July 30, 2012

Welcome to the world, little one.

It's amazing, how a tiny pair of feet can evoke so much of emotion and awww-ness in me.

This gorgeous pair of feet belong to my dear friend Gopika's six-day old son. :) He was born on 24th July. Soon as I get permission from the brand new parents to post more, I shall put up pics of his gorgeous little face too. I went camera-crazy over the weekend, clicking him at every chance. This one's my favourite of the lot. :)

July 18, 2012

The Rape Capital of the world.

I did a stupid thing today. I made the mistake of thinking that I’m brave enough to watch the Guwahati molestation video that’s up on Youtube.

I’m sure you’ve noticed this, or maybe not- I’ve never really written about any such ‘sensitive’ issues on my blog. Main reason being, I’ve always felt, if I can’t do anything about it, I probably shouldn’t rant about it and blame others for not finding a solution. But also because, with time, I’ve become one of those who thinks “If it hasn’t happened to me, it’s none of my business. Such kind of things only happen to others”. Sad. Shameful. I know.

The other day, I was returning home from work. It was pretty late, around 9:30. The road connecting the railway station (I travel by the local train) to the main road- from where I have to take an auto to my colony- was poorly lit. Or rather, no street-light at all. The only light was from a few shops on the sidewalk. So I’m walking to the main road. It’s a familiar road, I walk it every day. So the lack of light doesn’t scare me. I’m not the only one walking anyway. These two guys come from the opposite direction on a bike, flash their headlights bright at me for a few seconds, yell ‘I love you’, and drive away.

Surely, I should have been flattered that a guy said ‘I love you’ to me, right? I mean, isn’t that what every girl wants to hear from a guy? Those three words. Right? Wrong. We want to hear it from somebody who knows us, gets us, and actually loves us. Not from somebody who only saw me for two seconds in the dark and said it only because I’m a girl and have boobs. Sorry, I’m not so easily flattered. Na-ah.

How is this connected in any way to the Guwahati molestation, you wonder? It’s not, really. What happened to me is nowhere close in magnitude to what that girl was subjected to. I’ve been commented on and stared at before too, not the first time. And I’ve learnt to turn a deaf ear to it and walk on. Maybe that’s the mistake most of us girls make. Ignore. Pretend that it didn’t happen. Pretend that some random bastard’s dirty hands didn’t graze your boobs and ass. Pretend that you don’t feel dirty and violated at being commented on.

But the basis of both these incidents are the same, right? That some men think they have the right to comment on and letch at and touch a girl without her permission. That they have the right to have sex with her just because she has a vagina, be it of a six-year-old girl or a 25-year-old woman. That rape is their way of establishing the power equation. That if a girl wears a short skirt and strapless top, it means she wants to be raped. Believe me, dear men, no woman WANTS to be raped. Do you have any idea how much it hurts? And I mean physically.

Let me get one thing very straight here. I’m not doing any male-bashing. I know plenty of men who are good, kind-hearted people with whom I’ve gone out late at night and have felt perfectly safe with. I have more male friends than female friends, and they have all been perfect gentlemen with me. They’ve taken really good care of the women with them and made sure that they’re deposited back home safely. I have oodles of respect for these men and have absolute faith that they will never rape a woman ever. So this is NOT about ALL men.

So who ARE these men, who rape and molest? Are they wired differently? Is their genetic engineering different? Were they born that way? Is it hereditary, this tendency to rape? Were they given lessons as children, how to rape? Do they set out every morning, in search of potential victims? Are they proud of what they do? Is rape the only way they enjoy sex?

Really, who ARE they?

To say that the video really disturbed me is an understatement. That could’ve been anyone. That could’ve been me, you, your friend, your sister. The next time I walk on that dark road, I’ll be cautious (which is good) till I reach the main road. Because it doesn’t always happen to just others. It can happen to me too. And there’s no way I can avoid it. Unless I decide to quit my job and sit at home. Or find a job that’ll have me home before it’s dark.

But I don’t think any of that will matter. Because for a rapist, none of that matters. Not the clothes, not the time of the day, not the age of the girl, not even whether the girl is pretty or not. All that matters is that he has a hard-on and he has to do something about it. All that matters is that the girl’s screams and struggling give him a high. Isn’t that what it’s all about? The feeling of power.

And it's not just the women who get raped. Men get molested too. Mostly BY men. And it's an equally gruesome thing.

If the moral police say that wearing ‘proper’ clothes is the most effective way to prevent rape, then isn’t castration an equally effective measure or justifiable punishment? And if clothes are what provoked the rape, then what was the provocation to rape a six-year-old? Her frock was too short and skimpy, is it?

What can be done about this? Is there anything that we can do, other than writing blog posts expressing our outrage and putting up FB status updates? Is there any solution to this?

I sure hope there is… because I don’t want to live in constant fear of being groped by strange filthy men...

July 9, 2012

My holiday in pictures

Here you go, some of the pics I clicked on my holiday.

The bride's pretty pretty alta-ed anklet-ed feet. Did you know I have a slight foot fetish? Slight only. Very leetle.

The Pavizhamalli flower that forms a carpet of white and orange at the entrance of my mom's ancestral home in Nadapuram.

The grand old Madatthil house in Nadapuram.

In Kerala, when it rains, it RAINS. (Madatthil courtyard)

Sigh... Sun Temple.

One of the structures in the Sun Temple grounds.

Chandrabaga Beach

...and a bonus pic! The chilli chicken that I made on Sunday. :)

July 3, 2012

Odisha, Kerala, Chennai, a wedding, four train journeys, a death and a pennukaanal

… and that pretty much sums up my 10-day vacation!

Give me a second to catch my breath.

Ok, done.

The past ten days, starting from 21st June, have been a whirlwind. I set off for a much-needed-and-anticipated-since-god-knows-how-long vacation on 21st. Destination: Bhubaneswar. Purpose: Eat dahi bada- alu dum, see a bit of Odisha, and generally have a good time. Actual purpose: Attend the wedding of two of my best buddies, who I fondly refer to as ‘my Marshall and Lily’.

So we- that would be Thusha, Shringi and myself- arrived in Bhubaneswar on 22nd (Thusha’s journey till Hyderabad was an event in itself. Read about it here). Attended the wedding on 24th (got slightly bored after the reception because seriously, three hours of puja in the middle of the night? Dude!!:/ Thankfully, we got to do a lot of nautanki before that) visited the Sun Temple at Konark on the 25th (pic below) binged on a lot of Odiya food, whined and complained about the humidity, and made a new friend.

We said ta ta bye bye to Odisha on 26th. My original plan was to go to TVM to attend yet another wedding of another best friend. But while I was travelling, I got the news that my grandma (Amma’s mom) passed away. So from Chennai, from where we had to take a connecting train to Kerala, I went to Trichur instead of TVM, and then to Vadakara.

Nadapuram, in Vadakara, is where my mom’s ancestral home is. A huge old sprawling house. Many of my relatives had gathered there by the time I reached. I was meeting some of them after ages. It felt good to be back among them. It was three days of nonstop chatter, never-ending supply of food and snacks, sitting on the front porch and watching the rain for hours (I got to witness the Kerala monsoon in all its glory. One word. Gorgeous), sleeping at 11 PM (the first day there, I slept off at 10. That’s like a record for me!), just crashing wherever there is space available, and loads of laughter. I ate the simplest and yet the most delicious Mallu food. I think it’s something to do with the water there. The food was simply too good. Manavi the brat has grown up now. She’s taller, naughtier and cuter than ever. And her tantrums also last longer. :D

I got to experiment with my camera a lot. I’m posting this from office right now, so I don’t have any of the pics. Shall upload them in another post soon.

So yes, that was my vacation, if I can even call it that. The days went by in a blur, and I don’t want to travel in a train for some time now. I’m so freaking tired, I need another mini-vacation to recover from this one. :/ But all said and done, I had a great time. I got back to Hyderabad yesterday.

Oh the pennukaanal? Why don’t I hang on to that info and tell you guys in another post? :p (Yes I know, I can be a real pain).

For the non-mallus, pennukaanal literally means ‘girl-seeing’, where the girl has to behave all shy and demure in front of prospective in-laws. Rest assured, I was anything but shy and demure. But like I said, more on that later! :)