Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I am a Tamil but...

I took a few weeks off from Social media and came back to find out a number of weird stuff about some people and things which I thought I knew very well.

Like I came to know that RJ Balaji was a Brahmin when he was abused for protesting against the protest in IPL game. I didn’t know about it when he made the national media run for cover during Chennai Floods or when he gave that inspiring speech during the Jallikattu victory... All of a sudden he became an anti-Tamil exposing his sick 'Brahmin' mindset! How sad!

I was told in the "authentic" social media that April 14 is not Tamil New year’s day, rather it is Sanskrit New Year’s day and so Tamils should have no business in celebrating this day…

I was once a very proud Tamil. I was proud of this ancient culture, the acceptance it has shown in welcoming, imbibing different language speaking population into its soil, even the "don’t care attitude" when it comes to preserving its cultural ethos, the vast literature, the sweetness of the language and the precision, logic, clarity in its construct, the people it produced, the achievers… Anything and everything about Tamil and Tamilnadu would take me to a high…

Not anymore…

If I have to introduce myself as a Tamil, I got to do with an “if and but”.
I am a Tamil but I am not a senseless person!
I am a Tamil but I can clearly see through fake activism, separatism tactics and keep myself sane.
I am a Tamil but doesn’t want a separate country for my State.
I am a Tamil but am not a jobless youth who could be sold for pennies for protests.
I am a Tamil but don’t go behind malicious leaders who play language politics, caste politics and agitation politics!
I am a Tamil but have the sense to understand development comes at a cost.
I am a Tamil but want to hold my state representatives and leaders accountable.
I am a Tamil but can see the roots of the problems my state faces today.
I am a Tamil but am not against industrial development in my state.
I am a Tamil but interested in job creation for my youth. Meme creation, spreading hatred is not a sustainable job to engage my State youth!
I am a Tamil but don't buy the story of Center passing off dangerous projects to my State. 
I am a Tamil but capable of analyzing well beyond the lies thrown at my door step day in day out. 
I am a Tamil but not carried away with the divisive narrative that the rotten media spews everyday!
I am a Tamil but still I can proudly say ‘I am a Hindu’ and am not ashamed of it!
I am a Tamil but don’t believe in fantasy conspiracy theories of RSS trying to uproot Tamil culture.
I am a Tamil but am very much interested in preserving my State’s symbol of pride – Temples, its energy spaces, its architecture and its antiquity.
I am a proud Tamil but I desperately wish to see my state back to glory!

May my State return to its state of Glory soon!
May I hold my head high and proudly call out ‘I am a Tamil’ with no if’s and but’s!

Until then, I got to declare the above as I hang my head in shame in front of rest of my country's "Netizens". 

PS: My State is perfectly fine in real life, barring a few untoward incidents, sans tabloid, social, TV media!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

When wife returns the smile...

When he is very content with me around, he would smile at me (like his teeth are participating in a fashion show parade to win the best tooth set). It might be because I went overboard and did some favour or I did my duty of cooking and served him food which is a rare thing nowadays for we live in different places most of the times. Or I didn't bicker him when he was engaged on his own for hours together either in work or in a game or a movie.
Representative figure. Left is me, Right is him. :))
So for aforementioned reasons or for something else, he'd carry that wide grin. Mostly I wouldn't overreact nor would I return the extra long smile. I simply smile for at the background of mind, what he did six months back was going on. Or I might be recollecting that dialogue he uttered inadvertently which was not settled properly. Or I would genuinely be busy with my usual preoccupation on what needs to be done next. Typical of a woman perhaps?! :D

Now the return...

It was almost lunch time when I returned from yoga class to which I left for early in the morning. I had some long discussions with our team of volunteers. Our discussions would generally be filled with fun, laughter, intensity and action. For no particular reason, I was ecstatic. I reached home smiling all along. I felt fresh and energetic. This is how I feel whenever I attend Isha Yoga sessions.

When I reached home, I saw him dozing between his office calls (catching up on the lost quota of sleep). I gently stroked him. He lifted his heavy eye lids and tried to decipher who that angel was. I was grinning at him. He rubbed his eyes and noted my rather vicious smile.
"Gimme 5 mins", he muttered. He was slowly getting up as I stood straight in the line of his eyesight with that same wide grin. He noted it. Now, I was doing it purposefully to confuse him.
"What did you do this time?" That was a monologue. I continued to smile even more. "What's with you?" was unuttered. He is a man of few words, you know.
His brain's neurons are functioning at the maximum now and after a quick permutation combination of past events, "Alright, so you bought something for yourself. It's OK. What is it? How much did you spend?"

I with a superior posture, 'No, you are wrong, Mr. Husband!'. 'Husband' is how I address him nowadays. As we age, I am training myself to address him with respect. :))

"I was simply smiling. This is how you smile at me at times. I thought I would return the favour." ("You silly brat, crook!", was unuttered again. :P)

It was quite amusing to note how he interpreted my grin and what sort of reputation I have. "What to do, Abirami. Your history is like that!", he would promptly justify and I'd stand before him unarmed without defence.

I am no less, anyway. With my way of existence, somebody else would have gone and admitted himself into an asylum. His survival skills are high! :))

"Smile. It costs nothing" Really?! In our case, it may cost past, present, future... :D

Monday, February 27, 2017

How do people quench their social conscience?

It was late Sunday night, had our dinner at kaiyenthi bhavan! My husband and I went for a stroll after a very long time… We didn’t talk much. Both of our minds were occupied with only one thing. How do we counter all the irresponsible baseless allegations thrown at us… Many lakhs of volunteers’ heart wrenching efforts for social and human wellbeing over the last two decades, it hurts – whatever touched us, whatever we realized need to reach every human being on the planet – It is a stupid commitment (sankalp) one can take – but then every time someone comes to us and thanks us, our joy knew no bounds! We exchange tears of joy and bliss!

With all this running in our minds, he broke the silence, “People don’t seem to understand how much they are swayed by the one sided vested propaganda. They don’t seem to see the other side of the picture.” He said in a pensive mood almost on the border of abuse!

I asked him back, “Suppose, you were not part of Isha. You never underwent any transformation. All you know is your job, promotion, your family… That’s all. And you read something wrong about a bearded God man. What would your first instinct be?” He nodded, ‘yeah, I would have believed all that I read’.

See… A few people are waiting for this kind of news. “All Gurus are bad.” That’s what satisfies their ego. Because, they don’t want to believe in anybody. In between the times of Swami Vivekananda and Sadhguru, the choices we had was very minimal and a few troubled news item about the bearded men of those times completely sealed any openness that could be within them.

“I earn well, I take care of my family. I came up to this position on my own. I don’t believe in God. But I love nature. Nature is God!” Most of our people belong to this category. There is something called as social conscience. How do they satisfy that? By expressing their love for environment – “I am a social media activist for environment.” With all their helplessness, all they could do is registering their protest by sharing a meme or an article, against Isha. Two things get satisfied –

  1. He is a Godman, guru, so he should be bad. Perfectly fits their ego.
  2. I stand up for environment. Hence quenching their social conscience. I can’t plant a tree, I can’t water a plant, I can’t stop farmer suicide, I can’t stop anything. Let me atleast share this meme and create awareness. Of course, with all good intentions, they are doing their part.

You know, I was a very pious person during my college days. My dearest friend Anjana and I used to recite ‘Skanda Sashti Kavacham’ every evening in the hostel room. We both liked it. Once I got the job and started earning, I somehow felt the commitment towards God came down. I was confused and told, ‘God, don’t mistake me. There is no time for Friday temple routine’ Jus a few moments before the Pooja room before I start to work was the only interaction with the “Divine”…

Thankfully, this confusion didn’t last long. When I attended the Isha Yoga program in Feb 2003, there was a full stop to all my confoundedness. I stopped going to temples. I was free. For almost 6 years, I cared the least for temples. It was not my interest. 

But then, this man talked of consecration. He brought to life, right in front of my eyes – Bhairavi – what was jus a stone became Divine. My eyes started watering without control. A new dimension – Fire of devotion - opened up within me. No looking back since then.

It took several years for me to take this path of devotion. How do we expect a common netizen, hiding behind a garb of pseudo environment protector to open up and see a perspective bigger than him?

“But what about logic? Can they not see use their logical thinking to conclude who is right and who is wrong?” he retorted. 

People are fed with both sides of information and mostly they choose what suits their ego and belief system.

“But truth??” – Who cares about truth? Who has patience to go through the tons of articles and decide which is true? All they care is jus a meme or a headline of an article. That too, if it is positive headline, they won’t go inside to know the details. “Negative one” yes would read till the last word. Remember, truth is always expensive. We live in a world where no one wants truth but nice breaking news – stories.

Truth will slowly evolve. The western part of the world is fast embracing yoga and turning inward or spiritual. So, our folks would catch up soon! Until then, let them keep sharing the memes and have those "Oh my God!" moments.

And our stroll ended as we reached our apartment gate! :)

Friday, January 6, 2017

I was molested at age 7 and then...

I was molested at the age of 7! It was my trusted neighbour, probably 18 or 19 years of age. He enticed me with a bright coloured balloon. I went behind him for that balloon and ended up in a solitary room, where he forced himself upon me.

I attained puberty at the age of 12. It was a biological change and I was still a child at heart and mind. Yet another known person, a cable operator "uncle" tried to molest me and I had run away from him! Nope! I was not emotionally handicapped till then. I assumed these were one off incidents and carried on with my life. School and studies were my life then.
Happy School days! (An illustrative picture)
At age 15, I had the first hit when a guy actually told me he was in love with me. I didn't know how to handle that. Soon, I realized this was a plain bodily attraction and I struggled to come out of it, when he threatened he would commit suicide if I didn't agree to his proposal. This was the first mental violation I had and I suffered for long. My studies went for a toss! I was a state rank material and I aspired for it. But then, I disappointed everybody with my results. I resolved not to get into contact with any guy. I joined a girls convent and life was back to normal. Again studies became my life.

When I entered the engineering college, survival became my top priority - a job! For I feared living under a drunkard's mercy throughout my life. I didn't give thought to a "nice guy" existence at all.
As I was growing in shape and structure (whatever little I had), I had to go through some sort of violation or molestation. I was turning into a rebel. I hated men. I couldn't stand them. Mere presence of any man in close quarters would send shivers down my spine. I suffered within. Too much identification I had with my body. It was like I had a treasure within and I needed to protect it every minute.

The rebellious character in me found expression in the college at times. I stomped every stalker, teaser on my way. They didn't know my past. I did it effortlessly. It so happened that one of our mischievous class mates, who felt a little high on being a male, passed on a chit to us girls with objectionable content. We, rebellious friends got hold of a moderate guy and lectured him throughout a night journey on how inappropriate it was and how humiliated we felt. If somebody gave me a red rose on Valentine's day, I happily accepted it. I moved on. I knew it didn't mean anything.

I joined work at Chennai. Molestation was a regular thing in crowded buses. I impatiently and helplessly went through it.
One night at 9:30, I was walking alone from the bus stop to my home. A guy came sideways in his two wheeler, slowed down to match my walking speed. He asked, 'Can I fuck you?'. I increased my speed, my heart beat racing up! As luck would have it, that day I was spared. He followed me throughout, till I reached home. Next day, I took an alternate route.

Yet another day, I was traveling in the bus which was not crowded. I even found an empty seat. 'Ok! Today, no suffering' I told myself. Then there was this cool educated guy, standing next to my seat. I held the rail of the seat in front of me, so that I could protect my head till I reach the destination. Our MTC drivers are super cool with their sudden breaks! This man held the same rail and was inching close to my hand. I sensed his desperation. He didn't know my desperation level. I blurted out to him, 'You want to touch my hand? Is that what you want?' He got off immediately in the next stop. I felt victorious!

I had so much anger, resentment for men for I could have easily become a serial killer! Thankfully there were no social media those days. No media continuously hogging on every molestation incident. Sanity prevailed. But my feminist attitude and the freedom I longed for was still boiling inside. Feminism means to me, that women are also as human as men and have every right to live in this world as man does!

Years passed by. I gave birth to a baby girl. What I taught her at the age of 3 was 'Good touch, bad touch'. I established a channel of communication that if somebody showed any sign of violation, she would inform me right away.

With all my past experiences, I could have turned into a utter bitter human being. But thankfully I took the opposite route. With an inner transformation I underwent, I blossomed beautifully. Instead of being a victim, I became part of a solution.

I realized there is no Utopia for women. No law would protect me. No matter how hard I cry, nobody around would come to help. Only solution is to safe guard myself. I am responsible for my safety. New year means going to temple and not to midnight parties, so I happily stayed safe. However if I had to indulge in these midnight parties because the society in which I live demands, I would probably go prepared! I love celebrations for I am an exuberant ebullient person. I celebrate life!

From the society, there are two solutions to it, in my view. One is stringent laws; fear of punishment that would keep these molesters under control. Second, change in social consciousness through individual transformation. I am a volunteer now. I resigned my high paying corporate job and am a full time volunteer working towards individual transformation. I do my part.

Dear ladies, until we get into a state where even if we walk naked that no man would turn around and ogle at us, please stay safe and be prepared!

Let common sense prevail over audacity! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How "Alaipayuthey" played out in my life?

He is not my kind of a guy! - Part II

It was April 2000. I was in the second year of  my Engineering degree course. Along with my class mates, I was in the theatre, thrilled to watch a movie. Those days, in Coimbatore, female hostelers going for a movie that too with guys was a big thing. I didn't care to know the heroine or the hero of the movie. But when I came out of the theatre, I became more "hungry" for the hero... An ardent fan for Mr. R. Madhavan was born out of the movie - "Alaipayuthey". My love for ManiRathnam movies soared big time. Delicate romance, drama, limited dialogues pouring out volumes of emotion, nail biting screenplay - all left a very satisfied feeling in me. Little did I know then this movie would later play out in my life.

Journey with "Alaipayuthey" started...

Year 2002: Final year of graduation. It was a farewell function 'Sayonara" (meaning "Good bye"in Japanese), conducted by our loving juniors. I got shortlisted to the final round of "Miss. Sayonara" contest. It was a tight corner round. This was the problem given to me, "You are madly in love with a guy. Both of you love each other, but your parents don't agree to it. And you both decide to commit suicide. What would you do now?"

I was quick to present my answer. "This is why Manirathnam created "Alaipayuthey". Don't commit suicide. Get married and stay in each other's homes. Once you have the courage to come out, live together!

From the judges panel, "but you have decided to commit suicide!" and I quipped, "After marriage staying away from each other is equivalent to suicide!" (If I were to answer it now, I would have told, "Getting married itself is committing suicide..." :D)

Huge applause... and then much to everybody's surprise, a wheat colour skinned, big spectacle'd, not so "attractive" girl, that's me was crowned Ms. Sayonara! Hehehe!

Year 2004: I had fallen in love with this guy. A guy from another caste, another language, another custom. No brownie points for the guessing the parents' reaction. I had an elder sister who was not married then, pretty much the same scenario as in the movie. Eventually we both decided to do a registered marriage. Thankfully, my dad didn't have much qualms. He simply said, 'It is your life and you would have to bear the consequences of your decision.' But my partner's end was pretty rough.

He had come from US after a year, for our marriage. He didn't go home, got me married first. After our so called marriage was over, I was at my home while he went to convince his parents. It was an encounter with a ferocious lion in its den, ready to pounce on him anytime.  He employed silence, nonchalance as if nothing big happened. For more than a day or two, nobody was able to break into him. Then after enough provocation, huge emotional drama unfolded and then all was well at the end!

He continues to be the apple of his mom's eyes. I became a good friend to my mother-in-law, she become my role model in certain aspects and a big source of inspiration too. We in no time became a well adapted family. Kudos to both males of our family, my husband and my father-in-law. Humanity and sense prevailed. Love won everybody's hearts!

We test each other! :)
Year 2016: How is life after marriage? We both quarrel... quarrel for the silliest things possible. I with my brutal honesty, would invite his ire very easily. As I wind up this article today, we are not on terms for I made a comment, "only jerks would watch movie like Transformers'! :-D Howzzat?!

I am the boss, I am the servent, I am the child, I am the mother! Jus that he wouldn't know what role I have assumed at a given point of time! :-) :-)

And the movie "Alaipayuthey" continues...
Fascinating movie and even more fascinating life! :-)

Friday, December 9, 2016

An Open Letter to Mr. Kejriwal

Dear Kejriwal,

Over the last 3 years you have provided high quality entertainment. Particularly, after May 2014, the quality of your social media entertainment has grown leaps and bounds. Every day, I look forward to your posts and tweets of all the affairs involving your favorite person, Modi "Ji". 
The moment I see your posts, I gleefully jump to the comments section and enjoy each and every mouthful of comment. I eagerly look forward to 'Hit like if you think he is the greatest chor on the planet!' comment or 'Hit like if Kejriwal is the best PM of the world' comments & its replies. I can't possibly elucidate how bored I felt when you didn't post/tweet much while you were away on Vippasana. 

Around the same time, your best friend @bdutt blocked me on Twitter and I didn't get to enjoy her tweets. Since I lost that package already, I rely only on your valuable presence. That's the reason, I don't give my "piece of mind" to you (what if your team mercilessly block me too) and be a silent admirer of your true #Krantikari efforts!

But now am afraid I may not be able to give the same level of attention to your social media ranting. Because we have an uncanny death at home (state) and we South Indians, esp. Tamilians have become Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery. :-D

Hence I appeal to you to take a break from many FB live, post that you do, for I can't afford to miss such high quality entertainment and absolutely hilarious comments section that ensues your post. Knowingly or unknowingly, you have put your so called IIT brain to best use that you have been able to extract the best possible satire from many of your "true" followers. 

After a long tiring day, nobody could entertain as you do. The loud chuckle that follows on reading your posts makes every minute of my time in social media worthwhile. 

You are the find of Indian Social Media Entertainment! Keep up the good work, Sir! But please consider my request to give us a break from your typical tweets... But if you must post something, pls do movie reviews. I am OK to skip them but nothing else. 

- Sincerely

Your Social media fan from South India
One from the betrayed crowd

Monday, November 14, 2016

My husband mocked me making Briyani. Is he a nationalist?

'I am gonna prepare a yummy veg Briyani', I announced! 'Do you know how to make it?', he asked in concern. After all, he was going to eat it.

'I have been preparing for this day for sometime now. I even bought the ingredients and have done a lot of research on how to make the best Briyani'

He further to annoy me, 'Let me monitor how you make it'. Not withstanding this comment, going back to my patience reserve, I quietly asked, 'Have you done it before? Please, let me make it peacefully. You can taste when done.'

So, I lighted the stove and kept the bottom heavy vessel on the stove. He was right behind and asked me 'why not this vessel?'. I was wondering what happened of him. I gave him the reason and moved on to pour oil. He shouted, 'too much oil... Reduce the heat. You are not letting the vegetables cook.'

He went on and on like this. After adding the vegetables, spices, all necessary grounded powder, he tasted it, 'too salty'. I again asked him to trust me, 'I know what I am doing. I have to add rice. So this masala would be slightly salty now.'

Then again he bet his life by lamenting, 'this doesn't look like Briyani. Feel you are making tamarind rice!'. This time, I ran out of patience and I had to swear at him :-D

And when I was adding rice to the mixture, like the good Lord, he asked, 'Where is basmati rice?' You know I was waiting for this. 'Oh! I see. I have been asking you to help with the preparation, like buying the necessary provisions, washing n cutting vegetables. You were quiet when I did all by myself and now you ask for basmati rice. For your own good, pls move away, once it is ready, I will serve you. We both can enjoy the Briyani together'

He acted as if he was possessed. He went on to say, 'I still feel you don't know how to make it. You are simply raising expectation. I saw how you make, this is not how Briyani would look like. This is going to be a big failure. Rice appears like uncooked rice whereas it would be soft in actual and in pictures too...'

Like a good wife(!), I understood his panic and decided to spare his life. He has not seen anyone preparing this dish earlier. Hence he was anxious about the making and the final outcome.

Now the exciting part of this article. 'Whether the Briyani came out well or not?'

I am sorry to disappoint you. But this isn't about Briyani at all. Please replace 'I', 'me' with Narendra Modi,  the bickering not-so-helpful husband with the "true nationalist" who complain about the surgical strike on black money that our PM cooked for the nation while at the same time ceaselessly question, 'What did #56inch do about corruption in India?'

Read the article from the first now and this is how some of us are behaving. We don't know the exact recipe for a Corruption free India nor we would help with preparation or render any sort of cooperation. Someone out there is attempting something. Let us give him a chance, it is better than doing nothing about it. Given all the outcomes so far, I trust we would taste a great veg briyani, err, Corruption Free India soon.

Of course, our participation is required in every step, by helping people in need, by following rules, by not paying receipt less fines to police, cheating with fake rent receipts, medical bills, buy without bills to purchase in tax less cost, register property at lower cost again to cut back on taxes.

We have accepted all these as norm. We comfortably question some one out there, because it is easy. Let the buck stop with us.

Swach Bharat will not happen without we cleansing ourselves. Whatever it takes, let's face it, let's come out clean. Let us reset ourselves to zero and start a fresh account.

Good luck to all of us! My India, Clean India!
 And I am trying to do my part by constantly questioning my own hypocrisy. Let me get my hands clean first. I am sure I can get there and not jus be an arm chair commentator!