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Monday, 31 October 2011

Still Life

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Hair Flair

Finally the day arrived.

My ‘Facebook’ friend of four years made a trip to my home town and was eager to meet me. Our feelings were mutual, we had exchanged virtual notes, loves and hugs many times. Although I knew her quite well, I knew that I would not be able to recognize her if I saw her on the road. All her photographs on FB showed only her face, she was always dressed in black from head to toe, exposing only smooth skin, heavy eye-make-up and a beautiful smile. When we met at the coffee shop of Hotel Marriott, we couldn’t stop talking, we had so much to share.

“Let’s go out for lunch and then we go shopping” I said

We went upstairs to her room to freshen up. I was stunned when she removed her Hijab and un-rolled her thick round bun, her jet black hair shone as it uncurled, and reached her hips covering her back like a thick satin curtain.

“Wow!” I whistled softly, and walked closer to her to strum my fingers through her thick mane, they were silky and slid smoothly through my fingers “Such beautiful hair you have, why do you cover it so? Let me click a picture of you, come stand here?”

“No, please don’t. I cannot remove my picture without my Hijab. My husband will be angry if he learns about this. My beauty is reserved for my hubby only. I cannot flaunt it in public.” She said.

Such beautiful hair and only one person could enjoy it? Utter waste of beauty! Didn't her happiness matter? Rolling up her beautiful hair like that and keeping it hidden behind the Hijab? Didn’t she feel like playing with her hair under the bright sunlight? Didn’t she wish to feel soft breeze blowing her hair or sometimes let it wet in the heavy rain?

I would have loved to keep the picture of her thick voluptuous hair that would inspire me to take care for my own hair but she wouldn’t allow me to click the picture. I wanted to know all the details of how she takes care of her hair, I begged her to share her secret...but she said there was no secret at all...just take fuss…..

But I too have taken so much care….and that too with so much fuss..pampering it all the time.....

I too have loved my own silky hair
Straight and brown but with scanty flair
Tortured it yes, guilty, had curled it many times
Hair-extensions I added to make it look divine.
No! Never did they grow long or beautiful like this

Never had thick plait that went bumpty bump on my back

They never grew long like that of princess Rapunzel
Nor lost the long veil through love and tears
chop, chop, chopped until it looked like this

Maybe I should wear a Hijab or a long scarf too
To hide my shiny scalp that can hold no more clips
Tried different shampoos, oh yes! oils and beauty tips
But genes and DNA just helplessly glare
No remedies have helped
In family history runs scanty hair
I am afraid of the future
My granny scalp was also so bare
I hope that in my old age they don’t look like this

I desperately look for hair-specialist,
That will teach me to care
With healthy hair I will try out
Many hair styles that could be rare
With flowers, beads and lace
I could walk with grace
Making a fashion statement that will look
like this

Just twenty-five feathers left, and now I am scared
With finger-tips I regularly comb my hair
Careful forever, never to break them into bits
Oil them, steam them, and tenderly massage those flicks
Hoping they will blossom one day
Into lovely-dovey tresses
I will be walking on the moon
If they start to look like this

Participated in  “Love your hair and it loves you back!” blogger contest.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Break the bones of Violence

At the age of 11 years, I had decided never to marry.

Mom told me that there is no true love in this world, it’s just all about compromise……”What you see in the movies is all myth,”, said mom, “ life is a long struggle of do’s and don’ts, and there is too much sadness and difficulties for a married woman. It’s better you study, be well-educated and make yourself independent, if you have enough money to support yourself, there is really no need to marry.” She said.

True that!

Over the years I have realized that if you have enough money, education and a firm belief in yourself, life for you is a better lot than those who have no faith in themselves, no spine to fight back and cannot respect themselves. If you decide to remain single, it’s not a curse at all but if you are married then you should learn to hold your reins of happiness.

And the stories that I have read over the week on ‘Violence towards women’ are very distressing too….and many-a-times I count my blessings on remaining single.

I am not sure how I would have dealt with this situation if I had to face one, but I do know that I am not likely to take shit from I am not sure...

My point is not that you walk out of an abusive marriage but that you should not allow somebody to take advantage of you.

If he is taunting unnecessarily or randomly teasing you, it’s better to ignore him than to react, you don’t have to listen to his every complaint if you feel that he has ‘Middle-cast-mentality’. Fear is the main key of violence. When we show fear, we become subdued and that gives them greater pleasure in making him believe that he is powerful.

I am not a man-hater; in fact, I enjoy male company more than women’s company. I am not the type who enjoys discussing maid’s and children’s problems. I instead enjoy discussion on money and investments, life-styles and travel, movies and books and listening to lotsa jokes. I get along with all my male cousins, BIL’s, friend’s spouse and can talk endless on any topic with them, without being attracted to them or flirting with them. Some of them are abusive to their spouse (and I do voice my discomfort when they do so) but personally I feel they can be trained to behave themselves.

My point is that do not allow your spouse to abuse you under any circumstances, stand there firm and fix that problem.

Very easily said!!!!!

During this month of October, there is a campaign of ‘Violence Against Women Awareness Month’, that shouts “stand up, speak out, reach out”

I agree that every woman should be able to stand up and speak up for themselves but you cannot reach out to anybody else because nobody can help you except you, yourself.

Domestic violence rages in India, even against women of a new generation educated, capable of being financially independent, articulate. It rages because we allow it to.

Not that I have not tried to help people but many times I have heard them turn their back on me with statements like:

“You have never loved anyone that passionately, what do you know about love? Just little abuse is no reason to walk away, he loves me a lot and showers me with expensive gifts”

“You are single, you will never understand our problem, we can’t leave, this is our fate, we have learnt to compromise”

“If I will leave him, will you support me? No nah? Then leave me alone, you mind your own business or else I will tell my hubby”

“My family says to get a divorce and get the money then we will help you settle down, you have our full support”

“Actually he is very nice its only when my MIL or SIL interfere that he gets violent”

“Otherwise he is a gem, it’s only when he drunk that he becomes violent, I try to hide his bottles it’s my fault really”

Gem? He is violent only when he is drunk? But he drinks too much almost every day! No, my dear friend, it’s not your fault, you are supposed to hide those bottles or else help him see how his drinking is affecting you, but you won’t tell him that because you are living in fear, you are afraid that he will slap you.

Why didn’t you stop him the first time when he raised his hand on you? Why didn’t you stop him the first time he raised his voice over the silly mistake that you made?

That was the first time he tasted the blood of your cowardice and smacked his lips.

Women are not that weak as they are believed to be. When the abuse and torture exceeds the limitation of tolerance she is capable of doing drastic action.

“I want to show the women who are suffering that they are not weak. We are hard workers, we are strong. Women can do anything, and we can do it without men”
says Kiranjit Ahluwalia, on whose experience a film called “Provoked” starring Aishwaraya Rai as Kiranjit was made.

Yes, women are not weak and men are charming too, it’s the link that is delicate, if we wash our dirty linen in public there will be more complications than solutions. With understanding and proper communications, the problems can be ironed out.

Life is a very long journey, respecting each other’s needs is very important and if you can neither adjust, nor are you strong enough to change him, then stay single, it’s a bliss…..but only if you have a strong spine of your own.

Insensitive nah? How could I say that?

Well, The above opinion that I have is from the society that I have been exposed to, it is about the people who have walked out of marriage and then suffered at their parent’s home and have been coaxed to return back, These are the parents of high status who want to hush up everything. Parents of such women are not sure if their sibling will take care of them in future, and are not willing to help them settle until they get a divorce and bring back some alimony for themselves.

It is to these women that I say ‘don’t allow’ to be taken advantage of, stand firm and don’t allow abuse.

But I have realized that there is much too much pain out there, especially in middle and lower caste families, where people are brutally raped/tortured/ abused in the most inhuman way.

October is VAWAmonth and let me share their twitter links of VAWMonth and VAWAM where there is an open conversation about this issue. It is at their blogs at VAWMonth and BelBajoa that I have realized how very cruel life these women lead and how much help they need to come out of their pathetic situation and if you have capacity to help them, please help, it’s a day well-spent.

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