NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS: LIFE GOALS OR PIPE DREAMS

So it’s that time of the year again where we look back upon the year passed by either with jubilation for the milestones achieved or with regrets about the opportunity lost. With a new year down the corner most of us would be ready with a new set of resolutions. But do we stay honest with ourselves with respect to our resolutions?

Think about it. How many of your resolutions of past years have you undertaken with resolute will? Be it heading to the gym to get fitter, spending more time with your family, quitting smoking or drinking, none of these resolutions we take up every year last more than a month or in some cases even lesser. Why do we fail to live up to the promises we make to ourselves? We usually go out of our way to keep up to the promises made to our loved ones but we often fail to honour the promise which we make to ourselves. So, why do we fail to honour our resolutions? Are we not strong willed or are we just outright lazy?

From my personal experiences, I can say that there ought to be more reasons than lack of will power and laziness for not honouring one’s own resolutions. What I have observed is that at different stages in life, people have different priorities, so a resolution that couldn’t be completed in the current year can’t just be procrastinated for the coming year again because the circumstances in your life have changed since last year. I don’t know if there are similar people like me but for me during a particular time frame there has to be one sole objective and everything I do during that time frame should be in some way related to achieving that objective. I have that dogged determination that this is my current objective and anything I do has to be somewhat related in helping me achieve that. Anything not aligned with that objective is either a distraction or an unnecessary wastage of time.

Let’s say for example, when I decided to write a blog I decided that I will not write fiction or poetry which I had done earlier but I would rather give my take on current affairs because it would help me prepare for job interviews. But having tried that, I realized by not writing what I am most comfortable writing, I am just curbing my natural instincts and like many other people pretending to be someone I am not. I am slowly realizing that unlike the lessons in management everything in life can’t be analyzed in cost-benefit terms. Some things are done just for the sake of doing it, they are done because they make you complete or they just define who you are and how it makes you different from others. Just like that, I feel our resolutions shouldn’t be with respect to achieving an end objective but should be an end by themselves. Don’t just head to the gym to get fit because you would get better marriage prospects; get fit because a healthier lifestyle is a happier lifestyle.

Every resolution we make involves some amount of change in our behaviour or routine and change is something we never embrace with open arms. So, we have to ask ourselves first. Are we ready for the change? Or are we just obliged to change our behaviour just because it is a new year and we should do something different? We have to be really honest with ourselves in answering these 2 questions because that would determine whether our resolutions turn into a routine or whether it just ceases to be a pipe dream.

Hypocrisy And The Indian Media.

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It doesn’t behoove Indian Media and intellectuals to criticize Pakistan Police crushing Pro-Indian protest in POK, when hundreds have been killed in past decade by Indian Army during similar Pro-Pakistani protests in Indian occupied territories and most of the times these are not even mentioned in Indian media, such as ibnlive, India Today and Zee News.

These outlets rarely bat an eye about the mass graves and thousands missing and other thousands of Kashmiris in Indian Prisons without trails, if, in deed, ever! And they think they have any moral right to talk about Pakistan’s human rights violations, when at the same time they support the regime that has never let UN investigation team enter India to find the truth about much more severe allegations against it.

This at the movement, which Ahmed Quraishi, Executive Director YFK described last week during a press confrere in Geneva as: “we could wake up any morning and find our selves engulfed in a full-fledged nuclear war in South Asia – between Pakistan and India”.

Just a few days ago, reportedly thousands of teachers were arrested in my home town, Bhopal, for demanding Equal Pay For Equal Work, a condition protected under UN’s declaration of Universal Human Rights, while instead of condemning this human rights violations most news channels either did not mention it, or mentioned it in passing or argued why the teachers do not “deserve” equal pay. If any one doesn’t “deserve” any thing today, is the media out lets and pundits and intellectuals to criticize Pakistan regime for the crimes it with zeal supports when committed by it’s own government.

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तीन महीने पहले
खिड़की के नजारें अलग थे

एक समय चिड़ियों को देख
मैं तुम्हे खयाली कहानियाँ सुनाया करती थी

चिड़ियों के साथ मिजाज़ का आना जाना अब भी है
पर अब,
तुम्हारा पता बदल गया है ।

It Is Your Choice. But, It’s A Very Poor Choice Of Words.

MyChoice

“My Choice” has been an abused and overused response from “Generation Y” for anything that doesn’t adhere to the conventional standards of behavior which has been set by the earlier generations.  Now when these 2 words are preceded with the words “My Body” then it is bound to ruffle some feathers especially in a conservative society like ours.

Vogue magazine came out with a video under their ‘Vogue Empower’ initiative series named “My Choice” with Deepika Padukone as the protagonist and as many as 98 other women including celebrities from the film industry like Anupama Chopra, Zoya Akhtar, Nimrat Kaur etc. The video aims to bring awareness to the cause of women’s empowerment nationwide. It is ironic to see a fashion magazine and celebrities from an industry who make their money by reinforcing sexist standards of beauty on women preach about women empowerment. The video was probably made with the right intention but the execution of ideas and the statements used turned out to be rhetoric and didn’t drive home the point which I believed the video was supposed to do.

If the execution of the video was poor the reactions and the responses to the video were equally immature. There is no doubt about the fact that some statements in the video like “my choice whether to have sex outside of marriage” do not reflect the true essence of women empowerment at all but just to take a few excerpts out of a video and blowing it out of proportion was not a very mature thing to do. My interpretation of the video’s intended message was that there should not be different guidelines for women and men in the society. A woman should have the choice to wear any kind of clothes she likes; she should have the choice to binge on any food she likes without bothering about her figure; she should have the choice to marry as per her own conditions and whenever she is ready; she should have the choice to love temporarily, or to lust forever. What our society does is denies her that choice.

The angst of the people might be justified if you consider specific statements from the video but as a message in its entirety, it was a pretty strong video. What surprises me is that statements like “having sex outside of marriage” and “to have your baby or not” boils the blood of certain sections of the society but when Vogue Empower had shown a commercial titled “Ladke nahi rote” starring Madhuri Dixit which ends with a shot of a man about to tear up while hitting his wife, there were no reactions from anyone whatsoever. If the bloodied face of the girl being a victim of domestic violence from her husband didn’t instill a chill down your spine but rather an innocuous remark by a movie celebrity did, then I believe we all should take a strong and hard look at ourselves in the mirror. The “My Choice” video was only a logical extension to the “Ladke nahi rote” video where it was further re-iterated that instead of binding women to rules and restrictions, it is necessary for us to educate the men to learn how to respect women and give them equal rights.

It is also the responsibility of women to treat this “equal rights” terminology in the right manner. Yes ladies, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”. Women shouldn’t use equal rights or special privileges granted to them at several places, according to their own convenience.  In fact, I believe that everyone should be treated as equal. If we can’t resist on judging people then we should judge or evaluate everyone on the same framework. Why can’t a man cry? It is perfectly natural to cry. Why can’t a girl dress as she likes to? It is perfectly natural to groom yourself to look the most delightful. Let’s learn to respect the women in our lives; because lack of doing so has caused all of this malice.

Let’s encourage efforts towards woman empowerment even if the message is not conveyed in the subtlest manner possible. To Vogue, I would say, “It is your choice” but as the Joker from the Dark Knight would say “It’s  a very poor choice of words”.

Telescopic Impasse

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Walk soft with slower rides.
They’re the treads.
Of my messy insides.

The fucking winds.

Such unrelenting harshness
On my pretty face.
But these eyes
Won’t drop their gaze.
They search his lines and rings.
His face.
Frozen on clean sheets.
Memories of unsaid things.

Rain used to be fun.
Now annoying?
I am unsure.

The caustic slow burning would endure.

For I am the favorite friend.
He’s true.
Clay for playtime madness?
Take my heart.
Till your fondness
Allows for all that.

But I’m his and promised, how!
No other shall taste the feel
Of his lovely warmth now.

I stand and observe.
Absorbed intimacy and affections.
The ancient horrid game
Of mirrors, tricky reflections.

This mind’s rationale
Heart’s twisted bent.
Two languages –
Same damn content.

The incomprehensible affair
Of wrong translations
Dry humor to our tragic despair.

Is this enough
What’s that?
Good and nice.
Easy.
Let’s put stamp on it
But which one?
Uncertainty is the bitch, hon.

His pain would bleed my heart out
Transfusions – no match they say.
I hate bad investments.
People are the worst kind anyway.

I like the rain.
I could try keep falling.
Till pneumonia catches me first.

Relevance of sympathies are subjected
To efficacy at receptor’s risk.
Dead eyes, broken ears won’t do shit.
The pain is yours.
Transfers can’t be fixed.
Got the tech for that?

No. It doesn’t fucking exist.

Our Musings on Us

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You know it well, when I sigh.
And drop hints of my attention.
The disguised doubts of the why.

Maybe you prefer me as the hot one.
Sliding up your skin.
So we can believe it’s for the long run.

But how you block the noise
Inside my head, those looks.
Your slight shivers at the surface of my voice.

I would lie beside
While you search your screen.
My curves getting cold in imposed ignorance.

But I wonder sometimes, could I burn.
My intestines – if that’s what it took?
Desperate purge, of this sordid hunger.
I would give up the chase.
And let the smoke waft away at my face
My dark pungent stench, for you.
To dream sometimes, maybe remember too.

Should We Ban The Intent Or The Content?

Indias-Daughter

India is one of the very few surviving democracies with such a huge and diverse population where Freedom of Speech/Expression is embedded in the culture. Obviously, this has been translated into reality in its constitution that was framed after independence in 1947. This freedom hardly served the artists/filmmakers within India filled with controversies right from the extent of protest against their work to a complete ban (needless to mention the vandalism of property of the artists). The uproar surrounding the documentary India’s Daughter comes as no surprise as India is known for its aversion towards anything that its polity/government is not comfortable with.

India’s Daughter stands apart for its intent rather than content with many questioning the prerogative of an outsider (British) to comment on India’s problem. It is further fuelled by its perceived stereotype of Indian males on the issue of patriarchy. When Mukesh Singh (rape accused of Nirbhaya’s case 2012) in the documentary says Girls are meant to stay at home and not to party or go out at night, without any slightest sign of remorse for the crime committed, even the conservative faction of the society is outraged. What is more worrying is the impression of India that ruins the reputation of NRIs affecting their normal life. For example, the recent case of a German professor refusing admission to an Indian student on the grounds of rape problems in India is atrocious.

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Of course, this was followed by a fitting reply by a German ambassador upholding the values of his country at the same time demolishing the prejudice of a professor.

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Staunch liberals of India who generally take a firm stand against the ban also went on to criticize the documentary for its providing undeserving attention to the rape accused and his lawyers—whose comments were even worse. Perhaps, it is due to the fact that BBC is known for publishing condescending news articles projecting an image about India that are far from reality. The following are some of the useless story headlines about India that have made it to BBC news for no reason but sensation:

“Snake charmer sparks office panic”

“Indian snake charmers ‘held photographer captive’”

“The cash machine with a free cobra”

“The bull whose semen is worth $3,000 a shot”

“Cow dung burning ban near Taj Mahal”

“India cow row settled by DNA tests’”

After reading these, I was wondering that the intention behind such headlines maybe is the key to unlock the world’s peace and prosperity. :-)

There is no denial by Indians about the content of the documentary and its veracity, but the questions asked are, “Why is a rape accused the main focus of the documentary? Why does BBC malign India and its prospects through such works? Despite having one of the lowest rape per capita in the world (taking into account the unreported cases), why is India projected as the rape capital of the world?”

The Indian Government was also unintentionally baited into this issue creating a sensation through the ban. Indians would have probably just overlooked the documentary as yet another one from BBC if not for the undue publicity by its own government. Proponents of free speech including me are baffled about this on how to handle such works that are true but give rise to unpleasant consequences leading to the question, “Should we ban the intent or the content?” —maybe neither. Whatever it may be, it is disheartening to hear the stories of direct victims of the documentary.