Predator in Hiding

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I tried writing this blog from the POV of a sexual predator but I gave up after a few attempts. I couldn’t get myself to think like an entitled imbecile who believes that women should be grateful for his attention and should respond with servility and sexual compliance.

The grey zone of sexual harassment is filled with judgement and opinion. What is ok or not ok can be hotly debated and ranges from allowing a hand on the thigh to drinking with a male colleague to being someone’s favourite at work to consistently dipping into the office pool to hone their marksmanship…. The inevitable bonding on projects and long hours at work make the workplace a hotbed (pun intended) for potential exploitation.

What really constitutes sexual harassment? In my considered opinion, it is anything that involves :

  • Stalking
  • Preying
  • Luring
  • Baiting
  • Using aggression, blackmail, power, promise of retribution, fear, undermining someone’s spirit … all for sexual dominance and power trips.

In case there is any difficulty understanding the points above … I am clarifying them here for your benefit.

  • If you believe that you own the women who work for you or with you …
  • If you believe that women are basically dumb props and have made themselves available because they stepped out of their home to earn a living
  • If you believe that women exist for your pleasure
  • If you believe that women cannot achieve their goals without your proprietorial hand on their ass
  • If you believe that your female colleagues need sex education
  • If you believe that you are populating your personal harem while employing young, fresh ’talent’ then …

My suggestion is STOP. There are several instances of men being toppled from their seat of power by the very women who they chose to subjugate. It could be your turn.

This applies to predators across the board, irrespective of gender.

The Unexpected

Life happens without warning. When everything is smooth sailing and there are a million plans waiting to unfold, lightening strikes and the storm has us in its thrall. When we look up, the landscape has changed. Forever. Irrevocably. It leaves you no choice but to accept, allow and take those painful steps forward hoping to steady yourself on the unfamiliar terrain.

It jolts us in to thinking about so many fundamentals. Bodies that we take for granted, people that we assume will always be there for us, health that will continue to keep us going in our ‘important’ assignments … inevitably, these realities change.

We must assess and appreciate today. What is so important that if it disappears we will be bereft/incomplete/inconsolable? We decide. We learn to savour it before it disappears. Like every transient thing in this world. Including us.

Dear Akshaybhai,

Such a hullabaloo about me! Didn’t really expect it. I’ve been so used to being hidden, spoken of in hushed whispers, hurriedly passed from one hand to the other, tucked away under a shirt or in the pocket … god forbid someone sees me and puts two and two together.

And now suddenly, every one is flashing me around, taking selfies with me, openly flaunting me … men and women alike! Being waved around like a victory flag is so confusing. I mean. Aamir Khan was brandishing me a while ago! This sudden celebrityhood is very heady.

Hopefully, I will not get eclipsed a28595975086054a29f9da29ef58a273

once all this naach gaana is over.

In the meantime, thank you for bringing me out of the closet. For setting me free.

The ‘period’ic friend and companion,

The sanitary napkin fondly called ‘Pad’

Time Travel

I was sitting at a coffee shop waiting for a friend. I had enough time to observe the people around me. I noticed a couple sitting in the extreme corner. The boy was clearly uncomfortable because the girl was sobbing and he seemed torn between compassion and self-consciousness. Aware and worried that the people watching would hold him responsible for her tears. All of a sudden, while he seemed to be earnestly beseeching, she threw the mug across the floor and ran out of the cafe. He appeared stunned. No, he did not get up and run after her. He placed his head in his hands and stayed that way while the waiter went across and cleared the mess. Soon enough, he got up and left for the exit without meeting anyone’s eye.

This is real life and I’m not involved in this character’s story and unfortunately I will never know what really happened. It will come back to me from time to time in different ways … sometimes the boy’s expression, sometimes the girl getting up and flinging the cup across the floor with disappointment writ large on her face, sometimes the turning of several heads as they register the disturbance and look around, sometimes the defeated look on the boy’s face as he walked out the door … sometimes in slow motion and sometimes in sharp cuts.

Isn’t that what happens to our memories too? Over a period of time the interpretation is sweeter or not depending on how we want to see that moment?9d75c9ad3cd5dec88faa9f8ff1c5b0ba

The images don’t really alter but the way the light falls on them, the way the expressions remain, the selective bits we remember or those that we discard, decide how we look back on our past. Time is a great healer. It is also a great concealer.

To Love or Not to Love,

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Bright curious eyes. Expectant. Childlike. Alight with dreams.

Reality. Insidious, unpredictable, inexplicable, fuzzy.

Two parallel lines of wishful thinking and reality moving along a trajectory that will always remain apart.

Simi was forced to accept reality. To swallow the bitter pill. To walk the fine line between illusion and fact. To question her dreams. To doubt her gut.

She learnt that love can be a lie that trips smoothly off a tongue. That promises are made to be broken. That avowals of love can be made to more than one. That love can be a string of beautiful beads. That the string can snap in two and the beads of fantasy scatter across the floor to never come together in the same magical way they once had. That love can mock. That love can be a facade. That hate can be love. That causing pain can be love. That love can hurt. That feeling is illogical. That, sometimes, you just don’t have the stomach for it. Or the heart for it. Because you dread the emptiness it may leave behind. That love can be a one way street. That words are not love. That retaliation can be love. That love cannot be hidden. That love can let you down. That you can let love down. That love makes you vulnerable and powerless. The love can make you powerful. That love is an unboxing of contradictions.

Simi’s eyes remain bright. Curious. Expectant. Hopeful. But there is a wariness now. Doubt.

Till love comes along again. Wearing a different costume.

And she holds on fast for the ride but this time, she keeps her eyes open.

A conversation between God and Sudhir

Sudhir prayed everyday. Many a times it would be a quick, cursory recognition of God’s existence. At other times it would be an elaborate, indulgent ritual leaving Sudhir with a sense of satisfaction, benevolence and appreciation of a job well done.

One day, God asked him … “Why do you pray?” Sudhir found himself at a loss for words. God changed tack. “Do you bathe everyday?” “Yes,” said Sudhir. “What would happen if you were to skip bathing one day?” “Discomfort,” he replied. “One week?” “I’d feel dirty.” “A month?” “I’d stink and everyone would shun me.” “A year?” “My wife and child would leave me and I’d probably develop some awful skin diseases, feel like I was rotting and begin hating myself.”

God said to him, “When you clean yourself on the outside religiously, don’t you think you need to do the same on the inside? To look in, to inspect, to heal, to realise, to become aware, to atone, to make amends, to forgive yourself, to make peace … so that the lining of ignorance doesn’t continue to collect and form a hard shell. So that a time doesn’t come when you have a moment to pause and say ‘hello’ to yourself and you fail to recognise the person you see before you?

That’s why you pray, or whatever you choose to call it. You bow to the God within you.”

Dear heart,

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You pump blood. Till that point you are my most essential, fascinating and important partner in this body. I draw the line here. I find you meddling in my affairs too often for my comfort.

If I didn’t think and analyse there would be anarchy in this world. Forget about this ‘rich tapestry of life’ and ‘wonderful memories’ and all that bunkum … this poor soul, that you allude to, would be in an asylum. My job is to see that this soul finds an easy landing in life, sticks to the straight and narrow, lives by rules, appreciates the law and enjoys a comfortable existence.

I don’t believe in rocking the boat. I have no interest in dancing. I have a lot of things to mull over and I need to prepare for contingencies. The most balanced people are those who think several steps ahead.

Please stop misleading people with impulsiveness and silly behaviour. It becomes impossible to control a situation that gets out of hand.

I hope we understand each other clearly.

Stay in your corner and allow me to run this life. In case of unforeseen developments I will consider consulting you but I have seen from past experience that it is better I stay in command.

Its a lovely day and I see this soul is already stirring with some ridiculous notions that I will need to attend to and kill.

Your warden,

The all knowing mind.

Dear mind,

Let’s just get this straight, once and for all. I need you but we are clearly not ever going to be on the same page. Not until you calm down.

If I can do the same thing (pump blood) for hours, days, weeks, months and years in the simplest and yet most sophisticated way, even if I do say so myself, why must you constantly look for complication?

And then there’s something called instinct, gut, a knowing. Why must you question it and mislead the poor soul? A perfect trajectory ruined with over thinking and analysis, both unnecessary ingredients in the scheme of life. Urm. Ok. Not unnecessary … but not always mandatory.

Dear mind, let’s work together. Heed my advice sometimes and I will learn to be cautious from time to time. I know I can be impetuous and act before I think but that’s the reason this soul has had such a rich and memorable life. Imagine following you … it would have the most boring, predictable and blah life ever. Come on. You know it. Nudge. Wink. Coax. Grin.

Let’s live a little, dear mind and let’s dance together. I know this new hot step and if you can just get into the groove without another thought … I know you will love it!

Yours truly,

Crazy Heart44f497fbf816271bc83991c9a1bdaa98

What does Freedom Mean to You?

What does being free mean to you? Does it mean the right to express yourself freely and frankly? Does it mean the freedom to be yourself, to live on your terms and to hold your beliefs regardless of other opinions?

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What does being free mean to you? Does it mean the right to express yourself freely and frankly? Does it mean the freedom to be yourself, to live on your terms and to hold your beliefs regardless of other opinions?

What if this right to freedom of expression and speech, the right to live a life of dignity were taken away?

Would you remain quiet if

  1. Your money was not in your control and banks were to charge you for every transaction, levy whimsical penalties?

2. If restaurants were to fleece you?

3. If your green cover were tampered with and replaced by concrete in the name of development?

4. If a saffron bearing yogi were to unleash terror and divisiveness in the name of religion?

5. If your history books were rewritten in ways that make your past a sham?

6. If people in power were to remain unaccountable?

7. If someone were to tell you what you can or cannot eat?

8. If you were to be fed propaganda instead of news?

Is it ok to pretend that you are unaware of the noose of control being tightened gradually around you? Is it ok to choose to advocate or to be blind to the annihilation of people because they don’t fit your idea of evolution?

Is it ok for all argument to be choked out of you till you fall in line?

Is it ok for your children to live in a climate of fear and repression?

Because, once you have been silenced, there will be no coming back. Your impulse to fight back would be destroyed. Your right to question would be considered laughable and very soon you won’t know the difference between being free and being a conscientious tax paying citizen number.

A. Puppet. On. A. String.

It will be too late.

Yours, if you want me
Your Right to Freedom

Dear Friendship,

We learn cuss words. The best ones. From friends. We speak freely without censure and judgement. Come to think of it … almost anything and everything is without judgement.

The pranks. The madness. The wild cackle of laughter. The passionate debates. The lunacy. The impulsive travel. The movie marathons. The whirling dervishes we transform into. The gluttony. The wisdom and the sage advice. The falling over and picking each other up. The celebration and the tears. The sharing of fears.

The circle is tight.

High Five!

Member of the tribe