Saturday, June 21, 2014


Someone had wronged me.. many years ago. That person went ahead to lead a happy life. Their happiness made me sick, and I would ask Karma if it even had the balls to restore the balance of good and evil. I decided I would wait for the right time, and to have enough power to take matters into my own hands. I needed vengeance much more than I needed peace of mind. I needed to know they are suffering as much as I once did. I wanted them as damaged as they damaged me.

Time doesn't heal. Time does what it does best- adds more layers of time on something rotten so we would forget it. Good things did happen to me. I found some exceptional people. I moved on. But there's this thing about us.. we remember. We are designed to remember hurt more than remembering love. No one loves with the same passion that they hate with.

And so, there is nothing more fulfilling than knowing that the universe has avenged your pain. This person is unhappy, directionless, groping in the same darkness that I was once pushed into.And that feels good.

This is what a full circle feels like. Judge me all you want, but you can judge me only for being honest...for it is in our very nature to seek justice. We want to believe in emancipation and our capacity for it, and so we build and repetitively recite our stories about altruism and forgiveness till we start thinking them as true. The fact is.. we never truly forgive, just like we never truly forget.

Retribution is the only closure there is. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Hope. The most over-rated word. From the very beginning, we are taught that hope is a nice thing. That 'giving up on hope is like giving up on life'. That 'when we have nothing, we have hope'. We cannot be farther from the truth.

Hope is nothing but a chain, a shackle that prevents us from moving ahead, moving on.
But then hope comes naturally.. It survives the biggest blows, it thrives on the slightest chance, and before you know it, hope becomes the foundation of your actions. Most times, you take its support, hold its welcoming hand, depend on it.
Only sometimes, you have the better judgement not to lean on it. Only sometimes you see that hope engulfs you in a comfortable cocoon, while crushing your strength from within. Only sometimes you see that hope is precisely what one shouldn't have when one has nothing.

So what do you do when hope refuses to die?

You locate the mean little bastard; you chop off whatever tentacles it has spread around your self-respect; you move out from the blinding light that has blocked your pragmatism...and you get rid of it.

You bludgeon it to death.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Glad she died

This has been one of the toughest posts to compose. I have wept, taken breaks, thrown things out of frustration.. but have still not been able to organize my thoughts. Posting it nevertheless....

Everyone is condoling the death of the 23 year old girl, recently gang-raped in a moving bus, in the capital city of India. Honestly, I am happy for her she died. To live with the memories of being physically, emotionally, mentally and morally violated by random men, for no fault of hers, would have been worse than death. She could never have trusted any man again, she could never walk down a street after sunset, she would be sensitive to any kind of touch, she would hate her own body, she would prefer to die. 

So for all those that are praying for her to "Rest In Peace"- she is NOT going to. She was gang-raped, a rod was shoved into her vagina all the way to her intestines, she was thrown off a moving bus, naked, onto a lonely, cold road, she lay there for hours before anyone came to her rescue. No. She is certainly not going to rest in peace. Why don't we, instead of praying for her, and discussing about her misfortune, look inwards and see what are the root-causes for such incidents, because as much as we would like to think ourselves as a mature, developing, progressing people, we are also the ones that have brought this upon the thousands of women that have been, and those that are going to, be raped. 

Before I present my point of view, I would like to share some statistics* that we are all going to be very proud of:
  1. India ranks 3rd in the world in terms of number of rapes per year
  2. In India, a rape is committed once in every 54 minutes. 
  3. Incidents of rape in the country have increased by a staggering 792% over the past nearly 40 years
  4. Almost 97% of the rapes are committed by persons known to the victim with about 7% committed by family members and 35% by neighbors. 
  5. Courts were able to decide upon only 16% of rape cases in 2010 ..... and the cherry on the cake is ......conviction rates have dipped from 41% in 1971 to a meager 27% in 2010.
  Let us start at the very basic question that comes to mind. Why would one rape? 
The possible answers, if stated without any emotion, would be-
1) A regular guy, doing a regular job, gets horny, doesn't know where to get sex from, rapes a woman he feels he can overpower.
2) A notorious road-side romeo decides "enough of ogling and whistling, it's time to take matters more seriously".. goes out, and rapes one of the girls whose routine he knows.
3) A group of men, drinking, cracking sex jokes, see an opportunity, pick up a woman, rape her one by one, and throw her into some dump-yard.

This is worst that we have heard of, right? This is the worst that we can imagine. Let me prick your women-safety bubble and inform you that there are husbands that rape their wives on a daily basis, there are friends raping friends to shoot videos for fun and for sale, there are brothers that 'lend' sisters to their friends for the sake of friendship and fun (!), there are fathers raping daughters out of anger, there are random men raping girls to feel masculine, there are cases in which 40 men raped one woman in the name of religion.
Reasons for rape are much deeper than just getting horny or just needing sex.
Rapists don't look any different from regular people, they don't eat any different food, they don't walk any different roads, they don't watch any different movies. They do what most of us do. The environment has a similar effect on them as it has on us. Patriarchy, we say, is the reason for rapes and other crimes against women. I think it is our progression towards equality that is the reason. Patriarchy is gradually getting replaced by gender equality, and that, some men don't like. They want to be in control, they want to "show women their place", they want to be seen as the stronger gender. If one really digs in, one will find a number of acid attacks, rapes, wife immolation crimes committed in the name of this fake ego that men try to protect. 

Also, I hold the film/television industry responsible as at least one of the contributors to such incidents. Women are either projected as "abla naari", servile, not able to take decisions for self, not able to leave a drunkard, wife-beating husband because of her children and societal ties.....OR ......women are projected as chikni chamelis having halkat jawanis performing the role of zandu balm on a man's body.
 Some profound lyrics for your benefit:
"Aankhon ko kyu saeke, haathon se kar manmaani" - which basically means - why do you only ogle at me? Why don't you come grab my body?
"Ladkon ki ungli pe nache hai zamana....kudiyan hai, jaebon mein rakhle" - The world belongs to men.. women can be captured them in your pockets.
"baasuri jaisi baaji main, fatt she ho gayi raaji main"... He played me like a flute, and I immediately agreed (for sex) 

Do I sound crazy to you right now? I am sure most of you will say I am reading too much into lyrics that were only written to make the songs catchy. However, my friends, this is the stuff we listen to on our iPods and radio, we watch this on TV with images of scantily clad women. This is what our children sing, this is what they watch.
I say, enough of these item numbers, enough of trying to attract people to theaters by holding out the carrot of an unbelievable, unachievable, unrealistic woman. This is not limited to the film industry. Ever wondered why it is NECESSARY for air-hostesses to be pretty and to have a perfect figure? Why should the hotel or office receptionist be hot and attractive? Is beauty helping any of these women work better?

STOP showcasing women as sex objects. STOP encouraging men to undress women in their minds, because beyond a point, they will do it with their hands.


I want to see the faces of the rapists, I want to see what kind of a man would get aroused seeing a woman getting beaten up, being forced into doing something she did not ask for, and being touched by five other men at the same time. This is bigger than we can imagine.

In those 35 minutes, she suffered. The physical damage is very little in comparison to the psychological trauma. Had she lived, she would have to answer questions in Court**, in front of an audience, with her rapists standing right across her... questions about how and where the men touched her, what they were wearing, what she was wearing, why it was possible for them to so easily tear off her clothes, what she did to excite them, how many times each guy thrust into her, if the act aroused her, how they were laughing and joking while this was happening to her. So yes, I am glad she died.


*These statistics are off the internet. Not sure about the source, but I am pretty sure they are a close representation of the real situation in India.

** These are questions asked to other rape victims, those that had the courage to come out and complain, but those that were never given any justice.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Growing up.

Why is it that the first phone we bought, although most primitive, is still the one that excited us the most ?
Why is it that the hide and seek we played as kids still has more value than all the X-boxes?
Why is it that we bring the sky down for petty fights, but could forgive even physical assault as kids?
Why do we remember our first heartbreak the most, in spite of going through worse pain later in life?
Why is it that there was more fun in saving up for movies, than sitting on recliners today?
Why is it that even three digit pocket money was enough for a group of seven, but a seven digit pay cheque doesn't make us happy anymore?
Why is it that we knew by rote the menus of all bakeries in town but today fail to remember the birthday of our loved one?
Why is it that after having been punished outside the classroom for the entire day, we still had energy to take the extra sports hour, but are drained by the time we reach home from office?
Why is It that we could easily accommodate a gang of kids from the adjacent building into our ongoing games, but find it tough to adjust with a new colleague a work?
Why is it that we could get over bad remarks by teachers the minute we got into our school bus, but hold criticism in our hearts for future vengeance? growing up worth it?

Friday, March 16, 2012


I am sure there are more times than many when each of us needs to re-establish faith in goodness so that we can wake up the next morning with that one thing that keeps us going - hope. And this, now, is my moment in which I fight an internal turbulence to get hold of that one log of wood that can keep me afloat.

Around me I see people struggling to survive, choosing material over moral, power over prayer, salute over sense, and the worst of them all, result over reason. And I wonder.. where has goodness gone? Or was it even there?

It was. Because I see remnants. And this post is about those few people that mean nothing to me, whose names I don't even know, but whose hearts I could recognize.

The organization I work for was celebrating "Road Safety Week" in the chilly first week of January. They invited an NGO, which was more than willing to help, to create awareness about drunken-driving among employees. A group of seven young girls and boys arrived at our manufacturing location a little before dawn.

I reached office at my usual time of 9:30 am, and the security informed me that this group was here for three "nukkad-natak" (road plays) and that they have been waiting in the empty hall below the canteen. I excitedly went to wish them a good morning. However, I saw that my energy level was more than the energy levels of all the seven of them put together.

My first impression of them was not very good. They looked tired, disheveled and sleepy. I assured them that a cup of tea will work them wonders.
Considering their haggard appearance and lackluster, I decided to arrange two plays instead of three--- one play at 2 PM (between the first and second shift) and the other at 10 PM (between the second and the third shifts) so that way, I would cover all the associates, and also free them of one repeat of the play.

They must have eaten food at our canteen, I am not too sure, because I was too occupied to think about them. (Sometimes, we get so busy with our own lives, that we take everyone else for granted. Even the ones that love and help us.) But by 2pm, they were at the gate, waiting to welcome employees, and give them a message. They had a "dholak" and some other props. I was impressed, I must say, at the energy they gathered in those few hours since I had last seen them. The play was impacting, jolting at some points. They enacted a wailing mother, who lost her son in a bike accident. They showcased a careless friend, who forced his mate into binging on alcohol and then driving. They brought out the ire of a wife who had just caught her drunk husband lying wasted at the end of a street. And so on.

The crowd clapped, and the ones that had stayed till the end moved to their work-areas. I congratulated the group on the close-to-reality but yet dreadfully nightmare-ish play, and informed them that the next repeat is scheduled at 10PM. They waited in the same hall, all day. In the meanwhile, my work was done at 5:30pm, and I returned home, deciding to come back before the next show at night.

That day, I drove with extra care. (It is amazing how subconscious influence works. )

The play at 10pm went off smoothly, again leaving the most of the audience impressed. Some workers were complaining, saying that this was a useless initiative, not at all impacting. (The reality, as we all hate to admit, is that we hate looking at the truth in its bare, harsh and untouched-by-false form.) I thanked the group, and asked them if I could arrange the guest house for them to stay the night, and where their next stop was going to be. They unanimously said they were going to the Vijayawada unit that night itself, and were in a hurry to catch the train at 12PM. I had to persuade them a lot to use the company car. I instructed the driver to drop them at Secunderabad Railway Station, about 15 minutes away. They left with smiling bye's and hope to meet you soon's.

I was feeling happy from inside, there was an easily palpable niceness about them. I was glad I could reduce their burden of 3 shows to 2 shows. And so.. I slept with a peaceful smile on my face.

Te next day, around 4 PM, a worker came to me and appreciated the show. I was sure I hadn't seen him at any of the two plays. I asked him if he had seen their shows before or outside. What he said next almost brought tears to my eyes. After I had left office the previous day, the group, feeling uneasy and dissatisfied that they were not doing the entire job of 3 shows per day, collected those few workers that had missed the show, and enacted the play for them. If you are thinking that the fact that they stretched themselves in spite of their tiredness was the reason that made me emotional, then you are wrong. What brought me to tears was the fact that they did not even mention that to me.

While I was still recovering from the rare selflessness I had seen, I got a call from my counterpart at another unit (in Hyderabad itself). She had called to ask me if I liked the natak, because she , apparently, had never seen something of that sort. Just as I started giving my views, it occurred to me that they had not even been to that plant, then how did she know it was good? I asked her... and what I heard, this time, got me crying. The group had performed at her location on that day. They had lied to me about taking a night train, they had spent an entire night on the railway platform, only so they wouldn't have to take any favor from me.

How heart-breaking goodness can be!

Their goodness made me weep, but, the same goodness gave them strength to travel from city to city, sleep on railway stations, eat road-side food, and sometimes deal with unappreciative audiences.

I don't know if I will ever see them again. But I do know that I will never forget them. In fact, I will remember them every time I see selfishness and evil in the world.

My brother recently asked me, on the day Dravid, his childhood hero, retired, that "Sannidhi you've never taken passionate interest in sports or music or history.. You don't have any hero. "

I told him I do. I have heroes. And my nukkad-natak friends are few of them.

My next few posts are going to help you'll know more about my other heroes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

And you will be changed......

I have seen people who are happy because someone thinks they are good.. and who are miserable the moment they realise someone doesn't approve of them. They try to mold themselves according to the standards of others. They try to see themselves through others' eyes. Well... honestly, I despise such people. I can sense them from a distance. I feel the repugnance before they even begin a conversation. I would like to think that I do not live because or for the opinion of others.

In spite of having such persistent views, I recently discovered a different side of me. It is an accepted reality that each of us wants to be appreciated. At school, we wanted to stand first. At sports, we wanted to score the most number of goals. At college, we wanted the most number of friends. At office, we wanted the most number of awards.

For me, the trophies and medals have always been important. But I have seldom chased them. May be that is the reason why even though I was going through a phase in which I was most de-motivated, I could not gather the courage to accept that sometimes, others CAN help you. That it is O.K to hold a hand that reaches out to you. That even small generous words can make a difference that your months of self-motivation couldn't.

Sometimes, you can find your greatest motivation in the smallest of the words. They can help you overcome the longest darkness and the bitterest experience. And all you have to do is let them reach you. They will touch you in the remotest corner of your heart, and pass by you in the quickest of the seconds. And you will be changed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I don't know!

Why is it that we always know? We know what is right. We know what to do. We know the numbers. We know the business. We know what's good. We know what we want. We know how to behave. We know what road to take. We know who our friends are. We (most definitely) know who our foes are. We always know!

So what is it that we do not know? If asked, ten out of ten people will say - The Future. We don't know the future. And all this "knowledge" I was talking about in the lines above is employed in framing the structure of "The Future".
What if man could predict the future? The phenomenon would render all this knowledge useless. Each of us would know what is to happen. We would love it. Why would, otherwise, a certain octopus become a worldwide sensation in less than a day?

One the other hand, what if we didn't know. What if we didn't know anything? Don't knowledge, information and awareness contain our freedom to think? Wouldn't the emptiness of our minds urge us to go beyond our thinking limits... to explore.. to wonder..? Wouldn't being free from the shackles of worldly wisdom help us reach another horizon of experience? Would "life" look any different if things weren't taught, if we were allowed to just learn on our own, from our own experiences? The main question is: Would this make us rather evolved? Or are we evolved enough now?

Does this mean we have to un-grow everything we have learnt? Or do we just widen the boundaries? Better still, remove the limitations? And if yes, how do we do that? Is emancipation the only way?
Doesn't life mean love as much as it means hatred? Doesn't life mean togetherness as much as it means solitude? Doesn't life mean giving as much as it means taking? Doesn't life mean happiness as much as it means sorrow? Doesn't life mean seeking answers as much as it means asking questions? ........

I don't know the answers to any of these questions. But what I do know is what to look for.