Moral

Beware: Creeps & perverts live among us

They have no labels to identify them, and they come with no warning signs. Instead, they lurk in the shadows, hide behind familiar faces, and wait patiently for that one opportunity to make their move. No, there is no science to identify a creep or a pervert, but make no mistake, they are real and they do live amongst us.

This article is inspired by a true event. A friend of mine recently confided in me about her story and wanted to share it with the world. It started with one message. It seemed like a normal conversation between an employee and her boss. He asked her to stay back in office, as he had something important to discuss with her. Naive and unsuspecting, little did she expect what came next. In that isolated dark corridor, he imposed himself on her then and there. 

In the coming days, he was sending her lewd messages, calling her throughout the day, asking her to spend the night at his place. From threatening her to manipulating her to assaulting her, the man who works at a hugely popular corporate firm had used her, abused her and would have continued to do so had she not stood up against him and fought back. 

It’s not an isolated event either. At least three women I know have shared incidents of molestation as children, and several others have encountered running into perverts and stalkers, sometimes as strangers and sometimes as boyfriends. What makes these people highly dangerous is their ability to blend into the surroundings like normal, sometimes even charismatic men. They seem like ordinary men and might even fool you to be good men at times.

The other quality that makes these ruthless serial perverts dangerous is their rugged determination in pursuing their “prey”. Once a creep has his eyes set on you, he’ll go to any and every length to get in your pants. At times, he’ll pretend to be a gentleman, one genuinely concerned about you. He’ll pretend to be your best friend and make a move when you are at your most vulnerable. If that doesn’t work out, he’ll use his position of power or influence over you.

And if that also does not yield, he’ll go route one and outright threaten or blackmail you with information you only shared with him. He’ll stalk you through hundred different mediums, he’ll get information on you from your closest people, he’ll use your biggest vulnerabilities against you. But most importantly, if you let him, he’ll break you beyond repair.

So why am I telling you all this? Because, you need to be prepared for what’s out there. The onus is on you to protect yourself from these despicable men. They are experts at hiding their true faces and presenting a facade to the world. The onus is on you to unraveling their truth and keeping them at bay. For all the honourable men reading this, it is your responsibility too to protect the women in your life from these creeps.

To the women who have suffered at the hands of these pedophiles, stalkers, and abusers, remember – you were not the first and you will not be the last. So, stand up for yourself today and take the fight back to them. Tell others about the kind of men they were, scream about it if you have to to anyone and everyone so that no one else should suffer what you did.

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The Psyche of a Rapist!

At a time when the country continues to reel with the after-effects of the brutal Delhi Gangrape case, there is an overwhelming feeling of connection with the word ‘rape’. While women associate themselves with the victim for the fear that it could actually have been them instead, men find themselves condemning it for the fear that the victim may have been someone they actually knew.

The potential rapist, on the other hand, silently sits in his home sipping his tea, surfing through the newspaper. He reads numerous reports of rape in the country with a straight face, but what exactly is going inside his mind? Does he take it as a challenge to assert his dominance over the weaker sex? Or, is the thought of getting away with it in a flawed system such as ours too exhilarating for him to not pursue? Is the rapist simply a brute, who just happened to be in the wrong situation, and a moment of craziness overpowered him? Maybe, he is just a pervert. Maybe, he is not. Maybe, his primal urges have taken control of him. Perhaps, he is trying to be cool, or perhaps, a screw inside his head has gone awry. It’s quite a question to mull upon- Who exactly is a rapist?

Murder, child labour, women abuse - biggest headaches for the Government. Is India's Doomsday approaching too? Or is it already here?

Murder, child labour, women abuse – biggest headaches for the Government. Is India’s Doomsday approaching too? Or is it already here?

Dwelling upon this question might seem insignificant right now, but this is what will eventually give us the solution to this menace. You just have to take up the newspaper and surf through the pages, and after looking at so many reports of rape, the common man simply gets tired of reading it, deciding that he/she should look after his/her own friends and family rather than trying to fight for the justice of so many victims. Is the Police incapable of doing its job? Or, have these incidents simply affected the minds of such potential rapists more adversely than the common man? Maybe, rape is viewed by these men not as a taboo or a crime anymore, but as an adventure sport, one that has a lot of thrill and adrenaline rush. To put things into context, a potential rapist does not really see rape as a crime or a moral dilemma, it has become simply like a banned drug – illegal and punishable, but an exotic experience that must be tried. Neither is he afraid of the law, nor does he in his own mind recognize sexual harassment as a wrongdoing. He thinks that whatever he wants, he can get it by force, a symbolic representation of his masculinity. Women are simply the accessory to his salvation, the ultimate sin, the pinnacle of his sexual moksha! This rapist psyche, deranged as it may sound, is an infectious disease, which is spreading through the entire country like an epidemic. It makes one wonder that are we inadvertently sensationalizing rape by letting it run rampant in a country with a billion people. Is our inability to control the menace going to have far longer reaching consequences than we can envisage? Are we heading towards a failed state, where our famed culture and ethics are nowhere to be found?

So, how exactly do we bring this change in mentality of a billion people? No, anger is not the solution, not at the rapist, nor the Government. One must take up the responsibility of affecting the mentality of those around him/her to reinforce the status of rape as a diabolical crime. We must identify those around us that might seem vulnerable to fall to the whims of this plague. We must try to cure them, we must try to help them, by teaching them to find it within themselves to overpower the primal urges of testosterone. Man has shown himself capable of change in the past, and nothing can affect the mentality of a person like the kind of people he/she hangs out with. Like Gandhi has said over and over again, if you see some darkness in someone, don’t run away. Try to mould their minds to see the ill-fate that befalls such a man. I reiterate, help these potential rapists get back on the right track. At least until they have actually gone ahead and done the unthinkable!

Two-Faced

Introspection, more often than not raises more questions than answers. Not only does it bring you face to face with your inner demons, it also sets them free. 

As I stare into the mirror, I  do not recognize the man I see: he looks old and pale, his forehead bears the signs of defeat, of failure. And, I can only wonder what happened to him, for I knew him to be the most optimistic man. I look at him and ask him – ‘Why? How?’. He turns away from me, pretending to not have heard me at all. But, I know he did.

And then, just as I think of giving up on him, I hear the slightest whisper. Did he just call out to me? He lets out an alleviating howl, his veins pulsate menacingly, his eyes reek of fire. He looks at me in disdain, accuses me of being a liar, of being a pretentious illusion. Suddenly, he disappears into thin air. The mirror is now a screen, it reflects upon my choices, my decisions throughout my life. Like an old film, it moves along, frame by frame, ever so slowly, as I witness my own life flash before my eyes. Finally, it dawns upon me, he was right! Every single word he spoke was true. But, how did he know so much about me?

Are you two-faced? Do you have an other side you like to keep in check?

As I am caught up in the moment, the mirror explodes into shambles with an astounding force, and carries my body flying into the rubble. I feel scared like I’ve never been, and yet with the impending curiosity of a child, I open my eyes. The man from the mirror stands before me  with a knife, growling excitedly, as his bulging muscles threaten to rip through his shirt. He seems possessed, the fiery red eyes coolly fixated upon the target- me! He grabs me up by my collar, and pulls my torso up into the air with the slightest of efforts. The metallic surface of the knife in his hand glistens in the sunlight, as he drives it straight through my chest, with all his strength.

Blood oozes out from my body, my life force slowly drains out of me. He looks at me with a smug smile, while my own mind sharply plummets into a fading blur. I lose my strength, my will to live, I close my eyes for the last time. But, wait, that can’t be the end, my heart beckons, goads me on to not give up the fight. So, with one last surge of whatever adrenaline remains in my body, I pull out the knife from my chest, and stab it into my assailant! His smile changes into shock, as he is overcome with desperation, and lets out a loud cry, “Noooo…..”

The mild drizzle outside the window of my room makes for a panoramic scenery, as I wake up from my nightmare. Just a dream, my mind reassures me. I stare into the mirror, just to make sure. The mirror tells a different story altogether- It is not me, it is not him either, it is an amalgam of the two. And, then I realize that we are one and the same. That we are just the two different sides of me, who are at loggerheads with one another.

Bemused at the surreal world I often let my mind ramble into and interpret it so mystically, I laugh it off. After all, I am getting late for yet another exam. And then, just as I cross another mirror on my way, I can almost swear that I see a red glint in the corner of my right eye!

Article first published at The Indian Fusion.

Those Eyes

Those eyes…

Those eyes that know what love is,

Look around, searching where beauty is.

Amidst flight of birds, they chirp with glee.

And stare in amazement at vibrant trees.

On lakes, in rivers, they glimpse the water sway,

Through happiness and laughter, in their own mysterious way,

They see all the beauty of this world,

But, where there is beauty, can hatred be far behind?

 

Those eyes that know what love is,

In the sea of hatred, have not hated once.

When death comes to those they love,

They die several deaths, at hands of the man above.

They have seen the face of contempt,

Yet for all still behold respect.

When words hold no meaning,

And trust has no bearing,

Those eyes still know how to love.

As teardrops trickle down through empty space,

And pain stings in its mysterious ways,

Those eyes still love, those eyes still live, those eyes still see…

A Common Man’s letter to First Lady of India

Dear Mrs. Gandhi,

My name is Ramesh, and I am just a common man, a term you are clearly unfamiliar with. Now, let me tell you a story, in fact the story of my life.

I have three daughters. All of them are girls! (I have heard you are slow, just like your son, so I am spelling everything out.) Anyway, so I have a salary of Rs. 30,000 a month at a government job, which by-the-way I hate, but it pays nonetheless. With this meager amount, I have to pay for my daughters’ education, the food in the house, the house rent, electricity rent, etc etc etc. I will someday have to pay exorbitant dowry (read: inflation) for my daughters to gutless and spineless men. So, all in all, I have to pay a lot. Now, the question comes: How in the name of God am I going to pay 75 Rupees for a litre of petrol amidst all this? Of the top of my head, I can only think of robbing, stealing, or becoming a terrorist. Those are the jobs that pay well, not these crappy government or private jobs that are considered honorable.

Do you have the weirdest idea what 7.5 Rs means to the average Indian? Of course not. I will tell you, it means a lot. It’s exactly the amount a person at the poverty line can afford to pay for one meal (assuming he has four meals a day, not that he can).  But, you should know that, right? Because, I remember you were visiting all those poor people in the elections of 2006, and they were flashing your face all across the news over and over again. Now, I have no idea about economics, no idea how inflation and market value works, and the more qualified people have been saying this price rise was unavoidable. So, I will skip that and just ask you something very simple. We pay taxes, don’t we? Yeah, that’s right. To your very own government. Now, I have been thinking a lot, I simply cannot figure out where this sum goes! Defence? No way. Rural development? You have got to be kidding me. Global markets? Yeah, right.

You cannot answer that question now, can you? I know where. It goes to a mythical land of Switzerland, buried deep below the Earth’s crust, where no man living or dead can find it. Oh, was I too metaphorical? I am talking of course, about the Swiss Bank. On one hand, you have assets worth hundreds of crores, from your “Government jobs”, that pay no more than mine. And yet, on the other hand, you claim you are crippled by the global economy. What exactly do you do to deserve all that money? You know what, you are no better than the Englishmen who once ruled us. At least, they had the audacity to rob us in broad daylight, not the cowardice to stab us in our backs. They say your aide, a certain Mr. Singh, was a commendable Finance Minister once upon a time. Clearly, his powers have waned now. Or maybe, he was just in the right place at the right time (like he was in 2006). I have little doubt that I could do a better job at managing the finance and administration of the country than you incompetent fools. At least, I would not eat into my own people.

As for my own troubles, I have finally found my calling. I now understand. I’ve given up everything, and I am now going on a quest round the world to search for oil wells. And once I find them, I will be able to carry on the rest of my daughters’ education, pay my rents etc etc, but mark my words I will not pay your f***ing taxes!

I have heard Italy is a very exotic land. So, why don’t you get the f*** out of our country, back to your own and leave us with our miseries? Yes, we are bloody hospitable, but clearly, you have overstayed your welcome. Go away now, Shoo!

Sincerely,

A common man

If this article was a little too damn serious, check out this other article I wrote on the issue of petrol price hike. Here: Engineering student invents car that runs on politician’s bullshit!

What if we had a Matriarchal Society?

Imagine there’s no heaven. Imagine there’s no country. And the world will live as one. ~ John Lennon

We, today, live in a patriarchal society, and clearly, it is not working. It’s worth pondering what were to happen if we lived in a matriarchal society instead. First, what is a matriarchal society? It’s a society where the females are the dominant sex, mainly because of their overwhelming population, enjoying the support of the leaders. So, what would happen?

1. Women will take control of politics: Sonia Gandhi will become PM with no opposition, and will be seen at every important event accompanied by personal secretary, Dr. Manmohan Singh. Rabri Devi will be the leader of RJD, while Lalu will be relegated to mowing the lawns and milking the cows. Mayawati will, well, continue to erect statues.

2. Parents would fear having boys for kids: “Another boy? Such a shame, Sharma Ji! How would you manage the dowry for three boys in this modern world, with such measly income?” Such statements will become prevalent in day-to-day life, as will the ‘male infanticide’.

In an alternate reality…

3. Men cook dinner, women go to office: “Kids, dinner is ready. Come down now, your mom’s home.” or “Don’t forget to take your lunch to work, sweety pie.” These will be the common voices inside the house. Men will go for grocery shopping, take care of the cleaning business of the house, while women would pit their brains on the share market, or find solutions to global recession.

4. Girls checking out boys instead of the other way around: Now, that would be something, wouldn’t it? Buoyed by their dominance and influence in the society, women will be the one doing the stalking. The ‘checking out’ may be of a different kind though. “Look that guy has no fashion sense, look at those boots, total disaster!”, “Eww, does he not have a shower at home?” For this fear of being insulted, men would say to their wives, “Nahi jaanu, raat ho gayi hai, aaloo-pyaaz tum hi le aao, please.” 

5. The rape convicts will, for a change, be dealt with very severely: Because of the physical advantage men would still have and also the desires they possess, there may still be rape cases, although significantly reduced (by up to 80-90% perhaps). The lawyers will try to defend their clients against unmoving female judges, who shall ensure the harshest punishments for the offenders.

6. The story of love will be forever twisted: Women will spend their time trying to woo men, and men will keep on searching for that elusive soul-mate, who will complete them. Millions of songs and poems will be written everyday for the male community. On Valentine’s Day, women will be locked up in jails for hitting on the passing-by single men.

7. Reservation, empowerment and upliftment: Men activists will rise to the occasion and set up ‘Men Rights Associations’, arguing for the place of men in the society, while the leaders will incorporate thirty percent reservation for men in technical institutes, to absolutely little or no effect.

8. More car accidents, more gibber-gabber phone conversations, perpetually-being-late disorder: Well, I better not elaborate on these, or I will lose the small group of readers for this post. But, you know what I am talking about. I just couldn’t resist. I just couldn’t. Maybe next time, the other side of the coin!

Men surely had the better deal in this current version, which is why they don’t object to the conditions. And hence, I have conceived this scenario, to put you into the shoes of the female community and implore you to think. “Would that be a fair deal? No, of course not. Then, why should this be?”

First published here.

Vision 2020: A dream

It was a casual day at the college, and we had just finished with our quota of lectures for the day (9 am to 5 pm with just an hour’s break). I jabbed at my good friend, Maddy (I always tell him that this hipster nickname doesn’t really do justice with Madhusudan), and asked him if he would be joining us for football later in the day. His response? Nahi, aaj se padhane jaana hai. Naturally, I responded with ‘Accha kitne paise de rahe hain?‘ I had never anticipated what he was about to say to me next, ‘No money, social service’.

There are those in the world who work to make their lives better, rarely will you find those who work to make the world a better place for the lives of a billion others. Often he tells me that to clean the drain, you must get your hands dirty first. So every single day, he wakes up at 8, reaches class before me, attends more lectures than I ever could, sits on the first bench and listens to the professors till 5. And after all that toil and effort, he dashes off at six to a slum nearby, gathers the children around him and starts teaching them the nous of Mathematics and Science. Not just that, he takes the responsibility of enrolling the kids in government schools. Of course, he is not alone in his venture, as Mahaveer and Jaswinder support him very ably, while others have come and gone.

Do you know how they teach the kids there? On a whiteboard, which is actually a white chart paper, covered with plastic, in an empty discarded room nearby. These guys, they buy copies, books, pencils and erasers from their own pockets for these kids who cannot afford them. And, without fail, they teach them two hours every single day. Such is the dedication of these shining knights. They call it very aptly the Vision 2020, they have no connections to any NGOs, no funding from the college, no certificates to gain from this enterprise, nothing. My good friend Maddy in fact chooses not to eat at a Dominos or a McDonald’s for the simple reason that the money can be used to buy books for kids instead. If that does not deserve a salute, I do not know what does.

When I see men capable of such sacrifice, possessing such noble intentions, I just know for a fact that India’s youth has infinite potential. I hope that our leaders can take inspiration from actual leaders such as these guys, and the youth can spend less time ogling at women or pretending to be cricketers/rock-stars, and more time doing something real for the education and poverty.

I am convinced that if he continues with the same dedication and passion, someday, my very own Maddy will be known in the world as Father Teresa! Or maybe something better.