Friday, 22 February 2013

all hail the 'serial protester'....

Hello Dear reader! There are 'Serial Killers', 'Serial Daters', 'Serial Kissers' , all of whom have compulsive predilections towards an act, they probably do it for some selfish reason (according to shrinks)  . And then there are those exalted personages who have a compulsive habit which they sincerely believe is an act of complete selflessness- they are the ' Serial Protesters'.

 The week has been hectic and in many ways one full of realisations (mostly unpleasant).In my previous post, I mentioned that nation wide strike in India and my support for the cause. Well, I actually found myself amongst the throng of protesters yesterday.

Now as most of you might not know,  so I have to tell you something about myself, I actually look like someone who would be on the front-line of  a crusade to promote a 'lost- cause' . Most people only realise on closer interaction my rabid devotion to logic and an objective and clinical approach towards any given event or task.

Therefore, I was lassoed into making posters for a cause I don't really believe in. I was also bullied into doing all the work and I had absolutely no help whatsoever! ( A few kindhearted colleagues did help, but only after I was on the brink of a meltdown). So, I stayed up the entire night on Wednesday making posters. All the while I couldn't help but wonder at my ignominious position at work. I realised that I have become the official 'dogsbody' the go-to person for all the random unwanted work, most of which was not even remotely connected to my job-profile. It is perhaps my own fault, I am constantly yelled at for no reason, by even my subordinates! It seems to have escaped everyone's notice that I am actually doing them a favour. I wish I wasn't such a doormat, I wish I was a snob whom everyone was scared of.

Anyway, after organising everything, I finally reached the venue in one piece. As I looked around me, I could see earnest looking students, people with bored expressions holding placards and the leaders aka those who were the first to shout a slogan, also generally the loudest. As I interacted with the lot, I was struck by something, I could see myself in some of them. A few years ago, I was always at some protest or the other. I was never in doubt of my politics but, back then, I had just become a mirror that's all.

You may wonder dear reader, a mirror? I never really saw fit to speak up about my basic beliefs, but just did everything my peers were doing, even went to meetings/rallies/protests about issues I didn't really care about. Thus, I reflected the opinions of others, just like a mirror. Well, a few years ago I was at a random protest when mid-slogan I had an epiphany. I found myself stupefied and asked myself- what AM I doing here, do I even believe in this cause. I realised that I had become one of those mindless herds at political rallies, who don't even know the name of the party that they have  come to support. I WAS DONE! My logical self rebelled against such mindless action.

As I interacted with the students at the protest yesterday, I saw myself ( as I was a couple of years ago ) in them. I was so full of myself, so earnest, so deluded, so blinded by my own sense of self-worth; in short I was a serial protester. It was an uncomfortable realisation only to be followed by a pleasant thought, at least, I was aware of socio-political issues because of all the time spent protesting! That is certainly a thought to make me feel better.

However, I must add that I greatly admire all the activists ( the sincere ones) for their zeal. It takes a lot to believe in something. I know, some people who are doing the praiseworthy act of creating awareness through, protests, rallies and public meetings. They are certainly not as full of themselves as I was and unlike some other publicity-hungry idiots are not in it for the fame.

I just found myself yearning for my earlier self, the girl who was crazy enough to attend a rally in torrential rain, the girl who was blind to the difference between earnest believers and jaded publicity hungry  rabble-rousers.  Alas,  my fires have burnt, and I can now clearly see the different faces in the crowd.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

In support of trade unions and strikers

Dear Reader, it took me an hour and a half to reach work today! is the first day of the two day nationwide strike in India by the 11 major trade unions of India.

It has been called against disinvestment in Public Sector Units, Foreign Direct Investment in various sectors, including retail, poor implementation of labour laws, and price rise. As expected, transport was the first casualty of the strike and inconvenienced a lot of people, especially in the metro cities.

As one of the 'victims' I found myself grumbling about the crush in the buses and the extra time wasted commuting in the roundabout route to work. Still, I realised that I am and will always be a trade union sympathiser. 

I know that a lot of money will be lost due to the strike and normal life will be invariably affected, but I AM NOT A HYPOCRITE. I support the trade unions. Their demands are legitimate especially their demand to increase the minimum wage rate for the unorganised-sector workers and protesting against the removal of subsidies.

The common man is chafing under the weight of inflation and unethical practices of the ultra-rich. It is time that we rose to protest. Yes, I am at work today and was really inconvenienced, but I will not grumble when my comrades protest against injustice and demand a fair hearing of their grievances. 

I am an Indian, I work, I am political, I know my rights, I protest against inflation, I survive.  

             Portrait: The real scenario!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Ambiguous feelings about Valentine's day

Dear Reader, in many ways Valentine's day for me has been a significant day through the years. My earliest memories of the day is making valentines for all my classmates in school. As a silly teenager, it was the day when I noticed boys the most, they were these exotic beings from another planet and I always found myself succumbing to an embarrassing fit of giggles in their presence, the horror!

As I grew older ( my late teens and early twenties ), I went through a really nasty phase, my friends and I used to go to the popular romantic spots in Delhi and pass really snarky comments on the couples, we made sure that they were in Hindi, so that our targets understood our meaning perfectly!!! I know, you're shocked now, aren't you dear reader?

Anyway, now that I am older and more mature (hopefully) I generally try to spend the day in good company, and hopefully not bitch about the day! This year, I went to the one billion rising event in Delhi. I went there in support of the movement to end violence against  women. However, I must confess that I don't really see the connection between dancing and ending violence against women???? I'm sorry dear reader, but I'm a slave to  logic and I just don't get it, period....still, I was there because I support the cause.

So, I met up with this nice group of people I knew socially and then, the fun began ( it wasn't really a blast, but it was good company). We had good conversation, and proceeded to stuff our faces with greasy Chinese food. So, we went to this cheesy place which was decorated with pink and red balloons and confetti (exaggerated eye roll) and they had this 'special festival menu'! And, I couldn't help but harass the poor waiter about what exactly was the 'special occasion' (I suppose old habits die hard).

Can you imagine dear reader, the entire place was full of cosy twosomes, and there we were, a group of almost strangers stuffing our faces with food and making conversation about social and political issues! Boy, did we stand out like a sore thumb!

Still, it was by and large a pleasant day. I have gone through a plethora of feelings on this day, from contentment, to excitement and wonder, to irritation and plain loathing. However, this was the first time that I felt lonely. I am happy about being single, but all my companions from the previous years are all happy in relationships and for the first time I had no company in the usual venting of frustrations. I found myself surprisingly yearning for male company.

It is surprising!!!! No really, for me Valentine's day is a corporate holiday meant to be the day when one pays exorbitant amounts on flowers/presents/food. Still, for the first time in my life I understood the underlying sweetness to the day. It is nice that the day provides us with a reason to let our loved ones know how much we care. What do you think?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

In which I tart up for a good cause!

Dear Reader, I am a writer, and a feminist, I have these beliefs about being a woman and some rigid stances on the objectification of  the female body. I know, I know, you now have this furrow between your are probably thinking "Now what is she going to rant about eh?"

Well this in not a rant, so you can now sigh with relief! The past week was awful! So, to feel better, I decided to alleviate my black mood by reading a trashy novel and chilling at home. It totally worked! I feel rested. I remembered this amazing quote by St Thomas Aquinas


              “Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine”

It's soo true dear reader, I did not have the wine, but the rest was a definite help. I woke up today refreshed and thought that I could do with an outing. So, what did I do? Well I tarted up....yeah literally wore clothes that I generally won't be caught dead in and put on lipstick (siren red) and sold dogs for an animal shelter.

Men are soo predictable! They are easy to attract and manage if one projects the image of a ahem..'Hot Chick'! Seriously though, I kind of felt like an object, sometimes the male gaze can be so intrusive. For someone like me, who is generally happy being a wallflower, it was difficult being an object of attention. As a writer, I distanced myself from it all. The entire exercise was actually really amusing. 

I felt like Wonder Woman!
On one hand, I felt really horrible, and also manipulative. The fact that I hoodwinked unwitting men into adopting pups (really adorable ones) didn't really sit well in my mind. But, I used my feminine charms for a good cause, and in the end the guys did something good too. After all, giving stray pups a home is a noble thing to do. On the other hand I felt weirdly powerful; I understood, for the first time the power of being a woman. I confess that I found the sense of power quite addictive. 

But, it raised so many questions in my mind. Did I unwittingly betray my feminist beliefs? Did I in a way encourage the misogynistic, tendencies of the men I interacted with. Did I actually enjoy being a sexual object? 
In many ways, I would like to think that it was just good fun, for a noble cause. And yet, there are always these doubts.......Until the next post.    

Friday, 8 February 2013

In which I confess about being a 'comedy of errors'

Dear Reader, Yes! your eyes don't deceive you, I confess, that I am a complete scatterbrain! I have these amazing dreams about being grace personified, like a gazelle or even better, one of those old divas from the golden era of motion pictures. Oh how I wish I could glide gracefully down the stairs like Gigi , look glamorous all the time like Audrey Hepburn, or just be divine like Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly..

But no...all I can manage is fall down stairs ( I have managed to do this 7 times), bang my elbows, stub my leg, fall on my face, oh and the one that I am an expert in...twisting and spraining my ankle! I also manage to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, I am in a regular habit of dropping clangers. My friends love me just the way I am....I suppose I wouldn't be ME if I didn't get into ridiculous situations. Still, it's a miracle I haven't done myself a serious injury considering the walking disaster that I am!

The past week has been awful! I started the week with Monday blues that became bilious green,which progressed to becoming a purple mood trip by midweek and is now completely black in colour. I got saddled with a horribly boring task,then managed to strain my ankle on Tuesday, which I made worse by falling on Wednesday morning. So I have a double sprain, and the colour of my ankle exactly matches my mood.

And now for the rotten cherry to top the already foul week....Someone hacked into my email and sent out a stupid spam mail about "weight loss" of all things to all my contacts!!! Arrrgh!!!!! #####&&&&&%%%%% The horror!!!

 Can you imagine the irony?... a girl who wrote an essay vehemently protesting the objectification of the female body....sending spam about idiotic articles regarding 'hot weight loss tips'!!!!! Gaaahhhh!!!!!

So, sympathize with me my dear reader........for living in a comedy of errors, despite extremely not all that fun! Until my next post.