Thappad: Why I Will Not Watch it

When I was in school my mother used to subscribe to a women’s magazine named Savvy. Don’t know if its still around since many magazines I used to subscribe to have recently gone out of publication. But anyway, Savvy. This was a magazine that had a cover story of one particular woman every month. As children we always had this opinion that to make it to the cover of Savvy a woman had to defy family rules or walk out of her marriage or go against the society or fight the patriarchal system. Basically speaking, she had to be someone who created a tornado in the family or society and herself emerged victorious. Kudos to those women!

It has been over three decades since then and we have come a long way but a nagging voice keeps asking me, “Have times changed? Are women better off? Or for that matter have men changed? Three decades later can we say that the condition of a woman in a family has changed? Does a woman who is a daughter, mother, wife, daughter-in-law feel respected in her family?” 

rose-broken

Women empowerment is a ‘wonderful’ topic for discussion and many people are working towards it also. The cinemas are also touching upon women centric topics and creating ‘brave’ scripts. Two recent films have been in the same direction – Panga and Thappad. Both films revolve around women protagonists. While I have seen the former I do not intend to see the latter. No hard feeling towards it but I read the review this morning and the reviewer was all praises for it. 

So why would I not watch it if it is such a great film? It has a host of talented artists who have collectively given us a movie that is worth watching. Three and a half stars is a good rating where many struggle to get even half a star. It is a bold movie and talks about an inherent truth prevailing in our society since time knows when. While Panga is on a lighter note women will find Thappad to be a brave film and many may also identify with it. Men, and I don’t say all, may rubbish it. After all it is about them too. Though the story centres around a wife it also talks about the nature and attitude of men. If a woman has had to suffer a slap from a husband it is because of the very fabric of society that has been woven in a manner that gives men the right to do so. 

glass-shattered

Thappad deals with a physical slap which can be seen, heard and felt. It resonates hard. What cannot be witnessed is the mental slap mete out to many women time and again. The kind of mark it leaves on the souls of women is not seen and yet it gradually breaks a part of her every time she is hit. And every time she has to gather the pieces of her broken spirit and stand up again to face the world – with a smile on her face. No, men do not like to see their wives sad and sullen. If she is sad she spoils the atmosphere of the house and how can a man be motivated to work for the family if he does not have a cheerful wife to go back home to. 

It is the ‘duty’ of the wife to understand that a man works from morning to night to take care of the family. So what if he loses his temper and shouts at his wife once in a while, he does love her so much. Stress at work can make him irritated and agitated and he can vent it out on his ‘loving and understanding wife.’ True, we all need that comfort zone where we can vent out our feelings.

Does Thappad intend to bring about an awakening in the society? I doubt. The makers had a story to tell, a point to make and an audience to entertain. True, the entertainment is not the fun kind but viewers will watch it to rave about the bold script, the powerful acting, and excellent execution of a ‘minor’ issue plaguing the society. The film will live its life in theatres and actors will get applauded for their award winning performances. Isn’t the award that matters in the end? 

Tragedies always make good stories and our storytellers know that very well.

Trapped? Not Really!

I made every possible effort to help keep you out of trouble but you were so keen on getting yourself trapped that I could do nothing about it. I filled in all the gaps to keep you away from your self-inflicting trap. Every nook and corner was taken care of but it seems like you were hell bent on inviting trouble.

It is true that good things don’t come easy. We need to work for them, work really hard. After a period of sincere hard work and toil an achieved goal brings joy, happiness and satisfaction. However, it is also true that that not all hard work give the desired results. It is not necessary that if we struggle for something it HAS to be good.

It depends upon us how we interpret the result and what we take away from it. At times it could simply be a life lesson, only if we are open to see it and learn from it. Sadly, not all learn from their mistakes.

You willingly walked into the lion’s den. Moreover, this voluntary ‘kill me’ act also took a great deal of hard work to achieve. Only a very ‘skilled’ soul could so efficiently look for that small irrelevant trouble spot and willingly walk into it. Yes, there are many who glide into troubled waters without having any idea of how to get out of it. I must say, you simply possess the knack  to get yourself into a difficult position. 

Okay, so now you are in a tight spot. You are twisting, turning, fluttering about and trying to look for a way out but how to do that is a million dollars question for you. In spite of my efforts to keep you safe you are now absolutely disturbed. How do I know? Anyone who sees you won’t take a second to realise how uncomfortable and distressed you are. Only if you sat down for a while, worked your brains a little and tried to see that there is a way out. Of course, there has to be a way out. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the way you function. Once faced with a problem you have to run helter-skelter; probably with eyes shut because you obviously are not able to see that your problem has a solution. 

To a blind mind even a flashlight is useless.

Even we humans fail to analyse problems. We too act before we leap and when we find ourselves in a muddled situation we simply try to wriggle out of it, this way or that. The solution is never really sought, forget learning from the mistake.

I am going to leave you with your problem. The tiny hole through which you came in is still open. Hope you see it soon. As far as I know, birds do have a sense of direction. Yet it is surprising how you, a pigeon, cannot trace your way out. Maybe metro city living has had an effect on your senses.

Diversity and More Diversity

Explain the phrase, ‘Unity in Diversity’. 

This was, probably, one of the favourite questions our teachers liked to include in our Civics question papers. 

As students we would ramble on about the magnificent ways in which the country was diverse yet united as a nation. Yes, we were one nations inspite of all our ‘diversities.’ 

I can still write an essay on ‘Unity in Diversity’ citing the very same examples I used in school but what do I do about the new set of diversities that have invaded the present day society? These are, in plain and simple words, DIVERSITIES which are creating rifts and gaps in the society.

Differences

– Worshipping a deity as a symbol of strength VS Increasing rate of rape and molestation

– Aiming for Mars VS Manual sewage workers

– Industrialists ranked among richest in the world VS Growing rate of joblessness

– Multiple car owners VS Miles’ walk to school

– Water wastage VS Lack of safe drinking water

– Brightly, and sometimes too blinding bright, lit malls VS Students studying under streetlights

– Dirt cheap internet data VS Sky rocketing education fees

– Booming food delivery apps VS Children dying of malnutrition

– Worshipping God VS Killing in the name of God

– Lands available for religious structures VS No land for homeless families

It is time we started giving precedence to unity. 

 

PS: I want to be positive and believe that these are the only diversities prevailing in the present society. Please don’t tell me there are more.

Just Married . . . 20 Years Ago

Milk boiled over; fairly good egg muffins for breakfast; an egg splatter in the microwave; son leaves for school without having breakfast; early morning movie show; delicious pizza for lunch; oven settings go wrong; fish curry turns out yummy; rich chocolate Dutch Truffle Cake for the occasion;  an episode of Sherlock … 

This is basically the gist of how this marriage anniversary was spent. And this is how the past twenty years have been. Some highs and some lows; some just hanging around, swinging to and fro. 

It’s been twenty years. Long or short is open for interpretation. Depending upon mood and situation the years seem long and far or close and near. 

20 Years

This was the day the journey began. The day we boarded the train to a destination unknown. Many stops have come by – some known, some strange, many pleasant, a few unwelcome and fewer troubling. The journey has had its ups and downs, the train has developed snags, storms have blocked the tracks, routes have been rough, terrains good and bad but the train has travelled. 

Chugging along here we have reached, twenty years down the line to where we stand now. What lies ahead is still a mystery. We plan to manoeuvre this train of life on certain tracks but there is no guarantee our wishes will be fulfilled. Points of track changes are many and these changes come unannounced. One moment I may be here the next I may wonder where. Where do I head or where have I come?

The journey will go on, till… who knows when. Every moment will unfurl with time – good or bad, happy or sad, peaceful or mad.

Many moments have been lived and many more are to be lived. But a promise I must make to myself – each moment I must LIVE. 

Shopping for Survival

All of us, mostly all, love to shop. Not just anything but only that what we love. Yeah, there are many among us who just shop for the sake of shopping. Let’s not refer to them.

I personally love to shop for, books, kitchenware and yarns. That explains my two websites www.aseeminspiration.com and www.aseemcreations.com.

What about you? What do you like to shop for?

The moment I see yarns in different colours my heart goes, “Oh, what lovely colours!” and projects of various kinds start flying before my eyes. Soon a hand swishes and all ‘visions’ vanish, faster than they had appeared. “Wake up, you don’t need them now,” a voice somewhere says and all plans go ‘phut’.

I enter a bookshop and there is this urge to buy this one and also that one. “Don’t you have enough to read back home? Why not finish those first?” Yes, the voice makes sense. “You could also get them on your Kindle,’ continues the voice. Yes, I could but the Kindle experience is a completely different chapter in itself. More on that later.

As for kitchenware, the market is flooded with new products every now and then. Every new addition is just a mere … “addition”. The present lot can do the job pretty well. So better to move out of the home and kitchenware store.

Shopping is great, but within limits.

So, when one prepares a shopping list one has to be very excited about it. When the items are received, the happiness has to be great.

Is it the same in this case? See for yourself. There was a list, a really long one with almost ten to twelve items, but the recipient was not really joyful about her own shopping list.

hand-writing

She took pains to prepare her list. Every item had to be carefully written. Names were cross-checked and all possible errors erased. She wrote in pencil so that she had the option of erasing and correcting any small mistake.

At 76, the old, frail, wrinkled and shaking hands took care to form every letter of the words on the list. She had to get them right or she may end up with a wrong item. No, that was definitely not acceptable.

Once done, she called me over to clarify a few doubts. ‘Need she write the complete name, with description, or was the name enough?  Will the store keeper understand what she had written?’

Oh, yes. She had done a satisfactory, in fact more than satisfactory job. The letters were well formed, the names clearly visible and quantity well defined. They were important to her.

When she was satisfied she handed over the list to me. I had better get everything as listed!

By evening the shopping was done but I decided to hand over the items the next day. Checking, sorting and stacking things would take her some time. A fresh mind in the morning would be the best time to do the job.

When the bag landed in her hands a routine process started. Each item was laid out, similar item clubbed together, details checked and quantities double-checked. I had done my job fairly well. This monthly routine was over.

Should she not be happy that she got all that she had asked for? Yes, definitely. Who is not happy to have demands fulfilled. She too was ‘happy’ but ‘happy’ is a rather ironic and sarcastic word to use in her situation. She did not have an option. Her list of medicines is a must to treat the multiple ailments.

This was not a shopping list. It was a Survival List!

 

 

 

We Live in Modern Times…

In the heart of the city
On a very busy road,
Where, within seconds
Multiple cars come and go.

I was waiting at a red traffic light
My solitary ears witnessing a radio talk show.
Suddenly, I say, what is this tapping sound
In between a conversation?

Turning my head to the left
The source of sound comes in view.
An old man with white hair and wrinkled cheeks
Is peering in, seeking my attention.

‘Highway,’ he says
Or should I say, asks?
Instantly, my head shakes in a ‘No’,
And a ‘guilt ridden’ heart tries to look away.

With walking stick in one hand
And a bag in another, he slowly carries on.
Maybe some other car coming along
Will be kind enough to give him a lift.

Was I right or was I wrong?
I try to reason with my mind.
The mind says ‘right’,
We live in modern times.

Modern times!
Times when faith is a word and so trust.
Dictionaries define them
And these times teach us never to follow them.

It’s a shame.
We live in modern times!

It’s JUST a Bomb

“Sir, will you survive in case of a bomb blast? ”

“Then please move further away.”

The policeman then came to me.

“Ma’am, please take a different seat. There is an unattended bag lying here.” Turning my head around I saw a small black coloured backpack lying on a seat a couple of rows behind me.

I was at the airport to receive my son and husband.

Slowly, I got up and moved away.

There were two airport staffs and two policemen surrounding the perimeter near the bag; public had been asked to step aside and yet everything looked normal. Soon two more policemen arrived, one with a scanning device and the other with a sniffer dog.

Amidst the normal hustle and bustle of people arriving, receiving, greeting and being escorted to their destinations a situation far from normal was being tackled.

A bomb scare is not a part of day to day life. One bomb blast takes away multiple lives and leaves many more scarred.

Yet the manner in which each of us reacted was as if ‘it is no big deal’.

Have we become so used to bomb blasts and accepted it as something that can happen with any of us? If it so, we are living in dangerous times.

The bag was lying on a seat and we were all following the activities of the policemen from a distance. The atmosphere was casual and not a single soul appeared tensed or troubled. “Oh, it might be a bomb. Let’s step aside.”

On the flip side, the authorities need to be appreciated for handling the matter so skilfully.

On one hand they were alert toward unattended belongings while on the other hand they silently investigated the matter. Apart from the few people seated in the concerned region no one else got to know that an unattended bag had drawn the attention of the airport security staff.

While the policeman scanned the bag some of us, the few who knew what was happening, stood at a distance, observing the progress of events. None of us seemed to be scared of a possible bomb explosion.

Bombs don’t scare us anymore.

Thankfully there was no explosive in the bag and the owner, a teenage boy, soon came to claim it. His bag was returned to him, but only after he was given a good talk by the cops.