Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Feminism in the Times of Inequality

Just finished reading Ms. Tehmina Durrani's much acclaimed " My Feudal Lord".

Scathing view of Pakistan's socio-political tribulations. Feminism's voice emnating from the cauldron of everyone's favourite punching box- Islamic fundamentalism.

Disturbing, yet disappointing. Rivetting, yet repetetive.
First person accounts are obviously highly judgemental and prejudicial. Ms. Durrani belonged to the socio-economical and even political elite of Pakistan. That still does not provide her with the security from her husband. To a westerner it comes as a shocking account of wife-beating and oppression of women.

To the sub-continental reader who has grown up seeing Patriachal dominance, the excesses of physical and mental torture aside, the whole get-married-into-a-good-family and girls-should-do-anything-to keep-their-marriages-intact routine may sound familiar, if not taken for granted.

And since most of it is played as a K-serial saga of love-betrayal-lust-betrayal-love; it's all in the family illicit incestuous routine, you fail to find sympathy for her. She falls in lust with a married guy, breaks his marriage and when the same is happening to her, she cries foul.

No excuses for the cruel "ex-hubby of Ms. Durrani" as she points out at the fag end of the book. Sub continental men are cruel, selfish and insecure. Violence towards our women is nothing but deplorable.

My reason for not finding resonance with Ms. Durrani is simple. Her account though it illicts sympathy, but you are not sure if its totally credible.Yes, I can understand her not being able to leave her husband is the face of violence, but her explanations for going back to him again and again just does not cut through.

That aside, her being hailed as a poster girl of Feminism bothers me.

How can a woman who is responsible for knowingly breaking a marriage even stake claim to the voice of justice for other women?

The book- cleverly co authored by people who know what sells and what does'nt, plays on the ex as a monster. Why does she admire him so much then? If after 1500 beatings , she is still ready to stand up as his star campaigner , the book smartly disguises it as her sacrfices- though to me it reeks of ambition and a taste for power.

A poor little rich girl finding solace in being a celebrated author - sorry, lady. Does not cut with me.
Your publishers and you laugh your way to the bank, when a thousand tortured souls in Pakistan and elsewhere will never be heard. Yes, thank you for bringing it to the notice of the world, but I would rather hear the story of a Mukhtar Bai.

Oh well, the cynic would say, its the message that matters , not the messenger.
Men are Evil. Women are Angels. ( Equality, did someone say?)

I rather find Ms Mehmal, another pakistani writer's online take on feminism much more credible and identifiable. (

A totally contrarian phenomenon is what I see emerging. The modern world is lopsided-ly in favour of the XX chromosome.

Specially when it comes to relationships.

Men are constantly chasing women. Women are evolving beyond their comprehension. Men are confused. Women are surer and surer of themselves.

Maybe its time to write a piece on Manism....let me take this up in a seperate post :)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A small step for a man, a Giant Leap of Faith

Just read this stirring piece on Robin Sharma's blog. He has an audience much larger than me, but I still could'nt resist sharing it with my friends here. Probably it moved me more because I'm on one such threshold, poised to leap into the unknown.

"It's stunningly interesting to me how we have the power to - over the hours of this very day - make a decision/choice/commitment that can transform our professional as well as our personal lives forever. This day can be the first day of your new life. The day that changes everything. The day you stopped playing small and stood up for the poetic possibilities your life was meant to be. I get excited just thinking about that. Seriously.

So my question to you is a simple one: what one leap could you make today - that if you made it - would change the game? What one Bold Step could you take that would radically alter the way you think/feel/behave? What New Move could you step into that would lift you into the realm of extraordinary/remarkable/world-class?

Now, today, why not take that step? There will never be a perfect time to be the greatest you. Actually, there will never be a better time than today to make the improvements you need to make to be the leader/human being that you've always dreamed of being. So, why wait? Do It Now."

Your leap could be in a relationship. What stops you from going upto him/her and telling them that they are the centre of your universe?

Your quantum jump could be one like my friend RG. After years of telling his channel partners that the healthcare inudstry had limitless potential, he kicked away his cushioned corporate existence to jump into the fray himself- VP, an almost 8 figure package and the usual jet-setter perks aside.

Your mega bungee jump could be just that- a bungee jump :) Over come those fears which hold us back. Life will go on-for better most likely, than worse .


Sunday, March 4, 2007

Speechless no more

"A" asked me to watch Nishabd and comment on it. Dutifully, I went, bought my own ticket and here I am.

Lets get the technical details out of the way, Im sure everyone agrees RGV's factory has mastered the basics- excellent cinematography, brilliant acting ( from AB and the girl who plays his daughter).

The plot. No, it isn't Lolita- the hose pipe doesnt qualify. Jia doesnt play the innocent seductress. She's too in your face for that.
It isn't really American Beauty either. Kevin Bacon had nothing going for him when he falls in lust. It's closer to Poison Ivy..minus the evil intent of the homeless waif.

Question 3) Do we always have to act upon our feelings? Is not giving in to temptations THAT difficult?

2) Would the story line ( and our acceptance of it) change if..

a) he was a 45 yr old instead of 60
b) he was 60 but widowed
c)it was an Anupam Kher/Paresh Rawal/fill in any brilliant balding, paunchy actor- where you could question " Oh what did she see in him?"

3) When does a man stop being a person and becomes a man? The guys are going to love this -

Does being diabetic stop you from finding a heavenly dessert heavenly- and hence sinful?

Who is the guilty one here...the pizza guy who let the aromas of melting cheese( read young , attractive body) and pepperoni ( translation- non-disilluisoned-with-the-world -and-open-to-being-fascinated minds) or the one who would like to devour the pizza inspite of his doctor( family/society's warnings)?

Corollary- Does Every Man(and Woman) Have His(Her) Price.? Can We all be Bought by the Devil- as long as the offer is good?

Aah ..the ending of the movie...without spoiling it for people who haven't seen it yet....
I can never be caesed at the ability of human beings to find purpose in the smallest things in this case...memories :)

p.s: R, I still dont find the number of 60yr olds in the theatre funny. *grin*

Friday, March 2, 2007

Of Stray Dogs and Samjhautas

One of the channels had a poll-in today about whether the killer stray dogs in Bangalore be culled or the voices of the animal rights activist be paid heed to.

The Pakistani and Indian authorities fought over the right to hold dead bodies and detain the relatives left behind.

More people die on any given day in India because of the lack of drinking water than due to all terrorist related activites in an entire year. Armed personnel included.

The tv channels have wall to wall coverage of the Indian team leaving for West Indies

ONE death because of a wrongly placed road sign in the developed world is a cause of shame for them.

India Poised. Life is Beautiful.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Monkey On a Tiger

"Under an accumulation of staggerers, no man can be considered a free agent. No man knocks himself down; if his destiny knocks him down, his destiny must pick him up again." - Charles Dickens.

In a "God Fearing" nation, any one who picks up the Davidian task of challenging the will of God and believes strongly in free will as opposed to destiny, is usually sneered upon.

I have always believed in destiny as a tyrant's authority for genocide and a procrastinators excuse for failure. Have always strongly defended the ability of man to choose his own destiny by acts of free will.

And then a perspicacious guide said- Free Will is like a Monkey riding a Tiger. Exercising your choice gives you a feeling that you are the one in command of the beast .

The Oracle ordained Neo in similar fashion. Is it really all there in an unwritten code? Were you and I destined to meet? I had no choice in being there at the same time? My choosing to fall in love with you was but a vision that you someone out there had recorded in the time machine?

Where are you taking me, next , then?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Reluctant Saint- The Genesis

The Bard once said : Be True to Thine own Self.

What if My True Self is a Lazy Procrastinating Despicable Alcoholic Selfish Chronic Lying Promiscuous Pompous Jerk?

Ok, take your pick. Insert your own flattering adjectives. You get the picture.

Should we continue being “ourselves” like the whole advertising industry would like you to believe or do we strive for our Greatest Self like the Self Help Gurus would want us to do?

Where does the line merge between being yourself and reaching out for greatness?

They do not mean to tell me that I should give up what is “bad” and embrace what is “good”, do they? That would be horribly judgmental of them. A vice they warn you against( tongue firmly in cheek).

My True self wants to scream at the maniacs on the road who do not value life. In all honesty, it wants to strangle them. My striving-to-be-a-better-self takes a deep breath when he sees a mad truck driver almost run over a scooter-ist.

My True self feels the urge to splurge on the new 20 inch i-mac. My shun-the-materialism-and-look-at-the-gifts-from-nature-self gently tells me to smile at the birds chirping and not Louis Armstrong as he wafts through the connected Bose speakers.

Mr. True self wants to devour that extra helping of tiramisu after a sinfully delicious meal. No prizes for guessing what the Healthy-Body-Equals-healthy-mind-self makes me do on a cold winter morning as I hit the gym.

TrueSelf glances surreptitiously at the Jessica Alba look-alikes that abundantly dot his field of vision. Greatest self would be the perfect husband. Nothing would tempt him ever. Self-today settles for chiding self. And lusting for Beautiful minds instead.

TrueSelf feels good for his friends when they buy a new Mercedes. Oh yeah, who are you kidding, Mate? You Want that bigger and better SUV yourself. Greater self would really feel Happy for Bestfriend and not turn Green.

TrueSelf is lazy about filing taxes. TrueSelf is afraid. Very Afraid. That he does not feel the joy in life. He is horribly dis-interested in People. Great self takes joy in every moment. Makes every day count. Every Moment Happen.

TrueSelf is proud of being able to tell the difference between Wrong and Right. Greater self would not judge people. True self feels immensely delighted in being able to help someone else. And conveniently erases from memory the moments when He has failed his people. What would GreaterSelf do?

They say a Saint has been able to rid himself of all Sins. Reluctantly, I tredge upon that path. My True Self keeps beckoning me-Just Do It, it says