Category Archives: Event

Fear and Gender

fear-and-gender3

 

 

Vinayak has been very busy with his work as a curator for a photo exhibition on Fear and Gender at 1 Shanti Road in collaboration with Shrishti School of Design. Endless discussions with him over our morning cup of tea opened my eyes to views of so many men I hang out with or men I see all around me. Opinions like a girl in jeans can’t be taken home, a respectable girl should not go to a pub, essentially a local wine shop which is frequented by men from all sections of society.

The objective of this event was to showcase and create awareness about places which are off limit to women because there is a fear element attached to it. Places like deserted roads, alleys, paan shops, wine shops, meat shops, places where women in particular will not feel safe.

This event is on till 2nd Feb at 1 Shanti Road, Bangalore and I happened to go there yesterday. What really caught my attention were these strips of fabric on which comments from the “aam janta” were scribbled and to which some paper pieces with drawings also hung. The scribbles were hilarious to apathetic. 1 read, “Aurat itni sundar hai ki uski izzat nahi kar sakte hai.” “Women are so pretty that one cant respect them.” For most men the idea of an ideal woman was their mother and then I quipped, “if all women became mother figures would there be no rapes any more?”  I guess the answer will still be “NO” . There would still be rapes because rape, molestation is not where lust leads you to.  Rape is a sport for thrill and vengeance seekers. Its like a hunting sport where you hunt a tiger for thrill and machismo and not for its meat.

Anyway, coming back to the event, as I was talking about the scribbles; most of which were written by men who we see everyday. According to them they were ok with a saree clad woman but they can’t bring a girl home who wore a jeans, another one read, “they would want to teach lessons to woman who disrespect the culture”. Now this brings me to another question, “What is culture?” I read in my days of learning Sociology that culture includes everything that surrounds a human, from the food he eats to the electronic gadgets that he uses. But I guess for most of us culture is synonymous to Morality. Makeup, western clothes, freedom of choice and movement perhaps are all immoral acts that is why the Mangalore incident happened and will keep happening. I don’t know if men feel threatened when they see girls moving about freely without fearing their presence. Most of the Indian men have been accused of sexual deprivation which is why their sexual maturity is that of an adolescent. But the question is why is it such a taboo. On one hand we talk about mother being the ideal woman for most men and on the other hand they cant keep their eyes off a girl who is skimpily dressed. Its like they dream of biting into a succulent chicken leg while they are chewing a drumstick in their sambhar.

I guess fear is a means to control. Fear of being raped, being groped, fear of being called a bad woman are all tools to make sure that woman remain in the confines of what is accepted by the social norms as set by people to suit their convenience.

Vinayak suggested that more interventions are needed at these off limit places so that girl don’t fear these places anymore. My take is; girls should start frequenting all such so called No No places so that men become used to seeing them everywhere. Getting used to something acts as a great immune booster. Its like homeopathy treatment. Use the same poison to kill the poison.
The above painting was made by me as my interpretation of this concept of Fear and Gender. The painting is semi abstract and metaphorical in nature. Acrylic on Canvas. With a woman’s womb on the left and a man’s penis on the right with fangs all ready to bite. There are hands all over which are like the people of the social realm that we live in.  I have used different colours on the hand to show different classes of people. The black outline is a symbol of the strong demarcation that society has, the clear rules of do’s and don’ts. The eyes on the hand all facing the woman are like vigilant moral policing to make sure women don’t deviate from their set path. The snake and the apples are like biblical interpretation of the same idea. Religion also plays its role in making sure woman are made to follow rules. It is blamed on the woman to lure the man with the apple but I feel the apples which I have depicted as breast would have lured men nevertheless because a woman does not need to lure a man with anything she is born with it. To be blamed for every wrong that a man does to her.

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26-Nov-08-Mumbai-India-21:40 IST and on…

I am deeply saddened by the state of things which Mumbai is going through rather my country is going through.

While we slept on our cozy beds, more than 100 people died, about 350 injured and so many are still held hostage.

The commandoes and paramilitary forces are fighting non stop for 36 hours now to save all that is there and counter the terrorists and to add to their burden, PM, Sonia Gandhi, Advani and Narendra Modi who can not move around without a Z security, have planned a visit to the city. What are they trying to prove I simply fail to understand but one thing that we all know is that they are going to add to the pressure of the local police who are already burdened and now they will have  to make sure that the asses of these politicians are safe while they visit Mumbai.

Another person who is missing from the scene is Mr. Raj Thackery. I wonder where are his troops this time when HIS Mumbai is burning and the Marathi manoos needs to be saved. I wonder if the Mumbai police and the commandoes, many of whom are from the north are selectively saving the Marathas and letting the north Indian hostages perish.

Thank fully Shiv Sena did not call for a Mumbai Bandh  against ATS in support of a suspected terrorist Madam Pragya  because it would have back fired at time of up coming elections. In fact they should now never call for a bandh against ATS after what ATS has done to counter terrorism but only if they have some prudence left inside their thick brains and hollow skulls.

Reports says that the terrorists must have come via sea route in a boat and then dispersed in smaller groups to carry out the attacks. The boat has come from the Pakistani waters. Is it an intelligence failure? May be it is as we failed to learn our lessons from the recent Marriot Hotel case in Pakistan and a similar modes operandi at the time of Akshardham Carnage or the Parliament Attack.

This time I don’t want to see the spirit of Mumbai where people fail to retaliate and limp back to their daily lives which is limited to earning 2 square meals a day. This time I want everyone to take this head on and not glorify the spirit of Mumbai because we don’t need spirit no more what we need is aggressive methodologies to deal with such crisis.

I say NO to getting used to “Terrorism”  like we have got used to our political system, the poverty, the illiteracy, the regionalism, the communalism, the language debates, the deaths and the population explosion.

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)

What am I missing today?

 

 

 

What am I missing today is the celebration of Janamshtami. I come from Delhi; a city, which for most people who is not from Delhi, is known to be a loud city and I don’t deny that. Delhi is loud and that is why all the festivals are celebrated with full fervor.

 

Markets are lit 15 days ahead of Diwali; you get to see colors on people’s faces at least 2 weeks before its Holi. New Year celebration starts from 1st December, Valentines day means red heart shaped balloons every where, Santa Clauses distributing goodies from the 20th of December, big boards of festival discounts, colorful e-mails carrying good wishes, children coming every now and then to collect money to celebrate either Ram Lila, Bhagwati Jagran or Janmashtami.

 

As a child I also celebrated Janmashtami inspired by my dad who also celebrated the festival the way it had been celebrated for so many years. Friends would gather, they would go from one house to the other in the neighborhood, collect money. Some people will give money and some will just send you back. The amount would vary from Rs.2 to Rs.10.

 

This money will then be used to buy the small clay toys, which are sold especially for Janmashtami. Small cows, Krishna’s father Vasu Dev, Devaki, Shiva’s Head and other similar artifacts. A place in the colony is selected where a pit is dug. This pit is then filled with water because that’s how the river Yamuna is shown in Delhi. Then the river is decorated with colorful chalks, lights. False mount Kailash is created and Shiva is placed on top. If you have a generous aunty and a  plumber savvy neighborhood “Bhaiyya” then you also get a Ganga and Yamuna flowing from Mount Kailash. The prasad is usually “Boondi” and 2 most important things other than all this are placed. These are a jhoola or a cradle where Bal Gopal or little Krishna is placed so that people can come and rock the cradle with the help of a thread, which is tied to that cradle and the other important thing being the jail in which Krishna’s parents where captured.

 

In the water pit, Vasu Dev is kept because that is how he crossed the river to save Krishna.

 

The entire area is then lit up with long wires and bulbs and electricity taken from some other generous uncle. Small kids are made to dress up like Radha and Krishna.

 

This is how Janmashtami has been celebrated in Delhi for so many years. I am not sure if children find the time and motivation from there parents to celebrate these festival these days and if the modern society, apartment managers allow the kids to celebrate the festival in the traditional style.

 

These festivals are more of a learning experience for a child rather than a religious practice. It teaches a child the essence of teamwork, leadership, organizing and management.

 

I remember the 1st time when I celebrated Janmashtami, I celebrated it with a Muslim friend of mine and even asked her to get an idol of Krishna. She went and asked her mom if they had any Krishna idol and Mrs. Ali said, “No.” That’s how innocent childhood is.

 

Once I grew up the responsibility of celebration passed on to the next generation of kids and they did a good job. We would go out and check out every colony’s Janmashtami decoration and pass our verdict. Its as similar as going to different Durga Puja pandals and see the decorations.

 

Delhi in many ways is a very lively city. Every year 15th Aug is celebrated as a National festival with people in patriotic mood, playing patriotic songs, in the evening kite flying is a must do followed by how many kites one could steal. On Rakshabandhan you would see men with huge Rakhis on their wrist. Sleepy husbands taking their decked up wives to their brother’s homes. Aunties looking for young girls for Kanchak, children collecting wood for Lohri, Ram Lila convoys passing by with small, thin boys dressed up as monkeys, huge effigies of Ravan, women in shimmering dresses on Id and Karwachaut. It’s a different experience all together if you are in Delhi during festivals.

 

The city that I live in these days is completely opposite. It’s all that what Delhi is not. It’s quite yet chaotic, cold and a weather and life so uniform throughout the year, 365 days that unless you read it in the Newspaper you would not even come to know that yesterday was 15th Aug.

 

Today also passed like any other Sunday. Today was Janmashtami but without any celebration. I made some halwa at home and we were done.

 

 

 

A Pleasant Change

Originally uploaded by lighttripper

I think we are changing. We, as a society are changing and changing for the better.

 

This change was witnessed by a Gay Pride parade in Bangalore for the 1st time on 29-Jun-08. A walk, where all the men and women, who are otherwise ridiculed in our films for fun, who are only stared at and stayed away from, came out in the open with a simple yet powerful message, which said, “Here I am, just as human as you are and equally comfortable of who I am.”

 

This change was not welcome by many though and this was proven by the many comments that I got to see in various discussion forums. But the opinions of the speakers in these forums really don’t matter because if these people cannot accept alternate sexuality as a normal way of existence, then I don’t think we need these useless discussion forums anymore. These should rather be banned or fire-walled.

 

Come to think of it, women’s emancipation and empowerment also appeared as a threatening to many and it still is, therefore, empowering people who do not confirm to the normal gender roles, have a long way to go. Though the good part is, most of us now know that they don’t fear us anymore and that’s a good change.

 

Talking about these changes, another event that I must talk about here are the two monologues performed by Pritham K Chakravarthy.

 

Pritham Chakravarthy, who is a playwright, director, performer, film critic and activist from Chennai performed two of her famous monologues, “Nirvanam” and “Mirror”.

 

This event was held at The Centre for Education and Documentation, Domlur on a lazy Saturday afternoon of 5th of Jul 2008.

 

This event was organized by a Theatre group called Masra and was kept very low key, I really don’t know why?

 

Witnessed by an audience of not more than 30 people who were mostly in their 20s, I saw 3 elderly people also, who came very early to grab the best seats for the show. Another reason for me to believe that we are changing for good.

 

As a performer, Pritham is engrossing and believable. Her USP is her powerful body language and screaming eye contact that she makes with her audience.

 

I was overwhelmed with her acting so much that I was at a loss of words when the discussion with the audience began. She was so real.

 

In her first play, “Nirvanam”, she tells a story of a eunuch. A story of a boy who has the soul of a woman beneath all the flesh and bones and a human spirit above all. A spirit to find her own identity amidst all odds and abandonment. A story of courage, survival. This play is aptly named “Nirvanam” where a person who is ostracized by his own family attains Nirvana by getting rid of his “manhood” . The message which rips through your mind is, “A human is much more than we all perceive through the anatomy.”

 

The performance is so gripping that at first I thought may be this is the story of Pritham herself.
It was not easy for Pritham to interview eunuchs and get such insight on their lives.

 

Mirror, was the 2nd performance where Pritham enacts a story of a successful actress from the black and white era of Tamil cinema, who was once successful and independent. It’s a story about her insecurities, tragedies, heartbreaks and secrets. A similar tale where independent women taking their own sexual decisions with a liberated mind cannot be “good” wives. They can be good lovers and even better mothers to fatherless children but cannot be a wife.

 

Both “Nirvanam” and “Mirror” were in striking contrasts with each other. “Nirvanam” being a story of a man wanting to be a woman. Where the protagonist is taken care of by the Aravani community; a community which lives in the peripherals of society stricken by ignorance, lack of health care, education, any kind of human rights and poverty. “Mirror”, on the other hand, is a story of a successful and beautiful woman who is proud to be a screen goddess. She is admired by many yet she cant live a normal life. Both the protagonists are powerful and their independence is scary to people who are just about ordinary. The sad part is most of the world is filled with ordinary people and that is perhaps the reason why it is difficult for any extra-ordinary person to be a part of a normal lifestyle.

 

 

NOTE:- “Nirvanam” is a ceremony of the Aravani community where a man becomes a woman by getting rid of his manhood. The entire healing process takes 40 days and its on the 40th day that the womanhood is celebrated.

 

Both the stories are based on facts gathered from various interviews.

 

Photo Courtesy:- Vinayak Das

Jamai Shoshti

Mother: Soooo… you want to become my son-in-law. Suitor: No, but I don’t see any other way to marry your daughter.

 

In the month of Jaishtha , there is a festival among Bengalis called, Jamai Shoshti -a celebration meant for the beloved son-in-laws. Usually during shoshti, the sixth day of the lunar mothers fast for the well being of their offspring. Shoshti in the month of Jaishtha is dedicated to the son-in-law. On this day, the mother-in-laws pray for their son-in-law’s good health and fortune. After prayers, they are treated to a scrumptious dinner and new clothing.

 

This year Jamai Shoshti fell on Monday, 9th June. I was feeling  lazy since morning so decided to bunk office. Vinayak stayed at home to give me company and 12 p.m. when I finally woke up, the carpenter was there to repair the Kitchen door. Vinayak’s 1st Jamai Shoshti after our wedding, started on an insinuation, when the carpenter quipped, “I would not have come to this house had I not promised to come. This place stinks.” Yes, our home stinks because of the always pooping dogs that we own.

 

Maa  lives in another city, so she had given me special instructions to make Vinayak’s day very special and cook all his favourite food.  But the kitchen was virtually sealed for us and we ordered chocolate mousse, crab masala, prawn fry, mutton pepper fry from Mangalore Pearl. By the time we were all ready to go out to celebrate Jamai Shoshti, it was 8 p.m. We decided to go out, pick booze and food. We bought wine and some cold cuts from Food World and I made some sandwiches after coming back home.

 

In the evening as Kenny Roger’s crooning went on, we were reasonably drunk and decided to do justice to the wine by making love to each other in all our tipsiness..

 

While we were at it, we could hear the clanking sound of Allepey’s heart shaped leash locket. But we did not care. When we came out, there were empty plates which once had food especially laid out for my Vinayak on his special day. Our two puppies had partied on all the food that was there when we were busy coo chi cooing in the middle of the night.

 

So there it was Vinayak’s 1st Jamai Shoshti feast  in the tummy of our doggies

Its all in the Jeans

Mrs. Jones:- Gene, wake up. They will be here anytime. Get ready.

Gene (rather groggily):- Maa, I told you I am not into marriage and all. I don’t want to get married so soon.

Mrs Jones:- So soon, what do you mean so soon? You are 24 years old. When I was 24, I had you and your little sister.

Gene (irritated with the pestering) :- Why don’t you get sis married? She is 21 and dying to get a man.

Mrs. Jones (now a little infuriated):- Gene, I don’t want to hear anymore argument. Get ready quickly. I have kept that pink salwar kameez in the bathroom. Wear some makeup too, please. I really don’t understand why you shy away from all the girlie things?

I have raised both of you single handedly. Never stopped you from buying anything for yourself. I wanted you to help me with my beauty parlour business but you wanted to become a bartender. I have never seen you wearing anything nice. All I ever see you wearing is that silly Jeans and T-shirt. Don’t you feel like looking really pretty like the other girls do. The Good Lord gave you some pretty features else you would have looked like a man, I tell you.

Gene (now out of the bed and visibly agitated, screams):- Ma, please, stop that rambling right there. I don’t want to look like a pretty girl, I don’t like being a girl. I love my Jeans. I hate putting makeup on my face. I hate it. I love my job as a bartender and I just don’t want to get married to any guy. I mean any random Guy.

Mrs. Jones (screaming too):- What do you mean, random guy? David and you have known each other since childhood. And now I don’t want to entertain anymore arguments. Get ready, get married and let me live in peace for God’s sake.

Gene, slams the bathroom door and runs the shower.

Gene is any other girl you might get to see in any metro. Works as a Bartender at one of the Star hotels and is very good at her job. Lost her father at a young age. Like all mother Mrs. Jones wants her daughter to get married as marriage is the ultimate happiness any girl can get. Gene, on the other hand, has never done anything that a girl of her age should do. Though, she has a lot of girl friends and Tina is her best friend (well, that’s what Mrs. Jones would want to believe)

Gene (out of the shower, on a cellphone):- Tina, when are you going to get the tickets? I told you my mother is getting boys after boys for me to see and get married.

Tina:- I am trying. I have already asked the agent to make hotel reservation and help us with the Visa too. I will talk to that bugger again after sometime.

Gene:- Tina, baby I love you. I don’t want to lose you. Why can’t we just stay in another city? Here my mom also is alone. Sis is too young to take care of her.

Tina:- Another city? Where? As long as we are in India, our parents are going to pester us to get married. We can always come back after 6-7 years when this pestering stops.

Gene:- God, I can’t take it no more. I feel so suffocated. I wanna scream out loud and tell the whole world, I AM DIFFERENT. GENE DAVIS JONES is DIFFERENT. Why is it so difficult? Why cant i love and marry and choose the person I want to be with? Why the person I choose to live with can not be of the same sex? Why, who made this rule, for who? Why cant I, why cant you, live together, get married and have a life together? You know Tina,  sometimes I feel that we are living in a time of hypocrisy. We talk about love, we make movies on love, we read love stories in awe, but we can’t fall in love. We have to fall in love with the person who is acceptable to the society, to our families, to our peers.

Tina (tries to pacify Gene  who is now crying uncontrollably):- Baby, don’t cry. We will follow our heart, no matter what. You don’t give up so soon. I love you.

Mrs. Jones now knocking on the door.

Gene (hurriedly):- Tina, listen baby, I will talk to you later. Maa is on the door. I have to go and meet David now.

Gene, quickly gets ready and scribbles a note. Wipes her face, puts on some lipstick and opens the door.

Mrs. Jones:- What took you so long dear. You look so pretty in that dress. David and his parents are here. C’mon.

David (smiling):-Hi Gene, you look nice.

Gene:- Thanks.

After the usual tea, cookies and conversation, Gene tells David, “David, I have to go now, I have to meet Tina. She just called. I think there’s something important.”

Though, Mrs. Jones did not appreciate her daughter’s attitude she let her go never the less on David’s insistence.

Gene reaches the place where Tina was already waiting for her.

Gene:- Hi Tina, Why did you call me? Is everything OK?

Tina (with a sly smile, takes out a piece of paper and gives it to Gene)

Gene (with all excitement):- Wow, air tickets. I don’t know what to say?

Tina (holding Gene’s hand):- Baby, agent says, Visa also is not a problem. Start packing your bag. We have to leave on the last Sunday of this month.

Gene (all ecstatic):- Last Sunday? What an irony of fate? My wedding date got fixed for the last Sunday and maa is busy making all plans for the D-Day. I feel bad for her.

Tina (empathetically):- Don’t feel bad for her baby. She will be OK. We are going to come back any way. Aren’t we?

Gene and Tina stay in each other’s arm for few minutes as passersby give them a strange look and smirks.

Last Sunday of the month. Gene had already left her home a day before to follow her love and dream in a different country with Tina. Mrs. Jones knocks Gene’s bedroom door early in the morning. She is all too excited and happy. All her prayers are going to be granted. Her lovely daughter is going to get married to a good human being and will happily live in a loving marriage. She knocks again, this time a little harder and calls out for Gene. Suddenly she gets to see a note sticking out from under the door. She picks it up to read.

The note says, “Maa, I have a little something for you. It’s my torn Jeans that you always hated. Its in your bathroom. Everything that I ever wanted to say, its all in the Jeans.”

Mrs. Jones goes to her bathroom in anticipation, thinking she might find a pleasant surprise, or may be a nice little gift from her darling daughter for finding her such a nice groom.

She unfolds Gene’s jeans to find a small packet rolling down. The packet has Gene and Mrs. Jones black and white pictures. Mrs. Jones smiles with nostalgia and begins to read the note written behind a photo. This was Gene’s 1st birthday photo with the family.

“Maa, I am sorry. I am terribly sorry for having disappointed you. I am not ready for any kind of marriage. I did exactly what you wanted me to do and I honestly tried to do things which was accepted out of me. I tried learning beautician course so that I could help you but I was thrown out of the classroom because the teacher caught me and Tina making out.

We were humiliated and ridiculed by the entire college. I tried to put that incident behind me and move on but I could not. Tina left the college and I had to be with her.

I lied to you when I said, I don’t like beautician’s course and that is why I don’t want to do it. The fact of the matter was, I hated the course, but I left it because I was humiliated for falling in love with another woman.

Believe me maa, I love you very much and as I write this letter I know you might not want to see my face ever again. But there are things I want you to know because you gave birth to me.

Maa, your daughter is no other girl. She is different. Her not being any other girl has always invited trouble for her, humiliation for her.

Tina and I love each other and have decided to spend our lives together. We don’t see any other option but to leave the country and come back after few years. We have faced enough humiliation, glances that used to turn into stares, comments that would be nothing more than taunts, jokes were cracked on us. Comments, stares coming from friends and strangers. Our relationship is no joke but it always remained the butt of it.

I am going away because I don’t want you to be a part of this humiliation that you would have faced if Tina and I started our lives together in the same city.

As my mother, I hope you would understand my state of mind. I don’t know if I have done the right thing given the circumstances. May be I am plain and simple selfish. All I can ask for is forgiveness.

I am sorry Maa.”

 

Mrs. Jones now sitting on a bathroom floor, holding her cross says a little prayer.

“MY darling daughter, I am happy that you found love, may God be with you. You are lucky you found Tina. You are lucky that times have changed, you mother was not fortunate enough to follow her heart.”

God Bless.

Musafir:- Travel Based Photo Exhibition

Musafir: The journey of a photographer

‘Musafir’ is a photographic odyssey of the mind, body and soul of four
wandering photographers, captured through their lenses.

From the dusty adventures of the deserts to the quiet evenings of the
orient, a varied canvas of discoveries of places, people and self is
documented in this journey.

‘Musafir’, a photography exhibition, is being organised at the
“Chitra Kala Parishath” in Bangalore on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of
November, 2007. The exhibition will be at hall No.4 and open everyday
from 10am to 7pm.

The photographers whose work can be seen in “Musafir” are as follows.

Vinayak Das

Self taught as a photographer, he  specializes in documentary and
people photography. An avid traveller, working with natural light and
subjects of social and cultural interest is his forte. He recently
held his first international solo exhibition in June this year at the
Faculdade De Belas Artes at Pontevedra in Spain.

His work can be seen at
http://www.vinayakdasphotography.com

Sunil Kumar

A self taught photographer,he is inspired by nature and captures
whatever captures him. His photography explores numerous interests
which include wildlife, landscapes, travel, portraiture and urban
decay. To continue to grow as an artist he experiments constantly with
new media, new tools and new ideas.

Debanjan Das Gupta

Debanjan started dabbling with the various aspects of photography a
few years back. Widely travelled, his creative self enjoys unravelling
the emotions embodied within simple compositions. His interests span
over a wide range of subjects including landscape, nature, history and
abstract elements.

Ashish Vanjari

A travel bug, taking pictures and capturing the moments on his
numerous travels have given him an opportunity to be acquainted with
many beautiful people, places and culture, which has helped him gain a
deeper understanding of this beautiful and diverse world. He loves
landscape photography in particular. Besides being a passionate
traveller and a photographer he works for an IT company in Bangalore.

For more information contact

Vinayak Das
Phone: +91 98451 96437
Email: vinayak.das@gmail.com

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