Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TwitterADay365 - Day 29

Every once in a while you come across something that is so simple in concept that you wonder how you didn't think of it yourself. And then you know - the execution of it is so difficult that your brain simply helps you avoid all that work by not even dreaming of it.

Except that one Roycin DSouza not only thought of a brilliant idea, but is also executing it to perfection. An avid presence on Twitter, @RoycinD is the brains behind #TwitterAday365, a project that gives a face to twitter handles and which is fast gaining enough popularity for the 20yr old photographer to be hounded with requests and followers, many of whom are willing to do anything to be shot by him. And yes, Roycin is super thrilled about the enthusiastic response his project is receiving.

As for me, there was no doubt that i had to be part of TwitterAday 365. And since i wasn't in Bombay, we had to wait. Which probably turned out to be for the best, since MV Wisdom decided to make a crash landing onto the neighbourhood beach, making it the perfect backdrop for a true-blue Juhu girl. And once you're on the beach, how can you resist those pinwheels eh?

I'm Day 29. Go take a look.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grandmother and her TV

I’ve been home in Bombay less than 24 hours. Of these, I was sleeping for 8 and out of the house for 6. And in the remaining time that I have been in the house, I’ve managed to get majorly cheesed off at the grandmother and her TV. The woman (no disrespect to her and all that) watches all the crap there is on TV. She starts as soon as dad leaves for work (which is around 9am) and stops only for an afternoon siesta which lasts about an hour – and this nap is perfectly timed so that she wakes up for round two of bad TV shows. And you know what is worse than her watching her saas-bahu shows all day? She watches the same episode every time it airs. Which means, at least 3 times. Is it any wonder that she is always watching TV?

And for someone who hates physical activity of any sort, her fingers move rather quickly when she is changing channels, jumping from one to the other, avoiding commercial breaks and keeping track of some 5 story lines at the same time. It’s amazing how she manages it. Of course, to give her credit, she doesn’t discriminate. So she watches comedy shows as happily as she watches the sob stories, and does so across all the various hindi language channels, not seeming to favour any one. And if we (her grandchildren or her son) do manage to bully her into giving up the remote control to us, she doesn’t grumble or complain or sulk. She stopped doing that several years back when she realised we weren’t going to give in to her pretend sniffs. Now all she does is struggle to her feet and go into the bedroom to continue watching her soaps. Making sure she locks the door behind her.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Two Bits

Over the last couple of days I’ve read a lot of brilliant writing and some very poignant pieces on SlutWalk. Some rants, some personal experiences, all of them in support of an idea that needs to be addressed more than any other issue in our country. And proof of this need is the simple fact that there is more than one idiot out there who is still missing the point of the exercise, insisting on it being a publicity stunt and a demand for more attention.

So far I’ve been quiet on the whole issue, not because I didn’t support it, but because I didn’t believe I had anything of consequence to add to the topic. Today I realised that it’s not about how important my contribution is. What is important is that I speak out and stand by SlutWalk.

When people talk about women *dressing to attract* or *asking for it*, I’m taken back to when I was about 12 yrs old, a pre-teen, with the body of a girl and not a woman. It was evening and I was walking to an aunt’s home with my younger sister and mother. I remember I was wearing a t shirt 4 sizes too large for me and baggy shorts. The walk was a 7 minute one and through a busy residential area, never once taking us down lonely, isolated paths. Some 250 metres after we’d left our building, we were walking past a homeless looking man. And just as we crossed him, he reached out and caught hold of my arm, dragging me with him. Thankfully my mother had the presence of mind of scream out and hit him with her bag, after which he ran away. But that feeling of blind panic remained with me. Remains with me. I still remember being stunned and then feeling dirty. On reaching my aunt’s home I scrubbed my hand raw with soap and couldn’t stop crying. Why me, I asked my mother. For years after that every time I passed a man on the road I folded my arms and stepped a few feet away.

What had I done to attract that man? What would have happened if my mother had not happened to be there with me? Just getting my hand grabbed terrified me. Imagine what rape does. Oh forget physical contact. If you’re a woman reading this, just think back at all the times you’ve been whistled at or attracted a comment on the road. Then think of how you feel. I know my heart starts racing faster, in an ugly sort of manner and I hurry to get out of there, pretending to ignore the eve-teasers. And when you think of all those times you’ve been teased, look back at what you were wearing, how you were walking, whom you were with.

To a rapist it doesn’t matter. You could be in a burqa, you could be 12, you could be 60. Just because you’re a woman he thinks he can. Just because you’re a woman he thinks he’s allowed to. Just because our society believes the woman asks for it, he believes he’s not wrong. And because of this, girls are being blinded for resisting an attack on their body - an attack that strips her of every last bit of self, pushing her into a circle of fear, panic and trauma. And for what reason? Because men would rather find a hundred different reasons to defend their animalistic tendencies than accept the fact that they find it difficult to respect women? That men don’t consider this an issue that needs to be raised in every household in the country? Because just being a man absolves them of it all?

To all the men who think SlutWalk is a joke, I ask if you are comfortable sending your sisters, mothers, wives, daughters, girlfriends, aunts and cousins out alone on the roads of Delhi at night. The day you are confident none of them will be teased, touched or raped, then you have a right to talk about such issues with disdain.

To all the women who think SlutWalk is a joke, I ask, what are you afraid of? Or have you never been teased, touched or groped at in a crowd? If you have, then you will know how easy it is to hide behind silence. It takes courage to come out and talk about abuse. If you cant appreciate it, then shut up. Stay hidden behind your silence. Someday you might have the strength to come out and take a stand against something you believe in. I hope that day is soon.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

DIY Lamp-type Thing

One balloon, half a roll of toilet paper, 100 ml of Fevicol, 4 cups of water, a paintbrush, paints and an eager to help husband later, I had this to show. For an experiment, I think it turned out all right didn’t it? Didn’t it? *glares at you till you say yes*.

Now all I need to do is find a place for it in my house and I can start making more. Maybe I’ll use twine this time. Hmmm.

PS: The Fellow simply burst the balloon once the paper had dried. Just in case you thought he was really useful or something.

A Monsoon Surprise

You know what brings a smile to your face and a spontaneous moment of thrill?

Waking up to find that the first rains of the season has brought with it lilies - a brilliant splash of red in an otherwise drab garden (which almost gave a huge sigh of relief as the first fat drops of rain hit it).

The rains are here and it’s going to be a happy season.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Off The Grid

Two weeks back we moved houses. And with that we moved our phone and internet connection. Now since BSNL works on its own timetable, we spent several days devoid of the pleasures of the World Wide Web. Of course, before smartphones arrived, this would have meant no access to email, Twitter or Facebook, not an entirely comfortable feeling. Unfortunately, the new house is anti-communication – seeing as there is not cell phone coverage inside the house. You only have to cross the threshold of the house for the bars on your phone to disappear – something that took getting used to. And once we did, it was quite easy to lose track of where our phones were, considering they were now nothing better than glorified alarm clocks.

Anyway. Since I was a little caught up with setting up house and settling into it, I really didn’t have time to miss the internet and/or my phone. And then the BSNL phone chap turned up. We were connected to the internet once more (and had a landline number where people who really wanted to, could contact us). But I hadn’t accounted for my laptop and the troublesome Wi-Fi adapter that I’d been dealing with for some days. And so even though the internet was up and running, the only way I could browse the web was by using the laptop like a desktop. Not fun. Not even a bit. Considering I’m used to multitasking (a fancy term for saying I have ADD), I need the television, the laptop (and internet) and my worktable all in the same space.

It’s been more than a fortnight and we’re all settled into the new place. I have nothing urgent occupying my time and attention anymore (unless you count worrying about the rain over-watering my plants as urgent). My laptop is yet to be fixed and I don’t miss the internet a bit. Honestly. For someone who was nearly addicted to StumbleUpon, Twitter, randomly Wikipediaing everything I could think of and being on chat 24X7, I’ve gotten used to not being online quite comfortably. In fact I’m as surprised as the Fellow is about the lack of withdrawal symptoms. One would expect me to go slightly cuckoo and antsy about it. Instead I’m astonishingly content.

I’ve been off the grid for more than 2 weeks and am in no hurry to get back on it. I don’t know when I’ll post this and it doesn’t bother me. Life is good and there are gobhi parathas for dinner.