Bullies: Not just offline anymore

Cyber bullying seems to be the “in thing” these days. This post is not triggered in the wake of dhanya rajendran being unceremoniously abused online in her twitter account or the number of instagrammers i follow all report on cyber bullying where men/women of all age wants to pass lurid comments about you, your body and also their body.  Two weeks ago i was bullied by a guy to give up my seat in the public transport. I would have willfully given up my seat to the poor twenty something healthy guy if he had just asked. And for not wanting any early morning scenes which has a domino effect on a busy weekday I used all my energy to shut up and gave up my seat. This is okay. Understandable even. Atleast you see who is foul mouthing you and react accordingly.

Cyber bullies are a different class of their own. Most of us would have received the hi, how are you, you look great, your lips are perfect kind of message in the ‘filtered messages/others folder’ in our social website inboxes. Most of us, the humans that we are, ignore it too. Then there are those unknown persons that send you messages vulgarly, sometimes they include compromising pictures also, we report, delete and move on. Like its just another day and another idiot.  

I was a  victim, no not a victim, i experienced different kinds of bullying and i have kept mum for this long for the same reason that just another day, just another guy. But something in me snapped today. 

I ll tell you about the variety and different cases that were all part of the online bullying. Case 1: It started of with someone constantly messaging me and telling me i know them and i have to talk to them, saving my own photos and sending it to me. It was creepy as hell, i tried to figure who that person is, because  it was someone i knew from my college,  who was posing anonymous. After trying to hold a conversation, doing a little sleuthing and blocking fake ids and a hacked facebook account, it finally stopped.

Case 2: A particular person i have never spoken to in my undergrad, constantly pings me fullstop. You read that right. Full stop or dot. Whatever you want to call it. You may ask so what.. so did i.. to the point where it became a complete nuisance. I reasoned with him saying he must stop doing this crap only for him denying something like that. After which i had to block this guy in every social website possible and then i started receiving calls from this married gentleman at midnight (yes thanks to truecaller ID) and it continues till date. #stalkeralert

Case 3: This is the creepiest of all. Someone created a fake id with some other name and then spoke to people i know quite inappropriately i guess. I am not sure how to explain this shit, but i will do my best. According to this guy (who btw knows me very well or i assumed that much and disclaimer: he is married as well) some guy/girl used a fake id but said it was me and spoke a lot of inappropriate things and then he thought “But Aishwarya doesn’t speak this way”  and continued speaking because you see he is married and so he kind of got the privilege to flirt with random strangers (And “flirting” is the nicest term i can think of). It doesn’t stop there, in his mind he believed it is I who is “smitten” and “charmed” by him and he is trying to catch me offguard by calling me with the fake name. In all honesty, i told him its not me and I can report to the cyber crime such impersonator. He then decides to tell me, even if its not you, i developed a liking towards you, come out with me? And this coming from a man you respected once. 

A very similar scenario happened with some other person, again a married man !

All my life i have tried to and been much straight forward and these men think I have such low moral standards. That is fine, because everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. 

But these men, who were supposedly good friends, who have my personal contact, if they had been good friends would have immediately gotten in touch with me..!! But they rather enjoyed what they got from a fake account. Who all are they cheating, their wife, their children, the family or the girl who was thinking your a friend.

I don’t know which is true. Either they are completely lying about impersonation and talking about their wishful thinking or they were happy talking crap to strange impersonators and living in their own bliss

Idhuvum oru vidhamana vakram thaane (isn’t this a sort of perversion in itself) 

I can go on to tell about so many times i have been bullied and harassed both online and offline. There were so many times i lodged complaints to the cyber police and everytime my family was as supportive and as understanding. But that doesn’t stop them from getting paranoid, because “society”. 

I am not talking about me alone, this is about all the women out there who go through this day in and day out, to all those who abhor social media because they dont want to see or hear such humiliation. Dhanya rajendran was victimised, so was chinmayi sripada and so many more ! One cannot and should not say they are in public life, they will get criticisms. These are not criticisms, it is harassment and they don’t just happen to celebrities. 

Mental harassment is real and though we try to turn a blind eye to all this and say, “no i do not care” !! It still hurts ! 

I m not gender biased here. I was bullied by men ! And if some guy is going to come and ask me, “you think men dont get harassed” , my response would be , “i hope you don’t”.

Harassing someone is wrong on a very primal level, be it a man or a woman !

Stop bullying !

Live and let live !

Jai Hind !

P.S : Please bear with non allignment and grammatical errors. My mobile is not as obliging as the laptop

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ScrollBar

No my dear friends I am not writing about a bar that is called scroll bar. But its a nice name for a bar. “The Scroll Bar”. We are talking about the actual scrollbar here. A little googling told me that scroll bar, is actually scrollbar(no spaces) and it dates back to 1974.  Why this interest in scrollbar suddenly. Well, my life is being taken up by me hovering over the damned scrollbar almost everywhere and in its absence, the swipe (no I am not swiping right).

Well, lets start with amazon and flipkart. I love to shop online. Atleast “window” shop, so there starts my scrolling. Going through page after page of utterly useless not so needed items and zeroing on some of the most banal shit one could possibly get. Next would ne facebook, I am the lurky stalker; checking out the social media outbursts scrolling so much so the page freezes. Then there is Tamil Matrimony scroll/swipe/scroll/swipe/scroll.  I have read in posts that social media affects one’s self esteem and all that is evil. But its wholesome manifestation is through the ‘Matrimony’ app. Pardon me, for I am talking only for myself here. Too many happily married will have too many reasons to say I am wrong. Then ofcourse there is whatsapp, I had absolutely no idea what to do when whatsapp decided to remove the status. Yes, like everyone else, I scroll through the status. Whatte a timepass; Whatsapp did bring back balance in this world by reinstating it.

Instagram now has become the one stop shop for all my stalking and shopping needs. So its my facebook replacement. The latest addition to all these scrolling and the trigger for this lame post is a website called “Sulekha”. Annoying piece of whatever that it irks the whatever out of me. Pages and pages and pages of searching for a little place to say is totally in vain and scrolling through the pages makes me lose it completely.

There are no carefully worded conclusion for this post. These are rantings of a woman who has succumbed to the addiction of leafing through pages and pages and not finding what she wants, the reason simply being she doesnt exactly know what she wants and also has too much data and too much time on her hands.

Dobby is not free, Master has to give dobby a sock

 

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Click here to know about scrollbar and its history.

Gender, Roles and Power

I have been throwing the word ‘patriarchy’ around for a long time. Patriarchy as defined by the dictionary, is a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it, this is the dominant ideology. For the most part, one can just say the head of the family is a man. Patriarchy does not really have any borders. Its followed across religions, across the world.

how_it_works

There was an article I had the chance of reading an article, were a Saudi Cleric talk about how the husband can eat their wives if they are ‘severely’ hungry. A friend of mine asked, so what about if the wife is severely hungry, there was a clause, men were the dominant one, women did not have a role, so no – she can’t eat the husband.

This patriarchy doesn’t belong to just Saudi or to any particular religion. It is practiced all over. Each and every day we face it in our homes, our hometowns, around friends, around relatives, in short, around everyone.

So can one say, patriarchy is practiced only by men; NO, women are by and large advocate patriarchy. I can give so many examples of the times I was told men are superior and women are ranked way below. “Don’t point fingers at a GUY and speak”. “Don’t go pick up a fight with MEN”, “Oh, traffic jam,  it must be a WOMAN who is driving” “Don’t get angry, GIRLS can’t get angry” – why not, are we not human enough to get angry or have a fit of rage. “SHE swears, what kind of decent girl swears?” –the one that can’t take your bull shit.

And ofcourse the usual lines the mothers get because “they” have not raised their “daughters” right! Always the mothers.  We are not even going to broach the subject of how virginity is important for men as well.  ZIP.

The kind of things men do, just because they can. That’s what is frustrating. Feminism is not just talking about rape victims and women who are molested. Patriarchy is not just about blaming men and their rights. It is the advantage that they are born with. I have friends say that the juiciest piece in the chicken is reserved for the brother, for the father, not for the little girl; because men need to be healthy. And us? Give the remote to your anna. Let your brother sleep in the bed. Little things, highly trivial, but there is discrimination.

I think every girl at some point of time in her life wished she was a guy, I know I did and where did such thought stem from, the fact that we live in a patriarchal society and all these girls also want to be recognized and respected and given the same kind of freedom as much as their male counterparts.

Things have changed so much than what it was before, but we have a very very long way to go. The glass ceiling is always there. “You will go off in maternity leave, how can you be promoted. You have a husband, how can you think about your career”. No, I am not exaggerating. I have had a very personal experience there. Someone whom I barely knew and I had no choice but to hold a conversation told me how I cannot think about both marriage and a career. If you are a guy, you can. Because MEN are entitled to have ambitions, have a career and also have a wife and throw in a child or two there for the woman to take care of.

A woman must always choose.

 I’ve heard mothers of prospective groom (yes, I am in that pool) say, “my son is very educated, your daughter doesn’t have to work at all “!! But how is that related?

“My son loves Kerala cuisine, can your daughter cook that, even otherwise no problem, I will teach her”. I am happy to learn new things, but that is definitely not a conversation starter. I went to this stand-up comedy, where the guy talks about how in the matrimony his mother seeks for a modern as well as traditional girl. Oxymoron much? Well it is not definitely comedy for those of us who are actually doing that; mine literally reads “orthodox family, traditional girl with a modern outlook” what the hell does that mean? Don’t ask!! Maybe my cynicism has gone up a notch, but, nevertheless the kind of power men wield is real. The fact that we succumb to it till date makes it much worse. We, both men and women are highly influenced by the patriarchy around us, so much so, that we feel maybe that is the rule, that is how it should be.

I had a professor in college who always took the example of Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, who returned to work two weeks after her son was born. He said, “What is she trying to show off? Why should she come to work? What is she trying to prove? The baby needs the mother” True, the baby needs the mother. But if she thinks her health is good enough it is her own effing choice to pursue her career. How many men take paternity leave, stay at home and ‘take care of the baby’ after its born. Isn’t child birth equal responsibility?

There was so much rage about Deepika Padukone starrin in a video talking about my choice, one line destroyed the entire crux of the video; and it was all about women making their own choices not someone else making it for them. And by choices, I don’t talk about the women who play the victim card, the pampered, unreasonable women who manipulate the men and wrap themselves in a fake veil of radicalism. I am talking about those women who are denied their rights just because they are women. Those women who lose their life goals and ambitions because they have a family now. Because they are the sacrificial goat. She cannot have a mind of her own, for her husband’s choice are her choice. If she is working, of course she must be capable of taking care of the family and go to work. But she cannot really have a career, because why must a woman need a career, “life” is more important.

I am not going all rogue and saying all men are misogynist. I have seen wonderful men who knew how and when to take a step back, how to be there for their women, give them their space and these men are also feminists.

But, for the most part, the womenfolk follow. Patriarchy is not just the men, its a system and we, both men and women are a part of. And I am also a victim to that system. Maybe because I have grown up and seen a patriarchal society all around me. There were many times I have almost told my nephew, “boys don’t cry”;where did such a thought come from? And I’ve always always corrected myself.

Women need men and vice versa. There are things that only men are capable of doing and there are many things women are equally capable if not more. It is about time WE get acknowledged, we are respected and treated with more equality . It is sometimes OK for men to lose a little control, to be less sexist and to not have staunch gender roles. It is about time men accept their vulnerability and can accept help as much as they love to give. And it is our responsibility to make sure that at no point of time in the future, the little girls must not wish she were a BOY.

Enough said already!

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WOMAN

(n) An adult female HUMAN BEING

And that is what we all are, a mere HUMAN BEING

So many blogs, so many articles, so many discussions, so many movies and documentaries all this later we still just keep talking about women and how safe or not they are. JUST TALK ;  I can hear Arnab Goswami’s voice resonating on ‘women’s safety’ after the whole Nirbhaya issue. Many Nirbhaya’s have come and gone after that and still the women of this country feel threatened everytime they step out of the house.

The kind of crap the politicians say and try and pin it on the women saying that a woman get molested and raped and even killed because of her clothes, because she drinks, because she wears high heels, because she goes to work, because of her attitude, because she is a female. “Why go out at night?, thats why people molest you or rape you”. I am not going to go all feminist here but who gets to decide at what time I go out and for what. So if a woman steps out at night, she cannot feel safe, not because of the dogs in the street but because of the humans  out there. People say “learn self defence” so you can protect yourself; should I go and learn martial arts for no joy of mine just because some miscreant is lurking out there. Another one said, take a guy with you for safety! And I have seen movies were gundas beat up the guy and carry the girl. The director’s imagination is all too powerful and I am not sure if it ideated from real life or real life adapts it after seeing it in the movies. Either ways its not right.

Are we teaching our children that its not about gender its about respecting another human being because you exist in the same space as them? Are we telling them  to take NO for an answer? Are we teaching them that boys were blue and girls wear pink? Are, we as parents gender stereotyping our kids or are the big multinational companies responsible for it? Don’t we say to our boys, don’t cry like a girl? So guys think they are stronger and they can’t cry? (Who got this concept of saying crying makes you weaker) But we condemn them when they say don’t act like a p****. So ultimately are the parents to be blamed or the society or the big corporates or the government? Where does all this stem from?  When will the government instil a sense of fear amongst these people who willinlgy go and hurt another human being.I have no answer for any of it. But it hurts. For someone who loves this country and proud to be a part of it, it really hurts to see what is happening around here.

 If I have to travel, I need to buy a pepper spray or a taser just in case. JUST IN CASE. How many men out there carry a pepper spray in their bag? Is this right? How many men have to bother about cameras installed in hotel rooms or changing rooms? How many women feel safe in a room full of men or a crowded bus/train? How many women feel safe when they travel? Speaking for myself, I have not. Everytime I step into a bus or train I am so wary of my surroundings, I check the person opposite to me, behind me, beside me.When I get in an auto or a car, I memorise the number plate, i memorise the face and the name! How many men have put up with insinuating stray comments about their appearance or the lack of it from their superiors or bosses? Most women have to deal with this every damn day.

 I am not sure if this was how it was for a long time and that I am coming to know about it because communication has become all too powerful. Either way perversion is on the rise. And no, I am not talking only about the perversion of men, women are also equally perverted. Men are also molested and raped, though the ratio is smaller. Men are vulnerable to sexual assaults and somehow they never are highlighted as much as the rapes of women, maybe because men don’t come in the open and saying it out loud for the fear of being perceived as weak, but it is very much prevalent.

 I have seen enough and read more than enough of children and women being raped and molested day in and day out. It has become such a common happening; which is not and it is high time the government steps up. No woman must fear bringing another life into this world because of the atrocities of the society. This is one of the millions of post that flood the internet on women and her safety issues. Would this ever stop?

Here is to the feminist in me (and totally not related to the post!)Not all things are ‘man’ made.

New Year 2017

2016 has been uneventful, crazy and what a rollercoaster it was- NO, I am not going to say any of that.

For me,  2016 was exactly how 2015 was, except that I witnessed there were a lot of deaths this year across the world. From a world’s perspective a lot of things happened and a lot changed for better or for worse. Oscar and Leo, Rio, ISIS, Football, The Syrian Crisis, the American crisis(Trump), Brexit, Panama paper leaks, Zika Virus, Science and Technology, great movie releases, deaths of so many famous and important personalities, latest being Fiedel Castro and Carrie Fisher; all in all it was pretty insane for the world at large. And, of course when you say India there is demonetisation – the most prominent of all major events in India, the pathankot attacks, the inauguration of pricey statues, the I-wont-give-you-water by Karnataka and Kerala , Kabali, release of movie and stupid movies, release of Salman Khan, Jayalalitha’s mysterious demise, Vardha cyclone and Sasikala’s strategic plan and rise in ADMK. But enough already about the world and India and TamilNadu.

I am not a holiday scrooge though I definitely sound like one. Personally, 2016 was quite a normal year, and in my case normal is rare and hence I am thankful for that. No, I did not travel as much as I wanted to, still have the same set of friends who love me and put up with me; academics were as average as it can be, no new special people added or deleted, and no I did not try many new things . On the brighter side though, a lot of shopping happened, had fewer meaningful fights, my taste became eclectic, I grew a year older and not that wiser, my sadness meter was low, a few small adventures, and I did strike out two or three things off my bucket list this year. So I would say 2016 was a lot better than 2015 and I have nothing to complain.

So here is to 2017, cheers to the ‘cup’ always being half full, to travelling more, reading more, trying new things and definitely definitely writing a lot more.

Wishing myself and everyone a very HAPPY 2017, may it be  prosperous and happening all year around.

2017

Beyond Beds and Books – Hostel Life

In all these 20 odd years, last year was the first time I’ve stepped into the “hostel” system. I am very apprehensive about a lot of things in life and of course staying in a hostel was there in the list. I would take the effort to entirely blame my apprehension on my parents. They used to say something in the lines of “Ozhunga padikalana hostel la sethuduven” roughly translated to, “If you don’t study well, I will enrol you in a hostel. (They also said  ozhunga padikalana maadu meika anupiruven, which they should have; it being an extremely successful business opportunity, Bad luck! ) So hostels in my mind was more of a prison where disobedient children are sent. I grew up with this notion in my head and that culminating with my choosy food habits, cleaner surroundings (more specifically the washrooms), the inability to woo people with my not-so-awesome personality made me decide I will never fit in such places were sharing is quintessential. When I joined “the B-school” I had absolutely no choice but to opt for a hostel for various reasons from saving travel time to cooking your own food. I stepped into hostel without any other option, dreading it. Yes, DREADING it.

Boy, was I wrong! Little did I know that I would be having the experience of a lifetime. From ghost attacks to midnight birthday celebrations (of course all of us know someone would cut a cake at midnight on your birthday and we are still genuinely surprised and happy for just being around them) to talking till dawn break the philosophy of life (especially when we have exams the next day, we kind of time it like that), the midnight binge eating, the gossips, the pizza nights and what not. On a comparative note, in all these years, I have learnt a lot about myself and people at large this one and half years, for example, I know that I can now survive on “hostel food”, HOSTEL- washrooms, get afraid of dark ghostly figures in every corner,  not get afraid of ghosts because i am too tired and I prefer to sleep than think about ghosts, know that there are really warm people out there, people who are unrelated to you and still care about you so much, that even if you have a fight, a disagreement you end up vouching for each other, that you get to laugh at your shitty life because most of us are in it together and that it is a home away from home because it has the people whom you love and who love you for what you are. I know I will miss it in here and for most part, many of us would share the same thoughts.

P.S : No, I am not leaving the hostel right away! Yes, this post is abruptly right in the middle of the academic year. I am just penning thoughts when I am pensive and No, I am NOT stupid 🙂

Note:

Maadu meika- Rear cows

 

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Visaranai

Its been a while now since I wrote. Here is my first movie review of the year. And I must say it was an extremely well orchestered movie

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Last evening I happened to have the chance to watch the movie ‘visaranai’. Usually I read the reviews and if possible the plot even before I watch any movie.( I dont like to be surprised you see)  I missed reading about this movie though. Even before the movie started one of my well learned friend said this movie was not for women, there is too much violence. I am going to ignore the not-for-women-part for now. But violence, that would be a mild way of putting it. To realise that it was based on a true story made it all the more saddening. Installing fear among the inmates by not just physically thrashing them but the wails and shouts of the fellow inmates creates a sense of helplessness and fear. The movie did not just have physical violence, but also had a sense of psychological violence which is far more ruthless.

The system is corrupt. The rich and influential can get away with anything. Money matters and humans are replaceable. The system is a vicious cycle and that is exactly what this movie reminds us.
We do see news like this everyday. The latest being salman khan’s acquittal and the drunk women lawyer in delhi who manged to kill civilians in broad daylight and still got acquitted. (We can argue that atleast salman’s driving happened at night)
Yes, one can say such movies have existed in the past where the rich got away with crimes and the poor has borne the brunt of it. But what makes this movie different? The brutal honesty about the corruption and how the disease has spread its roots so much so that it can even influence honest men. We all are aware of corruption, there are times when we ourselves are party to it. This movie blatantly shows to what extent people push when they are driven by money, power and influence.
To write a book is difficult, bringing such a book to a two hour movie without adding any masala is herculean. The director did not waste any time to plunge into the plot and did not complicate the movie by adding too many characters or twisting it a lot.
The movie is a total winner. But how many would like to watch it through the intense dark and violent scenes is a big question mark. The movie has a superb screenplay,the English is very natural, unlike GVM’s movie lines. Apart from the story, screenplay and direction of the movie which were the actual heroes, the protagonists, antagonists all played their part to perfection.
To sum up, “Adipoli movie”(Malayalam for superb movie)