Category Archives: Feminism

Safety Of Women And Self Defense

BE-SAFE

By Malathy Madathilezham 

We are all living in this illusion of safety. That a woman can be attacked and assaulted in the ladies compartment of a train is totally appalling. It shows us the lack of security and safety in our cities. Delhi, even though it is the capital of India, is somewhere I would not want to live in and neither would my parents encourage. Just the  incidents that actually get reported would discourage any woman to go live on her own in the city. But this is closer to home!On 28th January 2011, there was this report in the newspaper claiming that Kochi is safe for women. I sarcastically had retorted that this is because women here do not step out after 7 pm!

If anything this recent tragedy that cut short the life of Soumya only points to the glaring issues that need to be addressed regarding the safety and security of women. The fact that this happened in the Ladies compartment of a train, is ironic and makes us question the kind of security provided.  This struck me as my parents always asked me to avoid sitting in the ladies compartment unless there are a good number of co – passengers. According to them the ladies compartment in the most dangerous one!

Lot of hue and cry is being raised over this incident now. Citizens are agitated and indignant. The politicians are making statements and counter statements.A lot of promises are being made. The media is also giving a lot of hype. But what will change actually remains to be seen. Once this story becomes ‘stale’, will the issue of the freedom of a woman to travel, to even get out of the house at any time of the day remain an important issue? Will the women in Kerala stand up and raise their voice against any kind of exploitation or harassment  faced by them almost on a daily basis? Or will they accuse each other of being the instigating these attacks? I now remember the public signature campaign that our college students’ council against the harassment faced by women while travelling in buses and otherwise. It had generated a mass response from both the local media and the public and a lot of changes were definitely brought about. But even those were short lived and not consistent.

Who is to blame for these kind of attacks on the dignity and safety of women?

The lax attitude of the government?

The society in which such perverted characters are molded?

Ourselves?

How can such attacks be prevented? How can we make our cities safer for women? Multiple responsibilities fall on multiple people.

Let us first talk about ourselves before anyone else.

So how do we ensure our safety, security and keep our dignity? The easiest and most obvious is not to travel alone after a certain time.  But that would only encourage these hoodlums to attack the women who have no other choice but to travel by night. And what if you are attacked when at home or somewhere else?

I have written down some thoughts, which came to my mind

  • Learn some self-defense techniques! It will also boost your confidence.
  • Be alert and aware of people and your surroundings (this is applicable whether it is day or night)
  • Stay with the crowd. Especially at night do not move around deserted areas.
  • Avoid speaking on the mobile phone or do anything which can make u seem distracted.
  • Use a barrier or distance to make an attack difficult. Thus lock your doors!
  • Always carry something, which is easily and quickly accessible to use as a weapon. An umbrella (especially the kalan kuda)! A Pen, a safety pin and don’t hesitate to use it if required!
  • Do not hesitate to scream, shout in case you are being targeted whether overtly or covertly i.e attract attention.
  • If attacked, act quickly and decisively. How to escape or how to fight and incapacitate the attacker needs to be decided keeping in mind the surroundings and the situation.
  • Use your strongest weapons against the weakest targets of the attacker. The eyes, throat,  and groin are the primary targets while the abdomen and face are the secondary targets. Your strong weapons are the bottom of your feet, elbows, hammer fists and palm heels.
  • Stand up for any other woman being harassed or attacked. You also could be in a similar situation!
  • Please do approach the authorities. Do not hesitate to file a complaint. The perverted offenders should not be allowed to move around scot-free.
  • Share your experiences and tips on how to prevent such attacks with other women. Educate them.

These are not in any way an exhaustive list on how to prevent attacks and how to defend/protect yourself. But I hope it has given you some information and insight. If we act meek and submissive the chances of being targeted will only increase and at the same time reckless and reactive action is also not advised. Common sense, confidence and alertness are key to preventing attacks/ harassment and defending yourself.

What the government and railway authorities will or won’t do, we cannot be sure of. But that should not stop us from protecting our loved ones or ourselves.

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Real Beauty: Perceptions Differ

beauty and perceptions

By Malathy Madathilezham

One of the definitions of the word Beauty (as given by Merriam- Webster) is the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit. Thus it is related to our senses, our mind and our spirit. This means that real beauty would be different for different people. This is quite obvious when we observe physical concepts of beauty differ in different cultures, races, countries etc. These concepts change with time. Another aspect of this definition of beauty is that these are qualities, which are not necessarily the visual qualities. So anything can be beautiful; music, fragrance, the inherent or developed qualities of a human being.

Let me restrict myself to human beings. In the present scenario, everyone wants to ‘look’ beautiful! A lot of importance is being given to superficial and external beauty. Scientists are coming out with the measurements/ratios of ‘perfect’ or ‘real’ beauty. Plastic surgeons are using these measurements to make people look beautiful. In addition we have the various creams, serums that are supposed to make us look beautiful and then the gyms and fitness clubs. The cosmetics and fashion industry is thriving on the aspirations of millions to match the concepts of beauty that is being ‘sold’ to them through various media. Thus a lot of economic activity is being driven by the ‘want’ to look beautiful. Mine and your want..

But what about ‘feeling’ beautiful? That feeling which does not necessarily come out of how we look. This sense of feeling beautiful depends on our emotional well being, our happiness and human qualities of kindness, empathy and the like. The kind of lifestyle we lead nowadays with all its tensions, pressures is not exactly helping us feel good about ourselves. We lament about the lack of everything but do nothing about improving our situation. We want to look good and beautiful to others, hide our real self beneath this veneer of ‘Beauty’. But how long would this last… thus we have rising problems of depression, burnouts etc. The pressure on us to match up to the ideals of beauty, success, happiness is too much to handle and makes us forget true happiness, our true beauty and ourselves. The external image that we present to others is but a distortion of what we truly are… In the glam and glitter of the world around us, we lose sense of real beauty… and join the rat race of looking beautiful rather than being beautiful.

For me real beauty is within each of us. To discover that beauty within us and within others is truly a gift. Of course, a good dress, or haircut, or a bright nail polish does make me happy but it can only do so much to add to my self-confidence and self-image. What I am, how beautiful I truly am depends on my actions, my thoughts that are again relative and need not be the same for you. Basically there is nothing real… it’s all an illusion… and my illusion differs from yours!! I believe everybody is beautiful in his or her own unique way. So why don’t you sit down and think about what does being beautiful mean to you?

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part 5

pregnancy

 

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

A new day dawns bright and it’s the first day of my second trimester. First thought – One down, two to go!!!

Over the course of the next 4 weeks, it’s amazing to watch your little peanut grow from the size of your clenched fist to the size of an orange to the length of your palm. Wow really?!? Great delights do come in small packages!

As the little one prepares for a great debut appearance (in a couple of months, that is) and life outside your womb, it’s always interesting to hear and read what the baby is doing inside you (a li’l too early to feel the baby jig as it wiggles its newly formed toes and fingers). Towards the end of this month, Mother Nature teaches the baby to suck its little fingers. Hold on baby orange – it’s mittens for your hands when you’re out!

And finally the BUMP appears. You can no longer pass it off as a stomach after a heavy lunch!

To add to this, the woes of my mother who can’t get her forty winks, thanks to the nocturnal nasal symphony (performed by me, of course! In simple English, it’s snoring). She says it reminds her of an induction motor running. Boy, that can be really disturbing.

Not that I’m a weight watcher; but to see the numbers creep up every time you stand on the scales can be depressing. Sigh, one has to pile up the pounds to support the baby inside you. In my case, according to my BMI, it’s close to 25 pounds. Goodness gracious me! But Vidya Balan – I love you! Thanks to you and definitely Dirty Picture, curvy is in! I’m definitely embracing my new-found curves!!! A high protein diet with the necessary carbs, and not to forget, the goodness from buckets of ice creams – yummy! What’s going on?!? Blame it on pregnancy cravings!

As your wardrobe makes way for new clothes (read: maternity clothes), it’s scary, at first to imagine your cupboard to be filled with ghastly tent-like muumuus to hide your expectant shape. The dread is replaced by excitement when you visit a maternity shop. Today, maternity clothes are very fashionable and practical to wear. I love it!

Though the little one is far from ready to make a personal appearance, it’s really nice to know for sure there’s actually someone in there.

Until next time, goodbye folks!

 

Disclaimer: As much as the above experiences are my own, I have definitely referred to my pregnancy bible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and other pregnancy blogs easily available on Google for certain details and reasoning.

 

 

 

Indian Middle Class Life And Stories

india, indian middle class family driving on scooter in bangalore

By Pinaki Pratihar

Every day when I wake-up and get prepared for my office, I pack my lunch made by my maid and miss my mom. How she helped me get dressed for school or how she used to pack my favorite dishes during my college-life when I use-to go home every weekend!

Or at early night when I used to chat with my dad, queries regarding health, job, life, parties, future plans and more. Sometimes the whole conversation turned into a simple question by my mom, “When will you come here to meet us?”

And I remained silent like ever. Mom has a power; she can feel some unspoken words. She naturally did-not repeats the same question. She left the topic the moment she felt I am uncomfortable with that.

He is a father, who has invested all of his savings for education of his children and to earn their minimum daily needs and wants. A perfect representative of Indian Middle Class society, who preferred to invest on Education, rather increasing his bank balance, whose expenditure, is same as his income, at the age of pre-retirement. He had invested his time to his children as much as possible and now he deserves to get the same attention from his children as he knows he is also experiencing the old-age problems and he need some-one apart from his caring wife, who is also struggling from fevers and pains due to age and nerve conduction and is failing to keep in check with his physical condition. He deserves a hand who can help him reach the nearest reliable hospital and can bring the medicine on time.

She is a mom; she had a general ‘mango-people’ homemaker mindset of having the best of possible things. Her only happiness in life comes from seeing her children attain a position in life. She still wishes her son could be a schoolteacher in a nearest high school and can stay at home at-least.

And me! Once I dreamt to be near my parents and failed, when I felt that life can be easy but career is not secured in Kolkata. Negligible economic growth and industry-related statistics and HR-satisfaction survey and un-predictable responses never encouraged me to be in Kolkata. The dream has busted. I never realized when.

I am a person who enjoys the cheap ride in Kolkata, cheap food and the lazy moments with family and friends. I do not feel the same in Delhi though I have a core set of friends and experienced colleagues. I am well convinced that this is not a place to grow well for a non-IT profile.

Everyday I wake up early morning and reach home at night; in between I mix with so many identities. I am a daily passenger who pays the same for a ticket to reach office, a colleague, who can do his job, a friend, with whom some information can be shared, a researcher who try to study things in-depth, an executive who interact with clients regularly and try to put some value in the business process, a junior, who try to follow senior’s instructions, a judge, before putting the instructions and a dreamer who try to put something new in front of the management.

And a Govt.

In my childhood, I participated in debates against brain-drain, but later-on realized watching so many unsuccessful businessmen in West Bengal that every state is not open like Gujarat.

I am not happy, but satisfied just by calling and considering my days as ‘The Struggling Period’, where I am struggling to learn some more, to earn some more money, respect and more happiness around me. I am convinced that this time, forget about your emotions and family. Here I wish you find your life different from me.

It Started With A Friend Request….

first love

By Rimpy Goyal

An emotionally unstable person that I am, all it took to boost my mood was a friend request in FB. Yes, a boon that FB is to us!!

A casual talk about searching for my boy friend lead to some references. Now how funny it could be that boyfriends could also be chosen by referrals. T’s spouse’s colleague. Yes, You read it right. And all started with Facebook request. Exchanging numbers, talking for hours, coffee outing and rest followed. And with it followed the fun of getting teased too. Something that I had not experienced before.

Mornings at work unusually became exciting. Not because of the work but because of the comments that I received from fellow friends. Someone has rightly said love makes the skin glow. And that glow probably showed in me.

And then came a dinner invite, an invite common to both of us. And with it came an opportunity to meet him. And such was the meeting that it never felt like the first one. I have always felt lonely amidst the crowd. I have always been in search of a friend to share things. Little did I know that I would fall for this guy whom I met through someone and that to on web.

Someone who sang songs for me at the second meeting, who cared about my friendship and my feelings. I was falling frankly and falling loud and fast. A Punjabi song from a non Punjabi guy really means some stuff for me. Yes, Jidha Chandigarh lagda na tere bina dil…Haye Mera Dil..Haye Mera Dil….And I went flat!!

I don’t know if this is called Love. What I know is I have got a good friend by whatever means it may be and I am enjoying this phase of my life. And I would really thank all my friends for teasing me time and again. It was due to it that this journey started!!

If you love someone truly and are meant to be together then even the Lord can’t separate. At the end of the day, for me the crux of the whole matter is that valuing friendship and relations is the only thing that makes life worth it.

The write-up above is a work of fiction.

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part 4

pregnancy

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

With a husband slogging away across the seas, handling a pregnancy alone can be a daunting task. It has been hard to stay positive about this pregnancy. As much as I am thrilled, I do end up mind-fighting nasty little thoughts that something may be or go wrong.  Panic attacks do suck sometimes!

So here I am, typing away furiously on my tablet, waiting outside for my NT scan. So what exactly is this? NT stands for Nuchal Translucency. This screening uses a high-powered ultrasound to measure the clear or translucent space in the tissue at the back of your developing baby’s neck. Babies with abnormalities tend to accumulate more fluid at the back of their neck during the 1st trimester, causing this clear space to be larger than average.

And boy! This was fun in its own way. The scan doctor did have her time getting the li’l peanut in position to take the necessary measurements. My mother-in-law and I had a ball of a time watching the peanut dance in my womb. Dear Husband, looks like this is an indication of the times to come after November!!

And results of the scan, the li’l one is doing absolutely perfect! All the tension, stress and anxiety that had been building up prior to the scan just disappeared instantly. And to top it all, to sit and listen to the beautiful sound of the tiny heartbeats echoing in the room, that moment is truly priceless!!!  I melted inside, and my eyes welled up with tears of happiness.  This is definitely the icing on the cake.

And finally with the first trimester behind my back, it’s time to visit the salon, to transform from a Planet of Apes resident to a more beautiful pregnant self. Your body definitely pays for the privilege of pregnancy. And this calls for a lot of pampering. Aaah, a day at the spa works wonders on your body and adds the extra glow that lasts (this in addition to the glow on a mom-to-be’s face)!

And now that I’m totally relaxed after a fun day, it’s bout time for me to sit with my eyes closed and imagine a beautiful, peaceful scene with my fantasized baby-to-be, wrapped in my arms – tis being my only solution to my panic attacks!

So it’s time to say good-bye to my first trimester and to all you folks! Brief y’all soon…

Disclaimer: As much as the above experiences are my own, I have definitely referred from my pregnancy bible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and other pregnancy blogs on Google for certain details and reasoning.

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part – 3

pregnancy

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

Being pregnant means one thing – you are barraged with a plethora of advice from the older generation and older to older generation (sigh)!

Coming from a typical Tam-Brahm family who love their filter “kaapis”, cutting down on your caffeine intake is a Herculean task. From drowning 4 cups of coffee a day to a cup or two does lead to its own share of withdrawal symptoms. It’s advisable to add just about 10 ml of the coffee decoction to your milk. (And I sure do use a measuring jug every afternoon when I make my coffee!)

Here’s why! Heavy caffeine intake in the early stages of pregnancy slightly increases the risk of a miscarriage. Caffeine acts as a diuretic, which washes away some of the key nutrients required by the mother and baby.

A pregnant woman doesn’t feel too great a lot of the time and the fact that her bladder is indeed becoming squished as well as having to drink more water to make up for the additional blood supply she is making. When caffeine can act as a diuretic, oh my god! One can just imagine spending most of the time in the loo.

Forget your aerated drinks too (that contains caffeine as well). So all my Mountain Dews have become Mountain Don’ts!!

And not to forget your mood swings which are anyways volatile, thanks to your pregnancy hormones!

And here’s to all my rants on my morning sickness, I finally have an answer in the form of a lemon! Scratch the surface of a lemon and work up the good oils and one sniff and lo! Your sickness mellows down.

Practically everyone is connected through mobile technology. Life’s next to impossible without a mobile in your hand. I have been advised to reduce my exposure (and the baby’s too) by going low on Bluetooth. I get a glare every time I hold my mobile device close to my belly. The only solution – use the landline!!!

And I have bid adieu to all my lovely, shining heels (Sob! Sob!). Sadly, they are all collecting dust in my shoe closet. And soon, my wardrobe. It’s hello maternity wear time!!!

Do you know a pregnant woman drools! I surely do that a lot. Especially at the sight of the pictures of cakes, CUPCAKES, pies, tarts, ice creams…(now I definitely have drool all over my laptop just typing ‘em!) that adorn my Facebook home page. But all that’s a complete no no for me (Baaahh boo hoo hoo!). And they say buy whatever a pregnant woman desires (hrmph..)!

Psst…I still manage to get my hold on these once a month, thanks to a wonderful mom who allows me to indulge in my cravings.

So it’s good bye time folks as I have to hog an ice cream waiting for me in the freezer! Catch up with y’all soon J

Disclaimer: As much as the above experiences are my own, I have definitely referred from my pregnancy bible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and other pregnancy blogs on Google for certain details and reasoning.

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Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part – 2

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho – PART 1