first the woman who influenced me at every step in my life.. my mother of course.
she is one the smartest , most compassionate and happy and spunky women i probably will ever meet. she taught me that actions were always much better than hollow words, that what goes around comes around and that the universe is a very fair place even though it may not seem so sometimes. she also taught me to accept people for who they are.
Sonia Gandhi. my dad says that she has more political acumen than the entire opposition put together. it took a lot of courage to return to the national political scene after a humiliating defeat in the late 90s.
my headmistress in school. she was one amazing woman. she was exactly like the head mistresses you read about in enid blytons..
wise, inspiring and brave. she saw all of us for not just the people we were but for the people we could become. she was amazing and i can proudly say that i was one of her favorites too.
Oprah Winfrey. the richest woman in the US of A. the richest African American. one of the most influential people of our era . the queen of talk show, she has discussed various issues facing millions of ordinary men and women all over the world from weight loss to low self esteem, from prostitution to war.
a humanitarian in every sense of the world, ms Winfrey is a role model to girls world over.
mukhtran mai, the woman who became the face of the struggle that millions of battered women world over go through. her fight for justice and her story is awe inspiring. a poor illeterate woman, gang raped as a punishment for a crime she or her family had nothing to do with in the savage tribal belt of pakistan, mukhtran mai fought with every breath she had for justice and finally won. her story should teach us to be brave and fight till we can fight no more, to stand up for ourselves and what we believe in.
I've always thought that being grown up is a little boring. being all proper and fake.If you're even a little interesting, then you're considered to be eccentric. I'd rather be eccentric than proper!
one more strange grownup phenomenon is that grownups never ever split the bill! one person is always expcted to pick up the bill when grown ups go out to eat!what happened to going dutch????
there are certain good things about being grown up though.. you have plenty of money to blow it up any way you want but sadly most people don't know how to enjoy the money they work so hard to earn.
the other thing is, you can stay out late. no one to yell at you!You can make as many phone calls as you want, cut your hair any way you like and wear whatever you want.
for me, the best things about being a grown up are, the money with which i can buy books whenever i want and that sense of increased freedom and independence. it isn't that boring either because i'm a little eccentric..
i went to a bookstore and spent the entire morning blissfully reading. each year i wonder what independence day means to me and i never quite figured it out but this year i think i realized what freedom and independence mean to me. in the bookstore, i was reading the book about mukhtran mai, the young Pakistani woman who fought for justice and truth and became the face and voice of millions of women who are battered, raped and left in despair. her struggle for justice when the universe she knows is up against her, is absolutely remarkable.
as I read her story, i began to realize what freedom meant to me. freedom to me is to go to a bookstore alone and sit and read there without fear or hesitation. it is that which lets me live alone in a big city again without fear or skepticism.
freedom to me is to go out to dinner and come back late without worrying about my safety.
freedom is that everyday choice i get to make.. freedom to wear what i want, meet the people i want at the places i want, talk a little loudly when i have to, yell at the auto driver for making me wait for too long in a petrol bunk or walk into a restaurant alone.
this is freedom to me. freedom means falling in love , fighting with my father, talking to my male friends, owning a cell phone and the millions of other privileges that i tend to take for granted.
my parents made sure that i got a good education. this gave me my freedom. my country ensured that they could do so.there are millions of young women on the face of the earth who cannot do any of these things. they cannot even show their faces to the world or have their voices heard. they eat, sleep, live and die at the mercy of a man. father,brother, husband, society and country.
thats why i celebrated independence day doing the one thing that i love the most. reading.
it seems very simple to me. if it is not your uterus, mind your own business.
if the "pro lifers " want to turn it into an ethical issue, i have just one question.
how many unwanted and abandoned babies did you adopt today..
also, as long as nurture remains a woman-only job, men have no right to talk about abortions.
the onus of providing the necessary emotional support so essential for a child, is almost entirely on the mother. so she alone can make the decision of bringing a child into this world.
if people want to talk about morality, i have one more question.
is it fair to bring a child into this world when you know you cannot give him the best you can?
religion,family, morality, ethics, love or even law for that matter has no business in deciding whether a mother should bring another life into this world
there is something highly disconcerting about leaving the known and familiar and moving on to embrace the unknown. we find comfort and solace in the familiar. the unknown scares us. that is why we hold on to friends who are not good for us, old clothes and things that are no longer useful, relationships that have lost their meaning... what we don't understand and realize is that with time, the strange faces on the street become faces whose presence we take for granted and provide us with that sense of familiarity and belonging that we all crave. new people become regulars, new habits become routines and the unfamiliar and the unknown becomes the known and familiar that we find so hard to leave behind
weather like this makes me think of all the wonderful things around me.the big box of chocolate ice-cream, raw mangoes, the big jar of mango pickle, cold water, lemons, sporty deo, the strange and mysterious smell in the air, mangoes(ripe) and lots more.
i think of beautiful songs with beautiful lyrics, the beautiful people around me, the wonderful things that have happened to me...
i can almost smell the rain but not quite. just like that absolute feeling of peace inside me. i know it's there but i can't find it. not yet. not today.
"love is a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day".
i didn't say it wasn't corny!
a study shows that one out of two children is sexually abused in this country. are you shocked by this? I'm not. with regressive state policies and close minded societies what did you expect? most of these abusers are not punished. why? because we re Indians. we don't talk to our children about it and we don't want them to ask us anything about it. sex is a taboo in the most populous country in the world. ironic..
without sex education how will we inculcate gender sensitivity and teach our children what is sexually appropriate and what is not? without being open and honest how can any child feel secure enough to tell a parent or teacher if they are being abused?
i myself was subject to inappropriate sexual behaviour(not molestation) by an adult when i was 12 years old and despite coming from a very safe and open environment i did not tell anyone. it also took me 3 long months before i realized that this was not supposed to happen and i was in no way a naive girl.
my point is no matter how minor an incident is it takes a child a very long time to get over it and feel safe and normal again. sexual abuse leaves very deep emotional scars and the only way to combat it is to be open to questions and educate our children to keep them safe.
"i don't know what to write about , but since i want to stay true to my new year's resolution i shall write about something. do i write about myself,others, outstanding political and social issues...? i don't know.
i read this quote ...' i pay my own rent, i don't have to be nice.'i don't know how to react to that.. I'm not exactly a 'nice' girl but i am very good to my family and friends and i do try to be nice to others.. i used to have a very sharp tongue that often got me into trouble at school but I'm growing up now and i make a conscious effort not to be mean.
i can come up with really mean retorts but i choose not to say anything to the really mean people who try to put me down or insult my intelligence.my silence is often mistaken to be a sign of weakness but really what's the point, reacting to stupid people who are so insecure about themselves that they need to put down someone else to feel good about themselves.
i find people with such fragile egos, pathetic. my own self-esteem ( back to normal now thank you very much) is not that fragile.
people have told me that my answers are wrong, i'm not smart enough, i can't solve those problems, my reasoning is wrong and so on..
all i have to say is that my success is measured by how happy,independent and secure i am about myself, my relationships and my vision for my future. as long as i don't compromise on any of these i believe i'm successful so go away.
also, even when we were kids, constantly competing with my cousins and others around us, my mom( smart woman) always told both my sis and i that there was no need to tell anyone about any of our so called achievements or brag about anything we did because life and not words was going to be the true test and the true judge.
i believe the same as well. there is really no point trying to prove yourself to prize idiots. if you have to prove a point prove it yourself... no one else is really worth it!"
i rarely talk about the books i read although i read a LOT and seldom share my political or religious views with anyone except a few and never correct the atrocious grammar of the people around me. does that make me stupid? does that make me a butterfly? i think not... however some of the people around me seem to disagree.... they consider me to be a butterfly. not driven enough, not intelligent enough not ambitious enough.....
i of course want to be taken seriously!! so after thinking long and hard this is the conclusion i have come to. if you belong to the female homosapien category you must do one or few or all of the following to be taken seriously:
- dress like the back of a bus. i mean wear only gray, black and dull blue.
- get into an occasional argument with the fool-of -a -boy you are hanging out with about science,politics or religion and of course give in to what he says in the end.
- put down everyone around you
- when the fool of a boy you constantly hang out with says something act as though it is the most profound thing you ever heard.
- do not read Danielle Steel. burn all the high school romance crap that you so love to read.
- claim that you never ever gossip. call anyone else who does "silly".
- be as aggressive as you can possibly be. if you're nice then you are so obviously stupid.
- read fat, bizarre books that no one has ever heard of.
- don't ever be caught with a copy of filmfare or cosmo.
- be as close minded as you can possibly be and reject all ideas and principles except your own as stupid.
ditch the fool-of-a-boy, forget about what other people think of you, have loads of fun, look great and celebrate your uniqueness.. ............. as for being taken seriously... who cares as long as you take yourself seriously and do the things you want to do as well as you can.
liberated???yeah right!!if this is freedom i wonder what the opposite means.if we are truly liberated how come our streets and cities have not become safer for women?why do we still have those stereotypes?why do more girls than ever before suffer from low self esteem? and why do we still have to "turn off "the lights? i thought we were in charge!!!!
so what's my point?
my point is we still have quite a few problems.. gender equality and gender sensitivity are still distant goals. objectifying women as sexual objects has reached an all time high and the worst part is we seem to be getting used to it.we think it's OK when we feel that it's not. fad diets are still a rage and wanting to lose a few pounds seems to be the ambition of most women i meet.
and role models........ it's Jessica Simpson and Britney spears. it's not Oprah or Hillary Clinton and it's certainly not Serena Williams.
liberated? think again. we constantly dumb ourselves down to please the unsuitable and unprepared men in our lives and the only important thing is that i get the cute bag featured in this month's Cosmo.
domestic violence, eve teasing, sexual harassment.., 'don't be such a bore darling it's not our problem'. and the women's studies section in the nearest book store contains books like " 21 ways to make your man happy" and " a girl's guide to breaking up without baggage".
equal pay, gender sensitivity in the work place and domestic violence....?non issues. not because all that is absent our worlds but because we're too full of ourselves to care!
yes, it is the best time to be born as a girl in most parts of the world because we have all the privileges our previous generation fought for. we have the power of education, we have economic and financial independence and most importantly we have a voice. maybe now is the time to actually use it.
The Heterosexual Questionnaire
Attributed to Martin Rochlin, Ph.D.
(unpublished and not copyrighted)
Most LGBT people are put, all too frequently, into situations where they have to defend their sexuality. This places a considerable burden on people who resent feeling they need to justify or explain their sexual lifestyle. To help non-LGBT people understand how it feels to be placed in such a situation, the following questionnaire was devised, which is based on “heterophobic” premises, rather than homophobic premises, which exist chronically in our society.
Please try to answer the following questions as honestly as possible. It's going to be hard. That's the whole point.
1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?
2. When and how did you first decide you were a heterosexual?
3. Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?
4. Is it possible that your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?
5. Isn't it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?
6. Heterosexuals have histories of failure in gay relationships. Do you think you may have turned to heterosexuality out of fear of rejection?
7. If you've never slept with a person of the same sex, how do you know that you wouldn't prefer that?
8. If heterosexuality is normal, why are a disproportionate number of mental patients heterosexual?
9. To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they react?
10. Your heterosexuality doesn't offend me so long as you don't try to force it on me. Why do you people feel compelled to seduce others into your sexual orientation?
11. If you should choose to nurture children, would you want them to be heterosexual, knowing the problems they would face?
12. The great majority of child molesters are heterosexuals. Do you really consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers?
13. Why do you insist on being so obvious, and making a public spectacle of your heterosexuality? Can't you just be who you are and keep it quiet?
14. How can you ever hope to become a whole person if you limit yourself to a compulsive, exclusive, heterosexual object choice, and remain unwilling to explore and develop your normal, healthy, God-given homosexual potential?
15. Heterosexuals are noted for assigning themselves and each other narrowly restricted, stereotyped sex-roles. Why do you cling to such unhealthy role playing?
16. How can you enjoy a fully satisfying sexual experience or deep emotional rapport with a person of the opposite sex, when the obvious, biological, and temperamental differences between you are so vast? How can a man understand what pleases a woman sexually, or vice versa?
17. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex?
18. With all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?
19. Shouldn't you ask the fringe straight types, like swingers, Hell's Angels, and Jesus freaks, to conform more? Wouldn't that improve your image?
20. How could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual, considering the menace of overpopulation?
21. There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed with which you might be able to change if you really want to. Have you considered trying aversion therapy?
22. Do heterosexuals hate or distrust others of the same sex? Is that what makes them heterosexual?
23. Why are heterosexuals so promiscuous?
24. Could you really trust a heterosexual therapist to be objective and unbiased? Don't you fear he/she might be inclined to influence you in the direction of her/his own feelings?
If you really took this questionnaire seriously, right now, you're probably feeling a bit depressed, defensive, and maybe even a little ashamed. Well, now imagine that this were real, not just a little exercise. Rather, it was all of society, your family, your friends asking you these questions and really wanting the answers. Not only is your own knowledge of your own sexuality, feelings, and body questioned, but now you must defend a whole group of people who happen to have one similarity with you, most of whom you've never even meet because to fail to do so in any way, in anyone's eyes is to say that you are *fill in the stereotype or negative image*, just like they are.
Now you have a better idea of how LGBT persons feel every day. The only differences are that you only felt this way for a few minutes and now you can go back to a world of acceptance. This is not a temporary experience for LGBT persons who can't turn it off and find a world of acceptance. They still have to answer these questions and many more each and every day.
I hope that you have learned something from this experience. It's always very hard to truly understand how another person feels until you are in their shoes. That is what this exercise was about. It was never intended to actually make you believe that your sexuality is wrong or that you have to defend it in anyway, but rather to give you a better idea of how LGBT persons feel when they are made to feel guilty and forced to defend our own life and sexuality to people they don't even know.I hope that the next time you hear someone saying something like what you read above in this questionnaire, you will remember how you felt when it was you in that place and that you will have not only compassion (which you probably had to begin with since you are reading this), but also a little more understanding. This is a big world and there is plenty of room for all kinds of people in it! So, please, celebrate diversity and support the right of all people to live, love, and be happy without question and without having to defend the gender of the person that they share their life with!