did they indulge in the ‘teaching-women-a-lesson-because-they-daredtocough-in-front-of-their-men’ system.

You tried to adapt. You resigned yourself to the fact that firangi women are ‘character-less’ and ‘loose-moral-ed’ at birth and you chose to take it in your stride. You decided to indulge in the services offered by the pornstitution instead, read: strip clubs and the like. Since approaching the other gender civilly was an alien concept to you (and we both know that nobody would waste a second glance in your direction) you decided to whole-heartedly indulge in an establishment which reduced women to tits and ass, not unlike the cattle you used to herd in India. You nobly supported these ventures by visiting them religiously, right after you prayed to the pictures of Durga Mata and Lakshmi Devi you have in your apartment. FYI: My powers of observation are far better than you think they are. I’ve had the misfortune of setting foot in your apartment ( because I had to return the textbook I borrowed from your normal roommate) and witness the frenzied plans you were making for your outing.

But when it came to the Desi women, you put your foot down. How can they emulate the *ahem* shameless firangi women? How will their parents react if they find out that their daughters actually have the gall *gasp* to be independent? So you decided to righteously assume the role of moral policeman of our university.

You elected your puke-inducing cronies as your subordinates in the WAR against ‘desi women asserting their independence’ and you also came up with an impressive plan of action, filled with the right amounts of slander, defamation, verbal abuse and vile rumors.

I should have known that I would be at the top of your hit list or should I say ‘hate-list’, as I flaunted my independence by committing the most vile, degenerate act of swimming (crime 1) in a one-piece swimsuit (crime 2) ! I am sorry. Good desi women do not swim. If they do, they swim in a nine-yard sari or a modest salwar-kurta. So being the moral policeman that you are….you decided to broadcast rumors around campus that I swim naked and if people wanted to witness live-porn (quoting you), they should head down to the university swimming pool.

Your magnanimity knows no bounds. I am a little shocked that you have so wisely suggested career options for me in the prostitution field and you and your cronies have also done the groundwork for me by telling other people like ‘you’ that I invite men to my apartment for ‘services’.

But you did not stop there. You became quite the career services counselor by suggesting professional options in prostitution for my friends as well.

I hope you read this letter. Nay, I WANT you to read this letter.

And then I hope you kill yourself.

Yours truly,

The punkster.

Post Script: For some of you who may have doubts about this person's gender (even though I thought I made myself perfectly clear) , this lavender tee toting person is a HE.

Yeah, it's a GUY.

Any other questions?

:-)

P.P.S: On a totally unrelated note:

Just when you thought things couldn't get stupid-er, this happens.

Is there a limit for ineffable dumbness?

5/27/06

Scattered areas of invisibility...

India Uncut asks: What would you do with an invisibility coat?

Answer:

Use it on a bad hair day.

Or a bad outfit day. Or an 'Im-stuck-in-an-eighties-fashion-timewarp' day. But if that dark day ever comes around, I think I'll need a shrink not an invisibility cloak.

It's all about picking your battles.

*snerk*.

Scroll down for regular programming, and thankee for putting up with my little invisibility coat indulgences.

*takes a bow*.

5/25/06

Its better to be sisters of the sun than sisters of the moon.

My head hurts horribly. And watching two horrendous tamil movies back to back is no Exederin. But ingesting a pot of black coffee will probably bring me out of this self deprecatory mode. So yayy. And yes, we will jump at every excuse in the book when it comes to downing coffee. That’s just how it is.

Anyway, what took me by surprise was the fact that these movies were reveling in the gloriousness of abuse and rape. I realized that the hero’s machismo has to be directly proportional to:

1. The number of abusive, sexist and abhorrent dialogues he spews forth.

2. The amount of threats he doles out to the heroine. Graphic descriptions of rape with blows thrown in for good measure, comforting death threats if she ‘dares’ to look at another man and menacingly hinting at obliterating her family if she refuses to look at his pathetic face, are part and parcel with this image.

3. The propagation of a rape culture, by kidnapping and raping the heroine in the name of ‘love’ if she rebuffs the hero’s pukeworthy advances. This will probably result in the heroine promptly realizing that she must be in ‘love’ with her rapist hero. This of course is meant to be viewed upon as a ‘realistic’ and a ‘gritty’ portrayal of the aam-junta (men) of Tamilnadu.

But what really gets my goat (pun NOT intended) is the amalgamation of rape with sex. or the fallacious notion that rape equals sex or vice versa.

This brings to mind a conversation I overheard (not intentionally, of course), while I was waiting for the bus, between two desi’s (talking loudly):

Desi 1: Did you know that X has divorced her husband?

Desi 2: Sacchi? (Really?) But he was a good guy, no?

Desi 1: Apparently he had an abusive streak. She put rape charges on him and she filed a case against him.

Desi 2: But he’s her husband! How can she say rape? He may be a little too strong for her in the bedroom, that’s all. It’s all part of married life anyway. Women these days…they overreact for everything.

Desi 1: I know. Didn’t her parents teach her anything? If she had been more patient, she could have changed him, yeah? After all he’s her husband.

No, they weren’t old, fat or middle aged (not that I have anything against old, fat or middle aged people). They were young grad students and I actually knew X, the girl who they were bitching about. I remembered bumping into her a while ago, in the hallway of our apartment building, with her arm in a cast (thanks to her strong husband) and her racking sobs, and her look of naked terror when I hesitatingly suggested that it might be better off for her if she ‘took a little holiday’…..like just get away from her abhorrent husband for a short while. You see, she was terrified that he would follow her and kill her.

It took me all the strength in the world and then some to NOT strike these insensitive douche-bags who were so callously blaming her for leaving her strong rapist husband.

This incident got the wheels of my mind clicking, and it brought to mind the endless cover-ups and shoddy excuses for rape, which we as a society seem to revel in.

Let’s sift through them, one by one.

‘I’m drunk’ so rape me please:

As offensive as it may sound, that’s THE most pervasive rape myth I’ve heard. A girl getting drunk at a party does not mean that she’s a FREE TICKET for guys to shag on. How about accepting the fact that she was there at the party to have fun which DOES not include being raped by 6 guys? I am sick of people and their ‘concerned’ remarks about how the girl was drunk anyway so maybe she was asking for it or why was she in the party? She should have known better than to go to parties and get drunk.
For those dipshits concerned souls with the disease of selective forgetfulness, here’s a newsflash: She was RAPED, get it? Rape involves a perpetrator/s, yeah? So next time, before you impart your august judgments on the victim, acknowledge the existence of the perpetrator. Thanks.

Since when did a ‘husband’ become a rapist? :

Obviously a husband who is all-powerful and all-pervasive cannot actually rape his wife. So why does she complain? He is her Lord and Master and she signed up for having sex with him, didn’t she? Bedroom squabbles are common, these women fuss about everything. Right?

Wrong. Dead wrong.

First of all, rape cannot be trivialized and called a ‘bedroom squabble’. If a man forces himself on you even after you repeatedly refuse his advances, if he beats you or abuses you while having sex with you, if he subjects you to brutality night after night after night....then YES it is rape, irrespective of WHO he might be. If he humiliates or degrades you using ‘sexual violence’ as his ticket, then yeah it is still RAPE. Sexual violence in a marriage is rape as he has violated your trust, your body and your mind and it is equally, if not more traumatic than being raped by a stranger.

But in our society there is an all encompassing stigma attached to rape and marital rape is not even considered anything close to a crime. And taking advantage of a woman who is passive or too afraid to speak up against her husband or is too weak to protest is also RAPE. Get that into your heads 'Desi's 1& 2', for fuck's sake.

Marrying the rapist:

Now I know that if a girl is de-flowered (snort), she automatically becomes a whore so if the dayalu soul who raped her is ‘noble’ enough to marry her, then all’s well that ends well. Hurrah.

Not.

Countless Indian movies have propagated this bull-faeces. The omnipotent hero chases down the scum who raped his weak little sister, thrashes him and corrects him, and gets the rapist dickhead to marry his adoring sister. What is wrong with this picture?

First of all, no woman in her RIGHT mind will want to marry the guy who violates her sexually, thrashes her around and uses her as his personal cesspool. So this pathetic culture of rape based on pseudo-religious asshattery should be nipped in the bud, so to speak. Put simply, marrying the rapist should be thought of as one of the most dysfunctional and vile ideas prevalent in our society and it should be condemned as such.

These are some of the blatant rape-excuses I could come up with. If anyone else can think of more, please leave your ideas in the comments box, and I will update my post accordingly.

Until then, remind me not to watch pathetic vomit-worthy tripe, hiding under the tag of ‘realistic’ Indian movies.

Neha, I should have heeded your ominous warning.

Oh well.

4/27/06

And hello to you too....

Ive never liked stuffed animals.

But I like this bunny.

So say hello to the bunny who has ungraciously made my blog his dwelling.

He looks debilitated.

Or maybe he's just dead.

Comments have been enabled.

That doesn't make this post any less 'pseud' or morbid.

Post Script: I have made this font a tad easier on the eye, for you. Yes, YOU O' omnipotent reader. Which is saying a LOT on my part.

So effusive praise can be rendered in the form of Manolo Blahnik's or Jimmy Choo's.

Thank you.

4/7/06

The unprolonged journey, from the womb to the tomb.

I am an Indian woman. Good. Now that we have established that point, I will also add that I’m glad to be alive.

Ten million girls have been wiped out in the last two decades in India. Unbelievable? Maybe. But nevertheless, run the number in your head a few times and let it sink in.

10,000,000. One followed by 7 zeroes. How I WISH this wasn’t true. But it is. So I should be thanking my lucky stars for being alive, shouldn’t I?

Time and again, I feel that the only mistake I’ve committed in my life is being born a woman. Since I am a woman, I’m a liability, I will not carry on the bloodline of the family (whatever the hell that means), I will not support my poor ailing parents when they are in the throes of their second childhood, and I am extremely ‘expensive’ (for want of a better word) because my poor parents will have to shell out excessive amounts of dowry for their cow daughter, and come to think of it I'll be better off as a man innit'?

Rest assured, my parents are nice folks and they do not subscribe to boorish views like the ones I've mentioned above. BUT, to the majority of Indian women, educated or otherwise, they dont have it so easy.

So what do you do, if you are faced with the errr........ 'burden' of giving birth to a girl? Pshaw! What an elementary question! Well, get rid of her of course! Use technology (foeticide) to discreetly do the deed if you belong to middle class families, or if you're not so lucky, give birth to the girl and then feed poison (infanticide) to the newborn baby! The dastardly deed is done!

So now that we have established that foeticide and infanticide ALONE has contributed to ten million girls being obliterated, and the sex ratio has successfully fallen steadily from 962 women to every 1000 boys in 1981, to 927 girls to every 1000 boys in 2002; has the horribly skewed sex ratio helped in actually improving the abhorrent status of women in India?

The answer is a big, fat, NO. Yet again, unscrupulous men are making a mockery of this gender disparity by trading women around as if they were commodities. Women are possessions remember? Now, the ever enterprising vermins in Haryana, where female foeticide and infanticide have reached unmitigated heights, are making use of the gender dissimilitude to propagate a thriving business in "sexual brides", and yes, you heard me right. Women are in great demand as the sex ratio in some parts of Haryana are as deplorable as 493 girls for every 1000 boys, so it is self-evident that a single woman can be bought and sold MANY times.

Case in point: the story of Tanu *name changed*. Belonging to a poor family (in Haryana), AND being fairly goodlooking was her downfall. She was sold for a paltry five thousand rupees at the age of 16 to a dubious looking middle aged swine, who 'promised' to marry her. To no ones surprise, he raped her repeatedly and sold her for twenty thusand rupees and patted himself on the back for making a good 'profit'. But Tanu's horrific travails did not end there. Oh no it didnt. She was taken to Rajasthan where she was 'shared' between three brothers, and when she overheard one of them talking about selling her off yet again, she grew desperate and fled. But how far could a fleeing girl travel alone with no money or possessions, in a place alien to her?
Not very far, as the impotent beasts ganged up on her, raped her, and beat her senselessly until her body resembled a bloody mass of flesh and bones.

As I sat listening to this harrowing tale narrated to me by our Shanthi-bai in India, I could see the tears running down her face and I gingerly asked her if she knew Tanu. I sat there praying and wishing with all my heart, that the answer would be in the negative, but alas my fears bore fruit. Tanu was her sister.

Numerous other cases of "sexual brides" have been reported, and some of these girls are no older than fifteen. Sadly, this trafficking has not diminished albeit the demand for brides has only increased; resulting in smuggling girls, living in abject poverty ridden conditions to seemingly richer states like Punjab or Haryana where the sex ratio is conspicuously skewed.

And now do you finally see how female foeticide and infanticide is directly linked to the appalling business of trafficking "sexual brides"? If you still feign ignorance, please go crawl back under the rock you slithered out from.

Now this brings us to this ludicrous article by Caitlin Moran.

Here is an excerpt:

Abortion in India is legal. If Indian, or indeed any, women are entitled to have an abortion because they don’t want to have a child at all, why shouldn’t they be allowed to have an abortion because they don’t want to have a specific kind of child? Once you’ve legalised first trimester termination, does it really matter why you’re doing it? It’s a bit like saying it’s OK to chop down a tree to make a shelf out of it, but, for some reason, not a bench.

Wow. The inanity of that statement boggles my mind. So basically what Caitlin alludes to, is that abortion in itself is wrong, so what difference does it make if it is done for the 'right' reasons or the 'wrong' reasons? So selective abortions do not matter, because abortions ARE WRONG, and thats all there is to it.
Maybe Caitlin needs to read up on how an abortion free society actually works.

Campaigners claim that the first step towards raising the status of women in India will be the eradication of sex-selection abortion, which the Indian Medical Association estimates might run as high as five million terminations a year.

Personally, I disagree. I think the best way to raise the status of women in India would be to legalise sex-selection abortion, and allow as many of them as are requested.


Her resplendent reasoning? Market forces! Yes, market forces. Let us use oranges as our example. If there is a scarcity of oranges in the market, wont its value rise?

Aha! But miss Caitlin makes a grave mistake here. Women are NOT commodities and she has reduced women to mere objects...using the nonsensical 'supply and demand' principle for living human beings, which is what Indian women time and time again, have been fighting against for centuries.

Consider, now, if there were a two-year waiting list for Indian women. Those 1000 men would soon be duking it out for those 793 ladies. Indeed, it may well be that, in order to get married, dowries would have to be paid to the bride’s family, just to interest her in a man.

On finally getting his $80,000 woman, the man would then be doing the marital equivalent of polishing his wife every night with protective dubbin, and putting her on a special peg in the hallway. He wouldn’t use her to carry a wardrobe up a hill any more.


Duking it out? Bad choice of words aside, the only 'duking' which is going on in Punjab or Haryana in the form of "buying a bride" is a woman being sold to a group of men, and being gang raped and possibly killed.
And yet again Caitlin falls prey to objectifying women when she proudly exclaims that 'the man would be doing the marital equivalent.......yadda...yadda'.
So women are treasures on display now? Has she forgotten entirely that ummmm...women are people?

Please read the rest of the article and decide for yourselves if you want to laugh or cry at Caitlin's archaic views on 'curing' misogynism in India.

And YOU, yes you, can do something about female foeticide.

Check out this website and find out how you can contribute to invalidating the existence of this beastly practice: STOP female foeticide.

You can file a complaint if you come across any horrific incidents; without turning a blind eye, or you can pledge your support.

I wish with all my heart, that this relentless slaying, yes slaying, of girls will become a thing of the past . But I cant aspire for the stars, can I?

Post Script: I want to give a shoutout to Ashok for bringing this peice of information to my attention: The continuing practice of infanticide in Usilampatti, Tamilnadu.
The people of Usilampatti mercilessly practice infanticide and they even try to justify this heinous act, with so-called 'this-is-life-deal-with-it' kinda arguments .
I felt sick reading this article, but however repulsive it may seem, it begs to be read.
Check it out: Born to die.