Khuli Tizori,Khuli Bottle Aur Khuli Ladki

Often India is perceived to be a chauvinistic country where women are suppressed,even in a society which is transcending into a quasi-Western society. The incident on 16 December 2012 was just a case which was reported and emphasised by the media, but the incident was never to be,and should never be, seen in isolation. It was just the eruption of people’s anguish at the extraordinarily brutal,disgusting and appalling sexual assault cases this nation sees. Yet, this entry is not about rape or sexual assault. It doesn’t seek to justify anything and shall not justify itself.It is just a unique,different opinion I stumbled upon,and shall narrate further.

I was travelling to Bandra via an auto rickshaw whose number plate read MH 02 UA 6055. I, as usual had my earphones plugged in and wasn’t bothered in the slightest.”Aaney waley saal mein isse bhi zzyada chota ho jayega” muttered the auto wala in a mixture of disgust and anger. I glanced in the direction of his face and saw a girl wearing a red top and denim blue shorts.Admittedly she looked what people call “hot” but I also admit that I hadn’t noticed her until he pointed her out to me.I prepared myself for a chauvinistic lecture and was not disappointed.But for the first time,I saw the deep revulsion to women exposing their legs being rooted in genuine concern and almost banal fears. “Ladka ladki key paer ghoorta rahega aur wahan gaadi thook jayegi”. His concern was not for the fact that a girl was exposing her legs(as most conservatives).His disapproval was rooted in a sense of safety.How do I know this?Well for starters,he never mentioned anything that insults women although he might have been guilty of talking about them in a manner which on extremely critical observation can be termed insulting.Rather he actually demonstrated how shameless a man can be.

As we progressed towards our destination at snail’s pace,he actually pointed out a bunch of rowdy looking males in cheap formal clothes who were grinning at the girl like a wolf glares at a lamb. “Saley haramiyon ko dekho” he said as he pointed at them. Then he went on to tell me some of his deep life philosophies. “Mard chutiya hota hai.Uski niyaat teen cheezon ko dekh ke hamesha fisalti hai. Khuli tizori,khuli bottle aur khuli ladki.Chor ke saamne paise rakho toh woh haath zaroor marega.Piyakard ke saamne bottle rakho,toh woh piyega zaroor.Ayaash mard ke saamne khuli ladki rakho,uski niyaat tharak dikhayegi.” It translates to ” Man is an asshole. His dignity or his honour always slips at seeing three things. An open safe, an open bottle(I presume alcohol) and an open girl. Keep cash in front of a thief and his hands will obviously steal. Keep a bottle in front of a drunkard and he obviously will drink.Keep a girl in attractive clothing in front of a randy man, his soul is bound to turn playboyish”.

He was about to say some more but I reached my destination and I got off.I paid him the fare and bid him farewell,and for a few moments stared at the auto going off.He stopped ,picked up an aunty in a blue salwaar kameez who had hailed him over and drove off.

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Dhen Chu Bhaiya


This is the tale of a little boy from the city of dreams. For some peculiar reasons, people always tend to have either one of the two extreme possible ideas of a metropolitan. They’ll either imagine a pos, rich family with a father who earns more than he can spend, a suave new-age mother who watches Gray’s Anatomy instead of the useless nonsense on Star Plus, a son who studies Marx and Pounds alcohol with equal gusto and a daughter who harps over fashion and and goes crazy at the mention of how cute the new singer of some band is. Maybe throw in a pet. This is just one of the images. The other is of utter poverty where people barely have a meal to eat, let alone have savings. The mother looks like one of the patients on Gray’s while the son has only empty beer bottles to collect and dispose for money. The only fashion the daughter knows is that of the mistress’s daughter whose mother was kind enough to donate some clothes. Every stray animal is their pet. Most people classify the populace of a city into either of these two categories. This is the story of a boy who falls into neither but somehow is a reflection of both.

I met Soham/Akash( he kept alternating between the two, so I assume one was a nick name or a name used by close friends or relatives). It was a July afternoon in Mumbai, and it was pouring cats and dogs. Like every quintessential Mumbaikar, I wasn’t travelling with an umbrella.As a rule of thumb, I always stuck to a wind cheater if I was travelling within 4 stations of my house, and an umbrella for everything else. Borivali was close to Malad(by Bombay standards) so I had continued with my boycott of the umbrella but it wasn’t a decision I was particularly enjoying. Simply put, getting drenched in the rain, even with a wind cheater on, and trying to hail a rickshaw and not get pissed with each one that not only ignored me, but zipped past like a bullet, spraying me with the dirty water on the road. Suddenly, the last rickshaw which had done the same stopped roughly hundred meters ahead of me. A little kid hopped off with a thela in his hand and started running away.He had a pink umbrella and was wearing shorts,brownish-khaki in colour and a faded gray t-shirt which had black horizontal strips. I assumed that he had travelled his path and I rushed into the rickshaw. Out of curiosity, I asked the rickshaw wala bhaiya about the boy. He replied that the kid had just got onto the rickshaw a minute back but on seeing me, had asked him to stop and had gotten off. As shocked and touched I was, luckily I had the sense to be courteous enough and call the boy back. After some cajoling, I convinced him to let me drop him till Borivali station, which lay on my way home. As the rickshaw started, I looked at the boy. He appeared to be a curious little inquisitive kid, with the oily, mushroom shaped hair that only poverty begets. But the most arresting detail lay in his eyes. His eyes were yellow. Not the the rich, golden, flashy one but rather a shade that neared a dull ochre. But the dull colour was compensated by the shine in his eye as he talked about himself, and his life. In couldn’t learn much about him from the brief conversation we had, but all I know is this. Akash is a eleven year old boy who studies in the fourth grade of the local BMC school. He was on his way to Dadar, one of the most chaotic and busiest areas in Mumbai to buymogra flowers for a religious ceremony that was to happen at his home. I asked him why was he travelling so far just for some flowers. The smile on his face didn’t budge an inch as he replied “Bhaiya wahan saste mil jayenge.” . I gazed at him, wondering as to when was the last time I travelled kilometres in a stinky second class train compartment to buy something that was easily available, just because it was cheaper. I quickly hid my creeping blush behind my handkerchief, feigning a sneeze and changed the topic back to his education. He told me he learns English at school, but while he told me this, his eyes continued to stare in the direction of my phone, which had my earphones plugged in. I asked him what he wants to do when he grows up, and he replied without hesitating, “use a computer”. Again, I was puzzled and on some further probing I was informed about how his school authorities had told him that only people who pass their 12th grade exam can use a computer. I resisted my urge to laugh and simultaneously, cry. 


Before I could ask him anything else, his destination had arrived. He promptly took out an old ten rupee note, and before I could refuse it, thrust it in my hand and leapt off the rickshaw, and ran away shouting something which sounded like a common cuss word. Astonished, I turned to the rickshaw wala and began moaning about how kids these days don’t have respect for elders( forgive me, I had recently turned 18 so I believed myself eligible to do this). The uncle turned and replied, “Nahin Nahin beta woh toh dhanyavaad keh kengaya” . It took me a minute to figure out that the kid, who was perhaps the most admirable child I have ever seen, was just shouting “Then Chu Bhaiya”. The rain poured on, and the city moved on. But that expression of gratitude is still stuck in my head, and probably shall be, forever…

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To(377)B or not to be

This post was originally written by me for a group blog I co-own named The Jalebi Chronicles.Check it out, it has some really good stuff.

Over the past few months, we have witnessed uproar due to the shocking judgement passed by the Honourable Supreme Court of India a little more than a month ago. I am referring to the black day of 11th December, 2013 when in a move that shocked the nation and the world at large, a division bench headed by the now retired Justice Singhvi decided to overrule a Delhi High Court judgement that had struck down section 377B of the Indian Penal Code which reads:

“Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.”

In essence, it was a section inserted to soothe the attitude of an archaic society that has long since ceased to exist in 19th century itself, in an age and time when the concepts of right and wrong were a farfetched dream for the citizens of any colonised nation. Let’s return to modern day India. Courtesy some liberal judicial interpretations of the constitutionally sanctioned Fundamental Rights, we have numerous rights (rights which are not stated explicitly in the Constitution but are more inferred,) including the right to privacy. What section 377 B means is an absolute invasion of that right. Going by the logic of the section, if two people have consensual sex against the ‘order of nature’ in a private room and someone peers through the keyhole and lodges a complaint, they’ll be arrested. The state, in its moral stride has essentially decreed that all sexual acts except consensual peno-vaginal sex between two adults is illegal.

If we are to analyze the judgment, some factors stand out. One of the reasons offered by the Supreme Court to uphold section 377 B’s constitutional validity is that it targets acts rather than people, and thus is uniformly applicable to all citizens. What they fail to recognize here is that these “acts” which they seek to criminalize are inexorably linked to the sexuality of the LGBT community, whose rights are clearly being violated by the same logic. But again, a disgusting choice of words is seen in paragraph 52 of the judgment, which reads, “In its anxiety to protect the so-called rights of LGBT persons…” The degrading of the community and its rights just because of its existence as a minority is shocking. Furthermore, the court also maintains that the insertion of the section forming the basis of harassment and blackmail only warrants for an amendment to the law by the legislature and does not make the section ultra vires. To cap it off, the judgment laid forth a political challenge of sorts when it suggested that an alternative could be an act by the legislature to delete the section in contention.

I refuse to dwell on the ramifications that this decision will hold for the future of politics in our country. All I will say is that I am shocked; shocked and disappointed. The upholder of the nation’s fundamental rights has failed the nation. In an ironic maneuver, a judgment has turned citizens into criminals. Protest all you will, but the truth of the matter is this: at the bottom of all our hearts, we will be left with just one painful thought, and this will be the collective ideology of us all: “On 11th December 2013, the Indian Judiciary failed its duties and principles. It failed its philosophy… It failed you and me. But above all, it failed itself.

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I’ll Be There For You, ‘Coz You’re There For Me Too

I'll Be There For You, 'Coz You're There For Me Too
Remember that one childhood friend who knows you inside out? Yes, the one whom you just thought of when you read that sentence. The one whom you will share this blog post with, the one whom you’ll call after reading this. So I guess by now you have a fairly decent idea about who I am talking about. All of us have that one person, that one friend, that one best friend who is simply your life line. Distance, time, space, place, location, nothing matters with them. You can rely on them whenever you want to, regardless of what it has been. You must be wondering why I am rambling and you are right in wondering so. Let me tell you why.

I'll Be There For You, 'Coz You're There For Me Too
We seek closeness.That’s an universal fact.No one can deny that.It’s simply who we are and what we need.Be whatever,or whoever you may attempt to be,that familiarity,that proximity,that bond,everyone wants that. This coupled with the fact that nothing is more pleasing than finding someone who functions exactly like you. Same thoughts, same outlook in life, same quirks, same likes, same dislikes, same everything. No, don’t mistake it for a relationship between lovebirds. It is something much more intense, deep, lasting and permanent. You can call her at 3 in the night and rant about your troubles. She can wake you up and complain about how her parents are irritating her. Together you may sing songs at the top of your voice on a roof at midnight. The list is endless, and always shall be. But the best part is, there is never a shred of awkwardness between the two of you. You may be boiling Pepsi in a kettle(for the record, BAD IDEA) and simply laugh when it blows up. You maybe cracking sad jokes at the last bench of class. It can even be discussing certain anatomical dimensions for an hour over the phone at seven in the morning on a Sunday right after she wakes you up because she just got done with her memorial submission and was bored. It could be you calling her up after doing something crazy, right when she’s about to sleep, and keep her up, because you can.
Ok so my rambling still doesn’t make sense but the point I have to make is that the feelings you have for that person are simply beyond words. If asked to, I doubt anyone can put down those feelings in a sentence of finite words. The feeling is inexpressible. It’s just there and something which you cherish forever. So cheers to everyone of us, and to all of our best friends, our chuddy buddies, our confidants, our lives, our everything. “Simple hai. Kisi ke saath waqt bitane se sab theek ho jaata hai”.

Go ahead. Share this with your best friend. Try expressing what you never have, it’s worth a shot.

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Justice Denied:Ishrat Jahan

This post was originally written by me for a group blog I co-own named The Jalebi Chronicles.Check it out, it has some really good stuff.

Ishrat Jahan. The name is a common one in the media these days. Everyone is aware of the Ishrat Jahan encounter but not many truly know what it is about, except for the little knowledge gleaned from what the misogyny infested media reports.. For those who are unacquainted with the case, here are the facts of the story.

Ishrat Jahan was a 19 year old student from Mumbai who died on 15th June, 2004 along with three other men, namely Pranesh Pillai (alias Javed Gulam Sheikh,) Amjad Ali Rana and and Zeeshan Johar. The four of them were supposedly killed on an empty road stretch between Ahemdabad and Gandhinagar. The Gujarat police claimed that the foursome were terrorists belonging to LeT i.e. Lashkar-e-Taiba and were plotting to assassinate Narendra Modi due to his apathy towards Muslims and supposed involvement in the Godhra riots of 2002. They claim to have acted on intelligence tips from the Maharashtra police and more importantly, the Intelligence Bureau. However, many dispute the claim arguing that the encounter was staged in cold blood to propagate Modi’s communal propaganda. These claims have been strengthened by strong evidence backed by incriminating reports filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) instituted by the Gujarat High Court and the investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Here are the undisputed facts. Jehan worked as Pranesh Pillai’s secretary. Pillai on the other hand, had been previously booked for four assault cases and charged with involvement in a fake currency racket. He had converted to Islam in the ‘90s and allegedly, two passports were recovered along with his body; one for each alias. It is interesting to note that neither of these two had any traceable links to the LeT. The other two, Amjad Rana and Zeeshan Johar have been conspicuously ignored by the media. . These two had clear links with the LeT and worked for them as terrorists. The only dispute in regards to them was their nationality. Their bodies were not claimed by anyone.

The names/groups in the below table mentioned in Column A believe the encounter was fake, while those in Column B lists the groups who believe the encounter to be real.

COLUMN A
COLUMN B
Indian National Congress(INC)
Bhartiya Janta Party(BJP)
Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI)
Intelligence Bureau(IB)
Gujarat High Court’s SIT constituted in 2011
Headlines Today
National Investigation Agency(NIA)
Hindustan Times
Tehelka, PUCL
Zee group

It never ceases to amaze us how politicians can turn even the most brutal of incidents into brownie points for their political vendettas. In put it simply, if this encounter is proven to be fabricated Narendra Modi will be viewed as a communal leader and shall allow the Congress to play the secular card against him. If Modi survives this, it shall simply add to the defence he puts up whenever he the buck is passed to him for the Godhra incident and its related mishaps. Both ways, the investigation reports will spell a massive victory for one or either sides and the fight has resulted in two things; a stalemate and the vilifying an innocent girl who is unable to defend herself because she is, and pardon me for using the phrase, ‘conveniently’ dead.

Ishrat Jahan has been called everything, from a terrorist to a promiscuous female (by BJP’s Meenaxi Lekhi because she was travelling with three men and, in her eyes, that is enough to doubt her character. One cannot help but wonder what her views are about her daughter going on school trips to Lonavala with 125 other students.)However, she has been denied the most vital of all human rights; the right to life. The police had no right to snatch away her life regardless of her being a terror operative or not. Posthumous justice is one thing, but the very fact that it is posthumous is disheartening and very disturbing.Being an 18 year old college student myself, I am, scared. As a plain and ordinary citizen, what is the guarantee that you, me or anyone else shall not be the next Ishrat?

Moving on to the extent of political involvement, my disgust rises. It is simply impossible to trust either of the parties involved because the holy troika of corruption, power and politics has changed the entire game. Since the CBI is in the Congress’ pocket, their stance is anti-Modi while the BJP is supposedly deriving support from the highly secretive IB. The media groups’ ownership defines the stance they take, and the view they present depends on whether the slander they spread shall benefit their corporate overlords or not. In the middle of this however, the common man loses out on the truth. All one can say is that Ishrat might have merely been ‘collateral damage’ as two out of the four killed were terrorists. Ishrat just happened to be at the wrong place, in the wrong time with the wrong people. Of course that does not give anyone the right to brand the innocent girl a terrorist and it certainly does not justify her death. In fact, this assumption may be a far departure from the truth, but with a heavy heart, I suspect that with the web of orchestrated facts, hidden agendas and misogyny infested opinions, justice shall lie buried and the truth shall never be exposed.

DISCLAIMER: The views presented in this article represent the views of the writer alone and not the others in general.

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Bye Bye Bombay

This is not an ode to the city I love, neither is this a farewell letter. Before you read further, let me tell you, I’m now into my last week in Mumbai. Well, at least for the next 5 years, I’ll be living in Delhi to study law. I don’t know why I am writing this. Hell I don’t know what this is. Take it as my rambling if thy shalt will.

It’s a funny feeling. Moving. The verb, the word but mostly the feeling. It’s not just that you’ll be leaving behind a life that you’ve carefully built. But you’ll be leaving it behind for something new, something unfamiliar.18 years of my life, my friends, my love, my city, and my way of living, everything, gone. It’s a huge thing because of many reasons. In life, we never realise it, but it is always what that is around us builds us. Bombay, the city I was born in, the city I lived my childhood in, the city I hit teenage in, the city in which I turned 18,the city that was always my solace, the city that taught me life, the city that punished me, the city that nurtured me. Bombay was always there for me. I’ll specially miss sitting by Marine Drive or Worli Seaface,enjoying my timeout from life, staring blankly at the sea. If you haven’t already done that, do it. Just for a few minutes. Stare into the vastness and the far far away expanse. Think of nothing. Just stare. I proudly say that the city always was my first love. Today, with just a few days left before my flight to Delhi, I have no words to say to it. There is so much to do, so much to say, yet no time. I feel like I’m being torn away from it, piece by piece. A few days ago, I saw this picture which put my turbulence in words.

Mumbai is a city. Bombay is an emotion.

It is true folks. I’m leaving Mumbai but the Bombay shall always be in me, and right now, it is bubbling up via this post, and I am unabashed when I say I don’t want to bottle it up.

People always yearn for security. That’s the entire point of our life. To lead a secure life. For a just emancipated adult, my parents were my umbrella, my armour and my everything. I remember those tiny fleeting moments when they were there for me. Trust me; they are the ones you remember and not the major ones. In Delhi, I’ll be alone. Yes, we live in the 21st century, so we have phones, SMSes, BBM, Whatsapp, e-mails, letters, Skype and all those other mediums which reduce the distance between people. But the problem is that they can never remove the distance, only reduce it. However close I may feel, the brutal cold truth would be that I am thousands of kilometres away in Delhi while they’ll be in Mumbai, and not with me physically. That’s just something I’ll have to deal with, accept and move on.

Friends. Dost. The word rings like a hollow bell. They complete you. Always do. Suddenly, they won’t be a phone call away. I won’t be running into them at Kandivali station. No sir .I admit I have never been the friend I could have been, but they have and that makes all the difference in the world. Honestly I’m scared. What happens from here? Where does life take us? We still stay the same way? Things change? Ugh, this is mind numbing. It has always been this way; we have always been a call away. Not anymore. I won’t be able to give them a call and pop over to their place. They won’t be able to give me a call and meet me at the McDonald’s near Andheri and Kandivali stations(which they know are my second favourite place in the world to meet, after the stations themselves). We might drift apart, partly because of me, partly because of them. I’ll make new friends and they’ll make new ones as well. But all I hope for is a status quo. No change. Stability is nice

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sum up all the emotions I’m feeling in one post and relax, I don’t intend to write a second post on this. All I wanted to do was put my emotions and rather on a broader outlook, almost every Mumbaikar who is leaving Bombay ‘s feelings into a post, because I understand how hard it is to articulate them.

The heart is a fickle thing and it hates change. But at the end of the day, the clock ticks on, the date changes, the world sleeps and awakes anew, and so shall I, with a hope, and only that hope to lead me on.

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Top 5 idiots on Mumbai’s Roads

Hey people this is the sixth post of a new weekly series called “Saturday Top 5”. I guess the title is self explanatory and anyway, it shall be on a pilot basis due to a great response,this will be a regular series . Here’s the last post of the series(LINK).Please leave your feedback about the idea and suggestions as well for the next post in the series

Well I recently turned 18 and along with the fact that I have a choice to choose which person loots my constituency for the next 5 years, I started with driving lessons. Now as a kid,I always made fun of Learners, making the L sign on my forehead as they nervously drove by,shouting “Loser Loser”(before you let your imagination run,I did this when I was 6,not 16.Well except that once )

But the biggest shock that hits you when you get behind those wheels,is the quality of drivers on our roads.It’s as if the traffic rules are like India’s football team i.e. existent and working on paper only. Even among this wide set of douchebags, I bring to you 5 of the biggest idiots you’re bound to find on India’s roads:

1.The sabzi buying aunty

She’s every driver’s nightmare. The typical Indian aunty who can scare the wits out of anyone anywhere and the biggest enemy of vegetable vendors. She can be found strolling on the middle of SV road(near fruit and vegetable markets mostly) with 3 bags of purchases and 4 bags of the free dhania she siphoned off from a poor soul whom she ironically calls Bhaiyaji. Oh! How can I forget? She loves doing this when the signal is green because crossing the street when the signal is red, is too mainstream. *sigh*

2.The slant parking wala
This is one person who takes Juhi Chawla’s “Taedha hai par mera hai” too seriously. They’re infamous for blocking narrow streets by parking their vehicle in weird positions. Diagonally with the road is their favourite. That’s not even the worst part. They take their own sweet time to do anything may it be sipping the last few drops of tea to reversing their car with the mandatory grouch as if they’re doing a favour to the world by returning back to sanity.

3. The giggling girls

Now you have this gaggle of girls who always walk in groups (or as I call it, the vixens travel in a pack). They’re lost in their own world of gossip and other useless nonsense. But I kinda get it. I mean who cares about the freaking huge car that is honking at you for the past 5 minutes when you’re regaling in mock horror at how Geeta wore a revealing dress at Samita’s party while you secretly want to ask where your co-gossiper got her nails done but won’t because it is not courteous. It’s a tough job being a gossipy girl,believe you me

4.The “always in a hurry” uncle

There’s always this guy who’s in a rush. Seriously. Mostly found having a laptop bag slung over one shoulder even when the bag is empty, because they want to show the world that they have a bag which can carry a laptop. These idiots don’t walk, but rather sprint. They keep bumping into cars even at snail-like speeds of 10 KM/hr. (I say this out of a pure observation and not my particular hatred towards a community in particular, but 99% of the time, he’ll be Gujju)
5. The douche with a kickass car

Everyone knows this one rich,overspoilt brat who owns that dream car you drool over.These idiots tend to assume that the law is in their pocket and the streets are what colloquially are known as, his/her’s “baap ka maal“. They drive without any regard for anyone else on the road at speeds which would make Usain Bolt blush.They are primarily responsible for 90% of the explicits you shout at the road and 100% of your Mom’s “aaj kal ki generation…” lectures.

Well people that’s all for now.Auf Weidersehen!

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