India: No Country for women and our selective outrage

The recent rape case of the Hyderabad doctor is deeply distressing. It has sparked a high voltage public outrage with people coming out on the roads to protest with slogans of “#SaveOurDaughters” and an Internet clamour to ‘hang’ the rapists. My entire social media feed is filled with gut-churning details of the crime, gory photos and an unequivocal demand to kill the rapists.

The same men who had canceled the #MeToo movement last week in view of the recent developments in the Utsav-Mahima case, are very, very angry. For them, this is a heinous crime. A rare, monstrous incident. The four men are being called animals and devils. Almost as if they were not brought up and raised in the same society as us, by us. Continue reading “India: No Country for women and our selective outrage”

मुझे गृहणी बनने से डर क्यों लगता है?

बचपन से ही माँ से सुनते आई हूँ “बड़ी होकर तुझे शादी कर के अपने घर जाना है; वहां तुझे घर बसाना है!” 

यह वाक्य मेरी ही तरह और भी कई लड़कियों को सुनने मिलता है और मिला होगा। कारण यह नहीं कि माँ को उसकी पुत्री से प्रेम नहीं है और इसलिए वह चाहती है की लड़की दूसरे घर चली जाए। परन्तु कारण है शादी करने की मज़बूरी। शादी एक पितृसत्तात्मक ढांचा है और चूंकि हम पितृसत्तात्मक समाज में रह रहे हैं, शादी करना अनिवार्य है। यदि कोई शादी ना करके इस ढांचे को तोड़ने की कोशिश करता है तो, पितृसत्ता के बाकी कई सारे ढांचे लड़ने झगड़ने के लिए तैनात हो जाते हैं। माने, बिना शादी के ना घर ना परिवार ना गली ना मोहल्ला, ना देश ना दुनिया, कोई भी शांति से जीने नहीं देगा। खैर, पित्रसत्ता की समझ तो नारीवाद की क्लासों से आई।

उसके पहले तो बस मां की इन बातों पर या तो रूठ जाती थी या तो गुस्सा हो जाती थी।  मैं सोचती थी की मां ने शादी कर के या मेरे परिवार, रिश्तेदारों में और भी बाकी औरतों ने शादी कर के ऐसा कौन सा आनंद उपलब्ध कर लिया जो मुझसे छूट जाएगा यदि मैंने विवाह ना किया तो..?

Continue reading “मुझे गृहणी बनने से डर क्यों लगता है?”

Eight ways to stop blaming yourself for past toxic relationship that keeps haunting you

Many of us have had the wretched experience of being in a relationship that, instead of adding happiness to our lives, brought us a lot of abuse, misery, and pain.

It’s that one relationship, which we can never forget, as much for the lessons learned as for the scars on our soul.

Even after years pass by, sometimes on a rainy day and sometimes after listening to an old and familiar song on the radio, we find ourselves dwelling on the hurt.

Our memories are bitter and full of imaginary recriminations; directed as much towards the ex-lover as it is towards our own selves. On good days, we are able to pull ourselves out of this cycle quickly. But on bad days, our mind starts falling into a loop of self-directed incredulity, harshness, and negative talk. As thoughts start to spiral out of control, we begin to question our judgments about people, our self-worth and even our identity. A question that we often find ourselves asking is, how did we let the abuse repeatedly destroy our entire self-worth for months and years.

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Life with an auto-immune disease

This is not a fun story, this is not a happy story with an inspirational quote at the end. So if you are looking for something to cheer you up, keep scrolling.

I write this in an attempt to accept, embrace my reality. For it took me a year to realize that not talking about my disease is not going to take it away.

Last year, when I was diagnosed with an auto-immune bone disease which has the potency to slowly erode my bones, and cause the bones of my spinal cord to fuse into each other, potentially leaving me disabled and in excruciating pain, I did not know what to do with that information. I remember feeling numb, absent, inert. I wanted to cry but I was smiling. I don’t know why, maybe because I wanted to upkeep my pretenses of a strong woman. Or maybe because I was in denial. I think it was the latter.

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The psychological consequences of growing-up as an undesired girl child in India

It is a surprise that in 2019, it still needs to be said out loud that yes, mental health is important. Though improved mental health is said to have its own positive side-benefits such as increased productivity in the workplace or good levels of social cohesiveness; it is significant for its own sake. From a philosophical perspective, every person deserves to be happy and empowered. Each individual deserves to have a healthy self-image and self-esteem, on the basis of which, they can lead a life of dignity and strive to fulfill their potential. 

I realize that the above seems like an idyllic reality and an idealistic concept, and that’s because it probably is, especially if you are born as a girl child in India.

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What’s in feminism for men?

“Fight your own battles, lady! Tell me this, have you ever seen a woman call herself a manist? No, right? And honestly, if you take men’s help here, history will never acknowledge you as empowered. They’ll always remember you as women who needed men to fight for their rights,” said one man when I asked him how he felt about men supporting the feminist movement.

I was blown away.

Clearly, he had a different interpretation of feminism than mine. Continue reading “What’s in feminism for men?”

Of sex and summer in small towns

A woman’s virginity is one of the most praised idols of worship in all religious texts. Mother Mary was a ‘virgin’, in Hindu mythology we have ‘Panchkanyas’, Ahalya, Tara, Mandodari, Sita and Draupadi-  group of five ideal women and chaste wives.

I was brought up in a world where my bed-time stories were supposed to be epic sagas of ‘Mahapurush Rama’ asking his wife Sita proves her chastity by undergoing a trial by fire. Even before I could spell the word, I was indoctrinated with all kinds of ideas about what big deal virginity was. Continue reading “Of sex and summer in small towns”

‘But someone out there has it worse’-  Can we all stop​ belittling trauma?

When I was five years old, I was repeatedly assaulted by someone known to me. I did not understand it back then, but as I started growing up, I noticed remnants of my unhealed trauma in my adult personality. This is a chapter of my life that I still haven’t been able to come to terms with, this is a part of my life that doesn’t get to come out and live its truth even in my therapy sessions. The most I have ever talked about it is in a couple of lines during the introduction of a story, like I am doing right now. Continue reading “‘But someone out there has it worse’-  Can we all stop​ belittling trauma?”

Everything that’s wrong with the Body Positivity movement on Instagram

“Everybody is different, and every body is different.” 

Beverly Dieh

The concept of body-positivity is fundamentally based on the belief that everyone, male or female, should be able to look at their bodies without contempt, and accept it, regardless of changes in shape, size, complexion, and other features. It empowers people to have a positive relationship with their own bodies. The movement strives to challenge the socio-cultural representations of what a beautiful, handsome, or a perfect body ‘should’ look like. Undoubtedly, the idea in its entirety is an empowering one. 

However, if you look closely and mindfully,  the body-positivity movement on the Internet as we see today seems to have completely derailed from its track. To be body positive is a good thing, great, in fact. But the way the internet has molded this movement is problematic in more than one way. 

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Sabyasachi has always objectified women. Why are we so surprised now?

A gorgeous piece of fabric with meticulous handwork, a flawless archetype of Indian traditional wear. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? It would probably be a saree or a lehenga. And if you have to instantly name a designer who represents this kind of artwork? Yes, that would be Sabyasachi Mukherjee. The ‘brand’ Sabya for most of us. 

But some of us who care to go deeper into matters and observe from various lenses, it’s just one aspect of this man. It’s his talent of creating these exquisite, dreamy tales of weddings and celebration and no one is taking that away from him. But talk about separating the art from the artist?  It is difficult, but can we at least acknowledge that there is something terribly wrong with Sabya and the ideas of femininity he promotes?

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