Long reads, Random Musings

Why Woman’s day isn’t “empowering” anymore

Today is International Women’s day. But today I don’t feel empowered. I feel scared and disturbed. I feel like Women’s day died a while ago and we are celebrating its funeral today. The moment I bought 2 cans of pepper spray for me and my mom a part of it died in me. Then when my lady friend saw the can of pepper spray and got “offended” that I didn’t remember her when I bought it, it died once again. The spirit of women’s day has died a million deaths every time we check if “too much skin is showing” as we get up and dress up because god forbid we “tempt” and “entice” men around us. Alas, we end up “asking for it”! Today I feel pain and unrest for the 16-year-old, who was impregnated by a Catholic priest, for her life will never be easy for her. And all her 16 years of Women’s days she lived through didn’t prepare her for this. I feel for the actress violated by the goons on that fateful day in Kochi. All she wanted was a happy and beautiful life to nurture her love and passion for her craft. She never asked for an opportunity to show the courage she is now forced to show, that we now celebrate at her cost. I feel for all those nameless and named women who suffered, some in silence or otherwise. Women’s Day died in me the moment I stopped smiling at people out of fear of what their intentions might be for me.

I want to apologize to all the good men around me for I may look at them in suspicion. And, I feel sorry for me and for all the wonderful and beautiful friendships I may miss out on as every day the world teaches me that as a woman you ought not to trust anyone. Not the priest, not the driver, not the teacher, not the boyfriend, not the brother, not the neighbor, not anyone! And if something ever goes wrong expect everyone, even women, to blame you. “Why did she wear that? Why did she go there? Why didn’t she complain immediately?” I want to apologize to all good men also for all the times you were blamed unfairly and unjustly. You have had to carry the weight of prejudice caused by someone else and that is sad. I understand that #NotAllMen comes from a good place. But please understand that all women have, at one point or the other, been molested, violated, and/or abused and they have neither liked it nor have wanted it to happen again.

So, after all this, don’t wish me a happy woman’s day like it’s my birthday. Don’t try to cheer me up with a few discounts thrown in randomly. Don’t tell me how great, special and important I am. Don’t tell me that you respect women. Please don’t respect us because we are women. We don’t deserve your respect like that. If you can, please respect us as human beings; as living, breathing, thinking individuals capable of choice and decision. Respect us for our achievements if any, or for our thoughts and actions, but not for our gender.

We don’t need “brothers” to protect and safeguard us. Don’t burden us with words like ‘morality’ and ‘culture’. Just let us be. All we want is to think, feel, wear and talk our minds without your judgment.  If you don’t agree, even that is fine. Let’s argue and argue, and if even that doesn’t work then let’s just agree to disagree. But, let us be.

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Random Musings

Rain, rain come again!

Do you love rain? Oh, I do. There is absolutely nothing as good as rain for an instant pick

The city waits on for the rain that promises to drench her with his passion.

me up. The moment I see the dark clouds crawling across the pale blue sky I reach out into the kitchen and fix myself a coffee. And then, if I have a balcony (which I have at this point) I’ll just stand there and be poetic. Pathetically poetic, but nevertheless, as long as the poetry is for me nobody is at harm. The dark clouds and splitter-spatter of the rain just elevates me into another dimension for I am self-proclaimed hopelessly romantic being.

 

Rains are of different textures. Be the passionate, torrential downpours or the simple and soft drizzles, and everything in between, there are absolutely none that I do not love. Much like a glass of wine, a rain demands for you to indulge in it and enhance whatever it is you are feeling. Much like a lover, it asks for your attention and touch with a promise to make you feel beautiful.

Random Musings, Uncategorized

For love of the written word

As a part of my plan today I opened the Microsoft Word to pour out my heart onto it and I realize that the written word we trust in.

I remember buying my first autograph book, back when let alone selfies, but, even cameras weren’t readily available as today. It was one of those routine trips to the book-store that both my papa and I used to enjoy; I largely get my love for books from him. I’d wander around the book store taking in the smell of freshly inked paper and feeling the vibrant stories vaporize from the pages and blend into my skin. To this day every book-store I walk into still reminds me of the Paico at Kozhikode. That’s where he told me that I was a big girl now and that I could read the “grown-up” books; it was my initiation into the unabridged versions of Sherlock Homes and Jane Eyre when I was barely 8. And, that is also where I fell in love with stationary. Quite often than not, I saw my father hoard on stationary that he mostly only collected and never used. So,when I began hoarding stationary who better to understand than my papa. He’s the man who “spoilt me” with my first Parker pen, when at 9 or 10 I had just begun using a pen at school. So that’s probably were I get my love for the written word too.

When I came across an autograph book my father told me that people of his generation carried autograph books to get it signed by celebrities whenever they came across one. I was instantaneously intrigued and wanted one. I got a thick, leather-bound, maroon coloured rectangular book with pastel coloured pages in it. In my excitement, I couldn’t wait till I find a “celebrity” to start filling in the pages. So I got the book ‘inaugurated’ immediately by my hero, the one man who meant everything to me-my papa. I don’t remember what he wrote in it and I have hence lost the book; which I will forever regret. Inspite of a number of photographs I have with my papa, his written word will always remain special to me. His tiny, well-rounded letters, neatly stacked on a line, expressing whatever it is meant to, in brevity, is a vision I can never forget (He loved to take notes in uppercase, but in tiny font size).

Writing a word, a phrase or a sentence exclusively for someone, to me, is intimacy because I’m accountable for those words and I need to feel strongly to write those words. It’s a frozen moment of expressions that even pictures rarely express. I feel that when you write something for someone you leave a portion of your soul to them; for them to savour. And, because I’m old-school like that, when in love, I’ve always insisted for a love-letter, which my ex blatantly refused on grounds that he didn’t have a way with words. I guess it comes as no wonder that he’s an ex.  That is why reading a book, printed out verses for the world to read, is still an intimate sort of conversation between the author and the reader. But, no matter what you write and for whom you write I believe what a reader relishes from your written word says more about them than about the writer. So, when I write to you I’m letting you set a tent somewhere in the density of my soul and it’s for you to decide what fruit you want to pick from the site. And, if you care enough to light my soul, look no further and write to me, because the written word etches its weight into the soul with a power like no other.

Random Musings, Uncategorized

Magic in a brew

 

Location: Bombay Blue, Mumbai

Today, in the evening, as I made my 2nd cup of filter coffee of the day, I realized how important a role this one cup of coffee plays in my life. As I poured in the dark decoction into the mug of milk, allowing it to fold into the whiteness, darkening the milk with its erotic bitterness I realized that I’ve often associated coffee with nostalgia and romance.

I pride on the fact that everyone who’s had a taste of my coffee has only had good things to say about it. I like to believe that whenever they’ve lifted their lips off the bitter-sweet concoction of coffee I made, it’s made them fall in love with me, just a little bit more. I believed that my mother made the best coffee in the world; ie, till my grandmother, whom I called Ammammai, came along. Ammammai , who otherwise had trouble walking or moving about swiftly, seemed almost possessed when she brought herself to make me my evening coffee. The way her arms swung with the steel glass and the dawaran as she tossed the coffee hither-thither still plays like magic in my head. She taught me this tiny little magic trick to make the ‘best filter-coffee in the world’, which I like to believe is her legacy to me. And the little, selfish girl in me refuses to part with that little secret which I shall keep to myself like my dear life. So, every beautifully made bitter-sweet glass of filter coffee served in a steel glass and dawaran reminds me of that beautiful woman, my ammammai, who taught, me to make ‘the world’s best filter-coffee.’

But coffee in general is about romance, isn’t it? It’s a comforter, a pacifier and a conversation starter. I remember, one of my friends fondly quipped that he’d marry me just so he could have my coffee first thing in the morning to start his day. Those words did not just make my day, week or month, sometimes, even today, I think of his words as I make myself a coffee after a long tiring day. But, thank god, he found himself a coffee-machine and got married to a fine woman, the love of his life! But, there is nearly nothing as good as coffee when you are in pain, physically and emotionally.  I shall never get tired or have enough of my mother’s coffee and the smile she serves with it. And, I shall never forget the sweet-bitterness of the instant coffee I had with my ex the very last time we met. It tasted exactly like the coffee he once fondly made me. That’s when I realized, that come what may, somethings in life remain beautifully and faithfully unchanged. That whenever I add coffee to milk in my desired proportions it’s going to make me happy and content. And those are the things I need to hold on to. As a hot steaming cup of coffee fills you with warmth, pushing away all the trials of the day, you need to remind yourself of all the joys in life that are just a breath away and that you only have to be happy from within to have all the good things come to you. So, whenever in doubt, hot or cold, drown them in a cup of coffee!

 
Smiley face on a Cappuchino from ChaiCofi, Kochi
Random Musings

What makes ‘sorry’ an apology?

I believe that two phrases should never be uttered to another person without truly and wholly meaning it. These phrases are also two of the hardest to say, even. Both are declarations; one is a declaration of love, and the other is a declaration of apology. And interestingly, one of my favorite quotes about saying sorry comes from one of my favorite romance novels, Love Story, by Erich Segal. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  But I really wonder if not saying sorry, when you should, would help in a healthy and happy relationship?

‘Sorry’, I feel, has an ambiguous quality of being both an ugly and beautiful word, not necessarily at the same time. Sorry is ugliest when it’s thrown around half-heartedly. When you, conveniently, throw in a sorry so that you can put an end to the uncomfortable conversation, which you know will not end in your favor, you render the word ugly. That half-heartedly uttered word then floats like a feather, falling from a height and landing on still waters causing ripples enough to make you believe of an impact but too tiny for the water to even feel it. But a well-meant apology is like a long awaited rain that seeps into the forgotten layers of land, quenching its thirst from deep within. While a well-meant apology is therapeutic and cathartic to both sides, a half-hearted and ill-meant apology is like the letter ‘e’ in ‘apologize’, that nobody cares about because you don’t pronounce it! But like they say, “if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” If how someones feels is beyond your scope maybe they don’t matter to you and you can reserve your ‘sorrys’ only for those who matter.

That brings us back to our previous discussion- if not saying sorry is really what love is about, or is it ok to not apologize to the one you love when you have wronged them. Like they all say, there might not be a one-rule-fit-all in here. This could be a ‘to each his own’ sort of a scenario were some may prefer apologizing when they know they’ve wronged while some wouldn’t deem an apology necessary. But, when you wrong someone you love it’s always better to let them know that you aren’t taking them for granted, and that, whether you verbally spell it out or not, you are sorry. But, most important of all, I think it’s always ‘healthier’ to say sorry only when you mean it.