Saturday, September 24, 2016

Pink the Movie: The Movie that started a discussion on consent

What is a definitive no, and do we really understand consent, even as women, the kind of consent that we should rightfully be able to lay claims on? Does a woman become a 'loose character" if she doesn't wear modest clothes and consumes alcohol? Should her loud laughter and friendliness be considered as a doubtless "yes" ? Do men who support women in their quest for equality exist, and why are they frowned upon?
These are the important points that Pink raises. It loudly and unbashedly questions the " victim blaming" culture that men of Indian families, leave alone goons do not understand. Although people were praising Meenal (Tapsee Pannu) I also fell in love with the other characters especially that of Falak (Kirti Kulhari) who is making ends meet and is the sole breadwinner of the family.Andrea's (Andrea Tsaring) character struggles to tell Indian people that women from the north east are one of us, as opposed to how they are considered to be, especially the stereotypes around their character.
The things that I couldn't digest was the title of the film. We are tired and bored of the feminization of the colour pink. Once upon a time pink was considered a masculine colour, and this again is a Western import.  A female lawyer instead of Mr.Bachchan could have done more justice to the character and would have been more emphatic. Perhaps we have still not evolved as a society to take women professionals seriously. The sequences of a creepy neighbour keeping a check on three working girls living in the neighbourhood were scary.Why did Falak wrongfully admit to taking money when none of them had agreed to exchanging favours for dinner or drinks? Perhaps she might have done it to remove the stigma around sex work or did she try to make a point about consent and it's withdrawal. Why did the lawyer appearing in defence for the girls raise questions about Meenal's sexual past and use it as a yardstick to prove a point?
The winner was the scene where Mr.Bachchan shakes the confidence of Rajvir (Angad Bedi) and his faith in the shallowed patriarchal values he was raised with. Particularly notable was the instance when Sehgal shows Rajvir a picture of his sister drinking at a local pub. Why should a different parameter to certify the character for "bahu, beti, behen" be used and another one for women who do not belong to your family?
Despite all the flaws and the unecessary high voltage Bollywood style court room drama Pink is a movie that makes you think about consent and victim blaming. It's a must watch especially for women and all the men who have set morality standards for women in their families and those outside,particularly those who earn their own money, live independently, have male friends, drink and wear what they want.
Pink is a milestone for Bollywood, for initiating tough and undeterred discussions around women's rights.

Some of the hard-hitting dialogues that would make us think

Hamare yaha ghadi ki sui, character decide karti hai

Kisi bhi ladki ko, kisi bhi ladke ke saath, kahi bhi akele nahi jana chahiye. Kyunki aisa karne pe, wahan ke log ye assume kar lete hai ki wo ladki willingly wahan pe aayi hai aur unhe usse touch karne ka license issue kar dia gaya hai.

Raat ko ladkiyan jab sadak pe akeli jaati hai to gaadiyaan slow jaati hai aur unke sheeshe neeche ho jate hai. Din mei ye mahan idea kisiko nahi aata.


Sharab ko yaha ek galat character ki nishani maana jaata hai, sirf ladkiyon ke liye. Ladkon ke liye to ye sirf ek Health Hazard hai!

Rock show mei hai to hint hai. Library ya mandir mein hai to hint nahi hai! Venue decide karta hai aapka character.

Shahar mein ladkiyon ko akela nahi rehna chahiye. Ladke reh sakte hai par ladkiyan nahi. Akeli, independent ladkiyan, ladkon ko confuse kar deti hai.

Jo ladkiyan party mei jaati hai aur drink karti hai, wo pushtaini hak ban jaati hai aapka

Agar ladkiyan, ladkon ke saath dinner ya drinks pe jaati hai to ye unki apni choice hoti hai. Available hone ka sign board nahi banke jaati.

‘Na’ sirf ek shabd nahi… apne aap mein pura vakya hai. Ise kisi tark, spashtikaran,explanation ya vyakhya ki jaroorat nahi hoti.

These boys must realise that No ka matlab No hota hai. Use bolne wali ladki koi parichit ho, friend ho, girlfriend ho, koi sex worker ho ya aapki apni biwi hi kyu na ho. ‘No’ means no and when someone says No, you stop.
Watch the trailer of the movie and decide for yourself

https://youtu.be/AL2TShb6fFs

Friday, September 2, 2016

Mask(s)

Young fresh faces with not a fine line
frown at you 
at the entrance
sashaying in neatly pressed uniforms 
hats that are perfectly balanced on a head
standing straight, smiles sacrificed 
in call for duty, talk with a wild posture of hands
learning directions that will set us free,
painted lips curve to not hurt the jaws
serving coffee and food on a 6 am flight
minds still imprisoned in beds that shook them off
money is their honey, a comatose mind luxury
their choice is a will
to buy objects that demand a price
as misogyny's mistresses, a size zero figure 
tip-toes on pencil heels 
slapping the floor rudely
disguises  dissapear every time
a passenger presses a button
flying freely to places 
with strange names, the only perk
for wearing this camouflage of colours.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Breaking the stigma around menstruation

We are a country full of ironies. While we unfailingly worship the goddesses for nine days every year during navratri, we shun women and their bodies forcing them to hide and feel ashamed of their existence. Menstruation is a normal biological function that is definitely messy and painful but not at all shameful. Period shaming is widespread and in a country like India where being a woman is a dangerous disadvantage because of traditional misogyny and patriarchal structures ruling the roost, being on your period spells trouble. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Johanna

The curtains had been pulled over and the large orange sun was struggling to enter her room as though he was a trespasser. She had decided to sleep over all day. She occupied the left side of the bed, as though Johann was snoring to glory. His sounds and smell had become her drug. She never knew that a man she had met at a friend's party five years ago would give her a reason to live, after her parent's untimely demise. 




She always used to have her breakfast from the tiny coffee shop located at the curved end of the street. It was a clean place, a tiny patisserie that made the city's best pastries and breads. A cup of delicately brewed cappuccino and a corn spinach sandwich was her breakfast for the day. She had been asked by her doctor to cut down on flab, because of which she had given the mud pie a skip, which was a tempting obligation every morning. The owner of the shop, a middle aged man in his fifties with a balding head and a pot-belly, always gave her discounts. For the past five years, except for weekends she had not missed out having breakfast from his pastry shop. She was his favourite customer.
Today he was trying his best to lure her into buying a mud pie or brownie, which were her favourites by incessantly smiling at her and pointing to the dessert counter. Since the past one month she had learnt the trick of looking away in the other direction while she paid the bill to not get enchanted into buying a portion of her favourite dessert. As she hurriedly walked out of the bakery, to not get smitten by the aroma of the delicacies being dished out there, she was greeted by a husky male voice.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Story of a Suicide- A novel by Sriram Ayer

A book with hand-drawn illustrations that dares to break the stereotypes is a fresh new chapter for bored readers like me, who were tired of the run-of-the-mill heterosexual love stories. I am not a fan of romance but ofttimes, I take a peep into a book that talks of love, that is fresh like the blossoming buds of spring or the dewy mist on the grass after a rainy day.
The first chapter is a chilling account of what a person goes through before deciding to retort to the inevitable. Most suicide notes read exactly like the letter that the person who had decided to give up on life wrote to his loved ones. Only if we were to lend an ear to such voices when they stifle and struggle to tell us their story, many untimely suicides could have been avoided. The writer has wisely created an air of suspicion by crafting the letter carefully. I thought that this was clearly a case of a heterosexual romantic relationship having gone wrong.  
The author has taken careful caution to describe situations and people by using images, sights and sounds that transport you to the world which is being described in the book. Only a clever observer can use noises and mental pictures intelligently to tell a story. 
In chapter 5, Hari narrating his ordeal about how he was first molested by his uncle was a saddening tale, and many abuse victims as we see on social media have bravely dared to speak of the mishaps they had to encounter as kids. In chapter 6, Mr.Narender Hegde reminds us of many of our possessive worried parents who were afraid to let us go from the comfort and security of our homes, the first time we decided to step out to build  a career. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Fallible World of Facebook and Human Relationships

I always make it a point to wish all my friends on facebook, on their birthday. It's thoughtful and beautiful to add a pinch of sunshine to someone's life, especially on a day like their birthday. A one-liner of a birthday wish can cheer up a person which is the best we can do to keep in touch with people we know and also our acquaintances. On a social media platform like facebook, a birthday or anniversary wish sent once in a year according to me is the only and best route of communication once can maintain with their facebook friends. To add to this can be the occasional chatter on issues that are burning down the world or a discussion about personal problems that we so often talk of on platforms like facebook. 

There was a time when I had 1700 friends on facebook. The idea of logging into facebook where 1700 people were keeping a watch on me, on different occasions or at the same time under the rare circumstance of everyone logging in at the same moment was making me restless. To add to this awkwardness was the hard perverted stare from a few strangers who kept a check on my pictures. Then there were a few friends who loved to pick on me when I started a thread of discussion about gender. A no-holds barred talk on gender shakes the confidence of men with fragile egos. These friends were subsequently driven away from my facebook profile. Technology didn't destroy friendships here, it exposed the real faces behind the masks some of these men were wearing. Imagine a world, an educated civilized world where thoughts about gender inequality still threaten men who do not understand the root cause of the problem, to begin with. Recently I bid adieu to my best friend who had on countless occasions towed the line and made a joke of me on facebook, in full public view, earning the ire and criticism of many female friends who thought that the guy didn't deserve to be my friend in the first place. I wonder had facebook never existed, this discourse on gender benders might have never taken place, although I do not regret letting him go. Facebook acted as a mirror in this case I guess.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Teething as an Adult

Adulthood is a difficult phase of life. Life wastes away in daily deadlines at work, worrying about the future and most of all in seeing your energy reserve dwindle. I remember the times when no matter how many hours were spent in skipping, playing stapu or sweating it out in the basketball field, I didn't feel tired. Yes, I did gulp down gallons of water but I was always on my toes. As adulthood has stealthily engulfed me in its trap, I think I have become a new person. A human who is always fatigued and is looking for the slightest reason to hit the bed or curl on a couch with her favorite book. While our energy is getting spent like water, adulthood also brings with it, a peculiar problem of teething. We call it the arrival of the wisdom teeth, the hindmost molars appearing in your twenties which can be a valuable asset to you if properly aligned. Their eruption usually leads to excruciating pain and dizziness, which is exactly what I have been experiencing nowadays. 
This year had been passing away without too many debilitating health issues, until I realized day before yesterday that my wisdom teeth were tearing my jaws and torturing my sanity. 
I haven't been able to cut through my food properly since then trying my best to not chew food with my distant right molars.