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Nov 24, 2013


Sounds familiar???
Detachment from materialistic things! When I realized I needed to take my spirituality journey, or rather my life’s journey, to the next step, detachment from materialistic things was what I was confronted with. I wish I can say I was successfully able to leave my royal castle behind, with its golden chariots and closets full of designer gowns; but I did not manage to do that. Instead I can say I was successfully able to confuse myself as to what I was to give up first. (What did I have to give up, is another question for another day.)
            A friend of mine last week, looked at her closet overflowing with clothes and shoes, and suddenly exclaimed, “I need to stop shopping!” . At that moment, my head raced back to the time when I faced my own dilemma and exclaimed, “Let’s give away some clothes”. I guess I was expected her to slap me for even suggesting to her the prospects of separating with her beloved apparels, but I was surprised to what followed.
            My friend doesn't really bother much about spirituality, but too much clothes in her wardrobe is certainly something to worry about. A perfect situation to practice detachment! What better method to understand the significance of detachment, than giving up clothes?
            Since this was my first step when faced with my dilemma, this was easy for me to choreograph. Today, I wish to share this secret first step, that we both took to all those looking for a path towards detachment and to those looking to clean up their closets :

  •          Choose five clothes, just five clothes you are willing to give away.
  •          Now that you have chosen them, do not re-think and do not look at them again! If you do, then your heart will come up with excuses to not give them up.
  •          Now quickly pack them up in a bag and keep them far away from the closet.
  •          This is assuming that you have already found someone you can give them away to, or organizations that take used clothes in order to recycle them, GIVE THEM AWAY!
            I am certain that half of the people reading this post will be screaming in terror, reading the last step in my step-to-step guide. My friend was perhaps anticipating the same emotion. A day after giving away the clothes she had loved for so long, with all her heart; I asked her how she was feeling after going through that tough step towards detachment, a step very significant in self-awareness and spirituality. “Nothing!” she said, a successful first step!
            Go ahead! Pick your five clothes today, just five clothes.


Sep 20, 2013


            Today I accompanied one of my fellow mates to a school that he assists with, since I was a little bored to go to one of the schools I am assigned to (We work with government schools in backward areas, about which I will hopefully post very soon in detail, so don’t fret about the details!). It is a typical Indian sarkari(government) school, set in the urban side of the district, but with a twist.
            The students who barely manage to attend classes are kids of rag-pickers, beggars and homeless community of that area. Having spoken to quite a few teachers, officials, community – members, and so on, about the children, I got to hear a load of character traits about the little learners of this backward community.
The kids colouring away, while I watch on (I'm in green)
            They steal! They curse! They are violent! and what not. I walked into the class to see curious little faces (I assume curious, for all I know they couldn’t care less about my foreign entry). I sat in a corner as I observed the little kids be just that – little kids. A lot of glances and a few hesitant smiles later I was sitting with them on the floor talking about colours and trees and cows and basically everything their minds ran towards.
            I gave each one a fresh piece of paper, opened up my new box of colours and gave them the permission to pick any crayon they wished. They had a lot of creative juices flowing on to the piece of paper for about an hour, when finally it was time for lunch. They left, giving me their creations to eat the food that comes from the government food distribution centres (Most of the kids here get just that meal in the entire day!). Guess how many crayons out of the fifteen I had, were left in my case?
            All of them! Not a single kid stole a crayon, tore up the paper or misbehaved with me. All of them were kids, just like any other kid I’ve met in all the schools I’ve been too. I just trusted them and welcomed them with an open and prejudice – free mind. I only wonder why this is so hard to do for so many of us adults!

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Aug 1, 2013


“Let him who would move the world first move himself.” 

~ Socrates

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” 
~ Mahatma Gandhi 

            I watched a group of young kids of about 10 years old, working on a construction site, bare-foot and bare-headed, as I walked back from one of India’s over 1 million sarkari (government) schools that give every child the right to free education. I wish I could say it was a heart – wrenching sight for me, but it wasn’t! Child labour is dangerously a common sight in India, ask every Indian!
             I looked away almost indifferently, but somewhere I could feel a little light switch on. I was there for a reason.  I was at the government school in a village, working towards my dream to the change the education system of this country. That was my reason. But if there are millions of kids still on the streets, having to work ruthlessly to fill their stomachs, with just two square meals a day, what change can I possibly bring?
           I change one kid. Is it enough? I change one school. So what? I change one village. What about the rest of this humungous nation? These changes never last long anyway. I will never be done. So what on earth is the point of it all?...
           When I was younger, I was an annoying little girl (some may say I still am), who complained and whined about the system, the society’s evils, deforestation, people’s attitude, animal testing and so on. To change the world, you have to first change yourself I was told. I would whine and complain even more saying, such a clogged point of view would never change anything.
           As I walked away from the working kids, I finally understood!
The sarkari school kids that I work with.
           Imagine if I looked into my own self and changed my way of thinking, my way of life and my philosophy. Imagine I change myself. Now, imagine if all of us looked into our own selves and changed our way of thinking, our way of life and our philosophy. Imagine we all change ourselves!

          By changing myself, I have become a part of that changed society where every being is equal and free, have I not? This change is big enough and long lasting enough to actually make a difference (yipeeee!). By changing myself, I have become a part of that society that gives a child the education it deserves, away from the life of a child labourer, have I not? By changing ourselves, we become a part of a society where every being is truly equal and free!

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Jul 11, 2013

The Super(wo)man Inside all of Us...!

             Strong. Independent. Brave. I am not new to these words being used to describe me, obviously used after Stubborn. Weird. Short, nonetheless I accept these compliments with a big smile and an odd giggle as if I am in accordance with their description of me.           
The Fellowship ended up being one of the
 best learning experiences, and the journey is still on
            As to why anyone would say “How do you do it?”, or “where do you get the courage from?” or even “You are soooooo brave!”, fret not, I shall explain. I am a tiny little unmarried Indian girl who loves to travel and do things I’ve never done before. Since it is a tough task to carry my mother around with me, it means I travel alone. Yes! Alone! Which is apparently super unusual for an Indian girl. Why? That is a story for another day.
            As to me being all brave and superwoman. I am not! I shake, shiver and decide to quit all the time. I am writing this very blog post from a train from Delhi to Udaipur, where I start my life’s new chapter, working on a fellowship to help improve the Indian education scenario. Just a day before I was hiding under my friend’s blanket, shrieking that I didn’t want to leave the bed!
            My dear friend had to go through quite a riot to calm my nerves down, but once I got on the road I was fine. It took a lot to get to “fine”, but I most certainly did! If I had given up the second I felt my heart race and my legs quiver, then I wouldn’t be on my way to my dream of working with schools, I would have long gone back home only to quit other opportunities that presented itself to me.
            Am I brave? I do not know… Do I get scared? Hell yeah!... Do I let it stop me? Once I’m out of hiding under my blanket, I’m up for any challenge!
At home anywhere the world has to offer me.
            If facing my fears to reach my dreams, means I’m strong, brave and independent, then I guess I am. But, it certainly is not something I was born with. The more I face life and fight, the more easier it gets to get up and actually move forward. It doesn’t mean I get any less scared. Change and New Journeys still frighten me to bits, but now I have the confidence that it will be fine!

            The fear of the unknown and of new challenges is natural. We all experience it one time or the other. In fact if you don’t get nervous, then there is something to be worried about! Go. Dream. Fly! Don’t let your fears stop you from doing all that your heart desires, just like how I don’t let it stop me.

P.S: Sorry for the lame captions on the pictures! Too stressed out to come out with something more creative.

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Jun 10, 2013

Destination Dharamsaala!

     This is a day that I feel I have to write down, for reasons that words just can’t explain. I’m saying this at the risk of sounding too romantic, but what’s the harm in falling in love with life, falling in love with the world, but not falling in love with a guy?
     With all my stubborn determination to travel the world, inspite of my previous mini-travel experiences, I have finally landed in Dharamsaala as a true traveler, or so I hope. Walking around the street alone in the beginning felt a little lonely, but as the sun climbed up the sky, through the clouds drizzling rain on us, the day just got better and better, and I somehow know that one post on my blog is just not enough to describe it, you have to live it!
The Stupa at the Monastery that I am staying in
     It began with joining a volunteering organization that helps teach Tibetan refugees foreign languages. Had a conversation class with a bunch of chatty enthusiastic Tibetan sweethearts, right after meeting travelers from Israel, Finland, USA, Canada and Britain who came in to volunteer as well.
Getting lost on the mountains to find a library certainly helped me lose a few kilos. I did not find the library, but I did find another organization that I fell in love with and will be teaching English at. Met a retired teacher from Taiwan who travelled the world with her seven year old daughter, had probably the world’s best momo soup and walked back to the monastery that I stay in. (Yes! I am living in a real monastery that has monks walking around in their red robes)
     I could just go on about this one single day! (and I will). Had weird chocolate donuts in a wonderful café, reading a book about Buddhism, whose most striking phrase was “If you still call yourself a Buddhist then you aren’t a true Buddha yet.” and met my student who I am going to teach French.
   Then I ended up in a café called “Hope Café” where I watched a documentary about the atrocities committed against Tibetans in China, with a bunch of amazing travelers. A British traveler who spent a few days in a jail in Iran, an Irish woman teaching English in Thailand, an Australian who really was touched by the Tibetan issue and so many others made my day even more eventful as we enjoyed chocolate momos.
A Valley In Dharamsaala.
     I can really go on about how amazing my day was, or how amazing Dharamsaala is or even how amazing chocolate momos are, but that would just be a little teenage girl writing in her personal diary. Whereas I have had an epiphany today, that didn't come as a surprise to me. The experiences that I have had, the memories that I have made and certainly the friends that I have earned, in just the past 24 hours travelling in a exotic unknown destination, have given me so much more than the past twenty years of my ‘settled’ life at ‘home’!

     Just one day, and I am all revved up to experience the world. Why not? It is our only home after all, with just so much to offer to us isn't it? A little pause to big travels dreams, as I have to receive my mom’s phone call from ‘home’, as she calls me all worried about me being alone and not being in the comforts of her cooking. 

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May 24, 2013

The Indian Bureaucracy almost made me leave my country!

     Today was a hard day for me. Hard as an average common-man Indian! It led me to the extreme of asking my best friend as to how I could acquire a citizenship to Australia(No favouritism here! But any developed nation would do). I am no drama queen, but sometimes an insignificant incident(insignificant to others eyes) can trigger the deepest emotions in me.
     I needed a simple study certificate from my college just to state that I am a student of the college, so that I can use it to apply for a passport. Having spent three precious years of my youth studying in that college, I reckoned this would be no hard task, but boy was I wrong!
    First of all there is no specific person who really handles issues of students, because students are expected not to have issues. You see we are "educated" to become sheeple( Sheep + people), so doing anything other than what is strictly instructed to us in the name of disciple, is not an option. Regardless, I managed to find the office staff that would know something about the certificate, literally doing nothing at his desk. Nothing!
     When he realised I approached him with a potentially hazardous errand, requiring him to get up from his chair(oh how on earth could I ask him to do his job? How wrong of me!) he had a couple of excuses that was evidently pre-rehearsed. So now I know I am not the only one having to climb mountains to get a simple certificate.
    In spite of the fact that all my proof of address, date of birth and even proof of my existence had already been submitted to them, when I was admitted as a student to the very same college, he asked me to submit a whole bunch of other proofs! That too in a tone that was meant to remind me that I was subservient to his bureaucratic position. The tone mattes a lot, it is a window to the attitude that they carry towards us students.
     No matter what he asked of me, at that moment when I was filled with utter frustration at his incompetence and his evident bullying attitude, I realised how helpless I was. With no insane amounts of money in my pocket or an influential politician in my family tree, I could not get anything done in this system if I were to follow the correct norms and procedures. I either had to bribe him, bully him or end up getting bullied and waste days of my precious youth running around him to get things done!
     The bureaucracy of India works as if it does a favour to those who approach their desks for things to get done. Some of us maybe at such positions too, some of us might get into those positions some day soon, but when we get to that position, why do we all forget our duty? Why do we forget to do the job that is asked of us? Why do we forget that no matter how small the work that is asked of us might be, it is still a part of the system that we are a part of? No matter how insignificant it may seem, the longer we take to get it done, the more clogs and obstacles you add to the system. At the end of the day, making us responsible for the slow, irresponsible and frustrating system that manages to hold this country back from becoming great!
     Do not underestimate yourself to the extent that you begin to think nothing that you do has an impact in the world. Everything we do has an impact somewhere, somehow and on someone. Every action of yours or even every inaction will have ramifications that you are responsible for. Begin to think of yourself as a part of a system that is working to a better tomorrow. Then maybe our bureaucracy, our governmet, our education and finally our country might move forward towards a better India. Or else, a citizenship to Australia is always an option!

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May 12, 2013

He Said He Has Three Girlfriends!

     It was just another day at my friend's place, the usual jibber-jabber, the annoyingly loud television and the random college friends walking in conveniently adding in their confusion into the jibber-jabber, that made no sense in the first place. Amidst this chaos, that one can surprisingly get used to, my friend introduced me to a new member, who I hadn't had the opportunity to meet before(I say opportunity since he is the protagonist of this blog post)
    "He is most famous guy in college and he has three girlfriends, all crazy about him." This was the first statement that heralded his initiation into the group. He blushed and his pride in this "achievement" of his was evident.
     To my surprise my friend looked at me with a glance that hinted that I remark on the new member's ability to collect women as one would collect candies or toy cars! All that came out my mouth was a "Sorry!"
     As expected, looks of confusion were directed at me. I realised I was supposed to be impressed somehow and probably should have offered to be the fourth girlfriend. I had to cover up and say "I'm sorry for you! It's a struggle to even survive one relationship, and you manage three", when I originally wanted to say "I'm sorry for you! Your lack of a decent education and mental maturity is so evident." But then again it was our first rendez-vous, and I didn't want to scare the guy away with my strong opinions and principles(Call me crazy!)
    I should have been more offended at the fact that such a young and a potential future advocate of this nation(this jibber-jabbering lot were all students of Law) , didn't comprehend how preposterous his "achievement" of not only deceiving three women was, but also how badly it reflected on his ability to treat women as an equal gender that deserved respect and courtesy. But then again who am I to say anything!
    I was more disappointed with my friend who welcomed in this member to whom women were just collectible items, with open arms (literally!). The day continued on as if nothing was wrong and nothing needed any attention.
    As a society and as citizens we have the right to draw a line as to what is acceptable and what is not. We hold loud discussions in cafeterias about the condition of women in this nation, we throw mud on the government for not protecting women enough and eventually we point fingers at the women itself for provoking the crime done against them, but none of us ever stand up in our everyday lives against people like him.
   His choice of treatment of women and his wrongly-placed pride in it should have found a stop amongst his peers, who have the ability to realise how damaging an attitude such as that can be not only to the three women, but the society at large. Yet we fear and we hesitate to say NO! STOP! Women are equal! Women deserve better!
     *Everyone has the equal right to be with the partner they choose and exercise their sexual freedom, but only as long as the rights of the other people involved are also being respected!

    Things do not change; we change

Apr 23, 2013

Where Are All The Mothers And The Wives?

It is that time of the year, where tensions are high as the exams are around the corner. Though half of the country is boiling with anger over the countless rapes of women and little girls in the nation, our universities continue to follow their routine of examinations. I belong to one such university and the whole last week was spent in filling up forms and paying fees for the same cause.
            Though the medieval practice of filling up paper forms and standing in queues for hours together, when we belong to the age of internet, really frustrated me, what caused me more anger was the fact that every form asked for my father’s name or in some cases my husband’s name. Somehow, the women of my life where considered either non-existent or maybe not fit enough to be identified with.
Have women no identity?
            In a time when people are protesting against heinous crimes such as rape, my little complaint of not including a woman at an equal position in the administration, might seem menial. Then again, it is the little changes that lead to the biggest impact.
            Even when the trend of anti-corruption swallowed our nation, and everybody was filled with a zeal to fight corruption, the flame faded of soon. When in reality the real fighters of this cause are small actions taken by people every day. Little things such as teaching your kids to value the right things in life and not run after wealth alone, or choosing to pay the fine for not wearing the helmet instead of bribing the traffic policeman.  
            Even with the cause of the equal treatment of women, the little things in our daily lives, can bring the biggest impact. If we start genuinely considering women as equal, and include their names in places where only men stood before, then wouldn’t equality of women come naturally in the country? Waiting for big changes at the level of parliament and supreme courts would mean nothing, if in our everyday lives, we still fail to see women as equal, and fail to see women as that half of the society that can not only have its own identity, but also give identity to their children and spouses.

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Apr 2, 2013

Battle for Gender Equality

“This is the first time in the history that we are talking about equality of gender”. As I heard these words from my friend’s mouth, I realized the magnanimity of his statement. We, as a generation, are part of a progressive change in the very foundation of society. Slow, yet existent.
            Man and Woman, or as feminists would suggest, Woman and Man, have now the opportunity to talk about being considered equal and treated as individuals, regardless of the gender they belong to. This does not mean they are both expected to bear offsprings, or both expected to run as fast, but it means both the genders have the equal rights to choose the lives that they wish to have.
            As history stands to teach us, Change has never come easy. Scholars who said the earth was round, when everybody was more than convinced it was flat; freedom-fighters who said the foreign invaders had no place ravaging their homelands and fought for freedom; or educated citizens who said no king or queen could govern a country as effectively as a democratic republic, can all stand testimony to how tough and testing change can be!
            In this generation, the change we talk of is the way we look at the genders that exist in our societies (or rather, in our minds). We are the people who will be remembered in the future centuries to come, as the people who broke down barriers that has pulled people down with true potential for greatness, and freed them from the binds that force them to conform to the norms of the gender-biased societies.
            Do we want to be a part of this change? Do we want to be remembered for the greatness that we as a community have achieved? Do we want to allow people to achieve greatness and contribute to the entire humanity moving forward? Why not!
            The world was always faced with new innovations, theories and techniques, that rattled its very foundation. The discovery of fire, the invention of the computer, the proposal of the Big Bang Theory, the concept of Free Education, and countless such examples taken from the very history of the species that we belong to. None of these changes were accepted painlessly, yet they eventually were. The path to gender equality also faces a similar destiny.
            The little battles fought today, will certainly bring about the change that people have begun to realize, is necessary in this world. Why not be a part of this battle and fight the odds, afterall change is the only thing that is constant.

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Mar 13, 2013

The Choice Between ME And Who YOU Want Me To Be

     He looked into my eyes with great concern and said, "Why do you think you are different? Just be Normal like everybody else and gel in." 
     For a second it seemed like a decent advice that in my 20 years of ups and downs, never occurred to me apparently. I have to be honest and confess, I've always felt a lack of belonging and felt like I need to be somewhere else but the place that I was in. I've always felt when I was talking, I was heard but never truly understood. Maybe I was talking a different language or talking of a different world. Maybe I was just insane, suffered a genetic mutation or was just different. "Just be like everybody else". 
Should I be ME or just like the rest be?
     Maybe I should start dressing exactly like my friends and stop bothering about gender equality. Maybe I should straighten my hair and stop talking about improving the education system of my country.  Maybe I should just get a masters degree(In the very education system I opine as incapable!) instead of wanting to travel the world to see its true beauty. Yes! Maybe I should give up all my dreams, all my passions, all my heart's desires just so that all the people around me will look at me and say, "she is normal, she is just like the rest of us."
      We live in a society where people of beauty, wealth and power are worshiped (Need I state the countless examples of who our society wrongfully appreciates?). We have a set of behaivoural guidelines and habits that we deem as NORMAL. The things we wear, the way we speak, the places that we visit , the people that we date or even the dreams we Dare to Dream. They all have to be a certain way that the majority doesn't frown upon. 
     But what if I want to break away from that NORMAL. What if I want to set out on a path that has not been tread on by the generations before me. I am scared and am certainly unsure of what lies ahead. But  do I let these fears stop me? I am alone in trying to be that someone that the society says is DIFFERENT. Do I step back and live a life that I dread, just because people on the street don't recognize me for who I am?
     Why is it that we have a fear something new. We let that fear stop us from freeing our souls to the unknown. If I dare to say I want to take two years off from my education, to travel this beautiful world and learn about the planet I belong to, all I hear are gasps of utter fright and certain cases of disappointment (Sorry my main aim in life is not the own a yellow Ferrari and a bungalow on the palm islands in Dubai!)
     Our obsession with complying with this standard of NORMAL, makes us so prejudiced and biased. If a man chooses to love a man instead of a woman like the rest of us, why do we say he is committing a sin? If a woman is healthier than most of us by about 80 Kilos, then why do the words 'fat' and 'ugly' automatically enter into our minds? If a man wears torn clothes and earns less than most of us, why do we assume he is worthless and achieved nothing mentionable at all? 
     We judge them so instantly and recklessly, that it is truly unfortunate. We spend our whole lives learning that true beauty of a person lies on the inside, yet all we care about is the outside. All the wonderful people we stop ourselves from knowing, just because we don't agree with what and who they are! All the wonderful things we stop ourselves from becoming, just because others might not agree with what and who we are!
     My very concerned friend, was obviously concerned that I felt alone and isolated. But do I change myself just so that I am accepted? Do I lose everything that truly makes me ME, just so that I am identified with pretty words? 
     Just when I had decided I am going to be all alone in my fight to re-define NORMAL, I had an epiphany (I had to use this word, because I just love the way it sounds!). I am not alone at all! Just a few days later another good friend of mine said "whatever you are is your state of NORMAL, not what others say it needs to be". No need to lose myself in the crowd then? A week later I met a room full of people with more zeal than me to give up on NORMAL dreams of wealth and power, in order to work for the community. No need to give up on my dreams then? 
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
~ Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

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Feb 17, 2013

Gender Discrimination with an Education - Why I make a horrible Indian Wife

     Brilliant music, Brilliant drive and a Brilliant friend to have an engaging chat with. Just a few minutes before this drive home with my friend, he had happened to introduce me to this crush. A very sweet and homely girl, who would obviously make a wonderful Indian wife. We were discussing about his future with this very sweet and homely girl, if they were to start a relationship together.What could possibly be flawed in this setting of two friends having a normal chat?
     A friend of mine always tells me I think in "two layers". I see what most people don't see(maybe choose not to see) or rather I read between the lines. I assume this is not so acceptable by most, but it is this "two layered" thinking that helps me write my blog.
     I could already see her making his family happy with her cooking, and her treatment of the in-laws. She would make a good Indian Wife and a good Indian Bride (The idea of the role of wife that my country holds may not be in agreement with what idea I hold). I could see why my friend likes her, and he seconded that idea too. A perfect match about to happen... Wait! My "two layered" thinking has yet to come to play here.
     In spite of her perfect representation of the bharatiya naari (Indian Woman), that our 'tradition', 'culture' and our 'history' teaches us day-in and day-out, we both noticed and agreed that they had nothing in common at all. Two months of talking and they would run out of engaging conversations for the rest of their happily married life(My friend might be looking for a gun to shoot me right now for writing this blog post. But I'm a risk taker ;P )
     So I inconspicuously asked, "Se might make your family happy, but it is still you who has to spend the rest of your life with her. So shouldn't you marry a girl you would really want to spend that life with?"
     I got an explanation as to why that would be close to impossible from my friend, that I wasn't really surprised at hearing. He went on to say if he were to ever introduce a girl like me, with whom he more in common to his mother and say he wants to marry me, his family would be devastated and in ruins, and his mother would eventually make him choose between me and her (There is a slight level of exaggeration, but you should get the idea that I would not be accepted as an Indian Bride in his Indian Family).
     That was obvious. Let me take the effort of explaining to you why marrying me is such a taboo.
  • I do not know how to cook, and I will not put in the extra effort to learn cooking just because all my aunties and mother's friends tell me I need it to please my husband and in-laws with my cooking. They are grown people, they should either feed themselves or hire a cook. I am not going to be their servant.
  • I will not give up my education or my career or my dreams according to the family that I marry into, because they believe a woman has to take care of the family while the man and the elders make the big decisions in the house. I have always been and will always be an independent woman who makes her own decisions. 
  • I am spiritual, which means I am not religious. So a typical Indian wedding with rituals whose meanings literally nobody knows, is not something I will be a part of.
  • I will not change my second name to my husband's second name, or any such changes that will show that I am only a wife and nothing else.
  • I will not... I repeat I will not jump into a fire like Sita did to prove how good a wife she was to Lord Rama(A reference to the Indian holy book called the bhagavadgita). If my husband can't trust me, he has some issues!
     Now that I started listing out the reasons, I realise there are so many more that make me a horrible Indian Bride! But, I think I will run the risk of never finding an Indian Husband, if it means I get to be independent, make my own decisions, live my dreams and most of all BE TREATED EQUALLY in spite of my gender.  
     Our gender bias and our concept of roles of the genders is so deeply rooted in our culture and society, that this kind of gender discrimination goes entirely unnoticed. Most people do not even see how wrong and discriminative this practice of defining a perfect Indian Bride is! Good cook, Good looking, Fair, Doesn't have male-friends, Chaste, Good at taking orders, Doesn't drink or smoke, possibly gives a good massage, etc etc etc etc etc... I feel like we Indian women are up for sale. If you do not fit that description, or fight against the existence on such descriptions then you are flawed, you are unmarry-able.
     Education hasn't helped this scenario either. The only difference it has made is that now the Indian Wife is expected to cook, clean, please her husband and her in-laws, and in addition also earn a part of the income. How has the society really changed if independent women will find it so hard to be accepted into an Indian Family as a Bride?
     Being a sweet and homely wife is not something I am undermining. I know how hard and wonderful a job it is to be a wife and a mother. But shouldn't this choice be entirely upto the woman herself, and not anybody else. If a woman like me chooses a different life that our 'tradition' and 'culture' doesn't preach, then do I make a horrible wife?
     If an Indian Family rejects me as a Good Indian Bride only because I wish to be treated equally and with respect, and want to exercise my rights and freedom, then I am happy! In fact I am proud of standing up for this half of humanity. I in turn reject them, reject them all from our society! 
     My friendship with my friend is something I will always cherish. Our shared interests and our brilliant chats. I respect him with all my heart and believe truly in his talent and worth. Hence I wish none of my opinions are taken as personal. But I am an Indian woman fighting for a society that treats women equally and gives us a status and respect we deserve. Long way to go, but the fight has to start somewhere right?

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Feb 14, 2013

If Your Man is Abusing You, SEEK HELP!

     It is with great pain that I am writing today's post. Especially since I know the thing that is causing me so much pain, is occurring even as I type this post out. It is WOMEN ABUSE!
     I recently learnt that a friend of mine who we thought was in a happy relationship with her cute boyfriend(I remember finding him really cute and sweet), has been facing physical abuse at his hands. She has been feeling the pain and wounds from a man who misuses his arms and legs, to cause wounds on her body! No man...NO MAN has the right to even think of harming a woman. No matter how cute, how loving or how rich.
    The worst part was when I narrated this story to a few more women, hoping they would see how wrong this incident was and how this man DESERVED TO BE IN JAIL, I was astonished to hear a few women tell me their own experiences! The frequency of women(or young girls in relationships) abuse is far more severe and common than I had ever imagined.
    These women continue to either face the abuse or a few brave ones who get out, continue to feel mental agony, whereas these criminals walk around free and relentlessly abusing more and more and more of our world's women. Why do more and more of our generation's men treat women like we do not matter at all? Why is this attitude still prevailing in the 21st century? Let me tel you why.... Because we are doing NOTHING about it. NOTHING!!!
    WOMEN! Please listen... we are STRONG! We have the ability to lead the life we dream of, and we DO NOT NEED A MAN to make any of our dreams come true. Please Please Please believe in yourself! If any man, no matter how much "love" you think there is, if he hits you, LEAVE! Leave immediately! You HAVE the strength to stand and stop this pain that is being caused to you.
    Remember it is NOT YOUR FAULT. There is NO REASON for any man to beat you. If he even slaps you, it means YOU HAVE TO LEAVE! Do not try to see any mistakes on your side. If there are problems, then the only solution is to sit down and talk about it. Physically beating IS NOT A SOLUTION. So do not ever think he is allowed to hit you.
    Most importantly, not all men are such criminals. I promise to you, that when you use your courage to      get out of such an abusive relationship, you WILL find men who treat us women with respect. I promise to you that there are real men who know our value and treat us as equals, because WE ARE EQUALS. There are real men who will understand you and let you live your dreams. The man who beats you today is NOT the only man on the planet. He is the man who deserves to be away from our society.
    You deserve respect! You deserve love! You deserve to live a life of freedom and peace! No one should stop you from it! No one! If he truly loves you and respects you, then he will never beat you!
     If you feel alone and feel like you need to talk to someone PLEASE MAIL ME! I promise to help you as much as my abilities allow me. Mail me anytime and I promise I will reply to you, be your friend and help you. Share your stories and your emotions! Anything at all! I am always here for you.... Please mail me if you need a friend to help you through this abuse.
                                     MY E-MAIL ID : spoo.friend@gmail.com
    Its easy to remember(I admit a little cheesy), and I created it only to receive your mails, so please please please write to me! If you are afraid to reveal your name, its okay! If you just want someone to listen, then I am here to listen...
    If you are not a direct victim of abuse, but know someone who is helpless, then ACT! You have the resources to help that woman or a girl, then help change her life. No matter how helpless the situation may seem, there is always a solution! ALWAYS!... You can write to me too, and I promise to help you find that solution. Never see a woman facing abuse and ignore it as if it is not your business. It is! It is all our business, because at the end of the day we all belong to the same community and live as one humanity.
     One small voice of help can help change a life. The woman might not have the strength to walk away from abuse or might not even realise that that abuse is unjust, but if you realise it then you HAVE TO ACT. I had a father who physically beat my mother in front of my eyes. Never until today have I spoken about it. But, silence is not going to help anyone. Hiding the truth will only mean more suffering and more violence. SPEAK UP! I was a small girl and didn't know what to do! But today I realise how even one single voice could have helped us... But none did...
     So please don't let the women of our society be abused. And women do not let a man abuse you!

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Feb 8, 2013

How Can I Be Proud Of Being An Indian Woman?

     A few days ago I turned 20. I presume I can now safely say I am a woman and not a girl anymore, and have lived a life long enough to form opinions and be considered as an adult(To my mother I am still a 13 year old kid!). Today I write not as Spoorthi, a college going girl who is always so cheerful and loves Dogs, but I write as a Woman...an Indian Woman.
     I wasn't born in a typical Indian family, but it was rather just me and my mom my whole life. So, I have lived a life where I have seen how strong and independent a woman can truly be, in all circumstances that life and society can throw at us. Today, I too can proudly say I am a strong woman!
    I walk with my shoulders straight and head held high. I voice my opinions in a country where almost everything has gone wrong; starting from the government to the social set-up of caste and religion. I truly believe that no dream is too far away to be achieved regardless of your gender, caste or colour.
     Yet, today I write this feeling pain, disappointment and distress, and am standing on the cliff where I am only a few centimeters away from giving up on this nation. I love my country, and I always will, but will I ever be truly happy in this society?
     From the moment I open my eyes in the morning every force around me wants to show me my place! My place as a woman! I am stared at by the men on the streets for the body I walk in. I am unheard in a debate in a group of men. I am told I need to marry a man to take care of me.
     I pick a guitar, I am told to pick a spatula instead to learn cooking. I try to ride a bike, but no man is ready to sit behind me since it is embarrassing for a man who would let a woman take control of a bike. I want to make decisions for my group, but I don't see a single ear hearing me.
     Why is it so rare in this nation to see a woman making decisions and taking control of situations, and  a bunch of men listen to her and truly respect her decisions without prejudice? Why is so rare to see an unmarried woman successful in her life, being appreciated and held as an example of strength, and not forced to find herself a groom? Why is to so impossible to be a woman and even feel safe in this country?
     Will I really be happy in a nation where everything in my life is decided by the gender I belong to? The clothes I wear, the people I spend time with, the education I get, the lifestyle I want to lead, even the time I have to get back home is decided on my gender! My worth, my value, my talent, my respect and my place in the society is careful measured based on my gender! How can I be happy and proud of being an Indian, when it truly hurts to know this inevitable fact of this society?
     I am writing this under the risk of sounding like a whining woman, who is desperate to seem victimized. But no matter how I am looked at for writing this, the truth will never change. Women have always been and will always be objectified, disrespected and will never be treated as equals!
     We are used for the maintenance of a household and used for the sexual gratification of men(The recent rape cases, and this nation's inability to stop it still is the biggest and the most shameful evidence). Our dreams are crushed and replaced by dreams already planned by the society.
     This is a democratic nation. But, a democratic nation for men! Freedom? Liberty? Equality? How can I ever taste? How can I ever be proud to be an Indian Woman?

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Jan 30, 2013

Only Because She Was A Woman!

     When it comes to music, I must say I am lucky to always be surrounded by friends who are musically oriented and motivated(Though somehow, most of them seem to be of the male breed). Last evening was an evening with one such group of friends, practicing and creating tunes and rhythms,with guitars, bass, drums and voices.
     There came a moment in the practice session when we had to refer to Youtube for one of the guys to check the guitar cover of a rock song. One of my friends sat himself in front of the computer screen and typed in the search for the guitar cover(All those who may be musically- retarded, a cover is when an artist reproduces the original song, but is not the original artist).
     The first video suggested by Youtube was that of a girl with her electric guitar. Since I wasn't the one playing the guitar I wasn't paying much attention to this quest, until I hear my friend's comment and the giggles that followed from the rest of my group!
     "You guys wanna check out a chick playing the song" *Read the phrase with utter sarcasm and cynicism in his voice*. Then all I hear after that gender-biased comment is all my friends giggling! No one protested against that remark!
     Maybe the fact that I was the only girl present, made me the only one to yell out against it. But being a man is no excuse to underestimate the talent of a girl, is it?
     Being the rebel that I am, I had to say something. My comment went something like this, "Hey! Don't underestimate anyone based on their gender. Girls can play the guitar too!"
     Though I heard further protests from the guys saying they didn't judge based on the fact that she was a women, they still chose to watch a video by a guy!
     I further put forth my point saying, "She has got the most views on Youtube, so obviously she is good".
     To my utter dismay, my well-educated and open-minded friends commented "She got the views because she is a woman! That is how it works in Youtube".
     The rebel in me couldn't sit quite while this group of men, who will later become the future of this country and become accountable for this nation's fate, undermined the abilities of an entire population of women, and that too only for the fact that they are women!
     What seems like a common interaction of men in this nation on a daily-basis, is in fact the very reason as to why women aren't given the credit, opportunity and the life that they deserve! I live in a nation where it is completely normal that I am judged as incapable of anything worthwhile ONLY BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN!
     They all assumed that the girl wouldn't play well without even listening to her play. Worst of all, they all truly believed that the views that she had earned were purely because SHE WAS A WOMAN! The people in this country believe that when a woman earns any recognition or credibility,  it is purely because of her appeal of BEING A WOMAN, and that it has nothing to do with the fact that she may actually be good at what she does, and worked hard to get to where she is!
     Having a debate would make no sense, so once they were done listening to the guy play, I had to go back and play the video where the woman is seen playing the song. Any guesses of how she played?
     If you guessed she was horrible, then you are exactly like those who judge based on gender! Because she played really well. Even my men-friends had to finally agree that she was better than the male counter-part, and hence actually deserved the high views that she earned for her skills, and not just for the fact that SHE WAS A WOMAN.
     Its time we look at people for what they truly are capable of, which means looking beyond their gender too!

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