Get Over It!

I actually started this post earlier today about if women are naturally more inclined towards being generous and sacrificing than men are.

It got derailed when I came across this article – Iranian cleric: Promiscuous women cause quakes.

Not kidding. It actually appeared 5 days ago and I was too swamped in work to actually pay much attention to it. But I got an invite on Facebook today for “Boobquake“. It is an event hosted by a girl in the US who was pissed off enough by the article to ask women around the world to wear their most cleavage-oriented top or show off their legs or whatever they figure is “indecent”.

To sum up that article, the moron thinks women are capable of causing earthquakes.

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,” Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

I really have no idea how to respond to a statement so damn ludicrous. I wonder if anyone would even believe such a statement. Now I do wish we had such powers. I mean if all I needed to do was wear revealing clothes and cause earthquakes and other such ‘natural’ disasters, I buy a wardrobe full of the skankiest clothes I could find.

I would actually argue about the things men could do you know – like blindfold themselves and sit at home – but it just seems like such a horrible waste of time to even write it all out.

Or I wonder if the cleric mistook something else for an earthquake. People do say (mostly in M&Bs) that the earth shakes when you have sex.

I guess the Boobquake is equivalent to the Pink Chaddi campaign we had here. That is what we do now. You make a silly statement and we rebel in your face. But we need something a little more concrete. A little more education. As long as we have women rebelling against women, I don’t know how much progress can be achieved. Like that woman during the Pink Chaddi campaign who started talking about morality.

Who defines morality? Why should morality be a problem for anyone as long as it isn’t troubling you. A woman wearing a skirt on a street gets harassed. Isn’t the problem the guy there? The lack of his morals? Why is the woman targeted as the evil-doer here? All she did was wear a skirt and walk on a public street. But she is flogged for public indecency, while the asshole who whistled at her simply gets a slap on the wrist.

A friend of mine who is a reporter in one of the middle eastern countries mentioned about an engagement ceremony she attended there. Apparently, both the groom and bride bring a 100  guests each and then the guy returns alone to brave the woman’s 100 guests and propose to the woman. It maybe just a ritual, but rituals are the remanents of some time. And this one indicates that the woman had a choice. She could choose whom she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. And yes, they are Muslim. Which makes me wonder where the rituals of not even allowing her to meet the guy come from? Evolution? Mutation, rather.

I was watching Lajja today. The Rajkumar Santoshi movie that got great reviews abroad but got burnt in theatres here. It is a good, if slightly overloaded, movie about women oppression. Different scenarios… people from different classes… it was quite realistic. Beautiful acting by some of the top actresses in the country. But nobody watched in. The men I know who watched it are the ones who are already sensitized to this issue. The others called it “some shit about women”.

Women who talk about women’s rights are often branded “feminists”. I often wonder why. For most of the time, I am not even thinking about gender equality. My boss at work is a woman and someone I really do admire. There are no women in the immediate level of chain of command but there are some fantastic women I work with regardless. And none of them would really call themselves “feminists” either. They go on doing what they have to do.

My maid put her two kids through school with her own money. Her husband was an alcoholic and she booted him out a while ago. She doesn’t call herself feminist. She did what she had to do.

And honestly, none of my friends ever think that gender equality is a feminist thing. But yeah, i’ve heard these words. from my distant cousins, from people a step away from me… if not the word, the slight rolling of eyes.

In India, we still have much progress to achieve. It was such a relief to see some proactive action being taken in certain parts of North India with people being jailed and punished for ‘honor’ murders. And yet, we have people protesting to amend the law to ban same gotra (sub-caste, in a manner of speaking) marriages. It is Indian culture… but when it is not incest, should we ban it? Or should we ban it but make a special amendment for people to get married if they really want to if it is proved they are not related by blood. Or will that just be impossible in a country riddled with corruption and an issue so politically sensitive?

There comes the line between culture and doing what you think is right. Indian culture doesn’t allow for a lot of things but culture evolves through generations (which is actually how a lot of things are not allowed, come to think of it).

The problem with this issue isn’t allowing or not allowing the marriages. It is those self-made juries who judge and met out the punishment, which often involves beating the guy to death and raping the girl. What the bloody hell does that achieve? Oh yeah and they could just shoot both of them, sometimes.

There is yet another debate in France to ban headscarves… One could argue that secularism could mean no outward show of religion. Or you could counter-argue, it means allowing you to follow whatever you in a manner however you want. The latter is what we follow in India. Who would be more successful?

Just because something has a 3000 year old history, is it correct?

I like seeing those little steps we are taking towards progress. But it is also infuriating to see that huge wall that opposes it in the name of cultural traditions.

Song of the day: I Wish I was a Punk Rocker: Sandi Thom

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Electricity

Long ago, a friend wrote to me “If we hadn’t invented the light bulb and electricity, we wouldn’t be so frustrated every time there is a power cut”

Today, my city sits in darkness for most part of the day. It is one of the most happening cities in the world, which ironically is awake 24 hours. Yet, the city works without power at least 6-12 hours a day this whole week.

Why? The cynics say that  now that the BBMP elections are over, who cares anymore.

The government says “problems at the power station” which is as classically vague as they can get. But whatever the real reason is, we sweat the hottest months of summer in darkness and no fans.

Every morning I wake up when my fan goes off… i manage to get back into sleep and just as I get used to the hit, the fan comes on again to taunt me for half an hour before the power disappears again. Of course, waking up then would be futile because there is no internet, no pump for the water, no microwave to heat up my coffee, no television.

I was reading this post on NY Times where the author, who lives in Conneticut, was talking about a week without power. Microwaves, laptops, television, radio, shower, the toilet, the heaters, the ac, even the mobile phones – everything is dependent on that spark in the wall. Now, sometimes cars too.

I wish I could say India was not as dependent on electricity but gone are the days when waking up was finding my way to the couch, with half open eyes, a cup of steaming hot chocolate, the newspaper read leisurely before heading off to boil myself awake.

I cannot run my laptop or internet to check for the latest news, I have to charge my cell phone if i want to browse on that at least. I cannot iron my clothes and shudder at the thought of wearing wrinkle-free synthetic clothes in this heat. (side note – with all the improvements in technology, can’t we have something non-wrinkly but cotton?)

I know there are many villages in India who live without power for 6 hours a day at least. They have adapted. But I grew up in a city which mostly had power running… at least the place where I lived in because of certain VIPs around the area.

Why is there such an extravagant power shortage? And yes, we are fast reaching the point of desperation where the advantages of nuclear power seem a lot more than the fall out. But why does Bangalore face such acute power shortage? Bad planning, yes, certainly. But with all the promises government has been making about purchasing power… why hasn’t anything been done yet?

And we haven’t even hit the hottest summer months yet. If the preview is anything to go by, this is going to be a nightmare on which Hollywood will make movies – how people were burnt to death in summer.

Song of the day: Summer sunshine – the corrs