Life Glare. Sundays 9:00 PM. Only on Conscience. Don’t miss the first episode!

As she landed on a webpage that reminded her of him, she sighed. It was sad that things had come to where they had. But yet, somewhere in her heart, or mind rather, because that’s where one knows, she knew that this was more or less inevitable. They would have reached this impasse sooner or later. ‘You always had a way of falling for the wrong guy’

 ‘Falling’ she thought. Had she really fallen for him? She didn’t really like the idea. She wasn’t some 16 year old school girl. She was 25. Would turn 26, in a matter of weeks. She was married. To her boyfriend. And happy. Yes, of course, no doubt about that. Her husband and the marriage were one of the best things to have happened to her. The husband, she had fallen for. Hook, line and sinker. No doubt again.

 So what was it exactly with him, that now made her wince and sigh as she thought of him? She had missed him, no doubt (goddamn, she thought, I keep using that phrase, yet doubt seems to be the only thing running through my mind, all the time) in the few days that they had maintained their stoic and stubborn silence. She also knew that this time the silence would be protracted, unlike their previous disagreements, and she would probably have to miss him some more. But she knew she wouldn’t be going back to the same thing either. She had had enough.

 Exactly what had he been? A distraction? A past-time perhaps? A friend? Maybe all three. Maybe none. She thought of all the times they had talked, all their conversations. They had brought her immense joy and laughter and excitement. Yes, that was the word – excitement. He was exciting. Stimulating. Endlessly. Almost addictive-ly. And he made her laugh, and smile, and get upset, and angry and sad. Something was always happening with him. Like with your favourite TV series.  An episode of Lost. Or One Tree Hill. Yes, that is what he was. That is what she had made him into. She smiled wanly and wistfully. It was too sad.

 Why? And How? She felt pathetic. It was pathetic. ‘God, my life must really suck’ she thought. Perhaps she was right. Had there been nothing, in her day-to-day life apart from his conversations to excite her? To give her that sense of rush and satisfaction? To make her feel? She reflected on all the events of the past week, the past month – she couldn’t recall a single memorable activity. 30 days, 4 weeks, god knows how many hours, and she couldn’t recall one, single memorable thing. Except maybe the argument with him. It was beyond pathetic.

 There is really nothing lacking in my life right now. It’s actually pretty awesome. I’ve got money. I’m with the man I love, and he’s with me. I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to do. I don’t have to work an 8-hour job. I don’t have to withstand a harrowing daily commute. It’s actually a breeze! But yet, apparently, nothing in my life excites me or gives me a sense of satisfaction.

 I seriously need help.

I seriously need to help, myself.

This would stop. Right now. Right this minute. She couldn’t go on like this. I cannot let it. The idea that the most memorable moments of her day happened in front of a chat window was too disturbing to excuse or reason with. I would have to do something. The operative word being ‘Do’. And ‘Something’.

‘Something’ that excites me, that gives my day meaning, that reflects my real wants, that is true to my values, that is a conscious choice, and that brings me memorable happiness. Happiness that occurs while I’m doing it, and that lingers on long after I’ve done it. It need not be complicated, or huge or particularly boast-worthy. It need not even take a lot of time. It just needed to be done. The operative word being ‘Needed’.

Otherwise, she would just go back to watching a TV series. On TV or on a chat window. The drama had to come from her own life, her own day, her own actions. Not from persons, real or fictional.

She wished she could apologize to him. Then realized she probably owed a much bigger apology to herself. She smiled. This would be memorable moment number 1. Sitting by herself on a cold, damp Sunday night, typing away at a computer, listening to the rain tap-tapping outside and awakening to a new realization. Yes, the first of many others.

O Come, All Ye Faithful

I witnessed something quite pleasantly, amusingly, poignant today.

I was standing outside of Bandra Stn, right outside the arches, at 2 o’clock. I need not add exactly how hot it was, but I should add how pissed I was, at the fact that it WAS so hot, that my bus seemed nowhere in sight, that the traffic and the honking seemed endless and annoying, and especially at the fact that for some reason, a good 50 odd Muslim men seemed to want to stand at exactly that same place at the time.

No, I’m not talking about the Muslims (sigh)

I generally get pissed at any congregation of men anywhere, simply because seldom do they congregate for the right kind of reasons. It means I have to be over cautious and get overtly stared at. Yet, the crowd here seemed quite on their civil behaviour, possibly brought on by the hawaldar bandobast. 

It seems they had gathered to offer namaaz. They were chattering away, the whole lot, some praying, some kneeling, some doing something that was a mixture of all three. Every now and then a slightly older man wearing a pathan-like turban would come around and tell everyone to get in place. People kept getting in place and getting out. Basically there was a lot happening, and people like me who were waiting for the bus kept waiting for something else to happen too.

Then, as expected, the azaan rang out, and the men heeded. All of a sudden everyone got in their place and then, everything went  shush. It was as if someone turned off a switch. I have never in my life seen Bandra station this quite. I was too absorbed looking at what they were doing, so I’m not sure, but I do think even traffic stopped moving for a while. Understandably, the men were engrossed with what they were doing, but even those of us who didn’t have anything to do with this, went quiet. There was no honking, no hawking, no yelling on the phone, no yelling at the hawker, nothing. There was just some annoying banter by the hawaldars (because they just have to ruin a perfectly great moment) – but other than that, it seemed like the whole of Bandra station had joined the men.

It was one of those moments that are filmed and edited to an audio of the National Anthem or Vande Mataram. For the five minutes that the namaaz lasted, pin-drop silence ruled the air. It was almost as if, despite the rush that we are in, despite how impatient we are, how irritated we get with crowds, how we regard the faithful of a different kind – despite all of this, each individual (running, walking, standing, sitting, eating, drinking, texting) knew that this was a moment not to be disturbed. This was moment to be looked at with some respect. This was a moment to feel something. This was a moment to be, even for a moment, a little better, even in the littlest way possible. Of course the hawaldars are an exception.

When it was over, Bandra station resumed its usual poise and grace. The men went to feast and the hawaldars, to fleece. I finally saw my bus snaking its way through the traffic (which had miraculously just started). But this moment lingered. Not because someone was praying. But because someone else decided to let someone pray in peace.

Make yourself comfortable….

After my whining in ‘My blog sucks’ I have finally decided to start writing any rubbish that comes to my mind. So here is something that took place sometime back:

Well I indulged in a little “social experiment” sometime back. There are a lot of forums on the internet, as we all know. We most are quite useful — in situations where three heads could be better than one. But then there are also ‘social’ forums — where one can basically socialize and generally air ones opinions.

Background:

SO, I’m registered on bookcrossing.com (there’s a post about what that is somewhere here). And after quite sometime, I actually began to take it seriously. I had signed up for a bookray/ring sometime back and I’d recd tht book — but for certain reasons, I ended up keeping the book for much longer than I was supposed. Not very good. I actually didn’t make the time to read it. And the person who started the ray kept sending me msgs telling me to ‘make a journal entry’. And I’m like Damn! I haven’t even read it yet — what will I write? So I tell her yeah I’ve recd it and haven’t had the time to make an entry. Days go by, and I still haven’t read or made any entries and this person is getting more an more irritated wondering why I haven’t made any entry. And well, although I should be reading. I’m getting a lil irritated too — I said I would make an entry and this person isn’t worried that I’ve had her book for some time, just obsessed over the entry. So I finally decide to write whatever lil I can tell abt the book. And then I finally realize: by a journal entry, she means I’m supposed to write that I have the book. Wow!I leave my views abt it anyway, and contact this person telling them I have an tht I’ll be mailing the book across to the next person, and explaining why I wasn’t making the ‘journal entry’ albeit with a little sarcasm thrown in for good effect.

Experiment:

That gets me thinking — this is weird. She knows I have the book. I told her that. So why worry over me confirming the same thing again on a website? And that got me thinking some more — The purpose of the website was to set books free, let them end up with whoever and then be surprised when someone makes a journal entry telling you their reading your book. But instead it seemed that everyone was obsessed over the tiny details — not just this person, but many others on the website too. I wanted to know if other people thought the same way, so I posted my ponderings on their forum, w/o any mention of this person of course. A general wondering if we obsess over our books once they go into a ray or ring or just left somewhere.

Result:

Quite a few people responded — some didn’t care where their books went. Some did. Some used to but not anymore. Some did in certain circumstances. Cool. Then, this person appears, assuming that the entire thread was targeted towards them. SO, they try to justify themselves and essentially to provide a synopsis of the entire episode. NOW, the replies AFTER her post contain people’s own reactions after freeing the book, AND tell me whether they think I should have left a journal entry or not upon getting the book.

Perspective:

Now, everything written till here can be ignored. ‘Cuz this is the only important part.

1. These people ad no idea of what had transpired between me and this other person. Yet, they made it their business to tell me what they think I should have done.

2. My original post did not mention this person or the incident whatsoever. The incident might have been a trigger, but I did wonder about this everytime I was on the website. That this other person seemed to make an assumption was silly enough. Even sillier was the fact that people forgot to talk about the main content of the post and went on to advise me or her.

Conclusion:

The content of my post was slightly disturbing. No one really wants to admit that they obsess over things. (Particularly in these developed countries where the educated think that it borders on a psychological disorder) But well, we do. On something or the other. And usually, it’s only a matter of getting things into perspective. So, quite obviously, many feel uncomfortable reading it. Yet, most are strikingly honest. There are others who don’t feel uncomfortable. Kudos to them. However, the ones who feel uncomfortable, these belong to two categories: 1. The ones that still addressed the topic, as honestly and as impartially as they could. 2. The ones who told me what I should/should not have done.

When they see a mirror, some people will want to punch it.

Pornography – Can we please get Real?

I came across a website some time back called www.oneangrygirl.net. This website designs and sells ‘Feminist’ T-shirts (some of them can quite make you chuckle). The home page reads that the girl is angry because “something is very, very wrong with how our culture treats women and girls.” Good enough. However, the ‘wrong treatment’ according to this website starts and ends with Pornography.

Essentially, oneangrygirl slams pornography for the same reasons that many other ‘feminists’ will — because it degrades women, because it perpetuates violence against women, because it creates an unreal and cheap image of women in the minds of men, because it ruins families, because it fosters prostitution. So, oneangrygirl’s solution is to gather support to stop pornography altogether because once pornography goes, so will all the problems, apparently.

Hmmmmm….

I think that all the anger has somehow managed to cloud oneangrygirl’s head. And onesensiblegirl will explain with reasons why she thinks so:

I will start with the basic definition of Pornography. Pornography is any material that causes sexual excitement in people. This definition is broad enough to encompass anything. I could look at a sculpture of Atlas can get sexually excited. Or, one could look at pictures of naked girls (or guys, as the case may be) and get excited. Pornography, thus, is not so much about the means, but about the ends. (since there are many means that could cause sexual excitement, and thus be called pornography, but the end is the same) Therefore, when you slam pornography, what you’re essentially slamming is the act of getting sexually excited. Or if I should be more complete — what you’re slamming is the man’s ability to feel pleasure. This is absurd.

Any object is considered pornographic if it creates sexual pleasure or provides sexual stimulus to one. That is the purpose that pornography serves.  Going by that if you say pornography is wrong, you essentially imply that anything that creates sexual enjoyment is wrong. And the only reason (if any) to back that up is that sexual enjoyment is wrong.

Pornography serves an innocent purpose. There’s nothing wrong in getting sexually aroused. Now WHAT exactly excites one sexually is a matter of the person’s values and values people can choose. Thus, one might say that getting aroused by one thing speaks of wrong kind of values and getting aroused by the other speaks of the right kind of values — however, one cannot deny that there IS a choice. And this choice is for each individual to make on his own. Others cannot (and should not be allowed to) dictate it.

Coming to other issues:

Pornography does not degrade women. Firstly, the women in pornographic films don’t seem to be miserable in their situation, especially not in sex videos that couples make of themselves — both individuals seem to be enjoying the act of having sex and being filmed. If anything, the women are always shown in control, enjoying the act and most importantly, even desiring — behaviour that is completely NORMAL when it comes to an act like sex.  Secondly, IF it does, then I don’t see how men are spared — since pornography involves both sexes, doing pretty much the same acts. It would be silly to conclude and say that women suffer degradation.

To be blame pornography for perpetuating violence against women is at best a stupid argument. 6 decades ago, even in America, women were not allowed to vote, were laughed at and alienated for wanting to study or pursue a career, could not own property, had no respectability without a husband, had no choice when it came to their husbands, or how many children they could have — essentially, women suffered physical, mental and emotional violence, without the existence of pornography of any sort. However, according to one angry girl, today, even in the absence of these factor,s women suffer violence because of video clips of couples enjoying a roll in the hay.

If pornography seems to create a cheap image of women in the minds of men, that’s implying that any woman who enjoys having sex with men and is comfortable about posing nude in front of the camera is cheap — since this is what women in porn clips are doing, nothing else. This would include almost all of our actresses today, including the really talented ones.

That pornography ruins families is a trite excuse for banning pornography. Pornography only ruins families as much as drinking, gambling, cheating, over-working, insensitivity, time, insecurity and about 100-odd other factors. A marriage is only as strong as the individuals in it. And if the partners are not willing to keep it intact even the most trivial factor is enough to ruin it.

Connecting pornography to prostitution, of all things, is out-of-this-world. The connection itself is so far-fetched, that it’s actually irrelevant to argue this on a factual basis. But here’s a go: Firstly, let’s deal with the concepts individually. Prostitution entails the sale of sexual service for money. In a free society, individuals are free to earn a living in any job or manner that they see fit, as long as they do not initiate any force against other members of the society. Therefore, what is wrong in earning a living from Prostitution? If an educated man/woman decides that he/she would like to make extra money by getting paid for having sex, nobody has any authority to stop him/her.This same argument holds good for Pornography. Individuals are FREE to CHOOSE to indulge/engage in Pornography or Prostitution.

A large part of one angry girl’s anger is centered around the assumption that pornography fosters prostitution. This is the part where one angry girl’s anger has really messed up her thinking. She links Pornography to Prostitution to Human Trafficking. All three are unrelated. Any individual in any corner of the world is free to choose his occupation/profession. However, forcing an individual into any kind of profession is against the law. If an individual wishes to be a porn star or a prostitute, there is absolutely nothing wrong. The fact that people are being forced into pornography or prostitution is a problem of law and its implementation and not because of the entities of Pornography and Prostitution themselves. The solution lies in bettering the implementation of law and order, raising general education and awareness levels and also in legalizing the Porn industry — so that, like all other industries,  they can be identified, and held accountable when caught flouting the rules.

The basic mistake that one angry girl makes is this: Blaming man’s circumstances for his choices, for his actions and for the consequences he has to suffer. I’m not sure if this is a mistake, mistakes happen because of lack of knowledge, and one angry girl declares that she is ‘unwavering’ on her anti-porn stand, knowledge or lack of it. Circumstances are not causes. If they were, college drop outs would never become business moguls, a sexually molested child would never go on to become one of the most influential television personalities ever, a girl living on a mattress in her mother’s car would never have gone on to become a two time Oscar winning actress, a girl from a remote Indian village with no electricity would never have become a NASA astronaut and a African-American-part- Muslim-christian could have never become an American president.

Blaming pornography for the problems mentioned above is like blaming McDonald’s because you’re fat, blaming MAC because you think you’re ugly, blaming the SATs because you didn’t crack them, blaming the rich because you’re poor.

The prostitutes and the porn stars crying their sob stories on OAG’s website made their choice because it brought them the money they wanted. Now that they regret their choices, they expect other people to come to their rescue. This is like: We’ll do what we want to get what we want, now that we don’t want it, you make it go away. It is essentially, shirking the responsibility for their own choices and actions. And as long there are one angry girls, they will get away with it.

My advice (though unsolicited): Learn to define what you’re fighting for in clear terms first.Define: Pornography, Prostitution, Sex, Choices, Circumstances, Consequences, Degradation. Learn its implications, and learn to establish the connections clearly. Understand where the problem lies and then offer a solution.