Fair enough.

I wrote this poem back in 2010 when someone I knew personally was murdered or killed for honor, as the prepatrators of this heinous crime had put it. It has been two years to that day and such satanic acts continue to happen all over India. Strict laws, police vigilance, social activism..nothing succeeds in bringing down these cold blooded murders. The only solution I see is in the root cause of this problem, a mass cultural delusion that the honor of a family is in who (and of what caste/creed/religion/gotra) their children marry. What we need is a basic rethinking of principles. People need to realise that essentially fatal violence against a member of their own family is no more reputable or honorable than marriages they deem as wrong and sinful. And perhaps, a look at the situation from the victim’s eyes would help them realise the gravity of this criminal offense and maybe, just maybe, soften their stone hearts.

Blood..red blood
the same red
of the roses
he got me the day we wed

Red was all over that day and today too when all is over.

His hand are
firmly clutching mine,
Just like they were
back in that time.

Our fingers still
fit perfectly in the spaces.
I can still see him
smiling with his braces.

Stills from the past
skimming.
Emotions ceaselessly
brimming.

And the scene now playing is
of our first touch.
His Dravidian dark against
my Himachali paleness.

There goes the graduation
day past my eyes.
New lives for some,
for some others sad goodbyes.
We both took the Hippocratic Oath that day.
We took our own roads, headed the same way.

Now the train crawls out of this station of obscurity
Into Dream Central, worth all dreams
Our hearts beating in rhythm, fast
His hands on mine on the train’s iron cast.

When Anatomy lectures set
this chemical explosion off,
we know not.
Thigh dissection, bone re-arrangement
and pathogens-
every passing second,
only closer we got.

In this picture, we are exchanging
garlands and promises worth a lifetime
Just Us and the priest
and wedding bells that chime.

When life became an extended honeymoon
There was love and more love
where now there is only doom.

And now I can see our girls
when they were younger.
Their innocent,blank stares
and cute pig tales.

Frames switch quick
the machinery goes tok
tik- tok- tik.

It has been 5 years
since the graduation day,
things are going only one way,
our way.

BUT,

Just today
some people knocked on the door
When I did not answer their call
they knocked and they knocked more
I hide my fairies
In the closet.
And pressed 1- Sree’s speed dail
to make my last call
Deep inside I knew we’d lost it all.

A good fight
and a number of tries
Later the hinges lost.
All I could see was
my brother, some goons
and unending frost.

Sree’s calm voice on the phone
tells me to run or to hide
His voice, so assuring,
so warm
I can feel him here, by my side

But now the damage is done
where there was so much happiness
now there is none.

The machinery in the ambulance
and the siren hurt my ears.
All I want is to close my eyes
and go back in the years.

He is holding my hand very tight.
Whispering into my ears,
“Baby, everythings gonna be alright.”

But its fair enough,
Isn’t it?
I killed my kin’s honor
and their honor killed me.

* An honor killing (also called a customary killing) is the murder of a (typically female) family or clan member by one or more fellow (mostly male) family members, in which the perpetrators (and potentially the wider community) believe the victim to have brought dishonour upon the family, clan, or community.

Indian Girls often face the wrath of their families and at times communities for marrying without their families’ acceptance or outside their caste.
In North India, mainly in the culture of ethic Rajputs – who despite the forces of modernization and the pressures of decolonization, subscribe to medieval views concerning the “preservation” of perceived “purity” of their lineage- girls are killed every other day in the name of honor.
This is my small attempt at making people aware of such barbarian acts taking place in our own country, our own state, our own city and at times our own family.

Dedicated to Sangeeta Thakur and all those innocent girls who have fallen prey to such inhuman acts.
May your soul rest in peace.

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How I lost my Virginity.

Good. Now that I have your complete attention let me get to the point of this post which has nothing to do with my virginity or any event even remotely related to it.
Let me see if you continue to read this with as much attention now that I have put all my cards on the table.

Human Beings.

We evolved into our present form after millions of years of energy expending, directional evolutionary process. It was not by chance that our common ancestor with the chimpanzee lost all his body hair in a forest fire. It was not a lucky fluke that we started walking erect. Our pollex or digitus primus (the opposable thumb on our forelimb) was not a chance modification. Our brain capacity did not increase overnight in a random fashion.
It was years and years and more years of genetic labor. Walking erect was essential to performing hunting functions so was the development of a pollex without which we could not have made and operated any tools.

Tribe Habit. Civilization. Hunting. Gathering. Creating. Changing. Evolving. Rejecting. Rebuilding. Instilling. Splicing. Agriculture. Social awareness. Lighting up a fire. Cooking. Covering up with animal hide. Caving.
An endless list of events that are responsible for our now advanced and sophisticated form.

98.9% of our DNA is the same as that of a Chimp.
That is how close we are.

We keep chimps in our fancy labs to study. They respond by putting up a show for a banana treat. We’ve created parthenocarpy varieties of banana. And the chimps put up a show for a banana treat.

That is how far we’ve come.

Such a waste of precious paleontological time if you ask me. All that time and natural resource could have been put to making more varieties of insects instead. Yes, that would certainly be the wise thing to do. Were I to re-write evolution, the story and the process, Human race would not exist.

There should be no place in the ecosystem for an organism that will not be called a predator but will hunt beings down and turn them into stylish handbags. Not even to eat them and survive. But to wear as an accessory! How is the bollworm wrong then if it eats cotton bolls to survive? But oh! We kill the bollworm by perforating its gut! Get that, PERFORATING ITS GUT. Making a million tiny holes in it so that the gut bursts and the little bollworm dies. We do not even have the excuse of survival. Just effortless and self-imposed superiority.

If you are going to argue that survival of the fittest is the nature’s law then stop and think. Are you really the fittest? You with your diseases and stresses and obsessions and complexes. Are you really even superior to the may fly that lives all for 24 hours but without questioning its superiority or imposing it on beings?
And what is fitness? Darwin thinks it is leaving behind more progeny. Reproductive fitness. The Rabbit beats you to it.
Is it being stronger? The sharks and tigers and snakes and elephants are.
Is it being self-sufficient? Only the plants are.
Is it being more intelligent? The banyan tree that has stood for a hundred years and the rivers that continue to flow after hundreds are.
Is it about standing the test of time? The algae have.

No, we are not the fittest and we should not survive.
We have turned millions of years of evolutionary process into war, destruction, hurt, deforestation, hatred, calamity, power hunger, control, demolition, annihilation, obliteration, devastation.

Zilch. Zero. Nada.
We began with nothing and we are making sure we end with it.

Don’t tell me I am a misanthrope. That is another word you have created because you think you are important enough to be hated. In its anticipation, you devised a word for it.
Don’t tell me I am a churl. I speak the truth. I will not try to please you because you  are not the god of all things to be pleased and buttered for favors.

You want to know what all those years of evolution have brought? Immediate attention and focus when you get the slightest hint that a person is going to reveal how they successfully mated for the first time. My virginity is more important to some people than the doom we’re diving head first into.
For your information, even our common ancestor with the chimp got excited about mating calls or any indication of them. We should have stopped right there.

Enough said.

The Things between Me and Vegetarianism

I was born to a non-vegetarian dad and a vegetarian mom. Clearly, I had a difficult choice to make very early in life. By the time I was 3 and finally aware of “where lollipop chicken comes from” I was already hogging on Butter Chicken (amazing recipe- Here), Drunken Chicken (go here for another amazing recipe), salamis, soups and every other form of meat that my vegetarian mother could dish out (Best part is- in spite of being a pure vegetarian by choice, she makes the most juicy and succulent tandoori chicken ever).

So, there I was. All of Three. Addicted to eating anything that could walk. And guilty as charged of devouring innocent animals that I so loved. If you were ever three, you probably know that there isn’t a tougher spot any three year old could be put in. I was in a Catch 22.

Just like that!

Just when things couldn’t get any worse for the three year old me, My father moved to a post in Kohima, Nagaland. And we had to tow along! If that doesn’t convey anything to you, Here is what an average street side food market in Kohima looks like:

Image from - Here

And this what the local delicacy looks like, raw:

Get my point?

Now?

And to make things worse still, Our house help got us a Hen and Cock couple as a welcome present! Her babies looked like this:

HOW COULD I EAT SOMETHING THAT LOOKS LIKE THAT??? HOW?

So we ended up petting the Hen(who the maid christened Rani- Hindi for Queen) and the cock(who inevitably became Raja- Hindi for King) and their exponentially growing number of chicks. We could never muster up the courage to take one of Rani’s eggs and turn it into an  omelette. But one day Jessypie (our pet cat) decided Rani’s chicks were too much of a temptation to pass up. There was blood and little feathers all over their hut.
And no chicks. I cried the entire day and refused to eat anything. But when I woke up the following morning, I woke up a new person. A part of me dead. I’d lost all faith in Vegetarianism and not eating things people do eat because my logic said “Somebody is going to eat them, anyway”

An year and a half later, we left Kohima and my troubled past behind to seek new horizons.
Then followed 10 years of being true to my carnivorous instincts. It was also the same period when McDonald’s and KFC breached Indian borders and introduced my country and its people to a whole new level of AWESOME. They redefined fast food. That and non-veg. It was no longer about chunks of meat floating in a sea of gravy eaten with flat bread. Finger food was here. And it was here to say! Chicken wings, McChicken and Mexican Chicken Wrap became second nature to me.

But how could my life be that easy? I am peacefully sitting in the backseat of my car when it stops at a red signal.

I turn my head to the left and look out the window. And what do I see? A man with a knife that looks like this-

He raises the knife high into the air and forcefully brings it down on a bird he is suffocating with his other hand.

I witnessed my first Butchery. I regurgitated everything I’d eaten right there.

And when you’d think things couldn’t get anymore complicated my Physiology teacher taught us about a certain Proteolytic Enzyme found in Human Beings specifically designed to digest the proteins present in meat. Not only that, she very strongly advocated that we were designed to consume meat as a part of our diet.

This is what I looked like right then

Image from Here

The amount of confusion and frustration that a simple diet habit can create is ridiculous. At times I stop and think if my whole life has been reduced to a single question-
To be or not to be…Vegetarian. To meat or not to meat.

What is my status now? Non-vegetarian and not ashamed of it anymore.

As for some of my closest friends who are vegetarian and for my vegetarian mother-

Please don’t take offense. Its all in good Humor. I firmly believe that every organism has as much of a right to live as you or me. But I guess I am too small a person to put my taste buds aside and embrace better things in life.

I love you all, vegetarian or not 🙂

The Great Indian Irony- 8 pm Curfew for Women.

In what has come as a sad shock to many, the gurgaon administration earlier this this week put a curfew on women working in offices situated in malls, bars and pubs beyond 8 pm to curb the ever escalating women molestation and rape cases in the city. 

Women protest in Gurgaon. (Image Courtesy- Safe Delhi Campaign.

Much has been written and said about this unprecedented move from the moment of its announcement on monday. The social media has gone haywire with a sudden rush of status messages, posts, tweets, comments, discussions, debates, pictures all conveying the anger of people. #gurgaon has been trending on twitter like never before. Here is an example of just how the social media is aiding the protest.

Ouch! That is one opinion that leave its "mark"

Some people have been hurling really rude words (unfortunately/ fortunately, no ladies challaps yet) at the government and administrative representatives behind this.

Its just eludes me how someone can find faults in this wonderful new addition to our laws. You can not disagree that it is the most practical yet beautiful answer to said problems. But if you do, read this post where I’ll try to answer some questions on behalf of the city’s administration(or not)

1. Why put potential victims and not criminals under house arrest?

Someone I am acquainted with went as far as to tweet, and I tweequote, “Why take away freedom from women while the “perpetuaters” of crime roam free?”

WHAT KIND OF A QUESTION IS THAT??
No offense meant but were you “smarter than a fifth grader” you would know that for every 1000 men in India there are all but 921 women. So majority wins, alright.
And with the way things are going (what with illegal termination of pregnancies, female foeticide, infant mortality and the amazing health care and post natal care services our country offers its “fairer” sex) we shall soon have a lot fewer women to keep indoors.
And let’s face it, these ill-mannered, provocative rape magnets are easier to keep off the streets than potentially drunken sex offenders who’d be so difficult to isolate in bars and pubs.

It is but natural for the poor men to be lured into this vicious trap women create by wearing make up and clothes that do not hide their modesty as much as they expose it.

Look at the witch getting all dressed up to garner male attention. Tsk tsk

And another.

Which brings me to the first solution I want to offer my beloved administration-
The government should be pushed to ban all international and domestic companies alike that are into manufacturing/ selling of these satanic devices used for arousing men that women employ in the form of western garments and beauty products. They are turning innocent lambs into rampant rapists just with a touch of blush on and a tad of eyeliner. I am sure the government wouldn’t care for its lost revenue anymore than it cared for the financial losses said companies, malls and pubs will incur as their women employees fail to work beyong eight, giving a big blow to national productivity.

2. Why 8 pm and 8 pm only?

Oh no, thats just Edward's long lost brother. My bad

Is that even a question?

Haven’t you heard that due to planetary positions as the hour hand on the clock makes a two hundred and fourty degree angle with the minutes hand pointing at 12, all the men around you from colleagues, friends and relatives right upto your father and brother turn into testosterone driven maniacs that’ll hump anything remotely close to a woman within their eyeshot.

And its the same time when all these young “empowered” women are stripped down to mere sex-objects, weak defenseless liabilities and easy targets for satisfying a man’s sexual desires, by force or otherwise.
Before this particular time of the day there is no doubt that we’ll have women play important roles everywhere- from village panchayats right upto genetic research faculties but that is that. Beyond this pre-determined time(methods of which you are now aware of), they’re only being foolish and putting themselves in harms way by staying outdoors.

Another great tip (since I am so good with them)-
Lets determine the curfew hour according to the time of the last recorded offense prior to curfew hours. Like the next time someone decides to get raped at 7, raise the curfew at 7 from that day onwards. If its at 12 in the morning, stop women from leaving their homes altogether.

3. Why can’t the government make the city safer for women at night instead?

Thats preposterous!
Why can’t you ever have realistic expectations from our government and not optimistic to the point of being right out of magic world?

Take it from the money bags.

With the teeny tiny sum of a couple of hundred thousand crores that you pay as direct taxes How can they make the roads safe at night with proper street lights, camera surveillance, night patrol vehicles and increased security forces?
There is a limit to utterly absurd wants!
Anyhow, I have another solution or should I say suggestion for my favorite people-
Please relieve all women police officers from any kind of duty after 8 pm as well. We can’t afford to risk their sanctity what with the dearth of the otherwise easily available targets and abundance of unsatieted rapists on the lookout? Ofcourse, we need not worry about the shortage of workforce this is going to create because if corporate firms can manage with a couple of hundred fewer employees after 8, so can the Indian Police. You have to stop underestimating them all the time, people!

4. What if some women do stay outdoors after 8 despite the rule?

We told you na- No woman to stay out after 8.
But if it still doesn’t enter your thick skull, the administration has nothing to do with it. It is entirely your responsibility if you get teased, molested, raped or kidnapped. With this law in place, the admin and police has shouldered off any responsibility for crimes that’ll take place courtesy your “careless attitude”. Dont come crying to the police and the courts for justice then. Its like the the warranty on appliances. Ultimately, it does expire. Just the way the service liability for protection of women ends at 8 sharp. As for the guys, they’ll continue to roam freely and feel safe at any time of the night in an already male dominated society. They deserve to be protected, unlike their inferior counterparts.

Text on the banner translates as "Your dirty perceptive and I should cover up?"

And like I am sure you already know, no man ever invited any harm his way. If a woman in a short skirt is raped- slut asked for it. But if a man in a pair of shorts does- the rapist is to blame entirely. How is a pair of shorts any more attractive to a rapist than a dhoti? But a skirt as opposed to a saare is

And yet again, another one of my tips for my dear keepers of law and order-

Stop registering any FIRs by women for incidents that occured after 8, during the woman curfew. That’ll teach these irresponsible citizens with no respect for the law to stay indoors and thereby reduce crimes rates which they are primarily responsible for. Just refuse to take emergency calls or to run an investigation also.

As for the men, please do continue to offer them your excellent and valuable services as ever.

5. What to do in the case of a medical emergency or another situation that makes it absolutely imperative for some woman to leave home at inappropriate hours?

As the new rule has already detailed- it should be made absolutely sure by the employer(s)/ any responsible male members of the family that the mode of travel from office/ home to the destination is safe and that all details of the same be documented and taken to the nearest police station for scrutiny every 15 days.
But I have a feeling these measures are not stringent enough. So here’s what needs to be done-
A team of experts specially trained in martial arts, crime investigation, wrestling, snipper skills, soduko, crossword, kathakali, fung shui art of healing, cooking and with a charming personality so that the women feel comfortable around them should be detailed for securing all modes of transportation used by women after “safe hours”.

And all women be accompanied by an armed male member of their family at all times (there are things you got to learn from our little friends at taliban)

Before I sign off, I just want to congratulate
the gurgaon authorities on this remarkable achievement. One can only hope that other cities learn from the model of gurgaon and follow suite ASAP.

I can’t speak for anyone else but my parents are just glad you took this much needed step.
They no longer need to worry about spending money and time on teaching me self defense or on replenishing my supply of pepper spray every now and then. They want me to convey their deepest gratitude to you for making sure I am safe by taking away the most basic of my rights. I’ll be dammed if I mind it one bit or try to protest.

Satire-cally yours,

TheGirlFromGurgaon.