Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Forbidden Streets of South Mumbai

I was 8 or 9 years old when I heard about these forbidden streets of South Mumbai. My grandmother rescued our domestic help's daughter who was lured into running away with her boyfriend. He brought her to Bombay. There they stayed with a friend for a few days before he made his real intentions clear to her. She had been cheated. He raped her. Invited his friends to rape her. Again and again. She was gangraped for over a month before he decided to sell her to one of the madams in Kamathipura.

She refused to sleep with other men, refused to participate in flesh trade. They would beat her with cane on her feet. Till she would give in. She stayed there for a little over three months, getting raped by different men each night. At least seven to eight men would fuck her each night. Periods was a time for some relief if a weirdo didn't turn up who enjoyed fucking menstruating women.

She was one of those fortunate women who was rescued thanks to my grandmother's contacts and a hell lot of money. She was brought back home. She was completely shaken, depressed, scared, and pregnant. Family got the child aborted, got some tests done for STDs. Thankfully everything was normal. They got her married soon enough. She is happy now, has two kids, and husband doesn't know anything about her past.

This is one of the stories. One of those rare stories where the victim was rescued. But does it happen in every case? When my grandma recites the story now, I realise how difficult it was to track her down and rescue her. The person who helped was stabbed. Luckily he survived. I have no idea what kind of risks, money and power were involved in the entire operation. What the girl must have gone through during that period.

A friend works with an NGO that works for sex workers of Kamathipura. I happen to discuss this story with her. She tells me her side of story. Rather, stories she gathered on her numerous visits to Kamathipura. 

To be continued..

Gillette Flexball Review

It was dad's birthday last week. I was super confused about what to gift him. As much as parents want you to like what they choose for you and sulk when you don't, it's true for them too. Every year whatever gift I get him, he is seldom happy with it. He shows me that he liked it, but well, I know my dad. If I buy something expensive, he won't like it as I spent a lot of money. If I buy something inexpensive (there is nothing like inexpensive these days), he won't like it. Yes things can be really tricky.

Now, dad is particular about certain things. He is a huge fan of classic clean cut. A little bit of displeasure with the shaving and he will be cranky the whole day. This time around I decided to gift him something that was perfect for him. When he opened his gift, he was more than delighted to see this! Yes it was quite a unique gift for him. He had not expected me to gift him something that was indeed useful to him.

He used it. Now mind you, a person who is so particular about shaving has to be 1000% sure about the outcome of the product to give you that rare grin post using it. And he was so impressed by it that he thought that we should do something to spread the word about how awesome it is and how should gift ideas be changed to something like this where you are gifting happiness and utility stuff instead of showpieces and wall hangings. Thus the idea of writing this blog post was born. Just to add a bit of twist to it, I thought to interview dad for this. And he readily agreed too! So here is our small effort towards public service.

Me: Dad, how do you like your new gift Gillette Flexball?

Dad: Look at my face. What do you think?

Me: Well, you are grinning like a kid, but our deal is not to praise how handsome you are, but to spread a word about this awesome gift to help others.

Dad: Ah all right. So, when I used the razor for the first time, there were some unique things that I noticed. And mind you, I have experimented so much in this aspect. Who knows it better than you. So the very first thing I noticed when I unwrapped this Gillette razor was the handle and the blades. Handle plays a crucial role for the motion while shaving and this was just perfect. Five super thin blades gave me the closest shave I have had in quite some time. Yes I was happy with recent products too, but there is something about this one. Plus it also has a precision trimmer on the back for accurate edging. And the product looks very stylish too.

Me: Oh my! Looks like you studied every aspect of it. 

Dad: Well, if you want to write your experience, that too a happy one, write it to the fullest.

Me: Agreed. Tell me something more about the orange ball. That was the first thing I noticed when you unwrapped it.

Dad: Well, it's called a flexball by the company. It's their trademark. You would know the meaning of it, being a lawyer (tut). It helps you make maximum contact over facial contours to give you Gillette's best shave. If flexball was steering, it would be like the axle of a car that helps rotate the wheels. And the flexball helps you attain the J-Stroke shave, a complicated maneuver as far as shaving is concerned because it moves close to 80% of the time when in contact with the skin.

Me: Whoa you are being so technical about it. It went completely bouncer.

Dad: Well, it's just a man thing. And they will know what I am talking about. So I would recommend every person who loves the perfect classic clean cut like I do, then #OwnTheFlexball by @GilletteIndia

Me: Anything else would you want to add? 

Dad: Thank you for letting me speak. And give me the link of this article as the proof that you published it. I want to flaunt that I was interviewed. 

I guess I interviewed someone for the first time (and probably last). He is very happy with this gift. And gave it a five star. I even asked him if he would pose for a picture, he refused. He is not very comfortable with it. But you can take my word for it. He did look more handsome :)

Monday, August 17, 2015

And The Residue Remains

Independence Day is over. The streets that were full of people waving the tricolour yesterday are now full of half torn and muddy flags. Nobody gives a damn about the state of the country anymore. And it's kinda sad that this cynicism has become a reality now. Everywhere you see people not giving a damn about anything. Including their own lives. Pollution, population, corruption, crime - we tolerate everything like it's something obvious and something we cannot help.

The helpless state. Or the victim card. Be the bechara to get all the benefits. Fuck the rules. Fuck the fair game. Curse reservation when you don't get a seat anywhere. Curse the upper caste for treating lower caste as shit. Riots in the name of religion and blame the religion instead of those misusing and misinterpreting it. One judgment goes wrong and we blame the entire judiciary. Victim card/helplessness is a very safe and secure place. You are right even when you are wrong. And people will listen to you. 

If that doesn't work then bribe. Pay money and get the work done. Or not done. Keep doing it. Make the system so bloody corrupt that without money they don't even give you your death certificate. Pay the bribe to get the timely slot for cremation, or the best part of the land for burial. The smell coming out of the smoke tells you if you died rich or poor. We don't spare anyone. Or anything. 

Religion - again something we feel so strongly about. Whether in favour or against. Atheism is cool. Being a theist is kind of an abuse. You kill in the name of religion. They kill you because you killed in the name of religion. A few extremists malign the entire system. All of us die - one by one. Either as victims or as an accused. Just to feed that one sentiment we misunderstood. 

The torn flags on the roads remain as residues of our so called nation love for one day. Those half immersed idols float because we don't care either about them or the environment. Fuck the logic behind immersion. It's not the system, or the religious practice that's entirely wrong. It's the way you follow it - that's wrong. Practice doesn't specify the size of that idol. Or the requirement to buy and flaunt the flag you don't have any intentions of keeping. You abandon them. And you abandon your sentiments with them. That's where you go wrong. But it doesn't get destroyed completely. It stays there. Reminding you of what you have become. 

But again, who cares?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Place for a Wandering Soul

Have you been to a place where, after stepping there, you feel as if you are in a new world altogether? Or think that the one you live in is no life at all. Your idea of a good life is actually an illusion that you live in. Place you can call home. You feel at peace even while doing nothing at all. You meet new people and in no time it feels as if you have known them for years. You still try not to be too friendly because it all seems too good to be true. 

Such a place exists. For the first time I am taking out time to write about it while being there. Yes I skipped a nice place to visit just to spend this time with myself. Going to the terrace and reading a book, visiting a cafe nearby all on my own - I need at least one such getaway on a trip. I don't care if I end up missing out on the best structure in this world for this time. But this time is important to me. 

Auroville is much more than a home. It accepts you the moment you come here. And I am so glad I did. Second day here and everything - from people to food to places to my room - everything is just perfect. I can hear the sound leaves are making outside. Some birds are chirping. They chirp round the clock. And it's a pleasant, soothing voice. There is an old fountain outside. It's not a pretty one. Quite old, not functioning too well. But that's the best part about it. The sound of water dripping from it is the most soothing sound you can ever imagine. 

Yes, it sounds too poetic. Or not. Who cares. The place is magical. It's almost untouched. A place where you would want to come to without a plan. And stay for as long as you want to. A place where the company doesn't matter. A place you want to visit on your own. And not leave. 

It helps you find yourself. And connects with yourself. What music does to you. Auroville has the same effect on you.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Scattered Thoughts

I think I need to clear the dust before I start writing here again. At least clear it off the laptop screen. There is so much to write about, so much to say and share and so little time. I have been busy with so many things. Mostly travelling. Travelling more than working. And that's a bloody good feeling. This year I made two trips to East/North East and three to North. And the next one is planned already.

More than the travel part, it is about meeting different people. Learning about different cultures. Realising that your country is more beautiful than you can ever imagine. Realising that those google images were less beautiful than the place. The value it holds. You look at the place differently from everyone else. 

Life experiences mould you. How certain things change you as a person. How you look at someone you know changes. How indifferences disappear. How easily you can now let go. Forgive. Forget. Move on. Or, live with it.

Or completely opposite of it. The person you couldn't live without once, is no longer with you. You may even hate him, or miss him like crazy and still want him. Some relationships leave you bitter. Some make you better. 

And some things don't change at all. Anger is one such thing. It's good so far as it's healthy. But the moment it starts controlling you, or making things worse for you, you need to take the charge. Start controlling it. It's not possible always, but not too difficult either.

My anger has always been on the extreme side. It's just so easy to make me angry. I can blast even if you say A and I don't like you. I can blast the hell out of you. I don't care where I am or who is in front of me. I cool down quickly but by then the damage has already been done. People who know me well know this about me. Rest are no longer in my life. 

Do I regret? No. If I really love you, and get angry at you, and don't try to makeup within max a day, then you are wrong. Amendments? It depends on your wrong. Some things cannot be amended. Or altered. Some things are lost forever. Anger is just a medium to severe ties. To detach. They were never meant to be. And they will never be.

I wrote this article in bits and pieces over five days. I have been trying to write, but unable to due to many reasons. Mind is not at peace. It's not disturbed either. It just lacks motivation at the moment. I am off to another trip. Another experience. I hope I come back motivated. To write.