A Country of Labels

Facebook posts, tweets, open letters and hundreds of articles later what have we achieved?
We told the world that WE are a country of rapists.

I see my feed flooded with posts about how men need to change, how we need to respect our women more and how we need to promote equal rights for women. But between all this outcry and anger we have changed the actual common man.

Social media is generally a platform for the educated and civilized to create a ruckus about black and white dresses. But when we are writing, sharing and liking strongly worded posts, the virality (yes! It’s an actual word) stays limited to the millions of people who aren’t ignorant about the facts. And will you seriously tell us that it is the fault of men? Do we have to be labeled as ‘perverts’, ‘jerks’, ‘rapists’, ‘eve-teasers’ and such? Why do we have to fear everytime the bus hits a speed-breaker and we bump into the girl/woman/lady in front of us? Fear that they’ll turn around, shout at us and slap us in public while some self proclaimed feminist is filming it for his blog on his smartphone. Why do we have to be ashamed for being men?

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When we waged a war on terrorism and racism, we all spoke out saying “all Muslims are not terrorists.” Now there is another war on our doorstep. It is a war in which heinous, unspeakable, unthinkable and unforgivable acts are committed by people who are anything but human. But is it not YOUR duty to make sure that the words you spread condemn the criminal and not an entire gender? When you write “friends we should respect women”, do you honestly think that the danger lurks in the heart of your friends? When a person looks at our country all he/she sees in the subtext is “all men are rapists.” Is that right?

The people who are actually to be blamed lurk in the shadows, out of reach of common sense and morality. They are the ones who stalk women on the internet, who have no sense of right and wrong and to whom social media posts are all but impermeable. And the thousands of girls out there who actually have faced the trauma and the torture fight another battle to make their lives better. They don’t sit on social media and rant about it. WE do. People, dear to us, who have been through hell and back don’t tweet their struggles. WE do.

I’ve seen too many labels. I’m a brother, a son, a friend, a mentor and a boyfriend.
I am a man and I’m not a pervert.

The Big Fat Indian Paycheck

As the entire world knows, the Indian media is the most unbiased, uninfluenced and unabashedly truthful of them all (if you are clueless, then YES, I’m being heavily sarcastic). And they have proven their undeniable worth as a dependable watchdog of the Indian society in these past few days by their unparalleled coverage of the recent placements at the IITs that started a couple of days back.

Now as any Tanmay, Deepak and Hari will know in India, the IITs are the premier institutions for technical education in our country; while the people who study there are definitely India’s best and brightest. But the media suddenly has decided that the Indian youth isn’t pressurized enough in their formative years of high school (11th and 12th standard), so now they have decided to make our lives more hell with the constant news coverage of “an IIT-Kharagpur student getting a pay package of 1.54 crores” in the course of the ongoing placements.

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Now as a technical student though I’m in awe of the person in question, it’s now going to be VERY difficult explaining it to the average Indian parent and even harder living with the ‘pados waale Sharmaji ka beta’ (all, except Kapil Sharma. He’s nalayak!). Like any good and responsible media they have chosen to completely ignore and leave out facts like cost of living, the EXCHANGE RATE (he’s NOT going to be a karodpati in Amreeka!) and all the technicalities like stocks and one time bonuses. Leave Amreeka. Here’s whats happening on the home turf.

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What kind of job is going to give Rs 3.5 lakhs A MONTH!? (sigh). There’s already a dearth of professionals in sectors like education, research and the government. All this because all the parents suddenly decided a decade ago that “beta, engineering karlo. Life set ho jaayegi” because it pays good”. Now it’s going to be “beta IIT mein computer science padhlo. Life set ho jaayegi” for everyone. The media has been irresponsible and has made it a masala piece for everyone and people need to understand that. The common Indian middle class parent needs to understand what it means when such headlines are made. They need to understand how the system works. It’s been a fact for years now that students need to choose careers according to their interests and strengths and that parents need to be supportive of that decision. Please don’t try to ruin the life of the person who has managed to convince his parents that he wants to study science or commerce or history or literature or arts. Please don’t kill the dreams of the future Kapil Sharmas, Gutthis and TVF teams. I finish this article with words which have been trending my facebook timeline since today morning. these are from a student who studies in the same institute as the headlines.IIT 1

 

 

Pangs Of Social Media

“1 like = 1 prayer”
“1 like = 1 salute”

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I see this caption under thousands of photos that have the ability to visibly shake you or move you to extremities. A man with no hands, writing with his legs might be a story for inspiration for thousands. But isn’t the above mentioned trend reducing him to just his disability? A girl whose life was destroyed because some asshole didn’t understand the word “no” in school neither did he remember his chemistry class on acids. A little 10 year old carrying his 3 year old sister in his arms deprived of food.
Someone finds a photo, puts it up in his/her page and people start liking it and commenting “respect” everywhere. But are we just supposed to sit in our homes and upload pictures or “like” pictures put up by others?

Before you argue with me that “who am I” to say all this, let me tell you that I’m nobody. I am a selfish, spoilt brat who doesn’t like getting his hands dirty. I’m someone who sometimes wants to go out there and lend a helping hand to people but my grades, my career and my life are significantly of more importance to me than anyone else’s. Yet I feel that social media has reduced words like “compassion” and “empathy” to nothing but a mere click of the mouse and an addition to our Spelling-Bee vocabulary.

We have become shameless. A girl in some part of the country was violated. Hundreds of girls face it every day. But as the friendly paan-shop owner in my neighbourhood said on seeing the candle rally in my town showing solidarity to Nirbhaya, “Our wives, sisters and daughters face such torments everyday, saab. Do you see rallies for them? Do their sufferings matter, saab? The paper stays quiet because they are not some medical or engineering students from some big city. So do you. And we stay quiet because we are helpless, poor slum people. Everyone forgets the slums, saab. Everyone”
I do not say here that we shouldn’t express our solidarity. But do we really need to put up posts and pictures and “sharehow she was tormented? Isn’t that being indecent? Isn’t that being insensitive? Why not remember her as a sister, as a daughter, as a friend? Why don’t we put up and share posts which will diminish this patriarchal society’s ego and bring forth some sense into the lurking wolves? Why don’t we first try to fix ourselves and then make sure others follow our lead? Why don’t we acknowledge incidents like Nirbhaya which happen EVERYDAY?

The world is riddled with problems. And we do have our share of upcoming saviors. I see my friends working for NGOs and I feel belittled. Yet I promise to make something out of myself and then lend a helping hand. Because then I’ll truly be able to help anyone anyhow. Not tied down my social norms and the shackles of “conventionalism”. IF you really want to help, think beyond sharing photos and getting likes for them. Think beyond the social media. Find NGOs and charities. Let us reach out. Let us contribute 10 bucks a day to those saviors so that the little 10-year old and his sister can get a decent education until we have the courage to go outside, grasp that little boy’s hand and teach him to be Human.
Let it never be said that we were there, watching mutely. Let us revive humanity again.

Being Human

Chaotic World

Miracle performed, a new life born,
The result of a biological marathon.
God’s angels is what the scriptures spell,
Yet a fairy is thought a shame.
But even before the eyes open to light,
The little bud is nipped by the civilized.

The little bird yet to spread its wings,
Hides behind the door, afraid of the gloom.
Watching with teary eyes and a lot of confusion,
Raised voices of the world’s most loving persons.
Tears speaking out the unsaid words,
The little heart wondering if he’s the reason.

Textbooks and lunch boxes take over the universe,
Friendship discovered a million smiles.
Little secrets and bigger dreams with infinite hope,
All shared under the biggest tree’s shade.
Yet for some reason unknown, the string breaks,
And “Buddy” leaves without a second glance or a second chance.

Teenage love with a thousand thrills,
Looks that intoxicate and smiles that kill.
The heart is a fool, leads without thought,
And then is shattered under those beautiful heels.
Wishing friendship would go to the next level,
Yet smiling while seeing love in stranger hands.

Eyes filled with so many dreams and hopes,
All crushed under the weight of responsibility and duty.
Unheard pleas and requests building up disappointment,
And life suddenly seems a cage of unreasonable thinking.
Prejudiced thinking passed off as tradition,
And second hand dreams are sold off as your own.

A helpless victim is being smashed to pulp,
Yet we stand as spectators without emotion.
Helplessness hidden behind stony eyes,
And all guilt suppressed with fear for life.
Cries of shame come out in the middle of the night,
Putting up questions on humanity and compassion.

Your unconditional lovers, the givers of your life,
Withering with time, ask for a bit of the love to be returned.
Yet their request is greeted with ungracious words,
From their shameless offspring with no regrets.
Uncared souls curse with tears of blood,
Blessings undone to spell the same fate for you.

How hypocritical in a world we live in,
Yet talk of hope, faith and love!
When the dark comes with a disappearing red,
All words of the day are forgotten for good.
This lie is our truth I guess,
The summary of our chaotic world.