Two Different Worlds in India that is Bharat…

Recently I had an opportunity to observe the life in India as is seen on any Railway station of a big city. I was on my way to Latur in Maharashtra. Latur always generates gory pictures of earthquake of 1992 and I had a keen desire to see how people in Latur had reconstructed their life and property on the remains of earthquake shattered place. As Latur is not connected by air so I had to board a train from Pune to Latur. I landed at Pune airport at 4-20 p.m. and straight way went to the Railway station. Though my train Latur Express was at 00-35 a.m. , I decided to sit and watch people at Pune railway station.The result was a great revelation–an eye opener for a person like me. I had a glimpse of India and Bharat at Pune railway station.

I saw people of India which of course are smart, savvy and literate if not really educated. There were some four couples. Four young boys and four young girls. I have not added the prefix “beautiful” to girls as they were not beautiful at least to my understanding of beauty! One of the boys had to board a train and the other seven persons had  come to say him goodbye. As i have said earlier it was a group of four couples! They behaved like couples. One of the girls in the group was behaving as if her boyfriend was leaving for a war at the Indian border. She would hug the boy so many times, kiss him and fondle him in a very endearing manner, in plain electric light and in presence of so many people waiting for their trains at the Pune railway station’s platform number one! Not that I am averse to two young persons falling in a relationship but the open display of affection and that too in a very affectating manner was too much for me to digest. I made a right choice and moved to another platform.

At the other platform, I saw two very young kids sleeping under a tattered remains of a blanket. Their father was sleeping on one side and was in the same blanket. I found something moving under the blanket and was worried that a stray dog may not have slipped under the same blanket. There were many stray dogs on the platform and it was very cold that evening. Suddenly, I saw a thin wrist, a woman’s wrist with bangles peeping from a side of the tattered blanket. Oh! the man had three kids, I thought. But I was wrong. It was his wife or may be partner in life. She was so thin that was barely seen to be inside the blanket. All four of them were under one blanket. The woman was cuddled close to her man. And it all seemed very obscene to persons on the platform. They shouted at the poor family and asked them to behave properly. The woman silently moved to the side of the kids and the moral policing platoon was silent now.

I thought hard and plain. When the jean clad group of youngsters were behaving in what I perceived to be obscene manner, the moral police brigade kept quiet. They seemed not to notice all that was plain and clear for all to see, it was because these young people were the face of India–educated, elite and modern students of a professional  course that abound Pune in large numbers. Their anonymity gives them a fair chance and freedom to behave the way they please. No one says a thing to them.

On the other hand the poor family belonged to Bharat. They were supposed to behave in a suitable manner like an Indian family. Whether they had a home for shelter, something to eat or some blankets to cover themselves in, was nobody’s business. But they had to live according to the accepted ways of the society.

One country–two rules. Yes , it is because we live in India that is Bharat!

Jai HInd!

20102010—A Great Number Indeed…

20102010

20-10–2010


When my little one said to me, “I looked so much like you”, it was the best compliment that I could have had from my daughter. I was elated. If your daughter respects you for what you are and loves the way you look, that is the best achievement of your life. God has been so kind to me in this part of my life. I remember another of our picture where both of us were in black chiffon sarees and we looked so much alike! And today on her B’day she chose to wear another black saree. It was not that she had mush choice but she had only this saree with her and that too courtesy her sister.

And before I forget to mention let me tell that we share another thing and that is our nick-name. I am called Kaloo by my parents and she was named Kaloo by me so that again brings another similarity common to both of us.

Well Kali is the name of Shakti in the form of destruction and I know that both of us have been instrumental in destruction what seems to us detrimental to the law of nature. So my dear little one, you not only look like me, you have developed your personality which is much similar to me. You got some of it genetically and some of it was acquired by my rearing which was unique in a manner. I, your Maa, wish the very best of life to you on your B’day! And thanks so much for coming in my life and being there for me as and when I needed you. More than being a mother to you, you have been playing the role of a mother to me and I am grateful to you for all that you have done for both of us.

Happy B’day dear!

The Death of Bhishma, the Warrior…

April 03, 2007

It was Bhishma’s body that was killed by Arjuna during the famous Mahabharata war as he had died the day Amba asked the Dharma knowing Bhishma for the reasons for her abductions.

The Death of Bhishma, the Warrior…

A fiery Amba

A sneering Amba

Epitome of vile

Hatred and despise,

stares hard

with burning eyes

At the grandiose

he-man of the Kurus

strong, invincible,

stoic and impregnable

esteemed Dharma Guru.

Ganga Putra, Bhishma.

Standing still,

shocked and immobile

Bowed headed

Lips sealed

Eyes cast downward

The warrior’s arms

Limp and flaccid

Lack the strength

The show of manliness

That they displayed

In the royal court

Pulling and putting

defenceless and fragile

Damsels three

Making them slaves

Of his will free.

But today

He stands shamed

Mute and maimed

When fiery Amba

Epitome of courage

Strength and power

Questions his manhood

His powerful

Actions of glory

Asking for

Consummation

Of her maidenly right

But the grand man

The Dharma knowing

Bhishma

Could not defeat

The empowered

Awakened

Frail little princess.

Could not meet

Those fiery eyes

And burnt alive

A death unsung

And unceremonious.

The strength of my Entity!

It will not break me down

As I am not fragile

Like glass

That needs to be

Handled with care!

I am supple

Like a weed

That though might seem

Gentle, kind and weak

Has the strength

To regain and recoup

Its shape and strength

And stands tall

Gracefully to its full length

After every onslaught of wind!

I bend down

To meet the ground

But revert away

If the earth down

Is mushy and muddy

That would seep away

My life force

And would slowly

Make me go deep

Down in the marsh

A life so harsh

That my entity

Might completely crash!

I move away

Gently at first

But

With force and propel

When held back

Against my will.

I, too, would

Love and court

Entwine with

Rock solid support

That helps me to grow

And let me be

The real me

Though soft and supple

But proud enough to

Have a sway

In cool breeze, wind and storm

Would love to explore

The strength of my

Entity!

 

Why you did it to me?

Feburary 20, 2007

 

Ma,

You taught me to excel

In academics, sports

And all other

spheres

You worked with me

Nights in a row

To help me learn

And to deeply sow

The seed to excel

To win against all

Big or small

Come on top

By doing well

I made you swell

With achievement

And pride.

But

When it was the time

For me to be a bride

You changed a lot

Teaching me

To fret and rot

But not to make

My lord feel

Small in any way

That I carry

The seed to swell

And sway

All

By doing so well!

In all spheres of life

I was made to sit

Demure and mute

To look like a doll

All decked and cute

Head covered

Eyes downcast

To look at my feet

And the earth so vast

Or the feet of my lord

Who would hence after

Would trample

My ego

My very being

That you so lovingly

had cared to nurture

Without seeing

What was held

By my future.

Why did you teach me

To excel and aim high

Why the dream was

Planted

In my dreamy eyes

That aimed at the

Open and vast skies.

If all I needed was

Tears and sighs

To look at the earth

And rejoice in the

Mirth and the glee

Of having made

Another wife

Another “She”

 

Women and weak? You must be joking!

February 20, 2007

A woman acts.

Weak, humble and docile

A touch-me-not and fragile

While beginning her life

That would have strife

If only she acted otherwise.

So what is the harm?

If she befools

Them who think to be

Powerful, strong and virile

And let them rejoice

In the fake world

Of illusory pride

That fills the male stride

With egoistic confidence

That they rejoice

Leading

A creature that needs

Support and care

To live in the world

But is she really

Weak and fragile

Can she not walk

That extra mile

That would announce

Her coming center stage

She can stand, walk, run

Can laugh heartedly

Jeer and make fun

Of all those

Who think of her as weak

But she has the heart

Rule her mind

Making her disposition

Gentle and kind

She laughs away

Under the sleeves

Stares hard

From behind the

Veil

And walks gentle

To keep the mantle

Of a woman

Weak, humble and docile

A touch-me-not and fragile.

  

Motherly Instinct in Female Species: The Undisputed Law of the Nature…

Sheep Breeding Farm, Tal, Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh

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The Mother…

A fact dawned upon me in a very strange manner and I thought of sharing that with you all. I, along with my kids, had gone to Sheep Breeding Farm where, some years back, my husband was posted. During that visit to the farm we watched the young lambs, the really cute ones. Perhaps that impression was deep in my mind and when I found out during our recent visit that it was the lambing season, I wanted to recapture the magical moments of the old memories once again. Little did I know that this time another revelation would come to me straight and clear!When I went to the sheep shed I found very few eves, along with the young lambs too small to be sent to graze, to be there as almost all others were away for grazing in the open areas. The few left behind were the lactating mother eves, having borne the kid recently, some privilege indeed! The sheep yard was prepared for the arrival. The feeding tubs were full of the feed and the water tanks with clean drinking water. It was around 3:20 PM that the first flock arrived. It had the lactating mothers and some lambs. They all came running and jumping to the stall. The eves were heavy with the milk as their udder seemed so full of milk.

They seemed to have two conflicting emotions—to feed their young ones or to feed their own self—the first one dominated over the second though I could find some eves who were struggling hard to eat the feed as well! So very similar to human behavior! Some choice they had to make. I learnt that the motherly instinct, to love and care for the young ones and keeping self interest backstage, comes naturally to all females of any species. But can it be termed a sacrifice by any means?

sheep-kids.jpg

Satiated and relaxed…

No, not a sacrifice, but another natural instinct to care for whosever needs care. And do the eves demand anything in return for the care that goes into feeding their young ones? Again a big NO! But we, the so called rational ones, demand the debt to be repaid in kind or any other manner by our young ones as a price that we put for all that we do for them when they need us. Selfish human beings! And then we say that we  have come a long way. A long way indeed!

Tug of War

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The Tug of War…March 08, 2006

The sports day last year heralded a pleasant change in the sports History of National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur when the guest item was a tug of war between the female faculty vs. the girl students! That day, as usual, the announced guest items were—a tug of war between the male faculty and the male students and a musical chair event for the female faculty. But this time we ensured that we were properly listened to and as that day i.e. March 08, 2006  was being celebrated as International Women’s Day so our wish was granted and first time a new freedom was given to our gender, albeit grudgingly! Now started the real show!

I was to lead the team but wearing a saree made me really difficult to focus all my energy and vision on the thick rope that we had to pull. And I was out of shape as well because of sitting more in front of the computer than doing some brisk warm-ups!  We needed some words of advice from our male colleagues but in the overall din that reigned all around such advice got lost. With zeal to give our best we all lined up with our best foot put forward on the ground. With saree palla and dupattas tugged tightly and with high heeled sandals put aside we looked life valkyres—so we thought us to be. It gave us so much of strength! But our opponents—young pretty girls, wearing track suits or jeans and sports shoes, were all bouncing with energy. And then the hostel food had put so much energy in their veins that they seemed to bubble with stamina. The show started. All the participants were as excited as were the audience. But the audience seemed to back up the pretty young girls instead of the aging teachers and who could blame them for taking sides with the fairer of the two? At one time we were just an inch away from the deciding line but someone in the back-up line giggled and that did the trick. We lost the tug of war that we had almost won. The last second misgiving!

Were we sad on losing the game? No. Not at all. The loss had been our biggest victory as we had won for all women of the Institute something that they had long desired to have. An opportunity to compete freely irrespective of the gendered entity that we possessed! We had won the war though having lost the battle.

Stereotyped Images: Hard to Break

I am sad on account of something that substantiated the fact that certain things never change!! And when it comes to change stereotyped images of women it is much more difficult to change.Today during tutorial class in the Mechanical Engineering group I gave them a topic to ponder over and speak about. The topic was related to women. “Women on Shop-floors” to be exact. Though the topic was a bit confusing but I had given them hints about the context in which this topic was given by a company having placement interviews for Mechanical Engineers. I thought that may be they would take the cue and take the discussion in the right direction as I was teaching them the importance of context to understand any particular topic. There were twenty eight students in the class and I started asking randomly about what they had to say on the topic. I was surprised to find that they spoke about the stereotyped images of women and could not think beyond. Each one of the students spoke about the women as avid shoppers, the women as sales girls helping in brisk business or spending spree of women but no one touched the topic anywhere from what it was! They were innovative enough to think of women as good at bargaining, spending husband’s hard earned money on shopping or how irrationally they behaved on shop floors etc. etc.I was suddenly sad as these students were not just ready to think beyond the cultural and social stereotypes that constitute their references. Their imagination ran wild about the topic but was no where near to the topic! Was it something specific to male members of the society to think of women as stereotyped images made them to see and psychologically block all other options? And I thought of my own son.Once I sat smugly in the bed, with my son, taking up a knitting in my hands. It was after a long time that I had started to knit as I had left all such works when I was busy doing my research work. All those years my son watched me, with a book in hand, sitting with him. But that day it was different. He kept on stealingly looking at me with a kind of strange gleam in his eyes and when he was not able to contain him any further, he put his arms around me and said, “This looks like my mom!” I was taken aback by such a revelation and asked him what made me look like his “mom”? Was I not his mom? How and why did he make such a comment? With a mischievous smile he said, “My mom with knitting in her hands.” I was alarmed and coaxed him further,” tell me which one you liked the most—the one with knitting or the one with a book in hands?” He made it sound as if I was a split personality—Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—a kind of two-in-one! He avoided answering me but later confessed that it is the mom with knitting in her hands that he liked the best. My God! I wondered where had I gone wrong in raising him as I prided myself for raising him as a person who would admire such qualities in his woman. He somehow still carried the stereotyped image of a mother or a wife in short a woman in his mind that best of my conditioning could not replace. He was not a child at that time but a student of Engineering. Though he admired me a lot for being different than the average multitude of women but would have preferred a stereotyped mom. The million dollar question that still remains unanswered is how well to raise and condition sons in the present society where they widen their horizons and think beyond what the staple diet of soap operas and popular cinema might lead them to! 

Women Empowerment—A Pleasant Myth…

Nothing is more away from the truth than the myth of women empowerment. This truth dawned on me recently although all these years I kept a false hope alive in my heart that the situation is not that bad. Why are women marginalized in all areas of work life? Is it that they are not assertive like the males and are considered a soft target? Or is that the society still expects a stereotyped behavior pattern from the women and any deviation is strictly looked down upon. And less said about the men, better it would be as they seem to unite dissolving all differences when it comes to facing a soft target—a woman seeking power. It is not that men are against all women but they are against women who seek and strive to come on equal terms with them. It makes them afraid, terribly afraid of being usurped of the position that they cherish to maintain. If one looks at the seats of power and the occupants thereof in the long history of any organization, the fact comes to light that women have always had a raw deal at the hands of the authorities. The senior female employees are at the mercy of much junior male employees when it comes to certain assignments that are distributed equally among all, at least on the surface.And does anyone complain about this treatment meted out to women? No one. Men don’t do it as it is the prerogative they seem to relish by virtue of being men and women—who listens to them? A meek feeble voice that gets muffled in the harsh sounds made by the rousing voices of men! I shout at the top of my voice and am singled out of the ordinary and am a betrayer to the long established practice of balance of power. When I try to get what is male prerogative, I am sneered at and am the odd wo(man) out!And do I get my right—you must be joking. All my representations, pleadings, requests are buried under the mounds of rubbish that is fate of any Government organization. And I keep on waiting like a fool that someday someone will take notice of my representations and soothe the injury of my soul. But the truth remains that women empowerment is a myth that remains a pleasant myth.I am really wondering as to why am I writing? Is it to get the burden off my soul or to make myself a pleader? I am feeling as if I have started taking pity on my condition. If this is the truth then I am really in a pathetic condition. I remember that on January 1, 2006, I had written in my diary that I would not allow any negative comment to rob me of my life energy. I will retain all my positive energy and use it for all things positive. One negative comment might have ruffled a few feathers in my life but I believe that those were the weak feathers that would have fallen on their own as well. So you have rather helped me getting rid of the dead wood. I wonder why could I not see the truth earlier? Thanks anyway. I am sure that I will come out stronger after this episode, ready to face anything, even you in your worst role! Writing these posts have made me get rid of the feeling of desperation that had crept in and now I am able to see reason in the purpose of my being. Everything happens for a reason and perhaps your comment is a way of the destiny to wake me from the slumber and be the person that once I was—fiery and daredevil.