The mindset of Indian women….has to change

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Before I start to write anything, let me tell you that I am a feminist. I advocate for the equality of sexes. But I don’t think even if millions of people like me support for the cause, there isn’t going to be any significant change in the role women are going to play in the society. The figures from World Bank which shows the labour force participation rate of women in India exemplifies it. To oversimplify things, millennial women in India can be classified into 3 broad categories of which only set is productive.

1. The Conservative set:

They make up a huge chunk of the population. Their dreams are limited. Cultural backgrounds have forced them to draw boundaries to their goals. Their parents don’t focus on what their aspirations are. They are told to study well and restricted from activities like late night partying, fashion dressing and sometimes even speaking out their opinion raises eyebrows. Fingers are pointed towards them when they mingle too much with men. But if they start to believe that it is the way they are supposed to live they are making a catastrophic mistake. Before anything else, they need to dig into themselves and find out their lost ambition. They need to stop worrying about their mounting age, pressure from their parents to marry early, pressure to quit their jobs. They have an advantage, they have studied well, they have good grades. It is up for them how they are going to use it. Are they going to print their qualifications on their marriage cards or are they going to make an impact with it? They can live independently and make money. One thing which they need to do is to start living their lives instead of others.

                 “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered”  – Hillary Clinton

2. The Vacuous Set:

Unlike the first set, they have the luxury of being born into liberal families. They don’t have any limitations or ceilings on what they want to achieve. But the problem is they never think of achieving something. They are tamed too much to act wild. They are content with what they have and never think of multiplying it. They need a guy who earns on one hand and unconditionally loves them on the other. You might probably have imagined a few people while reading through these lines. But this isn’t their fault completely. They have a sense of insecurity. The similarity between them and the conservative set is that they pay too much attention to the people around them. All their time is invested in materialistic things like glamour, beauty, crappy movie gossips, mocking the first set of people(the conservative set) etc. They never invest in themselves which makes them vacuous and in specific cases it earns them tags like bimbos. One thing which they need to do is to start  pivoting their time onto productive things and challenge men in all aspects of life.

“Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.” – Hedy Lamarr

3. The Rational Set:

These women are great adapters. Irrespective of the type of families they are born into, they capitalise on their status quo. They are rational minded and set up at least short term goals. These are usually the type of women who contribute the fair share instead of adhering to the fallacies that men are supposed to pay every time or that only men are supposed to save money. They aim high to the ranks of starting their own business or growing up through the corporate ladder or becoming a professor or sometimes even dedicating their lives to research. They don’t blame that society is inherently gender biased and sit back. They sense the rise of feminism and make full use of it. They know how to persuade people. Just like a majority of men, they are hungry to make a mark and make their voice be heard. They don’t let stereotypes dent their progresses. But the problem is they are very few in number and sometimes even these set of people become complacent.

             “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman” – Margaret Tatcher

It all comes down to a simple choice for women in India today. Are they going to sit back and play they blame game or are they going to figure out a way around ? I am not telling that there aren’t any problems faced by women today. There is no moral encouragement. There are differences in wages paid, for example like the men and women cricket teams(although, I blame economics for that). They struggle to balance their lives between their conservative older generations and their liberal peers. But even all of these circumstances might make things a little difficult for them but never impossible. Things are changing for better. Look at how the United Nations is planning to elect their next leader or how Canadian PM Trudeau elected his cabinet. This expanding list also features female Indian entrepreneurs. To sum it up, if the mindset of women isn’t going to change, no government policy will ever help in bridging the gap between men and women in the labour force participation rate that I have mentioned in the intro.

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment.

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Apsara

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She felt like crying. She understood that tears would come out of her eyes within the next few seconds, so she swiftly walked towards the restroom. Restrooms are like one of the best friends for girls. They just watch you and give you support till you calm down, they don’t judge you or give you those free advises. Tears burst out uncontrollably and thoughts were running through her mind. “Do you know that feeling when you have to pay for something without doing anything wrong ?” That’s exactly how she was feeling. “How do I deal with it ?” has been the chronic question of her life.

Apsara is 26 years old, kindhearted and soft spoken. Right from her childhood she always tried to be a good girl and keep everyone happy. She was disciplined at school, studied well and never vexed her parents or teachers. Every time she looked at the mirror, she understood that something was wrong and disturbing. She asked her mother about it who used to fend it off casually by saying that she shouldn’t be worried. Days went on, she reached that age where we come to know about new things. Something was wrong again, she observed boys paying attention to other girls in the class where she felt left out. Since she was studious, she never waited late after school for regular gossips. In fact she hardly had friends besides her bench mates. She didn’t think too much because the society around her made her believe that if you study well and get a good job, you are destined to get a good partner. Moreover mingling too much with boys was considered bad.

After reaching college she could clearly differentiate between herself and her friends. She never participated in extra curricular activities like dancing, singing or skits. Why didn’t she ? She kept thinking. No one ever encouraged her to even try such things. Who would want to even see a girl like her performing on the stage. She felt sick. She was like a remote and cornered girl who talks with only two to three girls. Even those conversations were just about normal stuff (mostly studies). She hardly had any intense conversations, those kind of ones which build strong and lasting friendship. This has been the repeating pattern of her life. Just when things looked bleak, a guy said Hi and started talking with her. Ankit was a very sociable person, above average in terms of looks and was also her lab mate. He gossiped a lot with her and they became friends very quickly. They used to text regularly and she took care of all of his lab assignments. She explained all the subjects to him during exams and thanks to him she made good friends with others as well and for the first time in her life she was really happy.

Was that feeling love? It is obviously but to what extent, Marriage? She felt very apprehensive. She can never tell him what she feels about him. Rejection is too big to swallow. He definitely doesn’t feel the same for her. How to change that? She decided to make it obvious without admitting it. She talked more than regular, started writing all his class assignments even without him asking it. Occasionally she used to buy him stuff like T-shirts, watches and accessories. Ankit knew this. He neither wanted to lose all that care shown by her nor feel the same way about her. Which boy would? Beauty is like a prerequisite factor when you have to love a girl. Did you ever see a guy chasing after a girl who isn’t good looking. There might be rare cases but just to give you an idea, Apsara’s looks were beyond repair. Facials and make up would only exacerbate it. One fine day during a casual talk he referred Apsara as his caring and lovable sister. That was a sting in her heart and calmly replied in a low voice “Well which boy doesn’t think of me as his sister“. Ankit didn’t want to acknowledge it and so hastily changed the topic. Her name sounded like an irony which meant beauty in Sanskrit.

She slowly faded out from Ankit, and he too never bothered much to talk with her expect during exams. All the other friends too distanced from her slowly and even she doesn’t know why. What was meant to be her heyday of elation turned out to be a temporary euphoria. She was badly hurt but not broken. She topped the college and landed in a prestigious MNC with a good starting salary. She worked hard, sometimes even did the work of others without complaint. Perhaps that was her innate quality or perhaps that was the only way she would get attention. Years passed, her parents created a matrimony profile for her and consulted their relatives. Nothing worked. Good education, thick salary, good family, her kind attitude, nothing mattered. All the requests she got on the matrimony website were of low education profiles and demanded hefty dowries. She felt upset because her parents were not that financially strong. What a burden she is being for them. One day she attended a wedding of one of her relatives. How much fun were they having, what wrong did her parents do for not deserving it? They asked everyone in the function hall to pair up with a partner from the crowd to dance beside the groom and bride. Naturally, no one chose her. So, she was strangled between the questions posed by the elders about when was she planning to get married. Did they ask out of formality or sarcasm? It was too much of an emotion to handle. She felt like crying. She understood that tears would come out of her eyes within the next few seconds, so she swiftly walked towards the restroom.

Beauty is a bitch !! It masks people from realizing that everyone deserves love. Do you know that feeling when you have to pay for something without doing anything wrong ?

 

The two sides of Karl Marx

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I wanted to write this post following a conversation I had with my parents. Today, education is a central part of an Indian middle class family. But the primary reason why parents want their children to study is not that they are going to do something productive with that knowledge but use it is a means of livelihood and earn thick salaries and thereby increase their status in the society. This is where Marx comes into picture with whom I completely agree on a few principles.

Marx talks about alienation of work by which he means that the connection between the work which we do and how that work is being used in real world is lost. When we do farming, we know that it will help us to survive. When we are sewing a cloth, we know that it will help us against the extreme weather. But, in modern days when we are analysing the market risks being a hedge fund manager or writing software for a surveillance company, we are unable to plainly see how that end result is interpreting our hard work and time. We are doing it because modern work has become increasingly specialized. The work which we do is to provide comforts and luxuries to the society but not the needs. As machines are replacing the jobs done by humans in every cycle of innovation, we really don’t have any other option.

Marx also talks about enjoying sufficient leisure time to which not only me but all of you reading this post would agree!! Frankly, I never wanted to confine myself to just one sphere of knowledge. I always try to experience new things, learn new domains of skills and build an opinion to myself on every burning issue in this world. But, it is really tough if not impossible to find time to do something like that considering the leisure time which we get. Imagine that we were born in the 19th century prior to industrial revolution. We would have time to farm in the morning, hunt and fish in the afternoon, paint and dance in the evenings or play music some other day, travel new places when the harvesting season ends, meet new people, learn new languages and the list simply goes on and on. But today if we find someone who works little and takes a lot of leisure or someone who doesn’t perform well in a specialized area, we discard them as lazy and unfit. Thus, chances are slim to lead a pre-industrial life in a digitized world.

But how much ever I try to admire Marx, the second side of his ideologies does not allow me to do so. Without privatization there is no competition and without competition there is no innovation. Hence, following Marxism the world would have been much passive than it is now. Perhaps this very blog which allows me to share and gather insights from a wider audience would not have been possible. But, it again comes down to the basic question: “What is our priority? ”  or more broadly “What is more important to us? “. Is it the connection which we find with our work we do and the leisure time which we spend or Is it the quality of life and the technology which makes us more comfortable. Balancing both of them in today’s world would be slightly less than a miracle. One thing is certain, the debate around this question is not going to stop, at least not in the near future and Marxism would continue being a complicated concept with neither complete support nor complete denial.

Today, when parents are forcing their children into specialized education they have to realize that jobs in 21st century are not the same they used to be. Work should be fun and has to be done with a sense of purpose rather than as an obligation for survival as it has become today which is a sad circumstance. Marx would have agreed with me !!

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment !!

Why porn should be banned in India ?

Well, I have seen a lot of reaction on social media against the decision to ban porn in India. But, I don’t find your reasons convincing enough. Here are my reasons why porn should be banned indeed.

A Naive Argument: People argued that ban on porn would have a negative impact on men especially that there would be a rise in the number of rapes and molestations against women. Let me argue something: If that was the scenario always, how did people in 1970’s and 1980’s possibly have maintained a lower crime rate against women than us. I mean there was no Internet and they had no chance of watching porn. So why weren’t they drastically assaultive towards women? Rural India was safe. Once the urbanization began, the chance of getting caught in a big metro has been reduced and that paved way for increase in all types of crime, not just rapes.
So, when you say that ban on porn is proportional to crime against women, you are not speaking out of logic, instead you are speaking out of lust. Our morality has nothing to do with the availability of videos on Internet. It simply doesn’t work that way.

A Better argument: A much better argument is that it is educational and people actually understand “How to do it “. But it once again tracks me back to the same argument. How did people in sixties and seventies “did it” without knowing how to “do it”. Moreover, I think it makes our lives more boring. Porn is turning us into a slave of obviousness. I mean that there is a difference between entering the room with a “thrill of experimentation” and with a “feeling of obviousness”. I truly envy the people who lived three decades ago. So, as you see there, porn is not a necessity.

The Big Argument: The best argument I have heard is, “Who cares about logic, we just love to watch porn.” Now, I respect individuality and individual choices about how we feel about different things. But, our choices should not come at the expense of other people’s suffering. Before you think that I sound foolish, let me give you this story which I had once read in Al-Jazeera as an example. “Fatima was a girl born in Kenya who was sold into slavery as their parents couldn’t afford to raise her. She was moved to Riyadh where she worked for an affluent family who apparently fed her little and took no good care of her. When she reached a certain age, she was sold to a person in London who happens to be a friend of the affluent family where she turned herself into a porn actress.”
I appreciate Fatima’s boldness because she wanted to survive and move on with her life. But, was it a decision made of choice or was it a terrible destiny which she had to face as a consequence of living in a terrible society. When we watch a porn video, there is a good probability that we are watching someone like Fatima who is trying to manipulate her feelings and expressions just to survive. I am not telling you that I had never watched porn. I mean who I am kidding here. But when I knew that I was indirectly creating a market for people who make videos which was in turn creating a need for actresses to be smuggled into the industry, someone like Fatima, it wasn’t the same thing again.

The Final Nail: Now, I know that many of you would argue that not every porn actress is like Fatima, right? I mean in the west pornography is seen as a profession and there are even awards for best actors and actresses. But like all the other things in the universe beauty fades away. The only difference is that it fades away relatively too quick. So, the actresses who made their choice of becoming a porn star soon realize that are in a position, say mid-forty, when there is no demand left for them. Did we ever come across a porn actress, who had children in her entire life, I mean even if she did, can you imagine the impact of her profession that falls on her children. I really respect them for the sacrifices which they make but I also hate us for making them to sacrifice for our selfish purposes.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment !

A Novel Trend

Scottish-flag_2109121bCurrently, we can observe mixed emotions in Scotland. While some are wildly celebrating the “NO” result others are grieving over it. Nevertheless, what the rest of the world has to learn from Scotland is to settle their independence issues by the same process of voting peacefully.

CATALONIA: The other day while I was watching a match of F.C Barcelona, I was surprised to hear the commentator mentioning about Catalans, their unique culture, their own language and their struggle to become an Independent nation- a designation which they contained once long ago. How long can Spain counterbalance their desire? The issue will never settle with such an attitude and will only end up in an ugly revolt. Spain can certainly avoid that by following the trend created by Scott’s.

ABKHAZIA / SOUTH OSSETIA : I still remember this issue when Russia locked horns with Georgia over these two provinces. The images are fresh in my mind from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing when Georgian athletes protest over the aggression and tyranny of Russia and try to globalize this issue on the world stage. Only, if “Scotland ” had happened prior to that perhaps the war could have been stopped or perhaps not. But now, we can hope something fruitful to happen.

REST OF THE WORLD: This may turn out to be a never ending list. Many of the current separation movements are taking place in Europe while Kurdistan in Iraq falls into the rare category outside Europe. I may appear to be ludicrous if I urge for a similar voting system in Iraq considering the country’s current scenario but after watching Scotland, some where down the line I still have a hope for such peaceful referendums.

                                                   Personally, I am an anti-fan of separatism. Weakening of Russia after it’s dissolution from USSR and strengthening of Germany after the fall of Iron Curtain are the classic examples which I always mention when people cross me with this topic. When we can calmly and eloquently convince people by mentioning the advantages of a big nation, perhaps all of the above mentioned nations will vote to remain united to their respective countries. Even if they vote against, I would be equally happy because the decision would have been made without violence.

Football – a real comedy in India

 

Football_IndiaAfter the acclivity of urbanisation in India there are several entities that have taken over the minds of the youth in India. Hollywood movies and T.V. Series fall in the front run which have magnetised their evolving hearts. Consequently, people manage to watch all the movies and serial episodes irrespective of their ratings and genres with subtitles. And sometimes even without, they try to catch the gist of the director’s theme. As Indians are movie lovers right from their birth apart from a very few exceptional cases, they tend to fall in love with the novelty of the story-lines sooner or later.

Similarly, Football has been another front-runner which has started to draw people’s attention. With it, also comes a real comedy onto the centre stage. You will find people who follow Messi or Ronaldo with great zeal and fanaticism but you will also see people who say “I am a fan of Messi”, even without actually watching his game. You will find people who are ardent followers of several clubs, be it Real Madrid or Barcelona but you will also find people who say “I am a follower of Manchester United”, even without the awareness of the roster of players in the club. Recently, since the kick-off of 2014 Indian super league this comedy has spread its wings into almost every individual. The probability of getting an answer of “Who is the captain of Brazil?” from somebody who says that he supports Brazil is very low. It really gets harder to differentiate between these two sets of people. And yes, there are also people who say that football is a boring game, that you need to wait for the goals to be scored. The very attitude which they show while watching Cricket. A match with paucity of fours and sixes is not considered as a good game. I really feel sorry for the bowlers who try to read the batsmen’s mind, come up with variations, alter the speed, take wickets, turn the game and yet never get the fame they deserve. It is similar in Football too, you need to recognise the defenders and goalkeeper !!!

However Cricket was spared after the advent of 20-20 matches, fast and exciting as they term it but Football is here to stay, not to change. All the skills, tactics, passing, blocking, tackling, dribbling, assists, goals and saves are here to stay. In fact to stay forever. People blame that Indian government hasn’t shown enough concern to provide Infrastructure but I blame people who hasn’t shown enough interest towards the game. If infra was the reason you would find people playing gully football just like gully cricket. But, that ain’t the scenario. How can someone ever love a game when he has never put himself into the shoes ? Movies and Cricket somehow tried to dig an area of consideration but Football is still struggling and will continue to struggle and remain as a comedy unless either people tie up their laces or Sunil Chettri and co does a miracle as underdogs just like “Kapil Devils” !!!! The latter is too much to ask for but the former is definitely possible.