My Monologoues

I don’t know what I am. I am a woman but should I label myself as a feminist or a non-feminist I don’t know. I am a human and am all for human rights, I love animals and I am all for animal rights. Going by that logic, since I am all for woman’s rights I should label myself as a feminist for the lack of a better term.

I love men. I love making love to my man, love taking care of him. Would love to have babies with him. I love to wax my legs too. Not because it’s a sign of sexual slavery to appease my man but a reason for me to feel good when I touch my smooth legs and wear those short skirts which make men ogle, women envy.

 I love to dress up not because I love those wolf whistles or eve teasing, I love to dress up and put red lipstick because the effects of it fuels my ego. I have a huge ego, I would not say sorry when its not my fault but I don’t mind giving my man a nice foot massage when he comes home tired, touching his dirty feet with my own manicured hands.

I love to cook. I would still cook for my man even when I am dog tired not because that’s a good wife’s duty but because I love to see my man enjoying my cooking and savoring the last small crumb of it.

I want to have babies not because God wants all women to have babies but because I want to feel a growing human inside my womb, kicking me and giving me sleepless nights.

I love sex not because as a dutiful wife I have to do it but because I feel horny too without any qualms. I see porn, I read erotica, I get bored I ogle at good asses be it man or a woman then I get bored and flip through Balaji serials. I see NEWS, I discuss politics, I clean, I vacuum, I paint, I mess up, I ask him out, I ask for sex, I earn, I spend, I binge too. I love pink and love make up, I don’t have any fancy for cars or lap tops but want all modern gadgets in my kitchen from an internet enabled refrigerator to a robot to condition my hair.

I don’t smoke to prove anything though I enjoy lazy lounges and cocktails. I love to sin with gourmet food, alcohol, self indulgence and some over doze of sleep.

I love my sarees and sindoor, the bindis, the jhoomkas, the payal and the bangles, I want a son and a daughter, don’t care if they become a pilot or a dancer. I want them happy in army uniforms or taking care of a home, for the choices that they have made for themselves with their independent minds.

I love the sea, the mountains that I trek and the roads that I have traveled yet am scared of water, heights and traffic.  I want my maternity leave, I want my raise.

I say “no”  when I want to say NO and I also say No when I want to say “yes”, I say Yes when I want to say NO. I do all the things that you do and he does, I do it because I am as human as you are. I don’t have muscles, I don’t have a moustache, I don’t have a penis and am not a sperm donor and I don’t want all that. I am happy with my breasts and the vanity box, a respectable job and my freedom of choice. I loved when I wanted to, I fought till I got what I wanted, I had the courage to walk out and the strength to fall in love again.  I dumped, I cheated, I had flings as much as you did.
I love gossips, I love to bitch, I love to play sport, and love it when he buys me gifts. I wish there was no rape, no violence, no discrimination.

I don’t know if I am a feminist but I love all the men in my life, my dad, my brother and my man for without them I would be so incomplete. And I say this with all the confidence that without the men I, a woman, would not be what I am.

 

With this post I tag, Sanjukta, Ansi, Kreeti, Seema, Amit, Vijay and Vinayak for their take on Feminism

My 1st Puja in Kolkata

 

This year I spent my Durga Puja in Kolkata. This was the first time when I was witnessing the biggest festival of Bengalis in Bengal.

The trip was very short though, just 2 days after which we left for Sikkim. In these 2 days I got to see about 20 Pujas including the Shobha Bazar Puja.

According to Wiki: “The first  Puja was organised by Raja Nabakrishna Deb of the Shobhabazar Rajbari of Calcutta in honor of Lord Clive in the year 1757. The Puja was organised because Clive wished to pay thanks for his victory in the Battle of Plassey. He was unable to do so in a Church because the only church in Calcutta at that time was destroyed by Siraj-ud-Daulah. Indeed many wealthy mercantile and Zamindar families in Bengal made British Officers of the East India Company guests of honour in the Pujas. The hosts vied with one another in arranging the most sumptuous fares, decorations and entertainment for their guests. This was deemed necessary since the Company was in charge of a large part of India including Bengal after the battles of Plassey and Buxar.”

I can’t compare the Pujas of Kolkata and Delhi because both have their own charm and it would be an injustice if I say one is better than the other because my opinions would always be biased towards Delhi because Delhi is my home.

Kolkata offered me a different Puja where Pandal hopping is done mostly to see the decorations. Unlike Delhi, where people hop from one place to the other for 3 major reasons, first to see decorations, second for food stalls and third for cultural shows. I could not get a glimpse of any cultural show or any food stall, though Vinayak kept telling me that there are Pujas where you have all of that. In Kolkata people eat out in restaurants during Puja which also came as a surprise because we have always eaten out at the Pandals  and restaurant is the last place one goes during Puja in Delhi.  Bhog was also something which I missed. I am not saying that you don’t get it in Kolkata may be I missed out on going to those Pandals where you get to see all this.

In Delhi, Bhog, food stalls, prasad, shows are common to all Pujas no matter how big or small. One reason could be that in Kolkata the Puja is celebrated in every nook and corner, sometimes even on the main road. So you would get to see these things only when it is done in a much bigger enclosed area where safety of the people can be taken care of. The other difference that I saw was the lack of seating arrangements. In Delhi every Pandal has chairs where people can sit. In Kolkata since the scale is so huge which makes it difficult have seating arrangements every where.

Weather in Delhi during Autumn is pleasant and in Kolkata, humid. Puja in Kolkata is a creative expression for the artists. The entire city looks like a huge exhibition of installations. Each better than the other.  Men and women all equally decked up to match up with the entire feel of the festival. In Delhi this level of decoration is seen only at few places. Decorations in Kolkata range from being classy to wild to whacky. In one Pandal you have a Burmese style idol, in the next Pandal you might get to see an Idol made up of wire mesh, decorations as wild as having skeletons hanging from the ceiling to plastic hose. This is the level of creativity which overwhelms and awes the onlookers.

 

 

Another thing which I have never seen in Delhi is the “Kola Bou Snan” (literally translates in to “Bathing the Banana Tree which is considered to be Lord Ganesha’s wife”) which is a ceremony in which a banana tree is bathed in the Ganges early morning. The trees are then draped in a white and red saree and carried to the Pandals.

 

 

The 10th day of a Delhi Puja ends with a visarjan where the idols are immersed in water. Huge effigies of Ravana are also burnt simultaneously and then people greet each other with “Bijoya” wishes after taking the “shanti jal”.  The morning is when married women play with sindoor. I missed seeing all this in Kolkata because we were not in the city on that day. May be next time I would spend the 10th day there. One thing more that intrigued me was that in Kolkata immersion of the Devi does not happen on a Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday even if that is the 10th day.

Puja for a Delhite is a community affair where its about bumping in to old friends, celebrating the Puja together with family. Young girls being worshipped by women during navratris, ram lilas and Dushehras, good food and evenings filled with magic shows, concerts, orchestras, jatras, fancy dress competition, recitation competition, dance competition, singing competition, sports day, musical chairs and so many other things. There are book stalls, music stalls, stalls where you can buy handloom clothes and then you have piping hot Bhog every day for which you stand in the queue for 2 hours. Khichdi never tastes so good.  You have young girls and boys cutting vegetables for the Bhog, Uncles collecting donations, Aunties taking care of cultural events and Anondo Mela, a fair where ladies show case their culinary skills which usually happens on the 6th day of the Puja, the dhunachi dance and the cacophony of balloon sellers, chaat sellers, lost children, fighting couples, screaming cops and the volunteers trying to manage the show displaying their huge badges.

This is how I wanted to see and experience Puja in Kolkata. Where I would become a part of the celebrating crowd rather than a sweaty, camera held tourist. May be the next time when I go there I would make sure that I get to feel the pulse of the city during Puja.

In all Puja felt very different. I had gone there with an impression of the entire city immersed in celebration but I could see the stark contrast between celebration and people for whom it meant business as usual and few extra bucks or few extra hours. The traffic cops for example, went about doing their duty in their drab uniforms managing the traffic of cars and taxis and people all dressed up. Rickshaw walas ferrying people from Pandal to Pandal. The Phuchka seller who made more money to buy better food for his family.  The rag picker who picked more garbage and the guards at the society gates.

 

Puja in Kolkata is an artists delight, a tourists dream trip, a Bengalis last dying wish and party lovers expatriate. What I missed was the community affair and the warm homely feel to it which is the highlight of any Puja in Delhi.

NOTE:- Few Photos are Vinayak’s (Rights Reserved)

To Who It May Concern

This post is an attempt to answer all those people read the so called feminists who consider Rakhi, Bhai Dooj and Karwachauth as “stupid” customs to keep the patriarchal system alive. In my defense I just have few things to say. In the past they must have started as a way of keeping the patriarchal system alive but if someone is doing it out of love and free will I don’t think any body should have the right to question.

 

 

I was asked by one such so called feminist, “Why do I follow such stupid customs?

Well to call a custom stupid  is the first stupid step you have taken to prove your stupidity because certain things which might look totally irrational to you may be close to someone else’s sentiments. For that matter celebrating birthdays is one such stupid custom. And then we talk about mutual respect and being tolerant but anyway there are far too many people who are dumb enough to not even understand that the sentiments behind a Rakhi and a Karwachauth is not Patriarchy but only love.

 

 

Also the question of sindoor, mangal sutra being sign of being married and possessed by a man; Well the answer again is free will. If some one wishes to do it I don’t think anyone should have a problem and if someone does have a problem and is itching to ask another question on “WHY” then that person is getting too close for comfort.

Ban The Smoke Doctor

Something really good happened this 2nd October.  Yes it was Id, Gandhi Jayanti and Lal Bahadur Shashtri’s birthday but there was another significant incident that finally assured the non smokers a smoke free environment.

 

Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss’s anti smoking notification with a green signal from the Apex court  came as a breath of fresh air in a country choking with cigarette smoke.

 

This declaration banned any kind of smoking in a public place including private buildings.

 

Unfortunately this has still not been able to have its effect. I work in Prestige Sterling Square, Madras Bank Road, Bangalore, and whenever I go to the Terrace I see men in groups from Toyota Kirloskar spewing out smoke. For evidence sake, I tried to take their picture also from my cell phone but could not as I was too far to get a clear picture on a 1.3 mega pixel phone.  Then I thought let me search the website and find an e-mail ID where I can send an e-mail to the Toyota Kirloskar HR informing them about it. But could not get any contact information besides a few phone numbers. That’s when I thought let me write about this in my blog.

 

I am quite sure that the people smoking there are from Toyota Kirloskar for 2 reasons. 1st Toyota Kirloskar has their cafeteria and training room on the terrace so it would not make sense for other people to go there and 2nd, people carry Toyota Kirloskar’s ID.

 

I am writing about this here in the hope that people from Toyota Kirsolkar would read it and mend their ways and follow the law. Also, to request the facility managers of Prestige Sterling Square to ensure that the building becomes a smoke free area.

 

This is also to request other people who can site examples of this law being successfully or unsuccessfully implemented.

 

Here are some news links on the Cigarette Ban across India.

 

Indian Express

The Hindu