Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Last night at IIMB…

It seems strange now. That what has ended was perhaps one of the most memorable phases of my life. This place has now become another chapter in my life. Pages of which I shall keep turning to, to find those lost words that I would have accidentally missed. The realization has actually not hit that hard still. But it will, after a few days when thoughts turn back to this place, then perhaps a lot of us will suddenly wake up to the fact that we are never going to live through it all again.

And of course, in hindsight, it’s always so much fun. Even though there were times when we just wished that it would all just end and that we could fly away. IIMB has been another learning point that has taught me that our life is not a sum total of all its milestones, but instead, is a sum of all the miles that we traverse between those milestones.

And in these last few hours that I am here, I will probably take a walk around. Have a cup of tea. Look over the balcony. Do the simple things. Seemingly useless, but precisely what will be missed the most.

“So long, and thanks for all the fish…”

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Moving on…

Because when it finally comes to deciding whether I want to be happy or not, guess I still have the choice. To pick up the pieces that I want to. Our present is like a photo album, where we place pictures from our past. There were some moments full of joy and then some not so great; moments that still make me smile, and moments that still cause a soft pain, a gentle reminder, like a child poking in your ribs and asking you to wake up.

And this is where I pick up the snaps I want to keep. My past is certainly not in my control anymore. But what I do with that past, is entirely (well, almost) upto me. I can choose to either savor the times I spent with my closest companions, or fret and fume about moments when I was away from them.

And so as I move ahead, I will decide cautiously and consciously to relish the more worthy moments. I suppose this is how I would like my life to be. A life that treads softly upto me, like the sudden autumn wind that surprises the fallen leaves; that disturbs the reverie of the silent lake, with a short, rippling dance.

Of course, it’s easier said than done; times when you realize that computers are perhaps the happiest entities on this planet. Just one “delete” and it’s gone. No pain, no suffering, and its over. Not like us. Humans. We hold on to those broken blades till we don’t know how much we have bled.

But still, I will try to throw the blades away. I’ll forget the blood that I’ve drained. Will stop looking at those wounds that won’t heal. Will instead make this attempt to look at what’s left of me. To go ahead with it.
To meet Life. Like a long-lost friend. To say Hello after all these years. This time, with both hands. And even a hug perhaps; for there are no suitcases that I am carrying. No backpacks full of ragged dolls. It’s just me. And my Life. And the road ahead…

Monday, March 13, 2006

The numbers don’t add up…

86 lakh, someone said. And I paused for a moment, and then realized how conveniently a few numbers have been multiplied together to come up with this figure. Take a few pound sterling, convert it to US dollars, and then again convert that to Indian Rupees, and there, lo and behold, you have defied logic, gravity, and everything we thought we could rely on.
It is an achievement, undoubtedly. Placement season at my school is amazing, no doubt about that. The best companies. The best offers. The best students.

But unfortunately the exceedingly pretty picture painted for the outside world perhaps does a little damage to those who still aren’t placed. Or who are not placed on the first day (because eventually, everyone will definitely be placed in a matter of 5 days). It does hurt when friends and family start calling up and ask for “good news” from your side. It makes you feel sorry for yourself, when you are not one of those who could "make it" on the first day. Makes you feel incomplete, and you start questioning yourself (Or rather, those friends and family start questioning you as to what went wrong).

And more importantly, or disturbingly perhaps, a hajaar people out there start looking upon this building of IIMB as a money churning machine. No one cares about subjects or courses or learning or anything else. All that shines in the eyes of the starry-eyed aspirants, are dreams of dollars. All that glitters for them, is nothing but gold. And quite a few of them do get a shock when they realize that not everything was as bright as what was promised to them. That this moon too, has spots of its own. For about one third of the batch, perhaps yes, this place gives them what they came for (that they don't know what they came for, is perhaps a different issue altogether). For the others, it leaves them equally confused by the time they are done with it.

But I guess that’s what management is all about, isn’t it?

On being a man…

Quite a while ago, I had written in my blog, that all men are pigs. I had written it more as a gesture of jest than a really serious accusation. But posts by so many women on Blank Noise Project, especially those by Annie, Rohini, and Hemangini have now made me realize how disturbingly (and sadly) close to the truth I actually was.

What the fuck is wrong with this gender to which I belong?
Admittedly, I didn’t know this problem was so severe till I read so many of these accounts. First hand accounts of women who have been mal-treated by complete strangers. And I was ashamed. Of belonging to this species. I had always taken comfort in the fact that I have more “rights” being a man, more “freedom” being a man, but I had never realized the acute shortage of these very entities for a rather large number of women out there, traveling in buses, trains, becoming objects of public consumption every passing day.
I still take comfort in the fact that I am a guy. Perhaps because I don’t have the strength to imagine what most of these women have to go through. Or perhaps just because I have grown with those comforting thoughts, somehow fed into me, through years of “societal training”.

But all said and done, am I completely clean? Can I proudly claim that I have never ever done anything that might have hurt someone?
Well, not that I know of. I know this sounds like an excuse. Because it is one.

But I will confess nevertheless.
Yes, I have talked about women within a group of guys. Yes, there have been a few occasions when my eyes have rested perhaps a little longer than they should have, on a passing woman’s breasts. Yes there have been occasions when I have let out a sigh and imagined a little more than what I should have.
But I am still proud of the fact that my hands have never jumped around to “feel up” a girl. That as far as is physically possible, I leave space between myself and an unknown girl sitting next to me in a bus or a train. That to quite an extent, I do understand the difference between “looking” and “leering”. That I have never whistled, or passed any kind of comments, on unknown girls that I come across in streets (including those which are extremely "provocatively" dressed, so to say - refer earlier post). That the only thing I would like to do with an 8-year old girl, is to read her stories of princesses and fairies...

...And that perhaps, I am not (and never will be) as much of a pig as evidently a surprisingly high number of my co-species are..

Friday, March 03, 2006

Road-side romeos – are inside your house…

I read in Khaled Hossini’s debut novel that the worst crime you can commit is of theft; because every other crime is nothing but a variation of it.
The act of showing disrespect towards a woman (by teasing, molesting, whatever…) is no different. By moving that roving hand to touch an unsuspecting part of her anatomy, the criminal steals her right to feel safe, her right to be comfortable, her right to be normal, her right to be herself…
And our society certainly doesn’t help much either. The blame is usually (perhaps because it is more convenient?) imposed on provocative dresses, and the perpetrators of the act are exonerated as always.

What happens outside is one issue. But the worse form of this crime is what happens inside the four comfortable, apparently safe walls of a home. Cousins, uncles, in-laws, everyone, anyone could be those wolves lurking in the shadows, waiting for a careless moment to make their dangerous move. They aren’t outside, they are not somebody else’s problem. They are right here, with you, watching you, eyeing you, imagining you, ready to leave you with ill-shaped scars on your virgin psyche.
Out there, maybe you can ward them off with knives, judo tricks, blinding sprays, or other gizmos that our advanced world has to offer. What do you do for those whom you trust(ed)?
And with what stupid logic can the society protect these psychopaths who feed on kids as young as five-six years old? Provocative dressing? That won’t work. They probably have to come up with a better one that that.
How about “Being a girl is your fault”? How does that sound for a blame? Is that strong enough? Correct enough? Fair enough? Sensible enough?

How about some statistics, just to corroborate the gravity of the situation-
1. 77% of rapes are committed by someone known to the person raped. (Bureau of Justice Statistics)
2. Around the world at least I women in 3 has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Most often the abuser is a member of her own family. (John Hopkins School of Public Health)
3. 22% of females raped are under the age of 12 years; 32% are 12-17 years old; 29% 18-24 years old; 17% over 25 years old. 83% of those raped are under the age of 25 years old. (National Institute of Justice)

And the most disturbing reality of it all:
Only 2% of rapists are convicted and imprisoned (US Senate Judiciary Committee)

There must be something seriously wrong with the world that we live in. And we have to do something to fix this.
Social awareness?
Better legal procedures?
Training for women?

Or how about “Charity begins at home?”

Thursday, March 02, 2006


What’s happiness, if you have to enjoy it all alone?
What’s pain, if you never shared anyone else’s?

What’s charity, if you haven’t given everything you ever had?
What’s a gift, if you haven’t known that giving is better than taking?

What’s a loss, if you are still left with memories?
What’s a memory, if it doesn’t make you cry?

What’s a tear, if you have kept it safe till now?
What’s a smile, if you haven’t wasted it on someone?

What’s a dream, if you haven’t known what nightmares are?
What’s patience, if you have never waited long enough?

What's failure, if you can afford to forget about it?
What’s victory, if you have never lost anything worth loving?

What’s love, if you have never hurt yourself?
What's hate, if you never burned within?

What’s death, if you have completely figured out life?
And what’s life, if you know what to do with it?