My Two Cents


 

The other day, in fact a week ago one of our neighbours popped into our home. She is not really our neighbour but our neighbours daughter, who lives in the nearby town. Apparently she is looking after the house since her mom is out of station.

Among the small talks, there was one thing that caught my attention which if you look at it didn’t really have to but the fact that it got my attention is why I thought of sharing it with you.

Out of a random topic we began talking about visiting temples and about our religious inclination. It was just a causal mention not even the main topic we were talking about. What she said in response was that she is very progressive in her outlook and therefore isn’t very religious which in turn means she doesn’t visit temples and such on a routine. Of course what she does in her personal life is none of my concern but it got me thinking nevertheless.

Do people in our country – the educated and (so called) liberals think that been progressive and religious go hand in hand? Does becoming less religious mean you are more positive in your approach, that you are an elite of some sort? That you look down upon the ones who are religious?

Am not a religious person, never have been from the time I have been introduced to it. But I do consider myself a follower of Santana Dharma who does believe in its teaching. I don’t know why people of other religion go to their place of worship but to me in particular it is because of the peace I get from the energy in the temple. There is something different in its very air when you enter a temple and pray.

But being progressive has nothing to do with religion IMHO. I mean religion is a part of your identity not your outlook in life. Of course it can heavily influence your views and opinions and that’s where the problems lie. A religion which decides for you is dictatorship in my opinion.

I know our country is going through a so called religious awakening thanks to the ruling party but my point has nothing to do with politics but with beliefs. You can be both progressive and religious. It depends on how you view your beliefs.

To be progressive is not to be biased on the basis of caste, creed, sex or gender, place or religion etc. To treat everyone equally. To not let personal differences come in between your other commitments.

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To be religious is to follow a particular faith which gives you satisfaction, an identity and a structure or a path in life. Every religion has a tipping point and no matter what each will reach theirs.

I don’t even want to start about been secular and religion, two different things stitched together by a party for their own selfish interest, almost ruining this country. This is about a personal belief, that’s all.

Believing your faith to be backwards is one of the downfall Hindu’s are facing today. I don’t know if it’s a British mentality thats still left behind or propagated by secularist but if one thinks so then they have no idea about their own faith and it is high time they study it before they begin critiquing it.

Yes certain customs are backward but it is the fault of the people who made them. Every place has its own custom and it is up to us to eradicate the bad ones, don’t blame religion for it.

If at all I have something to say, it is this: Nobody is going to respect you if you don’t respect yourself and similarly nobody is going to respect your religion or culture if you don’t respect it yourself. Change begins with you.

 

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The Great Indian Parents

The other day I was watching an old interview of the ensemble cast of Dil Dhadkane Do (DDD), one of the better movies to come in the last couple of years.

Honestly, I was prejudiced towards the trailer once I saw it cause I didn’t think these rich people and their problem was any of my concern and so the whole movie was just candy floss.

I, in fact, watched the movie last year but at that time I didn’t have a blog to write down my thoughts but after watching their interview I was reminded of the fact that I loved the movie. It was everything beyond expectation.

Reema Kagti makes wonderful movies, including Talaash and Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, two movies I thoroughly enjoyed and Zoya has a meaningful and different approach to movie making. But this isn’t about the movie that I want to talk about but about what the movie represents. Family.

I think Indian Parents are a different species altogether. I have always wondered why they can’t let their grown up kids just be. I always question these kids who grow up under controlling parents – like do they want to be like their parents or does it happen naturally through years of conditioning?

I can’t imagine being a parent like that and am always dreading if I will be (Only time will say). I mean I get the protection and responsibility they imbibe but once your kids turn a particular age, do you really need to spoon feed everything?

In this movie, there is two particular scene that really stung me:

  1. Where Anil Kapoor’s Character tells Ranbir’s “what have you done in your whole life? You are because of me and without us, you are nothing”, (loosely translated)
  2. Where Shefali Shah’s Character tells Priyanka’s to stop focusing on career and to start a family and also Anil telling her she is not welcome back to the family if she wants a divorce.

I mean why would parents do this to their kids? Why do you expect everything to be about you and not the kids? Aren’t they individuals? Do parents not look at their kids as separate beings? Or do they think kids have to be dependent on them no matter what?

I get the part about our parents sacrificing a lot for us. Every parent does that and that’s what makes you one. But expecting your kids to applaud you and be forever grateful to you is just plain wrong. And so is expecting them to toe along your lines cause you have done such great things for them.

Another part I don’t understand is why do kids still live with their parents! Unlike the old Joint family get up today there are more nuclear families. Yet parents are always there right behind you. Especially for girls who get married and move into their husband’s house, it’s just plain weird having to make such adjustments that the boy never even fathoms.

Why create such uncomfortable scenarios? Why can’t two adults live by themselves? Unless you have a single parent, there is, in my opinion, no need for adult kids to live with their parents. It only prolongs dependency, especially the emotional ones which is what’s dangerous.

Just imagine the benefits of living on your own:

  • You make the decisions
  • there is no conflict of who is the head of the house
  • the value we place on boys cause they “take care” of parents will lessen
  • More time can be taken out for actual bonding with family members instead of having to secretly hate them and create pain for everyone concerned.
  • Emotional maturity – especially for boys who take washing, cooking and such mundane activities for granted since someone else is always there to do it (their mom or sis)
  • Independence!
  • Privacy – No questions on where you are going or to whom you are speaking to or such questions, which only kids need to answer not adults.

I mean the lists are endless. Can you imagine how the whole Indian society would turn out to be if we actually followed this?

I have to agree there is No competition when it comes to their love. They win hands down but sometimes a gift can turn into a curse and we need to make sure it remains a gift. I believe a parents duty is to provide for their children and teach them to survive on their own. My husband and I both believe in this school of thought –  to let the kids just be.

As parents we worry about so much already, isn’t something left best to the kids? They need to discover themselves through their own eyes and not through others. If you watch kids carefully you will know they are hardly scared or insecure or worried about anything. But we force our views on them and by a certain age, they start believing it too. Their outlook on life is smudged by their parent’s views.

Every parenting style is different. No two parents are the same and believe me no parents want to hear that what they are doing is wrong nor do they want to hear parenting advice. Besides parenting comes naturally, no one can be prepared for it till it happens to them.

But certain qualities only Indian parents share and I constantly read on Quora what today’s youth want and believe. They are far much mature than the previous generation. Being exposed to so much in today’s world, they are I think even born ready to take on the world. They talk about stuff that a generation above them wouldn’t have or actually take risks. But still, they have the age old Indian parents who instead of encouraging them, hinder their progress.

I can go on and on about Indian parents but it’s time for a change and I am not going to shy away from it cause change begins with you. Hopefully, I can be one of the parents that I write about but there is still time for that.

What do you think about Indian parenting style? Are you one? Share your experience!

 

 

 

Hindi Medium and The Need to Conform #Movienight


 

Last night hubby and me decided to watch a comedy movie. Having seen most of the movies this year, I was left to wonder which one to watch for tonight. That’s when I remembered we still hadn’t watched Hindi Medium starring Irfan Khan and Saba Qamar.

The story is something like this: Parents want to send their daughter to an ‘elite’ english medium school in order to catch up with other elites in the society. Now I am not part of north India but I have heard they are way too posh and extremely conscious of their image and power. I mean this is the same city where Jessica Lal was murdered.

Coming back to the movie, it is light hearted fun, certainly a bit exaggerated and doesn’t take itself too seriously till the climax when the protagonists begins to sprout consciousness.

It definitely made me wonder what our education system has reached to and the mentality of us Indians. I have always considered English as  a language and nothing more. But maybe due to colonialism we are still stuck in that mode where anything ‘english’ is elite and better.

I have studied in an english medium school where speaking in english was mandatory. We even wore a ‘speak to me in english’ badges on our uniform. I never took it seriously cause I speak three other languages too. I guess it’s pretty common in India to be bi(tri)lingual.

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In those days very few people conversed in english in their daily lives but I have to admit now a days anywhere I go, I see people talking to each other in english like its the ‘cool’ thing to do. Am always trying to decide if I should speak in english or use the state language, something I never felt growing up.

In fact I used to be teased in college for speaking in english cause I am not exactly well versed in Malayalam as the native speakers are and now these very people converse in english like their mother tongue has no value.

It is sad we Indians don’t value our own traditions, heritage and culture or for that matter language. When I see the Chinese attempts to glorify their culture or Germany/France, I feel disappointed that we Indians lack that. We have such an ancient and culturally rich heritage that I don’t think todays kids are even aware of.

Everyone is after the image we are been sold to. Every country has it’s own value and it’s up to them to maintain it. I feel being Hindus we have become so liberal that we don’t even value our own system or take pride in it.

Hindi medium only throws light on the education system which itself needs an over haul but for that to happen we as a society needs to change at its core. We need to amalgamate what’s traditional and modern, use the positive and leave out the negative cause as a country we have such a huge potential and we need to propagate it for our own advantage.

I just wish that we value what we have now and nurture it cause one day when we look back we as a country are going to regret having lost everything that once glorified us. Sometimes I feel we are obsessed with this language, why can’t we show the same to our own language?

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Why not give the same importance to other languages too like french, mandarin or Spanish? or the multiple languages in our own country! Besides knowing two or more languages contributes to a persons intelligence. And to me language is just that –  a tool for communication. In a country like India it is significant where multiple languages are spoken, hence english ironically is the one that unifies us all. But why give it an over the top connotations to it?

Back to the movie, watch it for the fun message it gives and the comic timings of Deepak Dobriyal. He is too good. A perfect weekend movie. I would rate it 3.5/5.

What are your thoughts on the movie and the message it shares?

 

How Social Media effect Us and Women in Particular


 

Here is a confession; I dislike Social media. Don’t get me wrong, I have used and have been an active user of all the popular social media out there today. I still love to Instagram and read tweets but I always end up wondering what the hell am I doing this for?

Why do we make these posts? what purpose does this serve other than making us feel good about ourselves? Does it matter in the long term? After using Facebook for about an year, I deactivated my account. I was sharing far too much information than necessary and in those days people were still getting a hang out of it.

It was basically an invasion of my privacy by myself. Is that even possible? I see others constantly posting new pictures, a husband wishing his wife or a mother wishing her kids online. I mean what the hell?

Your kids may not even know what you have said if they are below a certain age and why is it so important to share each and everything on social media?

Are we compelled to do so? by peer pressure? My neighbour is doing it and so should I? I get the entertainment value of sharing. Happiness doubles when you share, I get that.

There is some chemical that is released in us when we feel a rush of happiness as the number of ‘likes’ increase. It is almost like a replacement for the real world love. Don’t we feel the same when we share in real life instead of a virtual one? Are we really creating an ideal world online which is not possible to maintain offline?

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Courtesy: BusinessInsider

I still prefer blogging to these so called platforms where people just say one sentence, their “Statement” and that is it. Go figure. Today Social Media has provided us a platform to present our views in just 140 characters – that is all and well but is it possible to actually take them all seriously? Do they give it some thought before voicing their opinion which one can do while blogging?

I have read that using Social media is akin to taking drugs because it has the same effect. Once you get hooked it takes a lot to remove it from your system. Believe me I do feel the urge now and then to open my Facebook account and go ballistic but I remind myself the after effects and back off.

One other thing I keep reminding myself is how Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire by starting a platform that is of no use to people. I mean why can’t we individually provide something else to the world which is far more meaningful? or should we just use Facebook like zombies? Like we are in some ‘programme’?

Keeping in touch with your friends is one of the biggest reason people use Facebook or to share important news, to stay updated – are we really doing that? We love to increase our friends but how many are actually in touch with these number of friends?

In fact we are always talking to around fifteen to twenty people in our daily life –  they are the ones that matter. Imagine using Facebook or twitter to communicate with the very people in your house. Hilarious uh?

I have noticed whenever something controversial happens or a tragedy people condemn it on Facebook – like really? thats all you can do? The excuse is always that we are at least voicing our opinion, making a difference. But is that truly enough? it sounds almost shallow.  You might say the same about blogging, but that’s exactly my point.

 

Few months back, there was a news about a girl who was masturbated onto by a man in a stadium. I checked her Facebook profile where she had posted the same. Almost all men had branded her a liar. Some women too. That she did it for the attention.

Maybe she did. But does that make plights of such women any less? If you can’t differentiate between what’s right and wrong then do you really have the authority to make a decision? Something similar had happened in a railway station too, this time with ‘proof’ in the form of a video.

One of the biggest drawbacks in social media is that it allows men to attack women without any consequences unless you threaten them with something lethal or post something obscene.

Women are constantly bombarded with friend requests, messages or other requests for many unwanted needs. I have heard of horror stories of women who use the social app Tinder. How they receive hate messages because they rejected someone. I mean why?

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I do feel for the men. They too are playing a part that society has envisioned for them. It’s equally hard for them to fit into a mould. But if these men don’t speak up then who will? Today if we women are making our voices heard despite the backlash is because any animal who has been corned will try to fight back one last time.

It isn’t natural that we have to fight for something that is normal. We are all responsible for ourselves, what we need and what we do. All we need to do is try. Don’t let anybody decide for you. In the end this life is yours and you alone can live it. Do what makes you happy.

Women need to use Social media to make a better world for ourselves. To encourage each other and to pull each other up. We can’t depend on men to do it for us, if they had bothered then our plight would have reduced long time ago. The problem is with the ‘good’ men who do nothing to make a difference. It includes the men we know in our lives.

Hence, it is better to focus on what we want and to develop it in a positive manner. The concept of ‘HeforShe’ is an excellent start but many men feel it is an attempt to marginalise them. The real attempt should be He&She for Us.

One thing that’s for sure though when it comes to social media and women’s rights is that every single one of us can get involved. Lets use Social Media for the right reasons and not just to show off.

 

Lipstick Under My Burkha


 

Last night as I was browsing through YouTube, I came across a new trailer of L.U.M.B. I had already seen a previous version few months back and even though I found the story interesting it didn’t really pique my interest.

Nevertheless I was aware of how the movie was getting noticed especially in the film festivals including the news that it may even be the opening movie for the Golden Globes.

The famous “Censor Board” which is the CBFC, whose sole job is to give certification for a movie, also masquerades as the moral brigade in our country for movies. The Central Board’s Film Certifications head, Mr. Pahlaj Nihalani is quiet famous for how he wants to keep the audience away from so called filth in the movies. Clearly it speaks of his own mindset rather than the whole country’s.

He is famously known for cutting a kissing scene in the last Bond movie. And recently for objecting to the word ‘intercourse’ in Srk’s upcoming movie – ‘Jab Harry met Sally’. It is obvious he has a fixed mindset.

Though I find no credibility in his views, including that of preserving Indian Values, the reason am writing this post is for an entirely different reason. The YouTube Comment sections are well known for its own trolls and views.

Check these out:

Majority of the male comments reflect what they think about feminism. Since when did short skirts, smoking, having sex have anything to do with ‘Women Empowerment’. It made me question whether majority of Indians – specially male – as to why they have such distorted versions of feminism.

When I saw the first trailer, yes I thought it was bold and frank but it is what reality is. And the new trailer clearly pokes those questions right in your face.

To make it clear, women empowerment doesn’t mean short skirts, smoking, kissing, having sex on screen or using cuss words and such other myriad views. It is the ability of the women to be themselves just as they are and to be accepted for it nevertheless. Just like men are.

I don’t agree with smoking, drinking, dress choices are based on one’s own sense of fashion and comfort and we watch sex scenes in western movies all the time so what is not ‘sanskaari’ about the same thing here?

Do we not have sex in this country? Is that why we have the second highest population in the world? And what is so wrong in it? it is a natural human thing. what’s so shameful in showing it? These very people have no problem in watching porn in their private life but how can you question it when it is shown on-screen and is performed by Indian women? Do they have no needs and desires?

I loved one of the dialogues shown in this trailer –

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I truly don’t understand what’s so scary about female sexuality. Why can’t you accept that we too have the freedom to express it. We are not just the roles society has forced upon us that of mother, daughter, sister or wife. We can be more than that and we are.

We are so much more than just what’s expected of us. We multitask like there is no tomorrow. Unlike men who are only expected to provide and protect the family, we women are the one’s who are glue to the entire society. Without us, there is no society. Our roles are hence so much more important if not equally.

It is not rocket science. It is not Math. It is a simple social need to be acknowledged. Are men scared of women? If that is the reason you try to repress us then there is no need to fear us. If you laughed at the first question it means men are not scared of women then why the hell do you care what women do with their lives. what’s the need to control it?

Since I haven’t seen the movie I cannot comment on how the movie contributes to the growth of feminism. But for the sake of freedom of expression & creativity and the freedom for women to be portrayed as they are, it is important such dialogues are maintained.

UPDATE: check out: Interview with Anupama Chopra

What are your thoughts on it? Do share!

 

The Indian Woman

Hi there.

Every time I begin to write a new post, am always in wonder what I should write. The first post matters a lot. It is what gives insight to the reader what they can gain from reading this blog.

This is not my first attempt at blogging. If fact, I manage another blog on WordPress titled ‘everydaytarotblog’ which is just a journal of my tarot and other divination hobbies. I enjoy chronicling my thoughts on them. Do check it out.

The purpose of this new blog is to expand my views which were pretty much limited in my previous blog. I believe just like any other blogger, my views too should be counted, matter.

As an Indian woman, yes I have my own thoughts and views that I like to share but in a positive manner. The new wave of feminism has touched us all. Thanks to people like Emma Watson, Priyanka Chopra, Sheryl Sandberg, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Puja Thakur, other eminent political figures, and many such women who have contributed to the growth of strong females role models.

My blog is an attempt to celebrate all things women and hence write about topics that is dear to me and which can help other women to put themselves out there and not be afraid to show who they are.

Am also creating a book club where anyone can share their experiences on how it helped them change, or made them stronger. In this day and age, we women really have to pull each other up rather than pulling each other down so we can covet for that small space conventional society has placed upon us.

This is an attempt to say that it is alright if you don’t know the answers but to find them together and make the world a better place for not just women but men who have been shouldering the responsibility for way too long and are equally mistreated to conform to a society’s standard.

The Indian woman is a complex creature; she is fierce yet vulnerable, strong yet emotional, Supportive yet held back. We have the inherent ability to lead and nurture and yet we are made to feel our role is limited only to our biological functions and nothing more.

The contrast in our position is truly a mystery. We have reached heights of success yet only in minuscule numbers. We have a long way to go and we will accomplish our goal together.