Equality between Unequals

2
COM
It's new year! It's the time to celebrate, make new resolutions and write some new chapters of life. Sadly, this new year began on a shameful note for all of us. The mass molestation incident of Bengaluru was all over the news on 1st January 2017. Several politicians and celebrities expressed their views and opinions over this incident. Some were angry, some were shocked, some blamed women and their "wrong" dressing styles, etc etc.

While reading all the statements and articles I thought, what is it that motivates/instigates/compels men to attack the dignity of women? The simple answer is, even in 21st century, men consider women to be inferior to them. One would not think of doing this to someone at par(or superior) with oneself. So what's the cause of superiority complex among men? 

Let's go back to a man's childhood. As a child, he sees his mother taking care of the household chores. She cooks, makes sure the dishes are washed, makes sure the clothes are ironed, takes care of the cleaning. etc. On the other hand, the father sits like a king, giving orders and judgments. "Give me my breakfast", "Press my shirt", "Where are my socks", etc. Father orders, mother complies, and hence it implies. He notices that people jump in excitement on the birth of a boy, and console each other on the birth of a girl. Hence, it implies. He sees that his parents ask his sister to avoid going out late night, to learn basic household chores like cooking etc. However, no such instructions are given to him. No such restrictions are imposed on him. Hence, it implies. When he becomes a working professional, he notices his female counterparts are paid less despite being on the same position as him. Hence, it implies. In his journey of becoming a man from a boy, he sees numerous examples which highlight the inequality between men and women. And hence, he starts thinking of himself as a superior species. We are collectively responsible for inculcating this superiority complex among men, from their childhood itself! Therefore, simply condemning such incidents is not going to take us anywhere. We must teach our little boys that men and women are equals.

How about a scenario where a boy sees his mother cleaning the house and father lending a helping hand? How about sometimes mother bringing the breakfast and sometimes the father? How about both parents working and earning their livelihoods(which already happens nowadays)? How about people being equally excited about birth of a girl or a boy? How about parents teaching their sons how to treat and respect women?

Give it a thought...

Our first drive...

3
COM
Continuing further from "First(actually second) conversation..."


As me and M started walking towards his car, there was silence... and peace... 
"I know it's gonna be tough for you for gel with my family members. They are quite loud", M said. "Thanks for confirming my fears", I said to myself. For an introvert person like me, it's quite difficult to feel comfortable among a new set of people. Gelling part comes next. I had to overcome the comfort part first. "Do you know the way to Hori Lal", M asked me. "Yes offcourse. It's nearby", I said and we both sat in the car. It was our second meeting and things had unexpectedly and drastically changed between our two meetings. I had still not come to terms with the fact that the person sitting next to me was going to be my life partner. Hence, I couldn't come up with something meaningful to start a conversation with M. The car moved, and there was an awkward silence. "Go straight and take a right turn from the T-point", I said in order to break the awkward silence. "Ya sure", M said. "Now we need to go straight and take the first left. Hori lal is right there", I said. In no time we reached Hori Lal. Others were still on the way and reached around ten minutes later. "How come you guys reached so early! We were hoping you would take a longer route to have some alone time", M's cousin said. That thought hadn't even crossed my mind. "Maybe you guys should go out for coffee or something", someone said. "It's already quite late and tomorrow is a working day. We'll go some other time", I said. We all spent around 10-15 minutes at Hori Lal, said goodbyes to each other, and started walking towards our respective cars. As I was walking towards my car along with my cousins, they whispered, "Go back and say bye to M". Hesitantly, I turned around. M was standing a few steps away. So I walked towards him. We shook hands followed by an awkward, distant side-hug and said goodbye to each other. The night ended, but the thoughts didn't. Next important task was meeting M's parents. It was Monday, and I was supposed to meet them on Saturday i.e. five days later.

Another big question that was continuously crossing my mind was : When and how will I fall in love with M?

To be continued....

First(actually second) conversation...

4
COM
Continuing further from "A glimpse of my new family... Part-II"...

I held the phone to my ear. "Namaste.....", I said and paused. I was thinking about how I should address her. Since me and M were now fixed, addressing her as "Aunt" wasn't appropriate. On the other hand, addressing a new person as "Mom" was again weird for me. My indecisiveness in addressing her as "Aunt" or "Mom" led to this pause after namaste. I clearly remembered my first meeting with her... 

I had met her briefly few months back, at Uncle S's birthday party. Some of my friends were sitting in the lawn. They asked me to join them. Co-incidentially, she was sitting next to them and the chair next to her was unoccupied. I went there and sat next to her. While I was conversing with my friends, she realized that she was sitting in between me and them. "Would you like to sit in my place?", she asked me. "No not at all. I am fine here.", I replied. "Come on, please sit here. You all will be able to talk comfortably", she said and got up from her chair. I thanked her and we exchanged our seats. One of my Dad's friends, Uncle T, was sitting around the same table. "Hi beta. How are you? How's your music going?", he asked me. "Music is going well Chacha. I recently posted a video from our jam session on facebook", I said. "She plays violin really well bhabhi", Uncle T told my to-be MIL. "Wow, that is so nice! You should join us at one of our parties. People will really enjoy listening to your violin", she said. "Yes off course Aunty", I said and smiled at her, and she smiled back. So that was my first meeting with her. None of us knew that ours was going to be a lifelong association!! 

"Namaste beta. How are you?", she asked me. "I am good, how about you?", I replied. "We all are fine and really excited to meet you. And don't worry about anything at all. After marriage, you are free to do whatever you like. No restrictions here", she said. Amidst the noise and laughter around, her words were really comforting. A girl always fears about losing her freedom after getting married. Her words allayed my fears and apprehensions and I thanked  her for that. "Now you all carry on with the dinner. Bye. See you soon", she said. "Bye", I said and handed over the phone to M. 

After the dinner, everyone decided to go to Hori Lal, a popular paan shop near my place. We all walked out of the restaurant and moved towards our respective cars. "Both of you can come together in M's car. We all will meet you there", everyone told me and M. M showed me the way to his car. We were all set to go for our first drive..... Was it good?? Was it bad?? Was it awkward?? You'll know soon.... :-) 

The Odds & The Evens

6
COM
Before starting, let me mention that I am not a pro-Kejriwal. I am a Delhiite, i.e. a resident of the most polluted city in the world. So, when I came to know about this new rule of odd-even numbered cars that will be implemented from 1rst January 2016 onwards, I thought of it as a ray of hope. Shortly after this news came out, several jokes and memes related to this rule came out as well. Everyday I see and hear people making a mockery of this rule. "Suppose I go somewhere and come back next day, I'll be fined. What nonsense!", says one. "Now wedding will be a two-day event, one day for people with odd number of cars, and another day for people with even number of cars". Somehow these jokes do not amuse me. I feel people have yet not realized the sensitivity of this whole issue. Delhi's pollution levels have shot up to severe category. The air that we are inhaling each second, is poisonous. It's like dying a slow death. Who said overcoming such a serious problem is going to be an easy task? We are talking about cleaning the air of our city.  Off course it's going to be difficult as it is supposed to be difficult! People have already started cribbing about how they'll be dependent on public transport, how they'll manage to reach somewhere in an emergency situation if the number of their car(odd/even) does not correspond to that particular day. Yes, being dependent on public transport is difficult. But isn't it better than dying a slow death? Probably the government will figure out something for emergency situations. I don't know whether this concept of odd-even car days will be successful or not. But, is simply giving a thumbs down to an effort, the right solution? Can we come up with something better to tackle this? If not, can we at least give a sincere try to this odd-even formula?

P.S. Pic courtesy : Google

A glimpse of my new family... Part-II

2
COM
Continuing further from "A glimpse of my new family..." :

I told my friend H about the entire episode. She knew that I was supposed to meet a guy over the weekend but didn't expect that we would get fixed so soon! "Some of M's relatives are coming to meet me in the evening. I am really nervous," I said. "I can understand. Don't worry. Stay calm. Everything will be fine," she said. Shortly, another closed friend of mine, S, joined us. I shared the news with her. Both H and S were extremely surprised and excited whereas I was nervous, and blank. It was a weird feeling, hard to express in words. I couldn't work properly in the office that day. My manager came to discuss some deliverables for our next release. Throughout the discussion, I just kept nodding my head. My mind was somewhere else and hence, his words were going over my head. I left for home earlier than the usual days.

When I reached home, three of my close cousins(my bua's children), were already there. They had come to accompany me and bro for the dinner. Having them alongside was comforting. For dinner, I chose to wear a black shirt with jeans, ironed my hair and got very light make-up done. Five of us reached invitation by 8:30 PM. Bro asked the waiters to set up a table for about 15-20 people on the first floor of the restaurant. By 8:40, we were seated. My bro and one of my cousins went downstairs to received M and M's relatives. M and his relatives reached Invitation around 9:30. As they all entered the restaurant, I saw some familiar and some new faces. Familiar ones were mine and M's common relatives. Including M, there were four men. Rest all ladies. All the ladies were formally dressed in suits. "I should have been formally dressed," I said to myself. M was right at the back. He was wearing a black shirt and a pair of rust-colored trousers. "Ehem Ehem! Looks like the two of you had planned to wear black shirts tonight. Good going!" someone said. I realized both me and M had landed up wearing black shirts. One of M's cousins and my childhood friend, A, introduced me to everyone one.  There were M's cousins, (SIL)sisters-in-law and a close friend. I was too nervous to remember the names. 
Our first pic together... makes me feel nostalgic...
After a brief introduction, we all sat down. I sat next to M. M's close friend, cousin and one of the SILs sat right opposite to us. As we sat down, M's SIL asked us, "Where are you guys going for your honeymoon"? Now that was embarrassing for me. Me and M were yet to exchange numbers. Honeymoon plans were way too far!! "We haven't decided yet," I said. "Why? Honeymoon is the first thing that you guys should decide!" she said and everyone started giggling. Over dinner, everyone asked me general things about my hobbies, education, music, etc. "Excuse me everyone!", one of M's cousins interrupted. "People at home want your pictures. Start posing guys"! The moment he said that, some people took out their mobile phones and started clicking our pictures. I smiled for the pictures, my first couple pictures with M, and it all seemed so weird at that point of time. I had no clue what all was going on in M's mind. His family members were full of life. But... they all were strangers to me. I had to amalgamate myself with them. That day, I couldn't laugh with them when they cracked jokes. I couldn't smile like my real self. I couldn't depict my humorous side. I couldn't eat wholeheartedly in their presence. Becoming a part of a new family was a big task, and a tough one. "It might take some time for me to adjust into your family," I said to M. There were sounds of laughter and chattering all around. I thought I might have been inaudible when I said that. "I understand. Take your time," M said. I liked him when he said that. 

Suddenly M's phone rang. It was his Mom. "Mom wants to speak to you," he said and passed on the phone to me. I was about to have my first conversation with M's Mom and my to-be mother-in-law.....